democracy now, free speech radio news

rebecca back with you tonight. i plan to blog next week but i'll probably be using betty frequently. she says she's fine with it. (and happy to do it.) it's not as big an adjustment as some might think. flyboy does at least 1/2 the work. and let's be honest, whether ruth's visiting us or we're visiting her, ruth fixes whatever we get wrong. (thank you to my very good friend ruth for all her during the pregnancy as well as for her help now.)

what's different? well i do watch democracy now each morning. but sometimes that's all i have time for. c.i.'s been so wonderful sending all these documentaries on dvd and i'll put those on when i'm nursing or we're laying down on the couch (yes, we have a crib but a child of mine better know how to sleep on a couch). i have no problem following democracy now and can share stuff from that with you but i'm guessing most of us already watching or listening.

i could talk about the documentaries but they're on a variety of topics. so i'm trying to get down to some sort of schedule with the baby before making promises about a schedule here. betty's said she can grab any night but i don't want to ask her to do wednesdays. that's her chuch night and she's already worked all day, got the kids off to school, got them ready for church and has work the next day. c.i. said 'if you need a wednesday, you know you can ask.' and i do know that. (and i do appreciate that.) i also know mike and jim are happy to fill in as well. so some way or another, there will be 5 posts a week as usual. but i really don't know what my schedule will be yet.

now when i'm nursing, i could watch tv news. but i'm used to reading my morning papers, magazines and other things. then when i watch cnn or whatever, i know what they're getting very wrong. i'm afraid if i was watching that right now (without reading) i might write something really stupid like: 'iran has wmds!' i could become a judy miller strictly by accident - and is that really fair after all the hard work she put into it?

i'm going to start with e-mails. a number of 'fans' i'd never heard from before wrote to tell me that my figure was lost for good due to the pregnancy. uh, have you seen me? i'm actually almost back to my normal weight. i've got 5 more pounds to go but my jeans are looser on me right now than they were before i was pregnant.

thank c.i. for showering me with pregnancy workout tapes. i don't work out. c.i. does. elaine does. i'm just not motivated enough. my morning 'workout' was a pack of smokes, 4 pots of coffee, flip the remote repeatedly while i go through the papers. c.i. scared me by pointing out the natural weight gain when you quit smoking (i stopped when i found i was pregnant - i also gave up coffee and for the person wondering about the diet coke, it was decaf). so i was doing more excercise when i was pregnant than i ever did before. but i've always had a very high metabolism. and keeping weight on was always more of a problem for me. if i didn't, i looked haggard. (i lose weight in my face 1st, i also gain it there 1st.)

so to my 'fans,' sorry to disappoint you but i should be back at my normal weight by this time next week. (if not by mid-week.) i'm also picking up and putting down a small child all the time which is more 'weight work' than i've ever done.

so that's 1 set of e-mails. by the way, people who regularly write should be getting e-mails from me or flyboy. i thank all of you for the kind words. but i'm griping here.

now i signed up for fair's action alerts and am happy to note them. however, i did not sign up for another organization. i'm wondering why some org/publication i've never heard of is sending me their e-mails. i don't know the site. flyboy asked me this week, 'isn't peter bergen the pig who brags about whorehouse visits and the 1 ava and c.i. took on for his sexism in the pages of the nation?' yes. so the idea that i'm going to highlight an outlet for peter bergen is laughable. but i'm looking at the other stuff sent by the same org/publication and (a) where are the women? and (b) it looks awfully centrist. i have no idea how i ended up on their mailing list but i've received 6 or 7 e-mails from them this week alone. send 'em to katrina vanden heuvel - she seems to have no problem publishing men 4 times as much as women, publishing centrists or publishing pigs like bergen.

mumia abu-jamal has an appeal going on right now. if you don't know who he is, he's a prisoner. i can tell you what i believe which is he is innocent and was wrongfully convicted, the jury was given bad sentencing information and he's a political prisoner. today on democracy now, amy goodman and juan gonzalez spoke with his attorney and this is to toss that out there and make sure every 1's aware of this:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And also, for some of our listeners or viewers who may not be as familiar with Mumia’s case, how would you estimate the impact of his case -- given the virtual blackout that you have in the commercial media of the Mumia Abu-Jamal case, what is the impact of this case around the world?
ROBERT BRYAN: Well, the impact in commercial media, as we’re speaking today, has been shifting and changing. I’ve worked hard to try to bring it to everybody, the message in this case. But it's a worldwide issue, Mumia Abu-Jamal. I have given a number of talks in Paris, in various places in France. I spoke to 2,500 people in January in Berlin, Germany. And there's world interest, standing ovation at the end of all of these talks. And it's not about me. It's not about Mumia, as he keeps reminding me. It's about him as a symbol in the fight against the death penalty.
And you have to remember that he's unique in the world, because Mumia Abu-Jamal is not just a death row prisoner, a brilliant one at that, but he is a journalist. When he was arrested, he was already known as the voice of the voiceless, and he continues from this tiny bathroom-sized cell to turn out weekly these commentaries that are read and heard by people, not only here, but around the world. And it just -- there's nothing like what's happening with Mumia around the world. So he's important to people everywhere.

i think the 1st time i ever heard about mumia was when mike d. (beastie boys) was speaking about him in an interview. there have been many people over the years working to get him some fairness. his weekly reports air on free speech radio news (and they covered the case on thursday).

and i'm stopping sooner than i planned to. the baby's crying and flyboy and others are trying to handle it. the way this works is that i give flyboy 20 minutes. at which point, i take over. unless i'm asleep. he's been very good about taking care of the midnight feedings. (breast pump for those wondering if i'm using formula or breast feeding. i'm breast feeding.)

so let me wind down here. it helps if i'm not in the same room. then the baby calms down much quicker. i need to think of an online name for the baby. i don't want to put my child's life online. i should probably think of a gender neutral 1 as well.

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

Friday, May 18, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, day 7 passes with no news of the whereabouts of the 3 missing US soldiers, the US miliarty announces more deaths, America's ABC announces the death of two of their journalists in Iraq . . .

US military announced that they were continuing the search "for three missing U.S. Soldiers who are believed to have been abducted . . . Saturday in Quarghuli Village". The soldiers remain missing. One identification that has been made is the fourth soldier killed on Saturday. CNN reports that he has been identified as Anthony J. Schober of Reno, NV.
CNN lists the three missing soldiers as being: Byron W. Fouty, Alex R. Jimenez and Joseph J. Anzack Jr. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) notes: "The manhunt has involved an extraordinary array of resources, including helicopters, drones, manned aircraft, forensic experts, FBI interrogators and dogs that can sniff for bombs and bobieds."
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that, yesterday, "the wear was showing, not just on the soldiers obsessed with finding their comrades but also on the hamlets that dot the region southwest of Baghdad, which is blessed with groves of elegant date palms and riddled with pro-Al Qaeda insurgents. Hundreds of local men have been detained for questioning, leaving women, children and legions of ferociosly barking dogs in charge of Iraqi towns such as Rushdi Mullah, a community of 86 households under a virtual siege by troops looking for their buddies."

snapshot noted: ". . . protests take place in Baghdad, . . ." That was it (my apologies). The protests were described yesterday by Thomas Wagner (AP): "In northern Baghdad, about 200 Iraqis marched down a street in the mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Shaab, shouting slogans and carrying banners demanding that the thousands of US soldiers conducting a security crackdown in the capital stop creating forward operating bases in neighbourhoods and searching homes for suspected insurgents and militiamen." Thursday protest resulted from the tensions that Susman describes today. Today was day seven of the 3 US troops being missing and, only on day seven, did the New York Times decide it was front page news (Damien Cave's "Hunt for 3 G.I.'s in Iraq Slowed by False Trails"). Also in the paper is Paul von Zielbauer's report on the just revealed story (AP broke this yesterday) about the army's investigation of the June 2006 attack and kidnappings (2 US soldiers) and later deaths revealed that the dead "had been left for up to 36 hours without supervision or enough firepower or support to repel even a small group of enemy fighters." No one in the Times draws the obvious comparison from the June 2006 events and the attack last Saturday. This despite the fact that the report on the 2006 attack noted the 25 minute arrival by the "quick reaction force." Last Saturday's attack took one hour before other troops arrived. Or one hour until Wednesday when the US military changed their story and began insisting that it took 30 minutes. The report on the 2006 attack wasn't criticizing the responders -- it was noted that the distance plotted was too great -- a command issue, not an on the ground issue. The same thing appears to have happened with last Saturday's attack.

As the war drags on, some work to end it.
Judith Scherr (The Berkeley Daily Planet) reports US war resister Agustin Aguayo took part in "a gathering Tuesday morning outside City Hall sponsored by the city's Peace and Justice Commission, Courage to Resist and the Ehren Watada support committee. The event was to celebrate the city's first Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters Day, an event to be observed annually every May 15." Monday, pre-trial motions begin for Ehren Watada -- the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and the first officer to be court-martialed (in February, it ended in a mistrial and double jeopardy should prevent him from being court-martialed again). Also on Monday, WeThePeopleRadioNetwork.com airs Questioning War-Organizing Resistance from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PST and will address the issue of war resistance with guests including Pablo Paredes, Michael Wong, Jeff Paterson and Camilo Mejia. More information can be found in Carol Brouillet's "Questioning War- Organizing Resistance- War Resisters Radio Show" (Indybay IMC).

