Friday, June 30, 2006

The Party of Cut-and-Run (from Principle)

"The Bush Administration has it right. The Democratic Party is the party of cut and run. It used to be the party where progressives could find a home. No longer. Cut and run has turned it into the party that stands for total disarray, desertion of core values, or nothing at all."

"What happened to universal health care? Cut and run. The welfare state? Cut and run. Calling as a party for an end to atrocities such as torture and rendition? You guessed it. Holding government leaders responsible for their actions? Donald Rumsfeld is still secretary of defense. Support for international law and the United Nations?"

A Supreme Rebuke--Bush Loses Guantanmo Case

"Justice Stevens wrote for the 5-3 majority, "We conclude that the military commission convened to try Hamdan lacks power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate both the [Uniform Code of Military Justice] and the Geneva Conventions." Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter and Kennedy joined Stevens in the majority opinion."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

From Ali Abunimah--Dissolve the Palestinian Authority (Dr. Eyad El Sarraj)

29 June 2006

The short statement below issued by Dr. Eyad El Sarraj,
under siege in the occupied Gaza Strip, calls for the
immediate dissolution of the Palestinian Authority. Who
can deny that the notion of a Palestinian "government" is
an utter fiction when Israel's storm troopers kidnapped a
third of the cabinet, dozens of lawmakers and other
officials throughout the occupied West Bank overnight and
is now holding them hostage? The "international community"
sits by silent and inactive as the crimes of the Israeli
apartheid state escalate. The grassroots campaigns for
boycott, divestment and sanctions to isolate it must be
urgently escalated.

Statement:

Check Mate

Israel has crossed the line many times. By destroying the
infrastructure again and again of the Palestinian
Authority, by arresting ministers and Members of
Parliament, and by preventing Mahmoud Abbas President of
the Palestinian Authority from leaving Gaza, she unveils the
true nature of its relation with the Palestinian
Authority. It was the one thousand error of Arafat not
dissolve the Palestinian Authority when he was under
siege. The poor man thought that being a President would
have given him protection. Abu Mazen should now dissolve
the Palestinian Authority before he meets the same fate.
He is checked mated. The UN should come in or Israel
assumes the power and responsibilities of the occupation
without hiding behind the stigmatized Palestinian
Authority or the Infamous Oslo agreement.

Eyad El Sarraj

Israel Targetting Civilians in Gaza--PCHR Asks for Protection

"PCHR [Palestine Center for Human Rights] strongly condemns IOF retaliatory measures targeting Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, including the destruction of properties that are not classified as a legitimate military targets. The Centre calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to force IOF to respect the convention, which prohibits reprisals against protected persons, as stipulated in article 33. In addition, the convention prohibits the destruction of private properties belonging to individuals, groups, organizations or official bodies. The Centre calls upon the High Contracting Parties to enforce article 3 regarding adherence to the convention and respect of its stipulations, and to take appropriate sanctions against the serious violations currently being perpetrated."

___________

"
PCHR calls upon the international community to provide protection for civilian lives and property, as stipulated in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Iraqi Withdrawal from Iraq--Dahr Jamail

After explaining that the so-called plan put forward by "prime minister" maliki is a total sham, Dahr Jamail explains why Iraqis are flocking to leave their hellish homeland:

"The mother of one of those detained by the Interior commandos, 65-year-old Um Abass, was there looking for her son. She told me, "My son Abbas was working with this office for three years. He is in his middle thirties, married with three kids, and he was very satisfied to work here so he could feed his wife and three kids. Only God knows how they are going to live with no supporter now. I won't leave this office unless my son comes back. Our neighbors are looking for him every day. They go to the morgue daily, and whenever they hear a body has been found anywhere. All we have is God to look out for us now. I blame the government for this lack of security. Why do the commandos come with their official cars and kidnap those who are not responsible for any of the violence?"

"She started to cry. She was moaning for her son.

"A manager at the bus terminal, 70 year-old Ahmed Alwan told me there were no vacancies. "You cannot find a seat now, and reservations for them for the next ten days on all our vehicles are impossible," he told me when I asked about buying a ticket. "Come back in a week and then we will give you the prices."

Activists Rally for Soldier Who Won't Go--Mike Barber in PI

"On the bridge, Curt Bell and his wife, Linda McKimbell, both of Portland, stood with a sign bearing the photo of Bell's brother John. "Died in Vietnam for another stupid war," the sign said.

"Some men who say they are veterans of other wars stood with the Watada supporters. John Mackey, a Korean War veteran, said it was important to be there."

"I have a guilty conscience for what I did (in Korea)," Mackey, 76, of Mountlake Terrace, said. "I didn't give a damn then. It's only afterwards that I began to think about what I did. The lieutenant has sense enough to recognize now what's going to happen."

Monday, June 26, 2006

200,000 Homeless Vets in U.S.

"Long before the current war, the Homeless Veterans Program had guided men and women back into daily life after service in Vietnam, Korea and the Second World War. But Dougherty makes no secret of a truth few Americans know: about one-quarter of all homeless adults in America have served in the military - most of them minority veterans."

"There are now about 200,000 homeless vets in the United States, government figures show."

And:

"Across the country, 350 non-profit service organizations are working with Veterans Affairs to provide a network that breaks the veterans' fall."

"But they still land on a hard bottom line: almost one-half of the 2.7 million disabled U.S. veterans receive $337 or less a month in benefits, the VA's Veterans Benefits Administration said."

"Fewer than one-10th of them are rated 100-per-cent disabled, meaning they receive $2,393 a month, tax free."

"And only those who receive that 100-per-cent benefit rating can survive in New York," said J.B. White, a 36-year-old former marine who served with a National Guard unit in Iraq.

"His entire colon was removed after he was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis, which civilian medical experts believe started in Iraq under the stress of war."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Insurgents Respond to Maliki Plan

From Post Chronicle via Daily War News at Blogspot.com

BAGHDAD, June 25, 2006 (UPI) -- Iraq's prime minister plans to offer up a peace plan aimed at ending the insurgency but most Sunni insurgent groups say it doesn't meet their concerns.

Nouri al-Maliki is set to unveil a 28-point plan that will offer amnesty for prisoners and provide a place for insurgents in the political process if they disarm and end the campaign of violence, The Sunday Times reports. It also calls for U.N. watchdogs to implement a withdrawal of foreign troops.

But a spokesperson for the 11 largest Sunni insurgent groups said they can't accept the plan because they don't recognize the current Iraqi government. They want a quick end to foreign troops in Iraq, Iraqi prisoners released from all Iraqi and U.S. jails and the United States and other coalition countries to allocate money to rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure destroyed by war. They also want all negotiations to be monitored by the United Nations or Arab League.

Amazing Orwell--from Lawrence of Cyberia

Photo: Aerial view of Israel's Wall, separating the Israeli village of Baqaa al-Gharbiya (L) and the Palestinian village of Nazlat Issa in the West Bank. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

"War prisoners apart, the average citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages. If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however often Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must never be crossed by anything except bombs."

- George Orwell, 1984.

In a region racked by violence and animosity, a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman have dared to fall in love. But their life together has had to wait as Israeli laws keep them apart.

Lawrence of Cyberia

Rahul Mahajan Explains the Iraq Amnesty Proposal

Too bad American politicans will never see this and if they did, are too stupid to understand it.

