abeer, iraq, michael ratner

i'm about ready to fall over. the meeting was wonderful but it was a busy day for me. i'm in trina's living room. flyboy and trina are in the kitchen hunting down something to eat. mike's oldest brother and his father are in here.

his father's playing laura nyro. i heard this cd at c.i.'s once and meant to get it but never did. it's called spread your wings and fly live at the fillmore east may 30, 1971. it came out in 2004 (for the 1st time, this wasn't a re-release). right now she's performing 'walk on by.'

she does her own compositions on this cd as well, including 'emmie,' 'map to treasure,' 'save the country,' etc.

thank god for c.i. i was just listening to the tunes and blanking out. i have no idea what to write tonight/this morning. every now and then, c.i. sends me something interesting that can't go up at the common ills due to the focus there being on iraq. so c.i. sent this from the center for constitutional rights -- 'CCR PRESIDENT MICHAEL RATNER RECEIVES HANS LITTEN PRIZE:'

On November 10, 2006, the Democratic Lawyers of Germany, along with the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, presented CCR President Michael Ratner with the Hans Litten Prize in recognition of his pioneering work on international human rights with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Lawyers for both East and West Germany agreed to name the country's bar association after Litten. In 1931, Litten was a 29-year-old lawyer who represented two workmen stabbed by Hitler's Nazi Storm Troopers. Litten grilled Hitler on the witness stand for two hours, and the Storm Troopers were convicted.
Hitler never forgot his embarassing cross-examination or Hans Litten. On the night of the Reichstag fire, February 28, 1933, the SS arrested Litten. He was considered an enemy of the state, and held in 'protective custody' without charge. For years he was transferred from camp to camp, from Spandau to Dachau, where he was tortured and subject to mock executions.
Litten's mother wrote a book about her struggle to free her son called Beyond Tears. She thought she had a chance to free her son, as she "still imagined that we were living in a legal state." But as she writes, "law had become weaker and weaker as a guardian of justice." After enduring five years of detention and torture, Litten committed suicide in 1939.
In his acceptance speech, CCR President Michael Ratner said Litten's story emphasizes "the dangers of the direction in which the Bush Administration is taking us. In a number or respects we in the United States are no longer living in a legal state; and law has become weaker as a guardian of justice. The constraints on the executive, an executive under law and beholden to law, are rapidly evaporating. This is particularly so regarding detention and torture. For if the state can, as it did in Germany, arrest and detain you without charges, there is no freedom." Ratner concluded: "Hans Litten's story should be a warning to us all."

if you use the link, you can read ratner's speech. (c.i. said in the e-mail. i'm too tired to go to the website.) hans litten is a story that i believe michael smith (also with ccr and 1 of ratner's co-hosts on law and disorder) discussed at a forum. i have no idea what the forum was for and might not if i was rested. i know c.i.'s got a tape of it. when i was out there this summer, that was 1 of my favorite things to listen to if i wasn't listening to kpfa. smith was really impassioned in his speech. now if michael ratner's speech was up there as audio, i might try to find the energy to go to the site.

i probably wouldn't. i'm about to fall over.

let's talk a bit about the iraq study group - the cool 1 as c.i. says, not james baker's.

i think the biggest issue was the troops confessing to crimes. both the killing of the 52-year-old man (who was a grandfather) and of abeer and her family.

there was a lot of discussion about how many crimes occur that we never hear of - and the 'crimes' were murder. i think c.i. is 100% correct, there is not enough outrage (or really any) being expressed over the rape and murder of 14-year-old abeer. this is no longer 'alleged.' 1 of the 4 accused has pleaded guilty and admitted his part in it.

what does it take to get us angry and upset?

probably it would help if we knew about things and yet there was no front page story on the new york times about 1 of abeer's rapists and murderers pleading guilty. not much of a surprise when you grasp that the paper of no record refuses to mention her by name.

she's always just 'a 14-year-old girl' - a nameless 1. because when the victim is nameless and faceless, who has to care? who has to worry?

we discussed that at length too. trina brought up robin morgan's 'Their Bodies as Weapons: Rapes in conflict zones result from the idea that violence is erotic, and it pervades the US military'

the 14-year-old girl has a name: abeer. she had a life, she had dreams and hopes. but after she was raped, she was murdered. then, there was an attempt to set her body on fire and destroy the evidence.

there is no 'alleged' anymore. when some 1 confesses in court to taking part in rape and murder, 'alleged' is no longer an a word that needs to preceed 'murderer,' 'rapist,' or 'criminal.'

that's it for me tonight.

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

Friday, November 17, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Bully Boy's long journey to Vietnam is complete (you can refer to the various stops since Tuesday or you can take it back to his days in and out of the National Guard); Ehren Watada's father Bob wraps up his current speaking tour Friday night; Tony Blair may have lost a supporter; war resister Kyle Snyder still needs support; and the US military has all sorts of announcements and numbers including 57,000 US troops to deploy to Iraq next year.

Starting with yesterday's kidnappings -- there were two.
Reuters cover this: "Passengers from up to six minibuses may have been abducted after being stopped at a fake security checkpoint in the capital, police and local residents said" from yesterday and, in addition, there was a kidnapping in southern Iraq.

C4 reported on the mass kidnapping in Baghdad one of the few that did.* Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) noted: "Much of the day's other violence was directed at Shiite Muslims. Gunmen erected fake checkpoints in a Sunni neighborhood and seized Shiite passengers off minibuses." Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) noted: "Six missing minibuses were mostly carrying Shiites when gunmen, some in uniform, pulled them over for bogus security checks, police sources said."

The dickering over this kidnapping among Iraqi's various members of government follows the pattern after Tuesday's mass kidnapping which
Kirk Semple (New York Times) observed was being seen (by Jalal Talabani, Iraqi president) as a potential "complete collapse of the government"). Queried by Jon Snow, of England's C4, as to whether "you think there are other ministers in the government who are complicit?" in the kidnappings, Iraq's minister of Higher Eductation, Abd Dhiab, stated he did believe that and, while refusing to answer whether he personally believed the police could be trusted, he noted that "the people" do not feel they can be.

Jon Snow: You seem to be describing a situation of anarchy here?

Abd Dhiab: Anarchy clearly, nobody can deny that.

Jon Snow: But, I mean, if you feel you have to resign then in a way we're beginning to see the disengration of the government?

Abd Dhiab (in a rambling answer) agreed.
Kirk Semple noted Mohammed Bashar al-Faidi (Muslim Scholars Associaton) declared on Al Jazeera TV, "I don't know how to describe it, but it represents the bankruptcy of the sectarian government following one scandal after the other." The willingness of officials go to public with their own stark observations about Iraq comes as Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, is in Turkey. Louise Roug (LA Times) reports that al-Maliki believes the matters can wait until next week to be resolved in a meeting of his cabinet.

Bully Boy believes that the answer for a 'win' is, as
Simon Tisdall (Guardian of London) reports, "a last big push" that could result in increasing US troops in Iraq -- not withdrawing them. Tisdall also reveals that sources say "Bush family loyalist James Baker" and others on the supposed independent Iraq Study Group are now doing the bidding of the Pentagon and will include the following points as "victory strategy:"

1) Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq.

2) Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

3) Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others.

4) Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces.

David Jackson (USA Today) reports that Bully Boy declared in Hanoi that "he was unaware of a British newspaper report that he is considering an additional 30,000 troops in Iraq."
20,000 and, if Bully Boy's denying, chances are it's true. (Flashback to his performance of "My Guy" to Rumsfled right before the election and then, after the election, his rendention of "Hit the Road, Jack.") The
AP reports that Bully Boy has compared Iraq to Vietnam yet again and offered, "We'll succeed unless we quit." Not quite as catchy as "stay the course" but certainly many of lemmings will show up, possibly in face paint, at his domestic gatherings to change "We'll succeed unless we quit." Of course, the reality is you suceed unless you lose and, more reality, the illegal war is lost.

CNN reports it's whack-a-mole time again "as 2,2000 more Marines are being deployed to Iraq's volatile Anbar province". Interviewed by Joshua Scheer (Truthdig), US Congress Rep. Dennis Kucinich noted of al-Anbar that it's "a place which was already declared 'lost' for the purposes of military occupation. Why are we sacrificing our young men and women? Why are we keeping them in an impossible situation? Why are we stoking a civil war with our continued presence? We have to take a new direction in Iraq, and that direction is out."

