kat just called to say betty's latest chapter 'Life -- or what passes for it -- with the Friedmans' is up. that was actually our 2nd time speaking tonight and i told her she sounded so tired i'm starting to worry. she really gave her all this week in tacoma to showing support for ehren and i think she's just empty right now. i told her she should go to bed but she said she was going to blog 1st. ehren matters and the stand he's taken matters. he's saying 'no' to an illegal and immoral war. if more would do that, the bully boy might have to fight his own war because there would be so few willing to. but kat gave her all and i even suggested she consider taking the weekend off from the third estate sunday review. she said she'll be fine as soon as she wakes up in her own bed.
and that reminded me when she went to ireland, when her relative was dying last year. she said that she felt the same sense of tension and worry. (i asked her if i could write about this and she gave her permission. she said she's not going to write about because she's just not up to it.) she was the only 1 from her immediate family who was able to go to ireland for that. she does art and photography and makes her own hours so taking time off was the easiest for her. that meant she was in ireland waiting for the end that she knew would not be pleasant.
so that is really similar to what she expected in tacoma. ehren's own attorney was talking about how they would file an appeal immediately. the whole thing was just reminding her of that sense of dread as she waited and waited in ireland. no wonder she's wiped out.
but, you know what? even with that, even with all it reminded her of, all the unpleasant and painful memories, she was there. she was there from sunday through today in tacoma, showing her support for ehren and making it clear that he did matter and that she was on his side.
kat's a really special person. she said at 1 point on tuesday (that's when the prosecution was making their case), she just thought she was going to lose it because there was no word outside fort lewis about what was going on inside (the court-martial) and dona started singing dolly parton (dolly's dona's new favorite discovery) and that made her laugh. to lighten the mood, they were singing 'touch your woman' together.
and speaking of friends, got a full house tonight! Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, and Wally of The Daily Jot are all here (yeah, i swiped the links from third - i'm lazy). i told them we could almost challenge our west coast co-horts! that's 5 of us counting me. (west coast: jim, dona, ty, jess, ava, kat and c.i.)
i'm really excited to see all of them - even the 2 who have been here for me every weekend (except d.c. when i was lucky enough to have betty visit). it's been a busy day and just thinking about it makes me yawn (from being tired, not from boredom) so i better get a move on with this post.
staying on iraq for a bit more, nouri al-maliki is the puppet of the occupation, installed by the u.s. and he hasn't quite lived up to the hopes and expectations of the bully boy. this is from leila fadel's 'Shadows of doubt hang over Iraqi prime minister' (mcclatchy newspapers):
As thousands more American and Iraqi troops mount what could be a last U.S. push to secure Iraq and its capital, no one will be more important in determining whether the Iraqi government - and the American effort - succeeds or fails than Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
If al-Maliki can rein in Shiite Muslim militias, defeat Sunni Muslim insurgents, persuade a recalcitrant parliament to settle divisive issues and muster enough loyal Iraqi troops to quell the violence, the Bush administration's new Iraq strategy might succeed.
If he can't, there may be little more the United States can do to salvage a policy that's taken some 3,100 American lives and tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi ones, cost Americans more than $360 billion so far and alienated much of the world.
There's little obvious evidence that al-Maliki is up to the task. Even his nom de guerre in the Iraqi opposition, Jawad, which he shed when he became prime minister last May 20, is less than intimidating. It means "generous."
Many of his countrymen already have written him off, and the conventional wisdom in the United States is that he's a weak-willed, unsteady politician who depends on the support of the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the country's Shiite militias.
Mahmoud al Mashadani, the Sunni speaker of parliament, called the new Baghdad security plan the government's "last hour," but said he was concerned because Shiite militias had infiltrated the country's police and security forces. "The tools of the plan are corrupted," he said.
'many of his countrymen' have already written him off. did you catch that? the u.s. is tiring of their puppet and the people have no faith in him.
