joker jeff e-mailed again.
he was on a high horse, all excited that 'my girl amy' goodman had reported on ehren watada 'and i don't see in that snapshot anything about ehren being charged.'
did you read the snapshot, jeff?
do you know how to read?
'a program' refers to democracy now. members who caught the show e-mailed c.i. asking when ehren watada got charged?
let's go over what jeff's 'girl' told listeners & viewers today:
In an update in a story we’ve been following: First Lt. Ehren Watada has been charged with three offenses for refusing to fight in Iraq. In June he became the first US military officer to openly oppose the war in Iraq. He was charged with Conduct Unbecoming an Officer, Missing Movement, and Contempt toward Officials.
jeff's 'girl' is referring, on tuesday of this week, to the charges against ehren watada in the article 32 hearing that began and concluded last thursday. people who have been following this story, unlike jeff's girl, were shocked by this item because they thought a decision had been reached in the article 32 hearing.
this was really bad reporting. maybe there's a reluctance to tell listeners and viewers how much they missed in the 5-plus weeks where democracy now became look what israel's done now day after damn day?
goodman's reporting on what happened last week and reporting on it badly. she needed to say that those were the charges that are being decided currently. these are not new charges but people hearing goodman today thought they were. jess said there were 35 e-mails on this to the common ills. that may not seem like a lot but most members have given up on that show.
there were just too many problems for too long. c.i. still supports the show but the community doesn't and that's why it is not covered or linked to in entries anymore.
it wasn't 1 thing. it built and built and built. then came the news that they had been contacted about nancy youssef's article on the fact that the us military was keeping a body count on how many iraqi civilians had died. it was bad enough that the program didn't cover that news - and it was news! - on their own. the fact that it had been pointed out to them and pointed out that the journalist was some 1 they had on their show regularly, that was the beginning of the end.
c.i. defended it in the round-robin and in polly's brew and the community was outraged - with the show and with c.i. then, for some stupid reason, the program used their daily e-mail to promote a site that's highly objectionable to the community (and i'd guess to chris floyd but i could be wrong - he was banned by that site). the site is not supportive of reproductive rights or of women. the site raises money for democratic candidates and only democratic candidates which, as jess pointed out, could get the show in trouble with the npr stations that air it since they were sending traffic to a site raising monies for democratic candidates and they offered nothing for republican candidates, green candidates or any other party. that would get them in serious trouble with npr. they are supposed to news program.
that site is hated and it's got a host of ethical issues according to the mainstream press. on my end, i just know that i personally wrote the man who runs the site to tell him about the treatment of west and he never bothered to reply that's when i thought 'chicken shit' - he wasn't the only 1 - west pushed 4 sites, the common ills, mine and 2 others. only c.i. and i bothered to call the so-called lefty site out on spying on a kid, a little teenager, on trying to get dirt on him, on trying to bully him. i didn't know west until i got the e-mail that went out to all 4 sites. where he apologizes because now a lefty site was saying they wouldn't link to any of the 4 unless he groveled (and he groveled in that e-mail). i read that and thought, 'fuck 'em.' seriously, they didn't link to me so i might have been able to take the attitude of how dare these grown ups bully a little kid. i think that would have been my attitude anyway.
but the other 3 sites? they were linked and noted by the lefty site. and 2 of them stayed silent. they didn't care that some kid who was a big fan of their writing (he isn't anymore) tried to get some attention for them and because he made a comment that got some 1's humorless panties in a wad (NO LEFTY SITE SHOULD EVER PRAISE MICHELLE MALKIN AND IF THEY DO, THEY DAMN WELL BETTER BE PREPARED FOR CRITICISM) he was now being blackmailed.
and i think i would have responded as i did regardless.
but look at c.i. the common ills was mentioned at that big site in entries and also linked on their blog roll. the easiest thing to do (the thing the other 2 did) would have been to stay silent and do nothing. c.i. didn't do that.