This as
Al Jazeera reports Rabah al-Alwan of "the Union of Lawyers in al-Anbar governorate in western Iraq" is asserting that 211 families have been thrown out of their homes in Al-Anbar Province so that the US military can occupy them. Among the homes seized is al-Alwan's and he states: "Ten months ago, the US army seized my house and dozens of houses in the neighbourhood where I live. Residents were not allowed take any of their savings, jewellery, furniture or clothes. . . . They [US snipers] killed a lot of people, such as Ayad Mutar and Muhamad Ayad, for approaching their [own] houses to try to get some of their families' clothes and belongings." al-Alwan tells of promises to compensate families for their homes with money that never got handed over, of attacks on the homes now that the US military is lodged in them, and the continued occupation of the home have led former occupants to join the resistance.

Hearts and minds? Or are they supposed to take comfort in the empty words mouthed by the Bully Boy, as
noted by Mark Tran (Guardian of London), "One lesson is that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while."
A while? What is known is that the illegal war hits the four-year anniversary in March of 2007 -- four months from now.

What is known also includes the fact that yesterday's other kidnapping, in southern Iraq, resulted in the kidnapping of at least five people. The
BBC reports that the abducted were four Americans and one Austrian. Will Weissert (AP) reports that two of the abducted turned up: an Austrian who was dead and an American "gravely wounded" -- in addition, Weissert notes that "[n]ine Asian employees" were kidnapped and that they have been released. Xinhua reports that 14 people were kidnapped and that the area was under the control of Iraqis having been turned over to them by Italy in September. Kirk Semple (New York Times) identifies the site of the kidnapping as the Nassiriya. AP places the location as Safwan. Edward Wong (New York Times) reports that searches are ongoing to find the abducted but that there are denials of any of the kidnapped being released or found.

In other reported violence . . .


Reuters notes that four police officers were shot dead outside a bank in Baghdad, that two brothers are dead from a Baghdad attack, that a civilian was shot dead in Kirkuk and "his baby daughter" injured and, in Baquba "Lieutenant Colonel Sattar Jabar, chief of police media" was shot dead. Aref Mohammed (Reuters) reports "the British military said a British private security guard was wounded in a clash with Iraqi police. The police said two policemen and another Westerner were killed" and that Zubayr was where "police said colleagues stopped an unmarked car. Western in civilian clothes inside opened fire, killing two officers and wounding two women passers-by. Police returned fire, killing one of the Westerns and wounding another." The 'Westerners' may or may not be British or American.


Reuters notes two corpses were discovered near Falluja and and two near Numaniya. CNN reports that 25 corpses ("bullet-riddled") were discovered in Baghdad today.

Also today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed by small arms fire Thursday during combat operations in Diyala province." The total number of US troops who have died thus far this month to 45, and to 2865 since the start of the illegal war. This as Donna Miles announces on behalf of the Defense Department that 57,000 US troops will being deploy to Iraq (8,300 to Afghanistan). The 57,000 will be part of the rotation to keep the total number of US troops on the ground in Iraq at 144,000 -- the increased number that was put in place last summer for the now-cracked-up Baghdad crackdown.

In other signs of the dissention in the puppet government,
Hannah Allamn and Mohamed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that the Shi'ite dominated Interior Ministry "issued an arrest warrant for one of the country's most prominent Sunni Muslim clerics, charging him with violating antiterrorism laws." The BBC notes the cleric, Harith al-Dhari, is the head of the Association of Muslim Scholars and that he is currently in Jordan. Ross Colvin (Reuters) notes that the reaction to the warrant (issued while both al-Dhari and al-Maliki were out of the country) has been intense with the largest Sunni political party (The Islamic Party) calling it a "mercy bullet" that would put the dying government down. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) notes that the Association of Muslim Scholars is requesting "Sunni politicians . . . quit Iraq's government" in response to the arrest warrant and notes that: "The move came as cracks emerged within Iraq's six-month-old unity government over the numbers of government employees taken in a mass kidnapping on Tuesday and whether some were tortured and killed." In addition to the above support, Al-Dhari also received support from Sunni clerics and, as Will Weissert (AP) reports, from one of Iraq's vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, who stated that the warrant "is destructive to the national reconcilliation plan." And CNN updates to note that the Iraqi government has backed off ("clarified") the warrant which they now maintain was never to arrest al-Dhari but merely to "check security files linked" to him.

In other news,
Mike Corder (AP) reports that De Volkskrant, Dutch newspaper, has reported that "Dutch military interrogators abused dozens of Iraqi prisoners in 2003, dousing them with water to keep them awake and exposing them to high-pitched noises and strong lights" and conducted by "members of the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service in November 2003 in buildings of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Samawah, 230 miles southeast of Baghdad." Alexandra Hudson and Nicola Leske (Reuters) report that the report, which emerged Friday, has already resulted in announcement from the Dutch Defence Minister Henk Kamp that he knew abuses were possible but an earlier investigation had not turned up anything -- now he's "announced an independent investigation into the earlier study by military police and his own conduct in the affair." As the BBC notes, the revelations come "days before the country's parliamentary elections."

Meanwhile, in England, the
Guardian of London reports that Margaret Hodge has created a stir in England. The MP Hodge is seen as an ally of Tony Blair so it came as a surprise to some when it was reported that she called the illegal war Tony Blair's "big mistake in foreign affairs" while speaking to the Islington Fabian Society where she also noted that she accepted pre-war claims because "he was our leader and I trusted him."

In peace news, Vietnam war resister
Gerry Condon has posted a letter at Soldiers Say No! on Kyle Snyder. To recap, Snyder, on October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering the military had lied yet again. Since then Snyder has been underground, surfacing to speaking out against the war.

Condon is requesting more calls supporting to Snyder:

Thanks to all of you who have made calls to the Commanding General at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The phones have been ringing off the walls there. Now it is time to make the phones ring at Fort Leonard Wood. Say hello to Fort Leonard Woods's brand new commander, Major General William McCoy, Jr., recently returned from the U.S. occupation of Iraq (you can read his emotional address upon assuming his new command at
Here are the numbers to call at Fort Leonard Wood
Office of the Commanding General (that's how they answer) 573-596-0131
Public Affairs Office, tel. 573-563-4013 or 4105, fax: 573-563-4012, email:
We want to deliver one clear message:

Kyle Snyder is a US war resister and part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes people such as Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. That's just the ones who have gone public. (Over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized.)

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress in January.

Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq, is wrapping up a speaking tour he and Rosa Sakanishi (Ehren's step-mother) have been on to raise awareness on Ehren Watada. The tour winds down tonight, a full schedule can be found here, and this is the final date:

Nov 17, 7PM, Atlanta, GA, Location: The First Iconium Baptist Church, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 125, The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition/Atlanta, Atlanta WAND, Contact: Debra Clark, 770-855-6163,

In addition, to Atlanta,
Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports this event on Sunday:

The Honolulu chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League will hold a symposium surrounding the actions of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who is the first military officer to face a court martial for refusing to fight in Iraq. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the University of Hawaii's architecture auditorium. The featured speaker will be Watada's father, Bob; Jon Van Dyke of the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law and Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz.

[*Thank you to a friend at C4 for calling -- repeatedly -- to pass the C4 interview on.]


illustrations, iraq, women voter turnout in 2006, join mitchell

'The Girth of the Tabby.' what's that? betty's latest. it just went up. why on thursday? she has company. dona and c.i. are there for the evening (they hit dona's home state tomorrow to speak to some students and dona gets to spend some time with her family). betty's also got another visitor. kat. c.i.'s going to sub for kat tomorrow and then kat will probably be back to work at her site next week. she's spending the weekend with betty.

so betty and kat are going to have time to run around friday night while betty's sister has her kids (betty watches her sister's kids on saturday, they swap like that). to make sure they get some time to have fun (betty's daughter usually needs mommy by 9:00 p.m. each friday night and won't calm down until she gets her), c.i. fixed dinner, dona helped betty's oldest with his home work and kat played with the youngest 2. so betty was able to knock out this week's chapter tonight. (she usually posts on friday.) be sure to read it. the strands that have been there all along are coming together. who is betinna?

you learn more tonight. as glad as i am about the new chapter, i'm really glad that betty's gets some company (and some rest - she left a spare key for dona and c.i. with her father and when betty got home, 'they'd cleaned it top to bottom. i have no required cleaning for the weekend!') she deserves rest and company.

