"Cherie Welch go FUCK YOURSELF" went up this evening. Ruth posted it. Ruth does not curse. Ruth is furious. I am as well.
We have been very kind to Danny Schechter. For those who do not know, the alleged News Dissector refused to call out any sexism and even contributed to the sexism in the Democratic Party primaries.
He has since begun writing (when he writes it himself) like a stark raving idiot. He is so stupid he really thinks Frank Rich is a good columnist, that Frank Rich plays it straight. He pretends that Maureen Dowd does as well. He reads those liars (exposed by Bob Somerby as liars repeatedly) and he grooves on MSNBC (the failed networks whose ratings have only sunk more) and he just lets all the hate well up inside him and then writes his garbage that is (a) badly written and (b) so hate filled it begs for psychiatric help.
Once upon a time, he pretended like he was a reasoned and reasonable person. That was obviously a pretense and it has now become equally obvious why he lost his network career. He writes like a raving lunatic.
And we laugh about it. Out of respect for C.I., we try to keep it limited to the community newsletters.
But he writes like a lunatic.
Ava and C.I. have had to leave him in their hardcopy commentaries and pull him out when they type it up. He is the idiot they were referring to last Sunday ("TV: Don't Lie To Me") who ditched John Pilger to keep his lips wrapped around Barack's knob. He is the one who managed 100 or so mentions of John Pilger, links to his work, since 2000 but, since John Pilger told the truth about Barack in 2008, he's only popped up twice.
Do you get that? Do you get that Pilger got over ten mentions a year until Danny couldn't stomach Pilger telling the truth?
Do you know that John Pilger regularly plugs Danny's bad work? He does, around the world Pilger plugs Danny's work.
But Danny's not interested in being independent, he's interested in whoring and when you're a fat whore, you have to whore twice as hard to pull in a few bucks.
So Danny non-stop whores for Barack.
It's why Chris Hedges disappeared from being mentioned by Danny. Chris Hedges too refused to drink the Kool-Aid.
And a whore like Danny is all about stabbing people in the back. He's got whore it for Barack. And he'll stab anyone and everyone in the back. He'll pretend like Frank Rich -- the bad drama critic -- knows what he's writing about when Frank Rich repeatedly lies, repeatedly 'bends' the truth.
But Danny's high on whoring.
He's got whore cause that's all he has left.
He's trashed his name, he's ruined his image. He's nothing but a whore.
If you missed it, supreme Kool-Aid drinker Dave Lindorff is now calling Barry O out regularly.
What happens next?
More and more people wake up.
More and more people realize there is nothing natural or desirable about worshipping any US president.
And when that happens, the whorehouse Danny's been peddling it in shuts down.
Danny can take the street then.
I don't know.
I don't care.
Not after that bulls**t e-mail his little assistant sent Ruth.
I may start lobbying for Danny to lose his little blogging award just announced. He shouldn't be getting it. He's not given billing to Cherie who's been doing a lot of writing as Danny as News Dissector.
Okay, this is from a World Can't Wait e-mail sent out by Debra Sweet:
Tuesday, the Department of Justice made public a report, written in November, recommending no prosecutions against the torture memo authors.
This is an outrage, not unsurprising, given Barack Obama's statements of support for the CIA agents who did the torture, and his contention that even investigations of the torture would amount to "retribution."
Vince Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights said, "We represent people who were tortured as a result of these criminal policies: calling what was done to them a mere 'lapse in judgment' is outrageous," Warren said. "Government officials broke laws and then tried to create legal justifications for breaking the law-since when do we decide whether to prosecute crimes based on political expediency?"
The report called for professional sanctions against Jay Bybee, now a federal judge, and John Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor. Both wrote and signed the memos. It's worth another read to appreciate the criminality in minutely detailing the torture of individual human beings.
An Associated Press story Tuesday, Bush attorneys who wrote terror memo face backlash, covered the movement which World Can't Wait is a part of:
"Pressure is mounting against two former Bush administration attorneys who wrote the legal memos used to support harsh interrogation techniques that critics say constituted torture. John Yoo, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is fighting calls for disbarment and dismissal, while Judge Jay Bybee of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals faces calls for impeachment. Justice Department investigators have stopped short of recommending criminal charges, but suggest in a draft report that the two men should face professional sanctions. A number of groups across the country agree...In December, the Berkeley City Council, known for wading into politically charged national and international issues, passed a measure urging the federal government to prosecute Yoo for war crimes. Human rights and anti-war activists are planning a demonstration at the Berkeley School of Law's May 16 commencement ceremony to press for Yoo to be fired.
"It's unconscionable that the legal architect of the torture apparatus is teaching the future generation of lawyers and judges at UC Berkeley," said Stephanie Tang, an organizers with the group World Can't Wait."
Today's Daily Californian (UC Berkeley) says, "Yoo, who authored memos supporting the legality of techniques such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, may be disbarred if the State Bar of California acts on the report, said Susan Gluss, spokesperson for Boalt Hall School of Law. The report, which will be published this summer, may affect his Boalt tenure."
And, from Stephanie Tang,"We think that the dean is wrong, that academic freedom does not protect the construction of the legal green light for the Bush administration to carry out torture."
Read and DIGG Jill McLaughlin: Obama Won't, But We Can Prosecute War Criminals.
Survey Results: The results of the first 600 responses to World Can't Wait's survey "What do the Torture Memos Mean?" showed that 90+% of you want prosecutions. I'll be printing some of the in-depth responses you gave to why there isn't more visible outrage against the war crimes and torture, and how to bring more it out.
Have I even mentioned torture this week? Probably not.
I was focused on the War Crimes trial of Steven D. Green. I was crying when I wrote last night's post, by the way. Which is why it was so brief. My youngest son (my middle child) walked in and asked me why I was crying and I said, "Let me post this and I'll explain."
And I did. We'd talked about the case before. Not in huge depth. We'd talked about how he did things that were wrong. But he's really too young for a discussion about rape. So I stuck with "touching her wrongly." My children know that no one touches them. That's something I drilled into them early on. No one touches you and if they do and they say they'll hurt you or me if you tell, just say "okay" and come tell me. That's what I told them when they were very little. I told them that the people would be lying to scare them and that they just needed to tell me.
So he knows what is inappropriate and he already knew Abeer was a little girl (14 years old) and had been murdered. So we talked about her for a long time last night and he just kept asking why anyone would want to hurt a little kid? I told him the fact that he asked that question went to how he knows it's wrong and that made me very proud.
Steven D. Green obviously never worried too much about whether it was right or wrong.
He gets sentenced on Monday.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, May 8, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, US troops continuing shipping out to Iraq, some cover the War Crimes conviction, some stay silent, Diane Rehm bans female callers from the second hour of her show today out of fear that one will bring up Abeer, Odierno holds a press conference, and more.
Yesterday the jury issued a verdict in the War Crimes trial of Steven D. Green. Last night on The KPFA Evening News, the events were summed up as follows:
Andea Lewis: A jury convicted a former soldier today of raping and fatally shooting a 14 year old girl after kiling her parents and younger sister while he wsa serving in Iraq. PFC Steven Dale Green faces a possible death sentence when the penalty phase of his trial begins on Monday. Green, aged 24 from Midland Texas, was being tried in civilian court because he had been discharged from the army for personaltiy disorder before he was charged with the Iraq crimes. Green stared straight ahead as the verdict was read in U S District Court in western Kentucky efense attroney Darren Wolff speaking afterward said the defense never denied Green's involvement. "Is this verdict a surprise to us? No. The goal has been to save our client's life," Wolff said Green's defense team had asked jurors the context of war saying soldiers in Green's unit of 101st lacked leadership and received little help from the army deal with the loss of friends in combat. The prosecution rested six days into the trial after presenting witnesses who said Green confessed to the crimes and others who put him at the home of the 14 year old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, heard him shoot her family and saw him rape and shoot the girl. Three other soldiers are serving time in military prison for their roles in the attack and they all testified against Green at his trial.
Alsumaria explains, "A high panel court found Steve Green guilty for 16 counts while a death sentence is still to be decided in trial which will start on Monday." Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) adds, "Prosecutors say Green was the ringleader in raping and killing fourteen-year-old Abeer Kassem Hamza al-Janabi and killing her parents and five-year-old sister." Evan Bright reports on the verdict:As the jury entered the court room, Green(red sweater vest) let out a large sigh, not of relief, but seemingly of anxiety, knowing the weight of the words to come. As Judge Thomas Russell stated "The court will now publish the verdict," Green interlaced his fingers and clasped them over his chin. Russell read the verdict flatly and absolutely. Green went from looking down at each "guilty" to eyeing the jury. His shoulders dropped as he was convicted of count #11, aggravated sexual abuse, realizing what this means. A paralegal at the defense table consoled Green by patting him on his back, even herself breaking down crying at the end of the verdicts. After Russell finished reading the verdicts, he begged questions of the respective attorneys. Wendelsdorf, intending to ensure the absolution of the verdict, requested the jury be polled. Honorable Judge Russell asked each juror if they agreed with these verdicts, receiving a simple-but-sufficient yes from all jurors. Green watched the jury flatly.