The Iraqi government won’t offer amnesty to terrorists who attacked Iraqi civilians, just to groups that have attacked U.S. soldiers, an act of resistance legitimate under international law. Those groups will negotiate neither on the basis of being criminals nor on the basis of being beaten, because they haven’t been. Amnesty is the very least you can offer them if you want to deal – although the word itself might be a sticking point, since they likely see themselves as heroes not as people in need of amnesty.

The U.S. refusal to consider even this most minimal precondition will doom any attempt to end this senseless war early. During most of the Vietnam War, the negotiating position of the United States was essentially that North Vietnam and the United States would pull out, the National Liberation Front would disarm and demobilize, and the U.S.-supported and supplied South Vietnamese government would then resume killing the NLF in large numbers without opposition, as they had been doing in the late 1950’s when the war broke out. The position was senseless then and it’s senseless now.

One Afghan Child in Four Dies Before Age 5

Some 16 percent of Afghan women die while pregnant or during childbirth. Sixty out of every 1,000 Afghan newborns die and one child in four dies before reaching the age of five.

Figures from Save the Children charity.

The Only Way Out of Iraq

Noah Feldman in the NYTimes. I think what he is trying to say is "Out Now!"

"In contrast, the new politics-first exit narrative has nothing to do with American victory — whether military or political — and everything to do with American retreat. It accepts the undeniable reality that our armed forces have not established order in Iraq. Calling for more troops or for a different deployment of the troops already there won't work. Rather, we must look to Iraqi politicians to set the terms for our withdrawal. Only they can allow us to escape the scene without leaving behind a civil war that could destabilize the region even more than we have already done."

Ending sentence:
"The hope that politics can end war is not one we've reached by planned logic or cool calculation. It's one we've reached out of dire necessity."

Found on The War in Context.org

In Iraq, Nowhere Is Safe

"Now, as Iraqi leaders in the Green Zone savor their recent successes -- the naming of the first permanent government since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq's most wanted guerrilla leader -- Iraqis outside its walls are more frightened than ever."


Near end of article:

"If the Americans want to destroy Iraq, they are on the right path," said the owner, a Shiite, who stood scowling behind a candy counter. He displayed a pistol jammed in his waistband. "If they can't improve things, they should just leave us alone."

"A man waiting in line disagreed: "But not now, we're still in a mess."

"Residents of Mansour have good reason to be afraid. The wave of insurgent crime has already sunk neighborhoods in western Baghdad into anarchy. In Dora, it is impossible to collect the bodies of the murdered because of sniper fire."

"In Mansour, life has not shut down entirely, but has slowed from a bustle to a trickle. An internal American Embassy security document, recently posted on the Internet by The Washington Post, quoted an Iraqi employee who said Mansour was "an unrecognizable ghost town."


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Haifa Zangana: Plight of Iraqi Women in Prisons

"Today, four years into the Anglo- American occupation, tens of thousands of Iraqis are still languishing in prison without charge, no trial in sight, deprived of the right to contest the grounds of their detention before judicial authorities. For various reasons, Iraqi women, too, have been caught up in the sweep of detentions and account for a goodly percentage of detainees, not only in Abu Ghraib, but in many other prisons. In addition to suffering the same hardships as male inmates, the women endure another plight: silence. The plight is two-fold, emanating, first, from the occupation authorities' denial that there are female detainees to begin with, and second from the nature of the stigma surrounding the arrest and detention of women."

The article (quite long) ends with this para:

"There will be no end to these violations as long as Iraq remains occupied by forces that enjoy immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law and as long as occupation authorities continue to treat Iraqi citizens with racist contempt in order to feel better about plundering the nation's wealth and depriving its people of their most fundamental rights under international law and human rights conventions. It is all the more unfortunate that this situation is condoned by Iraqi authorities that claim to represent an independent and sovereign nation."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Juan Cole On the Newest U.S. "Terrorists" (btw Not Muslims)

"The sister of one was just on MSNBC saying that he deeply resented Bush spending money to drop bombs on poor people who could not defend themselves, while depriving the poor in the United States of any support. "We are not capable," she said. This is a theory of class war, connecting the poor of Kut with the poor of Miami's inner city. The city, by the way, has horrific levels of unemployment."

"The position of the poor and workers in particular is deteriorating in the US, as more and more of the privately held wealth is concentrated in the hands of a white, privileged, few. The unions have been gutted, the minimum wage is inadequate, and racist attitudes are reemerging on a worrisome scale. Cities such as Detroit, New Orleans and Miami continue to witness enormous strains coming mainly from racist attitudes. In this case, the best counter-terrorism would be more social justice."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

William Blum: Great Moments in the History of Imperialism

"Just tell me one thing, are you glad that Saddam Hussein is out of power?"

And I say: "No".

And the person says: "No?"

And I say: "No. Tell me, if you went into surgery to correct a knee problem and the surgeon mistakenly amputated your entire leg, what would you think if someone then asked you: Are you glad that you no longer have a knee problem? The people of Iraq no longer have a Saddam problem." And many Iraqis actually supported him.

on informationclearinghouse

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Killing Iraqi Children--Jacob Hornberger

"Such claims, however, miss an important point: U.S. military forces have no right, legal or moral, even to be in Iraq killing anyone. Why? Because neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States. The Iraqi people had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. Thus, this was an optional war against Iraq, one that President Bush and his military forces did not have to wage."

"The attack on Iraq was akin to, say, attacking Bolivia or Uruguay or Mongolia, after 9/11. Those countries also had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and so it would have been illegal and immoral for President Bush to have ordered an invasion and occupation of those countries as well. To belabor the obvious, the fact that some people attacked the United States on 9/11 didn’t give the United States the right to attack countries that didn’t have anything to do with the 9/11 attacks."

and later in the article:

"Suppose an armed robber enters a person’s home and the owner’s neighbor comes over to help him. The homeowner and his neighbor fire at the robber who fires back, killing both the homeowner and his neighbor."

"Can the robber claim self-defense? No, because he had no right to be in the home in the first place. The intruder is guilty of murder, both morally and legally, because he doesn’t have the right to be where he is when he shoots the homeowner and his friend."

"The situation is no different in Iraq because U.S. soldiers don’t have any right to be there. “But they were ordered to invade Iraq by their commander in chief.” They could have refused to obey orders to deploy to Iraq, just as Lt. Ehren Watada has done. Watada refused to loyally obey the orders of his commander in chief. Instead, he chose to obey his conscience and also to fulfill the oath he took to support and defend the Constitution."

found on antiwar.com

Colonel Anne Wright on Resistance to Illegal Iraq War

"Despite the “yes, sir” attitude of senior militaryofficers toward the Bush administration’s illegalpolicies, there is resistance within the U.S. military to the war on Iraq. Military personnel know they have the right and duty to refuse illegal orders, including the order to deploy to an illegal war. They know theUnited States executed German and Japanese military officers and civilians for their participation in warsof aggression in World War II. They know that the Nuremberg principles adopted by the internationalcommunity after World War II require civilians and military personnel to stop their government from committing illegal acts. Those in the military who dissent and resist to what they know are illegal actions of the Bush administration are persons of thehighest courage and conscience."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Beaten, Robbed and Exiled: Life on the Frontline of Someone Else's War

"06/20/06 The Guardian" -- -- The soldiers rounded up the villagers at first light. The Taliban had just pummelled the new Afghan National Army (ANA) base at Gaza in the Arghandab Valley, a notorious rebel nest in Zabul province. Now the soldiers wanted to know who was sheltering them.They grabbed Jamal Ludin as he left for morning prayers. The 32-year-old grape farmer said he had been lined up beside a ditch with 50 other men and thrashed with wooden poles and an electric cable. "They said, 'Tell us where are the Taliban'," he said.