and that brings up something flyboy and i have been talking about. we have a blast on the weekends at trina's. she, mike and elaine are there (and many more). but unless we're all together somewhere, those of us not on the west coast can be little pockets on the phone. so we're going to make a point to visit wally in january and cedric in february. it'll be fun for us and hopefully for them as well. (we already asked last week and they were fine with it.) we'd been talking about doing that since september, flyboy and me, but we wanted to get the redecorating done here before we did anything else. (okay, i wanted the redecorating done here and i didn't want to go away and come back to find that something was done completely wrong.)

keith asked me if i'd note the above. it's the illustration the gang did for 'Go down, Dexy.' there was a really a photo somewhat like this on the cover of the new york times sunday magazine awhile back (i think the 1st week of november). it was just of chalabi. they've added chalabi's hands on dexy's (dexter filkins' head) pushing him lower. but i thought this was really amazing. i knew the photo. i was surprised they captured it so well. i love the colors they used for chalabi's jacket. i wasn't sure what kind of paint they'd used on that and jess told me it was children't paint. when they were all talking about illustrations going up at the site, they started talking about different types of paint. jim had to get a gift 1 day for a child in his family, so they all went to the toy store. this blue paint (they also have a pink and a yellow that they use to jazz things up as well) is actually for spin art. if you don't use a brush on it (you're not supposed to, you're supposed to spin it) it will take for ever to dry. they used some of the yellow on one of the eye areas - the 1 that pops out at you. what are those yellow things? some people think they are daiseys (daisies?) and some people think they are stars. whatever they are, i think it represents the 'dreamy' quality of the hopes the neocons pinned on chalabi. i also love the background which was achieved with different brushes and with a number of paints (temper, water color and poster).

i really think the gang does an amazing job each week with the illustrations. i know they aren't trying for 'art,' just something to catch the eye but i really enjoy it. it has added more work and more time for each edition. but i really do think they're doing some wonderful stuff.

There's nothing on earth
As unholy as war,
The rich sacrifice the poor.
If I had a heart I'd cry.
In fairy tales the good go to heaven
And the evil go to hell,
Ring the funeral bell.
If I had a heart I'd cry.

those are the lyrics to a new joni mitchell song called 'holy war.' joni's got a new cd that will be out shortly. c.i. noted it in a snapshot last week. i really love joni. i was listening to the cd clouds today. at a time when our independent media fails to capture the reality of the world around us, we need our artists more than ever.

sometimes i really do not enjoy marie cocco's writing and sometimes i do. today, i did. this is from her 'Women Rock the Vote'(truthdig):

Now that the media have breathlessly declared that Pelosi's anticipated ascension to speaker of the House is a historic first, we're back to a lineup of male talking heads talking about how they may, or may not, get us out of the mess they got us into in Iraq. There is just one problem with this business-as-almost-usual story line: It ignores the decisive role that women voters played in the midterm election. And it discounts the power that women lawmakers--besides Pelosi--will wield in the newly constituted Congress.
If it weren't for women voters, the Senate would still be Republican red. In four of the six Senate races that Democrats won to gain control of the chamber, women's votes decided the outcome. This was especially true in the pivotal Virginia contest, where Democrat Jim Webb won 55 percent of women's votes, but only 45 percent of men’s. Democratic Senate pickups in Rhode Island, Missouri and Montana also were possible only because of the gender gap. "It couldn't be much clearer," Eleanor Smeal, president of the political action group Feminist Majority Foundation, said in an interview. "If only men voted, we would have a Republican Senate."
Parsing the women's vote in individual House races is harder, but network exit polls showed that Democrats made gains among all groups of women voters--married and unmarried, white and nonwhite. There was an eye-popping 18-point shift of Hispanic women to the Democratic column, compared with the 2004 election, according to an analysis by pollster Peter D. Hart for the fundraising group Emily's List. Democratic support among women 18 to 29 surged by 14 points, and support for Democratic candidates was up 12 points among women who identify themselves as independents.

women's votes mattered in the 2006 election. more females voted democrat than males. 1 of the points of my post friday. it still amazes me that with 2 women guests, democracy now was unable to address the issue of the women's vote. so i am grateful that marie cocco did address it. women have objected to the iraq war in larger numbers than men have. with 6 out of 10 voters citing the iraq war in exit polls, it should be no surprise that women rocked the vote.

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

November 16, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; US war resister Ehren Watada goes on CNN as his father wraps up a speaking to raise awareness on his son; justice for Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and her family?; confusion remains as to Tuesday's mass kidnapping in Baghdad as Baghdad appears to have been the site, today, of another mass kidnapping; and America speaks to Gallup who, unlike the Bully Boy, actually listens.

Starting with
Ehren Watada -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, the US military announced they would move to court-martial Watada. The court-martial is expected to take place early next year. Last night, Watada appeared on CNN's Paula Zahn Now program. Speaking to Zahn, Watada explained how, as late as September 2005, he was willing to go to Iraq (and had volunteered to deploy with any unit) but "then I began findout out some things about how possibly that our government could have misled, not only the Congress, but also the public, and the world as to the reasons why we were going to Iraq, and there were never any weapons of mass destruction, there were never any ties to al Qaeda or ties to 9/11. And I just -- at that point, I personally felt very betrayed as a soldier, willing to put my life on the line and willing to order soldiers to do the same, that we were sent to go and fight a war were the reasons were falsified."

After Watada's appearance, Zahn had a panel discussion.
Joshua Casteel noted "the Uniform Code of Military Justice tells us two things. One is that we have an obligation to obey all lawful orders, but we also have an obligation to disobey all unlawful orders, and -- which includes disobeying orders that are unlawful, even if they come from the President of the United States. Article Six, Paragraph Two of the United States Constitution dictates that treaties that the United States signs on to are to be considered the laws of the land, including among them, the Hague Convention on Land Warfare of 1899, the Neruember Principles, which in 1953, the Department of Defense declared to be official policy. And Justice Jackson, who's the chief . . ." Zahn interrupts to ask if Watada's stand is "justified." Castell replies, "He is one of the few examples of moral courage that we have in the midst of plenty of individuals who show physical courage to go to Iraq and sacrifice for their country. But what we need right now are moral leaders. And Lieutenant Watada is an example of the kind of leadership that reminds us of our better nature and the aspirations of the United States Constitution." Amy Goodman (co-host of Democracy Now!) noted that, "Thousand of soldiers are saying no. The Pentagon doesn't like to talk about this, but Lieutenant Ehren Watada being the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq is very significant." A third guest repeatedly interrupted Amy Goodman. For some stranger reason, he appeared to be wearing Mommy's Pantyhose on top of his head. He statements sounded as if they were indeed picked from the crack of his ass in his desperate attempt to unearth his brain. At present, his brain is still believed to be under many layers of s--t.

Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reminds that Watada is facing up to six years if he is convicted in the court-martial to be held next year.

In Iraq today,
Reuters reports that "up to six Baghdad minibuses" were "stopped at a fake security checkpoint" in Baghdad and the passengers appear to have been kidnapped.

In other violence today . . .


Reuters notes car bombs, roadside bombs and bicylce bombs in Baghdad -- six bombings in all leaving at least 7 dead and 18 wounded -- while three are dead and one wounded in Mosul from a roadside bombing.


CBS and AP report the shooting deaths of nine during an attack on a Baghdad bakery. Reuters notes an attack in Baghdad that killed a guard of Mosul's governor and left four other guards wounded.


Reuters reports that twenty corpses were discovered in Baghdad, two in Baiji and four in Yusufiya.

Yesterday, the US military announced six deaths of US troops. Today, the US military announced: "A Multi-National Corps-Iraq Soldier was killed by small arms fire Tuesday while conducting combat operations in Baghdad"; and they announced: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, were killed Wednesday and two others were injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle they were traveling in while conducting combat operations in Diyala province"; and they announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed in action Wednesday by small arms fire while conducting combat operations in Diyala province." The total for the month to date is 44.

The total number of US troops in Iraq?
According to CBS' David Martin, not enough and never will be based upon John Abizaid's remarks to the Senate yesterday "But when you look at the overall American force poll that's available out there, the ability to sustain that commitment is simply not something that we have right now with the size of the Army and the Marine Corps." Let that sink in. According to Abizaid, a War Hawk who never met a battlefield he didn't go weak-kneed over, there are not enough available foot soldiers in the US army or members of the Marines to do what Abizaid feels needs to be done in Iraq.

