in need of reality?

okay, if you haven't already seen it, there's something you should read. this is from mark drolette's 'With the Democrats, Everything's Just Vichy Keen' (dissident voice):

I wrote this about the Democrats in an April 2006 column:

"... just what in the slimy, spineless, mush-mouthed, pants-wetting, knee-knocking, finger-in-the-air, thumb-in-your-eye, two-faced, CYA-ing recent past of the Democratic Party leads you to believe that in any way, shape or form these bipedal jellyfish can lead us to the Promised Land, or even the Suggested Parking Lot, even if by the most miraculous of miracles the GOP somehow forgets to throw the vote-conversion switch in the next selection and the Dems manage to regain a majority somewhere?"

However, given their actions since November, I owe an apology:

I regret the soft-pedaling.

In the same piece, I penned:

"In fairness, there are a handful of Dems who do have real guts, folks like John Conyers, Jr., Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney and Barbara Lee. But they’ve all been marginalized to one extent or another by their whore, er, more 'practical' political sisters and brothers."

So much for Conyers, who shot from the short to the sh*t list with the unceremonious July 23 arrest at his office of nearly fifty pro-impeachment folks foolish enough to believe him when he'd publicly bellowed about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney days earlier: "Let's take them out!"

Speaking of Democratic doublespeak, how about that July 11 97-0 Senate vote on the belligerent Lieberman Amendment -- yes, that belligerent Lieberman -- essentially accusing Iran of murdering American military forces and of "contributing to the destabilization of Iraq"? (Change the responsible party in the amendment to the "Bush administration" and now you're Tonkin.)

I'm no mathematician but I'd assume the clutch of forty-nine Democrats who endorsed this taunting double-dog-dare-ya might include some of the same solons who’ve done fractured forked-tongue contortions trying to explain away their previous support for the Iraq fiasco.

It's something, isn't it? Millions of us plied the streets before the Iraq invasion screaming to the high heavens the whole thing was bogus yet were sneeringly dismissed by the chimp-in-charge as a "focus group." Now that it's become obvious to all but the rock-solid, rock-headed "twenty-nine percenters" (i.e. those Americans who’d support Bush regardless if he were videotaped spraying a group of Grandmothers for Peace with an AK-47) that everything we predicted would happen has happened, former cheerleading politicians and whoreporate media types have frantically issued non-stop mea culpas about their culpability like they bought 'em at a friendly fire sale at War-Mart. Yet here we are in the run-up to a nuclear attack on Iran and the (ir)responsible parties are doing the same damn thing.

i'm tossing that out there (and only that) because i had 2 e-mails from high schoolers in two different parts of the country who wrote about how sick they are of all the journalists who don't tell the truth. they're sick of it. they provided a long, long list of websites.

i'm not surprised by the list. or by their feelings. there are sites out there, by journalists, that do try to tell the truth. not a lot of them, but a few.

it is frustrating and probably more so at that age when the spin of the world bumps into its uglies realities for the 1st times.

but there are a lot of liars and a lot of useless people. they're more comfortable pretending that the democrats have done something, anything, since taking control of congress this year.

as long as people pretend otherwise, the democrats can continue to get away with it.
those people, liars & fools, are like parents who will never lay down the law on anything. their kid comes home a rapist and they'll still find excuses. that's how i see the nation (among others - and the nation topped the list of liars both high schoolers made and e-mailed).

1 noted a really bad article in the guardian praising the nation and noting their 180,000 subscribers and wondered about that? well the guy's a liar and knows he can get links if he praises the useless magazine. (and the nation and the guardian are in bed together. both are weak ass moderate outlets at the top.) but 180,000 subscribers. that was never true and they don't even have the closer to the truth 150,000 subscribers now. they've had a lot of cancelled subscriptions and a lot of people who have allowed their subscriptions to lapse.

katrina tries to pretend that hasn't happened but check out their next circulation statement and you'll see closer to the truth. ('closer' because most outlets inflate their actual circulation.) i think i heard it had dropped to 129,000. from 150,000 that would be 20,000 who dropped off and others will be joining them. they'll probably end up with about 70,000 by next year.

their circulation increase came about because of strong contributions from the likes of naomi klein and christian parenti. i can't figure out parenti these days and would assume klein's focused primarily on her upcoming promotion of her book.

but they did incredibly strong work in 2003 and 2004 and laid the groundwork for the rise of the magazine. that was victor's doing, katrina takes over in late 2005 (officially) and the magazine's now a hopeless mess. so with an estimated 150,000 or 160,000 subscribers, she should have been able to build on it but instead destroyed the magazine. there's nothing to point to with pride these days.

i'm not insulting alexander cockburn (but most people reading him would be wise to stick with counterpunch which is actually worth the money) or john nichols. but they don't get cover stories and the 1s who do write weak ass pieces about weak ass topics.

whether the rumors are true or not that katrina is playing joan crawford, the magazine certainly reads that way today.

she's useless and the longer the magazine allows her to be the head (victor could pull her tomorrow - and should), the more it sinks. it's circulation is way down in terms of individual issues. that's true of many magazines due to a number of outlets (such as tower records) closing shop. so with that and the subscription fall out, it's time to ditch katrina. she's had 2 years now to demonstrate that she had a vision.

if she does have a vision it's 'murky centrism'. but what the magazine actually reads like is katrina's friends and the organizations she serves in. she's taken a magazine and turned it into a christmas letter.

so read the article i linked to in full and check out the site itself. if you're starving for some reality, i think you'll find it there.

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

Friday, August 17, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, al-Maliki tries to save his ass via a Sunni shut out, the 4,000 mark for foreign fighters killed in Iraq has passed, a mosque is attacked in Iraq, A.N.S.W.E.R. is attacked in the US, IVAW & Vets for Peace & Military Families Speak Out and others gear up for a march in St. Louis this Sunday, and more.

Starting with war resisters.
Melissa Fryer (The Nanmio News Bulletin).reports on war resister Timothy Richards who enlisted in the National Guard in 1999 and self-checked out and moved to Canada after he was stop-lossed: "In August 2005, just three months before his six-year contract expired, he was called up and moved from calvalry to infantry, and began training at Camp Shelby, Miss. for deployment to Iraq. . . . His contract was extended to 2031 without his permission, due to a clause that allows the U.S. government to extend military contracts at their discretion". Camilo Mejia, who tells his story in his new book Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia, also found his 'contract' (legally binding only when it's in the military's favor) extended to 2031. Richard self-checked out during the Thanksgiving 2005 break and moved to Canada. Fyrer reports,
"Because his dad is Canadian, Richard was able to acquire Canadian citizenship, which allows him to work and go to school, and protects him from extradition to the U.S. to face desertion charges. . . . Other war resisters are not so fortunate. To support them, and to help repay the support he was shown when he landed in Nanaimo, Richard is using his singing talents to raise money for the Nanaimo War Resisters Support Group and St. Andrew's United Church" with "A Concert for Peace" scheduled to take place August 19th, starting at seven p.m. at St. Andrew's Church (ten dollars is the price for a ticket).

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, 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. (And, on the 19th, there will be a march led by, among others, war resister Darrell Anderson. See further details at later in the snapshot.)