"Gingerly lifting his shirt, Mr Ludin showed bandages on both sleeves and his chest. He said the soldiers had taken his money and searched his house without permission - a grave dishonour in Pashtun tradition."

"Mirza, a 26-year-old, came from another village near the ANA base. After threats from the soldiers his family fled to the provincial capital, Qalat, a jolting three-hour drive away. He admitted having helped the Taliban."

"We have no choice," he said. "They come in groups of five, 10 or 20. Some are local, others are speaking Urdu [the national language of Pakistan] or Arabic. They ask for food but you can't refuse. You can't argue with men with guns."

"Now he feels trapped between the insurgents and the central government. "To be honest we cannot fight anyone. We don't like either side," he said.

Found on informationclearinghouse.info

13 Iraqis Killed by Alleged US Gunfire at Farm

"THIRTEEN Iraqis working on poultry farms in a village near the restive city of Baquba were killed during overnight during US raids in the area, Iraqi police and a rights organisation said today."

"The workers had been sleeping in the fields of Bushaheen village in an area known as Al-Salam - which means peace - some 90km north-east of Baghdad, said an Iraqi police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity."

Found on Antiwar.com

Support Lt. Watada's Courageous Stand Against Illegal War

PI story on press conference yesterday:

"Ho said her son, a member of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, faces a potential court-martial, imprisonment and possibly hard labor."

"'What we're dealing with is the now," she said earlier in the day. "We're looking at what we can do at mobilizing and galvanizing the movement (to support him).'"

Monday, June 19, 2006

Iraq Is Hell Cable--from U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

"Hours before President Bush left on a surprise trip last Monday to the Green Zone in Baghdad for an upbeat assessment of the situation there, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painted a starkly different portrait of increasing danger and hardship faced by its Iraqi employees. This cable, marked "sensitive" and obtained by The Washington Post, outlines in spare prose the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government."

Click here to view the cable.

-- Al Kamen

(Washington Post Columnist who received the "sensitive" cable)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

What happens When the Horror of Iraq Becomes Too Much For a Soldier to Bear?

06/18/06 "Scotsman" -- -- MORE than 6000 men and women have deserted from the US army since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. In the British forces, the figure stands at around 1000. The soldiers are leaving because they are sickened by the bloodshed in Iraq; because they believe the war is illegal; because they are on the verge of nervous breakdown; and because they are having to buy their own boots or are not being given enough food and water. Labour MP John McDonnell says that troops are now “questioning the morality and legality of the occupation”.

MacKay ends with this:

[Author Peter] Laufer says: “ The actions of these men and women is great ammunition against those who still support the war. You can’t impugn the actions of a soldier who served their country. These people have stood up and said, ‘this is wrong, I’m not going to do this any more’ in the face of severe penalties. They are brave and heroic and they deserve our support.”

Please come and support our local war resisters next Saturday, June 24, at noon at Ft. Lewis (Exit 119).

Body of Dead Yemeni Gitmo’s Prisoner Arrived to Yemen With No Intestines

from Roads to Iraq blog:

June 18th, 2006

Elaph reported that the body of the Yemeni prisoner who committed suicide [as the US claim] arrived to Yemen with no intestines.

Yemeni health minister “Najeeb Ghanim” said:

Autopsy in Guantanamo removed the heart, kidneys, liver, the vascular system and all the parts that’s provides more informations about the cause of the death.

The families of the three detainees have questioned the circumstances of their deaths, saying the men, all devout Muslims, would not have committed suicide.

Related

How US hid the suicide secrets of Guantanamo

Posted by LadyBird

Exceptional Americans Manifest Their Destiny--Jason Miller

"In fact, critical analysis reveals that the manifestation of Capitalism in the United States has been as morally repugnant and vicious as the regimes the champions of our system love to cite as evil. Those believing otherwise are in deep denial."

"Domestically, Americans enslaved millions (3.9 million according to the 1860 census) and committed genocide against the millions of indigenous inhabitants whose land they stole. Aside from the egregious crimes committed against non-Anglos at home, America’s system of Capitalism exists as the virtual antithesis of the “Communist” systems of Mao and Stalin in terms of inhumanity. Instead of pointing its malevolence inward on its “own”, the United States has committed its wholesale slaughter abroad (i.e. 3 million in Vietnam, hundreds of thousands in Central America, and at least a million Iraqis, including the victims of the Gulf War and the brutal economic sanctions). Anglo exemption from slavery, genocide, and slaughter explains why American Capitalism has outlasted the “Communism” of Russia and China.
"

Retirement Suggestion for Bush & Buds in 2008

"But I do not believe Bush should go to Iraq alone. He needs some trusted advisers by his side at all times, and the first two names that immediately spring to mind are Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. These men have been instrumental in the planning and execution of the Iraq campaign from the beginning, and I can only imagine how much more effective their work could be if they were onsite 24/7 right where the action is, getting their hands dirty in the cause of spreading freedom to that dark corner of the world."

Hmmm. Haider Gets Something Right--Pun Intended

"VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian right-wing populist Joerg Haider called U.S. President George W. Bush a war criminal on Saturday, days before Austria's government hosts Bush and European leaders in Vienna. "

Bush's Post-Iraq Visit Press Conference Reinterpreted by WIIIAI

I laughed out loud several times reading Whatever It Is I'm Against It's translation of Bushese. From the link, scroll down to "Bush Press Conference, I Sense Something Different Happening In Iraq."

"You gotta want it: “I appreciated very much the agenda [Maliki]’s laid out. In other words, he’s got a plan to succeed. And I appreciated their determination -- it’s not just his determination, but their cabinet’s determination to succeed. In other words, part of the success in Iraq depends upon the Iraqis and their will and their desire.” And later: “one of the reasons I went to Iraq was to be able to sit down with an Iraqi government to determine whether or not they have the will to succeed... [to] expel any doubt in my mind as to whether or not we have a partner that is going to do the hard work.” That’s why he brought his trusty will-o-meter. To misspell expel any doubt in his mind"

Fear Mongering Pays Off--Big Time!!!

"In their new roles, former department officials often command salaries that dwarf their government paychecks. Carol DiBattiste, who made $155,000 in 2004 as deputy administrator at the Transportation Security Administration, earned more than $934,000 last year from ChoicePoint, a Homeland Security Department contractor she joined in April 2005, the same month she left the agency."

Frank Rich: Dems Incompetent. Me: They Don't Want to Derail the Gravy Train

"Those who are most enraged about the administration's reckless misadventures are incredulous that it repeatedly gets away with the same stunts. Last week the president was still invoking 9/11 to justify the war in Iraq, which he again conflated with the war on Islamic jihadism - the war we are now losing, by the way, in Afghanistan and Somalia. But as long as the Democrats keep repeating their own mistakes, they will lose to the party whose mistakes are, if nothing else, packaged as one heckuva show. It's better to have the courage of bad convictions than no courage or convictions at all."

Earlier in his skewering:

"Instead the Democrats float Band-Aid nostrums and bumper-sticker marketing strategies like "Together, America Can Do Better." As the linguist Geoffrey Nunberg pointed out, "The very ungrammaticality of the Democrats' slogan reminds you that this is a party with a chronic problem of telling a coherent story about itself, right down to an inability to get its adverbs and subjects to agree." On Wednesday Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were to announce their party's "New Direction" agenda - actually, an inoffensive checklist of old directions (raise the minimum wage, cut student loan costs, etc.) - that didn't even mention Iraq. Symbolically enough, they had to abruptly reschedule the public unveiling to attend Mr. Bush's briefing on his triumphant trip to Baghdad."