Turning to legal news, as
noted yesterday, James P. Barker entered a guilty plea for his involvement in the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi as well as the murder of her parents (Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen) and her five-year old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza. Abeer, the war crimes took place March 12, 2006 in Mamoudiyah which is a town south of Baghdad. Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that Barker testified to Lt. Col. Richard Anderson that Steven D. Green came up with the plan and, of the rape of Abeer, that "[Paul] Cortez pushed her to the ground. I went towards the top of her and kind of held her hands down while Cortez proceeded to lift her dress up." Barker's attorney makes a strange statement about how the crime results in part from the fact that "The United States Army did not . . . put enough soldiers on the checkpoints." Not enough soldiers at checkpoints? Lenz: "Barker, 23, described changing clothes, then climbing through backyards as the five soldiers left the checkpoint they had been manning to carry out the attack." Well the army was certainly short five soldiers manning checkpoints when the decision was made to rape fourteen-year-old Abeer. In another report filed by Lenz, the issue doesn't appear to be 'staffing' so much as it appears to be oversight: "Barker said he and the others were drinking and playing cards while they manned a traffic checkpoint. Green brought up the idea of raping the girl and killing her family, he said." So, as the story is understood from Barker's confessions, they were on duty, they were stationed a traffic checkpoint, they were in violation for consuming alcohol while on duty, they left their checkpoint." What exactly does Barker's attorney think? That more soldiers would have prevented the five from leaving the checkpoint? Seems like an oversight issue.

The 'repentant' Barker showed 'remorse' by explaining his actions with, "I hated Iraqis, your honor. They can smile at you, then shoot you in your face without even thinking about it." Rape isn't mentioned in his statement; however
Abeer was raped and she was shot in the face (below the left eye). She was also smiled at or at least leered because she went to her parents concerned about the way the US soldiers at the checkpoints were looking at her. Her parents made plans for her to go elsewhere to live for her own protection but before that could happen, she was raped, murdered and her body set on fire in attempt to hide evidence.

Whether Cortez, Green, Spielman or Howard is involved, Barker's statements mean we are no longer talking "alleged" rape or "alleged" murder. It's rather sad that the coverage doesn't reflect that.

In other legal news, Australia's
ABC reports that John Jodka was sentenced to eighteen months for his role in the death of Iraqi Hashim Ibrahim Awad. Awad was taken from him home, killed and then, to cover up the crime, those involved attempted to pass him off as an 'insurgent.' The BBC notes that Hashim Ibrahim Awad had been a grandfather until he was beaten and killed and that Jodka apologized to Awad's family.

Tuesday's mass kidnapping in Baghdad continues to be a source of confusion. Regarding the number who have not turned out, BBC reports that Abd Dhiab, Iraq's minister of Higher Education, states 80 people are still being held and that "some of those who had since been released were badly beaten." In addition, it appears some of them have been killed. Al Jazeera reports that Dhiab "was told of the deaths by hostages who were freed on Wednesday, but he declined to say how many had died." CNN reports on the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, and his show visit to the fifty-year-old Baghdad University. The photo Al Jazeera runs reveals the lie of 'liberation' -- in Baghdad, Nouri al-Maliki steps out of his vehicle flanked by guards with guns at the ready. The kidnapping took place not at Baghdad University but at the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education (a four story building as opposed to a complex). Al Jazeera reports that Dhiab maintains the kidnapped on Tuesday included "at least 100 employees of two departments in the building, as well as about 50 visitors. Dozens remain unnaccounted for."

Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) speaks with Amir Hassan, a professor at Baghdad University, who states, "We are living in the killing stage. We know that our chances of dying is now greater than our chance of staying alive." Over 155 educators have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. Raghavan also reports that al-Maliki's speech to students included pro-censorship remarks of how "he would ban pictures, leaflets, placards or other politically inspired materials from campuses". Women's rights have vanished, he's attacked the free press (with his 'four-point plan'), he's now planning to ban political speech on campus and CNN reported this morning that he's now relying on warnings ("beware of God's punishment") to maintain whatever questionable power he still has. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports on the al-Maliki's facade of power crumbling as government officials (Abed Dhiab al-Ajeeli and Ali Dabbagh) quarrel publicly over how many were kidnapped on Tuesday and how many remain missing.

In peace news,
Pat Gerber (SF Bay Area IMC) reports on Tuesday's San Francisco Board of Education meeting at which school board members voted "to phase out its JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs over a two-tear period. It is believed that this is the first time any school district has eliminated an existing JROTC program." Tommi Avicolli Mecca (BeyondChron) notes the speakers in favor and against the resultion and notes: "Speaker after speaker on the pro-JROTC side said that while they didn't approve of DADT or even the war in Iraq, they supported the military program because it benefited kids. Of course, they forgot to mention the plight of queer kids who want to go beyond JROTC."

In other peace news,
AP reports that with the GOP 2008 convention being held in St. Paul, Minneapolis' the Anti-War Committee "has applied for marching and demonstrations permits from the city of St. Paul. . . . [Jess] Sundin said the Anti-War Committee filed for city permits now to provide plenty of time for legal challenges if they're turned down. It's the first group to file for permits, but many are expected to follow."

A day after
Ehren Watada, appears on CNN, his father Bob Watada and his step-mother Rosa Sakanishi wind down a speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren Watada. The tour winds down on Friday, a full schedule can be found here, and these are the remaining dates:

Nov 16, 7PM, Asheville, NC, Location: University of North Carolina -- Public Presentation, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,
timpluta@hotmail.com , Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Ahmad Daniels, War Resister Vietnam Era (appears in "Sir, No Sir!"), Mark Gibney Human Rights, International & Constitutional Law, Law, Ethics and Public Policy

Nov 17, 11:00AM, Asheville, NC, Location: Warren Wilson College, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,
timpluta@hotmail.com, Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Professor Paul Magnarella (Peace Studies, Warren Wilson College)

Nov 17, 7PM, Atlanta, GA, Location: The First Iconium Baptist Church, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 125, The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition/Atlanta, Atlanta WAND, Contact: Debra Clark, 770-855-6163,

In addition, to Asheville and Atlanta,
Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports this event on Sunday:

The Honolulu chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League will hold a symposium surrounding the actions of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who is the first military officer to face a court martial for refusing to fight in Iraq. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the University of Hawaii's architecture auditorium. The featured speaker will be Watada's father, Bob; Jon Van Dyke of the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law and Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz.

Joseph Carroll (Gallup News Services) summarizes the most recent Gallup Poll that asked respondents in the United States (from November 9th through 12th) what is "the most important problem facing this country today"? The people respond? The war in Iraq was cited by 25% of Republicans, 32% of self-identified independents and by 48% of Democrats.



the illustration to the left is from the third estate sunday review's 'You gotta' stay loose, limber and prepared.' the essay is more than worth reading but i really did love their illustration. my contribution was mainly just the frame. i photo shop their illustrations. sometimes, like with this one, i really don't want to do anything to them because i truly think they're amazing the way they are.

the whole point of the illustrations? they wanted to be more visual. they were talking about and planning to do photos, paintings, sketches, etc. c.i. even got every 1 a digital camera. but the photos have ended up going into the gina & krista round-robin (after huge problems attempting to post two photo essays to the site, photos became something they passed over to the round-robin).

this was before they read free press: underground & alternative publications 1965-75 by jean-francois bizot - a book i highly recommend. it's also true that they wanted to put a face on war resisters and not use photos that had copyright restrictions.

every 1 is very talented but instead of going with the strengths (kat is a professional artist) they made it do-it-yourself and collective. when kat helps with a painting, for instance, they give her a tooth pick. they're not trying to blow any 1 away with what they're doing but i really think they've done some solid stuff. when we were all in d.c., we all go to work on the illustrations and that was so much fun. some 1 sees something and wants to add to it.

i really think they could do a visual feature at this point (plus the tv reviews!) and people would be happy with it. but they don't seem to realize how great some of the stuff they've done is.

they also do collages at least twice a month and i always enjoy those. in fact, that's always my first question when they're about to start sending stuff to photo shop - is there a collage?

i do think it's made a difference and upped the level of their site or added to it. at some point, they may end up with enough 'stock' that they really don't have to do anymore. they'd probably hate that because the art sessions are the most enjoyable part. every 1's more laid back and paint takes awhile to dry so there's less a sense of rushing.

