snakes slither out of the alberto gonzales cesspool

An assistant attorney general at the Justice Department announced her resignation on Friday, becoming the seventh official to quit the department since the Democratic-led Congress launched an investigation in March into the firing of nine federal prosecutors.
Rachel Brand, assistant attorney general for legal policy, said she would step down on July 9. No reason was given.

the above is from reuters. 'no reason was given.' i believe etta james gave the reason: 'you better roll it while the rollin' is on.' or get while the getting is good. congress is making noises. nothing may happen, but they are making noises. the alberto gonzales cesspool may get drained. of course all the snakes want to slither out before that happens leaving them exposed.

ap notes:

Rachel Brand, the assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy, will step down July 9, the department said in a statement. The statement did not give a reason for her departure, but Brand is expecting a baby soon.

that's what maternity leave is for. and let me explain something to brand, since she's a mother to be and i only recently gave birth, when your baby is staring up at you with those eyes, you are going to wonder if he or she is thinking about you and what you did or did not do. you're going to be freaked out by those eyes. by that stare. and guess what, in your case, you should be. as mama cass sings, 'you better get right, baby.'

same ap article also notes:

Brand recently testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the Justice Department's opposition to a bill that would shield reporters from being forced by prosecutors to reveal their sources.

well then rachel brand should have no problem testifying to congress about the cesspool, should she?

here's afp:

The White House and Congress were on a constitutional collision course on Thursday, after US President George W. Bush refused to hand over documents related to a row over fired prosecutors.
In an escalating tussle between emboldened Democratic lawmakers and the weakened president, Bush's spokesman also dismissed as "outrageous" new Senate subpoenas slapped on the White House over a war on terror wiretap program.
But senior Democrats accused Bush of replicating the "stonewall" blocking tactics of disgraced former US president Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

i hope i am wrong and dems will stick to their guns this time. but .... i don't see it happening. maybe they'll all get behind a measure that says 'we symbolically stuck to our guns' - 1 that includes a huge cash pay out to spinach farmers?

here's a taste of matthew rothschild's 'Bush and Cheney Go Down the Nixon Slide' (the progressive) on the topic of then and now:

Bush and Cheney are going down the Nixon slide.
Bush has decided not to comply with the House and Senate Judiciary Committees' subpoenas for documents dealing with the firing of the U.S. attorneys.
And he's likely to do the same over subpoenas on Cheney's and Gonzales's role in the NSA spying scandal.
Bush invoked "executive privilege."
That's got a vague ring to it, doesn't it?
Patrick Leahy, head of the Senate Judiciary, called it "Nixonian stonewalling," and said, "Increasingly, the President and the Vice President feel they are above the law."

turning to other news, this is from fair:

USA Today's 'Sicko' DebateIs Michael Moore wrong...or very wrong?
6/29/07On June 28, USA Today's editorial page offered a "debate" on Michael Moore's new film Sicko. But the paper "balanced" its own take critical of Moore with a piece written by a representative of the private health insurance industry.Under the title "Today's Debate: Healthcare," readers saw the paper's view under the headline ";Flawed 'Sicko' Sparks Debate." The paper wrote that Sicko "plays on emotions with anecdotes, stories and facts that aren't always in context, up-to-date or accurate. So it has to be taken for what it is: a provocateur's exposé of the worst of the American system, coupled with an uncritical, even naive, review of his preferred alternative."The paper went on to argue:
"Is a single-payer, government-run system the answer? That's what Moore is pitching. Sicko applies rose-colored camera lenses to healthcare in Canada, Britain, France and Cuba. None of these, particularly Cuba, is as idyllic as portrayed. All require higher taxes to finance and are beset by inefficiencies."While acknowledging that the U.S. healthcare system had problems, USA Today concluded by declaring that "Sicko doesn't have the answer."The piece that followed--labeled
";Opposing View"--could only be considered the other side of a "debate" in the sense that it was more critical of Moore. This was not a surprise, considering the author: Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans.

it continues (use link) and i'll also add that it was 1 of the 2 topics on today's counterspin. the other topic was about the historical attacks on health care in this country.

betty said, 'don't wait on me tonight. i'm not sure what i'm writing and there's liam madden news to get out.' there is liam news and it's in the snapshot. good news, for a change. the marine's backed off. i spoiled it if you haven't already the snapshot but, as any 1 can tell you, i'm no good at keeping secrets.

kat's been going for a different thing than 'here's c.i.'s ...' like kat, i love carly simon - kat's reviewed no secrets, moonlight serenade and into white. i think i'll steal from carly's 'the right thing to do' and just start saying, 'let's close now with'. so, let's close now with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, June 29, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Liam Madden gets some news, tensions continue between Turkey and northern Iraq, Bully Boy's lips are flapping so you know what that means and more.

Starting with
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Liam Madden. Madden and two other members of IVAW, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh, have been targeted by the US military brass in an attempt to silence and cow them. They have been threatened with the loss of benefits (Cloy Richards is classified as 80% disabled), loss of their honorable discharges and more. Kokesh participated in street theater in DC and then found himself facing the theatrics of a kangaroo court -- proving there is no bigger drama queensthan those commanders in the marines. Kokesh recevied a general discharge from the IRR -- meaning he's twice discharged: honorably from the marines, general from the IRR -- and Richards reached an agreement where he would not wear any part of his fatigues in public (his mother, Tina Richards, now usually wears his Marine Corp boonie cover at rallies and marches). Madden was being tarred with the usual trumped up charge that fatigues are the equivalent of dress uniforms and the added bonus that his speech was "disloyal" (which may echo the questioning in Kokesh's kangaroo hearing where he was asked if he was "a card carrying member of Iraq Veterans Against the War"). Now comes the news via the AP's own Ethel Mertz (Heather Hollingsworth) that although "[a]n investigating officer had recommended in May that Liam Madden, 22, of Boston receive an other-than-honorable discharge, the worst discharge possible under non-court martial conditions" the Marines issued a press release stating "that they were dropping the case because they had 'received sufficient indictation' from Madden . . ." of something. Of what? Madden has been very clear that he'll come to terms with them provided they put in writing that he made no disloyal statements about the US. He tells Hollingsworth that he's received nothing in writing but, "I think it's a total victory. The country is on our side and it really puts the Marine Corps in a bad light if they try to intimdate".

Madden and other members of
Iraq Veterans Against the War are currently conducting a summer base tour that takes them next to the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm.

And in news of resistance within the military (IRR is a way station -- Richard, Madden and Kokesh were all discharged and the brass had no reason to screw with them), we'll turn to Eli Israel. Eleonai "Eli" Israel is stationed and Iraq and has announced he can no longer take part in the illegal war. He is also a supporter of
2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel having noted, "I am taken away by the truth and clarity that is spoken by Sen. Gravel. He has my vote. The National Initiative that he proposes is what this country needs." And: "My paychecks currently comes from the Army. I have worked with and trained with Blackwater in the past, among others. I have seen this war (and it's orchestrators) from the inside out, and I'm telling anyone who has 'ears to hear', that Mike Gravel is the only voice of reason that is speaking." Those were both noted in May. In April, he posted, "My name is Eli Israel, and yes, you probably guessed it, I'm very much Jewish. I'm also a soldier in Iraq, and I'm also a HARD CORE Mike Gravel supporter." In an update at Iraq Veterans Against the War, Eli notes, "I have been in Iraq for over a year. I have served in combat. I have been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, for my actions in Combat. I have been recommended for other medals, that I will now probably never see (nor do I want) . .. It would have been a lot 'easier' for me to simply keep doing combat missions for a couple more week, and be done with things. Moral convictions are not based on timing or convenience". Courage to Resist has more information here.

Eli Israel is part of a movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In Iraq, where all business seems to stop anytime Moqtada al-Sadr deliberates . . .
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) report that Nouri al-Maliki is all but on his hands and knees regarding a planned al-Sadr march for next week (July 5th). Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) judged that "the march poses a test of his [al-Sadr's] popularity. A peaceful demonstration could arm him with broad political clout, which has eluded other Iraqi leaders so far, including Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. A low turnout could underscore the limites of Sadr's ability to marshal ordinary citizens." AP reported this morning that al-Sadr had called off the march and cited Sheik Asad al-Nassiri's statement: "Muqtada al-Sadr has decided to postpone the march to Samarra for several reasons, including the government's inablity to secure the route and many officials' appeals for a postponement."