Suzanne Swift's Story True for Many Female Soldiers

"Women sign up knowing they might have to go to war. None expects the enemy she'll end up fighting will be the guys on her own team."

Detainee Abuse "Wrong But Not Illegal"--Per Pentagon Report

"That report concluded the detainees' treatment was wrong but not illegal and reflected inadequate resources and lack of oversight and proper guidance rather than deliberate abuse. No military personnel were punished as a result of the investigation."

And what does it say about Congress that it has had these reports for some time without bothering to make the abuse illegal?

"While some of the incidents have been reported previously and reviewed by members of Congress, this was the first time the documents were made public. Many portions of the reports were blacked out, including specific names and locations."

54% Would Vote for Pull-out in 12 Months

"A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that al-Zarqawi's death did not alter the perceptions of a majority, 53 percent, that the Iraq war is a mistake. Fifty-four percent of those polled said they would back a congressional candidate who favored pulling all U.S. troops out of Iraq within 12 months. Only 32 percent said they would vote against that position."

It seems to me that someone (it won't be the Dems) could make the argument to the 54% of people above who want to pull out in 12 months that pulling out now will save the lives of both Iraqis and U.S. troops. Below is Cindy Sheehan's argument to them:

"How many more mothers are we going to watch sobbing over their children's flag-draped coffins before we get out in the streets and demand an end to the immoral and illegal occupation so no other mothers will have to be plunged into a pool of pain?"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Children of Iraq and Palestine Paying Ultimate Price for U.S. War on the World

John Pilger has been exposing the horrors of U.S. Middle East policies for years:

"Now, state terror in the form of a medieval siege is to be applied to the most vulnerable. For the Palestinians, a war against their children is hardly new. A 2004 field study published in the British Medical Journal reported that, in the previous four years, "Two-thirds of the 621 children … killed [by the Israelis] at checkpoints … on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half the cases to the head, neck, and chest – the sniper's wound." A quarter of Palestinian infants under the age of five are acutely or chronically malnourished. The Israeli wall "will isolate 97 primary health clinics and 11 hospitals from the populations they serve."

And on Iraqi children:

"In April, in British-occupied Basra, the European aid agency Saving Children from War reported: "The mortality of young children had increased by 30 percent compared with the Saddam Hussein era." They die because the hospitals have no ventilators and the water supply, which the British were meant to have fixed, is more polluted than ever. Children fall victim to unexploded U.S. and British cluster bombs. They play in areas contaminated by depleted uranium; by contrast, British army survey teams venture there only in full-body radiation suits, face masks, and gloves. Unlike the children they came to "liberate," British troops are given what the Ministry of Defense calls "full biological testing.'"

World Says U.S. in Iraq Bigger Threat to Peace Than Iran

"Obviously, when you get many more people saying that the US presence in Iraq is a threat to world peace as say that about Iran, it's a measure of how much Iraq is sapping good will to the United States," said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center.

In another finding that will concern Washington, support for the war on terror is also declining in most of the surveyed countries. The poll indicates that this is true even in countries that have experienced terrorist attacks, like Britain and Spain. In Britain the support for the war on terror has fallen from 63 percent in 2004 to 49 percent. In Spain, only 19 percent of those surveyed now support the war on terror, down from a high of 76 percent. Only in India and Russia did a majority support the US-led fight against terrorism.

The Free and Open Internet Is Almost Over--Black Commentator

"The claims of cable and telecommunications monopolies that deregulating them and handing the keys of the Internet over to them will erase the digital divide inside the US, provide universal access and keep us competitive with the rest of the world, are simply lies. US consumers have already paid AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, BellSouth, Qwest and the rest of their telecom and cable cousins hundreds of billions in corporate tax breaks and excess fees – the highest phone, cable and Internet charges in the world – to provide universal high-speed access which we have never received."

Tacoma Church to Give Potential Conscientious Objectors Haven

"Prompted by a Fort Lewis Army officer's decision to refuse to fight in Iraq, the First United Methodist Church of Tacoma has declared itself a sanctuary for servicemen and servicewomen who also don't want to go to Iraq."

This is a very heartening development.

[U.S.] Military Deaths in Iraq Hit 2,500

"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq has reached 2,500, the Pentagon said on Thursday, more than three years into a conflict that finds U.S.-led forces locked in a struggle with a resilient Sunni Arab insurgency."

Wounded:

"In Washington, the Pentagon also said 18,490 U.S. troops had been wounded in the war, which began in March 2003 with a U.S.-led invasion to topple President Saddam Hussein."

Iraqis dead:

"Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed." [Really hundreds of thousands]

On optimistic claims of the U.S. about "turning points":

"Rubaie told Reuters earlier this year the insurgency against the U.S.-backed, Shi'ite-led government had been defeated. But violence has continued to rage across Iraq, killing hundreds of people and showing no signs of abating."

"Iraqi and U.S. officials have also in the past said al Qaeda, blamed for some of the bloodiest attacks in Iraq in the last three years, was on the defensive."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Will We Hear The Truth About Beit Lahiya Beach?

"As this article goes to electronic "press," reports are
emerging from Pentagon battle damage expert, Marc
Garlasco, who surveyed the scene of Beit Lahiya's beach
explosions, and indicated that "'all the evidence points'
to a 155mm Israeli land-based artillery shell as its
cause" (see The Independent, 14 June 2006). Israel,
however, is bent on denying responsibility. That is fine,
one expects nothing less. But the real story still
remains, waiting for a real journalist to cover it. Can we
look to the Washington Post, Associated Press, CNN or BBC
for this? Don't hold your breath."

From Ali Abunimah.

Enron: Robbing Us From the Grave

"Representative Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat, said that the settlement was "'the equivalent of Bonnie and Clyde, having been arrested, demanding that the banks refund the money they stole and the government making the banks give them the money.'"

Although I think he is slandering Bonnie and Clyde here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Guardian Reporter: Evidence Points to Israeli Responsibility for Killing Family

All Israel had to do was hint that maybe Hamas had planted bombs on the beach and the Western and Israeli media went with that IDF investigation result. However, Chris McGreal a Guardian reporter in Palestine (and also Dr. Mona El-Farra) testify to the truth of the matter on Democracy Now:

"Perhaps more interesting is that at the time this family was hit by shells -- a shell, which it undoubtedly was -- the Israeli army admits to having fired six shells. Three of them, you can see, landed on the beach, very close by. Probably no more than the closest -- 100 yards away. And essentially the army is then asking people to believe that the -- a sixth shell didn’t land on the family. That by pure coincidence, even though the beach was being shelled at the time, a Hamas mine happened to go off as well in the same area and at the same time."

"Compounding this is the fact that the army admits it cannot account for the last of those six shells -- where it landed. And there is a military expert, an ex-Pentagon official from Human Rights Watch, New York-based human rights group here at the moment. He's been looking into this. And he's come to his own conclusion: that it's almost undoubtedly an Israeli shell, based on, firstly the shrapnel, which he – he found a piece of shrapnel that says 155 millimeter on it, which is precisely the size of shrapnel shell that the Israelis use in their Howitzers, and also if you look at the size and the nature of the crater, it’s identical to those on the beach that -- from the other shells, including being lined with a white powder. So I think all of -- on the whole, the evidence points much more to Israeli responsibility."

