gonzales, conyers & more


the alberto gonzales show is on hiatus.

that's in reply to several e-mails asking what's going on with gonzales. you can be sure he's still crushing the law and spitting on the constitution. congress is out of session and didn't appear all that interested in doing anything while they were in session. they return from their vacation the first week of september.

if you've been a regular reader or even a casual visitor, you're aware i don't like hillary clinton. i didn't like her before she announced she was running for president.

so i'm saying what i'm about to say not as a hillary lover or even as a hillary liker.

i am, however, a woman, and i'm getting real damn sick of all of barack obama's supporters practicing their hatred of women.

i'm not talking about individual voters, i'm talking about pundits.

michael roberts, writing at op-ed news, explains that not only will america not let barack obama be black (he's biracial, roberts, and maybe surrounding himself with white advisors like samantha power while disowning his own clergy publicly plays into the running from race) but if you look at hillary clinton, roberts argues, you'll see he's not the biggest war hawk! alexander cockburn (the nation & counterpunch) declares he's 'beginning to respect this man' and man may be the key word since he's referring to obama and he looks a lot better to cockburn when standing next to 'first and foremost ... hillary clinton'.

they are far from alone. hey fellas, women have been oppressed to and it's really sad that you have to build your case for obama by destroying a woman.

i don't like hillary clinton. i won't be voting for her in the primary.

i think she's a war hawk. i think she's a liar. but i'm aware (a) that she's not the only democrat in the race, (b) that it's not a 2 person race and (c) that any candidate who has to built as 'better by comparison' has enough problems of their own.

obama's not experienced. that's not open to debate, that is fact. he will complete his 3rd year in the u.s. senate next january. trying to build him as 'better by comparison' doesn't change that fact.

here's what you do with reality, you stress it. you don't run from it.

if i were doing p.r. still and barack obama asked me my thoughts, i'd tell him run on the inexperience. election cycle after election cycle, every 1 tries to present themselves as 'the outsider' and obama, running on his inexperience, could.

the idiot and liar samantha power appeared to semi-grasp that in her wordy e-mail last week that popped up everywhere. but she loves her words and she loves her tricks and she demolished the point she was trying to make (everything she touches gets demolished).

so fellas, quit trying to build obama up on a woman's back. and get used to the fact that your candidate of choice is inexperienced.

now let's deal with the black commentator and the sexism at play there. betty asked me if i'd take a swipe at it (she's addressing it in a roundtable) and i told her 'you don't have to ask twice.' larry pinkney is offended that john conyers' office was where activists went to ask him to put impeachment on the table. ray mcgovern, cindy sheehan and rev. lennox yearwood met with conyers. conyers explained that going after impeachment would mean fox 'news' would say bad things about him. conyers said the answer was to win in 2008.

the activists then held a civil disobedience action and conyers called the cops. that is the reality. larry pinkney has a real hard time seeing reality. he refers to 'the White progressive anti-war movement' and i probably can't comment on that because i belong to the peace movement and not to the anti-war movement. sorry to combat veteran pinkney but i don't give a damn about anti-war, i'm for peace. or as tori amos sings in 'the waitress' 'but i believe in peace, but i believe in peace, bitch, but i believe in peace.'

as such i can and will target in any way i see fit any member of congress who refuses to do their damn job and that includes the ultimate chicken john conyers who says 1 thing when he's speaking to crowds or being interviewed by independent media (which he hopes reaches a small audience) and another thing when it's time to return to the hill.

pinkney can claim that the 'White progressive anti-war movement' phrase started with rev. lennox yearwood. take it up with him. pinkney repeated it. i don't intend to mention rev. lennox yearwood again at this site. if c.i. includes yearwood in the snapshot, i may or may not delete that before reposting. while i grasp that yearwood was under considerable pressure, i've never been a fan of those who caved.

he characterizes david swanson as among 'certain privileged white folks'. based on what pinkney? skin color? skin color & foreskin? what are we talking about here because all i'm seeing is swanson is white and that's touched off a nerve.

it's equally true that the discrimination going on in this country includes more than 'Black, Red, and Brown peoples in this nation.' possibly, pinkney doesn't give a damn about women. possibly he's never thought about the issue of gay rights. possibly his childhood hero is under attack and, gosh golly, he's going to take 1 for johnny conyers!

john conyers is part of the problem and you're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

pinkney hides behind 'change the system' talk. you 'change the system,' superstar. in the meantime we need impeachment and any and every 1 who stands in the way of that is obstructing the constitution.

cindy sheehan, who went out of her way in every interview she gave after the arrests to defend john conyers, is treated in a smarmy manner by pinkney this week.

Stating that your having publicly "confronted" Rep. Conyers was not done "because he is black" is missing the point. Black America, and in particular our Black youth, have far too few publicly known and respected progressive Black men and women as it is; publicly attacking Rep. Conyers was ill conceived, unnecessary, and divisive.

in response to dn this week, pinkney also declares:

You are absolutely and totally incorrect in stating that I "feel" that Rep. Conyers "should not be held accountable...because he is black."

those 2 statements need to be reconciled or pinkney needs to learn to be more clear because (A) clearly indicates that pinkney believes there are not enough leaders who are publicly known and respected in the african-american community for conyers to be "attacked".

in (A) he's responding to cindy sheehan. and he goes on to cluck:

Whether or not you plan to run or are "running against Ms. Pelosi" does not alter this present reality. Whether it does in the future, remains to be seen.

here's what remains to be seen, whether pinkney can get the stick out of his ass. last month cindy sheehan declared that pelosi had til the last week of july to put impeachment on the table or sheehan would run against her. pelosi didn't. sheehan announced her candidacy informally prior to the conyers action and announced it officially on thursday. pinkney was apparently out of the loop on that.

now let's deal with the black commentator. at the end of their 'coverage' the following appears:

BlackCommentator.com Columnist Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney and BC.
The Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. is the President of the
Hip Hop Caucus. The Hip Hop Caucus is a national, nonprofit, non-partisan organization meant to inspire and motivate those of us born after the ‘60s civil rights movement. Click here to contact the Rev. Yearwood and the Hip Hop Caucus and BC.
David Swanson is the Washington Director of
Democrats.com and of ImpeachPAC.org. He is co-founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition, creator of MeetWithCindy.org, and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and of the Backbone Campaign. He was the organizer in 2006 of Camp Democracy. He serves on the steering committee of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice and on a working group of United for Peace and Justice. His website is www.davidswanson.org. Click here to contact Mr. Swanson and BC.

hey the sexist commentator, where's cindy sheehan's credit. she wrote in, her letter was printed. it's a bit sad that david swanson's gettin credit for meet with cindy and camp democracy (and outgrowth of camp casey) and cindy sheehan's get shit.

betty will be addressing pinkney on sunday and she's furious. ty is furious as well (he's here at mike's tonight). ty says the black commentator will not be linked to any more at the third estate sunday review. he says as the african-american of the core 6, that's his decision and his alone. (although he knows on issues like these, where some 1 feels very strongly, the others all go along with the wishes.) ty asked me to especially stress that quote: 'not only is conyers elderly, pinkney needs to realize he doesn't have a thing to say that i want to hear and he's just another old baby boomer who thinks his skin color gives him special rights. he can kiss my black, gay ass.' i called cedric to get his take and see if he wanted anything included. he has points he intends to make in the roundtable but wants me to stress this right now 'those who toy with radicalism reveal how deeply conventional they are when, while decrying the system, they rush to prop up the token who bought into and sold out to the system.'

i'll reprint betty, cedric and ty's commentary from last sunday.