'countrymen'? apparently iraq has only men. is that what the language means?
all iraqi women were rendered invisible in that word choice. which reminds me of the piece we worked on sunday, ' The Nation Stats.' that has to be the worst it will get all year for the nation, that issue. 14 bylines and how many were women? only 1. elizabeth holtzman.
representation matters and when the nation decides to run only 1 woman (alongside 13 men) you really need to start questioning how inclusive 'independent' media is - or isn't?
that's disgraceful. the 14 bylines included book reviews, etc. women, who are supposed to have strong reading skills, don't even qualify, in the mind of katrina vanden heuvel, as worth farming a review out to most issues. but, though they have an appalling track record on publishing women period, it was still a shock to find them going with only 1 woman for an entire issue.
how does that happen in the year 2007? how does that happen when a woman is the editor and publisher of the magazine? people need to be asking those questions and thinking seriously about it.
now i want to note this 'Independent Jewish Voices: New British Group Speaks Out on Israeli Policies in Occupied Territories' (democracy now) which you may have caught:
AMY GOODMAN: Joining us now from a studio in London are two founding members of Independent Jewish Voices: Sir Geoffrey Bindman is a human rights jurist and chair of the British Institute of Human Rights; Professor Susie Orbach is a writer and psychotherapist in London, well-known for her groundbreaking book, Fat is a Feminist Issue. We welcome you both to Democracy Now!
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, let's begin with you. Explain this statement that you have put out.
SIR GEOFFREY BINDMAN: Well, what we are concerned about is that the so-called organs that represent the Jewish community are not expressing the views of many Jews in Britain, who support strongly the human rights of Palestinians, as well as Israelis. And there is even an attempt by these organizations to suppress and demonize those who do not wholeheartedly support the policies of the Israeli government.
AMY GOODMAN: Susie Orbach, tell us how you came to this issue and how you became one of the original signatories to the statement.
SUSIE ORBACH: Well, I came to this, because for a very, very long time I’ve always been struck by this sort of strange phenomenon that in Britain, as a Jew, you get criticized for publicly wanting to talk about Israeli government policy, but when you're in Israel, there's such a kind of vibrant conversation and so much support for various kinds of settlements with the Palestinians, and that actually it's quite crazy for both the Israeli government to claim that it speaks in the name of all Jews and for the British organizations of Jews to say that we speak with one voice, when patently we don't. And as part of Jewish writers who were trying to make contact with and have that voice heard, we came together with another group and formulated this proclamation, I suppose you might call it.
And what's been really, really interesting is the kind of support we've garnered this week. The front of the Jewish Chronicle, which is the mainstream Jewish newspaper, not something that Sir Geoffrey and I particularly read, because we're both secular Jews and active in human rights issues in other kinds of ways, has come out with, you know, seven pages, I think, of articles about this, and they are not hypocritical, which is what we usually expect. So I think the mood has really changed, where people feel less frightened and that the kind of monolith position, which is that all Jews everywhere have to keep their disputes within the family, rather than be able to say, no, there are other voices -- I think something is being broken by our statement, and I’m very, very pleased about that.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Sir Geoffrey Bindman, you're no doubt aware of the book by former President Jimmy Carter here, that compares the situation in Palestine to apartheid.
SIR GEOFFREY BINDMAN: Yeah.
JUAN GONZALEZ: You've been a jurist on missions to both South Africa and to the Occupied Territories. What's your sense of that and also the sharp criticism that he's received and controversy that's arisen as a result of his book?
SIR GEOFFREY BINDMAN: Yes, well, I must admit, I haven't read the book, but I do believe that criticism of people who make some comparisons between the policies of the Israeli government and the apartheid state in South Africa are wrong, because there are comparisons. Of course, they're not identical situations by a very long way, but the subjugation of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the demonization of Arabs, which takes place in Israel, and the attitude towards Palestinians does resemble, in some respects, the attitude of the former South African regime towards black people in South Africa.
I wouldn't overemphasize these parallels, but when you mention apartheid at all, you mention South Africa, there’s a storm of abuse, hits you, from the people who are totally uncritical about Israel and feel that any kind of analysis or comment, which is in any way picking any fault with Israeli policies, is somehow letting the side down, is even anti-Semitic. One commentator, extreme commentator, recently described it as genocidal, as if we, the critics of Israel, are in some way contributing towards the ultimate destruction of the Jewish people. It's just such nonsense.