Kristof Praises Sweatshops; Skewered by North Dakota Senator

June 12, 2006

Sweatshops in Africa? Consider the Case of Jordan (1 Letter)

To the Editor [NYTIMES]:

As the sponsor of legislation introduced this week in the Senate that would ban imports of sweatshop products, I read Nicholas D. Kristof's June 6 column, "In Praise of the Maligned Sweatshop," with dismay.

He contends that Africa is so poor that it would actually benefit from sweatshops. He even makes a case for lower wages: "It already isn't profitable to pay respectable salaries, and so any pressure to raise them becomes one more reason to avoid Africa altogether."

Before Africa embraces Mr. Kristof's plan, it should consider the case of Jordan.

Last month, we learned that horrific sweatshops in Jordan were making garments for retailers like Wal-Mart. It turned out that the workers in those sweatshops were not Jordanian but had been flown in from lower-wage countries like Bangladesh and China.

The sweatshops were in Jordan for only one reason: to earn duty-free entry to our market under the United States-Jordan trade deal.

These sweatshops did nothing for the Jordanian people, nor for the Bangladeshi and Chinese workers, who were forced to work 20-hour shifts, were frequently beaten and cheated even out of their miserable wages.

The only ones who benefited were the foreign sweatshop owners and United States retailers.

Sweatshops are the problem, not the solution.

Byron L. Dorgan
U. S. Senator from North Dakota
Washington, June 7, 2006

Thanks, Angry Arab.

Setting the Record Straight on Hamas

In Counterpunch, Jennifer Lowenstein generates some light to go with the heat on this topic:

"II. Hamas accepts a two-state solution. When asked by Newsweek-Washington Post correspondent Lally Weymouth on 26 February 2006 what agreements Hamas was prepared to honor, the new Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh answered, "the ones that will guarantee the establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital with 1967 borders." Weymouth went on, "Will you recognize Israel?" to which Haniyeh responded, "If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights then we are ready to recognize them." (5) This view encapsulates the Hamas demand for reciprocity."

Also in Lowenstein's article is information on U.S. involvement there:

"No attention has been paid to what the Hamas leadership is actually saying, or to critical factors such as US efforts to build a 3,500 man militia around the office of Abbas in an effort to encourage civil infighting or Israel's recent approval of a large shipment of arms and ammunition from Egypt and Jordan for the equipping of the Presidential Guard. Abbas, who is supported by the US, aims to increase the number of armed soldiers around him to 10,000. He is also aiming, with US support, to create a shadow government that will undermine the legitimate one now controlled by Hamas.(2) It should come as a surprise to no one that, in the words of Mohammed Nazzal, a member of the Hamas government in exile, "Hamas will not submit to blackmail" (3) This is essentially the goal of Abbas' call for a referendum. There is no need to bring to a popular vote support for the Prisoner's Agreement. Overwhelming popular support for this and other initiatives, including support for the two-state solution, has long been documented."

Monday, June 12, 2006

ABC's Red-Blooded American Color Commentary at World Cup

Lawrence of Cyberia asks ABC for a break from the jingoistic saber-rattling:

"Look ABC, we understand that you will cheer for whatever the White House wants, and that what the White House wants right now is an excuse to bomb Iran. And we understand which excuse the White House has settled on for starting a war this time. They can't re-use the "links with al-Qaeda" one because Shia Iran and Sunni al-Qaeda have hated each other for years; they can't recycle the "nuclear weapons in 45 minutes" one because frankly people are still a bit miffed about the way they abused that one last time; so this time it's going to be "Ahmedinejad is Hitler and if we don't bring about regime change and put Iran's oil in the hands of a friendly puppet government, the islamofascists will overrun the world and put us in death camps or something". We understand the storyline. After being subjected to it day-in day-out for weeks now, we get the message. But you could give us a break, just for the World Cup. It only lasts for four weeks; couldn't you give us a rest from the Two Minutes Hate just for that long? This time next month it will all be over. Brazil or whoever will have samba'd to victory, and you can go right back to cheerleading for thermonuclear Armageddon. But till then, please shut up and let us watch 32 countries from all corners of the globe interacting in ways that don't involve invading, occupying, killing or threatening anybody. Just for one month. Thank you."

U.S.-Led Forces in Iraq Kill 9 in Raid


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S.-led forces raided a house near a volatile city northeast of Baghdad on Monday, killing nine people, including two children, the military said. The raid was staged in the area where terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed, and the military said the targeted terrorists had ties to senior al-Qaida (website - news) leaders across Iraq and were involved in helping foreign fighters.

Found in a comment on Angry Arab.com, from Today in Iraq.com

Has Racism Invaded Canada?

In a post the other day (Chatroom Jihadists), I was optimistic that the 17 "terrorists" in Canada might get better treatment then they would have here in the U.S. Robert Fisk on Counterpunch begs to differ:

"If this seems finicky, try the following sentence from the Globe and Mail's front page on Tuesday, supposedly an eyewitness account of the police arrest operation: "Parked directly outside his ... office was a large, gray, cube-shaped truck and, on the ground nearby, he recognized one of the two brown-skinned young men who had taken possession of the next door rented unit..." Come again? Brown-skinned? What in God's name is this outrageous piece of racism doing on the front page of a major Canadian daily? What is "brown-skinned" supposed to mean--if it is not just a revolting attempt to isolate Muslims as the "other" in Canada's highly multicultural society? I notice, for example, that when the paper obsequiously refers to Toronto's police chief and his reportedly brilliant cops, he is not referred to as "white-skinned" (which he most assuredly is). Amid this swamp, Canada's journalists are managing to soften the realities of their country's new military involvement in Afghanistan."

Ray McGovern on Lt. Ehren Watada's Courage

"Several months ago, US Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada decided that US involvement in Iraq is illegal and immoral. Like so many of us, Watada concluded that intelligence was manipulated to "justify" the invasion. Unlike so many of us, he has had the courage to stick his neck out and pay the price for resistance."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This is a real book! "Why Mommy Is a Democrat"

http://littledemocrats.net/index.html

Life Without Hope Leads to Suicides























From Cageprisoners.com via Whatever It Is, I'm Against It.

"Now that the first three have happened, others will know that this is possible and there are desperate, desperate people in Guantanamo."

"And it's desperation that comes from a life without hope."

Guantanmo Suicides "An Act of War Against U.S."

"For years now we have heard of the deplorable condition in which Guantanamo detainees have been held. Most have not been told why they had been at the military prison facility for five years.

"In world media, those who are eventually released go on to document the physical, spiritual and psychological abuse and torture they face. The UN as well as other bodies have called on the US to shut the prison facility down. They have heaped criticism after criticism for the way the prison is run and the way the detainees are treated.

"The fact that they are called non-combatants and therefore not covered by international treaties and conventions (Geneva, ICRC, etc) has been a source of serious concern for the world community.

"However, US media has discared every claim they make; ridiculed evidence and testimony, torn apart as lies.

"Therefore, it is not surprising that there is no outrage when we hear that three Guantanamo detainees - a Yemeni and two Saudis - committed suicide today.

"Instead, we hear that the three have engaged in aggressive behavior against the United States.

"Three detainees at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, committed suicide by hanging themselves with clothing and bedsheets, U.S. defense officials said Saturday.

"'They are smart. They are creative, they are committed. They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of ...warfare waged against us,'" Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, said in a telephone news conference
.