Earlier this month, when the United Nations Security Council voted to 'expand' the UN's role in Iraq,
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) wrote of the "fig leaf" nature of the UN 'mission' in Iraq observing that "U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expects to send all of thirty more U.N. personnel to Iraq. But the staff union at the U.N. opposes this, and even wants those currently in Iraq to be withdrawn until the safety situation there improves" and also noted how it was "difficult to imagine how the U.N. will be able to help the security situation any. The response by Britain's U.N. ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, was laughable. He said he hopes 'the U.N. will soon be able to redeploy a contingent to Basra, where its expertise would be helpful in delivering capactiy building in Iraq's southeast'." Basra would be the site where the UK has seen many losses throughout the illegal war (the current number of UK soldiers killed in the illegal war is 168). So the "all of thirty more U.N. personnel [sent] to Iraq" is laughable and, indeed, a fig leaf.

Fig leafs are all that's left to cover the illegal war and the new one this week has been
the so-called 'alliance' Nouri al-Maliki has formed which shuts out the Sunnis. Always quick to parrot the US government's talking points, Damien Cave (New York Times) misses every bit of reality and promotes the 'alliance' as just another manuever while quoting an unnamed US official who declares its too soon to tell whether the alliance will be successful or not? Too soon to tell? The shut out of the Sunnis violates the White House endorsed, Congressionally mandate 'benchmarks' two and sixteen. Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) reports that the make up of the 'alliance' "effectively undermines the coalition's chances of breaking the political gridlock that has frustrated U.S. and Iraqi officials" and quotes Sunni Hachim al-Hassani declaring, "This is not the solution for Iraq's problems. The solution for Iraq's problems is for the real parties to get together and agree on an agenda to fix Iraq's
The Australian observes that the Sunni shut out in the 'alliance' "immediately raised questions about its legitimacy as a unifying force" and declares, "The key disappointment after days spent negotiating the pact's membership was the absence of Iraq's Sunni Vice-President, Tariq al-Hashemi, and his moderate Iraqi Islamic Party. That portends even deeper political divisions, but Mr. Maliki chose a more optimistic assessment." The Sunni shut out also comes after US efforts to arm and train some Sunnis alarmed many Shi'ites in the puppet government and the back-and-forth dance the US does with Sunnis and Shi'ites serves to throw everyone off balance (which is the point of it). al-Maliki, while trashing two 'benchmarks,' is already (once again) eager to spin happy about the chances to pass the theft of Iraqi oil, the privataziation of Iraqi oil opposed by most Iraqis but something the US administration wants. Sabah Jergest (AFP) reports "Leaders of Iraq's disenchanted Sunni Arab community on Friday slammed the new Shiite and Kurdish alliance formed to salvage Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's national unity government. The National Concord Front, the main Sunni Arab political bloc in the country's 275-member parliament, said the new tie-up between the two Shiite and two Kurdish parties was a 'futile' excercise."
David Hardaker (Australia's ABC) notes that "Sunni leader and Vice President Tariq Hashemi has severely criticised the government's record on security and human rights." And so has the mainstream press in recent months but the 'alliance' is a new chance to spin 'possibilities.'

Sam Dagher (Christian Science Monitor) provides context: "With a mid-September deadline looming for the Bush administration to deliver its Iraq progress report to Congress, American diplomats in Baghdad are working overdrive to prevent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government from total collapse -- something that could shatter all efforts to forge a long-elusive national reconciliation." Fig leaf. That's all the 'alliance' is. An effort by the US and al-Maliki to have something -- anything! -- worth spinning as the September 15th 'progress' report (to be delivered to Congress) looms. In light of this comes the 'alliance' and also talk of a crisis summit. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review observes of the latter, "How familiar is this dirge. The government is run by the Shiite majority, the Sunni minority feels put upon and many Kurds would just as soon go their own way." Among the Shi'ite militias Sunnis have called "death squads" is the Badr Brigade. Last week, the governor of the Qadasiyah province was assassinated. CBS News and AP report today that Sheik Hamid al-Khudhan, "secretary-general of the Badr Brigade" has just been elected the new govenor "by a narrow majority" of council members. With these and other actions, the puppet's cry of "We must unite" seems less like a slogan and more like a threat.

How familiar is this dirge? Tuesday multiple bombings in northern Iraq led to mass deaths. Today
BBC reports the death toll at 344 with four hundred wounded and that Abdul Rahim al-Shimari, mayor of Baaj, held a press confrence where he declared, "People are in shock. Hospitals here are running out of medicine. The pharmacies are empty. We need food, medicine and water otherwise there will be an even greater catastrophe." The International Committee of the Red Cross has announced that they are "dispatching surgical and medical supplies to Telaafar General Hospital which is receiving an influx of casualties resulting from the four explosions that rocked the Sinjar district in the north west of Iraq late on Tuesday evening. Similar supplies for the treatment of over 400 wounded have also been dispatched to Sinjar General Hospital and Dohuk Emergency Hospital." While the Red Cross (and Red Crescent) provide aid, Damien Cave (New York Times) gets giddy that Nouri al-Maliki's puppet government has announced it will provide families with $1600 (US) for each family member killed. Ignoring all context and reality, this meager sum stands in stark contrast to to the puppet's July 2006 declaration that he would send $35 million (US) in aid to Lebanon.
Diamond Jim Brady al-Maliki has all the cash in the world to toss around . . . outside of Iraq but when Iraqi lives are to be compensated for, he sends the message that the lives are of much less value on the monetary scale.

Staying on the topic of money,
CNN reported yesterday on Iraqi women who have been forced into prostitution due to their losses from the illegal war as they attempt to support themselves and their children with some earning $8 (US) a day. Suha, not her real name, is 37-years-old, the mother of three children and she tells CNN, "People shouldn't criticize women, or talk badly about them. They all say we have lost our way, but they never ask why we had to take this path. I don't have money to take my kids to the doctor. I have to do anything that I can to preserve my child, because I am a mother." The Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq's Yanar Mohammed explains to CNN that her group "pounds the streets of Baghdad looking for these victims often too humiliated to come forward," victims of the illegal war whom she points out have been forced into prostitution: "At this point there is a population of women who have to sell their bodies in order to keep their children alive. It's a taboo that no one is speaking out. There is a huge population of women who were the victims of war who had to sell their bodies, their souls and they lost it all."

On the anniversary of the fourth year of the illegal war, the
Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq released the following statement:

Women of Iraq have gradually let go of most of their 20th century gains and privileges in the last 4 years of occupation. Iraq turned from a modern country of educated and working women into a divided land of Islamic and ethnic warlords who compete in cancelling women from the social realm. Millions of women's destinies are wasted between the destructive US war machine and different kinds of Islamic rule who have have turned women into helpless black objects of no will or worth.
After 4 years of "democratizing" Iraq, systemic group rapes of detained women have become a routine procedure to be practiced in police staions and detainment camps. It has also become another ugly face of the atrocious sectarian war where assaulting females of
the other sect is considered a political victory and punishment.
Abeer, Sabrine and Wajidah's sufferings were known, heard, and ended but hundreds of unknown assaulted women still get beaten, raped and videotaped daily in the Iraqi ministries and around the American bases.

And yes, Virgil and Virginia, there is prostitution in Iraq and in Baghdad and it's been known throughout the illegal war though many outlets have worked overtime to officially ignore it (officially ignore).