AMY GOODMAN: Susie Orbach.
SUSIE ORBACH: Can I come in here? Because I think one of the motivations for me joining IJV -- and we are a network, so we don't all have the same point of view -- is that actually I am very concerned about the survival of Israel, and I think its actions now do not speak well for it, and that is one of the things that really concerns me. It kind of feels like a terrible stain that a Jewish state is acting in this way. And so, there are people in our network who are very, very strong supporters of either the two-state solution or of the continuation of the state of Israel, but who are disturbed by its practices vis-à-vis Palestinian people.
i wasn't familiar with the group i.j.v. before today's show. i know they have more discussion on the issues in england than we do here (try to discuss it but be prepared to be tarred and feathered 'anti-semite' - that's how it works in this country). but i didn't know the group. that was probably my favorite piece of news today.
okay, i have not noted robert parry all week. an oversight (and wanting to avoid the font issues). but this was written about the fourth annivesary of colin powell selling the illegal war to the american people via a united nations presentation. this is from parry's 'Fourth Anniversary of Powell's Lies' (consortium news):
Editor's Note: On Feb. 5, 2003, Colin Powell -- then considered one of the most trustworthy leaders in the United States -- went before the United Nations and made the case for a preemptive invasion of Iraq, a presentation that we now know was replete with false claims and exaggerated evidence.
But the impact of Powell’s speech on U.S. public opinion then cannot be overstated. Powell effectively de-legitimized the war’s opponents and turned the major U.S. news media into a virtual monolith of misguided consensus for the invasion.
Now, on the fourth anniversary of Powell’s speech, the consequences are painfully clear. More than 3,000 American soldiers are dead, along with possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqis; many more thousands have been grievously injured; Iraq has been thrust into a hellish civil war; and the U.S. image in the world is in tatters.
But there are important lessons to be drawn from the troubling case of Colin Powell's false credibility. For one, a more skeptical and less star-struck press corps would never have been swept up in Powell-mania. Diligent journalists would have more carefully scrutinized Powell’s real history and explained to the public the disturbing reality behind this hero’s legend.
After Powell's speech, Consortiumnews.com was one of the few news outlets voicing dissent about Powell's trustworthiness. Our headline the next day read: "Trust Colin Powell?" It then linked to an earlier series about Powell’s true biography by Robert Parry and Norman Solomon, entitled "Behind Colin Powell’s Legend."
On this fourth anniversary of this momentous speech, we are publishing below an excerpt by Parry from the upcoming book, Neck Deep: George W. Bush & the Assault on the American Republic:
To make his case for war before the U.N., George W. Bush dispatched the most credible official in his administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Yet, when Powell was assigned to make the case for war, he already counted himself among the growing list of U.S. officials nervous about the quality of the WMD intelligence. Indeed, Powell may have been one of the best positioned officials to know that the threat from Iraq was being exaggerated.
In February 2001, Powell personally had cited the effectiveness of the U.N. sanctions in crippling Saddam Hussein's military capabilities.
"Frankly, they have worked," Powell said of the sanctions. "He [Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."
But Bush called on Powell to put his loyalty to the President first, over his own personal doubts. Col. Larry Wilkerson, Powell's longtime friend and chief of staff, later told CNN that Powell was upset with the White House instructions about what to highlight in his speech.
so how guilty do you think colin powell feels? trick question! he doesn't feel guilty because he feels no guilt!
ava and c.i. established that in "TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were." now each week, those 2 do amazing work. i'll get back to that in a moment but in that review, they were addressing colin powell's sit-down with mama confessor barbara walters:
Take Cindy Sheehan. She's a grieving parent and he feels sorry for her. Walters actually wakes up for this moment. And, in one of the few times prior to Powell's wife being brought on, she actually looks him in the eye while delivering her line.
Walters: But if you feel the war is just -- that's a different feeling than if you feel the war is is not.
Powell: Well, of course, for the person that is effected, it is. If they don't feel the war is just, they will always feel it as a deep personal loss.
