the cover up ain't pretty

eep. if c.i.'s late posting this morning blame me.

not just because i'm late in posting and c.i. likes to note every 1 has posted.

trina and i just got back from the grocery store and i called c.i. about something i found online. 'why did you tell me about this?'

that was c.i.'s question.

because it's funny. (and it is funny.)

now c.i. feels 'i'm going to have to comment on it.' it is funny but it also goes to another thing that jim's already asked ava and c.i. to address. and this is probably going to have to be pulled in to address that.

as i noted, trina and i went to the grocery store this morning already. how come? i think i ate everything in her kitchen last night! i had the most intense cravings of this entire pregnancy thus far. flyboy and i had gone to bed and about 10 minutes after, i woke up and i wanted food. not just any food. i had a list of about 16 things i had to have right then. and it wasn't a passing thought. i could taste them all and i was like an addict desperate for a fix.

i ended up getting out of bed, putting on a robe and walking around to find some 1 awake. mike's door was open so i popped in there and elaine was already asleep but mike said his mother wouldn't mind. (she didn't. she laughed at me this morning and said, 'rebecca, i've gone through this 8 times, please, i understand.) so mike went into the kitchen with me and i think i scared the hell out of him as i just downed a 1/2 jar of pickles. (i would've downed a full jar but they only had 1 and it was only 1/2 full.) after he realized he was staring at me with his mouth wide open (i'm sure it was sight), he asked if he could make me anything and i'd seen mashed potatoes in the pantry. so he's making that and i'm going through the freezer and popping things in the microwave and scarfing them down while he's still boiling water.

at our house, i keep a jar of pickles and a jar of olives on the night stand by our bed. i often wake up during the night and pop an olive or eat a pickle after going to the bathroom (you go to bathroom all the time). that's saved flyboy from having to get up and go looking for a snack. but, last night, i had these intense cravings and they were for very specific things. after the mashed potatoes, while i was still scarfing down, mike made some bisquits because i'd been asking what kind of jelly they had?

i'm laughing about it right now but i wasn't laughing last night/this morning. and it was honestly kind of frightening. last night, i wasn't laughing because i was craving so bad. when i finally stopped eating and headed off to bed, i started thinking about it and got a little frightened because, other than cigarettes, i've never really had any sort of addicition. this was so much worse than that feeling of 'i must have a cigarette!' that would get more intense as the morning went on if there wasn't time for 1. (casual readers - i stopped smoking when i learned i was pregnant.)

okay, so let's jump into the gonzales cess pool. starting with jason leopold's 'Fitzgerald Cited Missing Emails During Plame Probe' (truthout):

In late January 2004, Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney appointed as special prosecutor to investigate whether White House officials knowingly leaked the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, sent a letter to then-acting Attorney General James Comey. Fitzgerald was seeking confirmation that he had the authority to investigate and prosecute suspects in the leak case for additional crimes, including evidence destruction.
The leak investigation had primarily been centered on an obscure law that made it a felony for any government official to knowingly disclose the identity of an undercover CIA officer.
Comey responded to Fitzgerald in writing on February 6, 2004, confirming that Fitzgerald had the authority to prosecute those crimes, including "perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses."
Fitzgerald wrote Comey in part because he had become suspicious that White House political adviser Karl Rove had either hidden or destroyed an important document tying him to the leak and the effort to discredit Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. The document Fitzgerald believed Rove had destroyed or withheld was an email Rove sent to Stephen Hadley, then deputy national security adviser, in early July 2003. That email proved Rove had a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about issues related to the CIA leak. Rove did not disclose that conversation when he was first interviewed by the FBI three months after he had emailed Hadley.
The same day that Fitzgerald received the written reply from Comey, the White House faced a deadline to turn over administration contacts with 25 journalists to the grand jury investigating the Plame Wilson leak. Cooper was one journalist cited in the subpoena sent to the White House on January 22, 2004. Curiously, the email Rove sent to Hadley did not show up during a search ordered by then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales in September 2003. Gonzales enjoined all White House staff members to turn over any communication pertaining to Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, had accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar Iraq intelligence.
The directive came 12 hours after senior White House officials had been told of the pending investigation.
In light of the revelations Thursday that thousands of emails Rove sent over a four year period via an email account maintained by the Republican National Committee may have been destroyed, questions as to why an email Rove sent to Hadley was not initially found in the 10,000 pages of documents and emails turned over to the special counsel has resurfaced. Additionally, there are also questions about the veracity of statements Rove and his attorney, Robert Luskin, made to Fitzgerald more than two years ago regarding why that email to Hadley wasn't found.
On Friday, Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, wrote a letter to Fitzgerald asking him to reopen his investigation.
"It looks like Karl Rove may well have destroyed evidence that implicated him in the White House's orchestrated efforts to leak Valerie Plame Wilson's covert identity to the press in retaliation against her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson," Sloan said. "Special Counsel Fitzgerald should immediately reopen his investigation into whether Rove took part in the leak, as well as whether he obstructed justice in the ensuing leak investigation."

