action alert from fair and chatty post

On June 28, CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer turned to CBS reporter Bob Simon for analysis of the current Israel-Palestine crisis. What Simon offered, however, was a familiar scenario that puts the blame squarely on the Palestinian side.
As Simon put it:
We can't say how it's going to end, but there is a pattern to these Israeli-Palestinian crises which hardly ever varies. They begin with a Palestinian attack, in this case. The attack is designed to provoke a brutal Israeli response. The Israelis follow suit with that response. The response invariably radicalizes the population, makes them even more anti-Israeli, creates more suicide bombers. And the way it's going now, it looks once more like there is, at least in the Middle East, nothing new under the sun.
There's no reason why Simon's timeline of the crisis would 'begin' with the June 25 kidnapping of Israel soldier Gilad Shalit, or why that attack would be unequivocally attributed to a desire to "provoke a brutal Israeli response"--unless one wishes to erase the killings of Palestinian civilians over the past several weeks. Those deaths were mentioned by Hamas spokespeople in their statements justifying the raid, as was reported in many media outlets--including Simon's own CBS Evening News (6/25/06):

"Gunmen from the armed wing of the ruling Hamas group took part in the raid, saying it was retaliation for recent Israeli air strikes that killed a top militant and 13 civilians."
If anything, what "hardly ever varies" is mainstream media's adherence to an attack-retaliation formula that overwhelmingly places the blame on the Palestinian side, though in the ongoing cycle of attacks both sides usually describe their actions as retaliatory. As FAIR noted in an April 4, 2002 Action Alert :
From the start of the Intifada in September 2000 through March 17, 2002, the three major networks' nightly news shows used some variation of the word "retaliation" ("retaliated," "will retaliate," etc.) 150 times to describe attacks in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. About 79 percent of those references were to Israeli "retaliation" against Palestinians. Only 9 percent referred to Palestinian "retaliation" against Israelis. (Approximately 12 percent were ambiguous or referred to both sides simultaneously.)

Contact CBS Evening News and tell them that Bob Simon's claim that a crisis in the Mideast only "begins" with attacks on Israelis does a disservice to CBS viewers--and sends the message that Palestinian lives are less important.
CBS Evening News
evening@cbsnews.com (212) 975-3247

that's from fair's 'CBS's Mideast "Cycle of Violence": Analysis omits Palestinian deaths' and i've printed that in full. it's an action alert. i wouldn't do it if were an article but i'm assuming they want the word out.

that's strange, the e-mail, for 2 reasons. 1st, c.i. set the day aside to hang out with me. (thank you. no, it wasn't necessary but it was appreciated.) flyboy was itching to go to this exhibit and when i mentioned that i was staying here and hanging out with c.i., i said, 'i bet ava would like to -' and he was already down the hall running to the guest bedroom ava's in.

i'm sure the show was lovely (ava says it was, it was photography) but i just haven't been in the mood lately to go out. i haven't been 'nesting,' i have been resting.

just to toss this out there (mike would be happy to post it i know, but he's depressed tonight and i didn't want to bother him with it), i got the test results. no more pregnancies again for me is the short story. that's the main reason c.i. cleared the day for me (c.i. denies it, i know what's what). i've had miscarriages before and it's not just that but i'll leave it at that.

it looks like flyboy and i, as much as i've tried not to rush it or label it, are a couple again after all. he told me yesterday: 'only comment i'll make is if you want to adopt, we can do that and if not, i'm cool with just you.' so that's where things stand health wise.

there should be a note going up at the common ills shortly but in case c.i. forgets, i'll note it here: if c.i. does 1 entry and it takes the entire morning, that's it. there are things c.i. does not comment on such as the washington post. on thursday the new york times did a hideous job covering a story and martha, as she usually does, noted the coverage from the post which was much better. but she didn't compare and contrast them. they needed to be. c.i. worked and worked on an entry, trashing it repeatedly. when i woke up, i was walking down the hall and c.i.'s bedroom door was open (a sign that you can enter - seriously, i'll explain that in a moment). i go in and i hear c.i. in the bathroom just puking. i figured it was a bug or something. no c.i. had gotten so frustrated with the whole thing and trying to write around it that it was puke time. i said, 'don't worry about it.' c.i. tries not to comment on the post (members know why). that day, if you're covering iraq (c.i. was) there was no way to avoid it.

but after the entry went up, we went to the gym and worked out, which was a lot of fun, for a change. (c.i. is not competative in the gym, c.i. is focused and sometimes too focused for some 1 as prone to laziness as me.) then c.i. went back to the computer and did the 2nd entry. i didn't note that. i thought we were both showering, going on to breakfast.

i said, 'what is this?' and i meant it. there's no 'you must do 2 entries each morning.' really, quit knocking yourself out. that was my advice.

so hopefully, that will soon happen - if an entry takes the time c.i. has allotted for it (c.i. does not miss a workout - seriously), then that's all that will go up in the morning.

to grab the open door. when we all lived together in college, i several times made the mistake of going into c.i.'s room in an attempt to say, 'hey, what's going on? want to do something today?' only to be cursed out. and once i had something thrown at me.

i was shocked the 1st time. elaine laughed when i told her i certainly hoped c.i. intended to apologize for that language (we were much, much younger and you didn't often hear words like that, especially from a friend). elaine explained to me, 'c.i. wasn't even awake. there will be no apology because there will be no memory of it.' and that's true. if the door is closed, do not go in. that's always been the rule. (and it's a good 1 except for some 1 like myself who always thinks i come 1st - well i do, don't i? - i'm joking.)

i have had to wake up c.i. over the years for different reasons. if you have to, get ready for the abuse because it's very rare that c.i. is going to greet you with a smile. instead you'll get a string of swear words and when they fade, a few minutes later, c.i. will wake up and say, 'oh, thank you for waking me up.'

c.i. knows it happens, enough of us have pointed it out over the years.

but you can't control what you say in your sleep. (just to clarify, it's not a conversation - it's not a sentence, it's just every form of the f-word and any other curse word you can think of streaming out of c.i.'s mouth. the 1st time i tried to wake up c.i. up was the 1st time i ever heard anything other than 'shit' or 'shitty' from c.i. so i was more than shocked.)

i'm just going to make this fun a post, a chatty post. here's elaine's secret from college, she would grind her teeth. she had to get a thing at some point to put in her mouth. c.i. said, 'why don't you just tell youself to stop it?' seriously. elaine tried that before going to sleep and it stopped. she didn't need the guard. (or maybe she got used to college stress. but i think it was the telling herself, 'i will not grind my teeth tonight' that did it.)

mine? i don't know. i think my most annoying habit was starting a book on something, eastern religion, affirmations, whatever, and immediately telling every 1 they had to do it. elaine and c.i. would play along and then get mad when i stopped reading the book, and moved on to something else, without informing them.

elaine loathed the affirmations. 'why am i talking to myself in the mirror? am i the evil queen in snow white?' she was so serious. she'd tried to get out of it (i could be quite insistant back then) so i'd said i'd do it with her. we were both at the mirror and i was so serious and so focused (like c.i. during a workout) and just determined to get her to do the affirmation, whatever it was, and she was so serious when she said that, mid-affirmation, that i had to burst out laughing.

sometimes i felt like the only sane person. for instance, i was the only 1 who didn't sleep walk. elaine would sleep clean. i'm not kidding. you'd hear some 1 scrubbing the floor and go into the bathroom or kitchen and you could carry on a conversation with her but she was completely out of it. then she'd just go back to bed (leaving the mess behind, which i, for a change, had to clean up). c.i. was really bad about screaming nightmares. you'd hear it and wonder what to do. c.i. would usually walk into a corner and wake up around the 3rd or 4th attempt to walk into the wall.

there was 1 early morning where c.i. made it completely across campus. but most of the time, c.i. would just stay in 1 spot (c.i.'s bedroom).