"So, of course we will hear some say that the women and children of Haditha blew their own brains out.

"And in Abu Ghraib, the tortured Iraqis carried out all the abuse against themselves, in what is regarded as violent action against the US.

"'... they have no regard for life ...'" So killing them is okay because they wanted to die anyways, right?

"Wrong. This is racism. Just like we heard that the "black" man had no soul and was cursed by God. KKK theology is alive and kicking.

"Aha ... yes ..."


From Uruknet, Truth About Iraqis

Sir No Sir! Movie Documents Vietnam Soldier Resistance Movement

"Navy Lieutenant Sue Schall, a nurse, decided to march in uniform at a peace demonstration in San Francisco on November, 1968. In the days leading up to the demonstration, she dropped leaflets from a small plane over military bases in the Bay Area promoting the demonstration. When the brass told Schnall that marching in uniform was not permitted, she responded that if General William Westmoreland could speak at prowar rallies in uniform, then she should have the same rights. Such defiance grew out of a deep conviction in the peace and radical movements of the time that American society had to live up to the democratic ideals that supposedly were being defended in Indochina."

Sir No Sir will be showing at the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle beginning on August 11 - 17, 2006.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

U.S. Bases Bad News in South Korea

"SAN FRANCISCO - U.S. military and economic might in South Korea are being called into question this week as villagers launched a hunger strike to protest a U.S. military base expansion that would force them from their lands and farmers' unions demonstrated in Seoul against a proposed free trade agreement."

"Korean authorities have arrested the head of a small village for protesting against the government's plan to expand a giant U.S. military base, known as Camp Humphreys, in Pyongtaek, about 40 miles south of Seoul."

AND BELOW IS LINKED A TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE ABOUT WOMEN WORKERS DECEIVED INTO WORKING AT BROTHEL BARS OUTSIDE MILITARY BASES IN SOUTH KOREA:

"A good place to start the [eradication] campaign might be Club Y, a sleazy haunt that Filipinas working on the strip call "a bad bar." Rosie Danan found out just how bad the week she started working there in late 1999, at the age of 16. Back home in Manila, a recruiting agency had promised Danan the job would require her merely to serve drinks and chat with customers. After she arrived in Korea—on a false passport—Club Y's mama-san took her papers away and told her the rules: she would be serving up her body as well as booze. She would get no days off for the first three months. And later, she could earn days off only if she sold enough drink and sex. She would live in a room above the club and, unless she was with the mama-san, would not be allowed outside except for three minutes a day to make a phone call. The penalty for coming back late: $8 a minute."

Three Detainees with No Rights and No Hope of Rights Commit Suicide

Three foreign prisoners being held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay have died in apparent suicides.

From al Jazeera.net

Ramadi Being Prepared for Massacre?

"The occupation forces have dispersed hundreds of American soldiers around Ramadi and have prevented any entry or exit from it. It has also cut off all electricity supplies to the city as well as drinking water facilities and has closed down all petrol stations.

The Islam Memo correspondent reported that the occupation forces have shelled medical supply stores, closed down all medical clinics and confiscated all medical supplies therein.
Jet fighters have been streaming over the city, as well as helicopters."

"Three Islam Memo correspondents have dispersed throughout the city in order to continue to relay the news of the impeding offensive."

From Uruknet.com
.

Canada's Chatroom Jihadis

If you're all reading Counterpunch.com every day, I'm duplicating efforts today. But in case you don't, here is another excellent example of what's available there. The author, John Chuckman, is from Ontario. I have to say in support of his contention that Canadians are sensible and decent, I heard a statement from their premier (a Bush supporter) about the arrests that definitely supported values of diversity and continued welcoming of immigrants, including Muslims. L


"I do believe we will see justice for the young men in Canada with nothing but facts determining their fate. Canadians are a sensible and decent people. All the rash and uninformed comments made in recent days will fade like yesterday's headlines about miracles and aliens in The National Inquirer."

"At the same time, I hope Canadians consider more carefully the deeply flawed policies Bush has imposed on the world. Two ancient Muslim nations are occupied and smoldering with resentment amidst economic ruin. A great, world cultural treasure has been pillaged and destroyed, making the Taleban's thuggish destruction of statues some years ago seem small by comparison. Iraq has been driven into the destructive beginnings of civil war. The country still does not have even dependable water or electricity. The U.S. threatens a third Muslim country almost weekly. Palestinians are treated worse today by Israel, with smiling American acquiescence, than black Africans were under apartheid, and there is no hint of a just end to the situation. And the learning curve in guerilla fighting means nothing but more intense attacks against foreign armies in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Israel's Air Strikes on Gaza are Politically Motivated

It was glaringly obvious from the headlines in the local papers here and in the NYTimes that like a ref in a ballgame, the papers chose to penalize the player who gets caught hitting back rather the original offender. Hamas breaking the year-long truce was the lead, rather than Israel killing families on a beach "by accident."

"In a world that has become numb to Middle Eastern carnage, except if the dead are Israeli, it does not come as a surprise that, at most, the dead are merely counted, hardly ever are they named. The lack of world leadership has moved the international community to completely lose any moral compass whatsoever. The basic fact that one party, the one burying its children on nearly daily basis, is an occupied people, the Palestinians. The other party, the one launching air and sea strikes on civilian populations, and constantly shelling the Gaza Strip is the occupying party, Israel. This core fact of the conflict has become lost in some misguided desire to create symmetry between Palestinians and Israelis. International and humanitarian laws classify an occupied people as "protected persons," and every signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention, including the US, has an obligation to interfere to stop this cruel and inhumane Israeli collective punishment of Palestinians.
"

Sam Bahour in Counterpunch


Friday, June 09, 2006

Katrina Pictures--Do Not Forget

http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/2005/09/katrina_afterma.html

Riverbend in Baghdad: Zarqawi Dead--Everything'll Get Better--Yeah, Right.

"So now that Zarqawi is dead, and because according to Bush and our Iraqi puppets he was behind so much of Iraq's misery- things should get better, right? The car bombs should lessen, the ethnic cleansing will come to a halt, military strikes and sieges will die down… That's what we were promised, wasn't it? That sounds good to me. Now- who do they have to kill to stop the Ministry of Interior death squads, and trigger-happy foreign troops?"

Wall St Speaks (via The Nation)--Are You Listening?

"There is a growing feeling on the Street that the war against those who would harm us has been and is being misfought. Democrats who once had their lack of regard for this President to themselves are finding that this position no longer distinguishes them from many Republicans. Democratic politicians claim they gave this President authority relative to Iraq, which he misused--but the electorate sees them as having voted for the war. They put forth policies that would reorder our priorities in education, energy, healthcare, the environment--policies that might have clicked in the context of a nation unified in a war against a common enemy. But the Administration remains effective in attacking its critics, portraying them as unpatriotic whiners with nothing positive to say. So no matter how the midterm elections come out, even if voters felt the Democrats had it in them to help, they have no reason to believe help is on the way. "

Reported on Marxmail.com

Our Team is Screwing Up--Washington Post

I know the Post is in Washington, but it is amazing to me that even in an article questioning the war (or maybe just its prosection), it fails to avoid the pronoun "we," linking it to the actions of the government it is supposedly watchdogging. I have to agree that it was creepy the way the picture of Zarqawi was displayed.

"We may not have victory. Iraq may be a living hell both for those who are fighting to make it better and for those who live there. But we bring home the occasional politically expedient marker of "progress." Major combat operations are over. We got Saddam's sons. We got Saddam. Now we have Zarqawi. The trophy case fills: elections, a constitution, a new government -- everything but peace and stability for an exhausted nation of Iraqis who have died by the tens of thousands during the evolution of this war."