Camilo Mejia's just released
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press) traces his journey. From pages 224-225:

Through media contacts from before I went underground, I had gotten the contact information for a man named Steve Robinson, a retired Special Forces veteran who led an organization called the National Gulf War Resource Center, which provides support to veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. Steve in turn put me in touch with Tod Ensign, the director of the soldiers' rights organization called
Citizen Soldier.
Thus a couple of weeks after the end of my leave I found myself on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue outside the address that Tod had given me over the phone. Looking at the building from the street, I thought at first I had arrived at the fancy headquarters of a well-funded organization. Once inside, however, I found that the
Citizen Soldier offices were quite modest. Furthermore, far from the uptight, heartless image I'd always had of attorneys, Tod turned out to be a down-to-earth kind of guy, with a big smile and a physical resemblance to Christopher Walken -- a similarity only enhanced by his heavy New York City accent. As a young attorney in the sixties and seventies, Tod had been involved in the Vietnam GI resistance movement, and had helped underground soldiers living abroad with safe passage back to the United States, a legal defense, and the means to get their stories out to the media.
As soon as I spoke with Tod the door to a new world opend up before my eyes. I went from feeling powerless and alone to realizing that there was a whole network of people and groups, from women's rights organizations and antiwar veterans to military families and religious groups, who all felt as I did about the war.
Tod and I discussed how I was going to handle my absence from the military. We agreed that I should do everything I could to avoid getting arrested and then give myself up voluntarily while insisting in court on my right to be legally discharged from the service. This strategy of surrendering myself would defeat the charge of desertion, which is roughtly defined as unauthorized absence from the military with the intent to remain permanently away.

Mejia has been taking part in a speaking tour that wraps up today:

Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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.

Tod Ensign, who Camilo Mejia wrote of, also started up the
Different Drummer Cafe where a group of Iraq Veterans Against the War spoke in March. Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript and we'll note Matt Hrutkay today:

About a week and a half ago I was browsing through the VA Web site. They have a section in there devoted to PTSD. It has a guide for VA medical providers, doctors, psychologists, etc. that are dealing with people coming back from Iraq having these issues. And they have in there an encouragment to physicians to diagnose people with "adjustment disorder," "anxiety disorder," and "personality disorder." The reason they're doing that is so they can claim that there was a pre-existing condition before I joined the army and my issues have nothing to do with being blown up twenty-one times.
According to statistics, 18 percent of soldiers coming back from Iraq suffer some form, mild or severe, of PTSD. That's 18 percent according to an army physician at the VA. Of those, add to that people like me who have multiple symptoms of this but still get diagnosed as it being "my own problem." Add to that, people who are scared to go to mental health clinics because of their chain of command, because they're scared they won't get promoted. Because they're scared their buddies will make fun of them. I think you can then see how much prevalent that issue is and what the numbers are probably more likely to be. I'm not going to say what percentage really have PTSD coming back because it would be a guess. But I think it's clear from my own experience that this issue is probably the most prevalent issue facing returning soldiers and it's being compltely ignored.

CODEPINK is in DC for the summer of activism and Rae Abileah shares, "Today when I was at Congress for a meeting I stopped by the underground subway between the House buildings and the Capitol as many Congressmembers were walking through to vote on something. Though I didn't have a specific bill to ask them about, I did shake many of their hands, and to every one I asked the question, 'Have you done something today to staop the war in Iraq?' 'Help us bring our troops home!' Because it is possible to walk these halls of Congress and feel very distant from the mere idea of war, it felt very effective be a constant voice about the conflict outside the passageway to the Capitol. Imagine if every time there was any vote in Congress, every member going from their office to the Capitol was confronted with the message that it is time to bring our troops home and get out of Iraq.
Our Congresspeople are for the most part behind the times in terms of public opinion about the war. Not only do we have to 'push' them to do the right thing, support key legislation, stop the war... we have to 'pull' them, by leading them towards the right direction. I envision hundreds of people here on a daily basis helping to pull Congress away from the Bush Agenda and towards peace. To increase our numbers from a dozen to a hundred... we need YOU! Click on the links to the right to find out how to join us in DC! Or raise a ruckus at your Congressperson's nearest office!" The links she was referencing are:

Apply to Join Us in DC
DC Pink House Info
DC Sumer Trainings
CODEPINK Women for Peace
Cindy Sheehan and a number of other individuals and organizations are working to make this summer one of activism and volume so that Congress not only grasps that the people have turned on the illegal war but that it is time to end it.

United for Peace & Justice notes:

Peace activists are surging on Washington DC -- to bear witness as Congress again takes up Iraq War funding and the Pentagon budget, and continues to hold hearings on civil liberties, torture, and more.
Click here for the latest legislative information.
May 15-July 31: SWARM on Congress
June and July: CODEPINK DC Activist House
UFPJ hopes you will get the word out: There is plenty to do in Washington, and a steady flow of people into the nation's capital will have a tremendous impact in the coming months. UFPJ endorses these efforts, and encourages other creative actions and projects, both in DC and around the country. (If you are organizing an action, please post it on our events calendar.)

Turning to Iraq, two journalists who worked for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) were killed in Iraq yesterday: Alaa Uldeen Aziz and Saif Laith Yousuf.
AFP reports they were "ambushed and killed as they returned hom from work at their Baghdad office" and notes: "At least 170 journalists and media professionals have been killed in the fighting that has gripped Iraq since the March 2003 US-led invasion, according to the watchdog Reporters without Borders." AP quotes Terry McCarthy (ABC correspondent in Baghdad) stating: "They are really our eyes and ears in Iraq. Many places in Baghdad are just too dangerous for foreigners to go now, so we have Iraqi camera crews who very bravely go out. . . . . Without them, we are blind, we cannot see what's going on." ABC notes:

Aziz is survived by his wife, his two daughters and his mother. Yousuf leaves behind his fiancee, his mother and brothers and sisters. Mike Tuggle, an ABC News producer who worked with Aziz, remembers a game of pool they played on his first trip to Baghdad.
"I had some down time and got into a game of pool with Alaa. He beat me badly. Just before he hit the last ball in he looked up at me and said, 'My name is Alaa Uldeen, but you can call me Aladdin, because I have his magic on the pool table," Tuggle wrote in an e-mail message.
"The balls they just disappear," Tuggle continued, "And his face lit up with that big smile of his."

In Iraq today . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mortar attack at Abu Dhaba killing one ("5 were injured including children"). Reuters reports: "A suicide bomber blew up his vehicle at an Iraqi police checkpoint in the town of Mussayab, south of Baghdad, killing three people and wounding four police said."


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Baghdad, a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad, that following an explosion in Baghdad's Al Hurriyah, two people were killed (6 wounded), two police officers were shot dead in Al Wajihiya (2 more wounded) and Bku Shukr Saber ("Kurdish Iraqi army officer") was shot dead in Kirkuk.


Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports five corpses discovered in the Babil province. Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 25 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and 15 corpses in Baquba.

Today the
US military announced: "While conducting operations two MND-B Soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded in separate attacks in the southern section of the Iraqi capital May 17. Three soldiers have been returned to duty." And they announced: "Three Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed in Diyala Province, Friday when an explosion occurred near their vehicle."

IRIN reports on the educational crisis in Iraq and quotes Baghdad University's Professor Fua'ad Abdel-Razak, "Violence and lack of resources have undermined the education sector in Iraq. No student will graduate this year with sufficient competence to perform his or her job, and pupils will end the year with less than 60 percent of the knowledge that was supposed to have been imparted to them."


The Alberto Gonzales Show


Betty here, filling in for Rebecca and we are going to address the latest goings on in the Alberto Gonzales cesspool. He's the soon to be former attorney general if you're lost. When Bully Boy went from the governor's mansion in Texas to the White House, he took Gonzales along with him, like a clutch purse. First Gonzales was Bully Boy's lawyer and then J-Ass left the Justice Department and Bully Boy was in search of a new Attorney General. Apparently Harriet Miers didn't think to suggest herself for that post so it went to the woefully underqualified Gonzales. His most memorable public moment prior to being AG was terming the Geneva Conventions 'quaint.' Could a Nazi have said it better?

So Gonzales gets confirmed just as the Senate's learning about the illegal spying and they don't seem too concerned about that or the fact that he's lying to them. But his lies get to be too much and last month even the Senate appeared to tire of it. Like his lie Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein (Washington Post) reported on today:

The Justice Department considered dismissing many more U.S. attorneys than officials have previously acknowledged, with at least 26 prosecutors suggested for termination between February 2005 and December 2006, according to sources familiar with documents withheld from the public.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since last June, and other administration officials have said that only a few others were suggested for removal.