Evan Bright is the 18-year-old high school senior who has been in the court every day of the trial and reporting on it. Something most outlets pointedly avoided. The only outlet that can hold its head high is the Associated Press which reported on it and utilized Brett Barrouquere to do so. Barrouquere has been on this story for nearly three years now and has covered the other court appearances of soldiers involved in these war crimes. Barrouquere notes some reactions in Iraq to the news of Green's convictions. Mohammed Abbas Muhsin states, "If American court has convicted the American soldier I will consider the U.S. government to be just and fair. This verdict will give the rights back to the family, the relatives and the clan of the victim Abeer." Ahmed Fadhil al-Khafaji feels differently, "The American court and government are just trying to show the world that they are fair and just. If they are really serious about it, they should hand the soldier over to an Iraqi court to be kept in Abu Ghraib prison and tried by Iraqis." Sami al-Jumaili, Habib al-Zubaidy, Tim Cocks and Samia Nakhoul (Reuters) quote Abeer's uncle Karim Janabi, "By all measures, this was a very criminal act. We are just waiting for the court to sentence him so he gets justice and the court can change the image of Americans. Some people, when they die, I forget them. But we will never forget this girl [his niece Abeer] -- never." Another relative, Yusuf Mohammed Janabi, states, "So they decided this criminal was guilty, but we don't expect he'll be executed. Only if he's executed will it mean American courts are just."
Sky News reports on the case, as does the Belfast Telegraph, England's Evening Standard, Al Jazeera, the BBC, AFP, Caroline Hedley (Telegraph of London), the UK Daily Mail and Reuters. And US outlets? There's CNN and USA Today blogged on it.
Where's the New York Times? They are the news oulet, pay attention, that has refused to ever name Abeer. They began rendering her invisible in 2006. Let's fall back to the first big article the Times did on the matter by propagandists and professional liars Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall. "G.I. Crime Photos May Be Evidence" ran August 5, 2006 and the fifth paragraph -- apparently in an attempt at parody, referred to the crimes as "first widely reported in June". Widely reported by whom? Not the Times. Ellen Knickmeyer's strong "Details Emerge in Alleged Army Rape, Killings" ran, not in the Times, but in the Washington Post. And even now, if you read it, you'll see Abeer named. But Worth and Marshall scribbled a 1464 word article but somehow couldn't squeeze in Abeer's name. The entire article is an attempt to soften up sentiment for the criminals. Worth and Marshall got in bed with the defense and present the arguments that will later be made in the Article 32 hearing. Combat stress, you understand, and Marshall and Worth got there first -- even before the defense could make the case. Andy Mosher (The Washington Post) explained after the Article 32 hearing started, "Eugene Fidell, a Washington military law expert, said Tuesday that the defense attorneys were most likely emphasizing combat stress to argue that their clients not face a possible death penalty in the event of a court-martial. 'This is not a defense known to the law,' Fidell said. 'But this kind of evidence could come in during the court-martial, and it might be pertinent to the sentence. They could be setting the stage to avoid a death penalty'." This is not a defense known to law. But it was known to readers of the New York Times.
Worth and Marshall could present -- could argue for over 1400 -- for the defense, in logic, not "known to the law" but they couldn't mention Abeer's name. The paper always made it very clear where their loyalties were. It wasn't with Abeer. What did Aged Go-Go Boy in the Green Zone John F. Burns so famously say? Oh, yes, the paper tailors its Iraq coverage to US tax payers.
Worth and Marshall went to a lot of trouble hunting down sources who could give them the mind frame (or alleged mind frame) of the ones involved and their company. When do we get the serious story about Abeer Qasim Hamza and her family? When is that story going to be told? It's nearly three years since that propaganda ran in the New York Times and the paper has never run Abeer's story. The War Criminals Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall were carrying water for have all been sentenced. Surprisingly, the propagandists skipped reporting on that. And no one at the paper has ever told Abeer's story. Her name has never appeared in the paper.
Yesterday a US federal court found one of the War Criminals guilty on every count and yet you will find nothing about that in today's New York Times. You won't find an AP article they slapped on a page or even a paragraph in "Nation Briefs." You won't find anything. This is the alleged paper of record.
A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered by US soldiers who only knew of her because they were supposed to be protecting the neighborhood she lived in. These were War Crimes. This was an international incident. But readers of the New York Times have never heard that. They've never even been informed of Abeer's name. Today they don't even know that the ringleader was found guilty.
The paper has consistently rendered Iraqis invisible, over and over. In what is the worst known War Crime of the illegal war, the paper has avoided telling the story and it has done so repeatedly. Over and over.
When 'defense attorneys' Worth and Marshall thought they could sway public opinion on behalf of the War Criminals, the New York Times put the story on the front page.
The front page.
'Poor Little Boys in Iraq' was a front page story. Minimizing the crimes and excusing them was front page news for the New York Times. Telling the damn truth about what was done to Abeer? Telling the world that the ringleader was convicted? Not even worth a paragraph.
The paper should be ashamed of itself. It's far from alone in needing to feel shame. Diane Rehm thinks rape is icky. Here's a transcript of my call today with a friend on the show.
Friend: She thinks rape is a bad subject.
Me: She said that?
Friend: When the story was suggested, she wrinkled her nose.
Me: She wrinkled her nose?
Me: You're saying she wrinkled her nose? Excuse me, but considering the condition of her skin, how ever could you tell?
Diane didn't just nix it as a topic to put on the agenda for the second hour, she nixed the e-mails that came in before and during the show. A huge number of e-mails that came in. We'll include some of those at Third this weekend (passed on via my friend). Not only did she exclude the e-mails but she insisted, as the e-mails poured in on this topic, that no female callers be put through on air because she "just knew" that someone would try to sneak on to bring up Abeer. Which is why you had Diane speaking to several callers in the second hour but none were women. It's also why Diane didn't do one of her "___ in ___ e-mails . . ." Diane censored Abeer from the program. She went so far as to ban female callers from the second hour because she just knew a mole would get through, a woman who would trick the screener, get on the air, and say, "Diane, you ignorant hypocrite, how the hell dare you refuse to cover the federal conviction yesterday."
Well now we know how far someone will go to avoid covering the news. So the only real question is why Diane doesn't go ahead and retire if she's not interested in discussing -- during the international hour of her program -- an international incident. I didn't listen. I'm told, however, she did make time for swine flu. How very. What a proud way for a woman with one foot and four toes in the grave to prepare to go out.
Golly Diane, do you feel everyone should be like you? If raped or molested, they should never name their attacker? Is that what's going on? If so, it's pretty damn pathetic because you're seventy-three in September and you should have come to terms with being molested as a child long, long ago. If you can't, you don't need to be doing a public affairs show because while you grew up in the Dark Ages when sexual asaults weren't spoken of, today we name names, today we talk about the crimes. If it's too much for you, you really need to retire.
And this is why feminists should have been all over this story. Credit to Jill at Feministe and to Heart at Women's Space who drew attention to Abeer this week. But women needed to be on this story because we saw it during the Article 32. Abeer was ignored throughout the US coverage. International coverage would mention her. US coverage of the Article 32 hearing? No. Only by getting out in front of this, only by demanding that the press cover this, was it going to happen.
They have made it very clear that 14-year-old girl doesn't matter. Maybe it's because she was Iraqi? Maybe it was because she was Muslim? Maybe those two things added into it but what's really going on is what always happens which is stories that have to do with women's lives get ignored. Hillary Clinton, during her run for the Democratic presidential nomination, proposes a major move on combatting breast cancer and it's either ignored or reduced to one sentence in a 'report' about how she bowled with Ellen on Ellen's show. That's ridiculous. We see it over and over and we see how these sexual assualts are buried time and again. We knew the record on this or we should have known. And feminist should have been out in front demanding coverage of this.
Mother's Day is Sunday. No feminist who was silent has anything to celebrate. She should hang her head in shame. And that includes the women at Feminist Majority Foundation who are responsible for Feminsit Wire Daily and do not find time to mention it in their 'news briefs' today. At least Rebeckah (Women's Media Center blog) included it as an item on her news roundup. 35 years after Susan Brownmiller's classic Against Our Will is published and we're still surprised we have to fight to get sexual assault covered in the media? All of those Take Back The Night rallies of the last two decades and we're unprepared to fight to get sexual assualt covered? What a truly sad commentary on the state of feminism today -- or at least the state of feminism at the top. Among the grassroots? There's a lively discussion taking place at Feministe and we'll note this comment by Gillian:
I'm going to look to see if there's a new thread on this but I want to just ask: Am I the only one who thinks if rape weren't among the crimes, the press would have covered this story 24/7? Look at what Valerie has to explain and the dismissal of rape period. I really think if this had been four murders we would have had CBS Evening News and everyone else parked outside the court house. Instead, they pretty much all stuck their heads in the sand.I think when the issue is rape, a lot of our media would rather play dumb.