"Zarqawi is gone and good riddance. But there's nothing in the image of his face that deserves a frame. It's a small thing, to be sure. But it suggests a cynicism about this war that is profoundly distressing. Our political and military leaders simply can't resist packaging the war and wrapping it up in a bow."

found on antiwar.com

Oh, yes--Israel Wants Peace--Uh-huh...


BEIT LAHIA, Gaza Strip - Hamas' military wing backed out of a truce Friday after an Israeli artillery strike against suspected rocket-launching sites in Gaza hit a family beach picnic, killing seven people, including three children.

picture from Associated Press via antiwar.com (and the South Carolina State.com)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lieutenant WATADA agrees with Stryker Brigade Protest

AMY GOODMAN: I was wondering, Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada, what your response was to the protest that resulted in I think something like 22 arrests in Olympia, Washington this past week as peace activists tried to stop a ship from moving out of port with striker vehicles and troops.

EHREN WATADA: I think that we all have a duty as American citizens for civil disobedience, and to do anything we can within the law to stop an illegal war.

Full interview:
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/08/1418206

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Check Out the Cost of the War--In Case You Haven't Lately

http://costofwar.com/index.html

The War in Iraq Costs
$648,749,201 -- Seattle's Share at this Moment

Advice from People Who Know About Long-Term Challenges to Evil

Picture courtesy to the Christian Science Monitor from Machsom Watch.

"After five years, we haven't been very successful," says Dagan. "Not a single checkpoint has been removed, and we haven't been able to change policies on restriction of movement for Palestinians. It's only getting worse," she continues. "But it's a long-term project to try to challenge something so big and deeply rooted."

Baghdad Still Burning: Riverbend

"There’s an ethnic cleansing in progress and it’s impossible to deny. People are being killed according to their ID card. Extremists on both sides are making life impossible. Some of them work for ‘Zarqawi’, and the others work for the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. We hear about Shia being killed in the ‘Sunni triangle’ and corpses of Sunnis named ‘Omar’ (a Sunni name) arriving by the dozen at the Baghdad morgue. I never thought I’d actually miss the car bombs. At least a car bomb is indiscriminate. It doesn’t seek you out because you’re Sunni or Shia."

Let's Hope WaPo Writer Has the Correct Reading on His Audience

And the only image that fades, as the war grinds on, is the one with which we prepared for battle: the fantasy, so beloved of Americans, of a clean, surgical, decent war.

Found on Antiwar.com

Monday, June 05, 2006

So-Called "Death" Tax Breathes Life Into the Economy

"For most of the past century, the case for the estate tax was regarded as self-evident. People understood that government has to be paid for, and that it makes sense to raise part of the money from a tax on "fortunes swollen beyond all healthy limits," as Theodore Roosevelt put it. The United States is supposed to be a country that values individuals for their inherent worth, not for their inherited worth. The estate tax, like a cigarette tax or a carbon tax, is a tool for reducing a socially damaging phenomenon -- the emergence of a hereditary upper class -- as well as a way of raising money."

One of the Families the U.S. Military Says They Were Justified in Killing

"The family of Faiz Harat Khalaf "

"According to the report of the Ishaqi police directorate. American forces used helicopters to drop troops on the house of Faiz Harat Khalaf situated in the Abu Sifa village of the Ishaqi district. The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people, including 5 children, 4 women and 2 men, then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals."

"The Iraqis that were executed:
Turkiya Muhammed Ali, 75 years
Faiza Harat Khalaf, 30 years
Faiz Harat Khalaf, 28 years
Um Ahmad, 23 years
Sumaya Abdulrazak, 22 years
Aziz Khalil Jarmoot, 22 years
Hawra Harat Khalaf, 5 years
Asma Yousef Maruf, 5 years
Osama Yousef Maruf, 3 years
Aisha Harat Khalaf, 3 years
Husam Harat Khalaf, 6 months

"May they rest in peace, may all Iraqis killed in this illegal war rest in peace."

"May their families and friends find strength somewhere to cope with their loss."

Further on in this post from Talking About Iraq, Nadia says the following:

US people who are against your presence in Iraq, you are millions, PLEASE DO MORE TO GET ALL YOUR TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ!End United States acts of state terrorism against Iraqis.

First Commissioned Officer to Refuse Orders to Iraq--Support Him

People like the gentleman below who opt out of the military machine publicly throw a monkey wrench into the argument that you leave your conscience at the door when you enter the military.

"June 5, 2006: First U.S. military officer poised to publicly refuse orders in support of the illegal Iraq War requires immediate support and assistance. Join this unprecedented political and legal support campaign today! Information updated daily!"

Please support his courageous stand by going to the website linked below.

http://www.thankyoult.org/index....ntpage&Itemid=1

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Imagine...

Imagine if we had a president [referring to Hugo Chavez] who said 'no’ to McDonald’s, 'no’ to Microsoft, 'no’ to Exxon, Haliburton and Bechtel”, Millard said. “If he said 'yes’ to people, 'yes’ to poor people, 'yes’ to homeless people ... where would that leave our society in the US? ...

“As long as the US is a military superpower, the world is going in the wrong direction. But the hope of Venezuela is that the people from the grassroots level can oppose all that. If they can do it here, then we can do it in the USA.”

Millard also talked about the way the U.S. has used and then dispensed with its veterans:

A 2004 United Press International article revealed that, as of July that year, almost 28,000 Iraq veterans had sought health care from Veterans Affairs. “One out of every five was diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to the VA”, UPI reported.

“We have spent US$440 billion on a war on Iraq to brutalise and destroy our own people at the same time. They are closing down hospitals and overworking the staff, both nurses and doctors, and are denying PTSD claims”, Millard said.



From Green Left Weekly, Coverage of Iraq Veteran Against the War Geoff Millard at the World Social Forum.



Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ukraine Crowd Tells U.S. Troops to Leave Country

"The state-run Russian channel showed footage of a crowd surrounding the bus in darkness, rocking it back and forth, and shouting in English, "Yankee, go home!" The convoy turned around and took the Marines to a facility in Alushta, another Black Sea coastal town."

Later in the article:

"The protests began Sunday when a U.S. ship arrived in Feodosiya carrying personnel and equipment to be used in preparing a Ukrainian military facility to hold the exercises, dubbed "Sea Breeze 2006."

"The ship has also been blockaded by protesters."

Hmmm. Looks like blockading U.S. ships is popular the world over.

Robert Fisk on Haditha

"I think it becomes a habit, this sort of thing. Already the horrors of Abu Ghraib are shrugged away. It was abuse, not torture. And then up pops a junior officer in the United States charged for killing an Iraqi army general by stuffing him upside down in a sleeping bag and sitting on his chest. And again, it gets few headlines. Who cares if another Iraqi bites the dust? Aren't they trying to kill our boys who are out there fighting terror."

Iraqi condemns probe clearing U.S. troops

"Where are the terrorists? Are they the old lady or the kids?" he said in a telephone interview, referring to the fact that women and children were among the victims. "It looks like the lives of the Iraqis are worthless."

UPDATE:
Here is a link to another story (or more complete) about lawyer related to some of the Haditha victims.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1107AP_Iraq_Haditha.html?source=mypi

Below is one amazing paragraph of the story. I have bolded the part that amazes me.