c.i. noted it, noted it wasn't left behavior (to bully a teenager, to try to dig up dirt on him) and noted it wouldn't be stood for. c.i. said 'west you're a member now' and stood with west (whom c.i. had never heard of until i called - c.i. hadn't even read west's e-mail that went to all 4 sites because there's too much e-mail each day at the common ills).
west wrote about this in polly's brew when democracy now chose to push 1 of the 2 sites that never bothered to stand up for him. with his permission, i'll note that he called the 2 who stayed silent 'cowards' and said they weren't interested in anything other than trying to have careers as talk show guests. that's all they are interested in.
i used to get so mad at c.i. for turning down interview requests for 'c.i.' but i see the point now. (besides the fact that c.i. hates press and has always done as little press as possible in real life for years and years.) i was thinking, 'if you took just some of those requests, just 1 of them a month, think how huge the common ills would be!' it wouldn't matter.
it wouldn't matter to c.i. because that's not the thing. (and like community member brad, c.i. worries that it's too big now. for the first 3 months or so, c.i. was able to reply to every 1 who wrote. that's no longer possible and there are e-mails in the public account that c.i. never even reads.) popularity wasn't the issue. once it was obvious it was a community and not a blog, c.i.'s concern was that it was a community of people who really did give a damn. who'd do more than 1 little online activity a month and kid themselves that they were active.
the community is huge and you have members pushing themselves to go the extra mile. for some that's talking about the war in their own circles. others got comfortable with that and moved on to public speaking. you have people going to demonstrations that never attended a protest. that's the community c.i. wanted, big or small, people who put their money where there mouths were, got off their butts, and got active in their own lives.
i was e-mailing with brady last week and this week because he lives in conn. and fly boy (and his family vote there) and he wanted to compare notes and just talk about lamont. i explained why my in-laws voted for lamont (because we asked for it as a wedding gift) and why fly boy supported him. and during that back and forth, brady talked about his canvasing near the end of july, where he went door to door for 6 blocks asking people who they planned to vote for (or if they planned to vote) and why. he said he'd never done anything like that.
in january 2005, brady declared (at the common ills) that he wouldn't vote for joe lieberman. that was a huge step for him and we e-mailed about that. there was no challenger to lieberman then, brady had always voted straight ticket (democrat). he's voted for every 1 that was tossed at him by the democratic party. in january 2005, he stated 'no more' to that. and it has just been this continual progression for him. and when you hear members' stories, you hear that a lot.
that's what c.i.'s goal was. not to raise money for a candidate. c.i. doesn't even endorse candidates. seriously. in 2003, c.i. was already donating to a campaign. i couldn't find out who because i hadn't decided - and wouldn't until 2004. c.i. would say, 'you need to pick the 1 that speaks to you.' there was no effort to sway me. i knew c.i. had thought john edwards had a compelling 'narrative' back in 2002 so i thought that was 1 possibility. i figured howard dean was another and john kerry. so i said i was trying to decide between those 3. still nothing from c.i. except for sending me campaign literature on every 1. i tried to get a spoon feeding and c.i. said 'read the literature and then call back.' i did. of the 3, c.i. listed the positives and the minuses of each 1. i had no idea who c.i. was supporting. (by this time elaine knew because she'd selected her own candidate to support. she wouldn't tell me who she was supporting or who c.i. was.)
but that's really true and why people don't need to worry (some still do) that come 2008, ___ will be endorsed. it won't happen. not from c.i. it's your decision and even if you make the wrong 1 (in c.i.'s view), you'll learn something. you'll learn how to support your candidate, how to research issues and identify your choice. you'll learn about disappointments (they always disappoint) and you'll learn about yourself.
the common ills is not a 'vote for ___' site.
i'm completely different. if the democratic primary (for president) were held today, i'd be voting for russ feingold and i have no problem saying that. (2008 is far off and other factors could emerge. i'm only stating who i would vote for if it were today.)