Actually, Feministe has two lively threads on the topic, click here for the other one. Let's be clear that the males and 'mixed' gender sites need to be calling out the silence as well but it's especially disappointing to see all the women online who are silent. New Agenda? Just pack it in, you're a disgrace. Today they serve up Nicky Kirstoff as a savior of women. Nicky who bought a sex worker. Do we forget that? Apparently New Agenda is Limited and Remidial Classes on Women's Rights.
Today at the Pentagon, US Gen Ray Odierno, top US commander in Iraq, gave a briefing to the press. At the start, he insisted that this was "not 2006 or 2007." True, in 2006 and 2007, peace activists actually thought US troops would be out of Iraq before the end of the decade. Odierno then insisted, "The government of Iraq has assumed complete responsibility for paying the Sons of Iraq, a clear sign of its resolve to continue the important program. The government has budgeted over $300 million to ensure full payments in -- in calendar year '09." And when will these payments be made because, as multiple news outlets noted earlier this week, they're still not paying all members of Sahwa. Odierno stated of US forces training Iraqi security forces:
I've been very proud of the U.S. units and the fact that they have continued to work with their Iraqi security force partners; that they have not even thought about their concern about continuing to work with their partners; that they understand that these are individuals who make these decisions and that we have to be vigilant about every individual because there are individuals that have still infiltrated some of the Iraqi security forces.
Yesterday Campbell Robertson and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) explored Iraqi security forces turning on the Americans who are allegedly training them. The reporters do note Saturday's events but fail to identify Hassan Al Dulaimi as the man who shot dead Jake R. Velloza and Jeremiah P. McCleery. The report mainly focuses (in terms of specifics) on the November 25, 2008 shooting deaths of Anthony Davis and Warren A. Frank by Iraqi soldier Mohammed Saleh Hamadi. From the article:For months, Mr. Hamadi's case has been winding its way through the Iraqi justice system at a pace that frustrates members of the team. Two other soldiers from the battalion have been convicted for their roles in his escape."I guarantee you there's a handful of these in every battalion," Captain Keneally said, adding that if justice was not swift for Mr. Hamadi, others might get ideas.
Today Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reported, "Iraq's security forces, despite significant improvements, remain hobbled by shortages of men and equipment, by bureaucracy, corruption, political interference and security breaches" and built on interviews and government reports (Iraqi and US) to come to those conclusions.
At the press conference, Odierno insisted that the US was out of Iraqi "cities except for two, Baghdad and Mosul. We are on our way out of Baghdad." Really? From the April 27th snapshot: "Rod Nordland (New York Times) broke that story in today's paper and noted that Iraq and the US are going to focus on Mosul in talks about US troops remaining in some Iraqi cities. Nordland reveals they will remain in Baghdad (he says 'parts of Baghdad' -- that means they will be in Baghdad and Baghdad is a city) and that Camp Victory ['Camps Victory, Liberty, Striker and Slayer, plus the prison known as Camp Cropper'] and 'Camp Prosperity' will not be closed or turned over to Iraq according to Iraqi Maj Gen Muhammad al-Askari. The SOFA 'requires' that they be closed or turned over but al-Askari says they're making exceptions even though the SOFA 'requires' otherwise. For the mammoth Camp Victory, it is in Baghdad and out of Baghdad, for example, so al-Askari says they consider it out of Baghdad." They're not leaving Baghdad, they've got a waiver. There's a difference. The Bush administration pushed through a treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement. Barack, being Bush III, has gone along with it (after grand standing before the general election that he would oppose it and demand Congressional oversight of any agreement between Iraq and the US). Odierno was asked about it and where it might be "renegotiated to permit some elements of the US military to reamin -- air support, for example, and protective services?"
Ray Odierno: Yeah, I would just say I think it's too early for that, I mean, I think that's something that's down the road, that will have to be decided jointly between the United States and the government of Iraq. But I don't think now is the time to assess that.
Iraq's air force will not be prepared (not even in training) at the end of 2011. That was always known. Known when the agreement was forced through. But keep kidding yourself that the SOFA means something. Odierno noted it was "down the road" which is different from "no." He was asked about Facebook and we'll note his most recent post there. From May 4th:
This week, Iraqi Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 39th Iraqi Army Brigade, completed the first half of an eight-week commando training course run by Romanian Special Forces Soldiers near Basrah, Iraq. Romanian Soldiers guided their Iraqi students through the same course of instruction that Romanian special forces receive, consisting of tactical, physical, and weapons training. After completing the second half of the training, which will consist of complex exercises such as scouting, reconnaissance, check point procedures and patrolling, the Iraqi troops will join their units in patrolling the tri-province region of Dhi Qar, Maysan and Muthanna in southern Iraq. Meanwhile, at Al Asad in western Iraq, American special forces continue to develop Iraqi special operations capabilities, and this past week conducted fast rope insertion training with their Iraqi counterparts.
The DoD has a budget request. Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) explains that Afghanistan war funding request is $4 billion more than Iraq ($65 billion to $61 billion). This as another battalion of Marines ship off for six-months of training before being deployed to Iraq. Howard Greninger (Terre Haute Tribune-Star) reports, "About 30 motorcycles, many driven by military veterans, escorted four buses Thursday containing more than 150 members of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines to Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field." Terre Haute's WTHITV has the story here with text and video. In addition to those marines, Fort Dix is sending 170 US soldiers to Iraq. The Reading Eagle reports, "Members plan a yellow-ribbon ceremony for families at Fort Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, on May 16. Another ceremony is planned at Fort Dix in July, Gilmer said." Meanwhile Colorado just sent troops to Iraq. The Denver Post notes, "More than 100 Colorado Air National Guard support troops bound for Iraq, many of them for at least their fourth tour in six years, flew out of Buckley Air Force Base on Wednesday." And Ashley Bergen (Mountain View Telegraph) reports that the "Headquarters and Headquarters Company, a unit subordinate to the 1st Battalion of the New Mexico National Guard's 200th Infantry, will soon deploy for more than a year to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." We're not done. Matthew Hansen (Omaha World-Herald) reported yesterday that the 313th Medical Company of Nebraska's National Guard is re-deploying to Iraq and notes that on the earlier deployment, "Sgt Tricia Jameson of Omaha, died July 14, 2005, when a roadside bomb struck her Humvee as it raced to another roadside attack. Jaemson was the second female soldier from Nebraska to die in Iraq. She was the only member of the 313th Medical Company killed durign the company's first deployment." Still not done. Frenchi Jones (Coastal Courier) reports Charlie Troop, 1st Battalion, 82nd Cavalry, 41st Infantry Brigade deploys to Iraq in July. Done? No. Didi Tang (Springfield News-Leader) reports 150 "Marines from the Weapons Company, 3rd Battallion, 24th Marines" will deploy to Iraq after training in California:On Wednesday morning, loved ones bid farewell to the soldiers, sharing tears, at the U.S. Military Reserve Center at 1110 N. Fremont Ave."The last five minutes were tough," [Maj Shannon] Johnson said.Missouri Highway Patrol troopers then escorted the military buses down Chestnut Expressway, up Kansas Expressway and west on Kearney Street toward the Springfield Branson National Airport.Many family members followed the caravan, hoping to catch one more glimpse of their child or spouse.The traffic was slow, but most motorists were patient.When the buses passed Williams Elementary on West Kearney Street, schoolchildren were out, waving red and blue behind a school fence.For a war Barack's allegedly ended/ending (depending on whom you speak to), a lot of troops are still going to Iraq. Today Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul car bombing which wounded four people (three were police officers).
Ehren Watada was the first officer to publicly resist the Iraq War. Yesterday's Free Speech Radio News noted the latest on Ehren:
Mark Taylor-Canfield: The Department of Justice has asked the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss their appeal of a lower court ruling which blocked a second court martial trial for 1st Lt Ehren Watada. In June 2006, Lt Watada refused to serve in Iraq on the grounds that the US invasion was both illegal and immoral. His court-martial was declared a mistrial in February 2007. A civilian US federal judge blocked the Army's attempt to hold a second court-martial in October of 2007, ruling that a second trial would qualify as double jeopardy. According to the US Constitution, a person cannot be tried twice on the same charges. Although Lt Watada's period of enlistment was up two years ago, he is still virtually confined to the US army has barred him from communicating with anti-war groups. Despite the Dept of Justice's decision not to appeal the earlier civilian court ruling, the US army is still considering prosecution of Lt Watada on two charges of "behaviour unbecoming an officer" because of an anti-war speech he gave to the Veterans For Peace national conference in Seattle in 2006.
Ami Radil (KUOW -- link has text and audio) adds, "Fort Lewis commanders must now decide how best to resolve them [the two charges]. Fort Lewis spokesman Joe Piek says Watada's old unit is now training for its third deployment to Iraq. Both sides say the mistrial was unfortunate because it prevented a fuller airing of important issues like the grounds for Watada's refusal, and whether service members are entitled to First Amendment protections. When he's released from the Army, Watada hopes to attend law school."