Now CNN reports that Republican Senator Arlen Specter thinks that when the Senate Judiciary Committee finishes their investigation into the firing of attorney generals (to get "Bushies" in place, to subvert voting rights and so much more), that Gonzales will resign. Quote from Specter: "I have a sense when we finish our investigation, we may have a conclusion to the tenure of the attorney general."

Specter won't call for Gonzales' resignation. AP reports that Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is calling for Gonzales' resignation and the reason is due to the revelations about "a sick bed visit" Gonzales made. No, Albie wasn't delivering chicken noodle soup.

What was he doing? Lengthy excerpt from Massimo Calabresi's "Was Gonzales' Emergency Visit Illegal?" (Time):

When then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales went to John Ashcroft's hospital room on the evening of March 10, 2004 to ask the ailing Attorney General to override Justice Department officials and reauthorize a secret domestic wiretapping program, he was acting inappropriately, Ashcroft's deputy at the time, James Comey, testified before Congress earlier this week. But the question some lawyers, national security experts and congressional investigators are now asking is: Was Gonzales in fact acting illegally?
In dramatic testimony Tuesday, Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he raced to the intensive care unit of George Washington University Hospital that evening to intercept Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andrew Card and prevent them from convincing Ashcroft to reauthorize the program after Justice department lawyers had concluded that it was illegal. Comey, who during Ashcroft's stay in the hospital was acting Attorney General, has told Congressional investigators that when he arrived at the room and began explaining to Ashcroft why he was there, he was intentionally "very circumspect" so as not to disclose classified information in an unsecure setting and in front of Ashcroft's wife, Janet, who was at his bedside and was apparently not authorized to know about the program.
Comey described what happened next: "The door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card. They came over and stood by the bed. They greeted the attorney general very briefly. And then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there -- to seek his approval for a matter, and explained what the matter was -- which I will not do." Ashcroft bluntly rebuffed Gonzales, but Comey's unwillingness publicly to say what Gonzales said in the hospital room has raised questions about whether Gonzales may have violated executive branch rules regarding the handling of highly classified information, and possibly the law preventing intentional disclosure of national secrets.
"Executive branch rules require sensitive classified information to be discussed in specialized facilities that are designed to guard against the possibility that officials are being targeted for surveillance outside of the workplace," says Georgetown Law Professor Neal Katyal, who was National Security Advisor to the Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton. "The hospital room of a cabinet official is exactly the type of target ripe for surveillance by a foreign power," Katyal says. This particular information could have been highly sensitive. Says one government official familiar with the Terrorist Surveillance Program: "Since it's that program, it may involve cryptographic information," some of the most highly protected information in the intelligence community.

Wired feels that there are 6 take-away points from the revelations:

Six things have been made abundantly clear by Comey's stunning story:
1) After Comey told Card and Gonzales that the Justice Department no longer considered the program legal, the White House AUTHORIZED the program to continue, even though its own appointees considered the program legally indefensible.
Facing the impending resignation of Attorney General, the FBI Director and a not-insignificant handful of top Justice Department officials, President Bush soon backed down and agreed to let the Justice Department re-write the rules for the program. For the next two weeks the program continued, despite the Justice Department's belief that it was legally indefensible.
2) Andrew Card, according to James Comey, is a liar. After calling Comey into his office after the Intensive Care Showdown, he protested to Comey that he and Gonzales were simply at the hospital to offer best wishes to Ashcroft. He then summoned Comey to his White House office, which Comey wouldn't do without a witness. Comey convinces Ted Olsen, then Solicitor General, to come with him. Card refuses to allow Olsen, the man responsible for arguing cases for the Administration in front of the Supreme Court, into his office.
3) It is absolutely clear now that Alberto Gonzales was installed at the helm of the Justice Department in order to make the Department obey. Comey's story joins together the warrantless wiretapping story with the U.S. Attorney purge story [. . .]
4) It is clear that Gonzales is willing to dissemble and mislead Congress with meandering definitions and legalisms. When talking about disagreements in Congress in February 2006, Gonzales said the disagreements weren't about the program he came to testify about[:]
["}There has not been any serious disagreement -- and I think this is accurate -- there has not been any serious disagreement about the program that the president has confirmed. There have been disagreements about other matters regarding operations which I cannot get into.["]
By "the program the president has confirmed" he's referring to the program as reconfigured after the Intensive Care Showdown.
Just minutes later in the SAME hearing, he was asked when the program started. Gonzales then said, "The authorization regarding the terrorist surveillance program occurred subsequent to the authorization to use military force and prior to the Patriot Act." That's October 2001.
When it's convenient he'll talk about the warrantless surveillance program from its origin. When he's hiding something -- such as the existence of extreme dissension inside the Justice Department, he refers to the program only AFTER it was changed to quell an internal riot.
Gonzales isn't retracting that statement.
5) Huge questions are left unanswered.
What was this program doing before the Intensive Care Showdown? Why did Mueller, the head of the FBI, threaten to resign? This was an NSA program -- what was the FBI doing involved? Secret black bag searches of people's houses? Were names, transcripts and phone numbers being dumped into the FBI's massive intelligence database?
What's the connection between the massive collection of every American's phone records, the NSA's warrantless listening in on conversations and the terrorist watch list? Did the NSA get millions of call records of Americans -- find the ones who had ever called Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia and then start listening to their phone calls? Could whole geographic regions -- say Dearborn, Michigan -- that had many calls to countries with radical Islamic presences have had all their residents listened in on?
6) This all came up in a hearing about the U.S. Attorney purge. When is Congress going to hold real hearings into the government's warrantless wiretapping? Where is the oversight in this Congress? Where's this generation's Church Committee?

As Editor & Publisher points out, despite being asked twice today, Bully Boy refused to answer whether or not he'd ordered the visit. Here's the second time he refused to answer:

Q: Was it on your order, sir?
BUSH: As I said, the program is a necessary program that was constantly reviewed and constantly briefed to the Congress. It’s an important part of protecting the United States, and it’s still an important part of our protection, because there’s still an enemy that would like to attack us, no matter how calm it may seem in America, an enemy lurks and they would like to strike. They would like to do harm to the American people, because they have an agenda. They want to impose an ideology. They want us to retreat from the world. They want to find safe haven, and these just aren’t empty words. These are the words of al Qaeda themselves, and so we will put in place programs to protect the American people that honor the civil liberties of our people and programs that we constantly brief to Congress.

To quote Meryl Streep from Death Becomes Her, "You're in the crapper now."

Now the Democrats aren't snoozing . . . for a change. Robert Schmidt, of Bloomberg News, reports that Senators Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer, both Democrats, are calling "for a no- confidence vote" on Alberto with Schumer saying the only one with confidence in Gonzales is Bully Boy. Tony Snow gets into the act dismissing the no confidence vote as "a meaningless political stunt" -- apparently the equivalent of landing on a carrier that's almost reached the shore, stuffing your crotch to strut around on board beneath a banner reading "Mission Accomplished."

Big thank you to C.I. for helping me find stuff (over the phone, we went through about 37 articles) and for explaining various points to me. If Rebecca doesn't blog tomorrow (or early Saturday morning), you'll have Jim with you for tomorrow night. Her plan was to return Monday to regular blogging but I swore to her on the phone today that I'm here when needed and it's not a problem. It's a lot of fun. When C.I. and I were going through the articles tonight, it was like when we all used to do "The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review." If I didn't make it clear, by the way, Chuck Hagel is calling for Gonzales to step down. Rebecca had been making a point to notice each time someone did. So add Hagel to the list. Now I hope you read Mike's "Guest post by Mike" and Kat's "The Bono Times?" because they work really well together. Let me also strongly recommend C.I.'s "NYT: Cave joins the cast of Scrubs and he can't do it all on his own, he's no Superman" which is even more important when you read the snapshot and get the news about a report on last year's abductions. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, May 17, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, 3 US soldiers remain missing, protests take place in Baghdad, Chatham House issues another report (one the domestic mainstream will probably get behind this time), recruiters caught lying on tape and more.

This morning,
ICCC was reporting that the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war reached 3400. Today the US military announced: "Three Soldiers were killed and one was wounded when their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb south of Baghdady May 17." So the 3400 marker has been surpassed -- 3403 is the current total. Michael Munk (Democracy Rising) calculates that the US military has seen "at least 55,471 casualties" during the same period. Meanwhile, for the sixth day, 3 US soldiers remain missing following a Saturday attack. Tina Susman and Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) report: "Evidence indicated that the attackers used grenades and other hand-held explosives, and converged from several directions . . . Drag marks leading to tire tracks showed that the missing men were pulled from the area to vehicles about 45 away. The military is trying to determine whether the two Humvees were sufficient to guarantee the troops' protection and whether the patrol had taken necessary precautions. Those precautions would include not being positioned at a spot previously used by U.S. troops". As CNN noted yesterday, "Caldwell said the division headquarters is 'looking very carefully at the whole tactical situation to see if there's something they need to do better." And possibly, a year from now we may know one way or another if the 7 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi were sitting ducks (4 of the 7 US soldiers and the Iraqi translator are dead) and who's responsible for that?