but the common ills came about because a number of us were telling c.i. 'you should blog.' c.i. started speaking out against the war publicly right before the invasion. the minute the invasion began, it was go here, go there, go everywhere and speak against the war. and c.i. was everywhere. we worried about it, friends of c.i.'s, because everything (everything) was put on hold due to the war. somewhere near the end of 2003, c.i. said 'i'll just do it until the election in 2004.' so most of us shut up. but i still couldn't believe the schedule c.i. was doing.
elaine, c.i. and i were together on election night (at what should have been the victory party) and every 1 was such a sad sack. the next morning they still were. i saw c.i. speak to a group of young people who were at the end of their ropes and inspire them. i said again, 'you need to blog.'
c.i. had no idea what a blog was. the whole time we were saying 'you need to blog' (and this got up to over 50 people by the election), c.i. would say, 'i don't know what a blog is. i don't have time to learn.' so after the election, c.i. met with other friends working to end the war and they reviewed what worked and what didn't. the big question of that meeting was 'what didn't i do that i could have?' for c.i. that was blog. immediately after that meeting, c.i. created the common ills.
there was no time to learn. i have no idea how c.i. ended up with blogger (nor does c.i. - it popped up in a search). c.i. started to read the tips and advice and thought, 'if i do, i'll never do it.' so you get that 1st entry, from when it was going to be a blog. that was friday. on saturday, c.i. felt a little more comfortable and blogged 3 times. and by the third time, comments (back then the site allowed comments) were going up. (dona and jim were two of the original members of the community.) e-mails were coming in.
c.i. didn't know shit from blogging but c.i. knows communities. and it was obvious this was going to be a community within a couple of weeks as people would write in and say, 'could you tackle this?' or 'could you address this?'
'here come the madmen' - in the middle of the slaughter of falluja - was a brave post and people grasped that. that, more than anything else, helped the common ills find an audience.
in a landscape where most on the left were wrapping themselves in the flag or hiding behind it, c.i. was opposed to the war. it probably helped that in the coming weeks, every 1 moved on (including move on) and that dopey idiot (you know the woman I mean) wrote that thing about how we can't leave iraq. every 1 was doing some version of that it seemed like. c.i. hit hard on the war.
that's the only focus (or main) now because there's so little focus elsewhere. (and that's never been more true than in the last 6 weeks). after the 2004 election, the 'message' was 'don't talk about the war, don't question it and think of how to appeal to 'vangical voters.' c.i. didn't play that bullshit. and the little slam from the bull-moose flunky at c.i. for calling james dobson a fool (the bull-moose flunkie responded with 'we have to respect and listen to the james dobsons of the world') only helped add members to the common ills. (most attacks have had that result.)
when your supposed brave and independent lefty net was all praising the telecom lobbyist simon rosenberg, c.i. wasn't. the bull-moose flunky even wrote a dopey thing and then got bent out of shape saying he hadn't endorsed simon. (he had, read that dopey post.) and the dope didn't even know that simon was a war cheerleader. c.i. wrote the dope back and asked if the dope was aware of that and the dope replied no and acted shocked. but the dope never put that up at his site. if you wanted to know where simon stood (publicly) on the war, you couldn't find it from the supposed brave lefties.
people noticed that. they know they're not getting talking points. they know the community decides if there's an endorsement. they know c.i. wasn't rooting for howard dean (a friend of c.i.'s was in that race) but when then community backed howard dean, they saw c.i. back dean for dnc chair.
they saw the bullshit of others trying to attack the common ills or rip it off (which c.i. alluded to last night - c.i. must have been pissed because it's never been noted at the site before even though members note it all the time). or take rachel.
rachel was a huge fan of the majority report. (was.) she posted and posted 1 night on that blog asking them to address a topic (as did other people according to her). finally sam seder did. he read her last post on the air but, somehow, managed to avoid reading 'the common ills' which was clearly mentioned in that post.