CBS News' Lara Logan files an update on the Baghdad orphan horror story (back in June, US soldiers found an 'orphanage' that was practicing neglect and abuse and rescued the children) by noting that the US soldiers who saved the children have been awarded but she fails to mention the names of those receiving awards other than Osman Koroma. She also fails to mention how the situation (and others like it that remain unreported) came to be.
Congratulations to Koroma (and the others) for a well deserved medal but the facts remain -- and remain unreported in US media -- that the orphanage and others like it exist due to the illegal war. This was not a case of children made orphans, this was actually (though Logan doesn't note it) a special needs residential center. In the Arab media, parents of the children and of other children have been interviewed, have discussed how they placed their special needs children there because they hoped the children would have the best chance at safety in a war torn country. Parents have been vocal -- outside the US media -- about how the story CBS broke (and others picked up) have made them decide that bombs falling, shootings, barely enough food to survive on, be damned, they were going to pull the children from these institutions. CBS News continues to act as if an isolated center was found and what took place happened by mere chance. That is not reality. There are many others and 'care givers' know they can get away with it because the daily violence makes visits by parents near impossible (and, as one father revealed, many of these centers require the parents to make appointments to visit) and they thrive because Iraqi parents (or in some cases, an Iraqi parent since the illegal war has left many families with one parent -- some with none) see the daily violence from the illegal war and look for any sort of safety for their children. By all means, applaud Osman Koroma and the other US soldiers who made a huge difference by not just discovering the children but by rescuing them (up the chain commanders deserve no credit or applause for the individual actions of the soldiers) but don't ignore the fact that this center and others like it exist due to the illegal war.

yesterday a mark stood at 3999. The mark? The number of official military members who had died after foreign governments had sent them into Iraq to fight in the illegal war. The 4,000 mark has passed. Today the US military announced: "Thursday, a MNC-I Soldier died of non-battle related cause in Baghdad. An investigation into the cause of death will be conducted." And they announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier died of wounds sustained from enemy gunfire in Baghdad Province, Thursday." This took the total to 4001. As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported earlier today, "In Iraq, the coalition death toll has now topped four thousand. The vast majority are American, with thirty-seven hundred and two U.S. troops killed. Forty-four U.S. service members have died this month."

But the number climbed still higher later in the day. Later today, the
US military announced: "One Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed and two were wounded when a roadside bomb detonated during a patrol in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital Aug. 17." And they announced: "Thursday, a MNC-I Soldier died of non-battle related cause in Baghdad." ICCC's total for the number of US service members who've died in the illegal war thus far this month is 48 and the total number who have died since the start of the illegal war stands at 3706. The total number of foreign military members (US, UK and "Other") killed in the illegal war currently stands at 4003.

As noted above a US soldier died of gun wounds on Thursday. The guns were fired from the roof of a mosque and have resulted in a mosque being the site of a battle.
AP reports the US fired missiles at Honest Mohammed Mosque (which was damaged) as worshippers fled.
CNN reports 14 Iraqis were killed by the US including a "boy." The US military states the mosque battle took place in Tarmiyah while glossing over Iraqi fatalities.

In other violence today . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that left three people wounded and 3 bombings that claimed 2 lives and left 8 people injured (four were Iraqi soldiers). KUNA reports a Kirkuk bombing wounded four civilians and five Iraqi police officers.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two people wounded from gun fire when unknown assailants in five vehicles opened fre as they drove through Albu Faraj village. AP reports the airing today of a taped execution of Alaa Abboud Fartous Diab who had been an official at the Iraqi Defense Ministry and was "killed with two pistol shots to the back of the head."


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 11 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 3 corpses discovered in Haditha ("gunshot wounds and signs of torture").

Yesterday, the media began reporting on US Army study that found a 15% increase in suicides among active duty members of the army which AP had. Today, Pauline Jelinek (AP) notes that "nearly a third of 99 [suicides] committed in 2006 were among soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time of their deaths. Iraq accounted for the overwhelming number of those -- 27 of the 30." Military Families Speak Out's Nancy Lessing says, "This report only shows the tip of iceberg, as it does not cover those who took their lives after leaving active duty service. Until the war in Iraq is brought to an end, we think the tragic reality will only become worse" and notes the suicides of Brian Jason Rand and Jeffrey Lucey -- two of many suicides that were committed after the service members left active duty status and are not tracked in the heavily covered study.

This Sunday,
[PDF format warning] Military Families Speak Out and others including war resister Darrell Anderson will be conducting a march in St. Louis, MO called "The National March Through the Arch" which will begin at 10:45 a.m. with partipants encouraged to meet at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of 9th and Cole streets.

Many organizations and individuals will also be taking part in an August 25th march in Maine.
Kennebunks Peace Department announces the August 25th Rally and March for Peace which will include Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, Melida and Carlos Arredondo, David Rovics, Indigo Girls, Pat Scanlon & Band and others. Participants should "gather in the park outside the Kennebunkport Consolidated School on School Street at 10 a.m. for a morning of speeches and music. Then the group will march to the Bush family compound on Walker's Point. The march will be followed by another speaking and music program."

In other peace activisim news,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported yesterday that A.N.S.W.E.R. is being targeted for a demonstration next month, "In Washington D.C., city officials have threatened a ten thousand dollar fine to the anti-war group ANSWER unless it removes posters promoting an upcoming peace march. Several hundred yellow posters have been posted around the city announcing the September 15th event. The protest is timed to coincide with the release of a Pentagon report on the so-called troop surge in Iraq. D.C. officials say the posters are illegal because they don't meet city standards on adhesive use. ANSWER calls the fine threat a political move aimed at silencing the march."
A.N.S.W.E.R. maintains it "will not pay one penny to the government for our First Amendment rights or to stave off their threats against us. We are working with the expert constitutional rights attorneys at the Partnership for Civil Justice to determine our next steps for legal action against this government harrassment and attempted repression." They are asking for people to take action by calling the Director of Department of Public Workds, William O. Howland Jr. at 202-673-6833 and the DC Mayor, Adrian Fenty, at 202-724-8876 and/or to use this link to send or a letter or fax. And, to be sure everyone is clear, the march remains on.


harvey wasserman, robert parry

Karl Rove scoots off the sunken White House ship with his plans for future neo-con dominance safe and secure--in the hands of Democrats unwilling or incapable of challenging his dirtiest deeds.
Elected to end a lunatic war, the Democratic Congress has prolonged it, earning approval ratings even lower than those of George W. Bush, whom Rove designated as a "war president" long before the attack on Iraq.
The Democrats have also signed off on the GOP's all-out assault on the Constitution, meekly certifying a "unitary executive" with totalitarian demands for a blanket suspension of civil liberties, arbitrary detention, official torture and more.
Once again voters will approach a presidential election asking themselves--why vote for Democrats who won't challenge the most catastrophic GOP outrages?
That question must now be asked again about the illegal destruction of 1.5 million ballots from Ohio's stolen 2004 election. The mass shredding includes a wide range of official documents critical to conducting a valid recount in the state that gave Bush/Rove a second term in the White House.
Breaking a total mainstream media blackout, the Cincinnati Enquirer has finally printed a front-page story on the felonious disposal of these federally-protected records by 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
The records were shielded until September 2, 2006 by federal mandate, and since then by a federal court order obtained through a class action lawsuit. The counties were also required to inform the Ohio Historical Society before any such records were destroyed.