Unlike Powell, we'd argue that regardless of beliefs on this war, the loss is a "deep, personal loss" for most, possibly all, who've lost family members. Maybe if he sent fat-boy Michael over there, he could find out for himself what it feels like? Till then, by his remarks, he's not anyone effected. How nice that must be.
But is the war just?
It's not a moral issue for Powell. He's already informed Walters of that. He lied. Well if he had to lie, forget the pre-emptive war debate for a moment, if he had to lie, what does that say about the war? Seems to us that a just war wouldn't be a war that required you pulling one over on the public to get support for.
It wasn't a moral issue, Powell states, going to war. Then what does it matter that he lied?
If it's not a moral issue, then what does it matter?
Powell's mea culpa is not only unconvincing, it's illogical. He's glad Saddam Hussein's gone. So why's he concerned with his "blot?" He's completely unconcerned that we're in a war that's based on lies. "I'm glad" he says. Sure he admits that he lied (by proxy -- it's others faults, you understand, nameless people in the intel community), but there's no moral concern. He's only worried about the slug line that now accompanies his name. The "blot." The tag 'liar, liar.'
Colin Powell lied to the United Nations. Not by proxy, he lied. His testimony. A testimony he made the decision to give. Despite objections from people in the department he headed. His accountability pose is hollow and unconvincing. Shrugs? "What are you going to do?" shrugs? That and the shiftiness during the exchange (he can't sit still during the exchange) back up his words. This isn't any big deal to him, that he lied and we went to war. He's just concerned that he's a known liar. For the rest of his life.
that's from 2005, by the way. i love the work ava and c.i. do. they really are reporters. (they would both choke on my use of that word applied to them, but it is true.) they usually are lucky to have 1/2 hour to actually write their commentaries. but they're taking notes while they watch the show, whatever they're reviewing that week, and then they're on the phone with friends getting information (friends with the show, friends at the network). and they pull it all together with that unique and feminist view they bring.
if you think i'm making too much of it, read their stuff. they always do a wonderful job. read 'TV: The Nights of Bankruptcy' from sunday and get that no 1 else could make that point. they're reviewing the dopey and allegedly funny show about a gang of losers ripping off mick jagger and they're tying it into a snit fit abc had 1st in 1994 and for some time after - see, it's okay for an entire series to revolve around ripping off mick jagger, but to have a subplot in 1 show where the insurance industry almost gets ripped off (the guy doesn't even pull it off), gives them the willies. that's a criticism, a strong 1, you might think you could read everywhere but no 1 else made it. none of the big 'reviewers' did it. it took 2 feminists who can work the phones better than the allegedly real reporters to make that important connection.
now here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot' and it's got a lot in it:
Friday, February 9, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Ehren Watada's mistrial continues to be debated, "Who cooked the intel?" becomes a popular question, a leader of one group of resistance fighters in Iraq is quite clear in what is needed to end the war, and "Woops! We thought they were 'insurgents' or al-Qaeda!"
Starting with Ehren Watada who, in June of last year, became the first commissioned officer in the US to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq because the war was illegal and immoral. On Monday, the court-martial of Ehren Watada began with jury selection for the military panel (seven officers were selected) who would, as Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) pointed out, "determine whether Watada spends up to four years in prison in one of the most high-profile cases to be tried at Fort Lewis." Watada was facing up to four years in prison and Lt. Col. John Head (aka Judge Toilet) refused to allow him to argue the reasons why he refused to deploy. This is why Norman Solomon (CounterPunch) called the proceedings "a kangaroo court-martial." . On Tuesday, the prosectution presented their case. Aaron Glantz discussed the day's events with Sandra Lupien on The KPFA Evening News noting: "The prosecution had 3 witnesses. It did not go as well as the prosecution would have liked. Lt. Col Bruce Antonia, who was the prosecution's star witness, as Lt. Watada's commander, said that nothing tangibly bad happened from Lt. Watada's refusal to go to" Iraq and
"[a]nother thing that did not go well for the prosecution today was that their own witnesses clearly showed that Lt. Watada tried other methods of expressing . . . [his opposition] to the Iraq war, internally within the military, before coming forward to speak to the public." Also noting the prosecution's poor performance on Tuesday (when they rested their case), was civil rights attorney Bill Simpich who told Geoffrey Millard (Truthout): "The prosecution asked too many questions. By the time it was over, the prosecution witness had become a defense witness because the field was open. The defense was able to ask nuanced questions, it told the story clearly to the jury." On Wednesday, Judge Toilet began talking mistrial and, due to the lousy performance by the prosecution, it was seen as an attempt at a "do over" even before he called the mistrial.