what else do they both have common? they are pacers. big pacers. i'm the slug bug. i'd be sitting in a stressful moment, they're all over, wearing out their shoes, wearing out carpet, back and forth, back and forth. elaine tends to walk in straight lines, c.i. tends to circle. if they're talking (to me or each other) during their pacing, they also gesture with their hands a lot.

elaine says she can't cook, which is a lie. she can. she knows how to make desserts. she was taught various desserts (from scratch) as a child. she doesn't make them now, for a number of reasons including weight concerns i'm sure (she's as thin as a rail). but all i ever had to do was clear the table. if we were eating in, c.i. would fix the main course, elaine would handle the dessert. i remember 1 time going through the cabinet because we had company coming over that had just called and c.i. was fixing somethng quick and elaine was asking me what was in the cabinets. there was some baker's chocolate and a few other things like that. i told her that and said i'd go out for dessert (in those days, you tried to have a meal if company came over to eat) but elaine said 'chocolate mousse' or something like that. and she was heating chocolate in a pan and doing all this other stuff and by the time there was a knock on the door, we were good to go.

if you asked them about each other, elaine would cite c.i.'s passion and c.i. would cite elaine's peacefulness/calm. they really are bookends. (though elaine will tell you she feels far less tranquil these days - who can, considering the times we live in?)

what else? i'd be drinking soda constantly. (in college.) elaine would always have iced tea. c.i. would usually have water. by usually, before it was the thing to do, c.i. would have to drink those 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water a day. my mother thought c.i. was a diabetic the 1st time they met. my mother was offering us something to drink and c.i. said 'just water, please.' we were all sitting in the kitchen and had driven a lenthy drive. c.i. would get up and refill the glass repeatedly and my mother's eyes just went wide.

when c.i. finally had to use the bathroom, around the 5th glass, i explained we'd been driving and c.i. had to drink 8 glasses of water, something about the skin. we both rolled our eyes. but now it's common. (and i should have noticed that while i had breakouts and even elaine - who has wonderful skin - would sometimes have break outs, c.i. never did. no sleep? no problem. where's the water?)

what did elaine have to do? she would not enter a room without checking a mirror. not out of vanity. but to make sure she didn't have anything on her face. if you went somewhere to eat, she'd stop in the entrance and fish out her compact to check before walking into the main room.
if she were facing a firing squad, she'd probably ask for a mirror to check that she didn't have any lipstick on her teeth mid-way to the wall.

i'd love to tell you i always check a mirror before entering a room. i don't. i do drink water, a lot of it, post-college. i also still drink sodas. my favorite right now is diet cherry coke.

what else? i always tanned. those 2 wouldn't. freckles and sun damage were their concerns. (elaine will slather on the sun block all next week when her current boyfriend, flyboy and i go on vacation.) (my consolation is a sun screen. but i always tan nicely. that doesn't mean i don't have and won't have sun damage. i've just been lucky that i always go golden. some people can try to tan and just get red each day. my skin does go the golden brown that every 1 tries for and i got lucky there.)

oh, my point was fair. so we came in from the pool this afternoon, c.i. and myself, to listen to randi rhodes. i was really excited and i think c.i. was as well. we knew randi would talk about the war. we turn on the show and what do we get? sam seder.

we listened long enough to need ear plugs. can someone please get him to speak like an adult?
if you're going to be on radio, you need a voice. he always sounds 2 seconds away from saying, 'my you look lovely today, mrs. cleaver.'

so that was out. i wanted to watch tv (i'm a slug). c.i. wasn't into that so i pointed to various dvds piled up and waiting to be watched. we went through them and 1 was a speech norman solomon had given about his book, so we watched that together. his most recent book, war made easy. it was a really interesting speech (and there were questions after).

i like norman solomon's writing. he's smart, very smart. i made the point that he might want to update his hair and c.i. said, 'no, it's a classic look for him now. shut up, or he'll end up getting the anderson cooper.' scary thought. his hair is his trademark. (and it's a nice head of hair.)

so there was that then, this evening, there was some 1 who dropped by from broadcast news and i ended up bringing up the issue of the coverage of the palestinians and got a reply like 'well aren't you a fair action alert.' i said, 'for your information, i am signed up for their action alerts.'
i didn't know they had 1 on this until i checked my inbox tonight.

between the 2 events, we listened to music. and snacked. i snacked on everything. do people eat in california? seriously? c.i. set an official dinner time due to my complaining 1 night about being hungry. most of the time every 1 gathers and talks and when food gets mentioned it's 'yeah, let's eat.' meanwhile, me still on eastern time, my stomach's growling and all i'm thinking about is food.

it's been a lot of fun. i wish elaine was here (and told her that on the phone tonight). i hadn't called her during the week really at all. we all called her wednesday night and screamed into the phone 'wake up you sleepy head!' that's because alexander cockburn was on talking to laura flanders and we knew elaine would be trying to listen but sleepy. (it was what, 3 hours difference?) so we called her and she answered on the 3rd ring, obviously asleep.

until tonight that was the 1st time i'd called. i have the worst time figuring out the time difference. i'd be out by the pool thinking i should call her 'when she gets off work' and then i'd realize hours later, 'she was off work, you idiot.'

i don't think we've ever gone so long without speaking. i annoy every 1 i know with calls. (and i called t repeatedly but she keeps a late schedule. elaine's on a stricter schedule.) i'll call and say 'hi, just 1 thing' and talk for 5 minutes, then call back hours later with another thing. (i'll also talk forever on the phone.) so it was really weird. i wrote her a letter at 1 point and c.i. said, 'by the time this gets to her address, you'll both be on vacation'. so i scanned it and e-mailed it to her as an attachment.

i've missed my lainie but i haven't been lonely. besides flyboy and c.i., ava, jess and ty are here. kat's always stopping by and thursday she took me to see some natural sites. i don't mean nudie beaches. i just can't remember what all we saw or the names for it. at 1 point i had to say, 'not another place until we get something to eat' because, seriously, do people eat out here?

i've popped in and out to visit c.i. but it's been years since i've spent so many days in a row out here. when the immigration rallies were going on, i only spent 3 days out here (most spent 8 or 10) because i had a family event i had to get back to.

it's been relaxing and stimulating. there are always people showing up (that's why elaine avoids c.i.'s at christmas, it's packed - thanksgiving is packed but it's like standing room only at christmas).

sherry e-mailed about books. i actually read joan mellen's hellman and hammett which was really interesting. i have her jfk book which was my intro to her (you need to read it!). but i saw this book on c.i.'s bookcases (in the biographies - it's like a library, the shelving system, and kat says it's library of congress not dewey decimal). that was actually very interesting (and i recommend it). i know the movie julia and that's really it other than the children's hour (the play hellman wrote). i think i've seen the little foxes with bette davis but i've never seen the play performed. it's been very relaxing - though i took a pass on jess' offer to show me yoga. (which he's known from childhood. no offense to those who practice yoga, including jess' parents, but i went through that phase in college and it lasted 2 weeks on me.)

sherry asked about robert w. mcchesney & john nichols' our media not theirs: the democratic struggle against corporate media? want to note what the press can do (and has done), read the book. i'm not talking about abc or the new york times. in fact, i felt it was refuting victor navasky's comments on against the grain wendesday. (kat wrote about that here.) at 1 point he said that movements sometimes create great magazines. i think great magazine's create movements. and, since the nation started in 1865 or so, i'd think that would be his opinion as well. otherwise, why keep publishing when new movements have come along so, therefore, great magazines? 1 other thing, and kat and i discussed this but i don't think she included that (it was a rush post for her because c.i. had set the dinner time for me, the hungry, insistent eater) but navasky was going on about how there was no 1 view in the magazine. excuse me, but the magazine has regularly trashed those who have questioned the warren commission. there has been no 2 minds (or 3 or 4) on that topic.

on katha pollitt's book, we're hoping to do a book discussion this weekend at the third estate sunday review on it and possibly 1 other book so i'll wait on that. (i did enjoy it and do recommend it.)