but they didn't. the above is from harvey wasserman's 'Do the Neo-Cons Need Karl Rove When They Can Count on the Democrats?' (information clearing house) and, i could be wrong, i think i know his name from laura flanders' radio show. considering 2000 and 2004, you have to wonder if anyone's going to put up a fight in 2008 if another election gets stolen?

can you imagine if it had happened the other way? the republicans would be fighting to the death. it would get media saturation coverage because fox 'news' would be covering it non-stop and rush, et al would be as well. the press would use that to write about it all over again.

but on our side? we just seem to roll over.

over and over again.

i do check my e-mails! sherry just e-mailed me something by robert parry that she thought 'works good with the spin c.i.'s talking about' in the snapshot. this is from parry's 'Spinning the Iraq War Death Toll' (consortium news):

Mindful of the political fallout from a rising American death toll in Iraq, the U.S. military has pulled back from widespread use of aggressive tactics on the ground this summer, helping to explain a modest reduction in the number of soldiers killed in July, according to intelligence and military sources.
The number of U.S. military fatalities declined to 80 in July after three months of a death toll in the triple digits (104 in April, 126 in May, and 101 in June). The lower death toll has been cited by some U.S. commanders in Iraq and Bush administration supporters in Washington as a sign that President George W. Bush's "surge" of U.S. troops is working.
But the sources told me that the lower death toll reflects not some impending victory but just a slowdown in the U.S. ground offensive after the early phases of the surge, which poured more than 20,000 additional troops into Iraq. The sources cited a variety of factors contributing to the decline in U.S. casualties.
One U.S. military source said the American troops have not pushed as far from their forward operating bases as the U.S. news media has been led to believe. When Bush unveiled the surge, a key goal was to get American forces out of their secure bases and into small police outposts in Iraqi neighborhoods.
The exposure of U.S. troops to the additional hazard of such front-line assignments was a factor in the upswing of American deaths in the early months of the surge. This forward positioning also presented risks for U.S. logistical personnel who had to brave roadside bombs and ambushes to supply these isolated units.
Further complicating those assignments was the brutal summer heat -- reaching temperatures of 130 degrees -- at a time when electricity in many Iraqi neighborhoods is spotty at best. By slowing or postponing these deployments, the dangers to the troops -- not to mention their discomfort -- were reduced.
Still, this source said the decline in violent incidents involving U.S. troops could be viewed as a combination of two factors -- a drop-off in activity by the Iraqi insurgency as well as a pull-back by the Americans.
Another source said the precise reason for the reduced U.S. military activity inside Iraq wasn't entirely clear, but noted that the slowdown in the Iraqi theater was in sharp contrast to more aggressive operations in Afghanistan.
A decline in American activity in Iraq also has been noted by Israeli intelligence, another source said, raising some concern in Tel Aviv that the U.S. military was shying away from offensive operations to avoid higher casualties that would further undermine political support for the war in the United States.
The source said some Israeli officials want the Americans to keep taking the fight to the enemy.

love the article (sherry sent the full article in her e-mail) but wish he'd included that 1 reason it looked so 'successful' was because 80 wasn't the number the press was running with on august 1st when they wrote their 'month of july' stories. 72 was. because the u.s. military let the announcements of deaths trickle. people did on sunday and it gets announced on wednesday.

i know c.i. hit hard on that, but did any 1 else?

c.i. started hitting on that in the middle of july. that's when they started slowing down the announcements. and we all worked on a piece at third (can't remember what it was now) where we noted that odierno was already selling the lies the press would run with (they hadn't yet) in august. but they slowed the death announcements to a trickle. that's how the press ran with 72 on the 1st day of august. parry's noting 80 and that wasn't known the morning of august 1st.

i don't think they'll try that trick again (but they may) this month. i wouldn't put it past them to try it in the lead up to sept. 15th.

i'm tired from the roundtable tonight so that's going to be it for me. (c.i.'s planning to do 'and the war drags on' for any 1 who sees this before that entry goes up - but c.i. was yawning like crazy during the roundtable tonight - you'll see it in the round-robin tomorrow, and see c.i. saying, 'at least i only yawn when i talk.')

oh, 1 more thing. little timmy howe, quit writing c.i. you're not being read. and i'm the 1 who ignored you. i was on the phone with kat this evening (she just has a stomach virus, not ulcers) and she said timmy howe had e-mailed yet again. go away you crazy ass stalker.

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

Thursday, August 16, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths as the toll since the start of the illegal war passes the 3700 mark, the puppet engineers a "Sunni-free" alliance while whispers of his fall continue, the US mandated 'benchmarks' for Iraq see two fly in the trash ('benchmarks' two and sixteen), well over half of Americans in a new CNN poll don't trust Gen. David Petreaus will tell the truth to Congress, the death toll from Tuesday's bombings in northern Iraq continue to climb, and more.

Starting with war resistance, war resister Aidan Delgado, who was designated a CO, tells his story in
The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq and, as noted in a book discussion at The Third Estate Sunday Review, other than the act of freedom in telling the truth, there was nothing easy about the CO process. Delgado's superiors leaked the news so everyone knew Delgado was attempting CO status, he was questioned about his Buddist beliefs by a superior who clearly didn't understand the religion and told that if he read The Lord of the Rings and the Dune series then he couldn't be against the illegal war, they also (as they do with many) attempted to use the self-defense argument (nothing in the CO status the US military has written says or infers that a CO is someone who would not defend themselves in self-defense), they attempt to play like father figures and treat Delgado like an errant child, they encouraged the use of "peer counseling" where attempts are made to shame and isolate you, etc. Point being, it's not just filling out an application and waiting for the results. Dewey Hammond (San Francisco Chronicle) reviewed the book at the start of the month and noted, "He peels away the layers of warfare and Army life, letting readers draw their own conclusions. He offers candid opinions without riding the high horse. The war is his antithesis, but many of its soldiers are his friends. He describes a particularly difficult two-week personal leave that he spent in Florida: He missed the familiarity of Iraq and felt sickened that the only place that felt like home was the place he wanted more than anything to leave." Jessica Klipa (Bradenton Herald) noted the book Monday and an upcoming event: "He also is scheduled to have a book signing at New College of Florida, 5800 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, on Sept. 4."

Delgado is the third war resister to tell their story in book form this year. In May, Camilo Mejia shared his story in
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia while in February Joshua Key told his story in The Deserter's Tale.

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.