Yesterday, on KPFA's Flashpoints, Nora Barrows-Friedman spoke with Marjorie Cohn (president of the National Lawyers Guild) about the mistrial. Cohn's belief (based on expertise) is that the government's case is over -- that, military or civilian, courts must respect the laws of the land and that includes avoiding double-jeopardy (trying a person for the same alleged crimes twice). As Rebecca notes, Cohn explained that the stipulation Judge Toilet made much ado over was a stipulation (agreement between the prosecution and the defense) that both sides had agreed to, that the jury was made aware of, that Judge Toilet had looked over and, up until it was time for the defense to present their case, Judge Toilet never voiced any concerns over the stipulation, More importantly, Cohen pointed out, "When a mistrial is declared, the defense has to agree to it. The only thing that will defeat a finding of double-jeopardy . . . is if there was manifest necessity to declare the mistrial" which, in Cohn's opinion, there wasn't. At Counterpunch, Cohen also made the case "that under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution, the government cannot retry Lt. Watada on the same charges of missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officers." Leila Fujimori (The Honolulu Star-Bulletin) spoke with Earle Partington ("local attorney with decades in military justice") who also stated that "military judge Lt. Col. John Head lacked authority to set a new date, March 19, for the trial after declaring a mistrial Wednesday". Marjorie Cohn had explained to Nora Barrows-Friedman that Judge Toilet floated the idea of a mistrial and when the prosecution (taking the hint) asked for one, the defense did not consent to a mistrial. Also making this point is Eric Seitz, Watada's civilian attorney. Bob Egelko (San Francisco Chronicle) reports: "The lawyer for an officer whose court-martial for refusing deployment to Iraq was abruptly halted this week says the Army's planned retrial of his client would violate the constitutional ban on double jeopardy. Because 1st Lt. Ehren Watada neither caused nor consented to the mistrial that an Army judge declared Wednesday, the charges against him must be dismissed, attorney Eric Seitz said. Those charges were punishable by up to four years in prison. 'I don't think the judge understands, and I don't think the Army realizes that this case cannot be retried,'' Seitz said in an interview after the trial at Fort Lewis, Wash., was halted."
Yesterday, reporting for Free Speech Radio News, Aaron Glantz noted Carolyn Ho's reaction to the mistrial ("tears started streaming down her cheek"). Carolyn Ho, mother of Ehren Watada: "He was quite prepared to vacate his apartment. It's been all packed up and, you know, and we were arranging to have his furniture moved on Monday. The expectation was that he would be sentenced and, um, that there would be incarceration." Reporting for IPS (text), Glantz noted Eric Seitz's contention: "Every time the government has tried to prevent political speech, which they are attempting to punish, from infusing the trial proceedings it has created a major mess and many of those cases result in mistrials."
Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
War resister Joshua Key self-checked out of the US army after serving in Iraq. He, Brandi Key (his wife) and their children moved to Canada. Key has written a book on his experience in Iraq and after entitled The Deserter's Tale. Brian Lynch (The Georgia Straight) notes: "And when Key arrived in the bomb-cratered streets of Iraq, his commanding officers issued constant reports that heavily armed terrorist cells or mobs of Saddam Hussein's sympathizers were poised to attack. None of these threats materialized, he says. And as he recalls in his book, he began to sense that 'the repeated warnings of danger were meant to keep us off guard, and to keep us frightened enough to do exactly what we were told.'