"John Conyers Is No MLK (Betty, Cedric & Ty)"
Last week, we shared our feelings regarding a member of Congress, John Conyers. During the pieces that addressed Conyers, we made clear our opposition to sicking the police on activists practicing civil disobedience. For reasons that only Rev. Lennox Yearwood can answer, he's decided to back away from an intial strong stand.
Regardless of what his reasons were (and we are aware that he was under attack), we stand by our statements. We don't give a damn what anyone says about us. As African-Americans, we're fully aware that at least a third of the discussions going on in our community are 'ranking' and 'scoring' and 'cracking.' You can listen to a five minute burst of flow on Aretha Franklin's weight with cracks about her eating only to hear the dee jay then play one of her records and talk about how amazing her voice is.
So if anyone thinks our Black voices will be silenced, think again.
In a supposed piece on race, we felt Yearwood was cracking . . . on Whites. Yearwood offers that Whites writing things like 'Conyers is no MLK' was "deeply disrespectful" to "many" in the community. Gee, our phones didn't ring once. Was this a national poll?
No one in our families complained, no one in our (Cedric and Betty's) churches complained when we shared print outs of that column and similar ones. Apparently a Black Bougie-Bougie got a hold of Yearwood's ear and he's confused that with actual African-Americans.
While we missed that version in Gladys and the Pips' song, we're not surprised.
Yearwood writes, "I would say to my White progressive friends that they should be careful who they condemn for not following in the steps of the late Dr. King if they themselves have not been prepared to walk in those steps and be champions of the consistent fight for social justice." Well let these two Black brothers and this Black sister say it: John Conyers is not following in the footsteps of MLK.
Let us all note our OUTRAGE that MLK is being reduced to something that can be cited (as a comparison) by only African-Americans. That notion is deplorable. We encourage everyone to use MLK as a touchstone. He does not "belong" to one segment of the people, he belongs to all and we will not stand silent while he is ghetto-ized or his status as an international hero is reduced to "Black guy who marched."
John Conyers is no MLK. Your first clue is that MLK couldn't have been elected to Congress. Even were he alive today, it wouldn't happen. That's because MLK wasn't Marty & The March the way he is Disney-fied today. He was against illegal wars. He was against imperialism. He was against injustice. Reducing him solely to race does him a HUGE disservice and that bull might fly with the mainstream media but it doesn't belong among the left.
John Conyers is no MLK. Your second clue is that he stood. He didn't cower. Not even when he was shot down. He knew that day was coming and he didn't sit around wondering how to protect himself. He was on a mission to make the world a better place. Conyers is a coward who will not stand up to Nancy Pelosi. She took impeachment "off the table." If he put it back on the table, he'd find he had too much support from the people for Pelosi to monkey around with his seniority rights to chair a committee.
John Conyers is no MLK. Your third clue is that MLK stood up even when he knew the risks. He was slammed by the press in his final years and that was due to the fact that he refused to be silent. Conyers operates by political calculations. He is a COWARD.
John Conyers is no MLK. Your fourth clue is that the powers-that-be saw MLK as a threat that needed to be cut down while Conyers, over 70-years-old, retains his seat in Congress. Cynthia McKinney may have lost her seat but she never lost her voice even when the same sort of elements that cut down MLK during his life went after McKinney. And, if you missed it, Yearwood, when Pelosi gave the orders that there would be no support for McKinney, Conyers didn't violate that rule either. She'd announced she's be speaking about the incident with the police and she WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE BLACK CAUCUS. She didn't have any of their support. It was a White woman, Marcy Kaptur, one member of Congress and only one, who had the guts and convictions MLK lived by, who said, "I will stand with you, Cynthia" while her colleagues avoided McKinney like she had the plague. After Kaptur made it safe, a few others joined McKinney.
So save the speeches about how noble John Conyers is and how it's wrong to say he's not like MLK. MLK stood for what was right and Conyers has lived his Congressional life refusing to rock the boat.
As we said last week, he's old, he's tired, it's past time he gave up his seat and let some new blood in. The only disgrace has been what he has done to his own image.
-- Betty, Cedric and Ty

all 3 noted they didn't have time to play. i'd already told ty i would delink from the black commentator (and will as soon as this posts) but betty and cedric also requested that as did my friend t. that link is gone. there is not time to play and there is not time to prop up cowards. t asked me to do a link to the december 29, 2006 press release from the house ethics committee on conyers' problems with staffing. i'm sure pinkney will defend that as well. (t offered that it proves conyers long ago became part of the problem.)

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, August 10, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military starts another whisper campaign about al-Sadr, a US helicopter goes down, Joe Biden comes out against the privatization of Iraqi oil, and the draft is in the (US) air again.

Starting with war resisters.
Agustin Aguayo served as a medic in Iraq and refused to load his weapon. He had applied for CO status but was told he'd have to wait until after deploying to Iraq to find out the status. His CO status was denied and he took the issue to the civilian courts. After serving one tour in Iraq and while his case was working through the courts, the military expected him to deploy a second time. Aguayo self-checked out and was gone for less than thirty days before turning himself in. Despite being gone less than thirty days (September 2nd through September 26th) and turning himself in, the US military prosecuted Aguayo for desertion (the general rule is that you have to be gone 30 or more days for desertion). Aguayo and his wife Helga Aguayo are now telling his story and how it effected their family. Rosalino Munoz (People's Weekly World) reports that Agustin and Helga are attempting to decide what to do with regards to the civilian case and must decide by September 5th whether or not to appeal to the Supreme court. Munoz notes, " At issue is whether a soldier's conscienctious objection to war can develop after enlistment and outside of an organized religion, as well as whether the Army can deny a soldier's claim to conscientious objection without a response to the soldier's arguments."

Were the military to follow their own stated policies, there would be no questions as to what qualifies for a CO but they don't, as Aguayo, John A. Rogowsky Jr. and many others have discovered. From the US military's "
Selective Service System: Fast Facts:" "Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be." Despite that basic reality, Aguayo, Rogowsky and others have been told that they're not religious enough, that their religion is not recognized, when religion really is NOT required for CO status. In Aguayo's case, the military refused to recognize that time in Iraq deepened Aguayo's faith (already present when he enlisted).

Munoz notes that Aguayo's attorneys believe he has a strong case but Aguayo wants to review the strengths with them before going further with the case due to a concern that a loss in the Supreme Court could reverse the gains that service members had made during Vietnam. Aguayo is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and another IVAW member, provides an update on war resister Marc Train. Adamo Kokesh (Sgt. Kokesh Goes to Washington) reports that Train has been charged "under Article 15 of the UCMJ for being AWOL for 114 days . . . They are now in the process of kicking him out under Chapter 12-14. . . . So a little soft time at Fort Stewart and he should be home free." Train self-checked out after taking part in the DC actions to end the illegal war in March of this year. Kokesh also reposts Eli Israel (the first service member to publicy refuse to continue serving in the illegal war while stationed in Iraq) story, told in Israel's own words. Sarah Olson (Political Affairs) reported on Train in June and quoted him stating, "Just because we volunteered, doesn't mean we volunteered to throw our lives away for nothing. You can only push human beings so far. Soldiers are going to Iraq multiple times. The reasons we're there are obviously lies. We're reaching a breaking point, and I believe you're going to see a lot more resistance inside the military." Tran is a member of IVAW (and was on his way to being discharged from the military -- by mutual agreement between him and the brass -- until he signed on to Appeal for Redress) and, like other IVAW members, has posted about his experiences and observations there. At the end of April, he wrote, "This Administartion has been emboldened by the lack of effective mass outrage. Now, what I mean by that is that our country as a whole has not effectively demonstrated its outrage about the policies of this Administration; the workers are still going to their jobs, the traffic is still flowing; products are still being consumed. As long as this is all functioning and every measure of control is in place, and as long as Congress continues to nervously shift about and take no determined action, the Administration does not feel threatened by the anger of its opposition."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, 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, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum. Information on war resistance within the military can be found at 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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.