Turning to Iraq,
Nermeen Al-Mufti (Al-Ahram Weekly) offers a run down of many of the troubles facing puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki including the endorsement from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, al-Maliki's visit to Iran's capital (Tehran) on a day that is seen as many Iraqi's as a day of victory in the earlier eight-year war, displeasure on the part of the Kurds over al-Maliki's statements that he will "expel the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) from the Kurdish region (as Turkey wants), continued charges that Shia militias are death squads targeting Sunnis, increased violence in southern Iraq, and the refugee plight which has left over 4 millions Iraqis displaced. Meanwhile, AP reports that al-Maliki has announced he's got a new alliance . . . with Kurds and Shi'ites. The Sunnis have been left out. AFP lists the alliance members as "Maliki's Dawa Party, Vice President Adel Abdel Mehdi's Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Massud Barzani's Kurdish Democratic Party (PDK)." CBS and AP offer, "The announcement after three days of intense political negotiations in the capital was disappointing because it did not include Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and his moderate Iraqi Islamic Party." Also weighing was the BBC noting that their "Middle East analyst Roger Hardy says, on the face of it, the new alliance is a puzzling move." Despite claims a "senior US official" makes to Andrew England (Financial Times of London) that it is
"too early to assess," it can be assessed beyond confusing or some other weak term.
The Sunni shut out is not just about al-Maliki's latest dance card, it also goes to the issue of the 'benchmarks' the White House touted and the US Congress adopted. In July,
Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) evaluated the status and we'll note the second of the eighteen mandated 'benchmarks' (US imposed upon Iraq) which is "Enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification" of which Youssef explained, "In March, the Iraqi parliament considered a de-Baathification law, but Shiite legislators objected and the law died." So under the second of the eighteen 'benchmarks,' the shutting out of Sunni leaders can be read as "FAILURE." Since the Sunnis are a minority in Iraq, the sixteenth 'benchmark' ("Ensuring that the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.") can also be read as "FAILURE."

The Yazidi sect is also a minority in Iraq and they are thought to be the targets in Tuesdays bombings in northern Iraq where the death toll has continued to climb as more corpses have been found. Tuesday's attack is the deadliest non-US attack in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.
Tim Butcher (Telegraph of London) observes, "The blast surpassed the previous deadliest attack when 215 people were killed by mortar fire and five car bombs in Baghdad's Shia Muslim enclave of Sadr City on 23 November 2006. Lebanon's The Daily Star puts the death toll at 400 while CBS and AP put it at "at least 400". Citing medics, The Telegraph of London says the death toll could be as high as 500. Richard Sisk (New York Daily News) reports that "up to 500 people" dead from Tuesday's bombings.

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) explains: "At least five hundred people are now feared dead from Tuesday's massive suicide bombing in northern Iraq. The initial toll of two-hundred fifty had already made it the deadliest attack of the Iraq war. Rescue workers continue to pull bodies from the rubble of more than thirty destroyed buildings, including several homes." The death toll is so great that the same US military who told CBS News yesterday that the number killed in the attacks was probably only 30 today tells AFX that the death toll is "between 175 and 200 killed with another 300 wounded" -- obviously continuing a long (if ignoble) US military history of undercounting the dead -- and, as Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) notes, "Iraqi and U.S. officials immediately blamed Al Qaeda- affiliated insurgents for the devastation Tuesday".

Williams quotes survivor Murad Samku declaring, "The roofs fell on our heads. . . . What I saw last night in the darkness was a horrible image of my beloved village. The land is deserted now. There's nothing left." James Glanz (New York Times) quotes survivor Hasson Dalahi, "I saw a flash in the sky; I never saw anything like this before. . . . The house was completely flattened to the ground. I was looking for any survivor from my family in the rubble. I found only my 12-year-old nephew" (Glanz notes the discovered "nephew had broken ribs and legs and severe wounds to his head"). The Telegraph of London describes one scene today, "Bodies covered by blankets could be seen laid in the street and outside a municipal building. Rescuers are still digging through the rubble of the bomb-flattened clay-built homes in scenes reminiscent of an earthquake zone.

When the news bleak and you have to deliver a report on September 15th that the US administration and Republicans in Congress have stalled for in order to prolong the illegal war, what do you do? Make noises of troop reductions. Which, as
Richard Sisk (New York Daily News) reports, is just what Gen. David Petreaus is doing right now, indicating that approximately 30,000 US troops could be pulled from Iraq "about a year or so from now". A year or so from now. And the AP reports that, as summer winds down, the number of US troops stationed in Iraq could reach 171,000. That would mean "about a year or so from now," the number could drop to 141,000 which is about the level of the number of troops on the ground prior to the escalation. "About a year or so from now" also means around the time of the 2008 elections in the US (November 2008) which might lead some Republicans to stay silent over the coming months thinking (wrongly) that a 'bounce' will benefit the GOP as a result of the number of US troops dropping to approxminately 141,000.

Petreaus has other problems to worry about such as his September 15th report to Congress.
Jonathan Weisman and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) report that the White House is attempting to set new conditions including that members of Bully Boy's cabinet will deliver parts of the report to Congress and that Petreaus would only testify to Congress in a closed-door session. The latter would, of course, defeat the whole point of informing the people while the former would allow for even more spinning. Richard Sisk (New York Daily News) quotes White House flack Dana Perino declaring that the Congress was asking "for these reports from the President" apparently falsely believing that the US Congress was expecting a PowerPoint presentation from the Bully Boy. The public is less gullible/stupid according to a new CNN poll which finds that 53% of respondents "said they suspect that the military assessment of the situation will try to make it sound better than it actually is" (only 33% of respondents "said they support the war").

And as Petreaus peppers the US with thoughts that "about a year or so from now" a measly 30,000 US troops might be allowed to leave Iraq,
Peter Graff (Reuters) reports that, "U.S. forces launched an airborne assault on a desert compound south of Baghdad on Thursday, the first air strike in a major new offensive." As Norman Solomon has long pointed out, this tactic (reduce ground troops, increase the air assault) was used during Vietnam in an attempt to weaken the public cry for withdrawal.

Norman Solomon (at CounterPunch) tackles the realities of the selling of the illegal war today, "The man who ran CNN's news operation during the invasion of Iraq is now doing damage control in response to a new documentary's evidence that he kowtowed to the Pentagon on behalf of the cable network. His current denial says a lot about how 'liberal media' outlets remain deeply embedded in th mindsets of pro-military conformity. Days ago, the former CNN executive publicly defended himself against a portion of the War Made Easy film (based on my book of the same name) that has drawn much comment from viewers since the documentary's release earlier this summer. As Inter Press Service reported, the movie shows 'a news clip of Eason Jordan, a CNN News chief executive who, in an interview with CNN, boasts of the network's cadre of professional military experts.' In fact, CNN's retired military generals turned war analysts were so good, Eason said, that they had all been vetted and approved by the U.S. government'. Inter Press called the vetting-and-approval process 'shocking' -- and added that 'in a country revered for its freedom of speech and unfettered press, Eason's comments would inuriate any veteran reporter who upholds the most basic and important tenet of the journalistic profession: independence." An excerpt of the film War Made Easy was aired on Democracy Now! this year (watch, listen, read). Audio only, Eason Jordan appeared on Democracy Now! in March of 2000 (Alexander Cockburn is also a guest for the segment, just FYI). What was he discussing with Amy Goodman? Goodman and her brother David Goodman explain it in their bestselling The Exception.To The Rulers, and it does apply here, CNN and NPR were allowing the US military to station members of the US Army's Fourth Psychological Operation in their news (or 'news') organizations and, in the audio link only, Eason Jordan maintained that "no goverment or military propaganda expert has ever worked on the news at CNN" but the US military, specifically Army psyops commander Christopher St. John, bragged publicly about the program and stated "he hoped to see more of" it while Army Information Service's Major Thomas Collins also bragged about the program on the record. So allowing the government to vet the generals, while disgusting and against basic rules of journalism, is far from the first public collaboration between CNN and the US military. For more on the psyops program, see the Goodman's book, pages 274 - 275. And note that even when the program was exposed (after it had run its course -- as far as anyone knows at least), Eason Jordan went on Democracy Now! and attempted to deny its existance. It can be argued that both the research done earlier and the vetting of generals later resulted in the hugely successful propaganda campaing the US administration and the US media conducted to sell the illegal war in the lead up.