jess and i have been working on an illustration for ava and c.i.'s tv reviews. jess does the art and i tweak it in photoshop. but we haven't hit on the right thing yet so we try a new thing every few weeks.

what do they work in? they use oil paints, water colors, temper paints, pastels, charcoal, poster paints and you name it.

dona says it was tossed around by c.i. to try to get every 1 to look at things differently. that's something c.i.'s always been big on, expanding, trying new things. we've been reading an assortment of magazines for the same reason. to try to break out of the standard mode. i think there's value in certain resources but i do think you know need more than the usual.

that's not saying 'oh, i read the nation! now i must read the national review!' there's no right wing magazines we're reading. it does mean that sometimes the political magazines won't take you there. (especially these days.) if i read 1 more nation article this month, i think i could probably write an entire issue.

i'm not saying 'bad writing.' i am saying they have a set way of doing things. goldie had e-mailed me about the art work last week and we'd been exchanging e-mails since. she asked me to write about it here because she really believes we need to go beyond the obvious. (she's a c.i. in the making, i swear. i was telling marlene, her mother, that tonight.) goldie's been working so hard with her friends and her school to raise awareness on war resisters and the war, to get people involved. she's done a great job. but she just felt like she was starting to hit a wall.

she e-mailed me for some suggestions so we've been sharing different things. and 1 thing that i always remember is c.i.'s comment that you cannot let the well go dry. if you just keep feeding on the same things and dipping the bucket in over and over, you will go dry. you've got to shake things up sometimes. goldie got a wonderful idea from last month's interview and it had nothing to do with the war but she was able to grab it and use it to illustrate a point on the war.

if you get polly's brew, her column this sunday is going to be about that so consider this a prelude to that. but the point from me is that the war will not end from reading the nation or any other periodical. they seem unable or unwilling to go any futher (though the war has). they're not leading any more than congress is. so if the war's going to end, we're going to need to mix it up and create excitement in our own circles.

so if you usually talk about the war in 1 way, find a new way to talk about it. if you never draw, pick up a pen or pencil. shake things up. maybe you've got a talent, maybe you don't. but just the process, will bring something new to the way you're looking at the issues.

so that's tonight point. here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

November 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; there are some indications that there may be justice for Abeer and her family; testifying before Congress, John Abizaid appeared to think he was at an Atlanta Brave (check the hand gestures) and blathered on repeatedly making it clear there was no plan for Iraq; Ehren Watada's father Bob begins winding up his speaking tour; and real discussions on Iraq take place (outside of Congress).

"It's time to tell the truth! The American people want the truth. The American people want the truth. Tell the truth if you're capable of it." Today, an honest discussion on Iraq took place but it wasn't in the US Senate. On Democracy Now!,
Amy Goodman hosted a discussion with former US senator and presidential candidate George McGovern, US House Rep. Dennis Kucinich and someone scraped off the bottom of the right-wing non-thought tank AEI. The AEI-er appeared to be attempting some sort of homage to the character of Audrey with his constant whining. (Clea Lewis intended to be humorous when she played Audrey on Ellen.) He whined "Let me have my turn" repeatedly and also referred to Goodman as "Miss moderator" proving that Iraq wasn't the only thing he failed to grasp, he'd also missed the last forty years (try "Ms. moderator"). Meanwhile Kucinich challenged the AEI-er with, "It's time to tell the truth! The American people want the truth. The American people want the truth. Tell the truth if you're capable of it." The AEI-er, Joshua Muravchik, wasn't up to the truth and tossed around the usual (pre-9-11?) nonsense of 'blame America first' and 'blood is on your hand' but has no answers. Goodman asked if he was "proposing staying in Iraq and bombing Iran?" to which he replied "Yes and yes."

McGovern reminded, "Well they were saying the same thing they're saying about Iraq. We were told all during those long years when I and others were trying to terminate our military involvement in Vietnam -- an intervention that the chief architects now say was a dreadful mistake -- and they said that if we pulled out, maybe it was a mistake, to go in, but if we pulled out there would be a slaughter of people in Vietnam of indescribable dimensions, that Ho Chi Minh and his people would just slaughter everybody in the country that disagreed with him. We also were told that the countries next door would start toppling into communism if we left Vietnam. None of that happened. There was no great bloodbath inside Vietnam and the Vietnamese became our friends almost immediately after we took our army out of their country. They assisted us in trying to locate missing American soldiers. They were ready for diplomatic relations. We have no problem with Vietnam today and as a matter of fact none of the countries next door toppled into communism so those were the scare tactics that were used to keep us in Vietnam for about twenty years. The president has said recently that maybe we have to stay [in Iraq] until the year 2010 and that's another four years during which time we'll probably kill several thousand more American troops and the terror now going on inside Iraq that began when we invaded the country will only get worse. No country in the long term wants a foreign army lodged in their country."

Goodman asked: "How did, how did it ultimately end up that the troops were pulled out of Vietnam?" McGovern replied, "Well, you know, we were finally forced out. You remember the pictures of the American ambassador being air lifted off the, off the roof of the embassy there and Vietnamese trying to cling to the helicopters that took him out? I don't want to see that happen in Iraq. I don't want to see us just kicked out. I want to see an orderly withdrawal that would begin next month in December and be completed by June and we can do that. Let me cite one poll that was conducted recently in Iraq. It was conducted by our newspaper USA Today, CNN -- the television network -- in cooperation with the Gallup polling organization, America's oldest polling. And they asked the people of Iraq 'Do you regard the Americans as liberators or as occupiers of your country?' 81% of the people said they didn't see us any longer as liberators, they see us as occupiers of the country and they made it very clear they want us out."

Kucinich spoke the words many shy from: Congress voting to cut off funding of the illegal war in Iraq. "I believe that we're going to be able to get a consensus among progressives to cut off funds . . . I think support is growing in the direction of getting out of Iraq and I think that we'll see a cut off of the funds, we'll use the money in the pipeline to have the orderly withdrawal that Senator McGovern so wisely spoke of. People want a new direction. They know that we have to involve the world community and they know that the direction has to be out of Iraq. I mean, we're losing soldiers at an increasing clip , we're seeing the civil violence increase, the Iraqi people want us out, the American people by and large want us out of Iraq. We need to take a new direction."

The KPFA Evening News Monday, Mitch Jeserich interviewed US House Rep. Lynn Woolsey who stated she would consider cutting off Congressional funds but no one wanted to make that their first choice. She also felt their support was for this option in Congress.
(The interview may have been for Pacifica's
Informed Dissent which Jeserich hosts or for WBAI's Wakeup Call where Jeserich is the news editor.)

The realities of Iraq were also explored . . . in Congress? No, on
KPFA's The Morning Show today. Philip Maldari spoke with Carl Conetta (Project on Defense Alternatives) and Natalie Goldring (Security Studies Program and Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown). They discussed the possibility that the US Congress would be inactive on the Iraq war and Goldring pointed out that this would lead to spreading the blame and allowing the GOP presidential candidate in 2008 to point to the Democratic controlled Congress as part of the problem with regards to the illegal war. Concetta noted it would "tar the Democrats as co-signers" to the war. Goldring noted that it wasn't clear how the administration or the United States "would bring stability to Iraq" and Concetta noted that the spin made "withdrawal . . . always on the horizon, two years in the future" that never seems to arrive. (Or 12 months, a favorite with the US military and tossed around by John Abizaid today -- we'll get to that shortly.)

What does arrive, daily in Iraq, is continued chaos and violence.


CNN reports that eight people are dead and 32 wounded in Baghdad from a car bomb apparently targeting a gas station. CNN updated the figures to twelve dead and 33 wounded while also noting an attack on a Baghdad funeral that claimed the lives of three and left 12 injured.


CNN reports a council member and his bodyguard were shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes that two construction workers were shot dead and three wounded while they traveled in a car. Xinua reports that journalist Fadiyah Muhammad al-Taie and her driver were killed in Mosul while she was on her way to work.


CNN notes the discovery of 55 corpses ("bullet-riddled") in Baghdad. Reuters notes that four corpses were discovered in Mosul and one in Samarra.

US military announced today: "One Soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division and three Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Tuesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." That announcement was followed by this one: "Two Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldiers were killed at approximately 11:30 p.m. Nov. 14 when their vehicle was struck by an improvised-explosive device in northwest Baghdad while conducting combat operations."