c.i. knew --- [deleted so i don't get yelled at by c.i.]. that show knew the common ills as did several frequent guests. but sam wasn't going to plug it. that was noticed. that's why no 1 in the community is going to rush forward to try to save sam's bullshit show which is on the cutting block now.
he read rachel's entire post but left out 'the common ills' (i believe he substituted 'the web') and that was noted. a lot of members were listening to that show then (and c.i. promoted that show). (heavily.) while janeane was on the show, the show would continue to be promoted. with janeane gone, even c.i. won't plug that show.
so to take this back to west, c.i.'s earned the following. and with west it was stand by west and lose a big link and big coverage. which was more important?
c.i. didn't know west or know of west. but c.i. knew a kid was being bullied and it was a kid who was trying to get the word out on 4 blogs he liked. for that he was being bullied (and dirt sought on him, the round-robin printed those e-mails - it's amazing what presumably smart people will put into writing). there was no blinking. c.i. returned my call, said 'i don't have time to read the e-mail tonight, walk me through it.' i did. c.i. posted, and noted the link would obviously be lost as a result but oh well. and the next day the biggie delinked from the common ills.
c.i.'s never complained about it. if it's brought up, c.i. laughs about it. (jim and i both wish c.i. would do less laughing when some 1 rips off the common ills - and it gets ripped off a lot.)
in addition to the e-mails trying to get dirt on west, several sites passed on the biggie's e-mails saying 'do not link to the common ills.' and it was noted that some of the sites passing on the e-mails, claiming to be friends, stopped linking. that was fine. c.i. didn't give a damn.
c.i. said to members 'do not promote the site to other sites' and presumably all members have followed that for over a year now. when the complaints went into beth (the ombudsperson) c.i. told her, for the record, that if it helped any, the community would see who just wanted to promote themselves (people always ask for stuff to be highlighted at the common ills) and who really supported the community. members paid attention.
they don't go to the site mike's dubbed 'lotta links.' they're aware that the minute the do-not-link e-mail went out, the common ills never got a link again. despite that, c.i. continued to link to them in entries. that only stopped when it was discovered that they'd been contacted (repeatedly by various members) to link to nancy a. youssef's article and didn't. they haven't been linked to since and ava and jess will tell you that not a week goes by where they don't offer up some 'great' piece of writing that they want linked.
that's really amazing when you think about it. that people think they can use the community and give nothing back. and they did get to for months. for over a year, they linked to nothing at the common ills but got a link every week (at least one) from c.i. when they'd e-mail begging. that only changed because they didn't link to the youssef article.
that's c.i. that's always been c.i. what you do or don't do for c.i. doesn't matter. if you take a holiday from reality, that does matter.
so to jeff who feels his 'girl' informed him and c.i. was asleep on the job by not noting that ehren watada was charged, ehren watada was not charged this week. those were the 3 charges going into thursday's article 32 hearing which jeff's 'girl' didn't cover.
i'll close this out by stressing what i said to beth for her last column because several members really wanted to know if c.i. would prefer to focus on something other than iraq? c.i. focuses on iraq. it's the whole reason that every state but alaska has been visited at least twice since the war began. but yeah, there are other topics. but the focus is decided by the community and they made that decision before independent media decided to ignore iraq (around the start of june). c.i. writes for the community and speaks for the community in those entries. it's a community and c.i.'s the designated voice. i can write whatever i want here (and do). i don't have to speak for any 1 and if a reader's mad, oh well. even as large as the membership is today, c.i. knows the community. we can be working on something at the third estate sunday review and it will be 'no i can't be a part of that' because of a member or 'no, i can't go along with that joke' for the same reason.
i see it as burden. c.i.'s attitude is that the whole thing stops in november of 2008 (i'm not sure that's happening) and until then, it's the role assigned. (c.i.'s always been good about living up to roles and expecations.)
