cindy sheehan on trial means we're all on trial

c.i. called with a request today. busy in d.c., wondering if i could grab something 'and it's fine if you can't.' please, i can and will. glad too. there wasn't time for it in the snapshot (which jess had to post because c.i.'s e-mailed post did not hit - it may end up at the site later - if so, if all do, you'll see that snapshot 6 to 7 times).

cindy sheehan is on trial. i'll start by setting it up. on the international women's day, march 6th, this year, cindy sheehan and other women attempted to present a petition to the then american ambassador to the united nations, john bolton. you can find an audio report of this in the kpfa evening news for tonight.

this is from kwtx's 'Sheehan Goes On Trial In New York City:'

Last week anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was a spectator in a Waco courtroom, where two Texas protesters were on trial for obstruction of a public road in connection with demonstrations near the president’s Crawford-area ranch.
On Wednesday Sheehan was in court again, this time in New York City and this time as a defendant.
She and three other women are charged with trespassing in connection with a protest at the US Mission to the United Nations, where the women tried to deliver an anti-war petition with more than 70,000 signatures on March 6.

that's an ap article and the international herald tribune has a longer version of it. i'll summarize that.

the prosecution of the case is being handled by a caroline han who is an assistant district attorney and she's told the manhattan court that the 'crime' was not 'their message' but the fact that they blocked the entrance to the building which did not 'recognize the rights of others' and she's pressing for a conviction that would lead to a year of jail time for each of the 4 women.

cindy's lawyer is robert gottlieb and he says that when the videotape of the event is shown to the court, the prosecution's charges will fall apart. he also noted that they followed the same routine they did in 2005, they contacted the mission, stated they had a petition and that they would be delivering it. in 2005, they were allowed to. in 2006, the building was locked and riot gear garbed police showed up.

this is a press release put out by codepink:

For Immediate Release: December 5th, 2006
CONTACT: CODEPINK Medea Benjamin 415-235-6517 Dana Balicki 707-280-9074
As John Bolton Resigns, Four Peace Women on Trial for Delivering Anti-War Petition to US Mission to the UN
WASHINGTON - December 5 - Cindy Sheehan and CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin Say Charges Should be Dropped and Ambassador John Bolton Should Apologize
When: December 4-December 8

Where: New York City Criminal Court, 100 Centre Street, Room 535
On December 4, the same day that UN Ambassador John Bolton announced his resignation, the trial began of 4 women arrested at the US Mission to the UN. On March 6, 2006, in celebration of International Women's Day, the women's peace group CODEPINK had collected 72,000 signatures on a petition entitled Women Say No to War and about 50 women attempted to deliver the petition to the office of John Bolton. Instead, the group was stopped by the New York City police and four of the leaders were arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing government administration. The trial began on Monday, December 4 in the New York City Criminal Court and will continue until Friday, December 8. The four women charged are "peace mom" Cindy Sheehan, CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin, Episcopal priest Patti Ackerman and Missy Beattie of Gold Star Families for Peace.
"We were a peaceful group of women who simply wanted to give our petition to a representative of the US Mission headed by John Bolton," said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. "But in classic Bolton-style diplomacy, instead of taking our petition and thanking us for our efforts, the UN Mission called the police to arrest us. It’s outrageous."
Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, was hurt by the police as they dragged her across the concrete pavement. "It's terrible that women working for peace and representing the sentiments of the majority of people in this country--and the world--should be treated like dangerous criminals. Instead of being on trial, we should get an apology from Mr. Bolton before he leaves office."
Attorney Robert Gottlieb, one of the lawyers for the defendants, can be reached at 212-566-7766.

my 2 cents worth? when cindy sheehan's on trial, we're all on trial.

gottlieb says there's a tape and i believe that but there shouldn't have to be video.

a public building meaning 'open to the public,' the women wanted to deliver a petition (no danger there), they called ahead of time, the place decides to shut down to avoid them. if the place's business was interfered with, that came when the building decided to go into lockdown.

if a manhattan prosecutor wants to prosecute some 1, prosecute the people who made the call that u.s. citizens were not welcome.