TV notes. NOW on PBS begins airing tonight on most PBS stations:This week, NOW's David Brancaccio sits down with one of the most prominent figures in world health to discuss the future of the swine flu pandemic. Dr. Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist, former chief philanthropist at Google.org, and was a central figure in the World Health Organization's successful small pox eradication program.Brilliant sheds light on high-tech tools that are making it easier for scientists to detect global outbreaks, the critical importance of early detection and early response, and how the current pandemic has yet to show its real hand."Anyone who tells you that they know that this is a mild pandemic, and the WHO has overreacted, they don't know. Anyone who tells you that the WHO and CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] have underestimated it, they don't know," Brilliant tells NOW. "We're all going to find out at the same time...we're all in it together."The show also features vital insight from Dr. Nathan Wolfe, a Stanford University epidemiologist who specializes in hunting viruses to their source.Lethal and deadly to female reporters, Washington Week and Gwen line up three suiters this week and toss in a woman for 'contrast.' Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times), Charles Babington (AP) and online gossip Eamon Javers (Hedda Hopper Lives!) are joined by token 'chic' Joan Biskupic (USA Today) in PBS continued war on women and Gwen's determination to be "the prettiest girl at the table! I am! I am! Miss Beasley hair and all, I am!" The vanity and sexism begins airing tonight on most PBS stations. Also on PBS (and starts airing tonight on many PBS stations, check local listings), Bonnie Erbe sits down with Ann Lewis, Linda Chavez, Patricia Sosa and Karen Czarnecki to discuss this week's news on To The Contrary. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:America's New Air ForceIncreasingly, the U.S. military is relying on un-manned, often armed aircraft to track and destroy the enemy – sometimes controlled from bases thousands of miles away from the battlefront. Lara Logan reports. Watch Video
The Perfect SpySteve Kroft examines one of the most mysterious cases in the annals of modern espionage: the curious life and death of Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian billionaire claimed by both Israelis and Egyptians to be their greatest spy. Watch Video
All In The FamilyBill James doesn't run, hit or catch a baseball but his intense statistical analysis of the game and its players have made him an essential ingredient in a formula that brought two world championships to the Boston Red Sox. Morley Safer reports. Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, May 10, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
On Monday, Discovery Channel airs it's new three-part series Weaponizers. I thought this might be something your readers would love. The series pits two teams of master builders against each other, as they turn ordinary vehicles into remote-controlled machines of destruction. With the pace and intensity of a video game, vehicles are completed with live-ammunition machine guns and other seemingly ordinary objects that are transformed into powerful weapons. DOWNLOADS AVAILABLE: --> PHOTOS of the cast and of the (cars? weapons? both!) available for download: https://www.box.net/shared/zeikcbc2tq --> EMBEDDABLE VIDEO AVAILABLE VIA YOU TUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRMHPJTjaxg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgBNkKGcfYo --> VIDEO AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD: https://www.box.net/shared/m281linumt
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Thursday, May 07, 2009
Steven D. Green was found guilty by the jury today. I really was afraid they were going to let him walk. Some sort of 'poor little White boy' combined with 'he had a hard life!' and 'he was in a war zone!'
I'm so glad that justice was carried out.
Abeer, I am sorry you were gang-raped and killed. I am sorry that you did not live to see 17. I am sorry you were gang-raped and sorry that it happened while you screamed as you heard your sister and parents murdered in the next room.
I am sorry that you, an innocent civilian, saw your life destroyed as a result of this illegal war.
I am sorry that you will never get to pursue your dreams.
I did not forget you over the last couple of years and I will not forget you now. You are my sister always and I do not forget what my country did to you.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Thursday, May 7, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, justice for Abeer at last, the US Congress hears testimony today that the country's biggest problem is not enough lying, a DLC Democrat refers to Americans as paranoid, Amnesty asks for an end to the death penalty in Iraq, and more.
A federal court in Kentucky has reached a verdict today. March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi's parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in their Iraqi home while Abeer was gang-raped in another room. Following the gang-rape, Abeer was murdered. Steven D. Green is said to be the murderer of all four, a gang-rapist and the ring leader who planned the entire thing. The jury went into deliberation yesterday. Evan Bright reports, "Steven Dale Green found guilty of and convcited on -- ALL -- sixteen (16) counts; including eight (8) which could bring a death sentence." Evan Bright is the 18-year-old high school senior who has attended and reported one every day of the trial. This is Bright reporting on Marisa Ford, of the US Attorney General's office, making her closing remarks yesterday:She reminded the jury of Barker and Cortez raping Abeer while "Green, behind closed doors, blew Qassim Hamza's brains out with his Army supplied shotgun." According to Ford, he then took the AK47, "which was provided to the family for protection against insurgents," and used it on the mother, Fahkriyah, and their six year old daughter, Hadeel." She went on to describe Green's sexual assault and execution style murder of Abeer, before he "burned her, beyond all recognition." At this, Green(in a blue Polo) looked down but was still listening intently. She talked about Green having had the AK47 disposed of, and his not-so-impaired judgement. "This was a crime…not committed in the chaos of battle, not committed while on an Army assigned mission, but a crime planned, and acted out in cold blood." Marisa cattle prodded the Defense team, referring to Pat Bouldin's "dumbing things down" for the jury in his opening statement. "To 'dumb things down' for you is an insult to your intelligence," Ford told the jury, "you don't need things dumbed down to know that what Stephen Green did was wrong." Mr. Bouldin frowned as he listened. She talked about the non existent evidence that would dispute the planning of this crime(regarding the conspiracy counts). The killings were "a result of planning and deliberation," Ford intoned(referring to the four counts of pre-meditated murder). "Everything you have seen before, during, and after the crimes, all the evidence, shows pre-meditation."
The Courier-Journal's Andrew Wolfson also notes that Green was convicted on all counts as does AFP. Brett Barrouquer (AP) notes that jury delibrated for a little over ten hours.
While lies were exposed in court, something different happened today in front of the legislative branch. While lying during Congressional testimony is neither new nor novel, it's rare that Congress is informed that the US needs more lying and that, in fact, laws should be changed to allow it. But that's what tubby David Kilcullen insisted. Meanwhile Lisa Schirch fluttered her War Hawk feathers in public.
Not everyone is a person of peace. That should be obvious. And just because someone claims they are doesn't mean they are. Again, it should be obvious. But the laughable War Hawk Lisa Schirch has been allowed to repeatedly and falsely pimp herself as a person of peace. Schirch is the director of 3D Security Initiative. Somehow being the director of 3D did not prevent her from writing on it for Foreign Policy In Focus -- nor was it noted anywhere in "Leveraging '3D' Security: From Rhetoric to Reality" (November 15, 2006) that she was the director of 3D Security Initiative, not even in her credit line. When the usual crowd of useless ran her soggy 'reasoning' entitled "I Want a Woman President But Am Voting for Obama," it wasn't thought necessary to present her as anything but a college professor.
War Hawk Lisa Schirch has been given a pass by our 'allies' in the peace movement and it's past time that her pass was revoked and people quit pimping her as a peace queen. Certain elements of the US 'intelligence' community (those who worked in Jakarta subverting freedom and human rights) have been happy to promote Lisa as a 'hero' and that should have only alarmed the left further. But they ignored it. At their own peril. This morning Lisa appeared before the House Armed Services Committee's Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.
Lisa Schirch: The-the- field that we're talking about is conflict prevention and this conference that the JFCOM Joint Forces Command and the Marine Corps put on together was called "Whole of Government: Conflict Prevention." And many of us in the NGO community are working actively now to try to figure out how to build a more comprehensive approach to the issues of terrorism? And for the NGOs, we have been working actively on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, and we have many partner networks who are indeginious Iraqi NGOs and Afghan NGOs who have been sharing their perspective on counter-terrorism and how best to prevent the kind of spread of the insurgencies we see in these regions. And they very much want to be able to feed into the process and partly -- part of the challenge here is that interagency coordination is so new here in Washington that there's really no points of contact for NGOs that are on the ground who have cultural intelligence information to share that would inform US strategy. Uh over the weekend, Dr. Kilcullen made some statements that were in the media about the drones flying over Pakistan bombing villages is actually having a counter-effect to our national interests in the US -- that the drones end up creating more fuel on the ground for recruitment into Taliban-al Qaeda insurgencies. We've been hearing that in civil society NGOs for several years -- that this kind of drone activity is counter to US interests. So that's the kind of information civil societies want to give over and have conversations with the [US] government. So it's actually very much in our interest as uh civil society to help to help to foster and think about what is the best way for the defense, development, diplomacy, tools of American power, how they are coordinated because this impacts then how civil society can feed into the process. Again, we don't take particular stands on whether it's the State Dept's Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization -- although we very much support that -- or the National Security Council. There are a variety of models that I think we need to have more hearings on how is this best going to be done in this country because it's very urgent. The-the ratio of cost prevention versus -- uh prevention versus cost of terrorism is -- is not met in terms of our US budget, in terms of national security. So several of us have argued for a unified security budget that would try to balance out more these preventative responses uh because right now if you look at one tax dollars less than half-of-a-percent is going to all of our development activities abroad. Whereas almost 60 percent of that dollar goes to defense approaches. So this balance is off. It makes coordination between -- in this interagency process -- very difficult for USAID at the Simulation For Conflict Prevention, they couldn't really risk a lot of the staff time because they have so few staff to even give over to this conversation.