Israel Seizes 64 Palestinian Lawmakers
Israel has arrested and detained 64 Palestinian lawmakers and ministers from the ruling Hamas party, including the government’s Foreign Minister and eight other cabinet members. Hamas called the arrests an "open war against the Palestinian government and people," and vowed retaliation.
Hamas official Ziyad Daya: "These are not acts of a state that respects international law and respects democracy. These are acts of bandits."Israel made the arrests as it continues its military operation to recover a captured Israeli soldier. Nearly half of the Gaza Strip remains without power following Israeli air strikes that knocked out a main power station. In other news Syrian television is reporting Israeli warplanes flew over the home of President Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile The IDF announced it has found the body of eighteen-year old West Bank settler Eliyahu Asheri. Asheri was captured on Sunday as he prepared to go on a school trip. His captors had threatened to slay him unless Israel halted its reinvasion of the Gaza Strip. At the United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annan called for calm.
Kofi Annan: "Of course it is understandable that they would want to go after those who were kidnapped, the soldier, but it has to be done in such a way that the civilian population are not made to suffer. I spoke to the Prime Minister who indicated to me that he is exercising maximum restraint but I think it is important that the two leaders work together to calm the situation."

okay, let's get down to the nitty gritty. "In other news Syrian television is reporting Israeli warplanes flew over the home of President Bashar al-Assad." is that what happened?

not quite. as reported in multiple news sources yesterday, including the right wing cnsnews ("Following a night of sonic booms from Israeli war jets -- including a few over the summer home of Syria's president . . ."), they flew over and did their 'sonic boom' which is a form of torture. (they also did that to the palestinians). we didn't hear about that. now maybe it's because a lot of reactionary elements in this country are praising the actions, but cover it right or don't cover it.

now let's deal with the ap tonight:

Israeli warplanes struck the Palestinian Interior Ministry early Friday, setting it ablaze as Arab leaders tried to forge a deal that would halt the Israeli offensive and free a 19-year-old soldier held by gunmen allied with the ruling Islamic Hamas.

if democracy now can't cover this from an area of strength, don't cover it. don't dilute it and call it coverage. this is a big issue with me and has been for many years. israel attacked their ministry. there's no way to water that down and cover it, so get it right or don't bother.

i'm not in the mood for nonsense. we got nonsene today: 'AIPAC v. Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel's Assault on Gaza.' how do you have aipac on your show and not ask them about the fact that 2 of their (now former) members are accused of spying, accused of passing secrets to the government of israel?

that's news, spying is news. why do you have them on to begin with?

is that supposed to be 'balance'? i thought 'balance' was what the corporate media did? i thought they sat on the sidelines and let two people present their side and never offered anything because 'it's up to the reader/viewer'. that's how democracy now treated this issue today.

the demonization of arabs is very real. the israeli government has abducted/kidnapped elected officials, they have rejoiced over their 'sonic boom' to the president of another country (syria), they have now bombed a government building. at what point do we quit playing like there are '2 sides' to what's going on?

there aren't. the israeli government is out of control. if you look the other way now, look the other way when it's iran they attack or syria or lebanon. consider this their trial run.

if their violations of international law are not called out, expect a lot more.

and expect a big, huge war. syria and lebanon are not the occupied territories. they have armies.

some stupid ass from aipac can claim to be 'liberal' all he wants. he's a war hawk. he's justifying what went down. norman finklestein tried to make a case. he can't do that if he's interrupted. that interview was such nonsense and didn't inform a viewer of a damn thing. that's slightly better than the new york times because we heard from 2 sides. but it was that nonsense of 'balance' all over again.

if you can't call reality 'reality' then don't bother wasting time on the subject. the power plant will take 3 to 6 month to repair. that's if the israeli government, which occupies the gaza strip and controls what goes in and out, will let them have the parts to fix the power plant that they (israeli planes) knocked out.

randi rhodes doesn't address the situation. she openly states that. i don't listen to randi ever expecting to hear about gaza. if she's upfront about what she'll cover, why should i have a problem with it? i don't. but if you're going to cover it, show some bravery, or don't cover it.
the coverage on democracy now has been slightly better than npr's. my standards are too high to accept that.

if you want to see a mixture of reactions, click here for the bbc story.

kpfa's flashpoints cover this. if you can't do it to the standard they've set, don't cover it. don't make it worse by weakening the reality. this is 2 days in a row and there's plenty more to cover.
other topics. if you're nervous about this topic, find something else to cover. be like randi rhodes and say, 'this isn't something i'm not going to cover'. but if you're going to cover it, you do it right.

is there a pro-israeli government side? yes, there is. but it won't come from aipac. i'll disagree with it but i'm sure an organization that does not have (former) members accused of acting as spies for the israeli government can be found.

kpfa's flashpoints suffers for it's coverage. houston's pulled the show off the air. that doesn't mean nora and dennis water it down. i would hope that if it ever came to it, if they ever had to choose between weak coverage or no coverage, they'd say 'no coverage. i'm doing too much damage if i weaken it. if i can't tell the truth about it, i'll find another topic.'

democracy now is a brave show. it covers many topics very well. better than 'very well.' but if you can't cover something, you can't cover it.

the thing is, with or without coverage, people will make connections between what the u.s. is doing in iraq and what's going on in gaza. occupation is occupation. i'll praise democracy now for many things (and it's earned the praise) but this coverage isn't something i can praise. if this is how it's going to be covered, stop covering it. it does more damage than silence - i really believe that. with silence, people can fill it in on their own if they want. with bad coverage, we're all going to feel complacent and say 'well there are 2 sides.' the actions of the israeli government are out of control. to cover them in real time and to allow for 2 sides isn't reality.

right now, we're all listening to laura flanders, and a caller brought up some 1 (obviously al franken - baby cries a lot) who hurts reality by watering it down. laura said she wasn't 'even going to go there'. i can respect that. draw your lines. say what you can cover and what you can't.

but don't offer weak coverage. hold on while i grab the link in case you aren't listening to laura tonight:

Laura Flanders is filling in for Mike Malloy all week on The Mike Malloy Show (which airs live on Air America Radio from ten p.m. to one a.m. EST)

dave zirin is on tonight.