Meanwhile, the
US military is trumpeting the news that the Army met its targeted recruitment goals for the month of July . . . while hoping no reporters note that the target was brought down some time ago both in terms of numbers and qualifications. And hoping no one notices how much money is being spent on a still non-existant draft in the US. In an indication of things being explored and floated, if not yet on the way, Bully Boy's assistant and deptuty National Security Director on Iraq and Afghanistan Lt. General Douglas Lute spoke with Michelle Norris on NPR's All Things Considered today where he pushed the draft
("a national policy decision point that we have not yet reached, Michelle" -- note, "not yet reached") and declared of the draft, "I think it makes sense to certainly consider it and I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table, but ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another." While "one means or another" may be a nicer way of saying "by all means necessary," there's no denying that draft boards have been set up, that tax payer monies are being spent on them and that Bully Boy's assistant is now floating the option which -- pay attention, Nancy Pelosi -- unlike impeachment is not 'off the table.' Returning to the issue of the qualifications waived to meet the targets, Stephen D. Green, fingered as the ring leader by others who participated in the war crimes against 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and her family (Abeer was gang-raped while her parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in the next room, then she was murdered and her body set on fire to destroy any evidence) is an example of the lowering standards since he went from jail to the military via a 'moral waiver' that overlooked not only his most recent arrest but his prior arrests. In other military crime news,
Feminist Wire Daily reports that Cassandra Hernandez' rape by "three of her malecounterparts" in the US Air Force has led not to punishment for the alleged rapists, but instead to charges against Hernandez with the three alleged rapists being "granted immunity from the sexual assault charges" for agreeing to testify against Hernandez. This assault on Cassandra Hernandez is only a surprise to those who have looked the other way while the US military brass has regularly and repeatedly excused and ignored the assualts on women serving in the military. The assault by the brass on Suzanne Swift is only one of the more recent public disgraces. The US military brass has repeatedly and consistently refused to address the assaults on women (and on gay male victims of assualt) and Congress has repeatedly and consistently refused to excercise their oversight obligations.

On a related crime note,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today: "In other news on Iraq, the U.S. military has dropped all charges against two Marines connected to the shooting deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha. Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt had been charged with three counts of premeditated murder and Capt. Randy Stone with dereliction of duty for failing to properly report the civilian deaths. Five Marines still face charges for shooting dead two dozen unarmed men, women and children in Haditha on November 19, 2005."

Goodman also notes Joe Biden's nosies with regards to punishments for the Bully Boy (we'll get back to that) but that's not really the big news regarding US Senator and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful
Joe Biden. Appearing yesterday on PBS' The Charlie Rose Show, Biden discussed the upcoming September 'progress' reports to Congress and noted that there has been no military progress in Iraq though he understood why Gen. David Petraeus would attempt to finesse that bit of reality. Biden then went on to offer his take on the administration's political attempts (which have failed, as Biden noted) in Iraq and identified Dick Cheney as the one blocking progress. (I'm not endorsing that, or endorsing Biden's kind words for US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice, et al.) Rose questioned whether Cheney could really be against progress and Biden utilized the oil revenue sharing 'benchmark'. We've heard that utilized before by all Dem candidates for president except Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich in a manner that lumps the oil revenue sharing and the theft of Iraqi oil into one provision. Biden didn't lump them together -- a possible sign that other candidates may also join Kucinich and Gravel in calling out the theft of Iraqi oil. Biden delcared, "Look at what we keept trying to write into the law: privatization. Who are we to tell them to privatize?"

Biden's comments come as growing resistance mounts in the US (led by United Steel Workers) to the theft of Iraqi oil and as news of a poll gains traction.
Aaron Glantz (OneWorld via Common Dreams) reports on the Oil Change International poll of Iraqis that "found nearly two thirds od Iraqis oppose plans to open the country's oilfields to foreign companies. The poll found a majority of every Iraqi ethnic and religious group believe their oil should remain nationalized. Some 66 percent of Shi'ites and 62 percent of Sunnis support government control of the oil sector, along with 52 percent of Kurds." Glantz quotes Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) explaining, "We're talking about opening up the second largest oil reserves in the entire world to foreign investment. It costs about $75 a barrel -- and about 60 cents to get it out of the ground. Do the math."

Great Britain's Socialist Worker reports, "The pro-US Iraqi government has outlawed the country's oil workers' union under a law passed during the regime of Saddam Hussein. The order comes as opposition is mounting to a proposed oil law that would hand over the country's natural resource to foreign companies. The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) has spearheaded opposition to the proposed law."

On February 23, 2007,
Antonia Juhasz spoke with Kris Welch on KPFA's Living Room
about the oil law and explained the basics:.

Antonia Juhasz: It's really American, and let me clarify that as Bush administration, propaganda that this law is the path towards stability in Iraq. It is absolutely propaganda. This law is being sold as the mechanism for helping the Iraqis determine how they will distribute their oil revenue. That is not what this law is about. That is the bottom end of an enormous hammer that is this oil law. This oil law is about foreign access to Iraq's oil and the terms by which that access will be determined. It is also about the distribution of decision making power between the central government and the region as to who has ultimate decision making power and the types of contracts that will be signed. There are powers that be within Iraq that would very much like to see that power divvied up into the regions, between the Kurds and the Shia in particular, and then there are powers that would like to see Iraq retained as a central authority. The Bush administration would like the central government of Iraq to have ultimate control over contracting decisions because it believes it has more allies in the central government than it would if it was split up into regions. The Bush administration is most concerned with getting an oil law passed now and passed quickly to take advantage of the weakness of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government couldn't be in a weaker negotiating position and the law locks the government in to twenty to thirty-five year committments to granting the most extreme versions of exploration and production contracts to US companies or foreign companies. Meaning that foreign companies would have access to the vast majorities of Iraq's oil fields and they would own the oil under the ground -- they would control the production and they would in contracts yet to be determined get a percentage of that profit but they'd be negotiating essentially when Iraq is at its weakest when Iraq is hardly a country. And that's what this oil law is all about. What Iraqis are saying very clearly and have said to
Raed [Jarrar] and, in particular, to the loudest voices being the Iraqi oil unions is that the only people who want to see this law passed now are the Americans. There's no other reason to push that law through."

Turning to some of the violence on the ground in Iraq . . .

CBS and AP report a US helicopter that went down in Kirkuk, wounding two Americans on board, cite the Iraqi military as the source for the news that the helicopter hit an electric pole and note that on July 31st and July 3rd US helicopters were brought down "after coming under fire".

Reuters reports a Kirkuk car bombing that claimed 11 lives (with at least 45 more people wounded). CBS and AP report a Baquba roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 2 bus passengers and left at least four others wounded.


Reuters reports Wisam al-Maliki (the son of sheikh over puppet Nouri al-Maliki's tribe) was shot dead in Garna. CBS and AP report a man was shot dead in Baquba.


Reuters reports that three corpses were discovered in Rutba.

In other news,
Reuters reports that the UN Security Counsel has backed a proposal for a slightly more visible United Nations role in Iraq and denies charges that the US strong-armed the proposal in order to shift the responsibilites off on the UN; however, they do note that Hoshiyar Zebari, Iraq's Foreign Minister, has stated the obvious via a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that "prior consent" for any authorization having to do with Iraq needs to have the "prior consent" from Iraq's government. Iraqi's Parliament was rightly outraged when the US government got the UN to extend authorization for their role as 'peace keepers' in Iraq without either the US or the UN bothering to seek the input or authorization of the Iraqi government.

Meanwhile, as the government of US puppet Nouri al-Maliki is in disarray (while he visits Iran),
Sue Pleming (Reuters) reports that the US administration continues to (publicly) stress their support for al-Maliki while Olga Oliker (Rand Corporation) notes that replacing the puppet now would "backfire" on the administration and states, "To be a colonial puppet master you need a much stronger understanding and subtle knowled of the culture and history than the U.S. has demonstrated over the past few years in Iraq." In an apparent move to defocus attention from the US puppet government's many failures (security, electritcy, water, food, etc.), AFP reports that Col. John Castles is the point-person to restart the whisper campaign that Moqtada al-Sadr is in Iran. Though the allegations earlier this year were never proven, they did serve to distract for a number of weeks. No doubt that is again the hope with the latest whisper campaign.

In political news, Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan officially announced her candidacy for California's 8th Congressional District in the 2008 election yesterday in San Francisco. Sheehan will be competing with other candidates including US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who currently holds the seat. Among those present for the announcement was whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg who endorses the run. Sheehan will be running as independent candidate and for more on this see
Rebecca's post from last night.