Smith: It also pushes DoD into doing a lot more development work than they are actually qualified to do because they have the money.
Lisa Schirch: Right. And and they were comments at this conference that DoD is being forced to create its own internal USAID, its own civilian response corp which is mirroring structures that also exist in the State Dept and USAID which is a waste of tax payer dollar.
There is so much be appalled by in Little Lisa's statements. Let's start with NGO. It stands for, pay attention, Lisa, Non Governmental Organization. Non Governmental. That's hard for Little Lisa to grasp because she believes NGOs WHORE themselves out to a government. So getting into bed with the US government is, for her, perfectly natural. Her testimony, public testimony, just made life a whole lot harder for real NGOs in Iraq who will now be suspected of existing to spy.
That is what Little Lisa's floating. NGOs have information on combatting terrorism! They have knowledge on how to work a better counter-insurgency! The US government must listen to Little Lisa. That is a betrayal of what NGOs are supposed to do. (It's a betrayal of "civil society" as well -- whether one uses the definitions established by Hobbes or Locke or the definitions of Marx and Alexis de Tocqueville.)
What concern is it of an NGO director what the US spends money on? If they want to give money to DoD, what business is it of an NGO? It's not. It's none of her damn business as director of an NGO. It's about as relevant as her ridiculous story where she attended a USAID conference and, you know what, people there were saying DoD was getting more money and they were saying DoD duplicates efforts and, oh did you hear about Tad and Brenda, I so cannot believe that and let me tell you one damn thing, Tad's in a lot of trouble, he is in hot water, that little mister better watch his --
Little Lisa, in testimony before the Congress gave gossip. Little Lisa talked about what DoD was doing (according to gossip) based on a conference that DoD wasn't present at. She gave unsourced comments that had no grounding in reality and were most likely made up by her on the spot. (If you'd seen her body language and the way she threw herself forward during this part of the production, you'd be very sure that she made it up on the spot.)
The United States is not an NGO. Little Lisa is the Director of 3D. She needs to learn to speak properly (that would require her to lose the Valley Girl inflections, eliminate the hair toss and attempting to flirt with members of Congress while testifying and a great deal more). And she needs to be called out.
A 'peace' person does not speak about how drones attacking civilians is 'bad' because it breeds anger. A peace person states: "You don't kill innocent civilians." That's not complicated. It's not even controversial. It is a peace position and has been for many centuries now. The hearing was entitled "Counterinsurgency and Irregular Warfare: Issues and Lessons Learned." Yes, it was a huge blurring of lines. Consider it the let's-drop-acid hearing of the Congress. And grasp that the counter-insurgency movement in the US supported Barack. They were not the peace movement and the refusal of the No Stars of Beggar Media (print and Pacifica) to explore that aspect goes a long ways towards explaining how a counter-insurgency czar like Barack could ever be mistaken for a peace candidate. Counter-insurgency is war on the native people. It is colonialism and it, rightly, had a horrible reputation after Vietnam. Lisa Schirch, Montgomery McFate, Sarah Sewall, Samantha Power and many more worked overtime to give it some gloss and buff it up. But it is war on a native population.
The Network of Concerned Anthropologists' David Price has been one of the few voices to strongly and consistently call out counter-insurgency. Last month, at CounterPunch, he noted that counter-insurgency exists to:
provide military personnel with cultural information that will help inform troop activities in areas of occupation. Since the first public acknowledgement of HTS [Human Terrain Teams] two and a half years ago, it has been criticized by anthropologists for betraying fundamental principles of anthropological ethics, as being politically aligned with neo-colonialism, and as being ineffective in meeting its claimed outcomes. For the most part, the mainstream media has acted as cheerleaders for the program by producing a seemingly endless series of uncritical features highlighting what they frame as kind hearted individuals trying to use their knowledge of culture to save lives; while misrepresenting the reasons and extent of criticism of the Human Terrain program. A few early boosters of Human Terrain Systems (HTS) have now called for its closure (most notable, the British journal Nature), and some journalistic coverage has shifted from uncritical fawning to more reserved critical writing (e.g. Noah Schachtman's writings on Wired's military Danger Room blog). But most media coverage remains uncritical in its thinly veiled support for a program that has never had to answer to the fundamental critiques of its critics, and Human terrain continues on its trajectory of counterinsurgency domination.
While David Price deserves applause, it's past time to ask Foreign Policy in Focus, David Swanson, Foreign Affairs (Marxist Thought Online) and so many others why they pimped counter-insurgency cheerleader Lisa? She is not about peace. Not only did she participate in today's hearing, she advocated NGOs -- non governmental by definition -- turning over 'intel' to the US government. Information that will be used against a people. Counter-insurgency does include (and has included in Iraq, as Bob Woodward has detailed) 'targeted killings' (assassinations) of local figures. That's not peace and someone on the ground in Iraq, the NGOs Lisa's talking about, would be just the ones to provide that 'intel.' It's shocking, it's appalling and the peace movement needs to pull a Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather and close the door in her face.
Was counter-insurgency guru David Kilcullen forced out of Australia due to the government's fear that there wasn't enough food to feed him? It certainly appears that way and it's hard to think of a hearing where a chair's appeared under more assault than the one he plopped his huge girth in. David Kilcullen wanted the subcommittee to know a few things, "One is that we place a different priority within the military on information operations to the priority that our enemy places." "We"? Kilcullen is not a member of the US military nor does he work for the Defense Dept. He most recently worked under Condi Rice at the State Dept. The State Dept is not "within the military." That might be confusing for Kilcullen since he is not a US citizen and only left Australia in 2005. If we're really worried about immigration, how about worrying about the truly dangerous who come to these shores to do harm to the rest of the world and not those who just try to make a living for themselves and their families?
Kilcullen continued that the Taliban "put information or propaganda first so the first thing they decide is what is the propaganda mission that we're trying to send?' Then they figure out what operations to design and carry out to meet that propaganda objective. We do it the other way around. We design how we're going to operate and then at the last minute we throw it to the information office folks and we say, 'Hey, can you just explain this to the public?'" So Kilcullen thinks that's the more effective propaganda model. As you listen to the John Candy wanna be you wonder how the hell the United States decided to bring in this reject into our government? Even more you wonder if, decades from now as this stain on the US grows ever greater, will it be remembered that the nation let a foreigner dictate this? One who knows little about the history of the United States and shows no respect for the bits he managed to register? If you doubt that or how much this human filth loves his propaganda, let's note this from section of his testimony today:
And one final legislative issue. We had a lot of trouble uh in Iraq uh trying to counter al Qaeda in Iraq propaganda because of the Smith-Mundt act which meant that we couldn't do a lot of things online uh because if you put something on YouTube uh and it's deemed to the information operations and there's a possibility that an American might log on to that page and read that and be influenced by that's technically illegal under the Smith-Mundt Act and we had to get a uh uh a waiver as you may recall to be able to do that. I think for Congress it might be worth looking at uh how that legislation may need to be relooked at or re-examined in the light of a new media environment so that it still has the same intent but doesn't necessarily restrict us from legitimate things that we might need to do in the field.
Background, Smith-Mundt Act is the popular name for 1948's US Information and Educational Exchange Act. Marc Lynch has observed:
The temptation to manipulate American public opinion has always been there, and has only grown more potent in an age where counter-insurgency practitioners and "Long War" planners openly view the American domestic arena as a vital strategic arena. I'd go so far as to suggest that a non-insignificant portion of General Petraeus's information operations efforts have been directed towards shaping American public discourse. It isn't an accident that he has been so available to so many journalists, or that the flow of "good news" about the Anbar Awakening and the surge into the American media has expanded so dramatically. And why wouldn't he, when at the heart of the new counter-insurgency doctrine lies the recognition that maintaining domestic public support for a long, drawn-out military presence is one of the most important single factors?
Subcommittee chair Adam Smith shamed his party by insisting that "it absolutely needs to be fixed" -- Smith-Mundt, the legislation Harry Truman signed into law. He is a blight on the Democratic Party. A long term War Hawk, Smith can no longer embarrass himself but the DLC "New Deomcrat" War Hawk can and does embarrass the party.
He embarrasses the party with statements like this one today, "The problem we're going to have is the paranoia of the American public right now that the government's trying to manipulate them." Oh, those paranoid Americans! Justice would be a Green, Republican, Libertarian or whatever running against him in 2010 and using that little soundbyte for the commercials. Just zooming in on "the paranoia of the American public" and asking if Washington is really sending Adam Smith to DC to talk about American citizens like that?
Turning to some of today's reported violence in Iraq . . .
Reuters notes a Mussayab roadside bombing which wounded three people. Sahar Issa and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) report two Salahuddin Province sticky bombings on tankers which left three drivers injured yesterday, today a Falluja suicide car bombing no known injuries or deaths other than the bomber ("The U.S. military cordoned off the area so that not even Iraqi police were allowed near the site. No comment from the U.S. military was available at time of publication."), a Mosul roadside bombing which wounded two people, a Mosul grenade attack . . .