When not begging al-Sadr,
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reports, the puppet was attempting to sideline him via an attempted partnership with alleged moderate bloc in Parliament who would make it their business to take up the "oil revenue-sharing law". However Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' With Iraq's Culture Minister out and about, better hide those copies of Ram in the Thicket. Worse for al-Maliki, as he's attempting to realign himself, BBC reports that the Iraqi Accord Front and its six minister "will boycott government meetings because of legal steps being taken against one of its ministers." That would be al-Hashimi who, this week, suddenly became the main suspect in a 2005 assassination (he is now said to be in Jordan). Waleed Ibrahim and Alister Bull (Reuters) observe "the move is a blow to Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at a time when he is under U.S. pressure to push through laws" and that this is the second time the bloc has gone on strike this month -- last week they objected to the removal of Mahmoud al-Mashhadani who held the post of Speaker in the Parliament. In terms al-Hashimi, they further note that "there has been some confusion about the warrant. Police and court officials have not been able to confirm such a warrant has been issued for Hashemi."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 mortar attacks in Baghdad. CBS and AP report that "the British military issued a statement saying all of its bases came under attack from mortars or rockets in the past 24 hours". Reuters notes a Tikrit roadside bombing that left three wounded and a Kut roadside bombing that left a woman wounded. CBS and AP report a bombing on an oil pipeline in Haswa "spilling crude oil and sparking a huge fire".


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 women ("one of them pregnant") and 1 man were shot dead in Baghdad, two police officers were wounded in Kirkuk and "A U.S. military convoy killed an Iraqi man in Al Rashad neighborhood, Iraq police said."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses were discoved in Baghdad today. Reuters notes 3 corpses discovered in Balad and the corpse "of a university lecturer" found in Kut.

US military announced today, "Five Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near a combat patrol in a southern section of Baghdad June 28. Small arms and rocket-propelled attacks followed shortly after the blast. Seven other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." The deaths bring to 3577 the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war and to 100 fatalties for the month of June. June is the third deadliest month for US service members so far this year. June 2007 is also the deadliest June for service members stationed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. The attack was one of the combination attacks that isn't new and has been going on for over a year. BBC notes their "Baghdad correspondent Andrew North says that incidents like Thursday's, in which insurgents first use roadside bombs to attack US troops, then exploit the confusion afterwards to fire on them, have become more common. . . . Our correspondent says this is a sign yet again of how the conflict here keeps changing, with insurgents often one step ahead."

Turning to world leaders do the craziest things . . .

As an election looms in Australia and (Australia's)
ABC News reports Labour's Kevin Rudd has declared John Howard (prime minister) will reduce the number of Australians stationed in Iraq "as an election ploy, but his overall strategy is to keep them there indefinitely." Last week, Bill Taylor's remarks, such as "The majority of Australians across the country would very much like to see us come out of that mess as soon as possible," caused a stirbecause it was seen as coming from within Howard's own party (Liberal). Ed Johnson (Bloomberg News) reports today that Alexander Downer, the country's Foreign Minister, has announced, "I made it clear that Australian troops would stay" in Iraq and dismissing Rudd's observations that any of the country's approximately 1,500 troops would be leaving Iraq.
That would be the same Alexander Downer who was in Iraq yesterday meeting with Iraq's Foreign Minister to discuss trade.
Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which must be the country's equivalent of Liz Smith, announces, "Mr. Downer thanked Mister Zebari for the briefing he gave concerning the latest developments, and assured his country's obligations in supporting the new Iraq, and to develop relations between Canberra and Baghdad."

Moving from the satellite of Howard to the Bully of them all, Bully Boy gave more of the same yesterday at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.
Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny (New York Times) report: "Mr. Bush in effect pleaded for more time on Thursday, saying that the deployments in Iraq he ordered in his so-called troop surge have only recently been completed and were already producing positive results. . . .Even at this pre-screened location, Mr. Bush faced some skepticism from questioners in the audience, including a woman who asked him pointedly if he was indeed listening to the advice of his commanders (yes, he said) and a professor who asked if the Iraq campaign was stretching United States forces too think to cope with other challenges elsewhere (no, he said)." Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) noted that Bully Boy wants the US to support death globally and focus locally as evidenced by Bully Boy's claim that "citizens are forming neighborhood watch groups" in Baghdad is a sign of encouragement. Ricks notes, "It is not clear what the difference is between those groups and armed militias, which U.S. officials have said in the past must be disbanded or incorporated into Iraqi security forces."
Flashback to almost exactly this time last year (July 2006) when al-Maliki was claiming his 'plan' would create just that -- only, they were all created. Bully Boy's seeing 'progress' in a questionable development and one that existed before the June 2006 'crackdown' began on Baghdad.
Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) points out that Bully Boy did his usual stunt: "Facing eroding support for his Iraq policy, even among Republicans, President Bush on Thursday called al Qaida 'the main enemy' in Iraq, an assertion rejected by his administration's senior intelligence analaysts. The reference, in a major speech at the Naval War College that referred to al Qaida at least 27 times, seemed calculated to use lingering outrage over the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to bolster support for the current buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq, despite evidence that sending more troops hasn't reduced the violence or sped Iraqi government action on key issues." And despite the fact that Iraq had no connection to 9-11. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) observed, "The President went on to say he views Israel as a model for what Iraq should become. Bush says Israel is able to carry out its democratic functions despite the constant threat of attacks." Along with the massive insult such statements are to the region (maybe Bully Boy feels at this late date, there are no hearts and minds left to win?), it's also true that the Israeli government is in the news today for actions/behaviors that hardly deserve copying. Donald Macintyre (Independent of London) reports how Moshe Katsav (Israel's president) "yesterday escaped jail by agreeing a plea bargain under which rape charges against him will be dropped. In return he is admitting charges of lesser sexual offences against former employees."

And turning to England, we find Blair-lite.
Kim Sengupta and Colin Brown (Independent of London) observe, "Yesterday should have been a day of political triumph for Gordon Brown. Instead events in Basra provided a brutal and intimate reminder of the scale of the challenge he faces in Iraq." Scott Kennedy, James "Jamie" Kerr and Paul Joszko, three British soldiers, were all announced dead. Andrew Pierce and David Blair (Telegraph of London) note that Jamie Kerr was "from Mr Brown's Cowdenbeath constituency" and that "Mr Brown, as a local MP, will now face the dilemma of whether to be present when the body of his constituent is flown home." Richard Beeston, Michael Evans and Melanie Reid (Times of London) quote John Paul Ward, Jamie Kerr's step-father, on the soldier's last phone call to his mother, "Jamie said being out there was not what he thought it would be. He didn't want to be there. He was more scared than anything else. He said he wanted to come home and I think being out there was a reality check for him."

For those who have forgotten, the 156 British troops who have died and the 3577 US troops who have died, the nearly one million Iraqis who have died, and others, all died because Tony Blair and Bully Boy insisted that Iraq had WMD and that we couldn't wait for a "mushroom cloud."
CBS and AP report: "The Security Council voted Friday to immediately shut down the U.N. bodies key to monitoring Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs under Saddam Hussein, a decision an Iraqi diplomat said would close 'an appalling chapter' in his country's history."

Meanwhile, tensions between Turkey and the northern section of Iraq continue with
Reuters reporting that Masoud Barzani ("head of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq") has declared there will be a "catastrophe" should Turkey enter into the region.


the mishandling party plaanner alberto gonzales

1st off, kat just called and told me to go read mike's '3 British soldiers dead in Iraq' and i did. she's right, he's written a great post. make sure to read it.

now into the alberto gonzales cesspool. yesterday i talked about the subpoenas being issued for the white house and this is from thomas ferraro and tabassum zakaria (reuters):

The subpoenas were issued two weeks ago by Leahy and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat. They set Thursday as the deadline for turning over most documents.
Leahy and Conyers are investigating Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing last year of nine of the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys.
Gonzales, under pressure to resign, and Bush insist the dismissals were justified but mishandled.

he 'mishandled' it. what's that mean? the firings were like a wedding invitation he forgot to mail?

apparently david iglesias was 1 of the 1s they forgot to send a wedding invite to. only thing is, to hear him tell it, it's something far more serious. this is from julia goldberg's interview with him (santa fe reporter):

And we subsequently learned that you had been pressured by New Mexico attorney Pat Rogers to prosecute voter fraud cases in New Mexico.
Pat Rogers was kind of a gatekeeper, Republican lawyer in Albuquerque. He had contacted my office and my executive assistant with allegations of massive voter fraud going on in New Mexico in 2004. We looked into it, we asked if he had any information, we'd get the FBI to send an agent over, which we did. I think the agent went there twice to interview him. He just couldn't seem to understand that US attorneys, prosecutors in general, have to rely on this little thing called evidence. We have to prove our case, we can't just rely on allegations. He never seemed to understand that -- I later found out that he was representing a group called the American Center for Voting Rights, which appears to be a front organization to probably suppress voters throughout the country.
Was it communicated to US attorneys, when [US Attorney General] Alberto Gonzales came in, "This is the year of voter fraud, this is our thing, this is what we're working on"?
Well, not that directly. We would get e-mails during the election years, for instance in 2002 and 2004 and again in 2006, [The Department of Justice], would e-mail every US attorney, and just say, "Please contact the secretary of states in your respective states, work with them, contact the voting officers, offer your assistance in prosecuting voter fraud cases." I assumed that had been the m.o. from previous administrations; I later found out that had not been the case, that there had been an increased emphasis on voter fraud investigations and prosecutions.

seems like something a little more than a late invite, doesn't it? isn't voting 1 of the cornerstones of a democracy? the will of the people? shouldn't attempting to subvert the vote be 1 of the worst things you can do in a democracy? by the way, the above is also available, via the link, as an audio interview that you can listen to.