this is utter nonsense. no different than when the defense department decides to spy (illegally) spy on peace groups. the d.a.'s office has questions to answer. the charges against sheehan, medea benjamin, missy comley beattie and patti ackerman (clergy, for goodness sake!) should have been dismissed.

did orders come from bloomberg to prosecute? did orders come from somewhere? if not then the d.a.'s office is just flaunting their ignorance, their hostility to free speech and demonstrating that they will waste nyc tax payer monies on cases that shouldn't have even been heard while real crimes (like the police killing the man on the day of his wedding, for instance) don't get the attention they deserve. if the assistant prosecutor had any self-respect she'd bow out of the proceedings. if she had any guts, she'd resign.

let me say it again, when cindy sheehan is on trial, we're all on trial.

when peace is prosecutable, then we're all risk.

and the d.a.'s office is announcing that, were ghandi alive today, they'd be trying to toss him in jail as well.

robert parry's in the snapshot, read it. i'll just note that what happened with iran-contra did matter and does matter and that i give robert parry tremendous credit for not rolling over the way a number of people did (including people we're supposed to applaud). i'm talking about the press here. of course the dems rolled over - where's the surprise there?

but the press wasn't interested. not just the mainstream, but the 'independent' press.

it's easy to lose sight of iran-contra which has so many facets (all illegal). but 1 of the effects of iran-contra was death for many. robert parry doesn't forget those deaths and doesn't say 'that's water under the bridge' or 'that's ancient history.' i have serious problems with people who do.
politicians? i think the craven factor is built in. it's been sometime since we've seen real leaders.
my dream candidate for 2008 took himself out of the running, russ feingold.

but for the press, especially the 'independent' press, to roll over was disgusting.

it's saying that all the lives lost had no meaning. apparently because they were 'other' lives? because they were latinos?

robert gates is a disgrace and will always be 1. that so many wanted to leap into the disgrace pool with him is shocking. so be grateful for robert parry. in fact, even though it's in the snapshot, i'll note his latest, "Democrats Cave on Gates Nomination" (Consortium News):

Among many gaps in the questioning, the Democrats didn't press Gates on whether he shared the neoconservative vision of violently remaking the Middle East, whether he endorsed the Military Commissions Act's elimination of habeas corpus rights to fair trials, whether he supports warrantless eavesdropping by the Pentagon's National Security Agency, whether he agrees with Bush's claim of "plenary" -- or unlimited -- powers as a Commander in Chief who can override laws and the U.S. Constitution. When Gates did stake out substantive positions, he almost invariably lined up with Bush's "stay-until-victory" plan in Iraq. Though insisting that "all the options are on the table," Gates rejected any timetable for military withdrawal as some Democrats have recommended. He also echoed Bush's argument that an American pullout would lead to a regional cataclysm.
Instead, Gates advocated an open-ended U.S. military presence in Iraq. "We are still going to have to have some level of American support there for the Iraqi military and that could take quite some time," Gates said.
Democrats couldn't even get a commitment from Gates to turn over Pentagon documents for congressional oversight. Gates qualified his answer with phrases such as "to the limits of my authority" -- suggesting that the Bush administration might well resist demands from Congress for sensitive papers about the war -- and that Gates wouldn't interfere.

read the last paragraph again to grasp how much the democrats gave up. they're supposedly going to be using those investigative powers come january, but they wouldn't even pin gates down on that. they didn't immediately start demanding that he answer 'yes or no.' speaking with aaron glants and larry bensky yesterday, i believe robert parry noted that this is an excuse gates can hide behind 'oh bully boy doesn't want it release' or any 1 in the administration. if gates wants to be secretary of defense and the secretary reports to congress (and they can go into closed door session anytime they want), they should have demanded a yes or no answer. not 'yes but ...' they didn't. worry about whether they'll use that investigative power come january.

and check out elaine's 'John R. MacArthur on the "Centrists".'

i'm tired tonight but i'm going to note 1 other thing. wally and ty told me about this on the phone. c.i. can be the most polite and tactful person, truly. today, they saw c.i. in a different light. they stopped off to speak to a friend of c.i.'s and the friend has a speech coming up that's pretty important. he asked c.i. to look over it. c.i. asked for a print out that could be marked up. then c.i.'s reading it and marking it and marking it and marking it.