c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Chaos and violence continue.
Stooges, fools and cheerleaders allow it to continue. Meanwhile the so-called coalition continues to shrink.
Romania becomes the next to tell the Bully Boy, "Catch you on the flip-side." Retuers reports Calin Tariceanu (prime minister of Romania) announced today that Romania would pull all troops by the end of the year -- before Romania's 890 troops can be pulled the Supreme Defence Council has to give its approval. Romania's president has slammed the proposal as had American ambassador to Romania and Advance Auto Parts merchant Nicholas F. Taubman. Bully Boy pioneer Taubman expressed his "impression that not all of the relevant parties, whether within Romania or beyond, were consulted before this proposal was announced." "Within Romania or beyond"? Spoken like a big donor, not like an ambassador, but Advance Auto Parts isn't known for turning out diplomats.
This as Rocky Mountain News reports that the Colorado Army National Guard's 169th unit will ship 100 soldiers to Iraq in July (with 300 of the "2/135th Aviation Company" currently training in Texas with orders to deploy in Septemeber).Despite yesterday's 'coverage' of the "insurgent-poll" nothing really changed. It was another day of violence and chaos in Iraq.
Australia's ABC reports that Australian troops were "under attack" in southern Iraq. The Associated Press reports that "Iraqi and U.S. troops battled Shi'ite militiamen in a village northeast of Baghdad" -- still ongoing when the AP filed their report. Reuters notes, on this incident, that a police commander was shot dead by a sniper and two others were wounded.
Those were among many of the deaths in Iraq. As Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, there were multiple victims of violence today: trash collector, head of security for Baghdad University (Kadhim Challoub), merchants, baker, electrical worker and a woman who'd been waiting in her car with her two children (the children were wounded, not killed) among them. Reuters notes, in Kerbala, the death (by gunshot) of "a criminal intelligence policeman" as well as the death of two Iraqi soldiers (as well as one civilian, with one soldier and two other civilians wounded) in Faulluja, and one Iraqi soldier dead with seven more wounded from a roadside bomb in Riyadh. In Kirkuk, a car bomb exploded at a Shi'ite soldier's funeral initially claiming the lives of at least four. Reuters would later put the number of those dead at seven.As Mark Mericle noted on yesterday's KPFA The KPFA Evening News, "People gathered in 34 cities around the country yesterday to show their support for Lt. Ehren Watada" introducing a news report by Julie Sabatier from Portland.
Two other items noted on yesterday's KPFA Evening News, the 'apologetic' Joshua Belile, who once apologized (or 'apologized') for his song while advising others to "let it go," has now announced that he will be releasing "a professionally recorded version of the song in a few weeks" and in Berkeley, the city council has put a "symbolic" referendum on the ballot calling on Congress to impeach the Bully Boy due to his lies that led us into an illegal war. (June 27th was also declared Cindy Sheehan day.)
Reuters notes that seven corpses were found (male) in the Tigris River ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture"), while two more corpses (male) were discovered in the Euphrates River ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture"). Reuters notes that: "Morgue officials say 30-50 bodies are found in Baghdad alone every day." In Kirkuk, the AP reports the corpse of a fifteen-year-old female was discovered -- "kidnapped five days ago." The AFP puts the count of corpses discovered throughout Iraq today at 18.
File it under "No one could have guessed," Condi No-One-Could-Have-Guessed Rice had a "testy exchange" with Russia's Sergei Lavrov (Russia's Foreign Minister) in a "closed-door meeting" from which the audio feed was accidentally left on. "What does that mean?" Rice asks at one point, to which Lavrov responds, "I think you understand." In what might have been her most honest reply, she declared, "No, I don't." On that, we believe you, Condi, we believe you. The issue was how to word a statement on the security situation in Iraq and the anger spilled over publicly after the meeting, in front of reporters when Rice responded to Lavrov's comments about changes in America that he'd seen since he first visited in 1979, "So when did you go and where did you go in the United States in 1979 that you saw so much change? I am really interested." Though Rice may have forgotten, her current title is Secretary of State.
What gets play and what doesn't? One might think that Nancy A. Youssef breaking the news Monday that the US government, despite claims otherwise, was indeed keeping body counts of Iraqis. You might think that would be news . . . but you'd be wrong. What gets runs with?Not truth. July 4th's a-coming, can't have families getting together in the United States without some false hope or Bully Boy might get a trashing that wouldn't bode well for the November elections. So nonsense gets tossed out by the puppet government and the media amplifies it.
Yes, we're speaking of the nonsense that "insurgents" are on the two-year-withdrawal bus. Since the domestic, US media has never explored the terms "insurgent" or "resistance," who knows what they mean? The AFP notes: "At the same time, a foreign diplomat raised questions about the identity of armed groups reportedly in contact with the government and whether they carry any real weight in the nationwide insurgency." Al Jazeera notes that eleven groups have met with occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki and that eight of them are the ones being referred to. Do they carry any weight? A good question to ask. (Instead, it's easier to report/"report": "Insurgents meeting with Maliki!") Al Jazeera, which may be the only news organization that's going by more than government sources (it's spoken to representatives for the groups) reports that "the 11 groups operate north and north-east of Baghdad in increasingly violent Salahuddin and Diyala provinces."
Increasingly violent. This isn't Anbar, this isn't even Baghdad. These, if Al Jazeera's reporting is correct, are groups from, for Iraq, relatively restful provinces that are growing "increasingly violent." It's a nice bit of happy talk to send us all into the holiday weekend. It's not, however, reality. Having never explored the issue (other than to guess fighting is fueled by Iran -- wait, no! it's Egypt), they now want to get behind eight groups or eleven groups and the news consumer is left uninformed. (Possibly that's the point of it all.)
Reality was Nancy A. Youssef's report. Have we seen that covered in the New York Times? Have we seen it covered elsewhere? Maybe the silence is due to the fact that the administration being caught in yet another lie seems more "redundant" than "newsworthy"?



another laid back day. i slept by the pool more than anything else.

i had a nice note yesterday (some people have actually written nice things as opposed to 'i'm so glad you had a miscarriage, bitch!') and talked, in my reply, about enjoying the pool. i really though people having a pool in california were crazy but it is relaxing.

which is why i'm not ripping my hair out over the disgusting news of what's going on in the gaza strip.

from the ap:

Israeli forces early Thursday arrested the deputy prime minister of the Hamas government, two other Cabinet ministers and four lawmakers in a raid on a complex of buildings in the
West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian security officials said.

israel doesn't want to recognize hamas but guess what, that's not their damn business. hamas was elected in a 'free election!' as bully boy would trumpet (if he liked the winner). israel thinks it can shell and it can kill but this (and another thing) really shocked me.

i started thinking what would the corporate coverage be if palestinians stormed in and grabbed israel's prime minister, put him under arrest? (of course he can't be placed under arrest in the corporate news because 'terrorists' can't arrest and that's what the press would call palestinians but will they say 1 word about israel? no.)

now let's go to the 2nd item, this is also from the ap:

Israeli warplanes buzzed the summer residence of Syrian President Bashar Assad early Wednesday, military officials said, in a message aimed at pressuring the Syrian leader to win the release of a captured Israeli soldier.

if they buzzed the white house, bully boy would declare war and send bombs. but somehow it's okay that this was done to syria's president? how is that okay?

on kpfa's flashpoints tonight nora spoke with dr. mona about what was going on. you've got children (palestinian children so maybe that means it doesn't matter to you) who can't get the chemo treatments they need because of all this bully boy bull shit.

that's what it is.

and scholmo whatever the hell his name is can whine about how unfair people were to him (on democracy now) this morning and amy goodman can apologize to him (as she did!) but it doesn't change reality. it's all bullshit.

to focus on the domestic front, i think it's bullshit to give a headline about smoking.

smoking's not causing cancer in tons and tons of non-smokers. let's get damn real here. smoking isn't why houston replaced l.a. as the city with the worst air.

don't give me that 'link' nonsense. i'm sick of it. i'm sick of studies (and organizations) that won't take 1 damn look at environmental pollution. that includes the american cancer society which has sang the same damn song year after year.

if some 1 smokes, they know what to expect these days.

don't cover up for the realities of why people have cancer today in such large numbers - it's our air, it's the plastics brought into our homes, it's all that and more.

i was listening to it this morning (slept in) and since no 1 was around (fly boy was in the shower), i called kat. i said, 'what is this smoking bullshit? people get pollution from their computers, from their photocopy machines, from the lack of real air, let alone fresh air in the offices of america!' that's reality.

but apparently, we'll need another decade to ban all smoking before we'll finally fess up to the fact that we've got toxins in our daily lives and they're not going away while we pretend otherwise. that's it for me. i will note and applaud c.i. for making a point to highlight ehren watada today - 'Ehren Watada . . . while the internet is still free.' that was news. nonsense about a supposed surgeon general that can't speak about aids or anything that really matters but can go after smoking (what is this 1960?) isn't news.

i'm getting angry again. but i'm sorry, schlomo, that you're little feelings were hurt. he was the rudest ass, 'i'm not going to talk about that.' and he ended up with a fucking apology. he should have apologized. instead he got 1. that was nonsense.

i'm sorry, i'm not 1 of those people who believe that the palestinians have no rights and that they can be treated in any way the israeli government wants to. the palestinians need the international community to take note of what is going on and we need to stop providing israel with the helicopters, the bulldozers and every thing else they use for violence.

the government always puts out spokespeople to play the victim card. no 1 in government is a victim. the children are victims. the elderly are victims. innocent civilians are victims.

israel has occupied palestine, the burden falls on israel.

this is a conflict of many decades. that doesn't excuse the violence. that doesn't include arresting or buzzing elected leaders. the government of israel is acting like a bully and it's time they got called on it. they won't be.

you'll see soft balls or people saying, 'well do you know about the concentration camps?'

what about the concentration camps? are you telling me that palestinians are nazis or the offspring of them? israel's not attacking germany.

if israel can't maintain a peace (not by violence) then something needs to be done. 1st thing is america needs to stop covering and justifying the continued violence that the palestinians live under.

i don't need to hear what palestinians did or what israelis did.

what's going on right now, by the occupying power, is illegal and it's immoral. there's not an excuse for it.