in other scary as hell legal news, this is from david nason's 'Secret trials for terrorists, says US judge' (the australian via information clearing house):

A TOP-RANKING US judge has stunned a conference of Australian judges and barristers in Chicago by advocating secret trials for terrorists, more surveillance of Muslim populations across North America and an end to counter-terrorism efforts being "hog-tied" by the US constitution.
Judge Richard Posner, a supposedly liberal-leaning jurist regarded by many as a future US Supreme Court candidate, said traditional concepts of criminal justice were inadequate to deal with the terrorist threat and the US had "over-invested" in them.
His proposed "big brother" solutions flabbergasted delegates at the Australian Bar Association's biennial conference, where David Hicks's lawyer, Major Michael Mori, is to be awarded honorary life membership.
"We have to fight terrorism with our strengths, and our strengths evolve around technology, including the technology of surveillance," said Justice Posner, a prolific legal scholar who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. "Are there terrorist plots that are at a formative stage among the large US Muslim community of two to three million people? In the 600,000 Canadian Muslim population, are there people planning attacks on the US?
"What we have to do is discover the extent of the terrorist threat to the US. There is a danger, and it demands a rethinking of some of our conventional views on the limits of national security measures. "We should think of surveillance as preventative, not punitive. We should think of controls that have nothing to do with warrants or traditional criminal justice to prevent abuses."

liberal? richard posner, my take, was a 60s straight who liked the dope and then, like a lot of straights, got really scared and ran right. but apparently packed his bong for the trip. (posner actually supports legalization of pot, for any interested.) i don't see how any 1 could call him a liberal. he belongs to the right-wing. he's not a liberal.

so posner (again) comes out for torture. people should be shocked that it would be advocated publicly but this is actually something posner's been endorsing forever.

i think it gives you a peak into what the up tight, white male really thinks. i'm sure posner played the love-me-i'm-a-liberal card throughout the latter half of the 60s but he's not and he really never was.

okay, that's it for me tonight. long day, really long. oh, elaine wrote, at some point this week, about c.i.'s reading. i had an e-mail on that. freshman semester of college, while i'm just trying to keep up with my required reading for freshman classes, i notice c.i.'s reading jung. every bit of it. and not for a class. c.i. was (and still is) an insomiac. that was true from childhood, actually. so c.i. always had (and made) more reading time than most of us would. c.i. skipped out on all the children's books, learning to read before in school, and went straight to young adult (like hardy boys and nancy drew) after learning to read. so, by the time i knew c.i., whole genres and fields had been well studied. during college, if any 1 talked reading, they wanted c.i. because chances are they'd hear 'oh, i really loved that book' or 'oh, i hated that book.' there was very little c.i. hadn't read up on. and c.i. has a better sense of memory than any 1 else i know (then or now) and could call up things in class discussions. most of us were lucky to be able to cite something in the assigned readings, c.i. could always go beyond it and then some. i can remember c.i. getting really into sub-groupings or divisions of literature at 1 point in college (native american, african-american, women, etc.) and then, just like that, no more fiction. the war was serious and there wasn't time to travel with fiction. that's the reality today, in this illegal war. i don't think, outside of margaret atwood or alice walker (if walker's done any fiction since the war started) that c.i.'s read fiction since bully boy launched the illegal war. i could be wrong on that and possibly because there was nothing else to read 1 night when the sleep wouldn't come or possibly for another reason. but, in general, i think that's statement accurate.
the person writing has a friend like that as well. she wrote that she sometimes felt 'less thank kind.' she wondered if i ever did?

no. it was so beyond me. i mean, in a basic government class, when c.i.'s citing supreme court cases repeatedly and the rest of us are just attempting to learn the constitution, what's the point, you know? i actually memorized the constitution. (i've forgotten it now.) c.i. showed me a trick to remember all the amendments. i can't remember the device any more but if i could remember the device, i'd remember all of the constitution and be able to recite it. i did, however, make the highest score on the test about the constitution that i'd made all semester in that class.

and speaking of . . . here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, June 28, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, AP runs a he-said-and-then-he-said article on self-checkouts, the British and US military announce more deaths, 20 headless corpses either were or were not discovered today, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Estes Thompson (AP) gets tasked with filing the featue based on AP's 'study.' AP's studying data on self-check outs from the US military -- data compiled by the branches and "each branch of the military keeps statistics in different ways". Of course, as NPR demonstrated last month, that 'tracking' of figures is often fudged. But working from the data, Thompson wants to tell you that "the US military does almost nothing to find those who flee" and buying that really requires ignoring the realities of Kyle Snyder's story. Snyder self-checked out after serving in Iraq (something the military tells Thompson really doesn't happen -- these self-checkouts, according to the military are people who haven't served anywhere yet) and went to Canada only to return to the US in October of 2006 after his attorney and the military had reached an agreement. Upon turning himself in, Snyder found out that the military which lied to him repeatedly was still lying. He was not being discharged. Snyder self-checked out again and began a speaking tour across the country (also worked on reconstruction in New Orleans) and what happened then?

What happened then was that Snyder, who truly did not believe the US military was interested in what he was doing and was quite public about where he would be speaking, suddenly found the police showing up at every scheduled stop. And the instructions to the police were reportedly coming from Fort Knox in Kentucky. That's before Snyder returned to Canada. Once he returned to Canada, as he was about to get married, Canadian police show up at his door to arrest him, carrying him out in his boxers, and doing so on orders from the US military. We could also go into the two US military officers that accompanied a Canadian police officer to Winnie Ng's home, her Canadian home, in search of was resister Joshua Key and the fact that the two US military officers posed as Canadian police -- an offense several times over in both countries. It's an article meant to lull everyone to sleep and, for peace resisters, that will probably be the case. For those who've paid any attention at all, prepare to laugh repeatedly. In fact,
let's note this: "In recent years, the military has lowered its standards to fill its ranks, letting in more recruits with criminal records or low aptitude scores. But officials said that does not appear to be a factor in the rising desertion rate either. In fact, Edgecombe said, recruits who got into trouble before they enlisted tend to shape up under the influence of the military's code of honor and discispline."

Peace resisters will probably nod along. Those who have given a damn about the illegal war will immediately think of three words: Steven Dale Green. Steven D. Green belonged to which branch? The Army. And Green made his decision to sign up when? After he got busted (again -- this time for possession of alcohol). Moral character waiver took care of that, just wiped it away. Soon enough, Green was in Iraq.

And what happened then? Small media ran from it in the summer of 2006. So let's go to CNN for the words of Captain Alex Pickands, summarizing as military prosecutor, exactly what Green and others did: "
They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."

Abeer, the story small media ran from as if their life depended upon it. (Exceptions have been noted before.) Green, who will be tried in a civilian court and maintains his innocence, and others watched Abeer, leered at her. Green ran his finger down the 14 year-old's face. He freaked her out. Abeer told her parents who made plans for her to stay elsewhere. The day before that could happen, the plan Pickands noted would be implemented. March 12, 2006, Paul Cortez, James P. Baker, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and Steven D. Green began the criminal actions. (Howard was reportedly the lookout. Barker and Cortez have confessed in court to their actions and those of the others involved.) Green, Barker and Cortez entered the home of 14 year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. While Cortez and Barker began gang raping the 14 year-old girl, Green took Abeer's parents and her five-year-old sister into a bedroom and shot them dead. While she was being gang-raped, Abeer could hear the gunshots. Barker and Cortez made room for Green who then joined the gang-rape. After the gang-rape, Green shot Abeer. They then attempted to set her corpse on fire.

Now that doesn't fit with the sunny annecdotal 'evidence' that gets quoted by the AP; however, that is reality. Green, the high school drop out, let into the Army on a moral waiver shortly after being busted by the cops (again), has been described as the "ring leader" from the start. (Again, Green maintains he is innocent.)

Edgecombe is Major Anne Edgecombe, a military flack whose job it is to spin. She does that repeatedly with sunny anecdotes -- as opposed to facts and figures -- and the AP runs with them -- as opposed to reality. 11,020 is the US Army's official count on check outs since the start of the illegal war. Thompson's article is a test book case of weakening journalistic standard. The article takes official data and official statements. This isn't even the he-said-she-said (the 12 lines about Ricky Clousing -- the closest to an independent source in the entire article -- is not 'balance' in a 114 line article).
On March 19, 2007, Nancy Mullane broke the story of the US Army's undercounting on NPR. The AP article gives no indication that Thompson is familiar with it. In that report, Mullane explained how the 2006 figures for the Army were said to have dropped. That was wrong. The number given before NPR caught them was 2334. Mullane reported: "Instead of 3100 deserters [for 2006], the real number may be closer to 5,000. That's according to analysts within the Army's personnel division at the Pentagon and at the Fort Knox desertion information center.
Both reached that 5,000 figure by adding on soldiers who deserted and then were discharged from the Army throughout the year." Search Thompson's article in vain for any mention of that. There is none. Thompson merely repeats the figure 3,301 for 2006, never notes the military's 'problem' with numbers and uses a military flack to offer anecdotal evidence and 'conclusions' throughout the article.