Sheehan declared last month that she would run for Congress if Pelosi refused to put impeachment back on the table by July 23rd after repeated (and rightful) anger over the Democratically controlled Congress' refusal to end the illegal war. As legal scholar
Francis A. Boyle (Dissident Voice) observes, ."Despite the massive, overwhelming repudiation of the Iraq war and the Bush Jr. administration by the American people in the November 2006 national elections conjoined with their consequent installation of a Congress controlled by the Democratic Party with a mandate to terminate the Iraq war, since its ascent to power in January 2007 the Democrats in Congress have taken no effective steps to stop, impede, or thwart the Bush Jr. administration's wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or anywhere else, including their long-standing threatened war against Iran. To the contrary, the new Democrat-controlled Congress decisively facilitated these serial Nuremberg crimes against peace on May 24, 2007 by enacting a $95 billion supplemental appropriation to fund war operations through September 30, 2007." Or as veteran DC correspondent Helen Thomas (Seattle Post-Intelligencer via Common Dreams) points out, "President Bush has the Democrats' number on Capitol Hill. All he has to do is play the fear card and invoke the war on terror and they will cave.What's more, the president has found out that he can break the law and the rubber stamp. Democratic Congress will give him a pass every time." Sheehan's announced candidacy comes as Matt Renner (Truthout) reports, "The Blue Dogs have apparently informed the Democratic leadership in the House that they support the ongoing occupation of Iraq. According to Mahoney, he met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and told her 'The president should be free to maintain troops in Iraq, if the purpose is to thwart terrorism'." The Blue Dogs are War Hawks (and include Loretta Sanchez whose greedy hands would rather grabs billions in pork than end the illegal war) and centrists who have repeatedly stabbed the Democrats base in the back. The 2004 demise of Blue Doggie Martin Frost should have been a lesson -- a Republican-lite running against a Republican will lose every time. That's what happened to Texas' Frost who shortly before his political demise was toying challenging Pelosi for the House leadership post. Frost, like most Blue Dogs, runs from the Democratic Party while taking the national monies. Frost's campaigns were noted by Texas community members for their use of yard signs and campaign materials that never mentioned Frost was a Democrat and for slurs and slams against other Democrats perceived as liberal (such as Pelosi) to assure voters he wasn't one of those 'crazy Democrats'. Long term Congress member Frost went up against newbie incumbent Pete Sessions thanks to the illegal redistricting of Texas' congressional lines (assisted in the process by the US Homeland Security Dept. which spied on state Democrats). Voters presented with wishy washy Frost and proud-to-be-a-Republican Sessions chose Sessions. There's a moral in the story. There's a moral in the story of St. John Conyers as well as in some outlets rush to claim that racism is involved in expecting a senior member of Congress who has repeatedly advocated impeachment of the Bully Boy, who has written a book about the necessity to impeach the Bully Boy, and who shows up at various gatherings (such as the large peace rally in DC this year) to state the people can fire Bully Boy. St. Conyers wants all the applause and refuses to do anything. For some reason, some outlets see themselves as defenders not of the people or the Constitution but as St. Conyers' personal fan club. The reality is Conyers could move on impeachment and, by his public statements (which his office often later recants or distorts) but elects not to. Disgusing those realities by suggesting a racist attack is going on against Conyers is really pathetic and, interesting to note, that many suggesting that lie were no where to be found when Cynthia McKinney was twice ousted from the House of Representatives via racial slurs. As Betty, Cedric and Ty have noted: "As we said last week, he's old, he's tired, it's past time he gave up his seat and let some new blood in. The only disgrace has been what he has done to his own image." (Betty's seen the latest nonsense and notes that it will be addressed by her in Sunday's roundtable.) The topic of impeachment wasn't avoided on PBS where Bill Moyers examined it seriously last month. That one hour look (including guests such as John Nichols) at impeachment on Bill Moyers Journal is repeating and can also be viewed, listened to or read online currently. As a weak alternative to impeachment, Senator Joe Biden is floating 'later actions.' As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today: "Impeachment has been making headlines recently in the city of Kent, Ohio. Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden has suggested criminal charges could someday be filed against members of the Bush administration. In a recent interview with Newsweek, Biden said there are alternatives to the impeachment of President Bush. Biden said: 'I think we should be acquiring and accumulating all the data that is appropriate for possibly bringing criminal charges against members of this administration at a later date'." This 'later' nonsense has also been floated by St. Conyers is nothing but nonsense. The 1992 elections gave Democrats the control of Congress and the White House and they unwisely decided to put Iran-Contra behind them. The crimes of Reagan and Bush were swept under the rug and we're all paying for that today. By the same token, in January 2009, after Bully Boy leaves office, the DC conventional wisdom (that so many elected Dems are held hostage by) would be, "He's out of office, leave it alone." If impeachment does not take place, Bully Boy walks and anyone suggesting otherwise is taking an ahistorical view of the situation.


cindy's running for congress

i told kat i was posting late and she just called. 'i completely forgot about cindy sheehan!' i told her i'd cover it. i think kat does have an ulcer. she was guzzling pepto bismol on sunday (dona said kat went through 2 bottles during the writing of the edition). i'm not trying to get any 1 to worry about her. ulcers aren't fatal. but she's been doing so much lately.

she should have written about her day. she got pulled over for a blinker being out today. she goes in her purse for her wallet and it's at home. fortunately, kat can work the charm. so she got off with a warning on the tailight (written) and a warning (verbal) on the license. then she's rushing to a photo job and rushing all over. she's hurrying home to change clothes and drops her keys (she was trying to do about 5 things at once - talk on the phone to say she was on her way - it was sumner's birthday - and searching her purse to see if her favorite perfume was in there, etc.) and doesn't even realize she's dropped her keys until she gets to her place. then she has to retrace her steps. she said 'i was sweaty, i was tired, i just wanted to hop in the shower and had enough time for a 15 minute shower before i lost the keys.' it took her 1/2 an hour to find them. it was just 1 thing after another for her. then she does a quick shower because she's running late. pulls her hair back in a twist because there's no time to blow dry, she's getting into her shoes and dress at the same time while trying to put on ear rings and rips her dress. has to change. she gets out to her car and some idiot's blocked her in. she finally calls a taxi.

she's almost to the dinner for sumner when she realizes she forgot his gift at her place. she has to have the taxi turn around .... it was just 1 thing after another for her today.

i'm not surprised her stomach's killing her. this is from kwtx:

Two years after her roadside vigil near the president’s Central Texas ranch galvanized the peace movement in the US, activist Cindy Sheehan tearfully announced Thursday she will challenge US House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

and this is from ap:

"The country is ripe for a change," said Sheehan, who spoke at a podium with her son's photograph attached to it. "It's going to start right here and right now."

daniel ellsberg who took the pentagon papers public was at cindy's side and he spoke. this is a portion of his speech:

One essential demand is for Pelosi to encourage, rather than to block, Congressional investigations of past and ongoing administration deception, unwisdom, illegality and unconstitutionality in pursuing an aggressive war and in curtailing our rights. Such investigations, calling forth testimony under oath of current and former officials many of whom are eager to tell the truth at last, as well as demonstrating continued administration stonewalling, will almost surely lead to what does not yet exist: irresistible pressure from a belatedly-informed public for the impeachment and removal of Bush and Cheney.
Further, we need Pelosi's leadership in rescinding the unconstitutional parts--which will not leave much--of the Patriot Acts, the Military Commisions Act and the recent, outrageous legislation purporting to legalize warrantless wiretaps and data mining. And--absolutely essential to ending our war in Iraq, ever--public pressure is needed to demand that Congress defund our indefinite occupation, providing funds only for the orderly, safe withdrawal of all our troops, contractors and bases on an announced time-table.
If this campaign can help bring about even the first of these, it will also, almost incidentally, put Cindy Sheehan within reach of success in the election. This is, in fact, a historic campaign opportunity, exploiting an opening unique in American politics. At this moment, Cindy appears to face insuperable odds, opposing without party support a powerful, heavily-funded incumbent. But we aim to change that. All we are asking is for Nancy Pelosi to do what she should: to uphold her oath of office, which is not to obey a Commander-in-Chief or to enlarge a Democratic majority but to uphold and defend the Constitution.
If we can induce her to do that, then a year from now Cindy Sheehan should be running for an open seat, or against a brand-new incumbent appointed by our Republican governor. Nancy Pelosi, third in line for succession when Bush and Cheney are impeached and removed, will be in the White House. That will, as it happens, leave an open field for Cindy.