Almost a year ago a similar abductiion happened in the same region (and the ones claiming credit for the kidnapping also cited the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer). In that case, the 3 US soldiers were killed.
CBS and AP report: "Three U.S. soldiers slaughtered in a grisly kidnapping-murder plot south of Baghdad last June were not properly protected during a mission that was not well planned or executed, a military investigation has concluded. Two military officers have been relieved of their commands as a result of the litany of mistakes, but neither faced criminal charges, a military official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on Wednesday." Yet despite that reality, the New York Times is not only not interested in front-paging the story (the story has never made the front page), they also aren't interested in pursuing how it happened. Just like they aren't interested in Abeer, war resisters . . .

Democracy Now! has regularly explored is war resisters and today
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez spoke with Agustin Aguayo who explained where his status currently stands: "Technically, I'm still in the military, because I have the right to an automatic appeal to the court-martial. And that is a long process. It could be up to two years. I have a rehearing in the courts in my civil suit against the Army in D.C., and I would like to be reddemed and I would like to be recognized . . . I'm challenging that I was wrongfully denied conscientious objector status. And so, I'm still essentially in the military. However, I don't have to report to any duty station. So I'm essentially free to live my life. And from here, I would like to share with others my experience. I think it's vital, it's crucial that people understand from a different perspective what is actually taking place, what I saw, what my conclusions were and why I couldn't return."

Aguayo joined Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejia and Robert Zabala in
the speaking out tour to raise awareness on the realities of the illegal war and the need to stand up against it which has two more scheduled date remaining:
Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.
Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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.
Iraq Veterans Against the War bring truth with them whenever they speak (and they are available for speaking engagements if you have a group or organization that would like to hear from them).

Always speaking truth to power,
Iraq Veterans Against the War. In March, a group spoke at
Different Drummer Cafe. Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript and we'll note Adrienne Kinne

Since leaving the military and now that I've finished my degree in psychology, I've been working in VA (Veterans Adminstration) hospitals. I've worked at VA hospitals in Georgia and Virginia and now in Vermont and I've seen so many different soldiers. For the first time our VA hospitals are seeing active-duty soldiers because our Department of Defense hospitals cannot keep up with demand. I've seen a lot of people come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious injuries and a lot of serious things going on with their health. And it really makes me mad -- and I'm not here speaking as a VA employee, but I'm certainly allowed to speak about my experiences there. Not in any official capacity, but it makes me mad when I hear veteran after veteran telling me the difficulties they have getting their services. It makes me embarrassed to work for the VA and I don't want to feel that way because I actually want to work in the VA to help our veterans. It's just so frustrating.
There are so many things that are tied together. I saw one soldier who was stationed overseas and he was an MP and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because he saw our government do things to people that no person should ever have to see our government do. He said that he couldn't go into details because it's all classified, but he still felt that he was bound to military doctrine where you can't tell anything to anyone. But he has nightmares every night because he saw us tortuing people. He was at one of our secret, non-existent prisons and he saw people tortured and he cannot cope with what he has seen.

Turning to today's violence . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 dead from 4 Baghdad mortar attacks (8 wounded) and a police officer died from a Baladroz bombing (one more was left wounded). Reuters reports the death of a police officer from a grenade hurled into his Hilla home (three members of his family were injured) and a Baghdad bridge bombing that left two dead and five injured. AFP reports "in Najaf a street cleaner was killed when he lifted a bag of trash and set off a hand grenade." Thomas Wagner (AP) reports that Thursday saw the third day in a row of attacks on the heavily fortified Green Zone: "Terrified pedestrians raced for the safety of concrete bunkers. Motorists abandoned their cars and sprinted for cover. Sirens wailed and loudspeakers warned people to seek safety."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two police officers shot dead in Baghdad (1 wounded), a seucirty worker for a clinic was shot dead in the Diyala province, an electrical engineer was shot dead in Basra, and an Iraqi police officer was shot dead in Salahuddi. Reuters notes a "police major" who was shot dead (so was his son) in Basra. AFP notes a police officer shot dead in Baiji and an Iraqi soldier shot dead in Kirkuk.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 30 corpses discovered in Baghdad, the corpses of Emad Ahmed Shareef was found in Kirkuk and 3 corpses in Baquba (one of which was a woman -- all "were shot many times in the head"). Reuters reports 2 corpses discovered in Latifiya. AFP reports the corpse count on Baquba has risen to 9.

On the heels of their previous report castigating Tony Blair for putting the interests of the US ahead of England, Chatham House issues another report. This one is entiteld (PDF format warning) "
Accepting Realities in Iraq." Chief points include that a series of civil wars is taking place in Iraq, that US political leaders (including the White House) have repeatedly lowered expectations on Iraq in the last year, that regional neighbors (Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) have more influence than does the US, that there is no "military solution," that power brokers must be reached out to and that Iraq is facing the possibility of collapse. "Muqtada al-Sadr cannot be ignored" is the heading of one section and before Bully Boy thinks Chatham House is on board with him there, they argue instead that efforts must be made to reach out to al-Sadr and that it is foolish to ignore his base, popularity and influence (they also argue that the Jaish al-Mahdi would continue with or without al-Sadr as its leader). Elsewhere in the paper, they argue for the Joe Biden option (splitting Iraq up into three regions and calling it a federation). At nine pages-plus of text, they make many recommendations and it's largely what one would expect from Brookings or any other centrist think tank in the US. They ignore serious realities and, it needs to be noted, they need to learn to source properly. The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune are owned by the same company and IHT has a stronger European presence (than does the Times) so it may make sense to source to IHT over the Times; however, Sudarsan Raghavan and Karin Brulliard work for the Washington Post, not the Boston Globe. Iraqi popular will is not merely discounted, it's ignored which either suggests Gareth Stansfield (author of the report) is unfamiliar with it or that he has no interest in what the people of Iraq might want for themselves. This is the attitude throughout in spite of the occassional sentence such as this: "In effect, Iraqi solutions will need to be found to Iraqi problems." Most alarming is that Stansfield seems completely unaware of the issues for Iraqi women.

Yifat Susskind (
MADRE), at CounterPunch, observes the attacks on women and their rights in Iraq and notes: "The US has empowered Islamist political parties whose clerics promote 'honor killing' as a religious duty. The US has empowered Islamist political parties whose clerics promote 'honor killing' as a religious duty. . . The US also destroyed the Iraqi state, including much of the judicial system, leaving people more reliant on conservative tribal authorities to settle disputes and on unofficial 'religious courts' to mete out sentencing, including 'honor killings'." To repeat, Chatham House says nothing about that which doesn't seem to demonstrate "Accepting Realities in Iraq." The BBC's James Robbins characterizes the report as "unremittingly bleak." Imagine how much more so if it had really expored realities?

On the subject of the oil law,
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) covered it Sunday noting that it "was in serious trouble among Iraqi lawmakers" despite the "vital" importance the US government has placed on it. Andy Rowell (Oil Change) notes that London, Wednesday, was the site for a protest "oustide the Shell AGM".

In activism news,
Matthew Rotchschild (The Progressive) reports on Tim and Yvette Coil (husband and wife) who, in March, happened upon military recruiters attempting to enlist at their public library (Slow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Ohio) and, after getting permission from libary employees, began leaving cards warning people from enlisting. The military recruiters -- apparently never have been taught about freedom of speech -- made a scene, dragged in the library director and Tim Coil (Gulf War Veteran) was arrested. The case goes to trial June 5th. (Contact info can be found here.)

Also on the topic of recruiting,
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) notes Nashville's WTVF report (audio-video here) of recruiters asking a local man, Jay Mallard, to lie about being on Zolfoft (the man signed up, lied and killed himself) which led WTVF's news team to set up three cameras: "In each case, our undercover producer told recruiters that he was put on Zoloft by a physician for depression. Asked whether he could function without it, he said he wasn't sure. And there, inside those Army recruiting stations, we got the same advice described by Private Mallard's family. . . . Over and over, the recruiters tell us that it's OK to lie."


Guest post by Mike

Mike here, filling in. Rebecca doesn't like for any of us to do 'heavy lifting' when we're filling in for her. I knew I needed to talk about Cedric because I left him out the last time I filled in. So let me get to that first.

His site is Cedric's Big Mix and, these days, he and Wally do joint-posts. Wally was already doing humor posts (or "jots") before he and Cedric started working together so a lot of times you get the idea Cedric thinks he's along for the ride. He's not. Ask Wally and he'll tell you that it's not just fun to write with someone else (which it is) but that Cedric really has an eye for noticing stuff that Wally wouldn't. What would be a laugh hard because the joke's so bad jot becomes a lot deeper because Cedric will notice something. So Cedric carries half the weight and Wally will tell you that (and tells him that).