Despite that nonsense, the movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In other resistance news,
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Liam Madden "may not have to get ANY discharge" from the IRR, the AP (Heather Hollingsworth) reports citing Col. Pat McCarthy as the source of that quote. He shouldn't need one. He's already been discharged from active duty and the IRR doesn't usually do discharges. The AP notes that Madden wants, in writing, the US military to admit "that my statements are neither disloyal nor inaccurate." Along with Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh, Madden has been targeted by the US military brass for speaking out against the war and sharing what they observed first hand in Iraq. Iraq Veterans Against the War are currently conducting a summer base tour that takes them to Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina tonight at 7:00 pm; the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm. Madden, writing at Iraq Veterans Against the War, notes of the kick off Saturday (Green Belt Park) in DC: had an early visitor, a police officer who apparently does double duty as a 'journalist': "This confirmed to all of us that he was indeed, not a journalist and in fact, a cop with a bad attitude who wanted to leave before he was subject to any more inquiry. Then, to top it off he drove by with a bright, fluorescent orange vest in his passenger seat. You know, the kind cops wear when they need a bright fluorescent vest. We carried on with the BBQ and 7 active duty military personnel joined us along with at least a dozen IVAW members and another 15 civilian supporters. We declared the first cook-out a success as we recruited 4 new members, raised over $200 and did what we set out to do, have meaningful conversations and meet good people. We later got a phone call from the news station asking why we sent their reporter away. Ooops."

At his website,
Adam Kokesh responds to comments that have been left, pro and con.

In Iraq, the escalation, like the year long and counting crackdown, has achieved little as evidenced by the continuing daily violence.


Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the Baghdad car bombing that claimed the lives of 25 people and "struck during the rush hour in Baghdad's Bayaa neighborhood as many of the victimes were lining up to catch rides to work. About 40 minibuses were incinerated, police reported." John Ward Anderson and Naseer Nouri (Washington Post) count this bombing as "at least the third time that the site has been targeted".
Molly Hennesy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) counts 50 wounded, along with the 25 dead, and quotes Ahmad Kamil, "I felt the huge blast and I was pushed away violently. I didn't realize what had happened at that moment. I almost fainted. I felt that people came to me and carried me away amid cries and shouting for help and voices of people in pain." Dean Yates (Reuters) notes that the explosion "dug a huge crater where the minibuses parked. Residents could be seen searching the burned out minibuses for bodies. Corpses, some charred beyond recognition, lay twisted on the ground." CBS and AP report, "Bystanders, some weeping, gingerly loaded human remains into ambulances." AFP rightly notes the obvious regarding the beefed up US presence in Baghdad: "The increased presence has failed to prevent continued communal bloodletting including car bombings." Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) observes that car bombings are once again on the rise in Baghdad after a drop off earlier in the month.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that left 12 injured, a Baghdad car bombing "near Al Mansour fuel station" that claimed 4 lives (10 injured), 6 other Baghdad mortar attacks that left 6 people dead and eight wounded, a Baghdad bombing "near Al Tobchi not far from Ibn Haian bridge" that left two people wounded, two other Baghdad bombings that left 5 wounded and "Police sources in Basra city said that 5 civilians were killed yesterday evening when a British helicopter bombed their vehicle in Al Hussein neighborhood" to the west of Basra.

On the topic of civilians killed by the US military,
yesterday we noted Mohammed al Dulaimy's report that the people of Khalis maintained those killed (and wounded) on June 22nd by a US helicopter attack were not 'terrorists.' The BBC reports today, "Relatives of 11 Iraqis killed by US troops in the village of Khalis last week have demanded compensation, and have called for the Americans to withdraw claims the men were from al-Qaeda."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports one shooting death in Baghdad.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses discovered in the capital. NPR reports that 30 corpses ("hands and legs bound") were found "on the banks of the Tigris River southeast of Baghdad . . . The male bodies -- all aged 20 to 40 years old -- were bound at the hands and legs and some of the heads were found next to the bodies, two officers said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information." Almost immediately, Iraqi's Interior Ministry began casting doubts. Dean Yates (Reuters) reports an official with the ministry asserts those who have gone to the site have found no corpses.

Today the
UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two soldiers from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and one soldier from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales) in Basra, southern Iraq this morning, Thursday 28 June 2007." The deaths bring to 156 the number of British soldiers killed in the illegal war since it started in March 2003. Sophie Borland (Telegraph of London) reports that the soldiers had been on "a supply run to a base in Basra Palace" while the BBC reports plans for British troops in Basra to begin moving "from Basra city to the airport" and that this is part of a "military plan over the next 12 months . . . to reduce the numbef of British troops from 5,500 to just 1,500, although he cautioned that this coud be changed by surprise political announcements." Ed Johnson and Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) remind that the British have already turned over three out of four provinces to Iraqis and that the "U.K. is scaling back the number of troops it has there and plans to hand control of Basra Palace, the last remaining British base in the city, to Iraqi forces next month." On the de-escalation, Reuters observes that the UK has cut the number of troops from "7,000 to about 5,500." China's Xinhua notes that the appoximately 5,500 troops have been "based mainly" in Basra. Sam Marsden (Independent of London) quotes Major David Gell on a fourth soldier, one injured in the bombing, "He is now receiving the best possible medical care" while "being treated at the field hospital at the the British base at the airport."

The three deaths come one day after the Bully Boy's poodle, Tony Blair, steps down as prime minister of England. Yesterday,
Military Families Against the War were present to bid Blair farewell with banners, portraits, etc. For video of the protests, click here (ITV). Rose Gentle notes that, "For the past 3 years I have asked Mr. Blair to see Military Families, but he has refused to meet us. This the man that sent our loved ones to war, so to me this man will leave as a coward. I have now asked Gordon Brown to meet with us, as we all need answer. Lets hope Gordon Brown will not step into Blair's shoes and look at the families of our brave troops as if we should just shut up and go away. Let's hope Mr. Brown's reputation is not the reputation of Mr. Blair. But this is just to let Mr. Brown know that Military Families will always be here, we will be here longer than any prime minister will be."
The three deaths come after, as
Sophie Borland (Telegraph of London) observes, one day after John Rigby's corpse was returned to England from Iraq. As Alan Hamilton (Times of London) reported earlier this week, John Rigby was wounded from a roadside bomb and taken to a field hospital in Iraq where he died from the wounds. This is London notes that his twin brother Will was at his side when he died (they both were serving in Iraq), that the roadside bombing took place on their 24th birthday and quotes their father Doug Rigby stating, "The Army has been enormously supportive to us but as to what they are doing over there and the cause which they are fighting for and the politicians that have caused that to happen, the boys were less than impressed, especially Will. He could see through the whole thing and I don't think that he liked it." A family statement is quoted by BBC, stating John Rigby was "a cherished and devoted son and brother; a talented hardworking and successful soldier, popular with his peers and across all ranks alike."

Today, the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed when a combat patrol was struck by a roadside bomb in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital June 28." The announcement brought the total number of US service members killed in the illegal war since March 2003 to 3570 and to 93 for the month thus far.

Julian Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that US commanders in Iraq are preparing for Congress to impose some sort of redeployment/drawdown by the end of summer. This is in anticipation of the report that Congress will receive as to the 'progress' in Iraq resulting from Bully Boy's escalation. However, CBS and AP report that Daniel Speckhard ("second-ranking U.S. diplomat in Iraq) told reporters on Wednesday "predicted progress by fall" and that chiefly appears to be based on Speckhard's hopes of strong arming the Iraqi Parliament to pass legislation guaranteeing the theft of Iraqi oil. The two reports aren't necessarily in conflict. Once that so-called 'benchmark' has been achieved, there is little need to occupy the country. The oil fields? That's another issue.

But . . . Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' Iraq's Culture minister has an arrest warrant on him for alleged activities in a 2005 assassination attempt.
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reported today that Alaa Makki (who is handling the negotiations between al-Hashimi and the Iraq authorities) stated, "The minister is ready to face justice, but we believe that the investigation was weak and it was faked. We are negotiating with the prime minister on this matter, and we have three demands to which we would like a response: the release of all his guards, restoration of the minister's good name and a new, independent investigation committee."

Finally, in the US,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted: "The nation's body of city mayors has called on the Bush administration to begin planning for a quick withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. In a measure passed this week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors says; '[the Iraq war] is reducing federal funds . . . for needed domestic investments in education, health care, public safety, homeland security and more.' The resolution was passed by a vote of fifthy-one to forty-seven."


gonzales: the booing never stops!