beth wrote that it was probably easier to have a life and a public life offline - in terms of turning down interviews and all that other stuff. there's no need for c.i.. to chase celebrity. and that's probably got some truth in it but as i said back to her, that was always true. it was true in college, it was true after college. from the moment i knew c.i. it was always, 'well ask her what she thinks' or 'well take a picture of her.' celebrity status was never an issue with c.i. and there's no scrapbooks laying around. i did try, early on, to do 1. and i got a lecture from c.i. - who didn't even keep yearbooks to avoid living in the past. i'm not joking. that was the 1st big surprise in college. 'where are your yearbooks?' there were none. i was told something like 'i don't want to be 1 of those people who pulls out the yearbook and lives in the past.'
so that's basically what the community is. it's c.i. keeping the nose down, doing the work (and people like me just have fun doing whatever we want). it has always been about the work for c.i. and that's probably why c.i. can still listen to democracy now even though the community turned against it.
the work right now, the work since before the invasion, has been stopping the war. that's why, unlike 1 silly ninny, c.i. didn't write, during camp casey the 1st, that cindy sheehan wasn't calling for the troops to come home. when a silly ninny wrote that and then, when corrected at the ninny's own site about that, the ninny responsed that it was up to our elected leaders and not cindy sheehan, the silly ninny got pulled from the blogroll (c.i. says 'permalinks') and never got linked again. you can do whatever you want and c.i. really doesn't give a damn. but when you hurt the anti-war movement, it does make a difference.
so joker-jeff, love your 'girl' and take from her what you can. but don't kid yourself that today's headline was reality. it wasn't. it was, however, a big joke.
"In an update in a story we’ve been following:"
that is a joke. they haven't followed the story. they didn't cover the demonstrations in support of watada last week and they didn't cover his article 32 hearing.
sunday, we wrote 'Iraq, the war independent media forgot' (the third estate sunday review) the following:
Watada now awaits the decision of whether or not he will face a court-martial and, a tip for independent media, when the word comes down, if you manage to cover it, don't you dare say, "And now on a story we've been covering . . ." because you haven't been covering it. Your performance has been disgraceful with few exceptions.
maybe goodman thinks 'following' is a lesser extreme than 'covering'? i don't. i think it's shameful that watada's article 32 took place last week (with the charges she's offering as news today) and she couldn't be bothered but now she wants to misinform her audience and also say 'a story we've been following.' she didn't follow it. she let it fall through the cracks.
here's c.i.'s snapshot for today:
Tuesday, August 22, 2005. A day after the Bully Boy's inner-dialogue in front of the world, chaos and violence continue in Iraq, British whispers say there may be a pull out, a witness says he didn't believe Jake Kovco's roommates told the truth about what happened when Kovco died April 21st, and Ehren Watada's father Bob continues traveling and speaking to raise awareness about his son's case.
Starting with the Bully Boy of the United States, Oliver Knox (AFP) reports on the "revolt" Bullly Boy's facing with some Republicans (Chris Shays) calling for a timeframe for withdrawal, some cheerleaders lagging and the general mood of the United States.
On the mood, CNN's latest polling (released Monday) found that only 35% of those surveyed "favor the war in Iraq" while 61% were opposed to it which is "the highest opposition noted in any CNN poll since the conflict began more than three years ago."
Though Bully Boy boasted yesterday that, as long as he was the leader, US troops would remain in Iraq, there is good news in the CNN poll for Bully Boy as well. He can break that promise without shocking many -- "Most Americans (54 percent) don't consider him honest, most (54 percent) don't think he shares their values and most (58 percent) say he does not inspire confidence."
On the topic of the cheerleaders . . . Did someone cry "War Cheerleader Down!"?