They started doing joint-posts because they were both working on getting out the vote for the 2006 election and didn't have a lot of time. Cedric was thinking about bagging his site until after the election and Wally goes, "Don't, we'll work together." Then the election came and Cedric was thinking he needed to go back to what he'd be doing but Wally told him it was a lot of fun working together.

Cedric called me to get my opinion (mainly, "Is Wally just being nice?"). I told him, I would go for it. I told him, "Man, I am jealous." Wally and me did some joint-posts when we filled in for Kat while she was in Ireland. I would love to do joint-posts. It would be so much easier to work with someone than try to think up stuff myself. I told him that he would be crazy to say no and that Wally wouldn't say it if he wasn't serious.

Here's what I miss though, Cedric would get some really deep posts when he was solo. He would hit on all these issues. He can still do that by carrying it over to The Third Estate Sunday Review. Cedric's just one of those people who can go really deep. (That's probably what Wally means about how their joint-posts go deeper than normal.)

So that's me writing about my buddy who can always find some deeper meaning and really writing about two of my buds. I love those guys and can't imagine them not being around which is topic two.

3 US soldiers are missing and have been missing since Saturday. Don't you think their families care? Don't you think their friends care? Why doesn't the press care?

Are you getting any sense from the news that 3 US SOLDIERS ARE MISSING?

The coverage seems pretty much the same it always is with Iraq reduced to an afterthought.

I'm not going to ask, "What does that say about us?" I'm not going to do that because we talk about on my campus and in my house. It's not saying a thing about "us" but it is saying a lot about the press.

In the snapshot below, C.I. quotes a father who says he knows his son is alive. I don't think this is a little topic to him or to the wife who lost her husband. But it's a little topic to the news, something tiny to be glossed over and then move on to the 'big' things like Bono or other nonsense. Or college admissions! 3 US soldiers are missing and the New York Times thinks we all give a damn about students who might have to go to their second choices of colleges?

You have to wonder how the family and friends handle this? They're probably following every tiny bit of news, trying to find some sort of answer or a reason for hope and they're getting nothing because it's not being covered like it matters.

Think about this, Jerry Falwell dies and we're all supposed to say, "Oh too bad." Why? What did he do besides preach hate? But he's front page news and 4 dead soldiers aren't and 3 missing soldiers aren't. What is news? That's the question we should all be asking ourselves these days because I think the press has a really twisted idead. For more on this, read C.I.'s
"NYT: Bono's front page news while US soldiers get left on A10," "Other Items" and "NYT: Gives up even pretending to be in the news business." They probably make the point better than I'm doing here. I'm tired and today's been one of those days where if it's a wash, it's a plus. I had one thing to write about and that was the missing soldiers. So when I was doing my post at my site tonight, I just couldn't think of what to write about. I just kept thinking of this topic. I probably should have just logged into Rebecca's site and written this and then went back to my own site.

Only other thing I had to write about was my fingernail. I chewed that thing between the skin and the nail a few weeks back, pulled it out with my teeth, and my finger swelled up where the nail grows out. After a few days of it not going down, I just popped it. And then, when my nail started growing, there's this gap. Everybody kept going, it's just from the swelling and as the nail grows out, it will be there. (It is. They were right. But that's not why I kept asking.) So that was like all I had other than three missing soldiers tonight. I just feel really tired.

I can add to this a bit (I feel like it's too short) by noting four things at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

"Editorial: The silence that harms" -- this is about the silence on war resisters and I really like how we did this. And the same silence we're talking about is going on now with the 3 missing soldiers.

"TV: The 'boys' are back in town" -- Ava and C.I. at their brilliant best, taking on TV and noting what no one wants to address. And funny as hell! :D

"Nation Isle" -- What would it be like to be stranded on an island with The Nation magazine? A nightmare! But this is a hilarious read.

"Roundtable" -- Cedric and Wally both have some deep stuff in this. Rebecca readers should have already read this. If you haven't, Rebecca, Elaine and C.I. are talking about a lot of important stuff in this.

So here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the 3 missing US soldiers remain missing, Congress sings along to Aimee Mann's "Going Through the Motions," the State Department doesn't want to go the Green Zone, and Chalabi chuckles.

In his newly published book,
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia, war resister Camilo Mejia shares how empty talk went over in Iraq (p. 138):

Now that people were realizing bullets fly two ways in war, the gung-ho attitudes that had predmoninated when we were back in Jordan were seldom heard. Pretty much everyone wanted to go home. This new attitude was evidenced by rumors in the unit about how this politician or that officer was trying his best to get us out of Iraq. We called such rumors "cheese," so if anyone had supposed news regarding our departure from Iraq they would announce it by saying: "Guess what the latest cheese is?" This would generally be followed by a story about how some senator back home had written a letter to the Pentagon questioning why we'd been in Iraq for so long, and how come this, and how come that. It never amounted to anything except empty rumor.

Proved again today as the US Senate . . . did nothing.
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) laid it out yesterday: "I don't give a damn who 'goes on record' against the war. I care who actually tries to end it. To do that will require voting for bills to end it, AND VOTING AGAINST bills to fund it. Otherwise, you're 'on the record' both for and against the war." Today some Senators went on the record as a proposal by Senator Russ Feingold and US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would have ended funds for US combat operations on March 31, 2008. Police actions and 'terrorism' fighting would have still continued under the proposal. As Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse (New York Times) reported this morning, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton waited until yesterday to weigh in and only after "Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, seeking to draw more attention to his presidential candidacy, began broadcasting advertisements on Tuesday in states with early primary elections, highlighting his support for the legislation. 'Unfortunately, my colleagues running for president have not joined me,' he said. Hours later, at least two of his colleagues did."

The full text of Senator and 2008 presidential contender
Chris Dodd's advertisement was: "Half measures won't stop this president from continuing our involvement in Iraq's civil war. That's why I'm fighting for the only responsible measure in Congress that would take away the president's blank check and set a time table for bringing the troops home. Unfortunately, my colleagues running for president have not joined me. I'm Chris Dodd I'm running for president. I approved this message because we can't just wait for a new president -- we should have the convictions to stand up to this one."

So that's what it takes to get Hillary and Barack semi-off their butts? Today, the vote was taken.
Noam N. Levey (Los Angeles Times) reports that 29 senators voted for it and 67 voted against it and notes that Senator and presidential contender Joe Biden was one of the 29 voting for the Fiengold-Reid proposal. "I'm not crazy about the language in the Feingold amendment, but I am crazy," CBS and AP quote Joe Biden stating, "about the idea that we have to keep the pressure on." William Branigin (Washington Post) observes, "It was one of a series of largely symoblic votes today on war spending proposals, testing support for restrictions on President Bush's war policy on Iraq ahead of negotiations with the House on legislation to provide stopgap funding." Also voted on was Senator John Warner's proposal that set timetables . . . Woops! He changed it before the vote so that Bully Boy would be able "to waive the restrictions on U.S. funding." But remember, John Warner swore come September he will get tough. That leaves him three months to grow a spine. Russ Feingold issued a statement: "Today the Senate took another step toward acknowledging the will of the American people, who want to end this misguided mission in Iraq. A majority of Senate Democrats are on the record clearly stating that the President's Iraq policy is a failure and that we need to take real action to change course. Keeping 150,000 American troops in the middle of an Iraqi civil war both hurts our national security and impedes the ability to reach a political solution in Iraq. We must continue to rachet up the pressure on the Preisdent and supporters of this irresponsible war to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq so we can refocus on those who attacked us on 9/11."

Something isn't right
I don't know how I know
But baby, it's despite
Your dog and pony show
I can hear it coming
You're only going through the motions, baby
With your engines humming
You're just going through the motions, baby

-- "Going Through the Motions," written by Aimee Mann off her CD
The Forgotten Arm

And while they do that, 3 US soldiers remain missing. On Saturday, an attack in Al-Taqa, outside Mahmudiya, a "
stationary observation post" that was apprently left unaided and left out in the open for too long, came under attack. 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator were killed. 3 other US soldiers were missing and are assumed captured by an organization that the US military assumes has ties to al Qaeda. Sudarsan Raghavan and Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) noted the US military's identification thus far: James David Connell Jr., Daniel W. Courneya and Christopher E. Murphy are dead while Anthony J. Schober, Alex R. Jimenez, Joseph J. Anzack Jr., Byron W. Fouty are identified as missing -- one listed as missing is dead but the miltary has yet to be able to determine which one. For Joe Anzack's moter this is a replay. Louis Sahagun and Ashraf Khalil (Los Angeles Times) spoke with Theresa Anzack who explained that only three weeks prior, she had been infored that her son was dead. Joseph Aznack, Joe's father, spoke on NBC's Today this morningthat "his son was not the soldier who was killed."