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed cybercrime, counterfeiting and even the Seattle Mariners, but he didn't publicly address any of the more controversial issues facing his office during a public appearance Wednesday in Seattle.
[. . .]
Some of the protesters voiced concerns about the Justice Department's dismissal of McKay, along with eight other U.S. attorneys last year.
"We had an outstanding Republican U.S. attorney, and he was mauled," said protester Linda Stores, who was holding a sign that said "Fire the Liar," referring to Gonzales. She said McKay's departure "was a real loss to the system."

the above is from todd bishop and colin mcdonald's 'Protesters greet Attorney General Gonzales in Seattle' (seattle times). yesterday, i started out with the great news of gonzales being booed in idaho so it's great to be able to start with that from seattle. congress can't decide whether they want tuna or ham sandwiches for lunch, if you haven't noticed, so they certainly can't decide what to do about gonzales. but the people are making it clear how they feel about him.

so they held a hearing again. more revelations came out. they should outrage everyone but congress will continue to play wait and see. this is from amy goldstein (washington post):

Paul K. Charlton, one of nine U.S. attorneys fired last year, told members of Congress yesterday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has been overzealous in ordering federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty, including in an Arizona murder case in which no body had been recovered.
Justice Department officials had branded Charlton, the former U.S. attorney in Phoenix, disloyal because he opposed the death penalty in that case. But Charlton testified yesterday that Gonzales has been so eager to expand the use of capital punishment that the attorney general has been inattentive to the quality of evidence in some cases -- or the views of the prosecutors most familiar with them.

"No decision is more important for a prosecutor than whether or not to . . . deliberately and methodically take a life," Charlton said. "And that holds true for the attorney general."

this is perfectly in keeping with his work in the texas government so no 1 should express disbelief. so, in congress, there was testimony that gonzales played fast and loose with the facts (no surprise), cut corners and rushed 'justice' which, in this case, was the death penalty. it's like having a president with an itchy trigger finger having the nuclear button. gonzales, as attorney general, is supposed to be slow and deliberative. that's what justice is supposed to do. and we are often frustrated by the process. you are guaranteed, or supposed to be, a fast and speedy trial. that's not about the deliberations going on outside, that's within the court room. we're supposed to believe that our attorney generals take their time to weigh all the evidence, to consider it and evaluate. we do not want attorney generals who rush to judgement.

now, having dropped the attorney scandal, the congress wants to revisit the illegal, warrantless spying on american citizens. it should be revisited. but at this point, it seems like they're looking for more excuses to run out the clock (which would expire when bully boy left office in jan. 2009 - at which point, democrats in congress would say 'we need to focus on the future' - same crap they pulled with iran-contra). this is from ap:

The Senate subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office Wednesday, demanding documents and elevating the confrontation with President Bush over the administration's warrant-free eavesdropping on Americans.
Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee also is summoning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to discuss the program and an array of other matters that have cost a half-dozen top Justice Department officials their jobs, committee chairman Patrick Leahy announced.

with more on the subpoenas, this is from the los angeles times:

Legal experts suggested today that the administration would fight or ignore these subpoenas too, throwing the issue into federal court, perhaps even the Supreme Court. The outcome, they said, could be a kind of out-of-court compromise that gives lawmakers at least some insight into the legal machinations surrounding the top-secret National Security Agency program.In letters accompanying the subpoenas, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said the panel had made at least nine formal requests for such documentation from the White House and the Justice Department, and all had been rebuffed.
Moreover, Leahy told lawyers for President Bush, Cheney and Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales that attempts to get senior administration officials to testify before Congress on the wiretapping issue "have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection."
Leahy noted that the Judiciary Committee was charged with oversight of the executive branch in the areas of constitutional protections and the civil liberties of Americans. "The warrantless electronic surveillance program directly impacts those responsibilities," Leahy wrote. "We cannot conduct this oversight without knowing the legal arguments the administration has used to justify interception of the communications of Americans without a warrant."

last night, i had the worst time posting due to the baby being very active and not wanting to sleep (or wanting flyboy). tonight, blame it on elaine. her 'Spying, Marjorie Cohn' is just wonderful. i've stopped every few seconds to go back and re-read it. well done. by the way, i think it was elaine who mentioned the issue of a vacation earlier this week. goldie e-mailed about that but didn't mention where she saw it. due to the baby, we're not currently planning a big vacation. we'll go out with the gang to hang with c.i. (and the gang!) this summer but i'm not really planning my usual summer get away. there's enough to do here and that could change. if flyboy, for instance, said to me 'let's get away' i would go along with it without complaining and probably enjoy it. but i'm just not that interested in multiple flights this year.

that's not me 'nesting.' please, i'm off bed rest! i've got so much to do now to make up for those months of my pregnancy. but i'm just not interested in lots of travel right now. i've got the whole adventure of learning my way through parenthood and there's the issue of a passport (requiring shots) for the baby. (i'm assuming babies needs passports like adults but i'm sure they need shots.) i usually get away during the summer because you get all the tourists coming in and renting summer homes and they just overrun the place.

that's really the main reason i take several weeks away in the summer. i love this place. when flyboy and i divorced, this was the only thing i asked for. i didn't want our home, just this place. i never understood why we would come out here a few times during the year and for several weeks during the summer. to me, it's perfect. and the only time to get away is when the summer crowd comes in. drunk or sober, they don't obey the traffic laws. they're so loud. (they work real hard to impress people with how almost rich they are. rich would be owning a place, not grabbing a summer rental.) they're so rude to the locals who break their backs giving them a pleasant summer vacation. if you can't tell, i really, really hate them.

they descend like locust and i think they have no respect (as evidenced by all the trash they throw around - i can't believe they think it's okay to litter but they do). maybe some of them will realize their dreams of some day becoming rich. if so, hopefully they'll buy a place out here. then they can watch in disgust each summer as they realize they treated this place the same as the new summer people do.

stealing from c.i., 'translation.' translation, i'm not planning a summer vaction. i'll just stay out here, walk on the beach and avoid the summer locust. if we need anything, we'll take the ferry to avoid them even more.

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Turkey makes noises about an armed mission into northern Iraq, the US military announces another death, Falluja remains under siege, a paper editorializes in favor of Adam Kokesh, Gordon Brown is a 'new man' acting just like the last one, and more.

Starting with war resistance,
Ehren Watada has provided a spark fueling actions in Washington. Watada is the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq (June 2006) and the first to be court-martialed for it (a kangaroo hearing that ended in a mistrial back in February). Linda Averill (ZNet) observes that Watada's "defiance, amplified by an effective defense effort, inspired many anti-war activists, including Gibbs" referring to Molly Gibbs who attempted to get Congressional attention for Watada but only "got the runaround" from Senator Patty Murray and decided, "I'm done dealing with my congressional representatives. It is in our hands. We have to do something." Which for Gibbs including counter-recruitment at high schools and joining with others in SDS, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace and United for Peace of Pierce County in actions like shutting down ports which, Averill observes, take those participating "from demonstrators and lobbyists into direct actors against the war masters, blocking streets and facing arrest as needed." And, in Hawaii, Watada is hailed as a hero at a "War and Peace Art Exhibit." Gary T. Kubota (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports the Maui event brought over "100 artists and writers" to 1134 Makawao Ave (exhibit closes Saturday -- may move to "galleries in California, Oregon and Arizona") and included a piece by Tom Seweel involved the "scanned . . . faces of more than 3,00 American soldiers who have died in Iraq into the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag." Along with adult artists, the exhibit in Maui (closes Saturday, repeating) also included artwork done by children. Watada inspires as do others standing up.

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Iraq Veterans Against the War have been targeted by the US military brass in an attempt to force them to stop speaking out. The three targeted are Liam Madden, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh. Bob Audette (Brattleboro Reformer) speaks with Madden who explains he will not enter agree to any deals to end the matter -- deals offered by the military brass -- until the note in writing "that my statements are neither disloyal nor inaccurate." Madden also discussed the strong reception to Iraq Veterans Against the War's summer base tour which goes to Camp Lejune in Jacksonville, NC tonight at 7:00 pm and follows with: Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina on June 18th 7:00 pm; the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm. And Kokesh is the subject of an editorial from the Charleston Gazette which basically states that the brass needs to back off and cites
VFW head Gary Kupius' statements echoing that ("These Marines went to war, did their duty, and were honorably discharged from the active roles. I may disagree with their message, but I will always defend their right to say it.") before concluding: "Kokesh and Kurpius both merit praise for defending free speech as guaranteed in America's Bill of Rights."

In Iraq,
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Governmental and political parties' sources in Khalis disputed a U.S. military statement that was issued a few days ago; the statement said that a U.S. helicopter killed 17 terrorists but these sources say these men were protecting their own town from terrorist attacks. They said that Abbas Muthafar Hashim, Shakir Adnan, Ali Jawad, Jassim Jaleel, Abbas Jaleel, Kamal Hadi, Jamal Hassan and Mohammed Abdul Kareem were killed and 8 others were injured. They noted that the killed were members of what is called the popular committees that protect the area from the terrorists attacks, as they said." The US military press release on that incident was issued Friday, June 22nd and noted that those killed were "17 al-Qaeda gunmen" and that they US forces "observed more than 15 armed men attempting to circumvent the IPs and infiltrate the village. The attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and destroyed the vehicle they were using." Obviously the people of town differ with the US military on the dead and, since they knew the dead and didn't just observe them from the air, one would assume a follow up by the military is in order. Those very likely wrongful deaths make the news as Molly Hennesy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports this from today, "Witnesses said U.S. troops opened fire on civilians in the sprawling Sadr City neighborhood of the capital after a passerby fired a revolver into the air to settle a family dispute. The ensuing gunfire left two men dead and three injured, witnesses said. A spokesman for the U.S. said he had not received reports of soldiers firing at civilians."