good for cindy. she keeps fighting. the attacks on her won't go away. people attacking her on the right have attacked her forever. people in the center who started attacking her this year are stooges who think the democratic party is a benevolant foundation working in their best interests. they can't see the truth. they're a bunch of squishy little nodes who await the message being sent out which they then repeat and never question. cindy had to question it. the government forced her to when they sent her son casey off to die.

but, like matrix pod people, some centrists just can't face that. they can't face that the same government that lied us into war and killed iraqis and americans (sent americans to their deaths for lies) will do that to any of us. the democratic leadership is still backing the illegal war just as they did when they were the minority party. but people don't want to see that.

they just want dems in 2008.

like that's going to change anything.

you either hold the dems accountable now or you agree to stomach anything. centrist appear to have no problem eating sh*t on a daily basis. it's their party, as christy todd says, and they'll cry if they want to.

now kat told me about john pilger's '"It never happened..."' (new statesman) which i missed but i'll post some of now:

Concealed during the Alan Johnston kidnap crisis was the fate of a Palestinian cameraman shot by the Israelis. The BBC, desperate to deny charges of "bias", refused to follow the story.
One of the leaders of demonstrations in Gaza calling for the release of the BBC reporter Alan Johnston was a Palestinian news cameraman, Imad Ghanem. On 5 July, he was shot by Israeli soldiers as he filmed them invading Gaza. A Reuters video shows bullets hitting his body as he lay on the ground. An ambulance trying to reach him was also attacked. The Israelis described him as a "legitimate target". The International Federation of Journalists called the shooting "a vicious and brutal example of deliberate targeting of a journalist". At the age of 21, he has had both legs amputated.
Dr David Halpin, a British trauma surgeon who works with Palestinian children, emailed the BBC's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen. "The BBC should report the alleged details about the shooting," he wrote. "It should honour Alan [Johnston] as a journalist by reporting the facts, uncomfortable as they might be to Israel."
He received no reply.
The atrocity was reported in two sentences on the BBC online. Along with 11 Palestinian civilians killed by the Israelis on the same day, Alan Johnston's now legless champion slipped into what George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four called the memory hole. (It was Winston Smith's job at the Ministry of Truth to make disappear all facts embarrassing to Big Brother.) While Alan Johnston was being held, I was asked by the BBC World Service if I would say a few words of support for him. I readily agreed, and suggested I also mention the thousands of Palestinians abducted and held hostage. The answer was a polite no; and all the other hostages remained in the memory hole. Or, as Harold Pinter wrote of such unmentionables: "It never happened. Nothing ever happened . . . It didn't matter. It was of no interest."

so that's it for tonight. let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, August 9, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Bully Boy says Iran is the cause of the destruction of Iraq, talk of installing a new dictator surfaces, impeachment remains 'off the table,' and more.
Starting with war resisters. Camilo Mejia is the first known Iraq War veteran to become a war resister. At the end of last month, Maria Hinojosa of
NOW with David Brancaccio interviewed Mejia (transcript, audio, excerpt) about his time in Iraq, his determining that the war was illegal and his book Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press) which was published in May. "When you join the military," Mejia declared, "you think that you're going to do it to protect freedom to fight for democracy. And finding yourself in a war that's not legitimate by international law standards, where you're abusing prisoners in a war that's being fought in the streets, and you see that the bulk of the human loss, it's civilian, it's very difficult to conciliate your participation in that war and what you're doing in that war with the reasons that led you to -- to sign a military contract." And in Mejia's case (and many others), a contract that is worthless for the signee because the US military isn't bound by it. (Mejia, a non US citizen, had reached the end of the 8 year contract but was the victim of 'stop loss' despite the fact that, as a non citizen, this was not allowed under prior or existing policies.) Noting that Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience (following his was court-martialed and sentencing), Hinojosa asks him where he see his "place now in the year 2007 in these United States?" Mejia responds, "I see myself as part of a movment. And the number of people -- deserting the military when I returned from Iraq was 22. And I believe the number is up to nine -- 9,000 or more soldiers who have deserted or gone AWOL since the beginning of the Iraq war. And I see a l-long way ahead of us. I see a long struggle. And I see myself as part of that struggle."
Amnesty International also supported Abdullah Webster who was court-martialed in June 2004 after he refused to serve in Iraq citing religious reasons (Webster is Muslim) for refusing to serve in the illegal war. Webster joined the US military in 1985 and was set to retire in 2005. The came the illegal war. Webster had served in the first Gulf War but had converted to Islam (1994). Webster first attempted (September 2003) to be granted CO status and then followed that with a request for assignment to non-combat services. Instead, the US military said he would deploy to Iraq (Feb. 2004). His wife Sue spoke of the June 3, 2004 court-martial and his being sentenced to 14 months noting, "An abiding memory I have is of him being led off back to his cell as I watched distraught, in tears, holding our 22-month-old daughter in my arms." In April of 2005, Webster was released from military prison.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, 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, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.

To stay on PBS'
NOW with David Brancaccio for a moment before moving on, this week's show will feature David Cay Johnston (New York Times) and Beth Shuman discussing with Brancaccio "the state of our country's vast income divide and how it's hurting those just trying to make ends meet." The program begins airing Friday on most PBS stations, check your local listings.

Moving to the New York Times, has the new, smaller size resulted in less need for facts?
Damien Cave semi-reports on the US bombing a resedential section of Baghdad but forgets to list the number of civilians local authorities say died. This is the same Damien Cave who couldn't tear himself away from any detail in February 2005 (including the very serious crime -- we're sure -- of manure being flung in Ohio) to push the "ATTACKS ON US MILITARY WITHIN THE US" alarmist nonsense that (we're sure) he wishes everyone could forget. Ladies and gentlemen, the Divine Damien, Dung Will Be Flung Tonight. When it comes to vandalism (being passed off as terrorism), Cave doesn't miss a detail. When it comes to human lives, he apparently misses 17. That is the number of civilians Megan Greenwell (Washington Post) reports killed in the US air strike on Sadr Ctiy citing "military and Iraqi police". Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted that "U.S. troops and warplanes have waged a major attack on the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad. . . . The Washington Post described the raid as one of the largest in a series of U.S. attacks against Shiite militias. The raid on Sadr City came shortly after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki left Baghdad for Tehran where he met with several Iranian leaders. Hundreds of Baghdad residents held protests last night against the U.S. for attacking Sadr City less than 24 hours before the start of a major Shiite holiday. Meanwhile Iraqi officials have imposed a strict curfew and banned all vehicular traffic in Baghdad until Saturday in an attempt to prevent car bombings during the holiday." Also in today's Washington Post, Ann Scott Tyson reported on the lastest switcheroo by the US which is now backing the Sunni leading to worries and concerns within the puppet government and, presumably, within the US military. Col. Steve Townsend seems rather blase as he tells the Post, "I assume they . . . have killed some of us [US troops]. We have killed a lot of them. If they are willing to move foward with us, I'm willing to keep an open mind." Of course, "Col" Townsend won't be the one doing any training, that will fall to lower leveled service members. While any meaningful peace plan would have to pull him the resistance (which the US has been in talks with for over a year now), there is a difference between that and what's being done here. It's equally true that the real point is to keep everyone off balance -- or at least Sunni and Shia (the US has operated the illegal war as if no one else was present in Iraq). You can apply the "learned helplessness" technique Jane Mayer discussed with Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) yesterday. Keep 'em off balance, keep 'em guessing. Pit Sunni against Shia, Shia against Sunni, let chaos and violence run free and maybe the US won't be seen as the illegal invader it is but instead as the great savior.