c.i. was not 'tactful' or 'polite' and trashed both the speech and the staff that had given it thumbs up. c.i. said flat out, 'this looks like some 1 went online, pulled an item from a position paper here, a position paper there and just copied and pasted the whole thing together. it has no theme. it has no message. it's cold and boring and nobody wants to hear this. no 1 is going to listen let alone clap. this is the worst speech i've ever seen.'

i got that sort of speech once in college. at the end i was running all my papers past c.i. 1st. i know from that, if there's anything that can be saved, c.i. will stress that and do anything to praise it and even help you. if it's total crap, and 1 time mine was (i knew that before i even finished it), c.i. gets this look like you've just handed over a dirty diaper or something. it's priceless. wally and ty said c.i. was bombarded with questions and finally asked, 'am i supposed to write the damn thing?' and that's what c.i. ended up doing. after a half hour, it was done and c.i. says 'the conclusion needs to be strengthened.'

so the speech gets read aloud and goes over like crazy, out of the ballpark. the friend pronouces it 'perfect' and c.i. starts in about the conclusion and saying it needs to be beefed up. (i can picture that.)

but wally and ty were surprised to see that side of c.i. because c.i. does go out of the way to emphasize the positive (an irritating quality) and to be fair (ditto). they loved it and were laughing while c.i. was tearing the 1st speech apart. and wally said he felt so much better because he feels like c.i. is a good audience but that c.i. goes too easy on him. (wally tries out everything he writes on c.i. - online writing or stuff for college.) wally said the whole thing showed him that if c.i. really hated something, wally would know.

he would too. if you ask for input, you'll get it. c.i. won't ever say 'oh you're wrong' - if that's your opinion, fine, but you will be aided in strengthening your argument. ty said the only thing that bothered him was they were about to leave d.c. (when they were passing the phone back and forth earlier today and speaking to me) and wouldn't get to hear the speech delivered in front of the audience. ty said it was a great speech and that now he gets why, when we're all exhausted while writing at the third estate sunday review, jim will prod (and push) c.i.

i've never felt that was wrong on jim's part. jim knows that when every 1's about to fall over, go to c.i. toss to c.i. something will come of it. there are editorials (which are usually the last thing written) that the rest of us just reword and the creative part is jim and c.i. with jim probing and pitching and c.i. digging in for that last bit of energy.

some of the most amazing editorials are when every 1 is tired and c.i.'s so tired that there's no level of protection (the armor we all wear to get through the day) and c.i. will just be weeping. those usually result in the paragraph (or sometimes the entire editorial) that their readers respond to.

and before any 1 writes 'well taking some 1 to that place is a little brutal,' the reality is c.i. can go to sleep (and usually it's crash time shortly after the editorial - if the morning entry's not up at the common ills yet, c.i. still has to do that - and you can tell c.i.'s emotionally drained any sunday when that entry lacks humor or outrage and is just straight forward) and, upon waking, that's already yesterday.

that's 1 of the popular phrases these days, 'that's already yesterday.' we've all picked up on it and use it quite often.

here's c.i.'s 'iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, December 6, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the James Baker Circle Jerk finally spews, Dow Jones reports ten US soldiers dead in Iraq today from two IEDs, and the Democrats demonstrate that "bipartisan" is Beltway Latin for "Screw the voter."

Starting with the vocab lesson first, for all the gas bagging after the election by The Elector (in all their forms) and all the talk of "change" and "listening to the people," Democrats -- swept into power by voters wanting change -- demonstrate that "bipartisanship" is just Beltway Latin for "Screw the voter." First up was the character assassination took John Murtha out of the running for the post of House Majority Leader and allowed War Hawk Steny Hoyer to be installed. Last week Dems were supposed to be cheerleading around the nation over Silvestre Reyes who was being installed as House Intelligence Committee chair. "Yeah, Silvestre!" was the kind of "critique" the public got as the gas bags of the left (and 'left') tried to paint over the fact that others were (again) passed over. Now,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes an interview Reyes gave to Newsweek where he expressed his desire to send an "up to 30,000" additional US troops to Iraq.