Meanwhile the tensions between Turkey and northern Iraq continue.
Al Jazeera reports that Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit declared today, "I have said [in April] that we need a cross-border operation and that this would bring benefits. I repeat this view now." "BBC correspondents say attacks in Turkey by rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have increased recently, sometimes carried out by rebels based across the border in northern Iraq," notes the BBC as well as the fact that Buyukanit's statements may also have Parliamentary intent (attempting to prove the controlling party -- AK party -- is "weak on terrorism") right before the elections scheduled for the fourth week next month. Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) reports that Turkey is shelling villages in Iraq currently as "part of an effort by Turkey to create a de facto 10-mile buffer zone inside Iraq and stop terrorists of the Kurdish independence movement, PKK, infiltrating its borders from their mountain training camps. Turkey has mobilised more than 20,000 of its soldiers in an operation to stop the PKK using Iraq as a staging post for a new campaign of violence. Yesterday Turkish newspapers sounded an alarm over the terrorist group after it staged an Iraqi-style suicide truck bomb attack on Turkish troops for the first time." Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which generally announces every visit in Iraq or abroad with a dignitary, carries no annoucement of this meeting. The alleged statements come at a time when the US is not seen positively around the world. Alan Fram (AP) reports that an international poll ("46 nations plus the Palestinian territories") found that "wide-ranging majorities think the U.S. does not consider their intersts when formulating policy; worry that U.S. customs are hurting their countries; and think the U.S. contributes to the gap between rich and poor nations", that even the 'coalition' partner England has gone from "75 percent favorable" opinion "in 2002 to 51 percent now".

In news of other neighboring countries,
Al Jazeera reports that during a visit to Iran by Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared, "The main elements of insecurity in Iraq which are behind the current atrocities are the US and the Zionist regime intelligence services and some accompanying nations."

Meanwhile in the US,
Bill Schneider (CNN) reports on CNN's latest polling which has found
54% "of Americans do not believe U.S. action is morally justified," support for the illegal war has now fallen to an "all-time low of 30 percent," 69% "of Americans believe the war is going badly" and that Republicans are among those (obviously, when approximately 70% of Americans are against the illegal war) and 42% of them "support some form of troop withdrawal."
CBS, MTV News and the New York Times did a joint poll of young adults (17 y.o. to 29 y.o.) on their attitudes today. In the Times write up, Adam Nagourney was doing his usual spin but the real news (unreported by the Times) was that 58% of young people say that the US should have "stayed out" of Iraq and 72% say that the illegal war is going badly (34% "somewhat badly" plus 38% "very badly").

In Iraq, Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' al-Hashimi is Iraq's Culture Minister.
Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) notes the arrest warrant issued yesterday for al-Hashimi resulted in a raid on the minister's home and that some Sunnis are seeing the efforts against al-Hashimi as "a trumped-up attempt to discredit a Sunni leader." John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) reports, "A statement by Hashimi's party, the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni bloc in parliament, said two gunment involved in the attack had been tortured into falsely implicating Hashimi. The minister, in a telephone interview with the al-Jazeera satellite television network, said the case was 'fabricated' to damage his party and 'to run us out of the country'." AP notes the incident in question took place Feburary 8, 2005 and was an "ambush against then-parliamentary candidate Mithal al-Alusi, according to governmental spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. Al-Alusi escaped unharmed but two of his sons were killed." Al Jazeera quotes Mithal Allusi stating, "He is on the run now and hiding in one of the houses of an Iraqi official in the Green Zone." Ned Parker and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) observe that Mithal al-Alusi is yet another exile who came back to Iraq after the US invaded -- could we poll on how many holding powerful positions in the puppet government actually never went into exile -- and "Returning to Baghdad from exile in Germany he headed a committee that purged thousands of Iraqis from government jobs because of their membership in Iraq's ousted ruling party. He allied himself with Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, the kingmakers in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq".


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that claimed the lives of 3 people and left ten more wounded, a Baghdad car bombing "targeting an Iraqi police checkpoint on the western side of Al Jadiriyah Bridge" which left 1 police officer dead and 3 more wounded as well as 3 civilians wounded, a Diyala attack using gunfire and a mortars with the mortar attack resulting in 5 deaths and fifteen being wounded. Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports a Samarra roadside bombing that killed "four Iraqi police commandos" and wounded three more. Reuters reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 7 lives.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the combined mortar and gunfire attack in the Diyala province resulted in 14 Iraqis being shot dead (thirteen more wounded), an attack on a Kirkuk police station that left 4 police officers dead, an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in the Salaheddin province, two men were shot dead in Basra, a police officer was shot dead in Al Zubair and "Men in Iraq Ministry of Interior commandos uniforms executed a 60 year-old-man in front of his grocery shop in Mariam makret in central Samara this afternoon." Reuters notes that "two members of the Assyrian's Beth-Nahrain Association Union" were shot dead in Mosul.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 21corpses discovered in the capital today, while in Tikrit the detached head of someone "wearing an Iraqi military hat" was discovered in a bus station, and 1 corpse was discovered in Kirkuk.

Today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West was killed June 26 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." The announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in the illegal war to 3568 since the start of the illegal war (ICCC). The monthly total thus far is 91 which puts June (so far) behind May (126) and April (104) but ahead of March, February and Januray. The total thus far also makes June 2006 the most deadly June for US service members since the war began. In June of 2003, 30 US service members were announced dead, in June of 2004 42 were announced, in June of 2005 78 were announced dead, and in June of 2006 61 were announced dead (ICCC).

Yesterday, Ellen Massey (IPS) article on Iraqi women was noted but the link was included.
Click here to read Massey's article. Today Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports on the two month seige of Falluja (attacked in April of 2004 and destroyed in November of 2004) noting that "Cars have not been permitted to move on the streets of Fallujah for nearly a month now. A ban was also enforced on bicycles, but residents were later granted permission to use them" which prompts a school teacher named Ala to say (this is sarcasm for any who miss it), "Thank God and President Bush for this great favour. We are the only city in the liberated world with the blessing now of having bicycles moving freely in the streets." al-Fadhily notes that aid is being prevented (by the US military) from reaching the city and that "[m]edical services are inaccessible".

Finally, the poodle is no longer prime minister.
In England, Gordon Brown has succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister. As Chris Bambery (Socialist Worker) observes, don't throw the confetti just yet: "Yet in accepting the leadership, Brown made clear his devotion to Blair's policies -- in particular to the 'strong relationship' with the US, and to Britain continuing to play a central role in the global 'war on terror'. The closest he came to acknowledging the failure of the war was when he said that Iraq had 'been a divisive issue for our party and our country' and that his government would 'learn lessons that needed to be learned'. But he then concluded that the war had been 'necessary'." For corporate economic enrichment?


gonzales & other scandals

More than 100 sign-waving foes of President Bush, Alberto Gonzales and the Iraq war interrupted the U.S. attorney general's planned open-air news conference Tuesday, prompting organizers to move it.
The country's top law enforcement official had met for 30 minutes with Idaho law enforcement agents to discuss their anti-gang efforts, then walked outside to find the protesters.
While some demonstrators sang anti-war songs, others held placards that read "Torture is not American," a reference to a 2002 memo written by Gonzales that said Bush had the right to waive anti-torture laws and treaties that protect prisoners of war.

that's the latest from the alberto gonzales' cesspool and it's from john miller's ap report.

that really is the latest. you'd never know, from the lack of press coverage (or congressional action) that gonzales should be in deep water right now.

okay, this is from msnbc via truthout:

The CIA declassified nearly 700 pages of secret records Tuesday recording its illegal activities during the first decades of the Cold War, publishing a catalog of adventures that run the gamut of spy movie clichés from attempts to kill foreign leaders and intercept domestic mail to garden-variety break-ins and burglaries.
"Most of it is unflattering, but it is CIA's history," the CIA's director, Gen. Michael Hayden, said last week in announcing plans to release the documents, which had been considered so sensitive that they were known internally as the agency's "family jewels."
Much of the material had previously entered the public record through nearly 30 years of requests by academics, authors and journalists under the Freedom of Information Act. But publication of the materials Tuesday by the CIA itself marked a major step in the agency's public acknowledgement of its sometimes sordid history.
The documents were compiled beginning in 1973 at the order of then-CIA Director James Schlesinger, who wanted to be prepared for congressional investigations he expected in the wake of disclosures that arose during the Watergate scandal. Schlesinger's successor, William Colby, was outraged at much of the material, which he collected in a report to President Gerald Ford in 1975.
Assassination Plots, Break-Ins and a Possible Kidnapping
Among the disclosures, gleaned from a six-page summary prepared in January 1975 by Associate Deputy Attorney General James Wilderotter and an initial review of documents by NBC News and MSNBC.com, are the following:
The CIA confined a Soviet defector, Yuri Nosenko, in a safe house from April 1964 to September 1967, fearing he might be a plant.
Nosenko, deputy chief of the Seventh Department of the KGB, was responsible for recruiting foreign spies. He claimed to have been the KGB handler of the case of Lee Harvey Oswald, who he said was rejected as not intelligent enough to work as a KGB agent.
Nosenko was eventually released and was given a false identity. He became an adviser to the CIA and the FBI for $35,000 a year and a lump sum $150,000 payment for his ordeal.
The papers indicate that the CIA regularly confined defectors for interrogation, but only outside the United States, and the agency was concerned that the detention of the Soviet defector might violate kidnapping laws. "The possibility exists that the press could cause undesirable publicity if it were to uncover the story," David H. Blee, chief of the Soviet Bloc Division, wrote in a memo.