Sahar Issa and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) report the Mosul grenade attack was followed by US soldiers shooting and a 12-year-old boy was shot dead and, yesterday, 2 fisherman were shot dead by "Iranian snipers."
Today Amnesty International issued the following:
The Iraqi authorities executed 12 people on Sunday, according to information received by Amnesty International. The 12 are believed to be among the 128 people who were on death row. There are growing fears that more executions will follow in the coming days or weeks. The Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council confirmed to Amnesty International on 9 March 2009 that Iraq's Presidential Council had ratified the death sentences of 128 people who had been facing imminent execution. The death sentences were originally passed by criminal courts in Baghdad, Basra and other cities and provinces on charges under Iraq's Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism law that include murder and kidnapping, and were upheld by the Cassation Court. A spokesperson for Amnesty International expressed dismay at the executions and called for their full names to be disclosed. "Amnesty International is urging the authorities to commute all death sentences and to establish an immediate moratorium on executions," said Malcolm Smart, the Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme. "Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases."
Yesterday's snapshot noted the news in Lt Ehren Watada's case. Watada was the first officer to resist the Iraq War publicly. Quickly, US District Judge Benjamin Settle barred a second court-martial on three charges. This was when the military should have appealed. In October 2008, Desert Peace explained then, "However, this time around the military added back in the two counts of conduct unbecoming . . . and did not offer the same deal to stipulate. So now Judge Settle has left it up to the military to appeal his ruling as well as continue on concerning those two counts." What happened yesterday? The same thing. The three charges Settle found (Nov 2007) to be double-jeopardy risks are not allowed. The other two charges the military could file on. William Cole (Honolulu Advertiser) explains: "More than a year and a half after he would have left the Army -- had he deployed as ordered -- the 1996 Kalani High School graduate still reports to a desk job at Fort Lewis in Washington state. Watada is likely to continue to have to do so as the Army weighs its next move." Courage to Resist highlights an action for another war resister:
Action alert: Ask that Cliff Cornell's sentence be reduced
Your letter to the Commander of Fort Stewart, Georgia requesting that Iraq War resister Cliff Cornell's 12-months prison sentence be reduced is urgently requested. Cliff was convicted of desertion on April 28, 2009 after being denied sanctuary in Canada. These letters of support will be collected by Cliff's civilian lawyer James Branum and submitted to the military through the official appeals process.
Address letters to: COMMANDER, Fort Stewart and fax to 866-757-8785. Please do not send letters directly to the CG but through Cliff's lawyer at the fax number provided.
Basic guidelines for letters:
Good points to raise:
Cliff's good character
The importance of acting upon conscience
The severity of the sentence, especially since a 12 month sentence is a felony in the US.
Things to avoid:
Any attacks on the Army itself. For example, you can say the war is bad; however, but don't say the Army is an evil institution.
Letters should include the full name and contact information of the author, including e-mail. This is requested so that Cliff's lawyer can contact you if needed.
Letters need to be received by May 31, 2009 so that they can be submitted as part of the formal appeals process.
Yesterday's snapshot noted J-Som (Liberal Rapture) who, to his credit, added an update: ""Below I take what any logical person would read as a dig at Chris Hedges. I was not clear. I have read Hedges here and there and he spoke at my church once and I attended. What I have read and heard from him I found edifying and thought provoking. Hedges is morally consistent, unlike so many others on the Left. My interjection of 'gee. ya think?' was in response to my annoyance with the entire Lefty chattering class using a cut and paste from Hedges as back up. It reads as a direct dig at Hedges which is unfair. And it was sloppy of me and I apologize for it." Applause for J-Som. (That's not sarcasm but we'll leave it at that because we're moving quickly.)
Non-Iraq, independent journalist David Bacon latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press). In the latest issue of Monthly Review, Michael D. Yates' "Don't Pity the Poor Immigrants, Fight Alongside Them" addresses Bacon's book and notes:A third conclusion that flows from Bacon's book is that anti-immigration politics have little basis in fact. If we look just at undocumented immigrants, we find that they pay their own way. They add more to the national income than they take from it. They pay taxes, all sorts of taxes, including sales and excise taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, and yes, income taxes. They get little in return for these taxes; they are much less likely than similarly-situated natives to receive health care, education, public assistance, police protection, and all other publically provided services. As noted above, they do not often compete directly with native workers for jobs. By any reasonable standard, they face harsher work regimens and enjoy fewer protections on the job than do native laborers. They commit fewer crimes than natives. What all of this means is that the crusades being waged against "illegal aliens" have ulterior motives. Lou Dobbs and Tom Tancredo know that employers will never be harshly prosecuted for hiring undocumented workers, and they do not want them to be. Rhetorical attacks on employers play well with the masses, and this is why they do it. What the hysteria they foster does accomplish is to divide working people by making part of the working class the "other," a quasi-criminal element that can be used to hide the true horrors of this economic system, one that the immigrant bashers love and profit from. Whatever divides workers makes it hard for them to form the one thing that employers and their xenophobic allies really hate-unions.David L. Wilson also reviews it in "The Immigration System: Maybe Not So Broken" (only Wilson is available online):Much of Bacon's answer is right there in his title: Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants. He argues that undocumented workers come here largely because of the neoliberal economic policies that the U.S. elite has vigorously pushed on our southern neighbors over the past 30 years, disrupting local economies and forcing millions to seek employment outside their countries. At the same time, he says, U.S. legislators were passing laws that tightened restrictions on immigrants from these countries. These restrictions haven't stopped immigration; instead, they've created a class of "illegals" who are forced to keep their heads down as they work for less pay in brutal conditions -- involuntarily providing downward pressure on the wages of native-born workers. In short, he shows us a system that lets U.S. corporations profit from globalization in countries like Mexico and then profit again by exploiting globalization's victims when they seek work here.It's easy enough to document this process with statistics and academic studies, and Bacon does his share of that. But he also brings the statistics to life by providing the other element missing in the immigration debate -- he tells us about the experiences and opinions of actual immigrants.-- Juan Gonzalez (not his real name) worked at the giant Cananea copper mine, which the Mexican government sold in 1990 for a fraction of its value to the Grupo Mexico corporation as part of a massive privatization program promoted by the United States. Gonzalez was fired in 1998 because of his role in a strike against the new owners. Blacklisted and unable to find a decent job in his home state of Sonora, he ended up becoming an "illegal" working in an Arizona warehouse.-- Luz Dominguez and Marcela Melquiades worked for years cleaning hotel rooms in Emeryville, a small city on the San Francisco Bay. Their employers had no problems with their lack of legal status until the city council passed a living wage ordinance and some hotel employees complained their bosses weren't in compliance. Management then discovered problems with the workers' documents and fired them.-- Edilberto Morales is the only survivor of a September 2002 accident that killed 14 immigrant forestry workers when their speeding van ran off a wooden bridge into Maine's Allagash River. The workers were employed through the U.S. government's H2 guest worker program. The U.S. Labor Department found that the employer, Evergreen Forestry Services, had failed to ensure the workers' safety and fined Evergreen $17,000 -- but the company never lost its certification for the H2 program.Bacon brings together the system's different aspects in the person of Representative James Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin. Sensenbrenner is best known as the author of HR 4437, an ultimately unsuccessful bill that would have made felons of undocumented workers like Gonzalez, Dominguez, and Melquiades. But Sensenbrenner has other interests in the issue. His family founded the Kimberly-Clark Company in the early 1900s, and the family trust continues to be an important shareholder in the papermaking giant. Many of the workers who plant and fell the trees that ultimately become Kimberly-Clark's paper are hired through the H2 program by forestry companies like Evergreen, which employed Morales and his 14 coworkers. Kimberly-Clark's Mexican subsidiary is closely associated with Grupo México, which fired Gonzalez from the Cananea copper mine.
iraqevan brightandrew wolfsonsteven d. green
ehren watadawilliam cole
cliff cornellmcclatchy newspaperssahar issa
david baconmichael d. yatesdavid l. wilson
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
That's the face of Steven D. Green and the jury is now deliberating on whether he's guilty or not. He's guilty. If I was on the jury we'd have reached a decision in about 15 minutes.
He plotted the War Crimes, he killed Abeer's parents and her sister, he took part in the gang-rape of Abeer and then he killed Abeer.
He needs to be found guilty.
And, sorry, if he's found guilty and gets the death penalty, I'm not going to lose any sleep. I'm not for the death penalty but it's legal. And if he gets it, oh well. He gave Abeer the death penalty. He gave her parents the death penalty. He gave her sister the death penalty.
I have no sympathy for him and you can blame that on the lousy defense. He should never have been allowed to plead "not guilty" and then have his attorneys go through the trial -- as one witness after another testified to how he did the crimes -- then argue for 'context.' As C.I. pointed out last week, it was ridiculous.
We watched The New Adventures of Old Christine tonight. My daughter loved Christine's big butt. Matthew and Christine both put on weight -- when Christine was trying to help him loose weight. Barb put them through the paces and (finally) Christine lost some weight but not before giving up everything.