In legal news,
Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was mudered and raped in Mahmoudiyah on March 12, 2006. Also killed in the attack were her parents, Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen, and her five-year-old sister. Abeer was fourteen-years-old. Five Americans are accused of being the ones who committed the crimes. Last week, Steven D. Green entered a plea of 'not guilty' in a federal court in Kenutcky. Green had been discharged from the US military before the revelations of the crimes was revealed. Due to the fact that Green is no longer in the military, he is being charged in civilian courts. The other four charged with rape, murder and arson are Paul Cortez, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and James P. Barker. Today, AP reports that James P. Barker has enter a plea of guilty. Writing for the New York Times about the then expected plea, Paul von Zielbauer continued the paper's long tradition of rendering AbeerQassim Hamza al-Janabi invisible by providing twelve paragraphs of text that never once managed to give Abeer's name. By contrast, the Guardian of London features a photo of Abeer and manages to name her. The Guardian notes that Cortez "has deferred entering a plea" and that "Spielman will not enter a plea until December." The Guardian notes the following based upon Barker's written statement: ". . . Green dragged the father, mother and younger sister into a bedroom, while Abeer was left in the living room. . . . Barker said Cortez appeared to rape the girl [Abeer], and he followed. He said he heard gunshots and Mr. Green came out of the bedroom, saying he had killed the family, before raping the girl and shooting her with an AK-47."

At the Article 32 hearing for the four still serving in Iraq (plus Anthony W. Yribe, charged with dereliction of duty for not reporting the incident),
AFP reported the testimony of an Iraqi doctor who discovered Abeer deceased and "naked with her legs spread". Al Jazeera added that Abeer was also "burned from the waist up, with a single bullet wound beneath her left eye." During that military inquiry in August, US military investigator Benjamin Bierce testified that "Barker said that he held the girl's hands while Sergeant Paul Cortez raped her or tried to rape her. Barker then switched positions with Cortez and attempted to rape the girl" -- Bierce also testified that prior to the rape and murders, those accused spent their time consuming booze and hitting golf balls only to, after the murder and rape, grill chicken wings. Bierce's statements were basedupon what James Barker had already told him. The fact that Barker had already confessed to the crimes may be what prompted today's guilty plea. Howard? As Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reported, Bierce testified that Howard was the designated lookout. Zoroya's report also notes Justin Watt who came forward with what he was hearing in June about the crimes that took place in March. [Watt was not present, was not involved. He has however received death threats for coming forward.]

At the August hearing,
Captain Alex Pickand closed his argument for prosecution noting: "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."

Decked out like Janet Jackson on the cover of Rhythm Nation, John Abizaid, the general, blathered in Congress today. Quote: "Blah blah blah blah blah [karate chop with hand] blah blah blah."
CBS and AP report that Johnny says no timetables because they don't give him 'flexibility' and that he stated he "remains optimistic that we can stabilize Iraq." The yearly physicaly doesn't include some sort of mental evaluation? How bad was it? So bad that John McCain had to declare: "I'm of course disappointed that basically you're advocating the status quo here today, which I think the American people in the last election said that is not an acceptable condition." What may have prompted the battle of the Johns was that Abizaid didn't advocate for more US troops on the ground in Iraq -- something McCain favors. Andrew Gray and Kristin Roberts (Reuters) report Abizaid declared, "I believe more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, taking more responsibility for their future." [The gut wrenching sobs you hear are Michael R. Gordon crying for all the war pornographers.] Abizaid also saw 'progress' since August. Apparently, no one handed him a copy of today's newspaper with the front page stories of the mass kidnappings yesterday in Baghdad? To recap, Abizaid said, "Blah blah blah no withdrawal of US troops blah blah blah no timetables blah blah blah I need to be flexible blah blah blah watch me touch my nose blah blah blah."

AP notes US Senator Carl Levin's remarks: "We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves. The only way for Iraqi leaders to squarely face that reality is for President Bush to tell them that the United States will begin a phased redeployment of our forces within four to six months."

Jason Szep (Reuters) interviews Ann Clwyd, British MP, who proves you don't have to be a general or American to spin -- Clwyd is against an "early withdrawal" she informed Wellesley College -- because certainly there's nothing more important for a British MP than to address US college audiences in the midst of a war. While MP Clwyd is quite sure of herself, Terri Judd and Kim Sengupta (Independent of London) report that Ted Elliott, father of British soldier Sharron Elliott who died Sunday in Basra. Ted Elliott wonders, "Why did she have to die for such a silly cause?"

He won't find the answers from Clwyd, Abizaid or the Bully Boy.

On yesterday's mass kidnappings,
John F. Burns and Michael Luo (New York Times) reported in today's paper that the number of people kidnapped was still not clear and that remains true. CBS and AP report that currently 70 people kidnapped have been released. Strange when you consider that both the 'informed' puppet Nouri al-Maliki and the US military put the number much lower when attempting to downplay the reality of what took place --- al-Maliki went with 50, the US military with 55. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) provides the details of Tuesday's mass kidnapping: kidnappers came in the front door, told the receptionist they were police (and were dresed accordingly), divided the males and females, left with victims and "blood smeared on the gray floor . . . dirt outlines of boot prints on a door" and also quotes the brother of one of those abducted who wonders, "Where can we go? The police kidnapped him?" It's doubtful comfort will come from AFP's report that puppet al-Maliki has "demanded Wednesday the arrest of all those who were behind the kidnapping operation of 100 government employees on Tuesday." That's how bad the situation is. al-Maliki has to "demand" that kidnappers be arrested.

CNN reports that Abed Dhiyab al-Ajili, Iraq's Minister of Higher Education, has turned in his resignation and states he will follow through on it if nothing is done because "I have to protect my people." CNN estimates that 40 people remain missing and 70 who were kidnapped have been freed. That would result in at least 110 people having been kidnapped on Tuesday. At least. Possibly the puppet and the US military flacks should spend more time addressing reality and far less time spinning?

Spending his time getting the word out on his son
Ehren Watada, Bob Watada continues his speaking tour. Cordell Whitlock (St. Louis' KSDK) noted what was at stake: "Lt. Watada will go to trial early next year in military court. A panel of officers will serve as jury. If convicted, Watada could spend six years in prison and be dismissed from the army."
Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, the military announced that they had decided to proceed with a court-martial against Watada. Bob Watada and his wife Rosa Sakanishi (Ehren's step-mother) are finishing a tour, a full schedule can be found here, this Friday to raise awareness on Ehren's stand:

Nov. 15, Norfolk, VA, Location: Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 40th Street Stage, 809 W 40th St (corner 40th St and Colley Ave -- across from Felini's), Sponsors: Veterans For Peace National In Affiliation with the Norfolk Catholic Worker, Local members of VFP, Military Families Speak Out, and the Active Duty Military Project, Contacts: Tom Palumbo,
DissentingSoldier@Yahoo.Com, 757-470-9797, Ann Williams, 703-867-2174

Nov 16, Noon, Asheville, NC, Location: TBA -- Media Conference, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,
Nov 16, 2PM, Asheville, NC, Location: Mars Hill College -- Class Presentation
Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,

Nov 16, 7PM, Asheville, NC, Location: University of North Carolina -- Public Presentation, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,
timpluta@hotmail.com , Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Ahmad Daniels, War Resister Vietnam Era (appears in "Sir, No Sir!"), Mark Gibney Human Rights, International & Constitutional Law, Law, Ethics and Public Policy

Nov 17, 11:00AM, Asheville, NC, Location: Warren Wilson College, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,
timpluta@hotmail.com, Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Professor Paul Magnarella (Peace Studies, Warren Wilson College)

Nov 17, 7PM, Atlanta, GA, Location: The First Iconium Baptist Church, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 125, The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition/Atlanta, Atlanta WAND, Contact: Debra Clark, 770-855-6163,

In addition,
Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports this event on Sunday:

The Honolulu chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League will hold a symposium surrounding the actions of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who is the first military officer to face a court martial for refusing to fight in Iraq. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the University of Hawaii's architecture auditorium. The featured speaker will be Watada's father, Bob; Jon Van Dyke of the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law and Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz.


gyllenhaal, nora barrows friedman, mike lerner, team mobile guy

starting so late. sherry sent some links and photos - hot guys. there was even with some nudity of jake gyllenhaal dancing around from the movie jarhead. i won't see that movie, but i did enjoy the clip of him bare assed, dancing around. flyboy saw it and said jake danced like a woman giving a lap dance. that probably is true, sadly. but it was hot.