now if you read kat's 'Ford and CIA discuss Jane Fonda, Kissinger tries to cover his own War Criminal ass' last week, you may be yawning. the papers she was covering noted this. (the released papers.) so it's a little sad that nbc is leading with the defector story when that was known last week. it also may make you wonder what else has been released if nbc is leading with that? don't look there, look here!

frank church showed real bravery in the 70s with the church committee and all the documents they produced. today's press refuses to even explore at 1/2 the length. don't pretend that you are being served. here's some of 1 report from outside the u.s., from press latina's 'CIA Plot to Assassinate Fidel Castro Confirmed:'

The news about the assassination plot was leaked by US media in 1971, but it is not until now that documents of the Agency itself confirm this.
According to one of the memos, the CIA official Richard Bisell contacted Colonel Sheffield Edwards in August 1960, to determine if the Agency´s Security Office had someone available that could advise on a delicate "mob type" mission.
"The objective was Fidel Castro", says the document which affirms the plan was extremely delicate and so only a small group was informed about it.
Robert Maheu, a sure source of the Security Office, suggested the name of Johnny Roselli, a member of the mob.
Maheu himself was in charge of contacting Roselli with the proposal on September 14, 1960 at the Hilton Plaza Hotel of New York, with the cover he was working for several international companies, supposedly affected by actions of the young Cuban Revolution.
The plan consisted in making the mob member believe "the United States government was not involved nor should it know about the operation." The fake executives of the companies would pay 150 thousand dollars to kill Fidel Castro, Maheu told Roselli, according to the text.
James O´Connell, from the CIA Security Office, who was presented as an employee of Maheu, also took part in the Hilton Plaza meeting.

and yet msnbc wants to bore us with tales of a russian defector which were known in the original release of documents released last week. why do you think that is? and how many will lead with the fact that the c.i.a. plotted to kill castro? you better believe that outside the u.s. the plot to kill castro will be the 1st thing mentioned. not some dopey long winded tale about a defector.

speaking of scandals, have you forgotten about jack abramoff? dana milbank (washington post) offers this in 'Abramoff, Prison and a Crazy Little Thing Called Love:'

Had J. Steven Griles not been busy with so many lady friends while serving as the No. 2 official in the Interior Department, he probably wouldn't have scored a date yesterday with another woman: Judge Ellen Huvelle of U.S. District Court, who sentenced Griles to 10 months in prison for obstructing an investigation into the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Griles asked Abramoff for favors for the women in his life, prosecutors said, and in exchange helped Abramoff's clients with their government business. One of Griles's girlfriends, Italia Federici, got $500,000 for her nonprofit from Abramoff's Indian tribes.
"I concealed the nature and extent of my true relationship with Italia Federici," Griles confessed to the judge yesterday in a statement interrupted by stifled sobs. Choking out the words, a burly, red-faced Griles told Huvelle that "this has been the most difficult time in my life. My guilty plea has brought me great shame and embarrassment."
And the shame wasn't about to end. "Even now, you continue to minimize and try to excuse your conduct," the judge told him, giving him twice as much time behind bars as prosecutors had recommended. "You went far beyond keeping your relationship with Ms. Federici a secret."

10 years in prison for a white house official. 2 years for scooter. they have broken so many laws and had so many scandals that maybe their corruption will be charted years from now in history books but, as it stands, very few in the press have been willing to do so. and, most importantly, they've failed to call out the culture of corruption that is this administration.

that's why cheney thinks he can refuse to hand over documents to congress by claiming he is both executive branch and legislative. that's why alberto gonzales really hopes that if he goes around speaking about other topics, his own scandals will just fall away.

we've had 6 years of disgust and if people don't really grasp that, pin it on the press. 1 scandal after another. cheney claiming 1 'power' after another that doesn't exist. there's giving people enough rope to hang themselves and then there's just not doing your job. when people look back at this period, i hope that they grasp that most in the press didn't do their job.

it has been a culture of corruption for 6 years and, during that time, the bulk of the press snoozed.

added: elaine asked me to note something and i remembered just after publishing. is it funny to make fun of people with special needs? no, it's not. but not only did someone think it was funny, the huffington post thought it was acceptable and worth posting. please read tony peyser's "The Column Arianna Huffington Doesn't Want You To Read" (buzzflash).

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Liam Madden gets an offer from the US military, a faux left think tank blathers, and more.

Starting with news of war resistance. Eli Israel is an Army Specialist resisting the illegal war while stationed in Iraq.
Iraq Veterans Against the War and Courage to Resist (among others) have been getting the word out on the 26 year-old who "told his commanding officer and sergeants that he will no longer be a combatant in this illegal, unjustified war." Courage to Resist notes that he did have a MySpace blog until the military cracked down on that and includes these statements:

I want you all to know, that most of us that are over here, came to Iraq, with the very best of intentions, and really thought that the Iraqi people wanted us here. Now that I'm here, I realize that they want to work it out themselves, and I know we should respect that.

We'll return to that later on, for now note the wisdom -- far more wisdom than some paid for 'insight' can manage. Resisting the war takes courage and the stand not only results in attacks from the right, it leads many on the left and 'left' to play mute. But covered or not, it remains an important action.

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In addition to highlight Eli Israel's brave stand,
Iraq Veterans Against the War are also launching a new action -- a summer base tour and have already visited Washington DC (June 23), Norfolk, VA (June 24). Next up? Camp Lejune in Jacksonville, NC on June 27th at 7:00 pm; Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina on June 18th 7:00 pm; the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm.

In addition to the bus tour,
Iraq Veterans Against the War continue to fight the US military brass that is both (a) scared of them and (b) attempting to silence them. Liam Madden, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh have all been targeted. At his site, Kokesh gives a heads up to the latest on Madden via Madden's reply to Lt Col Blessing:

This letter is in response to the offer of the Marine Corps Mobilization Command relayed to me via my military appointed attorney. I am prepared to accept the settlement proposed in which the Marine Corps agrees not to continue with the discharge proceeding regarding my alleged disloyal statements and protest activity. I understand that this is contingent on my oral promise not to engage n further political protest while wearing articles of my Marine uniform.
I will make such an oral agreement and stand by my good word if the Marine Corps is prepared to meet the following condition.
I will orally agree to not wear my military uniforms while engaged in any political protests, hell, I'll have it carved into stone if you'd like, upon receiving a signed, written statement on official USMC letterhead acknowledging that my statements in question were neither disloyal nor inaccurate. If the Marine Corps issues this statement, apologizing for erroneously (or possibly vindictively) accusing me of disloyalty to my country, I will not share it with another living soul.

Madden's letter continues at Kokesh's site.

Turning to Iraq and focusing on trends of violence, in yesterday's New York Times,
Alissa J. Rubin noted, "Farther north, in Mosul, a policewoman was shot to death by gunmen as she left home for work. A 35-year-old Iraqi journalist was also shot to death on her way home from work in Mosul, The Associated Press reported. The journalist, Zeena Shakir Mahmoud, had been writing about women's affairs for the newspaper Al Haqiqa." Ellen Massey (IPS) reports on the "one important group that has largely been left out of the process: women. But they are refusing to be left behind. With little international support or media attention, a network of more than 150 women's organisations across Iraq is fighting to preserve their rights in the new constitutional revision." And, Massey reports, they are attempting to enlist support from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Not all have been silent on the attacks on women and women's rights. In March, MADRE issued "Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq" (which can be read in full in PDF format or, by sections, in HTML). RadioNation with Laura Flanders' Laura Flanders (writing at The Huffington Post) observed: "Call me crazy but it still gets my goat that the entire Iraq debate takes place without the input of the female majority." Flanders also interviewed MADRE's Yanar Mohammed on RadioNation with Laura Flanders in December (December 9, 2006).
May 14th,
Amy Goodman spoke with Yanar Mohammed (Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq). In April, Bay Fang's "The Talibanization of Iraq" (Ms. magazine, spring 2007 issue) addressed the issue. Yifat Susskind, author of the MADRE report, wrote, at CounterPunch, a very realistic look at 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 be fair, those and others have noted to attacks on women. Most media has sat out (big and small) but it's equally true that so have the faux think tanks. Women are also facing other problems created by the US war and occupation (illegal war, illegal occupation). Last month, Katherine Zdepf (New York Times) examined life for Iraqi demale refugees and found . . . prostitution. Nihal Hassan (Independent of London) addressed the topic this week and noted, "There are more than a million Iraqi refugees in Syria, many are women whose husbands or fathers have been killed. Banned from working legally, they have few options outside the sex trade. No one knows how many end up as prostitutes, but Hana Ibrahim, founded of the Iraqi women's group Women's Will, puts the figure at 50,000." In a further sign of how bad things are for women in Iraq, the US military reports that an Iraqi women "safely delivered a newborwn thanks to the efforts of Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soliders and the Iraqi Army." A pregnant woman nows needs "the help of troops from 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division" in order to avoid a home birth. Speaking in Chicago last week, Dahlia Wasfi (via the US Socialist Worker) summed the situation up: "Women have all but disappeared from their roles in the workforce. Once contributors to Iraqi society as teachers, judges, lawyers, doctors, engineers, traffic police and more, the threat of violence and kidnapping now imprisons many women in their homes. But even there, they are not safe from the terrorism of daily house raids by American soldiers and their subordinate Iraqi police."