And thanks to that, we have the daily violence. Including . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 4 lives (six wounded), 2 Baghdad roadside bombings that wounded eight people, a bombing that claimed the life of a "Ministry of Interior commando" (with one more injured" while they were on patrol in Baghdad and three police officers wounded in a Falluja mortar attack.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports al-Noor Newspaper's journalist Ahmed Qassim Mohammed is injured from an attack in Baghdad,


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Zaineb Ali Siwan, a policewoman, was kidnapped from Zayuna, east Baghdad, by gunmen around 04:45 this afternoon."


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 19 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Today the
US military announced: "Two Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers were killed during combat operations in an area north of the Iraqi capital Aug. 15. Six other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." And they announced: "An MNC-I Soldier died of non-battle related causes August 16 in Baghdad." ICCC's current totals are 44 US service members killed so far this month with 3702 US service members killed since the start of the illegal war. The 3700 mark has been passed. For a point of reference, the 3,000 mark was passed December 31, 2006. The means 702 US service members have died in Iraq in 2007 so far.

In more news of US military deaths,
CNN reports that suicide rates are up in the US Army
by 15% among active duty members and notes, "In 2006, the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army. And it was 5.46 per 100,000 for all women, compared to an Army rate of 11.3 women soldiers per 100,000."
AP reports this is a 26 year high for active duty members of the Army and that: "One out of four soldiers who committed suicide did so while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to a report scheduled to be released Thursday. Iraq was the most common deployment location for U.S. soldiers who either attempted suicide or committed suicide" while the Los Angeles Times notes, "About twice as many women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide as did women not sent to war, the report said." These are active duty. These are not discharged. The US military claims to keep no record of US service members who commit suicide after being discharged. So, for instance, Jeffrey Lucey is not counted in those statsistics (link goes to an interview Amy Goodman did with his parents Joyce and Kevin Lucey, July 31, 2007, on why they're suing over his suicide).


naomi klein, felice pace

mike's 'Crazyville War Hawks, and Naomi Klein (DN!)' is a must read. it's my favorite of all he's done this week. and democracy now did broadcast a great speech by naomi klein today so let me also note it:

As we think about reaching this other possible world, I want to be very clear that I don't believe the problem is a lack of ideas. I think we’re swimming in ideas: universal healthcare; living wages; cooperatives; participatory democracy; public services that are accountable to the people who use them; food, medicine and shelter as a human right. These aren't new ideas. They're enshrined in the UN Charter. And I think most of us still believe in them.
I don't think our problem is money, lack of resources to act on these basic ideas. Now, at the risk of being accused of economic populism, I would just point out that in this city, the employees of Goldman Sachs received more than $16 billion in Christmas bonuses last year, and ExxonMobil earned $40 billion in annual profits, a world record. It seems to me that there’s clearly enough money sloshing around to pay for our modest dreams. We can tax the polluters and the casino capitalists to pay for alternative energy development and a global social safety net. We don't lack ideas. Neither are we short on cash.
And unlike Jeffrey Sachs, I actually don't believe that what is lacking is political will at the highest levels, cooperation between world leaders. I don't think that if we could just present our elites with the right graphs and PowerPoint presentations -- no offense -- that we would finally convince them to make poverty history. I don't believe that. I don't believe we could do it, even if that PowerPoint presentation was being delivered Angelina Jolie wearing a (Product) Red TM Gap tank top and carrying a (Product) Red cell phone. Even if she had a (Product) Red iPhone, I still don't think they would listen. That's because elites don't make justice because we ask them to nicely and appealingly. They do it when the alternative to justice is worse. And that is what happened all those years ago when the income gap began to close. That was the motivation behind the New Deal and the Marshall Plan. Communism spreading around the world, that was the fear. Capitalism needed to embellish itself. It needed to soften its edges. It was in a competition. So ideas aren't the problem, and money is not the problem, and I don't think political will is ever the problem.

i enjoyed all of the speech. i also enjoy the angelina jolie section because bono's (product) red is nonsense. i can remember a decade ago when we all knew that gap was hideous with hideous policies. now bono's in bed with them and jolie seems determined to turn the world off by refusing to ration the star power. seriously, as some 1 who worked p.r., her people need to tell her she's about 2 months away from jennifer lopez status.

she's not a bankable star. she is a true movie star in the sense that the camera loves her. but the more she's in the tabloids and headlines, the quicker people turn against her. c.i. and ava were right by the way, they predicted her film this summer would flop huge and it did. but outside of them calling it at third, did you see that? no, you saw a lot of panting even after the film was released.

part of being a star with legs is knowing when to ration it by going away. the real stars that last (gene hackman, barbra streisand, etc.) are the 1s who know to get away for awhile. when you're so familiar you're practically the next door neighbor, no 1 wants to pay for a ticket to see you. at this point, you're starting hear people saying, 'i feel sorry for jennifer aniston' a lot more. it's because there's way too much exposure of angelina jolie.

sharon stone (who is talented) had the same problem. she just couldn't go away. and people got bored. (i'm not talking about stone's talent. i think she's very talented.) angelina jolie appears to be headed down the same road.

when you seem dependent upon the adulation, the same ones that love you turn on you.

and, to steal from c.i. (as others are, i saw the quote in ___), pimping your personal life is never a good idea. at this point, there's nothing left to interest any 1 there except a break up. jessica lange can tell an anecdote in an interview about sam (sheppard, shepard - i always mispell that) and people will enjoy it and be eager for more. but she doesn't pimp her personal life. at this point, we know far too much about angelina jolie.

and angelina activist isn't playing.

i'm sure she cares or she wouldn't give her time but when you do what she's doing it turns you off.

i wasn't a p.r. type who said 'don't be political!' but with a client who appeared to live for the crowds of worshipful fans and dressed to the hilt, i would've said, 'try a.i.d.s. or a children's charity.' because people do not see you as serious. even if you are serious. i'm guessing mad tv will have many parodies of angelina this year.

there's also the rumor that katrina vanden heuvel recruited her for the war hawk, centrist org. council for foreign relations.

speaking of rumors ... what does the snapshot mean?

my mother-in-law wanted to know. there have been rumors of kvh stepping out forever and a day. c.i. killed them (offline) by dubbing the boys 'coffee fetchers' which caught on and replaced 'boy toys.' when that caught on, it muted the rumors (which i know was c.i.'s intent). then today ...

i got the dish tonight from my mother-in-law. (who was also trying to reach c.i. but couldn't. i think they're in a rural or rustic setting speaking and the cell phone signal's probably spotty. i know that the snapshot will be late tomorrow because they're actually grabbing another speaking engagement like that since c.i. was surprised the snapshot could be done so quickly monday.)

but my mother-in-law was on the phone all evening try to find out the dirt on the screenwriter and asking 'how does c.i. know?' before saying 'stupid question.' i'd never heard of the man before. and when i talked to c.i. early this morning, the snapshot hadn't been done.