now in the snapshot, c.i.'s doing all these quotes. i asked 'how?' c.i. recorded the show yesterday. i know c.i. hates, hates, hates listening online. i was afraid my asking about the show and suggesting it be highlighted in the snapshot resulted in some online listening. i was glad that wasn't the case. KPFA's Flashpoints is the show. it was a strong show tonight and i especially enjoyed hearing about josh white (the blogger behind bars) but i wanted to drop back and pick up on mike lerner. c.i.'s covering some of it in the snapshot and i wanted to cover his comments about activism from outside the military.

lerner was talking about the growing movement of people in the military saying 'no' in answer to a question from nora and then he started talking about how the rest of us needed to get off our butts. how in february there would be protests and sit ins in the offices of our members of congress.

this really is what needs to happen to stop the war. it's not going to stop because we all say 'oh the war is wrong. want to get some 7 layer dip?' we really need to be upping the volume and figuring out what we're willing to do. we can't count on leadership from congress or from independent media. that's like waiting for them to cover the fact that the military announced (last week) that they were going to court-martial ehren watada.

the other thing i told c.i. that i would talk about from the interview was the issue of journalists. lerner was an un-embed. he went to iraq twice. once right before the war with voices in the wilderness going around and putting up signs about how bombing, for instance, a water plant was a war crime. and the group would do a press release but only the foreign media would show up. he said that's when he it really came home that our media wasn't going to cover iraq: when even your own country wouldn't cover it.

he went back a 2nd time with christian peacemakers and there were too many stories. he'd be trying to find out about an incident and people would tell him, 'oh forget that 1, there's 1 that happened just last week.' there were too many stories and not enough reporters. most weren't interested. (darh jamail was and they met while lerner was in iraq.)

but i think that underscores how we still don't have coverage of iraq. there are stories to be told and instead we get official statements.

to this day. i was on the phone with c.i. this morning while we were ironing out what parts i wanted to talk about and which 1s were up for grabs when c.i. put me on hold, came back and said 'did you hear about the mass kidnapping?' i hadn't. i had the tv on but i hadn't heard anything yet. we were talking about that while c.i. was posting and how it really put the official sources story in an even worse light. i would agree. jawboning about a meeting between al-maliki and a general (u.s.) today wasn't very smart. iraq is falling apart and reporters are off writing about meetings. as those everything's peaceful and calm.

nora did a really great interview with lerner. he's a c.o. as well, from the navy, i believe, during vietnam. which probably means we won't be able to read about him in most 'independent' magazines or hear him on most 'independent' programs. every 1's hiding from war resisters these days.

changing topics. sherry asked me about a commercial and fly boy hates it. it's team mobile's 'who's in your 5?' it's where the guy uses 'cognitive' and you never believe he even knows what the word means. he doesn't want to put a friend in his 5 because the guy smells like cheese.

have you seen it? sherry thinks the guy's packing and i agree. i hate the commercial though. fly boy ruined it for me by pointing out that the guy's teeth are too white and too big (like a chipmunk's). in fact, they don't look like teeth. they look like a mouth guard a goalie would wear.

i started late tonight because it's been a busy day. we're almost done redecorating the bathroom. when that's done, we're done. thank goodness. i forget where i was going with this. that's how tired i am. but you got lerner and nora, you got guy talk. hopefully there was something for you. here's c.i.'s 'iraq snapshot:'

Tuesday, November 14, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, another mass kidnapping rocks Baghdad, Ramadi's under attack, Donald Rumsfled learns it's not a lot of fun to be seen as a war criminal (Kissinger makes it look so much easier!), and press estimates say "at least 82 people" have died from violence in Iraq today.

Starting with
KPFA's Flashpoints on Monday, Nora Barrows Friedman interviewed activist, journalist, author and vet Mike Ferner.

Nora Barrows Friedman: Mike, as a veteran, what can you say about the growing momentum of combat of soldiers who are starting to organize and are refusing to serve, refusing to go to Iraq and fight Bush's illegal war?

Mike Ferner: "I think it's one of the best developments we've seen happen. I hope it increases exponentially. And I hope hundreds and hundreds of soldiers will take a look at their comrades who are doing this and say: 'That's something I should seriously think about.' I hope that we get large numbers of these soldiers just plain refusing to be deployed. If they're thinking about doing it, they need to call the
G.I. Rights Hotline [(800) 394-9544; outside the US, (510) 465-1472 -- additional numbers are at the site], the need to seriously considering doing it prior to being deployed because once you're there [Iraq] it's far more difficult. But I would love to see whole companies and battalions of people just sit down and refuse to board that plane to be taken back to Iraq. I got out of the Navy as a Const. Objector during the Vietnam war and at some point you just have to look into your heart and ask can i continue to do this and can I live with myself given the culpability that I'm going to have given that I'm following the orders of a government engaged in an illegal war."

War resisters? Has independent media bothered to note, forget cover, that
Ehren Watada will be court-martialed? No. D.D. Delaney (Port Folio Weekly) reports that Watada is facing up to "eight-and-a-half years in prison for the charges the Army has brought" against him. Meanwhile another war resister, Mark Wilkerson, who awaits word on what the military intends to do with his case, notes e.e. cummings' "I Sing of Olaf Glad and Big" -- a poem about a man "whose warmest heart recoiled at war; a conscientiour object-or". Wilkerson served one tour in Iraq and then applied for conscientious objector status only to see that denied. Following the denial, Wilkerson self-checked out for a year-and-a-half before announcing August 31st that he was turning himself in. As Wilkerson told
Dennis Bernstein on
KPFA's Flashpoints August 31st, when his c.o. status was denied, he at first prepared a rebuttal but was told it would be shelved until he returned from his second deployment to Iraq. In an echo of Mike Lerner's comments yesterday, Wilkerson told Bernstein August 31st, "I completely stand by my decision. For me this was a time in my life when I decided I had to make a stand regardless of whether [it meant] prison or death".

many avert their eyes, the war drags on. Today in Baghdad, another mass kidnapping -- the sheer number of those kidnapped may generate some interest. Most press estimates agree to at least 100 and many go with 150. (Christopher Bodeen of AP goes with 130 based upon a later statement by the Health Education Ministry.) CBS and AP note: "CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports . . . that about 80 men in some kind of Iraqi police uniforms surrounded the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education building in broad daylight and then fanned out inside the building, according to witnesses. The abductors then led the men and women captives out of the building to waiting pickup trucks and left the area, all before the real Iraqi police showed up." Pedistrians outside were encourage to clear the streets, inside the four story building, women and men were separated with the women locked in a room and only the men apparently kidnapped by people claiming to be with the Iraq Public Integrity Commission (which does not exist). What appears to be blood was noted on the floor of an entryway, phone receivers were ripped from phones, ashtrays knocked over. CNN reports that a witness "saw the gunmen check identity cards, pick out Sunni employees, including a man 'who was just delivering tea'." Sam Knight (Times of London) reports that the kidnappers used "around 40 new camouflaged pick-up vehicles" and "[a]round 80 gunmen dressed as police commandos" were involved. Whether or not they were part of the Iraqi police force has not been established.

AFP reports that "five police commanders" have been arrested and quotes Major General Abdel Karim Khalaf stating that they "should be held responsible." Reuters quotes a civil servant who witnessed the mass abductions stating that, while this was going on, "I saw two police patrols watching, doing nothing." Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that "the commander of the police brigade in charge of the area and three other officers" were also "taken into custody." Reuters also quotes the minister of Higher Education, Abd Dhiab, who states: "As far as we know, this area is full of police and Defence Ministry checkpoints and we know police vehicles followed the kidnappers to a specific area and after that we don't know what happened." The New York Times notes that: "After the kidnappings, the minister of higher education, Abdel Salam Thiab, a Sunni, rushed to Parliament, where he interrupted a national televised session to denounce the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, for rebuffing repeated requests for improved security." CNN rounds that out: "Al-Ajili said he had sent a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki last week, asking for better protection for universities and education buildings. The defense and interiour ministers had rejected earlier requests for 800 university guards, he said."

Reuters notes the targeting of educators since the beginning of the illegal war as well as this: "Just this month, Jasim al-Thahabi, the dean of Baghdad's University's Administration and Economics, was killed with his wife and son in a drive-by shooting." That was November 2nd and AP estimated he was at least the 155th educator killed since the start of the illegal war.