One family member who does know the fate of her loved one is Jennifer Courneya whose husband Daniel Courneya who is among the three declared dead thus far.
Speaking to
Joe Mahoney and Rich Schapiro (New York Daily News), Jennifer Courneya, while turning her late husband's fatigues in to a military supply store, noted of her husband, "He was so funny, very loving. He was talking about starting a family." She also shared her feelings "that we don't need to be [in Iraq] anyway" and that her husband "told me in a letter I just got yesterday if he had met me before he went in the service, he would have never gone. He really didn't want to be there." If you wonder why the widow is left out of the press you see, consider that the outlets can't deal with what she has to say. (Jennifer Courneya is being left out of a lot of coverage on the death of her husband -- even coverage that finds the time to interview students at a high school he went to.)

CNN reports that the hunt for the missing includes dropping 150,000 leaflets and "offering a $200,000 reward for any information about the location of three missing American soldiers, or the identity of their kidnappers". The Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Little Willie Caldwell, insists to CNN that the soldiers attacked Saturday had support and maintains that the support was only 1640 feet away. For that to be true, they'll need to explain why 'support' came in the form of the "unmanned aerial vehicle" which, for the record, apparently got there much to late to deteact the missing soldiers or where they might have gone. Little Willie does admit that "the patrol was 'static throughout th enight with concertina wire somewhat around their position'." Somewhat? And a commander rushes in to say Little Willie was wrong, it didn't take an hour to get to the burning wreckage, it took only 30 minutes. Only 30 minutes? Did they travel by tricycle? "500 meters" is 1640 feet. "500 meters" is less than 1 mile (it's .31 miles). They're scrubbing the store to change the one hour to 30 minutes and that might fool some but it's not fooling all the rank and file serving in Iraq -- some grasp this was something that could have and should have been avoided. Not a screw up by the ones who were stationed, but by the ones who stationed them there and the real question is how far up does the screw up go? Little Willie says the military is "looking very carefully at the whole tactical situation to see if there's something they need to do better."

"There's no one left to call me, 'Mom'."
Erin Allday (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on Mother's Day for Karen Meredith whose son Kenneth Ballard died in Iraq three years ago and spent her Sunday addressing the First Unitarian Universalist Church: "He left the day after Mother's Day, and he said he'd make it up to me when he returned. Today is my third Mother's Day that I will not pick up the phone and hear his voice." Also speaking were Iraq Veterans Against the War's Sean O'Neill and war resister Pablo Paredes: "My mother was a very moral person. She instilled in me a sense of brotherhood. War is the antithesis of motherhood."

Paredes, Camilo Mejia,
Agustin Aguayo and Robert Zabala are taking part in the speaking out tour to raise awareness on the realities of the illegal war and the need to stand up against it:

Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837

Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197
Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.

Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.

US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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.

Iraq Veterans Against the War bring truth with them whenever they speak (and they are available for speaking engagements if you have a group or organization that would like to hear from them). Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript of four members who spoke last March at the Different Drummer Cafe. This is from Matt Howard's talk:

I was given a whole pallet of humanitarian rations on my truck, so the first thing I started to do is hand them out to all the children I saw standing on the sides of the road in the south of Iraq. My first sergeant came up to me and said, what the hell do you think you're doing? Those aren't for the children. I got all the way to Baghdad and all the way back to Kuwait and was ordered to bury these things. Our commanding general said that we don't want to give the Iraqis the wrong impression of why we are there.
So let's cut through the bullsh*t, we were never there to help the people. Our first objective was to secure the oil fields in the south of Iraq. Now we hear that it's for the hearts and minds? We've got to be honest. Coming out of the military I'm told that I'm really courageous for speaking out. No. I feel I have a moral responsibility to speak out. The sh*t I've seen you're not going to see on the news or read it in the newspapers. We as veterans have a responsibility to tell the truth of what we've seen in Iraq and let it be known. Speak about the reality of actually what's happening on the ground. The reality that we will never quell the insurgency, they are fighting a foreign military occupation. We are treating them like sh*t. We go and clear an area and they just go somewhere else and when we leave they come back, and this will go on and on until we finally admit that we're not supposed to be there. We never should have been there in the first place. This war was based on lies. As I like to say, you can't win a crime, you can only stop it.

Someone explain it to the US Congress (the Bully Boy isn't listening and won't): YOU CAN'T WIN A CRIME, YOU CAN ONLY STOP IT.

Until you do, the chaos and violence drags on.
Reuters reported this morning that, on Tuesday, a truck bombing -- using chlorine gas -- killed 45 people (60 wounded) in Abu Sayda. Today?


The Telegraph of London reports a mortar attack on the Green Zone for the second day in a row. AP reports that the nine mortar rounds killed 2 and left 10 wounded ("No American casualities were reported"). Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the Green Zone victims were "eight Iraqis and two non-American foreigners," and notes: a roadside bombing in Baghdad that claimed 1 life and left 3 wounded, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 1 life and left 1 person injured, a mortar attack in south Baghdad that left one person wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack the injured one person, a Diyala car bombing that killed an Iraqi soldier, a Kirkuk roadside bombing that killed Riyadh's deputy mayor and a city board member, a Hawija roadside bombing that wounded a police officer ;


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the Diyala shooting death of a member of the Kurdstand Democracy Party, the Baghdad shooting death of a police colonel, an attack on a Diyala police house that left 3 guards dead and 2 more injured, and, in Basra, "a child was killed and two civilians injured when policemen shot" into a crowd of "people who were furious as they have no power suppy since yesterday".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 30 corpses discovered in Baghdad, the head of a police officer in the Diyala province and 5 in Basra.

Remember that no "American casulities were reported" in today's attack on the heavily fortified Green Zone?
Scott Canon (McClatchy Newspapers) notes "the unease is growing among career State Department employees in Baghdad over what many fear is inadequate security in the Green Zone, a 4-square-mile sector in downtown Baghdad where acess is strictly limited and that until recently had a reputation for being relatively secure." And life just outside the Green Zone? Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) speaks with serial liar and war starter Ahmed Chalabi and Cockburn notes: "Mr Chalabi's own justification for encouraging the US to invade is simple. He says he favoured the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the US but not the subsequent occupation of Iraq to which he attributes all the disasters that followed. It is not an argument that goes down well in Washington or London." Chalabi also brags of "the US and Britain . . . having unwittingly committed a revolutionary act in the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam Hussein. 'The US found that it had dismantled the cornerstorne of the Arab security order'."


Ron Jacobs & more (Betty filling in for Rebecca)

Betty here, filling in for Rebecca. Tomorrow night, you'll have Jim or Mike. (They'll work it out tomorrow evening.) The other will grab Friday unless Rebecca wants to. I've told Rebecca, I'm here as long as she needs me. This isn't a chore for me. (It may be a chore for her readers to wade through!) It's been a lot of fun. Tonight, Kat found something and we're both noting it. From Ron Jacobs' "Cheney Threatens More War" (CounterPunch):

Anyhow, back to arms-for-hostages deal. It was but one of many and was but a small part of the much greater Iran-Contra scandal. However, the important bits of this escapade is the presence of a number of individuals previously or currently employed by the Bush administration and its departments. A short list includes Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, Otto Reich, John Poindexter, and, most importantly, George Allen (Head of the Department of Homeland Security), and Robert Gates. Now, only some of these men are involved in policy that involves Iran, but one has to wonder what their work in relation to he Iran Contra affair plays in the Bush administration's approach to Iran. Indeed, Gates co-authored a report in 2004 for the Council on Foreign Relations that encouraged a combination of incentives and punitive measures. The report did not call for a settlement of all of the issues between the two countries, stating that such a "grand bargain" is not in Washington's interest. About the only thing that can be ascertained is that there seems to be a disagreement within the administration as to whether or not Iran's current government can help resolve Washington's situation in Iran. If there is any reason why those in the Bush White House intent on changing the regime in Tehran have not succeeded in getting their way, it is because the war on Iraq has failed so miserably in its stated goals. This fact has given the advocates of realpolitik in the Empire's drive for hegemony a chance to push their strategy--a strategy that relies on more than war.
Not that any of this really matters. After all, the Democrats are almost completely on board when it comes to preventing Iran from dominating its region of the world. To prove their commitment, they recently struck language that would have required the White House to get permission via a Congressional vote before it attacked Iran. Furthermore, their counterpart to the Project for a New American Century--the Center for American Progress, agrees in its policy statement that there should be no "grand bargain" with Tehran. Instead, both elements of Washington's policy elite prefer the current instability. Why? Probably because such a scenario allows Washington to change its mind at any time and attack. Not that a "grand bargain" would necessarily prevent US forces from attacking anyhow, yet it would at least acknowledge that the government there officially exists. That is something that Washington has refused to do, from Carter to Bush the Younger. Apparently, it's current status as part of the "axis of evil" is preferable to one that would require Washington's acceptance of its defeat in 1979. Instead, the world is subject to the constant threat of a greater war and the instability such war would certainly bring.

What this says to me is that the point isn't "How did we get here?" (asked in confusion) but why the hell did we allow ourselves to be dragged to this point?