At one point when she found out she'd gained weight, Christine said, "I haven't cheated once and I haven't had wine in five days." And Barb replied that, yeah, Napa Valley's been calling.
(Christine's drinking is a running joke.)
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, May 6, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, Ehren Watada gets some legal news (and people rush to figure out what it means), closing statements are made in the War Crimes trial, Blackwater did what?, and more.
Starting with big news involving the first officer to publicly resist the Iraq War. The Seattle Times reports Lt Ehren Watada will not be subjected to double-jeopardy. Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reported November 9, 2007: "A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday barred a second court-martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada while the Army officer pursues his claim that it would violate his constitutional rights. It was a legal victory for Watada, the first Army officer to face prison for refusing to deploy to Iraq." That was in November of 2007. (Not October of last year -- I have no idea where people are getting their false information.) The military has decided not to appeal that 2007 decision. However, US District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled on three of the five counts against Ehren so the Seattle Times cautions, "It is unclear if the Army plans to pursue those [two] charges." Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) cites Ehren's civilian attorneys stating that the "Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today granted the Army's motion to dismiss the case." And he cites the military stating that Ehren may yet be court-martialed. Vanessa Ho (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) notes that the military is unclear what they'll do next and that James Lobsenz (one of Ehren's two civilian attorneys, the other is Kenneth Kagan) states, "We are cautiously optimistic that perhaps we've had enough litigation." In June 2006, Ehren Watada went public with his refusal to serve in the Iraq War because it was an illegal war and, as an officer, he would be responsible not only for himself but for those serving under him. In August 2006, an Article 32 hearing was held and, weeks and weeks later, the finding was released: the military would proceed with a court-martial. That court-martial took place in February of 2006. On Monday, February 5, 2007, Watada's court-martial began. It continued on Tuesday when the prosecution argued their case. Wednesday, Watada was to take the stand in his semi-defense. Semi-defense? Despite the gravity of the charges, despite the maximum number of years in prison he was facing if convicted, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) refused to let Watada explain why he would not deploy. Watada was boxed in to a yes-or-no-I-did-it type of defense which is no defense at all. Judge Toilet also refused to allow the defense to call various witnesses. Wednesday morning, Judge Toilet was suddenly concerned with the stipulation -- the same stipulation he was involved one, the same one he signed off on, the same one both the defense and the prosecution agreed to, the same stipulation Judge Toilet had explained to the military jury on Monday. Suddenly, the stipulation was a problem. Toilet tried to argue Ehren didn't understand the stipulation. Ehren understood it and was doing what he announced he would be doing the week prior to Toilet. Did Toilet not understand the stipulation?
He certainly didn't understand double-jeopardy which had already attached to the case when, sensing the prosecution was losing, Judge Toilet declared a mistrial over defense objection. Judge Settle found the double-jeopardy argument was correct and ruled accordingly in the fall of 2007. Turning to other legal issues, Steven D. Green's War Crimes trial. March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi's parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in their Iraqi home while Abeer was gang-raped in another room. Following the gang-rape, Abeer was murdered. Green is said to be the murderer of all four, a gang-rapist and the ring leader who planned the entire thing. Today the jury heard closing arguments. Evan Bright reports, "Scott Wendelsdorf just completed the Defense closing statement. 'Madness? Madness. Madness is the only way any of this could have happend'." Brett Barrouquer (AP) quotes US prosecutor Marisa Ford stating that those who took part in the attack had "forfeited their right to call themselves American soldiers". In other ways she echoed the closing arguments of US Army Capt Alex Pickands during the August 2006 Article 32 hearing held in Iraq. Pickands argued:
"Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl. . . . They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."
Today in court, Marisa Ford declared, "This was a planned, premeditated crime which was carried out in cold blood." Evan Bright and Brett Barrouquer have covered every day of the trial. Jill at Feministe notes the trial today. And has her facts right. Others aren't so lucky.
Gail McGowan Mellor was dispatched by The Huffington Post to cover the trial and arrived yesterday. Possibly this late arrival is why she has problems in this report? "Sex was incidental; they wanted to hurt Iraqis." Rape is not "sex" and, if that was McGowan Mellor's point, we'd be agreeing with her. That's not her point her point is that Abeer's family was hit because "the five U.S. soldiers reasoned that the family would be easy to kill and that nothing more substantial than her parents stood between them." It was about, Gail tells, hatred of Iraqis.
I'm really amazed at the late to the party check-ins who didn't even bother to do any damn research. Abeer was the target. I'm sorry Gail didn't have time to study nearly three years worth of press. Steven D. Green inappropriately touched Abeer in public -- at that military checkpoint -- and freaked her out. His constant staring had already unnevered her. After he started touching this 14-year-old girl, her parents decided to get her out of the house. Had they struck the next night, the US soldiers wouldn't have found her because she was going to live somewhere else. Do not pretend that Abeer was not the focus. Green was fixated upon her. And do not pretend that it was because of some 'easy kill' element you've just introduced into the narrative. Get a damn grip.
Evan Bright reporting on Day Four of the trial: "According to Barker, 'Cortez took a little convincing to get him to come along. He said if we were gonna have sex with the girl, he wanted to go first'." Gail McGowan Mellor wasn't present for day four and apparently didn't bother to read up on it. Cortez took a little convincing? For what? For an 'easy kill'? No, to take part in the gang-rape that Barker terms "sex." Bright reported on Friday's testimonies that Paul Cortez testified they "knew what was goin' on, we knew were were goin' down to that house to have sex with that girl, and Barker and Green seemed to know where they were going to get there."
Gail McGown Mellor is showing up late and imposing a narrative. This isn't reporting. And it needs to be called out. She's imposing her values and desires on the story while ignoring the facts. Now she can have an opinion and she can make her entire article her opinion but she better know the facts. She can argue with the facts, she can disagree with them, but she better know them. There is no indication that she knows anything. She appears to think she's 'cute' with her 'local color' piece she's turned in playing, as Bob Somerby might say, the readers for rubes.
"Four of Green's co-conpirators have been convicted by military tribunal and put away" insists Gail despite the fact that it's incorrect. She doesn't even know the trial history. She doesn't even know that, for example, Paul Cortez confessed. He wasn't convicted, he confessed. The ignorance on display is astounding until you grasp that Gail jetted in with a narrative firmly in place and was going to work it like crazy. (If you can't pick up on it, Gail's argument -- which will no doubt be even more clear in later posts from her -- is WAR CORRUPTS ALL.) Especially hilarious is where she blames the local press:
There were only twelve folks viewing the trial yesterday, five of us from the media. It's arguably not a lack of public intelligence and curiosity; it's a failure of local journalism. The Paducah Sun, which is blocks from the federal courthouse, is not supplying daily or in-depth coverage, and local broadcast news does not supply enough information on the complex case to fill a tweat. The report of one anchor was simply, "There were two witnesses today." There sure were; that was the day that two of Green's co-conspirators testified for the prosecution.
Gail was viewing it for the first day, her first day in the area, so how she knows what an anchor said last week is something she might wish to clarify. But it's not the job of the local press to cover this trial. It's not a local trial. It's an international trial. The events took place not in some city in Kentucky, they took place in Iraq. The problem isn't local news which is struggling. The problem is the outlets like the New York Times and others who could send a slew of reporters to Alaska not all that long ago but can't send one reporter to Kentucky. Wonder over that. There should be more local coverage but I've spoken to people at one local paper and at one local station and they said the issues included no amplification. If there reports were getting picked up by the networks or by other papers, they would be covering it. But they showed up for day one and saw little interest from the press. With minimal interest locally (from residents) and no amplification, it wasn't worth their resources to cover it.
Why is there minimal interest among local residents? For one thing, the case should have been infamous but never has been. Find the network report on it. Not just from Green's trial, find the network report on any of the trials. There's no reason the citizens of Paducah should be any more familiar with the case than the rest of the country. That's a point Gail ignores either out of ignorance or intentionally. What is the point of her anonymous quotes from locals? She is aware that Steven D. Green didn't grow up in or live in Paducah, isn't she? Whether she is or not, she's off spinning her yarn and facts be damned because she's smelling Midnight In The Garden of Good & Evil. Heaven save us all from bad feature writers who think they're bringing us the news.
It's really a shame because there are details in McGown Mellor's feature article that, if they are true, could make for a very strong report. But she's made it so abundantly clear that facts matter so very little that who can trust anything she provides? "Only after three years of legal maneuvering however was Green brought to trial." What? Does she have any clue what she's reporting on? Green wasn't even arrested until June 30, 2006. Three years have yet to elapse. And 'legal'? From April 3, 2008: "As a result of the fact that he had been discharged, he was set to face a civilian court and that trial was finally due to start this coming Monday; however, AP reports the trial has been delayed "by three weeks to accomodate a quilt show". No, that is not a joke." It wasn't just "legal" delaying the trial.