Or was that the sound of Thomas Friedman ripping another pair of tights/pantyhose? Robert Parry (Consortium News) examines the laughable Thomas Friedman's record of 'analysis' and concludes that it's past time that Friedman and his fellow War Cheerleaders, who got it all wrong from the start, "have the decency to admit their incompetence and resign." Parry digs into the writings/record of Friedman and notes that: "Friedman, despite botching the biggest foreign-policy story in the post-Cold War era, . . . retains his prized space on the New York Times Op-Ed page".
As the War Cheerleaders cheer a little lower and think a little slower (is that even possible?), the Guardian of London reports that "a senior military commander" (British) has stated that British forces in Iraq could drop from "7,000 to between 3,00 and 4,000 by the middle of next year". This as another British commander, "British Royal Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Fry," calls Iraq "a civil war in minature." Fry tells Robert Burns (Associated Press) that it's "important that the conflict not be described as 'civil war'" (this after doing just that) because, among other things, it "encourages . . . adventurous media reporting." Perish the thought.
As one British commander offers (carless?) whispers of a partial pull-out and another wants to play word games, Bloomberg reports that "U.K. voter support for Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party fell to its lowest in 19 years" and that "[t]he Liberal Democrats, who opposed the war in Iraq and have criticized Blair's relationship with U.S. President George W. Bush, gained more than the Conservatives in the past month." The BBC breaks down the poll's findings as follows: "Tories on 40% -- nine points ahead of Labour on 31%, with the Lib Dems on 22%." The Times of London, on the same poll, reports: "Nearly three-quarters of the public believe that Tony Blair's foreign policy has made Britain more of a target for terrorists". Support for Blair, like support for Bully Boy, has fallen.
CBS and AP report a hidden bomb claimed the lives of two civilians in Baghdad. Reuters notes a mortar attack in Muqdadiya which has wounded at least fifteen and a roadside bomb "near Yusufiya" which has wounded two civilians and killed a third. AFP reports what we'll call a 'corpse bomb' in Muqdadiya which caused damages to a police vehicle.
AFP reports that eight "young Shiite men from Najaf . . . were pulled from buses by gunmen late Monday . . . and shot dead in the street." CBS and AP note that, in Baghdad, an engineer "was shot dead while . . . in his car" while "crossfire" claimed the lives of two civilians in Amarah. Reuters notes the following: Ramadi -- a body guard of the governor of the Anbar Province was killed in a drive-by; near Kirkuk -- two civilians shot dead; Baquba -- a police major was shot dead (his driver wounded); and in Mosul -- a civilian shot dead.
Reuters notes that Dawoud Salman (Shi'ite Endowment employee) was found dead in Baghdad while another corpse was found "near Hilla."
Turning to kidnapping news, the priest kidnapped last Tuesday (hit the wires on Friday, the Pope issued a plea for his return this weekend) in Baghdad is apparently alive. Reuters reports that a ransom note has been recived and that the Misna news agency has spoken to Father Saad Syrop Hanna.
Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer known to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Despite confusion in the e-mails, he has not been charged with anything today. (A program announced he had, they were covering Thursday's Article 32 hearing.) Lt. Col. Mark Keith is weighing the testimony and will issue a conclusion on whether or not action should be pursued. Tuesday The KPFA Evening News had a report on Watada and they spoke to his father Bob Watada who supports his son and is currently speaking in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bob Watada stated of the illegal war, "They're killing innocent men, women and children -- that's a violation of the Geenva convention which we agreed to. We're using depleted uranium, we're using cluster bombs, we're using phosphoric, we used to call it naplam, but they're phosphoric gases to burn the people. These are all war crimes. Talk about the torture that's going on in Abu Ghraib and other places. You know the rapes of the civilians and so forth. And Ehren would be forced to participate in this illegal war and would be forced to participate in these war crimes that are going on every day."
Bob Watada is attempting to raise awareness of his son's case and upcoming events include:
1-3 pm brown bag lunch & educational event Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County 467 Sebastopol Ave.,
Santa Rosa Contact: Elizabeth 707-575-8902
6-9pm Buena Vista United Methodist Church- Reception & Event 2311 Buena Vista Ave.