The vocabulary lesson is not limited to House Dems, Democrats on the Senate Armed Service Committee collectively stated, "Screw the voter." As
Robert Parry (Consortium News) observes, "Despite winning the Nov. 7 elections largely due to public anger over the Iraq War, congressional Democrats crumbled in their first post-election confrontation with President George W. Bush on the future direction of that conflict."

As elected Dems attempt to 'educate,' the mainstream press attempts to present the marginalized as the norm. Though polls repeatedly demonstrate US citizens want US troops out of Iraq, though polls repeatedly demonstrate that Iraqi citizens wants US troops out of Iraq, Big Media thinks they can pull one over on the public again.

Tossing Judith Miller onto the stake and burning her as the public scapegoat is supposed to satiate the masses and allow
War Pornographer Michael Gordon to get off scott free again. (Gordo was Miller's writing partner quite often including on one story that was mentioned in the Times' mini-culpa.) Norman Solomon (Common Dreams) observes that Gordo and David Sanger have both contributed articles pushing the "the US must stay myth" and concludes: "What's now going on in mainline news media is some kind of repetition compulsion. And, while media professionals engage in yet another round of conformist opportunism, many people will pay with their lives."

It's not limited to the New York Times, but to stay on Gordo and the Times,
FAIR notes that, on November 15, 2006, Gordo was on CNN telling Anderson Cooper "while the politicians in the United States would like to see a withdrawal of forces, particularly on the Democratic side, that's simply not realistic given how precarious the security situation is at this point in time" and drawing a comparison between Democrats who actually call for a withdrawal (there are a few of those) and 'insurgents': ". . . there are a significant number of players in Baghdad today who don't mind if the Americans withdraw. These are the militia leaders. They would be happy if the United States withdrew . . ." Now does any of that sound anything like a policy judgement or recommendation?

Because when attempting to foist his bad book off on the public, Gordo refused to weigh in on the war itself,
telling Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!), "Well, that's a policy judgement and a political judgement that's really beyound the scope of our book."

But now, he can can make those judgements? Of course he can, he made them during the invasion as well -- in fact, he made them on CNN. March 25, 2003,
Gordo took the CNN airwaves (Aaron Brown's now cancelled show) to cheerlead a US attack of a civilian target, a TV station, stating, "And personally, I think the television, based on what I've seen of Iraqi television, with Saddam Hussein presenting propaganda to his people and showing off the Apache helicopter and claiming a farmer shot it down and trying to persuade his own public that he was really in charge, when we're trying to send the exact opposite message, I think, was an appropriate target." Three year later, Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) noted to Gordo that his [Gordo's] remark were "condemned by many journalism organizations around the world" and Gordo sputtered: "Well, I think, when -- you know, I don't know what was in General Franks' mind . . ." Blah, blah, blah. Gordo can't own his own mistakes, neither the can the paper.

Judith Miller was one person. The dog pile on her while others were ignored created a climate of impunity. Ditch digger Dexy is outed as a the go-to-boy (outed by a mainstream daily) for the US military and, if noted, it's reduced to an aside. While everyone obsessed and dog piled on Judith Miller's pre-war 'reporting' (which included co-writers), there wasn't time to call
sob sister Dexy out. Even now, as the paper's attempts to marginalize US public opinion is called out, who's noting the story, filed from Iraq, that couldn't find a single Iraqi who wanted the US to withdraw (a position held by the majority of Iraqis)? No one.

Miller's departure changed nothing at the paper. But bash-the-bitch and golden oldies did allow many to feel, three years later, that they were 'commenting' as they again trotted out the name "Judy Miller." The only thing surprising about Gordo is that
his war porn has taken so long to be called out.


Qais Al-Bashir (AP) reports a mortar attack in the Sadr City section of Baghdad which took 8 lives and left "dozens" wounded. while in Iskandariyah, a bomb claimed 4 lives and left at least 12 wounded. The US military reports a blast "near the Old Ministry of Defense building in the Rusafa neighborhood of central Baghdad" which killed at least 15 Iraqis and left 25 more wounded. Reuters reports that a bomber "blew himself up inside a minibus" in Baghdad resulting in 3 other deaths and at least 16 people wounded


KUNA reports a British soldier wounded in Basra "after armed clashes between British troops and an armed group". Conflicts in Basra have already resulted in the British pulling embassy staff out of the area. Reuters reports a police officer was shot dead in Hawija while a police brigadier was wounded in an attack in Baghdad and his driver shot dead, another shooting attack in Mosul left a college professor wounded, and in Khalis an attack on a farm workers traveling in a bus left one dead and eight wounded. On the college professor, CNN notes this is "a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki pledged that the government would protect professors and students in the wake of a Sunni insurgent group's threat to target professors and students."