Al Jazeera reports that Ramadi was attacked yesterday by US forces who "destroyed several houses in an attack on al-Dhubat district" and quotes Dr. Abdullah Salih, of a hospital in Ramadi stating that 35 corpses had been brought in. Though military flacks played dumb when asked for a quote by news services, they later issued their own statement that 11 'insurgent' were killed in Ramadi where alleged 'insurgents' allegedly intended to plant alleged explosive devices and later they observed more alleged 'insurgents' allegedly planting more alleged explosive devices but "Coalition Forces have conducted no air strikes in the vicinity of these events today."


Al Jazeera notes a car bombing in west Baghdad which took three lives and wounded seven people. Reuters notes a mortar attack that left six injured and four dead in al-Zuhur, a bus station bombing in Baghdad that wounded ten and left two dead, a car bombing in central Baghdad which killed 10 and injured 25, and a car bombing in Tikrit that left ten wounded. Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports a car bomb in "along a highway linking downtown Baghdad with the Shiite slum of Sadr City" left 21 killed and 25 injured and threw Mohammed Ali "from his motor cycle" as he was attempting to drive home after work -- Ali states: "I could see people on fire. We tried to rescue some women from a minibus, but they died in our arms."


Al Jazeera notes an ambush near the Iranian border that left seven people in a mini-bus dead and two others wounded while two police officers were shot dead in Diyala.


Reuters reports ten corpses were discovered in Baquba ("bound, blindfolded . . . gunshot wounds").

In addition,
the British military has released the names of the four soldiers who died Sunday in Basra while on boat patrol: Jason Hylton (father of two, 33 y.o.), Ben Nowak (27 y.o.), Lee Hopkins (35 y.o.) and Sharron Elliott (34 y.o.). Reuters notes that Elliott is "the second British female servicewoman to die in action."

Returning to Nora Barrows Friedman's interview with Mike Ferner on
KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday (this is the segment Rebecca was noting last night), the two of them spoke of Abu Sifa, which is near Balad, and what was taking place there as it was under the supervision of the US army's Fourth Infantry Division. Shortly before Ferner arrived (about six weeks), 80 males, of various ages, had been rounded up and taken away. Following that . . .

Mike Ferner: The army came again late one night with the Bradley fighting vehicle and just emptied the few remaining residents in this one particular house and just blew the hell out of it. And did that again a few days later. So when I was visiting the . . . interviewing some of the army troops it was from that very same batallion. and luckily I was able to have interviewed the iraqis so i had times and dates and names and all the details. And I asked Lt. Col Nathan Sassaman, who was the battalion commander, "What's the deal? How come you guys came and rounded up everybody in this village and you're only looking for one person?" And he said, "Yeah, we got him." And I said, "Yeah, I know. You took eighty-some --" He said, "Well it wasn't 80, it was 76." And I said, "Well, okay, whatever the number was." He said, "Well we found weapons buried in the surrounding fields there and these were all suspected terrorists." Including a couple of very elderly men that had to be helped into the truck and young teenagers and so forth. And I said, "Well then how come you came back a few days later and blew up this one house?" He said, "Well we had been getting mortar fire from that area and we wanted to send them a message." And I said, "Well what about -- came back a few days later and did the same thing?" He said, "Well they continued mortaring our base." Well this is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention. It's called Collective punishment and because you're getting mortar fire from one area, most of the time you don't know exactly where it's coming from, and uh to go into a village and just blow up a couple of houses to try to teach them a lesson is a war crimes. The American soldiers that were there told these folks, "We'll make this place look like the moon and you'll never be able to grow anything here again." If that isn't terrorism, I don't know what is. It was not even tried to be denied by the US Army officers that were repsonsible for it. So you start multiply this, over and over again and around the country. And it should be no surprise to anybody that we're not welcome there and that there's a violent armed resistance to our presence that's going to continue until we leave.

Fener's new book is entitled
Inside the Red Zone and he'll be at Spritzers, 734 Central Ave., Alameda, CA on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

Before moving on to another topic, let's note that Nathan Sassaman expressed shock at another event (
assault on Iraqis through the use of the Tigris River leading to one death). It would be so bad that the New York Times' Dexy Filkins, who spent a great deal of time with Sassaman (apparently in sleep quarters -- Dexy: "He never took his boots off" -- embedded much?) would later write of him in "The Fall of the Warrior King" (New York Times). Dexy went far back with Sassaman as Ira Chernus noted. In the 'Warrior King' piece, as Ty noted, Dexy's question of "Where is the line?" could apply to his own 'reporting' which addresses Sassaman ordering the destruction of homes and Dexy terming those sort of actions 'non-lethal force.'

In Germany, the
Center for Constitutional Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Republican Attorneys' Association, et al. have filed their criminal complaint against Donald Rumsfeld and others because "[f]rom Donald Rumsfeld, go down, the political and military leaders in charge of ordering, allowing and implementing abusive interrogations techniques in the context of the 'War on Terror' since September 11, 2001 must be investigated and held accountable." That includes then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Jay Bybee, John Yoo, George Tenet, Ricardo Sanchez, David S. Addington and William James Haynes Jr. CCR notes, "The complaint is being filed under the Code of Crimes against International Law (CCIL), enacted by Germany in compliance with the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal court in 2002, which Germany ratified. It enables the German Federal Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute crimes constituting a violation of the CCIL, irrespective of the location of the defendant or plantiff, the place where the crime was carried out." CCR has set up a page at their website which focuses on this criminal complaint. AFP reports: "A key witness for the bid to put Rumsfeld and others on trial in Germany is the former commander of US prisons in Iraq, Brig. General Janis Karpinski, who alleges she was made a scapegoat for the Abu Ghraib scandal." Michael Ratner (president of the Center for Constitutional Rights) tells Germany's Der Spiegel, "These crimes are not the work of a few bad apples. They were planned and executed at the highest levels of the US government." Der Spiegel notes, "It's been a bad few days for former United States secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld."

In other legal news,
CBS and AP report that the Pendleton Eight now has four agreeing to plea bargain with Jerry E. Shumate Jr. becoming the latest to cop a deal in the April death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania. Schumate's attorney, Steve Immel, tells The Seattle Times that Shumate has admitted to the crime of kidnapping an Iraqi but that he thought it was an 'insurgent' until Awad was dead. The other three who have entered into plea bargains are Melson J. Bacos, John Jodka III and Tyler A. Jackson.

Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, and his step-mother, Rosa Sakanishi, continue their speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren but that tour is winding down. It ends on the 17th (Joan noted Sunday that there's an event in Honolulu on Sunday). and then they'll be in Hawaii preparing for the court-martial. In addition, Ehren's mother Carolyn Ho has also been speaking out. The US military announced Thursday that they were planning to court-martial Ehren Watada. Those interested in catching the speaking tour, a full schedule can be found here, will need to grab the final dates which include:

Nov 14, TBA St. Louis, Mo. Location: Friends Meeting House, 1001 Park Avenue Sponsors: Veterans for Peace Chapter 161, 314-754-2651Contact: Chuc Smith, 314-721-1814, vfpch61@riseup.netiraq

Nov. 15, Norfolk, VA, Location: Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 40th Street Stage, 809 W 40th St (corner 40th St and Colley Ave -- across from Felini's), Sponsors: Veterans For Peace National In Affiliation with the Norfolk Catholic Worker, Local members of VFP, Military Families Speak Out, and the Active Duty Military Project, Contacts: Tom Palumbo,
DissentingSoldier@Yahoo.Com, 757-470-9797, Ann Williams, 703-867-2174

Nov 16, Noon, Asheville, NC, Location: TBA -- Media Conference, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,

Nov 16, 2PM, Asheville, NC, Location: Mars Hill College -- Class Presentation
Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,

Nov 16, 7PM, Asheville, NC, Location: University of North Carolina -- Public Presentation, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,
timpluta@hotmail.com , Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Ahmad Daniels, War Resister Vietnam Era (appears in "Sir, No Sir!"), Mark Gibney Human Rights, International & Constitutional Law, Law, Ethics and Public Policy

Nov 17, 11:00AM, Asheville, NC, Location: Warren Wilson College, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,
timpluta@hotmail.com, Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Professor Paul Magnarella (Peace Studies, Warren Wilson College)

Nov 17, 7PM, Atlanta, GA, Location: The First Iconium Baptist Church, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 125, The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition/Atlanta, Atlanta WAND, Contact: Debra Clark, 770-855-6163,