so he's a failed screenwriter, her co-writer. or her latest co-writer.

because c.i. included the title of the failed screenplay, my mother-in-law was able to find a bit but she's still digging. i enjoy the rumors and of course believe them. but i should note, c.i. has never believed them (if i didn't note that, i'd hear about it. not in a 'how dare you' but just in a 'i don't think they're true and others don't so it might have been better to include that not every 1 believes them.' i mentioned them awhile back. c.i. didn't bring it up. i kept pressuring and finally got that. so let me be clear, some believe, some don't. i love gossip. i don't like kvh, so of course i'm going to believe them. some people, like c.i., don't believe them. but when i read about her latest male co-writer in the snapshot, that's immediately where i went in my head. so did my mother-in-law.)

anyway, i really enjoyed a critique online and wanted to give a taste of it and encourage you to read it. this is from felice pace's 'When Will Linda Gradstein Go to Gaza?' (counterpunch):

This morning (August 14th) we once again had to listen to a report about an Israeli raid into Gaza reported by Linda Gradstein from Jerusalem. Why is it that NPR regularly reports about events in Gaza from Jerusalem; and why is it that Ms.Gradstein, who has reported for NPR on Middle East issues for several years now, rarely if ever has set foot in Gaza?
As usual, Ms. Gradstein's report was carefully crafted to satisfy the Israeli government's desire that its illegal occupation of the West Bank, collective punishment of the Palestinian People and military raids into Gaza be reported in terms that present it in the best possible light. They must positively love Ms. Gradstein who apparently has never seen an Israeli Press Release that she did not endorse and mimic.
This morning Gradstein described the illegal military raid as an "incursion". MS Word lists the following synonyms for incursion: raid, night raid, attack, sortie, invasion, storming. Has Ms. Gradstein ever used any of these words to describe an Israeli attack into Gaza? When reporting these "incursions" has she ever pointed out that they are a violation of international law? Has Gradstein ever taken the time to interview any of the thousands of innocent victims that these illegal raids have killed and maimed?

okay, that's it for me tonight. busy day tomorrow. we're going to visit my grandmother and there are a thousand things i want to grab on the way. (she is not a home. she has her own home. she is not in need. but due to the bed rest and my own nerves during the pregnancy, i wasn't visiting. now that i am, i have so much time to make up for! and she's hard to shop for. you can't get her a big gift or an expensive 1. i'd find more things she'd like in a gas station. i'm not joking. you know those plastic hearts with the hard candy? she hates the hard candy, but she enjoys those plastic hearts. for sentimental reasons. and i always love hearing that story. it's an hour of travel time but it'll be at least 2 and 1/2 to get there because i'll be screaming 'stop!' whenever i can think of something she'll like.) so let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, August 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, over 200 Iraqis dead from yesterday's bombing with the death toll climbing, Cindy Sheehan highlights the Iraqi refugee situation, PR Watch shines a spotlight so it's the Peace Resister to the rescue, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Jeremy Hinzman is the first war resister to self-check, go to Canada and do so publicly. Hinzman, his wife Nga Nguyen and their son Liam went to Canada in January 2004. He hoped to be granted asylum in Canada and began the process to be granted refugee status. In December of 2004, his case was heard. December 13, 2005,
he spoke with Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) and explained, "Well, before the hearing even commenced, we had our hands tied a bit. As you have stated, the solicitor general of the Canadian government intervened in our case, and that's only done in about 5% of cases. Anyway, they raised the issue that they felt that the legality of the war in Iraq was irrelevant to our refugee claims. So, we were unable to argue that in any way. . . . Well, basically, they said whether war is legal or whether it's illegal, it's irrelevant to what you are trying to do here. Which, I mean, I would argue is pretty ludicrous, because that was almost my entire rationale for coming here in the first place." Although the hearing was technically held by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada the reality is the 'board' for each case is one person.

Before self-checking out, Hinzman had attempted to be granted CO status but, like many, he was turned down. In March 2005, Hinzman's claim for refugee status was rejected by the 'board' (Brian Goodman, in this case).
Amnesty International declared (May 2005): "Amnesty International considers Mr. Jeremy Hinzman to have a genuine conscientious objection to serving as a combatant in the US forces in Iraq. Amnesty International further considers that the took reasonable steps to register his conscientious objection through seeking non-combatant status in 2002, an application which was rejected. Accordingly, should he be imprisoned upon his return to the United States, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience."

."I object to the Iraqi war because it is an act of agression with no defensive basis. It has been supported by pretenses that cannot withstand even elementary scrutiny. First, before the U.S. dropped the first bomb, it was quite evident that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Second, the Bush administration had the gall to exploit the American public's fear of terrorists by making the absurd assertion that a secular Baathist government was working with a fundamentalist terrorist group. There was never any intelligence to substantiate this. Third, the notion that the U.S. wants to export democracy to Iraq is laughable. Democracy is by the people, not an appointed puppet theater," Peter Laufer's
Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq quotes Hinzman explaining.

Gerry Condon (ZNet) explained of Hinzman, "He had converted to Catholicism in high school. While in Army training, he was reading about the Buddhist philosophy of living. On Sundays Hinzman and his wife attended the Quaker meetings in Fayetteville, North Carolina, next to Fort Bragg, the 'Home of the Airborne.' They enjoyed the weekly group mediations and were inspired by the Quakers' pacifist message. Hinzman came to realize that he could not in good conscience carry a weapon or kill another human being." Condon, a war resister during Vietnam, has been one of the ones giving back to today's war resisters as has attorney Jeffry House and they have been there for every step of the appeals process for Hinzman and war resister Brandon Hughey. In April of 2006, the Federal Court ruled against Hinzman and Hughey so they carried their cases on up the chain.

May 5, 2007,
Jack Lakey (Toronto Star) reported the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that Hinzman and Hughey "are not entitled to refugee status" and that "The latest ruling noted neither made full use of steps open to them in the U.S. to win conscientious objector status, before fleeing here." The next move is Canada's Supreme Court and, as Cindy Chan (Epoch Times) noted earlier this month, that body will announce "late September or early October" whether or not they will hear the cases of Hinzman and Hughey. If the body refuses to hear the appeal, that is not the end of the story.

Gerry Condon noted in 2004, "If Hinzman and Hughey are ultimately denied refugee status in Canada, they will not have exhausted their legal bids to remain in Canada. They may still petition the government to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. By this time they may be well established in Canada, one of the criteria for granting this residency. Or they could ask for permission to apply from within Canada for immigrant status, due to special circumstances (if they were to apply from the U.S., they could be arrested and imprisoned for desertion)."

Whatever happens, one thing is known. Hinzman, Hughey and others have based their applications on the illegality of the war and their refusal to participate in it. This has been refuted repeatedly by Canadian bodies even when war resisters like Jimmy Massey testify before them as a witness. In the November 2006, Democrats in the US were swept into power and they campaigned on ending the illegal war. While US Speaker of the House may or may not be able to 'table' impeachment, the fact remains that the American people were promised serious Congressional probes of the illegal war. Those probes have not taken place. It's been no better than when the Republicans controlled Congress because no one was surprised that they would stall and bury reports on the intell that was embarrassing to the White House. Where are the Congressional hearings? As Congress has done very little, it has had effects, in this country and around the world.