Turning to another Iraq topic that trends repeatedly, bridges. What should now be apparent is that Iraqi bridges are being targeted not by accident or whim but with an intent to control the traffic flow and deny access.
IRIN reports today that the destruction of and to bridges is impeding "delivery of humanitarian aid in war-torn Iraq" and "Some analysts see the attacks on the bridges as an attempt to make it difficult for Iraqi and US troops to bring supplies from one side of the [Tigris] river to the other. Others believe the goal is to divide the city's predominately Shia east bank, known as Risafa, from the mostly Sunni west bank, or Karkh." And for those who still can't grasp how serious the issue is, note that the US military has issued a press release on it in which the world learns that, following the June 2nd bombing of the Sarihah Bridge, the US military and Iraqi forces were able to create "a critical bypass road to reestablish traffic around the Sarihah Bridge near Tuz Khurmatu, Iraq, June 24." Now potable water, among many other things, the Iraqis have waited and waited in vain for. But on June 2nd a bridge is bombed and within three weeks a "critical bypass" had been completed. Even if some still do not grasp what's going on, the US military brass grasps the danger.

Another trend story that can't be captured in the daily violence summaries is life for Iraqi children.
IRIN noted in May that Iraqi's vaccination supplies have been largely destroyed. In April, IRIN sounded the alarm for the increased risk of "[d]ehydration, cholera and bacterial infections" which would impact children (and the elderly) in greater numbers. And near the middle of this month, IRIN noted that thousands of Iraqi children now live on the streets and are forced to work, as young as 12, to provide family income. As Dahlia Wasfi observed last week, "For the children . . ., during the first three and a half years of occupation, 270,000 newborns received no immunizations. Eight hundred thousand Iraqi children are not in school due to the chaos, lack of security and severe poverty. According to the State of the World's Mothers report, released last month by Save the Children, the chance that an Iraqi child will live beyond age 5 has plummeted faster in Iraq than anywhere in the world since 1990. In 2005, one in eight Iraqi children died of disease or violence before reaching the age of 5. Operation Enduring Freedom would more appropriately be named Operation Dead Children." And today, Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reported on the "immense and largely unnoticed psychological toll on children and youth that will have long-term consequnes" and noted: "Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, 4 million Iraqis have fled their homes, half of them children, according to the United Nations Children's Fund. Many are being killed inside their sanctuaries -- at playgrounds, on soccer fields and in schools. Criminals are routinely kidnapping children for ransom as lawlessness goes unchecked. Violence has orphaned tens of thousands."

The above three trends result from the illegal war and occupation. But no 'benchmarks' address women, children or infrastructure. Faux think tanks are happy to press for
the theft of Iraqi oil but no interest at all in something as basic as vaccinations for children.

The violence continued today and among the events were . . .


Reuters reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left three wounded. The US military notes that British Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornado bombed a building "near Slman Pak" today with a "2,000-pound bomb" and, with the help of two OH-58D helicopters, killed at least six people who they hope, really, really hope were so-called 'insurgents.'


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Dr. Nihad Mohammed Abdul Rhman ("assistant dean of Al Nahrain college") was shot dead in Baghdad, that Hussein Al Najjar ("Iman of Al Arab msoque") was shot dead in Basra and Hamid Abid Sarhan Al Shijiri ("sheikh of Shijirat tribe") was shot dead in Baghdad. Following yesterday's Baghdad hotel bombing, which claimed the lives of four sheikhs, this 'random act of violence' might not be so random. Reuters note a police officer shot dead in Baghdad (three more injured) and a student shot dead in Mosul.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 21 corpses were discovered in the capital.

Turning to faux think tanks, allegedly on the left. Today, on NPR's
The Diane Reham Show, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Republican Lawrence Hart (there will be no correction to that characterization, words and actions indicate he remains a member of the Reagan cabinet in heart and mind). Now if our goal was to waste time, we could gush and note every word out of Brezezinski's mouth. But we don't give a damn. Similarly, we do not give a damn about a xenophobic, faux peace plan coming out of the centrist Democratic think tank known as The Center for American Progress. Yes, some of the left are stroking it. We won't.

A few basics. You cannot say you are opposed to "permanent bases in Iraq" (as the laughable report claims) and that this a 'troops home now' proposal when the reality is, your plan staffs the "embassy" with troops and the Baghdad embassy is not an embassy,
it is a fortress -- 104 acres. In addition, the report would allow troops to be left in Iraq in order to "work with Kurdish peshmerga in protecting Iraqis who have fled to northern Iraq to escape the violence . . ." Oh, are we still serving that lie? Are we still pretending that there's any real difference in that section?

There's not. The attention's been on the Shi'ite and Sunni conflict, the bloodbath in nothern Iraq's never received much attention outside of a few human rights organizations. That region, and the people holding power in it, got the gold star and the US looked the other way. The reality is the same competition of resources and power going on throughout Iraq (and instigated and stoked by the US) is going on there as well (and expected to increase).

It's one falsehood after another from the laughable report put out by the laughable Center for American Progress. Take the claim that moving thousands of US troops (remember -- people are calling this a 'peace plan') to "Afghanistan to complete the unaccomplished missing of eradicating Al Qaeda there." Eradicating al Qaeda? First of all, the US military is currently responsible for more deaths in Afghanistan than any other group or grouping. Second of all, the problems throughout the 90s are the same problems today and you can thank the US administration for bombing an already war torn country, strutting around with big words, only to turn the country back over to the same war lords.

Now the centrist Center may not be stupid. They may just be attempting to take the easiest road. Or they may be attempting to clampdown on very real outrage (the Center includes a lot of Council for Foreign Relations types including Lawrence J. Korb)? It doesn't matter.

If you have any respect for Iraqis, for Americans, for humanity, read through the 61 page (counting end credits) report and try not to be offended. It won't be easy and what the Center is STILL selling is the notion that the US can or should dictate terms to Iraqis. Equally appalling is that the report fails to note that the US presence fuels the resistance (let alone why that reaction is). When you can't even talk that reality, you have nothing worth saying.

Last week, a report was issued [PDF format warning] that did actually attempt to address reality, the "
Independent Report on Iraq:"

Executive Summary [
Read] [French]Map of Major Coalition Attacks, Bases and Prisons [See map]Political Map of Iraq [See map]1. Introduction [Read]2. Destruction of Cultural Heritage [Read]3. Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons [Read]4. Unlawful Detention [Read]5. Abuse and Torture of Prisoners [Read]6. Attacks on Cities [Read]7. Killing Civilians, Murder and Atrocities [Read]8. Displacement and Mortality [Read]9. Corruption, Fraud and Gross Malfeasance [Read]10. Long-Term Bases and the New Embassy Compound [Read]11. Other Issues [Read]- Iraqi Public Opinion and the Occupation- Cost of the War and Occupation12. Conclusion and Recommendations [Read]

CounterSpin is to be the only national media that will cover it?

Meanwhile the faux think tank gets attention, gets coverage and the reality is that it has nothing to offer. Assume for a moment that the plan was not so offensive and did not assume Iraqis are 'bad' children, is Bully Boy going to implement it? No. It's nothing but cover. "We had a plan!" And, apparently, if a Dem gets in the White House, this 'plan' will allow the Dem to propose another year of illegal war?

As is too often the case,
Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) is ahead of the curve. Today he addresses the realities of neocons ("their goals for the US are no different than the goals of the rest of the Washington establishment. Only their means differ at times.") and the realities of the lead up to this war which did not come in 2002 or 2001:

But, someone might say, Al Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq. Yet, Bill Clinton and Al Gore attacked Iraq several times, maintained an illegal flyover program on the country that bombed the country almost daily, and enforced sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. All of these policies along with others not mentioned created the situation George Bush and his administration found themselves in in March 2003.

That's why the left doesn't need faux 'left' think tanks and why the left shouldn't be in bed with them. Yes, so-called "Student Nation" that means you.