C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
Five corpses were found in Baghdad on Tuesday. Other incidents included, in Mahaweel, a roadside bomb took the life of a police officer and three were wounded amd, in Kirkuk, a car bomb took the lives of three and wounded 17. In all, the New York Times estimates that 21 Iraqis died Tuesday and forty-one were wounded.
Today bombs continued. CNN notes a carbomb in Baquba "near a coffee shop" that took at least one life and wounded at least fourteen more. Reuters notes that bombing as well as nother in Baquba which "seriously wounded two" police officers. Reuters also notes a bomb that went off in a Baghdad market and resulted in one death and eight wounded. CNN notes "a roadside bomb targeting a U.S. military convoy detonated" taking the lives of "one civilian and wounding two." The Associated Press notes that Riyad Abdul-Majid Zuaini ("customs director for Central Baghdad") was shot dead by assailants (as was his driver) and that, in Mosul, a clash "between gunmen and police . . . broke out" with one police officer left wounded.
As Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now!, Russia's lower house of parliament has "criticized the occupying countries in Iraq for losing control in the country." Xinhua reports Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Foreign Minister of Germany, noted, on behalf of the ministery, that they were "outraged and shocked over the terrible fater of our Russian colleagues." KUNA notes that Kuwait has "condmended . . . the killing of Russian diplomats by a terrorist group in Iraq."There were four diplomats kidnapped on June 3rd in Baghdad after their car was attacked by unknown assailants. During the attack a fifth diplomat,Vitaly Vitalyevich Titov , was killed. On Sunday, a videotape was released which showed what appear to be three of the four being killed. The Mujahedeen Shur Council have proclaimed that they are responsible for the murders.
Reuters reports that Russia experienced "a roadblock" today when it the United States and England "objected to parts of a draft Russian statement on the killings, arguing the text amounted to a slap at the U.S.-led multinational force, which includes 127,000 U.S. troops and 7,000 British soliders".
This as another official 'response' is reported: Russian president Vladimir Putin, according to the Associated Press, has sent "special services to hunt down and 'destroy' the killers." Possibly this is what Bully Boy saw when he looked Putin in the eye? Pavel Felgenhauer dismisses the news as "a public relations excercise" to AFP and dubs it "an obvious imititation of those of Bush after September 11."
Meanwhile, Japanese government feels they met their "objectives" in Iraq. Japan's chief of defense, Fukushiro Nukaga, termed the venture "a success" while speaking to the Associated Press and noted that, "The Iraqis are ready to resume control."But are the bits and pieces of the so-called coalition willing to leave? Reuters reports that Austraila's Brendan Nelson (defense minister) is making noises about not being held 'hostage' by a deadline and comparing his government's position to that of the United States' government.In other news, apparently there was a poll of so-called insurgents.
The Associated Press is all over the so-called news (anonymice, of course) that "insurgents" are pushing for a withdrawal of US forces within two years. Does anyone believe that? Nouri al-Maliki may be meeting with representatives for resistance groups but, despite what an unnamed "senior Iraqi government" official says, it doesn't seem logical that the resistance would propose a two-year timetable. It will be all over the news but to buy into it, you have to suspend all disbelief and then some. (For any who are confused, people -- from various groups -- are willing to risk their lives, give their lives, resort to various acts of violence and they're going to send envoys to tell occupation puppet al-Maliki, "Hey, we're good. Two more years? Sure." Call it the resistance or call it the "insurgency," it's not about a two-year time-line. This very obvious propanganda is American made, my opinion.)
On the issue of "a media feeding frenzy," Dahr Jamail takes a look at the so-called "plan" offered by al-Maliki and notes that resistance groups have "rejected the 'plan' because they do not recognize the Iraqi 'government' as a legitmate entity. These same resistance groups understand that under international law, the current Iraqi 'government' controls nothing outside of the 'green zone,' and its existence violates the Geneva Conventions."
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces have Yousri Fakher Moahmmed Ali in custody and allege that he is the one who blew up the Shi'ite shrine in February. As Amy Goodman noted, the Samarra bombing was followed by "increased fighting" which has resulted in the displacement of at least 150,000 Iraqis. Yusri Fakhir Muhammad Ali is also known as Abu Qudama and Al Jazeera quotes Iraq's national security adviser (Mouwafak al-Rubaie) reports that he "is also wanted for the murder of Atwar Bajhat, a television correspondent for Al-Arabiya news channel who was shot dead along with two of her colleagues hours after the shrine bombing". China's People's Daily notes: "The shrine of Ali al-Hadi, or the al-Hadhrah al-Askariyah, contains two tombs of Ali al-Hadi, who died in 868 A.D., and his son Hassan al-Askari who died in 874 A.D. The two were the 10th and 11th of Shiite's twelve most revered Imams. Shiite pilgrims visit the shrine from all over the world."
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq estimates a total of 1.3 million are displaced. One of the refugee camps is Baladiyat Refugee Camp set up for the Palestinian refugees. This camp was attacked Sunday June 25th and Omar interviews residents of the camp at Alive in Baghdad.
And finally, the ICRC is noting that "public services have almost ground to a halt" in Ramadi which "has been without power since 22 May." That's when US forces began the seige of Ramadi and power, water and phone services were cut.


laura flanders filling in on the mike malloy show (alexander cockburn a guest weds. night)

c.i.'s "Iraq snapshot" from monday:

Chaos and violence continue. Bombings continue, kidnappings continue and a corpse was discovered.
In what might get the most attention today, reporting from Baghdad, Nancy A. Youssef (Knight Ritter) breaks the news that the United States now admits to keeping some figures on Iraqis who have died during the illegal war. Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli tells Youssef that "the number of civilian dead and wounded" via US troops "is an important measurement." Chiarelli reveals that "he reviews the figures daily." The US government has denied that any figures were being kept.
In Baghdad, Reuters reports that a roadside bomb killed one and wounded at least five and that another bomb resulted in two police officers dead and at least four wounded.Also in Baghdad, the Associated Press reports that the convoy of Adnan al-Dulaimi ("Iraq's most senior Sunni Arab politician") was attacked and at least one of his bodyguards was killed.
Elsewhere, KUNA reports that two "civilians" were killed in Baquba. Reuters notes that, in Mosul, a police officer was killed Monday with six wounded in an attack while another died was wounded, along with a civilian, as a result of a roadside bomb. And in Hilla, Reuters reports that a bomb has taken the lives of at least 30.
The Associated Press estimates today that "nearly 40 people have been killed in the last 24 hours" in Iraq. This as Hiba Moussa and Michael Georgy (Reuters) report that an estimated that at least 130,000 Iraqis have been displaced due to violence across the country.
Ibon Villelabeitia and Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) report "10 young men, all students from Sunni towns near Baghdad, from a building in the capital" were kidnapped by unidentified "gunmen." In other kidnapping news, CBS and the AP report that "Russian news agency Interfax" is reporting "that the Foreign Ministry has confirmed the death of the Russian hostages in Iraq." In a separate report, the AP notes that "Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed doubt Monday over the authenticity of the video" allegedly showing three of the four Russian diplomats (kidnapped June 3rd in Baghdad) being killed. The four are: Fyodor Zaytsev, Rinat Aglyulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedosseyev.
Reuters reports that the corpse of a police officer ("bullet wounds . . . head and chest") was found near Falluja.
Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Brian Edwards-Tiekert noted that Sunni leaders are stating that the resistance in Iraq will continue until foreign troops are withdrawn. Edwards-Tiekert also noted that Tariq al-Hashimi has noted Nouri al-Maliki's proposed plan (or "plan") falls for short of the needed goals. Ibon Villelabeitia and Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) explore some of the Shi'ite criticism and some of the Sunnie criticism of the plan/"plan".
Tomorrow is Tuesday, June 27th and that means? Alex Fryer (Seattle Times) reports: "Atlanta peace activists plan a vigil for him at the Georgia state Capitol. In Charlotte, N.C., an anti-war group will show a film and hold a lecture at the public library. In Cleveland, Ohio, there will be a rally at the federal building. And in New York, protesters will converge at an Army recruiting station, an event billed to 'support Lt. Ehren Watada and other resisters of the war in Iraq.'" This as the Seattle Times editorializes that Watada shouldn't serve time but the military should instead "consider a dishonorable discharge." To sign a petition in support of Watada by clicking here.
More information on tomorrow's national day of action can be found at ThankYouLt.org and Courage to Resist.
And finally, next week, July 4th (Tuesday) CODEPINK will be demonstrating against the war in the form or a hunger strike:
TROOPS HOME FAST! On July 4, we will launch an historic hunger strike called TROOPS HOME FAST in Washington, DC in front of the White House. While many Americans will be expressing their patriotism via barbeques and fireworks, we'll be fasting in memory of the dead and wounded, and calling for the troops to come home from Iraq. Read an interview with Diane Wilson to learn more. We're inviting people around the world to show their support for this open-ended fast by fasting for at least one day. Please sign here to join us in DC or to support us in your hometown and encourage your friends to do the same.

i'm including that, and should have yesterday, because of the fact that nancy youssef just revealed on monday that the us government keeps a body count. they've denied that they do. they've said they have no idea how many iraqis have died. 1 of the fools, donald rumsfeld? colin powell?, infamously said 'we don't do body counts.' they do. they're keeping a count. (no surprise to c.i. who has maintained that a count was kept repeatedly.) who's seeing that count and why isn't made public to the american people? and why isn't every network and every paper talking about nancy youssef's scoop? this is news.

so here's some of what's going on. the 1s selling fear tried to hide behind the flag today by forcing a fire burning ban. they lost by 1 vote.

by 1 vote.

think about that.

free speech hangs by 1 vote. orrin hatchet-face said there's nothing more important for the senate to debate.

does that make you nervous, because it should. they've pushed this nonsense forever. this is the closest they've gotten so far. if they had won, what would be next in their rifle scopes? what would they come for next?

1 vote saved free speech.

you should be nervous.

i'm reading a good book. it's called our media not theirs by robert w. mcchesney and john nichols. today (and i plan to do the same tomorrow) i just laid around. i listened to democracy now while i had my coffee but, honestly, i slept in. kpfa plays it twice in the morning. once at 6 a.m. and again at 9 a.m. (i listenened at 9.) i felt guilty about it but c.i. said 'relax' and that's probably the smart thing to do. flyboy had some stuff to do today so he ran errands but he's going to stay poolside with me tomorrow. so after the show went off, i wandered around the bookshelves looking for a new book that interested me and chose this 1 mainly because it was short (140 pages) but also because i recognized john nichols' name. i recognized a lot of names but i stuck to 1 room (c.i. has book cases all over. that was true in college as well and books were lined around the walls then even with the book cases.) when i finish this, i'll sit in c.i.'s bedroom on a stack of books. i always feel i'll put something back in the wrong place.

(there is a system everything's shelved by. i have no idea what it is.)

elaine reads a lot too. by 'a lot,' i mean a lot. those 2 go through books. i think i do pretty good doing a book a week. i'm a piker compared to those 2. and elaine will read really heavy literature. no bridget jones for her. she'll read it in the original language. (she can read in i don't know how many languages but she can speak three in addition to english. she says she wished she'd taken spanish. and if she wasn't blogging, i bet she'd be in classes for that right now.) and c.i. reads these intense books, nonfiction. i looked at the 'to read' stack in c.i.'s bedroom today (i'm a prowler/snoop, c.i. knows that about me) and i had a headache just from the back covers.

i've also grabbed, with permission, books (galley form) for my vacation that starts mid-week, next week. i'd love to tell you i grabbed something heavy but i went for fun.

so that's been the day. basically. i had coffee and listened to democracy now. every 1 was out so i wondered around in my robe for an hour, took a shower, went out to the pool with the mcchesney and nichols book and had kpfa on out there. against the grain was interesting. elizabeth kolbert was on discussing global warming and the damange we're doing to the environment.

but i'd read a little. stop. think about it. pay attention to kpfa, then go back to reading. it was a relaxing morning. it was relaxing and probably some down time that was needed. i'm fine mentally with the miscarriage but i think my body needed some down time physically. (plus, i'm the ultimate slug even on a good day.) ava came in around 3 and we talked for a few hours. which was fun. then flyboy joined us a little before 4:30 and by 6 every 1 was back.

flashpoints had dr. mona on discussing attacks on palestinians. she'll be on tomorrow night, so make a point to listen.

they also played a nice speech by greg palast. (on the stolen elections.)

when i listen at home, i'm listening online. and either i turn it off or drift in and out of the room. so, point, i miss kpfa's evening news, or parts of it. they do a really great job. i can't believe how much they pack into an hour. they dealt with the flag 'debate' in the senate, they covered iraq, they covered so much. as some 1 who has to have my tv, it really drove home how much i miss by watching tv. so praise to them, high praise, for the great work they do.

now i want to note alexander cockburn's "Hitchens Hails the 'Glorious War'" (don't i sound laid back - i think california has seeped into my pores!):

Israel's continued withholding of just Palestinian tax/customs revenues reduces the total available budget resources for the PA to between US $700 - $750 million. In the PA's draft budget for 2006 prepared by the IMF in December 2005, the figure needed to sustain the territories was US $1.9 billion. The United States' administration nonetheless claims that no humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories exists.
The rationale for this onslaught on a civilian population? Israel says Hamas is a terrorist organization, bent on Israel's destruction. As prominent Israelis and western observers have pointed out, Hamas's leadership has made it clear on numerous occasions that Israel's right to exist is not at issue. What is at issue is Israel's adamant refusal to confirm Palestine's right to exist. As prime minister Olmert told a joint session of the US Congress in Washington DC a few weeks ago, "I believed, and to this day still believe, in our people's eternal and historic right to this entire land." In other words he doesn't recognize the right of Palestinians to even the wretched cantons currently envisaged in his "realignment".
The world shook with rage at the reports from Darfur. Do not the starvation, not to mention almost daily murder of Palestinian civilians merit even a word of reproach to the government of Israel, or the US and European governments that have joined in this barbaric siege?

by the way, ty told me tonight about a report he heard on kpfa's evening news last week. guess what? the u.n. is trying to get people to accept refugees from darfur. guess who's resisting? israel. i couldn't get over that. sudan and israel are enemies of some form apparently. (i've never been blonder than while in california!) and so israel's not all that interested in accepting refugees. israel. i can't believe that. (i'm not saying it's not true, i believe it's true, i can't believe that israel would ... well, maybe i can. it's a reflection of the government in charge, not of the people. i think israelies get as little say in their country as we do in ours.)

back to alexander cockburn, another reason i noted the thing above was because he will be on the radio tomorrow night:

Laura Flanders is filling in for Mike Malloy all week on The Mike Malloy Show (which airs live on Air America Radio from ten p.m. to one a.m. EST)

and her guest tomorrow night, or 1 of them, will be alexander cockburn. (i'm listening now, laura's covered the flag nonsense very well and she's discussing the voting machines right now.)
so make a point to listen.