On the topic of Iraqi deaths, Patrick McElwee appeared on
KPFK's Uprising today where he spoke with host Sonali Kolhatkar about the 'benchmark' the US administration probably won't flaunt. Next week, Iraqi fatalities since the start of the illegal war are expected to reach the one million mark. Where is the coverage? McElwee noted that Fox "News" recently had Britty Hume embed in Iraq where he was on US aircraft while it dropped around 25 bombs and though there was time for rah-rah, there was not one report about where the bombs landed and what happened to the people present. McElwee declared that's "what's needed now is some organized pressure on our leaders to end this war." McElwee is with Just Foreign Policy and you can learn more by visiting this page of their site.

As the deaths pile up, so do the insults.
Kim Gamel (AP) reports that Saad Eskander, director of the Iraqi National Library, has repeatedly attempted to get US and Iraqi troops to leave the facilities but has been ignored while windows have been broken and US forces have repeatedly "entered the building without permission".


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Basra mortar attack that wounded a police officer "and other civilians." Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 3 lives and a Baghdad mortar attack that killed 1 person and left 2 more injured and that "two small bridges in Salahudding province" were blown up. AP reports a bombing "near the house of a Shiite family" which claimed the lives of a wife and husband and left their child injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 Iraqi soldiers wounded by gunfire. Reuters notes a man shot dead in Najaf.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 9 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Yesterday, the UK Ministry of Defence announced the death of one British soldier in Basra. Today,
they identified him, 20-year-old Martin Beard. And they announced two more deaths: "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two British soldiers from 1st Battalion The Irish Guards in Basra, southern Iraq in the early hours of this morning, Thursday 9 August 2007. The soldiers were killed, and another two seriously injured, when an Improvised Explosive Device detonated next to their patrol just after midnight local time." This announcement brought the total number of British soldiers killed in the illegal war to 168. David Byers (Times of London) notes, "Britain has now lost four soldiers in Basra in one week, as the Shia Mahdi Army increases its attacks in the southern city."

Today, the
US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Aug. 7 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Aug. 7 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier died from a non-combat related cause Aug. 8." ICCC's total for US service members killed in the illegal war thus far this month is 25 and is 3684 since the start of the illegal war.

In the Joke for the Day news,
Matt Spetalnick (Reuters) reports the Bully Boy of the United States has stated "Iran is a destabilizing force in Iraq". Not since Bully Boy joked about WMD in public has he made a bigger fool of himself. As The Toledo Blade editorialized yesterday, "the United States has essentially destroyed Iraq as a country".

Damien McElroy (Telgraph of London) reports that NYU's Michael Oppenheimer is arguing that the answer for Iraq is a dictator. Oppenheimer is an associate professor has been arguing that since at least mid-July when he declared following a workshop, "The best idea we were able to generate -- a National Unity Dictatorship -- is the only plausible route to stability in both Iraq and the region, and one we can make more likely if we choose to. This would, of course, represent the failure of democratization in Iraq, at least in the short term." McElroy notes that Oppenheimer believes the US could 'create' "a viable dictatorship in Iraq." So now the US is going to explore imposing a dictatorship?

In activism news, members of
Military Families Speak Out were among those arrested at the Garden Grove office of US House Rep. Loretta Sanchez yesterday, Jennifer Delson (Los Angeles Times) reports, after Sanchez refused to agree not to vote for the $145 billion funding bill for the Iraq war noting that "$2.1 billion for C-17 production" -- pork she steered her own way via her spot on the House Armed Services committee -- was too important to her, more important than any deaths in Iraq. "Funding the war is killing the troops!" cry Iraq Veterans Against the War and Tina Richards and Military Families Speak Out while Sanchez plays Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! How proud she must be and how untroubled her sleep.

In news of other cowardice,
St. John Conyers, burned at the stake of his own words, is the Congress member who could start impeachment. He refuses to. He refuses a great deal. Ken Silverstein (Harper's magazine) reports that he was supposed to interview Conyers back in May and, as requested, he did it via e-mailed questions. Despite following up repeatedly, Conyers still hasn't replied. Possibly questions about whether "leading the country into the war in Iraq" constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors and why impeachment isn't "on the table" are questions St. Conyers prefers to avoid? The topic of impeachment wasn't avoided on PBS where Bill Moyers examined it seriously last month. That one hour look (including guests such as John Nichols) at impeachment on Bill Moyers Journal is repeating and can also be viewed, listened to or read online currently.


the 'learned helplessness' of congress

AMY GOODMAN: Yet you raise serious questions, Jane Mayer, that others raise about the reliability of his claiming credit for, I don’t know, how many terrorist attacks, precisely, because of the kind of breaking down, the torture that he went through.
JANE MAYER: Yeah. It may be because of the breaking down that he went through that he confessed to thirty-one major terrorist plots that he said he was involved in. It may also just be that, you know, he's a tremendous boaster, and he wants to build himself up to be a super-terrorist and a martyr and an historic figure. And so, it could just be partly that, as well. And also, he may realize that the credibility of the whole process is made into something of a joke when you start confessing to having, you know, tried to assassinate a variety of presidents, from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton. So, you know, it's just that the whole process is so kind of outside the bounds of normal fact-finding that it becomes very hard for people to differentiate what is real and what's not real.
One of the findings that, in this story, that really stunned me was that a top CIA official, who I can’t name, but somebody who really knows a lot about this program, said to me that 90% of what they got from every kind of technique they used was bogus. So 10% of what they got was accurate. And they are arguing that that 10% certainly made it worthwhile, and they think it saved people's lives.
But I think the question, finally, that I have and that I think that Philip Zelikow asks in this story, who was the legal counselor to Condi Rice, I think is the question that the country should be asking maybe, is not "Do these techniques work?" but "Are these the only techniques that work?" And the answer, if you talk to the military and you talk to the FBI, is that there are many other ways to get more reliable information. So we may not need to go to these lengths. And I think it's certainly something that I’d like to see some public debate on.

that's from today's democracy now, 'The Black Sites: A Rare Look Inside the C.I.A.’s Secret Interrogation Program.' t came by today and we watched together. you should check it out (listen, watch or read) if you missed it. after it was over, we probably talked about it for a 1/2 an hour and then t asked me if ava and c.i. had read the mayer article in the new yorker before they wrote 'TV: Plotz, Plots, Fizz, Fizz . . .' and i don't know. i wouldn't be surprised if they knew about it saturday. it may have been known online already. if not, i still wouldn't be surprised because they generally know not just what is coming out but what is being worked on. my guess is they knew it was coming out and that's why they tackled torture in their tv commentary sunday. but they did make the decision to cover it last week. in 1 of the entries (maybe a snapshot) last week, c.i.

the main thing we talked about is what does this say about us?

the country is accepting torture.

i'm fully aware that the american people want bully boy impeached. t brought that up.

we both discussed how our allegedly representative congress refuses to represent the people.

but i don't know that 40 or 50 years on down the line, people learning about this are going to say, 'well the people were against it!' i think they're going to wonder how we stomached it.

and if we continue to let this congress get away with not addressing these very real crimes, we are stomaching it. that's what it boils down to.

i don't want hear that impeachment might hurt the dems chances in 2008. my interests go beyond any election cycle. they go to what kind of people we are in this country and what we stand for.

if dems are only concerned with the next election than they honestly don't deserve to hold office. if they are not in it to defend this country, then they are not just useless, they are complicit in the destruction of this country.

you really can't run on that or run from it.

so demoncrats need to figure out if they stand for any thing or not?

at this point, they are so desperate to be home coming queen that they will sell out the best interests of the country. that's pretty f--king sick if you ask me.

this is from democracy now too:

JANE MAYER: There's actually a document I draw on in this story that is about the SERE program, and it is from somebody in the Air Force, and it’s being sent to the General Counsel at the Pentagon, to William Haynes. And it describes what SERE techniques can be used to break down US-held prisoners. It basically says, in so many words, you know, "This is how they break us down, so why don't we break them down the same way?" and describes things like how to use stripping people and, you know, taking -- literally how to rip their clothes off them along the seams and the buttons so that you do it in a safe way, and various other techniques like that.
I mean, the reason that you see the same techniques, I think, in both the CIA and the military is that the same experts in the SERE technique worked in both places. They were psychologists and instructors in the SERE program who somehow were brought in. And I don't think we know the full story, really, about how they were brought in. But they were brought in to advise both the military and the CIA on their interrogation protocols.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain more about this -- and you talk about this particularly with Abu Zubaydah -- but who these psychologists are?
JANE MAYER: Well, one of them is a man named James Mitchell. Another is somebody named Bruce Jessen. There are other names that have been bandied about, but I don't feel comfortable mentioning them, but they were people who had, again, advised on SERE techniques. And so, they knew a lot about the psychological steps people go through when they're being tortured, and they knew that -- you know, their expertise was in resistance, how to resist torture. And so, they -- what happened was they wound up being asked, well, "How do we get these hardened al-Qaeda figures to stop resisting?" They believed in -- or talked, at least, a lot about a program called "learned helplessness," which is a psychological theory that springs out of experiments done on animals, particularly on dogs, where they were subjected to so many electric shocks in so many kind of random ways that at a certain point the dogs just gave up trying to escape from a pen, even though the entrance was open. And they talked about sort of -- these psychologists talked about how you need to break resistance in the al-Qaeda figures, at least this is according to people I’ve interviewed. The psychologist, I should say, James Mitchell has denied that he was trying to apply learned helplessness to the al-Qaeda figures, but others who were in the room with him describe him talking about it incessantly, trying to break them down to a point where they stop trying to resist.

that's just disgusting. and let's remember that the nazis used doctors in their experiments too. do you think, post-wwii many americans ever thought their government would descend to similar tactics? that's what happened and what will continue to happen unless/until we make the congress stand up. 'learned helplessness'? sounds like the democratic party's unofficial slogan.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, August 8, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military and the British military both announce deaths, a dawn air attack by the US on a residential area kills civilians, war resister Eli Israel tells his story, meet "The Other Iraq," and more.

Starting with war resisters. Camilo Mejia is the first war resister to return to the US and refuse to return to the US. Stephen Funk is the first war resister to refuse to to Iraq period. Eli Israel is the first known war resister to refuse while serving in Iraq.
At Courage to Resist, Eli Isreal tells his story. He writes of growing up "in the custody of state of Kentucky," living on the streets, attempting to join the Marines at 16 but having no diploma and no GED so being turned down. Israel got his GED, took some college courses and, at 18, enlisted in the military. After leaving the military, he re-enlisted in 2004. In Iraq he was "a JVB Agent -- the JVB (Joint Visitors Bureau) served as protective service for 'three star generals and above' and their 'civilian equivalents'. This included the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," etc. and "when we didn't have any missions at JVB, it was common for us to be called on for 'search and cordon' operations and other infantry assignements". Israel writes:

I claimed like many that my actions during these missions were justified in the name of "self-defense." However, I came to realize it was that my perception was wrong. I was in a country that I had no right to be in, violating the lives of people, and doing so without regard to the same standards of dignity and respect that we as Americans hold our own homes and our lives to.

I had taken and/or destroyed the lives of people who were defending their families from being the "collateral damage" of the day. Iraqi boys are joining groups like "Al Qaeda" for the same reason street kids in the U.S. join the "Crypts" and the Bloods". It's about self protection, a sense of dignity, and a way of making a stand.

The young man whose father and cousin we "accidentally" killed, and whose mother and siblings cry every time the tank rolls through the neighborhood, doesn't care about who Osama Bin Laden is.

Israel writes of the destuction of Iraq, the daily deaths of Iraqis, martial law, the denial of basic services, and more leading to a realization: "The day I saw myself in the hateful eyes of a young Iraqi boy who stared at me was the day I realized I could no longer justify my role in the occupation." So Eli Israel attempted to become a CO but when he informed his superios of that decision, he was immediately isolated and placed under military guard for two weeks after which he was sent to Camp Arifjan for 30 days in prison which became 25 and he's now discharged and "scheduled to be out-processed from the Army within the month and plan on joining forces with anti-Iraq-War movements, such as
Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War." That's a synopsis and, again, you can read his story in his own words at Courage to Resist. He concludes, "Objecting to the war and standing up to the miliary was without question, one of the best decisions I have ever made. I made a stand that was the right one, and I have my freedom back as a bonus. Maybe ten years from now those of us resisting from within the military today will be seen as some of the first few to speak the truth and to follow up with action. Even now I have many to remind me that I'm not alone in my thinking, even a majority of Americans who know that all the pieces of this conflict simply don't add up."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, 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 Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.

Turning to Iraq where the air war continues.
CBS and AP report that a dawn attack on the Sadr City section of Baghdad, a US helicopter attack, has left at least 9 civilians dead (2 women included in the fatalties). Reuters says the number, according to hospital officials, is 13 and note: "Hundres of angry mourners later marched chanting through the streets of the slum after the raid on the eve of a major Shi'ite holy day." BBC offers a series of photos of the mourners which include (a) a man seated on the ground holding his head while a small boy cries next to him, three boys and a man slumped over a table while two women cry, and a photo of marchers which numbers over a thousand -- not the "hundreds" billed -- taking to the treets, walking around buses, clutching their chests and their heads. BBC reports eye witnesses stating children were also killed and that the US military does conceed the point that women and children were present -- obvious point, this is a residential area that was bombed at dawn -- they assert none died. Later the US military is expected to also issue assertions that the Easter Bunny exists. Jaime Tarabay (NPR) notes that officials in "Sadr City say that there were no 30 terrorist killed there were acutally 9 civilians killed and among those were women and children and there were also six people that were injured."

In other violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports four Baghdad mortar attacks that claimed 2 lives and wounded twelve, a Baghdad roadside bombing that left three Iraqi soldiers wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer (six more wounded), a Kirkuk car bombing left four police officers and a civilian wounded. Reuters notes a bombing in a Baquba barbre shop that claimed 5 lives and left eight more wounded, a Samarra mortar attack that claimed 7 lives, and a Hawija roadside bombing that left one person dead.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two women wounded ("a mother and her daughter") in a shooting attack, while attorney Emad Dosh was shot dead in Najaf and Talai Bilal was attacked in Kufa but survived -- two security guards were wounded. Reuters notes a police officer was shot dead in Dujail and one person was shot dead in Jurf Al-Sakhar and another in Mahaweel.

Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 11 corpses discovered in Baghdad and the corpse of Muthhir Ali was discovered in Kirkuk.
Today the
UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep sorrow that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a British serviceman from 1 Squadron, RAF Regiment in Basra City, southern Iraq last night, Tuesday 7 August 2007. The serviceman died as a result of small arms fire attack which occurred at approximately 2030 hours local time during an operation in the Karmat Ali district of Basra City." ICCC's total for the number of British soldiers killed in Iraq is now 166. This follows Monday's announced death in Basra of 20-year-old Craig Barber whom, the UK Ministry of Defense notes, "leaves behind his loving family, including his wife Donna and son Bradley."

And today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed and four others wounded during combat operations in a western section of the Iraqi capital when an improvised explosive device detonated near their patrol Aug. 7." ICCC pegs the number of US service members killed in Iraq this month at 22 thus far and since the start of the illegal war at 3681.

As all this goes on,
Bernd Debusmann (Reuters) offers a story on tourism in Iraq or to what is billed as "The Other Iraq" -- the Kurdish area. Why not? asks the headline. Gee, maybe because of the cross border struggles with Turkey that yesterday's meet and greet with al-Maliki didn't solve. Maybe because, as Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) pointed out a week ago, the census that was supposed to be taken of the area never was and December is when a vote is supposed to "determine the fate of a large oil-rich and bitterly disputed swathe of the country". Or how about James Cogan (WSWS) noting that Massoud Barzani ("president of the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government") has called for "a real civil war" if Kirkuk ("oli-rich" Kirkuk) does not become part of the Kurdish territory.

Turning to Japan where recent elections shifted the power.
David Pilling (Financial Times of London) reports that the Democratic Party of Japan "took control of the upper house Tuesday" and "is considering introducing a bill to end Tokyo's logistical support in Iraq" meaning curtailing "the supply flights the Japan Air Self-Defence Force flew to Baghdad and northern Iraq from Kuwait."