This, he believes, is a tactic that the highest political and military leaders in his native country have used on the public itself. Field commanders, he says on the phone, 'try to keep you scared, keep you motivated. And that's exactly what's happened to the [American] people as well. Everybody is so afraid of terrorism... And of course, from my actions in Iraq, I think the terrorism hasn't begun yet--terrorism from all the little Iraqi children that I terrorized myself. There's going to be a flip side to that. There will be consequences'."
Cause and effect.
On today's Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman noted: "In Iraq, the US military is facing allegations of killing forty-five Iraqi civililans in an airstrike near Amiriyah. Police and hospital officials say the bombings flattened four homes in the village of Zaidan, just south Abu Ghraib, killing women, childre, and the elderly. A photograph released by the Associated Press shows the body of a boy in the back of a pickup truck taken to the nearby Falluja hospital. Several other children were reportedly admitted with injuries. The US military denies the account and says thirteen insurgents were killed."
That incident was explored in yesterday's snapshot (and you can tie it with the Najaf incident which Tom Hayden recently wrote about). Today, Al Jazeera reports: "The US military had said in a statement that US forces killed five armed men in the city of Mosul early on Friday during a raid targeting an al-Qaeda cell." Had? Before we get there, please note that in Najaf, in the strike near Amiriyah, in countless 'battles,' the motive is always said to be 'suspected' this or that. And when innocents die in the attacks, it doesn't change the fact that intended targets (present or not) are still only 'suspected'. So who were US forces ordered to kill in Mosul? The BBC says: "Eight Iraqi soldiers have been killed and six wounded in a US helicopter strike". Lauren Frayer (AP) reports that "U.S. helicopters on Friday mistakenly killed at least five Kurdish troops, a group that Washington hopes to enlist as a partner to help secure Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials said."
Now a few things to note. 1) When you have some level of power, you can have the record corrected. That's what happened here. The US military had already issued their press release claiming suspected al Qaeda had been killed. 2) Calling it a "mistake" doesn't mitigate the effects on the families and friends of the eight dead. 3) Even when 'apologizing' the flacks for the US military still want to quibble on how many were killed (8 is the Kurdish figure and the media's figure, the US military has tried to stick 5). This is why 'suspected' or potential 'suspected' really should raise eyebrows. As evidenced by yesterday's denial, which has only continued, the US military refuses to acknowledge that children were killed in the attack. Instead the military spokespeople want to crow about how they got 'insurgents' or al-Qaeda -- 'suspected.'
Meanwhile, Robert Fisk (Independent of London) reports on Abu Salih Al-Jeelani ("one of the military leaders of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Resistance Movement") and his group ("20th Revolution Brigades") which has issued a statement on what it will take for there to be a ceasefire:
* The release of 5,000 detainees held in Iraqi prisons as "proof of goodwill"
* Recognition "of the legitimacy of the resistance and the legitimacy of its role in representing the will of the Iraqi people".
* An internationally guaranteed timetable for all agreements.
* The negotiations to take place in public.
* The resistance "must be represented by a committee comprising the representatives of all the jihadist brigades".
* The US to be represented by its ambassador in Iraq and the most senior commander.
All starred items are direct quotes from Fisk's article. The leader says they also want the constitution of Iraq and the deals arranged (especially with regards to the oil) cancelled -- to be replaced by things deriving from the Iraqi people and not foreign occupiers.
In the United States, one of the big stories is the cooking of intel. Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) notes that "the Pentagon's inspector general examined the activities of Douglas J. Feith, an influential undersecretary to former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. . . . Its findings lend credence to charges by White House critics that Feith, who has since left the department, was out of line when he sought to discredit analyses by CIA intelligence officials that discounted alleged ties between Al Qaeda and then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein." Walter Pincus and R. Jeffrey Smith (Washington Post) report US Senator Carl Levin stated, "The bottom line is that intelligence relating to the Iraq-al-Qaeda relationship was manipulated by high-ranking officials in the Department of Defense to support the administration's decision to invade Iraq. . . . The inspector general's report is a devastating condemnation of inappropriate activities in the DOD policy office that helped take this nation to war" and the reporters note: "The summary document confirmed a range of accusations that Levin had leveled against Feith's office, alleging inaccurate work."