I read that and immediately think of The White Nation and it's editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel. So cozy with her Council of Foreign Relations, so tight with her Center for American Progress. No wonder The White Nation isn't worth reading.

As a Black woman, I find their Obama craze insulting. This is the magazine that seems to feel they've covered race with their token Brown v. Board of Education each year. And there they are pushing Barack Obama over and over. He's not Black. I am just tired of hearing that.

I am a Black woman, I have Black children. Barack Obama is bi-racial. That's the term. Use it. You're not teaching my children anything other than if they were half-White, you'd get behind them too. And it is so insulting to those of us who are Black to hear over and over how Barack Obama is Black or, worse, the 'good' kind of Black.

Hmm. How could I be more like Barack? I guess I could travel back in time and try to get one of my parents to sleep with a White person. There's really no other way for me to alter that. Just like I can't make my children 'acceptable' to the ones loving them so Barack. Short of time traveling back and finding a White father for them.

Today, I had a pretty strong disagreement with a friend who is White and it wasn't about Barack. But she called tonight and asked if I was filling in for Rebecca? I said yes and she said, "You were right. Write about that because it might help someone."

She's a little older than I am and has three children two of which are over 18. The middle child is a son (as it the youngest one) and she's a friend so we always offer each other advice on our kids (her advice is generally much better than mine because she's already been through stuff I've not yet had to).

But she was talking about the middle child and I kind of went off on her. I'm not last of the litter, so maybe I was projecting? I didn't think so.

Here's the way the story goes. She said it was okay to write about this and we went over it because I wanted to be sure I didn't say anything I shouldn't.

She was married to a real jerk who fathered the three kids -- one girl, two boys. And it just ended up being a pattern that her middle son, I'll call him Bill, got ignored. I didn't realize that until we were talking today. We've known each other for five years so I come in late but I was still shocked.

Bill's a really nice young man. Any time she's brought him along with her when she dropped by, he always asks me if I need something fixed, if there's something heavy that needs to be moved, is there anything he can help me with? He is just the nicest kid.

And I just got really mad as I was hearing the story of his life today because he has been treated like trash. With her first husband (the children's father), Jerk (that's what I'll call husband number one) hated Bill. Hated Bill from the minute he was born. I knew the two didn't get along. That's partly because Jerk hit my friend throughout their marriage. I knew some of that but I had no idea how bad it was (this was before we knew each other) or that Bill would bodily step in between her and Jerk from before he was in elementary school. Which only made Jerk hate Bill more. And Jerk beat that kid. He never beat the daughter or the youngest son. But he just went to town on Bill.

This all came up because Bill is graduating high school later this month. And she was talking about suits today. She needed to buy a suit for the graduation. I was sharing the kind I thought would look nice, just tossing stuff out there and, suddenly, I realized we were talking about her youngest son, not Bill.

She said, "Well he's going to the graduation. Bill will be wearing a cap and gown."

I asked if Bill already had a suit and he didn't. Then she started explaining how she always had to buy clothes for her daughter and for her younger son. I stopped her and asked what about Bill? She said Bill really didn't ask for stuff.

And we're talking and it comes out why. Bill didn't get things from Jerk (other than beatings). And Jerk wouldn't let money be spent on Bill. Bill's grandparents (her parents) would get him clothes for Christmas and for his birthday (which, fortunately, was in September). That was it. He might get undewear and socks but that was it. Those were his school clothes.

She's remarried now. When we became friends, she was with him and I can be a pain in the ass. Not even knowing everything that was going on, I told her, "You've got to leave him." It was just obvious. So she did. Within a year she found a wonderful guy and married him.

Now he sometimes says, "Shouldn't we give money to Bill to get clothes" at the start of the school year? Oh, he doesn't need it, would be the reply.

Bill went through his junior year with two pairs of blue jeans and a pair of khakis and six shirts.
Now, I'm not slamming any parents or family that this happens in if that's all that can be afforded. But she and her husband make money. They could buy Bill clothes. (Bill has his first set of real clothes this year because he's worked as a stocker all year long. I've been telling him how great his clothes were all year and I had no idea that this was the first time he really had any say. They look great and he was always glad to hear it. But if I'd known that, I would've been getting him a shirt and pants or anything to help out.)

They didn't.

So my friend is explaining how this is just Bill and this was how he was and then starts telling me the whole story and I really just lost it. I wasn't screaming, "I hate you!" I wasn't doing anything like that. But I did tell her, "If I was with some man beating me and one of my children was jumping in the middle every time to save me, you better believe I wouldn't just remember that, I would make a point to let him know how much that meant to me."

I brought up how much they spent two years ago on her daughter's prom dress. (Over a thousand dollars.) I was just fit to be tied. And I told her I was as mad at myself as well because this whole time I'd thought, "Well Bill just doesn't like to be all dressed up like his brother or his sister." Bill comes over every week in the summer and mows my yard. He will not take money from me. I knew he liked movies so I started getting him DVDs and while I know he appreciated that, if I'd known that he needed clothes, I could have been getting him those to thank him instead.

And when I said that, I remembered my sister gave him their old DVD player one Christmas when he'd brought over some things (he's always doing errands for his family). She said they had a new one (which they did) all wrapped up and asked him if he wanted it? That's the DVD player he has in his room. (The TV was from his grandparents.) That may not seem like a big thing but his brother and sister have their own computers, iPods, TVs, you name it, in their rooms. I was such an idiot. I just thought he was "spartan." That he didn't like clutter.

And, if I'm being honest, I really am mad at myself still. I'll just give cash for graduation and try to make it up some there. But he's just the nicest kid in the world and I never would have thought he might be doing without.

What happened was that for Bill's whole life he didn't get money spent on him and it was like she internalized that even after she left Jerk.

I wish I'd been able to discuss this nicely but I just lost it. My friend said on the phone tonight that it wouldn't have hit home if I hadn't. She said seeing me so mad made her realize what had gone on. And that's not because she's bad.

Bill doesn't ask. Now Bill doesn't ask for anything because he's been raised to believe he wouldn't get anything. And he doesn't expect anything.

Jerk's parents? They'd have to spend every Christmas with them when she was married to Jerk. All the grandkids, including her youngest son and her daughter would get gifts. Bill? She's telling me today about the typical Christmas. There's a big gift with Bill's name on it. He opens it. A box, he opens, over and over until he has a can of green beans and all the adults (except for her) and the kids are laughing. That might not be so typical, some years he didn't even have a box under the Christmas tree.

Would you ask for anything after that? Would you expect anything after that?

My heart just broke for that poor kid and that's just one of the stories I heard today.

She asked me to note this and here's the point. She's remarried. He's a great guy. But, on some level, she was afraid. That's what she thinks it was. (I'm not doubting her. But she siad she did a lot of soul searching after we talked.) And saying, "We should get Bill . . ." whatever was just something that was programmed out of her in years and years of abuse.

And bringing it up after all that was probably something she avoided for fear of a repeat of her first marriage. Now she talked to her husband about this and Bill's getting a suit (among other things). But her point was that even after Jerk was out of her life, she continued the cycle (of nothing for Bill). The first year, she was suddenly supporting the whole family so that's understandable (all the children did do without during that period). But when she remarried, she continued it.

I told her when we'd first been discussing this that my biggest concern was Bill because he's an adult now and his childhood is over. He went through his entire childhood with that. I really am concerned. Maybe he's turned lemons into lemon pie? Maybe he's taken this difficult thing and turned it into a plus? But maybe he really thinks he's not worthy of the things other people are? I am seriously concerned about that. Off the football field, he's the most gentle person in the world and I can't imagine him repeating the cycle of abuse with any woman he is with. But I can picture him going through life thinking he's not worth much, or that everyone's needs are more important than his own.

So that was my big drama today. Don't you love how I made Bill's problems into my own drama? I just had to hear about it, he had to live through it.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, 3 US soldiers remain missing, war resistance gets active (within the military and outside of it), and Bully Boy finds his soul mate (maybe Match.com hooked them up?).

Starting with war resistance. Today is International C.O. Day.
Susan Galleymore (Raising Sand, KZSU) interviewed two war resisters of the current illegal war, Camilo Mejia, Agustin Aguayo, as well as David Harris (Vietnam) and Aimee Allison (Gulf War). Both Mejia and Aguayo spoke of the promise of advancement outside the military -- of joining because of promised college benefits and the chance to advance for themselves and their family (Aguayo has two twin daughters, Camilo has one daughter). Late yesterday, Paul McNulty, Deputy AG, stated he would be stepping down and cited "financial realities" resulting from "college-age children" -- well, gee, McNulty, get your kids to sign up. No, that's not why McNulty stepped down but it's a good cover because college costs a lot of money (a great deal more since the Bully Boy began occupying the White House). It's not only dishonest it's insulting at a time when we have a poverty draft (for more on that see Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq).

In fact, we need to stop there and really absorb that. At a time when the poor, working poor and economically struggling enlist to have a shot at college it is appalling that the comfortable McNulty wants to slink off, he uses that excuse.