Could that increase the cost of the illegal war for the US? On the topic of the cost . . .
On July 31st, Gordon England, the US Dept. Secretary of Defense, appeared before the House Budget Committee of the US Congress and declared, "As Secretary Gates has said, the Department is firmly committed to an open and transparent dialogue with the Congress about war costs." Though only 8 days ago, England's remarks are already laughable. Today Tom Vanden Brook (USA Today) reports that the Pentagon is now insisting that $750 million is needed immediately in order "to urgenly airlift needed armored vehichles to troops facing roadside bombs in Iraq." As Cedric and Wally pointed out Monday, the House just approved $459.6 billion in funding to military spending. Nicholas Johnston (Bloomberg News) reported this was "for fiscal year 2008". John Nichols (link goes to CBS) observed there was "virtually no debate" before the House approved the bill and that the "amount does not include the extra $147 billion Iraq war funding that the Bush administration has demanded that Congress approve when the Congress returns from its August recess." This latest last minute funding request comes as the cost of the illegal war continues to mount and not that long after noises about how Americans would not be paying for the illegal war in piecemeal, that the American people needed to know the true costs of the illegal war. In fact, one of the people decrying this sort of "haphazard, piecemeal funding" was the Bully Boy of the United States himself on May 10th. At the end of last month, Walter Pincus (Washington Post) noted Congress gave the Defense Department "$1.7 billion for military construction in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007, according to CRS [Congressional Research Service], but offered no breakdown of how the money was spent." Dropping back to December 2006, Carl Hulse (New York Times via IHT) noted that the Democrats who had just won control of both houses in the November elections were "planning to assert more control over the billions of dollars a month being spent on the conflict [Iraq] when they take charge of Congress in January." Hulse quoted two tough talkers. In the Senate, Kent Conrad declared, "They have been playing hide-the-ball, and that does not serve the Congress well nor the county well, and we are not going to continue that practice." From the House, John Spratt who stated, "We need to have a better breakout of the costs -- period." Possibly, Hulse misquoted Spratt and he really said "breakout of the costs -- period period period"? Ellipses would certainly make more sense when Spratt is quoted by Tom Vanden Brook today sounding ready to toss around the (public's) money without asking any questions such as why the Pentagon's only now interested in shipping the vehicles or what pork the Pentagon can eliminate on their own instead of expecting the US tax payers to foot the bill for every goody on their wish-list. Noting the waste in the bloated budget, John Nichols wondered "why was there no serious debate on the Pentagon budget? It's not just that the Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress continue to use the war on terror as an excuse to enrich defense contractors such as Dick Cheney's Halliburton. As Winslow Wheller, a veteran of 31 years working with mostly Republican senators on defense issues and a former assistant director of evaluations of national defense programs with the U.S. Government Accountablility Office, 'Now in control of Congress and having made multiple promises to restore oversight of the war in Iraq and the executive branch in general, the Democrats have been successfully rolled by the White House, the military services, and the big spender pundits'." To repeat, July 31st, Dept. Secretary of Defense Gordon England stated to Congress that "the [Defense] Department is firmly committed to an open and transparent dialogue with the Congress about war costs."

Turning to US politics. Yesterday
the AFL-CIO hosted a 'debate' with Democratic hopefuls for the 2008 presidential nomination (Mike Gravel was not present). US Senator Barack Obama is hindered by how much of his genuine rage (and he's got rage) he can show. He declared, at one point, "I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me". He declared? Well, he moved his lips. Samantha Power scripted that line. Samantha Power who immortalized herself with the autobiography A Problem From Hell (oh, it's not an autobiography? well with that title . . .) Barack Obama yesterday: "the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me." Samantha Power August 3rd "the worst strategic blunder in the history of US foreign policy." Sammy, get your axe. Or at least your Blackberry. The odor of Samantha Power lingers over the Barack Obama campaign and not merely because she was perviously an advisor to Obama. It's also because you look a bit unhinged when you mass mail, as Power did last week, your thoughts on Obama to "Interested Parties." Where Babmi can't show more than spunk, Power can. She will do it, she can do it, and she will bloody well control the White House!

That's actually how the unhinged Samantha Power plays out to many -- and for good reasons that aren't limited to the fact that she fires off those e-mails not from her own personal e-mail account but from the account she has as "Founding Executive Director, Harvard University Carr Center for Human Rights Policy". As
Noam Chomsky (ZNet) noted, in response to a question about Sammy Power, "A little more interesting is Power's tacit endorsement of the Bush doctrine that states that harbor terrorists are no different from terrorist states, and should be treated accordingly: bombed and invaded, and subjected to regime change"; "It's of some interst that Power is regarded -- and apparently regards herself -- as a harsh critic of US foreign policy. The reason is that she excoriates Washington for not paying enough attention to the crimes of others."; and "From a desk at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School at Harvard, that's doubltess how it looks."

The Carr Center?
Tom Hayden (writing at The Nation, link goes to Hayden's site) asked last month: "Should a human rights center at the nation's most prestigious university be collaborating with the top U.S. general in Iraq in designing the counter-insurgency doctrine behind the current military surge?" Hayden goes on to reveal how The Carr Center's Sarah Sewell steered the creation of "the new Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual" which not only white washes the US involvement in the Salvadorian death squads of the Reagan years, it also seeks to use academic discipline to abuse a people. Hayden cites Stephen Biddle ("Baghdad adviser to Gen Petraues") explaining the real purpose of the plan the Carr Center took part in: "to manipulate both Shi'as and Sunnis into depending on the US occupation for self-protection." As Hayden points out, "counter-insurgency, being based on deception, shadow warfare and propaganda runs counter to the historic freedom of university life." As noted before the academy is abused today by the US military recruiting anthropologists to figure out how to lie and trick Iraqis. They've also found some psychologists eager to do their bidding and encourage torture which is a topic Amy Goodman again revists on today's Democracy Now! with The New Yorker's Jane Mayer and the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer.

But let's not leave Sammy Power just yet.
Hayden notes: "Power is a close adviser to Sen. Barack Obama who supports a withdrawal of US combat troops by next year with exceptions for 'advisers' and special units to battle al-Qaeda. Power, who worked last year in Obama's Washington DC office, writes that even the proposed combat troop withdrawal can be reversed if Iraq's condition continues to worsen. Intentionally or not, the cautious, complicated Obama proposal as described by Power leaves open the likelihood of thousands of American troops remaining in counter-insurgency roles for years ahead. If that is the limit of legitimate debate at Harvard, the Pentagon occupation of the academic mind may last much longer than its occupation of Iraq, and may require an intellectual insurgency in response." The Carr Center is a collaborator in an illegal war and that reality is only surprising to anyone who doesn't grasp the realities of Sammy "Get me the axe!" Power.

While the War Hawk Loons seek ever more war, today
The Toledo Blade editorializes on "Iraq's demise" noting that "the United States has essentially destoryed Iraq as a country" and concluding, "The only action left, assuming that the people of the United States do not want to take on Iraq as a project for the next 20 or 30 years, is to state categorically that we have done all that we are going to do there and leave."
In other news,
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) notes that even on something as mild as censure ("just a public spanking"), the Dems in Congress can't get it together and that if they really believe impeachment "would tie up" everything, what's their problem with censure? Cynthia Cooper (FAIR's Extra!) points out that the mainstream media ignores the prospect of impeachment or mocks it and makes false comparisons such as claiming Bully Boy isn't as awful as Tricky Dick: "But the 'consensus' on Nixon came after five months of inquiry by the House Judiciary Commitee, complete with subpoenas, sworn testimony and a staff of 100. A full consensus only emerged days later, when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Nixon to release tapes that contained damning comments by the president, and Nixon resigned." In disgrace, he resigned in disgrace. No offense, but let's not forget that detail. He was a petty crook and he left in disgrace. On PBS, Bill Moyers offered a serious discussion on impeachment. That one hour look (including guests such as John Nichols) at impeachment on Bill Moyers Journal is repeating and can also be viewed, listened to or read online currently.