In some reports, Feith is noted as saying he was not wrong. Of course he wasn't wrong. He cooked the intel exactly as he wanted. Was it burned? Of course, that's how he wanted it, that's how he served it.
And on clever propaganda, CBS and AP report that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has declared that there is "pretty good" evidence of Iran's involvement in Iraq. Pretty good? Gates' word is supposed to be all anyone needs. Gates paints a story of 'weapons' found that are from Iran. What is he suggesting? That the Iranian government gave the Iraqi resistance the weapons? No, he means markings show that they were made in Iran. (That's his word -- take it for what it's not worth.) How shocking! People could get weapons from a country that borders their own! Oh my!
It proves nothing -- and the US firearms are all over the Iraqi black market -- but it's the new talking point. Expect to see a lot more of it.
Addressing the issue of Iran, Juan Cole told Steve Rendell (on this week's CounterSpin): "Of coures the entire discourse of Washington has been, for many years, to get Iran and all Iranian attempts to reach out to the United States, some of which have been quite serious and wide ranging have been rebuffed. Iran has been kept as an enemy because Washington wants it as an enemy." Probably won't catch that in the mainstream.
Reuters notes 17 dead in Mosul from a roadside bomb while 2 were killed (eight wounded) in Hilla from a roadside bomb.
Shootings?Reuters reports that three people were shot dead (and 10 wounded) in Baghdad today.Corpses?
AFP reports that eleven corpses were discovered today in Mahawil -- "floating in the Al-Malih river" -- after they and two others were kidnapped on Thursday (the other were released and are alive*) and, in Amara, Mohammed Qasim Kerkuki 's corpse was discovered ("riddled with bullets"). (*AFP reports that, other agencies don't address the two. Al Jazeera notes that the kidnappers were wearing "Iraqi army uniforms and drove military vehicles".)
Yesterday's snapshot didn't note corpses. My apologies. Reuters reported 16 corpses were discovered in Mosul and 20 in Baghdad on Thursday. Please note, it's Friday. The majority of the violence (that gets reported) will emerge slowly throughout the rest of Friday.
Meanwhile the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a British soldier in Iraq today, Friday 9 February 2007. MOD Announcement We can confirm that there was a roadside bomb attack on a Multi-National Forces patrol south east of Basra City that resulted in the death of the British soldier. Three other soldiers have also been injured, one of whom is described as critical." That brought the count for UK troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 132.
Also today the US military announced: "Three Soldiers assigned to Multi-National Force-West were killed Thursday from wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." AP's count for the total number of US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war 3,117.
Finally, seven days ago, the Democratica National Committee held the Winter Meeting in DC and the mainstream's coverage was -- "Who didn't stick to the time limit! Nobody said anything!" Dennis Kucinich, US House Rep and 2008 candidate for president did speak and addressed a number of issues. Our focus is Iraq so we'll focus on the Iraq section. Kucinich: "Fellow Democrats, I can win because of all the candidates for President, I not only voted against the authorization but I have consistently voted against funding the war and I have a 12-point plan devised with the help of international peacekeepers, to bring our troops home and to end the war. Fellow Democrats, of all decisions a President must make, the one most far reaching is whether to commit the lives of our young men and women to combat. I believe that I have demonstrated the clarity and foresight people have a right to expect of a President. This war would have never occured in the first place if I had been President. We do not have to wait for 2009 and my Inauguration as President to end it because, fellow Democrats, right now the Democratic Congress has the ability and the power to end the war and bring our troops home. This past November, Democrats received a mandate from the American people to end the war. Democrats have an obligation to reclaim Congress' constitutional power to end the war. If we support the troops, if we truly support the troops, we should bring them home. Money is there now to bring our troops safely home. Supporting my 12 point plan, Congress can require the Administration to end the occupation, close the bases, bring the troops home and stabilize Iraq. Fellow Democrats, I want to stress, the Democratic Congress must deny the President the money he wants to keep the war going through the end of his term, money which he can also use to attack Iran. If we give the President the money to continue the war the Democratic Party will have bought the war."