Meanwhile at least 17 are dead from car bombings in Baghdad today. Robert H. Reid (AP) notes 15 of them died at a market and quotes eye witness Raad Hussein stating, "The security personnel are not searching the farmers who bring their vegetables to the market. They search only private cars." Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) notes at least forty were wounded in the market bombing and quotes an eye witness stating, "The Americans are responsible for what is happening. It is because of the occupation that every day we have killings and wounded people." Ernesto Londono and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) report the rise in violence has led to a new move by the US military: "In recent days, top American military officials issued an order barring commanders and spokesmen from using the oft-repeated phrase 'security continues to improve,' because they deemed it 'disingenuous' in light of the recent attacks, according to an American official who spoke on condition of anonymity." In other reported violence?
Sahar Issa and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) report a Baghdad roadside bombing which left eight people injured, 4 Mosul roadside bombings which claimed 2 life and left five people injured. Reuters notes a truck bombing "near the Baiji oil refinery" which left three people injured.
Saturday the US military announced: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq -- Two Multi-National Division -- North Soldiers were killed and three wounded during a small arms fire attack at a combat outpost south of Mosul early this evening. According to initial reports, an individual dressed in an Iraqi Army uniform fired on the Coalition forces and was killed in the incident. The incident is currently under investigation. The names of the deceased and wounded are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense." Alsumaria identifies the Iraqi soldier as Hassan Al Dulaimi and notes that Abdul Qader Al Ubaidi (Defense Minister) has launched an investigation. AFMAO/PA noted the two US soldiers killed:
Name: Jake R. Velloza Hometown: Inverness, Calif. Rank: Specialist Service: U.S. Army Location of death: Operation Iraqi Freedom Name: Jeremiah P. McCleery Hometown: Portola, Calif. Rank: Specialist Service: U.S. Army Location of death: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Brent Ainsworth (Contra Costa Times) reported, "Jake Velloza was a football and baseball standout at Tomales High, where Leon Feliciano served as his football coach" and quotes Feliciano stating, "I think he knew from the first day he got into high school that he was going into the militiary. We talked about college, but he said, 'No, Coach, I want to be a Ranger doing special ops.' He was set on his goals. He was one of those young men who knew what he wanted to do and did it. Service to his country is what appealed to him." Michael Taylor (San Francisco Chronicle) spoke to his grandfather, Richard Velloza, who explained of receiving the awful news, "It was terrible all day long. Not too good. Jake was an only son. That's what makes it kind of rough." Steve Timko (Reno Gazette-Journal) speaks with Josh Rogers who was a friend of Jeremiah P. McCleery's and graduated with him in 2004 from Portola High School who says, "He was a very loyal friend. If you broke down in Reno or far away, he'd come pick you up. He always had your back." The Reno Gazette Journal also notes this statement from Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, "I want to extend the condolences of a grateful State and a grateful Nation to the family and friends of Specialist Jeremiah McCleery. His sacrifice for freedom will never be forgotten." Katharine Q. Seelye (New York Times) notes the two men's arrival at Dover Air Force Base Monday and observes of the policy change on photographing coffins, "The first arrival of cases after the media ban was lifte on April 5 drew 35 journalists; since then, the number has dwindled, sometimes to only a single photographer for The Associated Press."
Will anything come from the investigation? Not if their work is anything like the Integrity Commission's. Sam Dagher (New York Times) reports today on the commission and the findings include:
The Integrity Commission recevied 5,031 complaints in 2008. 3,027 of the complaints went to court. Of that, there were 97 convictions.
If my math is correct that's a 3% conviction rate (3.204%). An underwhelming conviction rate. Speaking of a lack of convictions, September 16, 2007 Blackwater slaughtered Iraqis in Baghdad. At least 17 Iraqis were killed. Bill Sizemore (Virginia-Pilot) reports today that, following the slaughter, "Blackwater contractors allegedly transferred a number of machine guns to another contractor who is now charged with trying to smuggle them out of Iraq."
Sahwa ("Awakenings," "Sons Of Iraq") are being targeted by Nouri al-Maliki. In the latest development, Ahmed Rasheed and Tim Cocks (Reuters) report that a number of them "are deserting their posts because of delays in pay and a spate of arrests". One of the recent arrests was of Nulla Naem Al Jibouri whom Alsumaria reports al-Maliki states will be released on Saturday.
Turning to p.r., Bruce Dixon (Black Agenda Report) weighs in on the 'Save Darfur' War Hawks and their machinary:
African tragedies, observed Ugandan scholar and Columbia University professor Mahmood Mamdani in a March 20 presentation at Howard University, usually occur in the dead of night, outside the sight, concern or hearing of the Western public. The exception to this, he noted, has been Darfur. No armchair observer, Mamdani has traveled and worked extensively in Darfur as a consultant to the African Union in its attempts to peacefully resolve the conflict there.
Mamdani called Save Darfur "the most successful piece of single issue organizing since the Vietnam era antiwar movement, really more successful than the antiwar movement." But Save Darfur, with slogans like "boots on the ground," "out of Iraq, into Darfur" and persistent demands for the creation of "no fly zones" is far from being an antiwar movement.
As BAR pointed in a 2007 article, Ten Reasons Why "Save Darfur" is a PR Scam to Justify the Next US Oil and Resource Wars in Africa, Save Darfur is no grassroots movement either.
[. . .]
Mamdani explained the unique appeal of the Save Darfur Movement to US audiences by noting that unlike US responsibility for the one million Iraqi dead over the last six years, the Save Darfur Movement does not demand that we understand Darfur's history, ethnography, or the complexities of the current conflict there, or acknowledge any culpability of our own. Unlike the killings in Iraq, Save Darfur does not demand that Americans respond as citizens, with a need to account for responsibilities and actions, but merely as human beings with a need to feel powerful and justified. Save Darfur, Mamdani argued, has de-historicized and de-politicized the conflict for its American audience, presenting them with a simple morality play in which they can be the heroes.
Everybody wants to be a hero. Nobody wants to be a citizen.
And what could be more heroically self-justifying and self-affirming than intervening on the side of the angels in the picture of straight-up racial conflict presented to us by the Save Darfur Movement? The trouble is, it's an utterly false picture. The historic and present uses and definitions of race in America are not nearly the same as those in Africa. Most of Darfur's janjaweed who committed atrocities against civilians in Darfur are as black as those they murdered, and just as indigenous. The prosecutors at the International Criminal Court who recently indicted the Sudanese president are accountable only to the wealthy nations of the UN Security Council, not to anybody on the African continent. And the casualty figures thrown out by Save Darfur are wildly inflated.
From 'Save Darfur' to more dumbness. Ask J-Som of Liberal Rapture who stumbles across this piece by Chris Hedges (link goes to Information Clearing House) and feels the need to add, "What does gall me about Hedges' work now is that he is saying what we, the dukes and duchesses of minor blogland, have been saying for well over a year. It grates on my nerves and ego to have a bigger player come in very late in the game and announce things like: [. . .]" And where there is dumb there is Carolyn/Caro of MakeThemAccountable (as Rebecca pointed out already this week). In the comments, Carolyn huffs to J-Som, "We won't forget we heard you speak the truth of Obama first. Some of us were immune to the hopium." If you hear J-Som before Chris Hedges, it's only an indication of how little you read.
Carolyn is this century's Tina Yothers who shows up to deliver her single line ("Yeah!") over and over whenever stupidity is expressed. J-Som and Carolyn, meet the real world: Chris Hedges has been calling out Barack all along. Your stupidity makes everything you write suspect. How could you not know that Chris Hedges called Barack out?
How could you not know that Chris Hedges was ridiculed by Tom Hayden for refusing to hop on the Barack bandwagon, ridiculed and mocked? How could you not know that, unlike all the other chicken s**t (Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Eddie Vedder, Janeane Garofalo, Ani DiFranco, Patti Smith, the list is endless) who once stood with Ralph Nader only to run like crazy when the Blame-Ralph movement started, Chris continued to stand with Ralph. Chris endorsed Ralph in the 2008 presidential race.
But J-Som and Carolyn aren't concerned with facts. They just want to write whatever they want. It's stupid and it makes them both come off as either grossly ignorant or total liars. Carolyn especially has a problem -- a repeat problem. There's no harm in highlighting Chris Hedges' article and stating, "I don't know where he stood in 2008 . . ." There is harm in assigning to Chris a position he didn't hold. Chris has spoken out about Obama through Obama's race for the Democratic nomination, throughout the general election and after Barack was elected. You sort of expect J-Som and Carolyn to next stumble across an article by John Pilger and to type up, "Oh, now, he speaks out!" (Pilger has spoken out against the lies of Barack for some time.) I do know Chris Hedges, as disclosed before. And he's been held accountable here in the past. I made the decision that I would not critique him in a negative manner when I found out he was going to endorse Ralph because I knew he was already being slammed by the Cult of St. Barack. The slamming continued beyond the election. And we don't need the likes of J-Soms and Carolyn rewriting history out of ignorance or malice.
ehren watadahal bernton
gregg k. kakesako
evan brightbrett barrouquere
the washington posternesto londonoaziz alwanmark kukis
the new york timessam dagherkatharine q. seeylemichael taylorthe san francisco chronicle
brent ainsworthmark kukissteve timko