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.

Yesterday in northern Iraq, bombings resulted in mass deaths.
Kim Gamel (AP) reports the death toll has risen to 200 this morning and it is still rising. AFP notes "growing fears last night that more dead were trapped under the rubble." Megan Greenwell and Dlovan Brwari (Washington Post) quote survivor Khidr Farhan declaring, "I found myself flying through the air, and my face was burning. I felt my leg hurting, and I knew my head was bleeding. Then I couldn't feel anything. When I woke up, I was in the hospital" and Haji Sido declaring, "I ran past people screaming on the ground. I didn't care, because I had to get to my family. When I got home, my wife said: 'Calm down and thank God. We are safe'." Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) quotes survivor Aydan Shikh declaring, "There is no justification for this. What crime have the Yazidis committed to deserve this?" and Subhee Abdullah declaring, "I saw people drowning in their own blood. More people are sure to die."

Paul Tait (Reuters) notes that digging through the rubble continues with many people "dazed and crying" as they attempt to locate missing family members and friends. In addition, Tait notes 330 people are classified as wounded. Sam Knight and Deborah Haynes (Times of London) list the number of dead at 250 (wounded at 350) and quote Dakhil Qassim ("mayor of the nearby town of Sinjar") declaring, "We are expecting to reach the final death toll tomorrow or day after tomorrow as we are getting only pieces of bodies." BBC, citing a Tal Afar official, notes the death toll is 257 (350 wounded) and that the attacks precede the upcoming vote on the fate of the area (it's own independent area -- "Correspondents say the planned referendum makes northern Iraq's Kurds a target for politically-motivated attacks." Tim Butcher and Sally Peck (Telegraph of London) note that the attacks have overwhelmed health care facilities resulting in survivors being "ferried to hospitals across northern Iraq" and they remind that US Gen. George Casy Jr.had recently declared "Our guys are seeing progress on the security front." Casey made those remarks to the National Press Club in DC only yesterday, August 14, 2007 where he made one baseless claim after another (and yes, he falsely linked it all to 9-11). He also stated that "The successes" remain unreported.

While Casey got caught by surprise, the US military appears unsure of what it's doing today at any given minutes. First
Gen. David Petraues and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker issue a joint-statment decrying "the barbaric attacks on innocent Iraqi men, women and children in Ninawah Province yesterday." Then the US military insists to CBS News that the death toll was only 30. They also maintain it is the work of al Qaeda . . . no doubt too startled yet to try and create a link to Iran.

In some of the other violence reported today . . .

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported, "The violence comes as U.S. forces have launched new crackdowns across Iraq. More than sixteen thousand U.S. and Iraqi troops are taking part in Operation Lightning Hammer around the Diyala River. In Baghdad, at least two people were killed in a U.S.-led raid on the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. The victims were reported to be a father and his three-year old daughter, asleep in the summer heat on the roof of their home. Nine others were arrested, including the three sons of local resident Umm Falah" and Falah was quoted explaining, "I used to bake breads and sell it to feed them and when they grew they started to work to help me. We though that we would be relieved when Saddam fell, we did not expect that he was replaced with the worst. Only God can beat them (the Americans)."


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Mosul car bombings that claimed 10 lives. Reuters reports 5 lives ended by a Hilla bombing in an attack on "a judge's house".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 people shot dead in Baghdad (one from "random fire by an American convoy") and three police officers were shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters reports one person shot dead in Madaen, "a member of a joint Iraqi and U.S. security coordination" was shot dead in Najaf, 3 "police commandos" shot dead in Doura and one person shot dead in Buhriz.


Kim Gamel (AP) reports that 24 corpses were discovered today "bullet-riddled bodies of apparent victimes of sectarian death squads usually run by Shiite militias."

In other violence, there are the displaced. Over four million Iraqis have been displaced (internally and externally) due to the illegal war.
Cindy Sheehan (Common Dreams) notes that the bulk of the externally displaced have gone to Jordan and Syria: "The refugee catastrophe is going a long way to destabilize the countries to which the Iraqis . . . emergency CPR needs to flow to Jordan and Syria immediately to help the Iraqi people and the two mentioned countries. Significantly, both countries also have vast populations of Palestinian refugees that has now become a generational problem. Solving the problems in Israel will help the Palestinian refugees who want the right of return to their homes as well as help solving our own 'terrorism' problem at home. This is also an issue that needs to be pressed and exposed back in the states." This as IRIN notes the effects on Iraqi children being raised within Iraq "in a climate of fear and violence" And pregnant women in labor try to avoid going to hospitals after nightfall due to the violence. IRIN reports that in 1989, 117 Iraqi women "died during pregnancy or childbirth" but today the "figures has now gone up by 65 per cent." These results didn't happen by chance, they are the direct effects of an illegal war.

Turning to the political situations. At Inside Iraq (a blog run by McClatchy Newspapers Iraqi staff), a
correspondent captures the endless repetition: "Did anyone hear about the meetings our great politician would start soon? OMG Here we are again, again and again and again, we are standing on the first square. new meetings but do these meetings have any solutions to the daily massacre that we live in? I'm sure the demands of the political blocs would be the same, each party and bloc will ask for sure for more power to control, more money to steal and more weapons to kill the people of the other sect. and guess what? Again the US Godfather will sponsor the great meetings. its the same old game, keep them busy, let them kill each other on the name of democracy."

Meanwhile the
Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch.org notes that the partisan groups Vets for Freedom and VoteVets have been hailed by the AP as "valuable public relations tools" . . . for elected and those seeking elections and notes VoteVets (with a board of advisers that includes War Hawk Bob Kerrey) " is part of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, the [WalkOn] and SEIU coalition that pressures pro-war Republicans but not Democrats." Too much reality for some and apparently that includes the Peace Resister who felt the need to team with a failed screenwriter (how did Rooster work out? Oh, that's right) to offer the usual sop that the Peace Resister is now known for. Does anyone else wonder why she only teams up with male co-writers or are we never supposed to notice that? That inability to work with women as co-writers may go a long way towards explaining why the magazine published nearly 4 men for every 1 woman in the first six months of this year. So Useless and Failed Screenwriter team up to offer that 'things are changing' (sadly, not at the magazine) and it's a turned corner for the movement thanks to the useless people of WalkOn.org and others and provide plenty of 'love' to Americans Against Escalation and a hell of a lot of cover.

The Nation wasn't always worthless and a few at the magazine (or distributed by it) still try to make a difference. Today,
Democracy Now! featured 25 minutes of a recent speech Naomi Klein entitled "Another World Is Possible." From that speech:

We who say we believe in this other world need to know that we are not losers. We did not lose the battle of ideas. We were not outsmarted, and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks, I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks. Now, most effective we have seen is when the army tanks and the think tanks team up. The quest to impose a single world market has casualties now in the millions, from Chile then to Iraq today. These blueprints for another world were crushed and disappeared because they are popular and because, when tried, they work. They're popular because they have the power to give millions of people lives with dignity, with the basics guaranteed. They are dangerous because they put real limits on the rich, who respond accordingly. Understanding this history, understanding that we never lost the battle of ideas, that we only lost a series of dirty wars, is key to building the confidence that we lack, to igniting the passionate intensity that we need.