Reuters reports three corpses were discovered in Mahmudiya, one in Kirkuk and a headless one in Mosul. And, in an update, Reuters notes that 48 corpses ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture) were discovered in Baghdad.

US military notes: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed during combatoperations in the Iraqi capital Dec. 3" and also says 'Woops! We issued the information on two deaths in two different press releases Sunday!' ICCC counts 2907 US troops dead in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. And AFP notes that the total of US troops who have died in Iraq has passed the 2900 mark and counting. This comes as Dow Jones reports that 10 US troops have been killed in Iraq today and cites MSNBC on the "two incidents involving improvised explosive devices." That would take the 2907 up to 2917. And possibly it will also give the New York Times and others still silent the chance to note that the 2900 mark was passed?

The James Baker Circle Jerk released their report today. The thing that should stand out the most is that the 142 page report is actually 96 pages (with illustrations) and that 36 pages are end credits -- including a special spotlight for each member. Apparently, notions of a group shot were ditched due to the fact that a visual like that would have most Americans asking who those Circle Jerkers were supposed to reflect? They're old, they're White (one African-American), they're male (one woman). "Tell Us What To Do About The War, Rich Gramps?" could be the working title.

Having stroked each other raw, the Circle Jerk spews 79 recommendations. With few exceptions, they're all based on a principle: "Stupid Iraqis! We will educate you!" You see that in "Recommendation 76" and its focus on "civilian tasks" and "key civilian agencies, including Treasury, Justice, and Agriculture" which "need to create similar technical assistance capabilities." Every now and then, a concrete recommendation stumbles in such as "Recommendation 72" which addresses the requesting of funds for the war ("should be included in the President's annual budget request, starting in FY 2008: the war is in its fourth year") or noting that need to keep an accurate count of incidents of violence and death.

But in the end, you're left with gas bags tasked to do the job that Congress should have. In the real world, the people's
Iraq Study Group released their findings last week. Using the same phrase, The Nation notes a poll by World Public Opinion who will release their full results tomorrow. The summary of the polling is currently available. From that:

*1,326 Americans were surveyed.

*75% of respondents desire talks between the US and Iran (something Bully Boy is nixing,
click here)

*58% of respondents want a timetable for withdrawal

*78% of those who identified Democrat "think U.S. forces should be out within two-years or less, including 61 percent who favor a one-year or less"

*Withdrawal is supported even stronger by respondents "if the majority of the Iraqi people say they want the U.S. to commit to withdraw U.S. forces"

From the summary: "A poll of the Iraqi public conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org in September 2006 found that 71 percent want U.S.-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year." Again, the full results will be released tomorrow.

William Roberts (Bloomberg) reports that Tom Vilsak (who declared he was running for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008) has called for the withdrawal of "most American troops from Baghdad and southern Iraq" and declares, "We have created an opportunity for the people of that nation and its government to make fundamental decisions for themselves. We have given them enough time."

Nancy Trejos (Washington Post) reports that Nouri al-Maliki wants a "regional conference on stabilizing his country but rejected a proposal from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that it take place outside Iraq."

Finally, in peace news US war resister
Ehren Watada is noted as the United Methodists reflect on 2006: "United Methodists rallied in support of Army Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, who has refused deployment to Iraq because he feels the war is 'morally wrong' and 'a breach of American law.' He faces charges of missing troop movement, conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt towards officials. United Methodists joined a vigil and rally at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, where Watada is being held."

And as
Indybay IMC notes, "December 8th through 10th with be National Days of Action to Support GI resistance and GI rights." More information can be found at Courage to Resist and in the Bay Area, "Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film "Ground Truth" will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film "The Ground Truth" will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm. Read more about these events."