Alameda Contact: Rev. Michael Yoshii 510/522-2688
10:30-noon UC Berkeley gathering with students and campus organizers Heller Lounge, Student Union Building, UC Berkeley Contact: Nina Falleunbaum 510-812-8026
Event at UC Berkeley Sproul Plaza Contact: Wesley Ueunten 510-579-2711 7-9:30pm Reception & Educational Event St. Paul's Church, 405 S. 10th St,
San Jose Contact: Rose Takamoto 408-725-2933
noon-3pm World Can't WaitYouth & Students Conference San Francisco (site TBA) Contact: Jessalyn Gagui 415-286-3408
7pm Reception & Educational Event Newman Center, 5900 Newman Ct.,
Sacramento Contact: Sacramento-Yolo Peace Action 916-448-7157
A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found here.
"I'm trying to publicize my son's cause and publicize what's going on in Iraq," he tells
Judith Scherr (Berkeley Daily Planet). Scherr reports that Ehren Watada's civilian attorney, Eric Seitz, told her that, if there is a court-martial, "our intent" is to "put the Iraq War on trial". Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is preparing an editorial to run on Ehren Watada's case.
We will again note: : Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use email@example.com to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org. will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
In other resistance news, Jeff Paterson (Indybay IMC) reports on this past weekend's rally "outside Fort Lewis, Washington" in support of Suzanne Swift which calls for "an honorable discharge for the Iraq veteran and sexual assault victim who went AWOL instead of returning to Iraq." Among those taking part were Swift's mother Sara Rich and CODEPINK's Ann Wright (US army Col. retired). [And yesterday, Jeff Paterson, of Not In Our Name, was wrongly billed by me as "Jeff Patterson." My apologies.]
In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Bagdad death of Jake Kovco continues and apparently the only one not allowed to traipse through the crime scene was the officer making the assessment. Tracy Ong (The Australian) reports that, in his testimony to the inquiry, Major Mark Willetts was "refused permission to enter the room at the Australian embassy compound in Baghdad but observed it from outside and saw photos." Australia's ABC notes that Willetts testified that while he wasn't allowed to enter "the room was occupied by military people, with no investigative skills". Paul Mulvey (Perth Now) reports that Willetts encounters with Kovco's roommates (Soldiers 17 & 19) weren't productive and that Willets "believed . . . they were witholding evidence" because "I find it difficult [to believe] that two men in the room would not have had more information in regards to what happened." For those who've fogotten, both roommates have stated they saw nothing (19 has stated he was getting a drink out of the room's mini-fridge, 17 states he was looking elsewhere ). The AAP quotes Willetts stating: "It's a small room; there were three people in there; it would have been very difficult not to have known what was going on in there." Tracey Ong notes Willetts' testimony regarding Soldier 21 who has now retracted his statement that he heard "Allah Akbar" yelled "10 seconds before the shooting" -- of Soldier 21, Willetts testified: "He was quite adament, in fact he was emphatic he heard Allah Akbar."
Finally, CBS and AP report this on Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi: "An Iraqi investigative panel has launched an independent probe into the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl allegedly by American soldiers currently in U.S. custody, who will be tried in absentia if necessary, an official said Tuesday." The probe actually began Thursday and is expected to last at least a week. Abeer's 15th birthday would have been last Saturday.
Robin Morgan reported the following (Guardian of London via Common Dreams): "The victim's name was Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Abeer means 'fragrance of flowers'. She was 14 years old. According to a statement by one of the accused, the soldiers first noticed her at a checkpoint. On March 12, after playing cards while slugging whisky, they changed into civvies and burst into Abeer's home. They killed her mother, father and five-year-old sister and 'took turns' raping Abeer. Finally, according to the statement, they murdered her, drenched the bodies with kerosene, and set them on fire. Then the GIs grilled chicken wings."
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