Mejia spoke with Galleymore about the difference in economic status that resulted from his moving from Latin American (Costa Rica) to the United States. Mejia tells his story in
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia. In the book, he covers his return to the United States (as a small child, his mother brought Camilo and his brother to the US before deciding to move to Costa Rica) (pp. 14 -15):

Furthermore, the staff did not understand that even though I was in eleventh grade in Costa Rica, I was a senior. They insisted that I take two more years in order to graduate, and I ended up having to attend night school in an attempt to do two years in one. A good portion of the students in the night classes were troublemakers who had been kicked out of day school for disciplinary reasons.
I also had to work for a living for the first time in my life. My mother had rented out our apartment in Nicaragua, and my father was still sending some child support money, but even with this extra income my mother's salary as a supermarket cashier wasn't enough to pay the rent and put food on the table. So I got a job at a fast-food restaurant, where I swept the parking lot, put the chairs down from the tables, and cleaned the bathrooms every single morning before moving to the kitchen to flip burgers for six hours. After work I had a two-hour break before going to night school, so my days started at five-thirty in the morning and didn't end until I returned home from school at ten at night.
Graduation was also very different from what I'd imagined. There was no prom night for me, nor did I have any friends with whom to celebrate. I just walked into the school principal's office and he handed me my diploma. I think he said "Congratulations and good luck, son." I went to the local supermarket and sat outside on a bench, staring at m diploma and wondering if this was all that happened when you graduated.
The following year, after I attended a community college for two semesters, the government terminated my federal student financial aid, claiming I made enough money at my dead-end job to pay my own tuition. I found myself without any real prospects for the future. It seemed as though I was working my butt off for a life that offered nothing at all.
It was these circumstances that led me to join the U.S. Army in Miami at age 19. The recruiter didn't really have to work hard to get me to sign the treacherous contract. The army offered financial stability and tuition, the military held out the promise of helping me claim my place in the world.

Joshua Key, Ryan Johnson and many other war resisters can tell that story. Many within the military today can tell that story. It's why Casey Sheehan joined up. So for McNulty to hide behind "college-age children" as he abandons the sinking ship isn't just laughable it's insulting.

Donna Jones (Santa Cruz Sentinel) notes that Mejia and Aguayo are on a speaking tour with war resisters Robert Zabala and Pablo Paredes and reports: "Paredes, a former Navy petty officer, disputed the Army's figures on resisters, saying the counseling hot line he staffs has received 40,000 calls. Many apply for CO status, but get discouraged in the face of delays and intimidation, Paredes said, adding the military definition is very low." Aguayo noted, on Raising Sand Radio, that his struggle to be granted CO status continues (the DC Court of Appeals turned down the motion on Feb. 16th). Jones provides the Army's released figures relating to CO's (an undercount, to be sure): 2001 - 18 approved and 5 denied; 2002 - 17 approved and 6 denied; 2003 - 31 approved and 20 denied; 2004 - 30 approved and 30 denied; 2005 - 23 approved and 38 denied; 2006 (first 9 months only) - 33 approved and 9 denied.

Tonight and through Friday,
the speaking out tour continues:

Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837

Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197

Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.

Friday May 18 - Berkeley7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.

US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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.

And speaking out goes on around the country on campuses, on streets . . . At the GI coffeehouse
Different Drummer Cafe, Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adrienne Kinne, Matt Howard, Drew Cameron and Matt Hrutkay used their voices. Eric Ruder (ISR) captures the discussion and we'll note Drew Cameron (and try to note each of the four this week): "The thing that is most important for us who have been there, for us who are affected by this, for us who know what's going on -- it's just like Matt was saying -- we've got to be honest, we've got to be truthful about what we did, what we're doing, and how we're being treated. . . . So when we get back and we have problems and we need educational opportunities and we need health care, what happens? They are creating veterans every single day who are pissed off and think: I'm done with this. I've got the VA, I can rely on that a little bit, that'll be alright. But instead, we get a cold shoulder. They say, we'll see you in three months or six months. They are creating veterans every single day who come back from combat and there's no suport structure. There's no reaching out. A lot of people have to wait until it gets really bad. When I got back from active duty I moved up to Vermont from Oklahoma and no one told me this is where the VA is, this is what you have to do, this is how you get your benefits, this is what you're eligible for. Nobody told me any of that, I had to find out on my own. I had to go to the clinics and ask do I get this or that. Where's the outreach and support? What happened to all the stuff we were promised? All the stuff that we deserve, where is it? They don't care. That's the biggest realization that I've come to. They do not care. They. Do. Not. Care."

And they don't. If they did, if the administration did, if the Congress did, they'd be addressing the PTSD epidemic. Instead they ignore it.
Military Families Speak Out notes: "Servicemen and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related to their combat experiences are routinely re-deployed to comabt, and/or kept in combat, according to Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), a nationwide organization of 3,500 military families who have been speaking out in opposition to the war in Iraq." Aaron Glantz (IPS): "At the beginning of May, Corporal Cloy Richards tried to kill himself. 'He punched out all his windows and cut major arteries,' his mother Tina Richards told IPS. 'he had to go to the hopsital because he almost bled to death.' Cloy Richards, who lives in rural Salem, Missouri, has served two deployments in the Marine Corps in Iraq. The military lists him as 80-percent combat disabled. His mother says he has knee and arm injuries, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and currently has a claim pending with the Army for a traumatic brain injury. 'It's something that affects us every single day,' Tina said, 'when he's 23 years old and he can't even climb the stairs. He has bad nightmares where he thinks he's back in Iraq." And that's why Tina Richards speaks out and calls for action. US House Rep David Obey can scream his head off at her in his public tantrum (and have the usual Party Hacks defend him) but get a damn grip, his life, as 'tough' as it ever may be, is nothing compared to the Richards family live with every day and live with as a result of an illegal war that Congress shows no will to end.

Monday, as
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) reports, Tina Richards joined Cindy Sheehan and over 250 others to march "through Washington, DC to Capitol Hill. When they reached the Cannon House Office Building they formed two circles blocking the street to traffice. The demonstration was the 'Mother of a March spearheaded by Cindy Sheehan whose son died in Iraq. The march kicked off a 'Summer of Action' where anti-war demonstrators will SWARM on Congress from today until June 31 advocating an end to the war." CODEPINK notes that over 30 were arrested in the action including Cindy Sheehan and Tina Richards (link has several photos as well as text and click here for audio & video). Have you been to jail for justice?

Turning to Iraq, the 3 US soldiers who have been missing since a Saturday attack outside Mahmudiya (that left 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator dead) remain missing.
CNN notes that the attack took place at a "staionary observation post" and that there is confusion as to who is missing: "Four other soliders -- three missing and one of the dead -- remain listead as 'duty status whereabouts unkown.' The military can't yet sort out precisely who was kidnapped because one of the four bodies is so badly burned that it can't be immediately identified." CBS' Mark Strassman "reports all the soldiers involved in the ambus were from Fort Drum, in upstate New York." Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) notes of the ongoing search: "Helicopters had logged more than 255 hours and other US security agencies had deployed their assets in the race to locate the soldiers, whom the military still assumed were alive, [Lt. Col. Christopher] Garver said. Other aircraft and jets zoomed overhead, and satellite technology had been tapped, as soldiers scoured the hostile area."


CBS and AP report: "At least one mortar or rocket slammed into the U.S.-controlled Green Zone on Tuesday, wounding five American Embassy contractors, a spokesman said." Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that left 5 dead and 15 wounded, aan Abu Saida bombing that left 12 dead and 22 wounded. Baghdad mortar attack that left 4 dead and 4 wounded, and a mini-bus bombing that left 1 dead and 4 injured. Reuters reports 2 dead and 4 injured in a Mahmudiya roadside bombing and 1 dead, 4 Iraqi soldiers injured in Mosul from a bombing, and 2 wounded from a Hawija roadside bombing.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Colonel Raed Mohamed Shihab shot dead in front of his house and 2 people shot dead in Al Khalis. Reuters notes a Tikrit shooting that left two dead and one wounded.


Mohmmaed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

In Iraqi legislation news,
Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports 'progress' on Iraq's constitution plan which translates as the proposed changes (including the privatization of the oil) is being sent to the parliament for a vote. Sunday, Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reported on the troubles some aspects face if put to a floor vote. The laws aren't any closer to being passed. Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) notes last week's stand by the Iraqi parliament "against the US occupation and for a rapid withdrawal of American troops. This is the perfect opportunity for a face-saving and orderly US withdrawal based on the request of a soverign government. To reject the offer would paint the US as a naked imperialist without a fig leaf of legitimacy."

on tonight's broadcast of The Bachelor: White House Bully Boy hands a rose to Army Lt. Gen Douglas Lute and says, "You defeat me. Be my war czar." Peter Baker and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) first reported on the search April 11, 2007. 34 days later -- can you say "shotgun wedding"? -- Bully Boy has his man.