here's c.i.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Chaos and violence continue.
Happy talk continues.
In the land of reality, Medea Benjamin and Raed Jarrar examine the neutered "peace plan" put foward by occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki and the United States. Benjamin and Jarrar remind that a World Public Opinion poll this year "showed 87% of the general population [of Iraq] favoring a set timeline for U.S. withdrawal." This as USA Today reports on the USA Today/Gallup Poll which found that "[a] majority of Americans say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq" and that "[h]alf of those surveyed would like all U.S. forces out withing 12 months."
In other reality news, Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, over 5% of Iraq's population is displaced with over 150,000 having fled their home (a figure that does not include those who have been taken in by extended family members). In addition, Reuters notes that the figures for children only: 40,000 displaced children since February 22nd of this year. UNICEF, in its 1996 study (the most recent) looking at the effects of war on children found, for the 1980s: "2 million killed; 4-5 million disabled; 12 million left homeless; more than 1 million orphaned or separated from their parents; [and] some 10 million psychologically traumatized." Using figures up through the 80s, UNICEF found that civilian victims of war "has been rising steadily".
Reuters notes that in Baghdad, one car bomb took the lives of three peopl at a market and wounded at least ten while a second bomb took the lives of three police officers with another three wounded.
Al Jazeera notes that a car bomb in Kirkuk which took the lives of three and wounded at least seventeen. The Irish Examiner notes that the car bomb attack "came three days after a roadside bomb killed the chief of intelligence in Kirkuk" (Associated Press). Also in Kirkuk, Reuters notes "an off duty soldier" was killed by assailants "while driving his car."
Updates on two items. First, we noted yesterday the 10 kidnapped males. Steven Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (Canadian Press) report that the ten were all Sunni and students who were kidnapped "from their dormitory rooms" at Iraqi Technology University. The AFP reports that the kidnappings took place in "broad daylight" and that the kidnappers used "five sports utility vehicles with tinted windows".
Emma Griffiths (Australia's ABC) reports that the four Russian diplomats -- Fyodor Zaytsev, Rinat Aglyulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedosseyev -- have been confirmed dead by the Foreign Ministry of Russia. The four were kidnapped on June 3rd in Baghdad when their car was attacked by unknown assailants. During the attack a fifth diplomat, Vitaly Vitalyevich Titov, was killed. On Sunday, a videotape was released which showed what appear to be some of the four being killed. While the press reports were circulating, the Russian government noted repeatedly that the murders had not been confirmed. The Mujahedeen Shura Council has asserted since last weekend that they had killed the four diplomats.
Meanwhile, as Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now! today, "former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller said he repeatedly warned administration over the discredited Iraqi source known as 'Curveball'." Ignoring the warnings and advise, Colin Powell used the information for his now infamous UN speech that Powell has described as a "blot" on his career/record. Yesterday in Washington, DC, Democrats in the Senate held a hearing on the intelligence issue where, among others, Larry Wilkerson and Paul Pillar testified. Speaking of the administration and the intelligence community, Pillar stated, "I would describe the relationship as broken."
Joshua Belile will not be punished for "an obscenity-laced song" performed "to a laughing and cheering crowd." The US military has found no reason to charge him and one unnamed Marine Corps. official tells Reuters that "poor taste, poor judgment and poor timing, not to mention offensive lyrics, do not necessarily amount to criminal conduct." Margaret Neighbor (Scotsman) described the song thusly: "In a four-minute video called Hadji Girl, a singer who appears to be a marine tells a cheering audience about gunning down members of an Iarqi woman's family after they confront him with authomatic weapons." As Sandra Lupien reported June 14th on KPFA's The Morning Show, the song included lyrics such as: "the blood sprayed from between her eyes." As Lupien noted June 15th on KPFA's The Morning Show, the apologetic Belile stated that "People need to laugh at it and let it go." Reuters notes that he has said it was "supposed to be funny" and that he based it on Team America: World Police. (The film that underwhelmed at the box office in 2004 and was put out by the South Park twins.)
Finally, in peace news. NPR actually covered the case of Suzanne Swift. The audio clips can be heard online and lasts 3:58 minutes. The reporting? The segment's over (except for some really bad bumper music) at 3:26 minutes in a report filed by Martin Kaste. The report starts at 0:16 and Swift's case is over by 1:30 minutes. A minute and fourteen seconds may not seem like much but it's more than they've given Ehren Watada.
Today is a day of action for those wanting to stand with war resister Ehren Watada. To sign a petition in support of Watada by clicking here. More information on today's national day of action can be found at ThankYouLt.org and Courage to Resist.


molly ivins, randi rhodes

we're all listening to this on wbai (kind of):

9:00-11:00 pm: The New Class War in America
The first broadcast of an event jointly hosted by WBAI and the NY Society for Ethical Culture on June 13, on the topic that dare not speak its name, "The New Class War in America." It featured Paul Krugman, economist and Op-Ed Columnist of The NYTimes; Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!; Greg Palast, author of the new book, "Armed Madhouse: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War"; and Randi Rhodes of Air America's "The Randi Rhodes Show." With questions from the audience that filled to overflow the NYSEC auditorium that night. Edited for WBAI by Christopher Zguris.

kind of? c.i.'s got it on speaker phone. a friend's got a phone up to their speakers in new york. i said, 'why don't we just listen online?' c.i. said, 'oh we'd all have to crowd around the computer and to be honest, some days i just don't want to go near the computer.'

well we can all hear. greg palast is talking right now. 'we're paying a 3 dollar a gallon war tax on our gas.' if you've read armed madhouse (read it), you know what he's talking about. c.i.'s thinking about doing a mag report tonight (of the progressive). i grabbed it for molly ivins and am going to write about that.

molly is not the only good thing in the magazine but she is always the 1st thing that i read.

this is the july issue by the way and it's not available, as an issue, online yet. (or parts of it. ty just told me it's part that's are available.)

so molly's on page 46 of the magazine. there's a cute illustration of ken lay trying to avoid the judge's gavel (hammer of justice?). her column's called 'the guilitiest guys in the room.' i'll now type up the whole thing.


pick up the magazine. i'm just reviewing her column. i like her common sense. she's 1 who usually has both feet on the ground. (usually? i'm sure we all have our moments, even molly, when that's not the case.) (i have several on any given day.)

so you're thinking, maybe, i've heard all i ever need to in my lifetime on ken lay.

have you? molly points out that everyone talks about the crime of 'hubris' (i heard that on cnn, in fact) but reality is that lay 'got convicted of fraud - massive, overhwleming, monstrous fraud.'

that mean seem very basic, and guess what, it probably is. but your chat & chew crowd blathered on and on (i saw it - i may be the only 1 who will watch mainstream news of our crowd - that's mainly because i'll turn on the tv just for noise). they talked about the fall of a great man.

(interrupting to note randi rhodes just joined the panel on wbai and she was so funny. every 1's done a wonderful job, although i dozed off during paul krugman, not a reflection on him, i just spent most of the day in the pool - poor me, right? - and i was tired. now i'm hungry. when are we eating!!!!)

so the chat and chew crowd chewed the fat over the fall of a great man. he was a thief. he was a fraud. and he's not that uncommon.

molly cuts through that crap of a 'prince has fallen, there is sadness in the kingdom.'

people lost their savings. people in california had out of control electricity bills because enron rigged the supply. this wasn't a prince or a time for sadness - the conviction should have been a celebration.

you don't get that from tim russert acting sad that the kingdom has lost a great man.

the column's funny too. if you know molly, you'll know to expect that. but if you're new to her, then let me put you wise.

i'm going to stop here. i'm hungry. i'm sure i'm not the only 1. but i don't know if every 1 grasps that you have to say, 'i'm hungry' with c.i. i've known c.i. forever and 100 years. c.i. will forget to eat and right now c.i.'s working on something (offline) and listening to this special and i'm sure food is no where in that mind. sadly, the revolution always needs a food run for me.

i'll note what randi just said regarding the vote count during the mid-terms. she said that the only hope is for every 1 to vote and that if that happens the democrats can win because there are more democrats than republicans. and if you're a 3rd party, hold on, she addressed that.

randi rhodes: 'after that, if the democrats turn out to be as putrid as the republicans, then we start a 3rd party, a 4th party, a 5th party.'

i have no problem voting for a 3rd party. i need to look at my local elections. but the party that's backed away from reproductive rights and can't find a spine on the war (with few exceptions) doesn't own my vote.

Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

The Associated Press is reporting that Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, "offered an olive branch to insurgents who join in rebuilding Iraq and said Sunday that lawmakers should set a timeline for the Iraqi military and police to take control of security nationwide." The AP reports maintains that there's no timeline. Discussing this news on Sunday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Flanders noted how key events are disappearing from the reporting as the story continues to get covered and Dahr Jamail offered his opinion that the news of setting a timeline for foreign forces to withdraw from Iraq has led to some exchanges between D.C. and Baghdad. Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that: "Mr Maliki’s initiative was less detailed than some Iraqi politicians had earlier implied it might be, and did not spell out how key points such as an amnesty for some insurgents and a timetable for Iraqi troops taking over security might be implemented." Tom Hadyen (Common Dreams) notes the Senate posturing last week on the issues of who will and will not receive amnesty while pointing out: "In their quest to be macho, however, Democrats may be undercutting an avenue towards peace. All military stalemates end in agreements between enemies who have fought and suffered. If there can be no consideration of amnesty for those the US is fighting, then there can be no settlement short of US military victory. " Paul Reynolds (BBC) reports that the plan is "part of a grand strategy by the Bush administration to stabilise Iraq -- or to stabilise the perception of Iraq - in advance of the mid-term elections for Congress in November." Tom Hayden concludes:

Most likely, a contradiction is unfolding within the American political hierarchy and national security establshment over whether this war is winnable. It also is a question of maintaining the American power posture, or its appearance. Those who know the war will end in defeat or quagmire favor a political strategy aimed at cutting losses, channeling the insurgency into talks and removing the issue from American politics in 2006. Others cling to the goal of eventually subduing the insurgency militarily and maintaining 50,000 troops permanently in Iraq.

This as Autralia's ABC reports that Japanese troops have begun their withdrawal from Iraq. Meanwhile, Australia's ABC reports that Australian Peter Lockwood "has been selected as the next commander of up to 2,000 coalition naval forces in the northern Persian Gulf." This as an investigation is launched into the shooting death of a bodyguard to Iraq's Trade Minister by Australian forces.

In Baghdad on Saturday, Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) notes a bomb killed two Iraqi police officers and wounded at least five more while a car bomb killed five and wounded at least eleven people. Also on Saturday, the AP reports, a corpse was discovered in Baghdad ("handcuffed, bound by the legs . . . shot to death").

On Sunday, Baghdad was rocked by explosions. Al Jazeera reports that a bombing in a maket (clothing market) resulted in at least six deaths while a mini-van bomb took two more lives.

Reuters reports mulitple killings and bombings -- two dead thirteen wounded from a car bomb near Mosul, two shot dead "in a poultry store" in Hawija, "police General Hussein Abdul-Rahman" and two other police officers shot dead while in their car in Baquba, also in Baquba, an attack on a checkpoint led to five Iraqi soldiers being killed, a carpenter killed in Mosul, a "municipal council employee" killed in Baiji, an Iraqi soldier killed in Tikrit . . .The AFP reports that, over the weekend, the Mujahedeen Shura Council in Iraq released a videotape claiming to have killed the four Russian diplomats kidnapped on June 3rd in Baghdad. The Russian government notes that the deaths of Fyodor Zaytsev, Rinat Aglyulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedosseyev have not been confirmed.

Reuters reports that: "Gunmen have abducted 16 employees of a government institute north of Baghdad, in the second mass kidnapping in the area in a week, police say."

As operations take place outside the media eye in Ramadi, Dahr Jamail and Ali Fadhil (IPS)report on Falluja which suffered similar seiges in 2004. They report that the city remains surrounded by checkpoints (biometrics measure decide whether you enter or not), the rebuilding is a joke (hospital officials note that they'll all be dead before the supposed construction of a new hospital is completed), unemployment is rampant, and as to the US "the promised compensation funds, of the 81 reconstruction projects slated for the city, less than 30 have been completed and many others will most likely be cancelled due to lack of funding."

Though the mainstream press continues to show little interest in Falluja, they were full of happy talk last week about new training and guidelines resulting in less deaths at US checkpoints in Iraq. Despite those claims, questions remain unanswered about the shooting of journalist Giuliana Sgrena's car which wounded her and killed Nicola Calipari. Fritzroy Sterling (IPS) details some of the questions in the incident. Some questions may never be answered because, as Sgrena told Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Thursday's Democracy Now!, the US military maintains that they have destroyed the logs of the events. Italian prosecutors are attempting to try US Army Specialist Mario Lozano for the death of Calipari.

This as Wil Cruz (Newsday) reports that National Guard Sgt. Milton Ortiz Jr. is being "charged for his role in planting an assault weapon near the slain body of an unarmed Iraqi civilian whom another guardsman had just fired upon." In addition, Cruz reports that "Nathan Lynn, 21, of South Williamsport, Pa., is accused of fatally shooting the unarmed man in front of a home near Ramadi, where Lynn was on security detail for members of his unit, the military said."

Elswhere, Brian Conley's Alive in Baghdad posts a video interview with an Iraqi woman who states that the US military killed her son in Samarra 'in cold blood.'

On the issue of "we were all wrong," one disputing answer is emerging reports the AFP (noting a Washington Post) article, Colin Powell's laughable claims to the UN were vetted and items removed. Tyler Drumheller, a CIA veteran, told the Post's Joby Warrick that the section of the speech relating to mobile biological weapons labs was crossed out by the agency -- despite that fact, it ended back in the speech when Powell delivered it.

What does "AWOL" stand for? Ann Wright reports that, more and more, it now stands for "Against War of Lies" as she documents the efforts to support war resistors. Noting the eight-thousand who are AWOL, Wright also notes: "Individual non-public resistance in the military generally results in an administrative discharge without publicity. Thousands have turned themselves in to military authorities and have been administratively discharged from the military. US military bases discharge dozens of war resisters each week."

In related news, Courage to Resist notes that Tuesday is a national day of action for war resister Ehren Watada and provides a list of national events.

"On the other hand I knew that we were not fighting for Democracy, we were not fighting just terrorist, we were fighting an indigenous insurgency who was resisting our occupation. And many loves were being sacrificed for what I thought was nothing. I came to the point where I could no longer look at the pain and suffering of so many members of the armed forces, so many families being devastated by these loses, and the grief and suffering of Iraqi citizens and all for what I felt was an intentional deception, to wage a war without any purpose, without any noble purpose."

"So, I came to the point to where I believed as a person, not only as a human being, not only as a citizen of this country, but as a member of the military, that I could make a difference in helping to end this illegal war."

[. . .]Two websites about this courageous stand:

Courage To Resist
Thank You Lt

Many thanks to Courtney Scott for producing this interview. This file is 10 minutes in length.
Lt. Ehren Watada, RealPlayer Lt. Ehren Watada, MP3

The above is Ehren Watada speaking. You can read about it in Jim Lockhart's "AUDIO FILE: Local Interview With Lt. Ehren Watada" (Portland Indymedia and noted by community member Portland) and you can also use the links to listen to the interview conducted by Courtney Scott. Please note that Tuesday, June 27th is a day of action where there's a call to stand up for Watada. To find out more, click here.

Snapshot (Jim's statement) "Written by C.I. with help from Rebecca, Mike, Jess, Ty, Ava, Dona and Jim."