"Many Iraqis, on their part, see the Americans and other foreign troops as occupiers who are after the country's oil wealth and accuse them of having little regard for their lives."

Those zany Iraqis. They think we're occuping their country! They better get glasses.

Will WA Dems Stand Up on Estate Tax? Don't Hold Your Breath

"Democrats could go to town on this issue. As Paulson makes his round of Senate courtesy calls, they should press him to oppose estate-tax repeal."

"However, several Senate Democrats are wobbly on this issue. Max Baucus, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, is said to be negotiating with his Republican counterparts to enact the ``compromise."

"Baucus, from Montana, inherited an 80,000-acre sheep ranch, one of the biggest in his state. He invokes the plight of family farmers, whose inherited homesteads are supposedly threatened by estate taxes. Yet the conservative American Farm Bureau Federation could not identify a single farm that had to be sold to pay taxes, even under current rates."

"Republicans are confident that at least three other Democrats would follow Baucus's lead --Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Bill Nelson of Florida. Several other Democrats are still undecided on whether to hand the wealthiest one percent of Americans an even bigger break, at cost to fiscal solvency. The Republicans, with 55 senators, need at least five Democrats to help them get cloture on this vote."

"The other shaky Democrats include Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington state. Cantwell was a well-off high-tech executive. Murray got elected as an ordinary mom ``in tennis shoes" who spoke for the common citizen. From 2001 to 2003, she chaired the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, courting wealthy donors."

"Who exactly needs Cantwell and Murray to support another huge tax cut for the wealthiest? Their own families? Campaign contributors?"

"Three other wavering Democrats are Ken Salazar of Colorado, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. These ``red" states are conservative on social issues, but what does their average citizen gain from estate-tax repeal?"

"Where does Mary Landrieu think the money will come for Louisiana's flood defenses if Congress keeps gutting the tax code? The average Arkansan can only dream of worrying about the estate tax, but lead promoters of repeal are the Arkansas-based Walton family billionaires of Wal-Mart fame."

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Man from Haditha--from Robert Dreyfuss on Tom Paine

"Permit, if you will, a devilish comparison. Saddam Hussein, at present, is on trial for his role in the alleged murder of dozens of residents of a small Iraqi city. In the wake of an attempted assassination of Saddam by members of the (now ruling) Dawa party of Iraq, Iraqi forces under Saddam’s command reportedly murdered men and young boys. In Haditha, in the wake of a roadside bomb that killed a Marine, other Marines—under the command of George W. Bush—reportedly murdered dozens, including children and babies. Perhaps, when the Saddam trial is over, Ramsey Clark will have a new client?"

Found on Antiwar.com

Smedley Butler: War Is A Racket

"In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict.At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the UnitedStates during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains intheir income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified theirtax returns no one knows."

"How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them duga trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in arat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights,ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of themparried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded orkilled in battle?"

Someone posted this in a comment on Stan Goff's blog, Feral Scholar. Gotta love this general.

No Hope for Help from the Democrats--Sunsara Taylor

"But don't take my word for it--listen to the top Democrats themselves."

"While sucking up to Pat Robertson's vicious religious lunacy on the 700 Club, Howard Dean insisted, "I don't think that the first thing on our agenda is gonna be to get in a big partisan fight about whether the President should be impeached or not." Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi's spokesperson put it more bluntly, "Impeachment is off the table; she is not interested in pursuing it." Even John Conyers has conceded in advance, "Rather than seeking impeachment, I have chosen to propose a comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses."

Sunsara Taylor continues later in her Counterpunch article:

"But we must be clear: it is only us -- not the Democrats or the fall elections -- that can do it or that even wants to. The reason the Democrats won't challenge Bush is not mainly because they think that will hurt their chances of getting elected. The problem is much deeper than that. The Democrats support most of Bush's program. While they have differences with Bush, even sharp ones at times on some things, they agree with Bush on the fundamental question of upholding and expanding the U.S. empire, and they agree with Bush on the current unjust war for empire that is being waged under the guise of a "war on terrorism.'"

Sunsara Taylor is with World Can't Wait [To Drive Out the Bush Regime]. In this article she announces a call for an October 5th "strike." I do think it is a great idea--but I wrote to her about the organization's focus on getting rid of the "Bush Regime." After her great explanation of the bi-partisan nature of the sell-out, focusing just on Bush in their public profile lets Dems off the hook and muddies her otherwise clear expose of the systemic problem we are facing. I'll let you know what I hear from her.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Universal Soldier--Donovan

He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Canada's Largest Union Votes to Boycott Israel

"The Ontario division of Canada's largest union has voted to support an international campaign that is boycotting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians."

"Delegates to the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario convention in Ottawa voted overwhelmingly Saturday to support the campaign until it sees Israel recognizing the Palestinians' right to self-determination. The Ontario group represents more than 200,000 workers."

Found on What Really Happened.com

If This Doesn't Break Your Heart, You Don't Have One

"A family trip in a car, a used Mitsubishi Lancer purchased just two hours before that first trip - eight people in one car, five adults and three toddlers, and one "targeted strike," so targeted that it destroyed everything. A moment before the missile hit, Mariya was still standing on her mother's knees and dancing in the back seat of the Mitsubishi, and a moment later she lay next to her dead mother, hovering between life and death, with the rest of her family lying bleeding alongside her."

Israel continues to kill civilians with impunity in its "fight against terrorism." Ha'aretz covers these incidents. Do U.S. papers? Not like this, they don't. Multiply this by 1000s all over the Middle East where "precision" airstrikes are used.

Found on cursor.org

Apocalypse Again

"Haditha was shockingly different - a feral place where the marines hardly washed; a number had abandoned the official living quarters to set up separate encampments with signs ordering outsiders to keep out; and a daily routine punctured by the emergency alarm of the dam itself with its antiquated and crumbling machinery."

The above description of the situation around Haditha Dam a couple months after the Haditha Massacre, closes with the following lines, which remind us what war ultimately is:

"The troops he [a civilian engineer] was quartered with terrified him, so much so that he would not let his name be quoted for fear of reprisal."

"He was keeping a secret dossier of breaches he said he had witnessed, or learned of. He planned to present it to the authorities when he returned to the US."

"Marines are good at killing," he said. "Nothing else. They like it."

From The Telegraph in London.

U.S. Military's Ethics Training: A Hapless and Hollow Gesture

From William Arkin in the Washington Post, pointing out flaws in military's response so far and adding this about the whole venture:

"The incident in Haditha hasn't lost the war, nor even undermined the hearts and minds in the country. The assumption on the "street" in Iraq is already that the U.S. military is trigger happy, that it is already indiscriminately killing civilians, that it is unaccountable. Iraq's own ambassador in the United States tells the story of one of his 21 year old cousins being killed in cold blood by Marines in the very town of Haditha during a search of the family home."

"I am sympathetic to his grief, and I await the happy day when he and his government ask us to leave."

I do have to disagree with this paragraph, however:

"In the name of honor and a grand experiment, we have placed American soldiers and Marines in harms way without the means to be successful. I don't mean they lack body armor or weapons. I mean they lack a strategy and a goal that is attainable, where an action every day represents progress towards that end."

There never was any honor associated with the unprovoked invasion of the helpless and poor country of Iraq and if it was a "grand experiment," I think that makes the Bushies and their Congressional enablers mad scientists.

Unspeakable.

Scene of another war crime.

Two women and an about-to-be delivered baby died here, killed by Bush and Cantwell's army.

Picture from Antiwar.com