i'm glad crew's on it because i firmly believe that there is something fishy about the discovery of the e-mail (as outlined by jason). their search criteria didn't pull it up?

the e-mail contained the word 'niger' which means the white house is more stupid than we thought or the e-mail was kept hidden on purpose (never intended to be turned over).

this is from mother jones:

Our friends at CREW are back in the news. They've put out a report saying "the Executive Office of the President (EOP) has lost over FIVE MILLION emails generated between March 2003 and October 2005." The White House was apparently given a plan to recover those emails, but has chosen to do nothing. I'm going to go ahead and guess that the plan to uncover those emails will never be undertaken unless done so with the power of a federal subpoena, because those emails were meant to be lost.
But guess what? Turns out, this is all illegal! Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post
asked a White House spokesman to read aloud the White House's policy on email retention, and this is what he said:
"Federal law requires the preservation of electronic communications sent or received by White House staff... The official EOP e-mail system is designed to automatically comply with records management requirements."
Federal law? Holy cow! Deleting your emails is a federal offense, and the official email system is designed so emails will never be "accidentally" deleted. These guys are totally on the hook, right? Wait, there's more?

while i'm glad mother jones is pointing out the illegality, i wasn't aware that was news. didn't we all learn this during the clinton witch hunts of the 90s? maybe i'm remembering wrong but i thought we did and that's why i've used 'crime' repeatedly.

the archive system was set up for a reason, circumventing it for any reason is a violation of the law. so if there were any questions about that (i didn't have any), mother jones and the washington post have cleared it up. that wasn't sarcasm, by the way, i just assumed we were all on the same page regarding that. if it is new to you, the white house broke another law.

staying with washington post coverage:

A lawyer for the Republican National Committee told congressional staff members yesterday that the RNC is missing at least four years' worth of e-mail from White House senior adviser Karl Rove that is being sought as part of investigations into the Bush administration, according to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
GOP officials took issue with
Rep. Henry Waxman's account of the briefing and said they still hope to find the e-mail as they conduct forensic work on their computer equipment. But they acknowledged that they took action to prevent Rove -- and Rove alone among the two dozen or so White House officials with RNC accounts -- from deleting his e-mails from the RNC server. Waxman (D-Calif.) said he was told the RNC made that move in 2005.
In a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Waxman said the RNC lawyer, Rob Kelner, also raised the possibility that Rove had personally deleted the missing e-mails, all dating back to before 2005. GOP officials said Kelner was merely speaking hypothetically about why e-mail might be missing for any staffer and not referring to Rove in particular.
The disclosures helped fan the controversy over what the White House has acknowledged to be the improper use of political e-mail accounts to conduct official government business.

so it was known that rove was deleting. let that sink in a bit. karl rove's a punk. he never sweated it during the fitzgerald investigation because he wasn't scared about being caught. did he care about the american people? hell no. but he cared about the bully boy. that 'grand jesture' in 2004 (laying on the runway in front of the plane) was meant to prove he was bully boy's boy. he's a little punk suck up.

this is from the front page of this morning's new york times:

A Justice Department e-mail message released on Friday shows that the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales proposed replacement candidates for United States attorneys nearly a year before they were dismissed in December 2006. The department has repeatedly stated that no successors were selected before the dismissals.
The e-mail message and several related documents provide the first evidence that Mr. Sampson, the Justice Department official in charge of the dismissals, had focused on who would succeed the ousted prosecutors. Justice officials have repeatedly said that seven of the eight prosecutors were removed without regard to who might succeed them.
Some of the new documents show the department's acute awareness of individual United States attorneys' political and ideological views. An undated spreadsheet attached to a Feb. 12, 2007, e-mail message listed the federal prosecutors who had served under President Bush along with their past work experience.
The chart included a category for Republican Party and campaign work, showing who had been a delegate to a Republican convention or had managed a Republican political campaign. The chart had a separate category indicating who among the prosecutors was a member of the Federalist Society, a Washington-based association that serves as a talent pool for young conservatives seeking appointments in Republican administrations.

that's david jonston and eric lipton's 'e-mail identified g.o.p. candidates for justice jobs.' it's just 1 lie on top of another with the white house. and notice that it was very much about something other than the mythical 'job performance.' why else include their little elves (federalist society) on the list or who gave what to a campaign?

this is from the washington post:

One document also raises new questions about the firing of prosecutor David C. Iglesias in New Mexico, who has testified that he felt pressured by Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.) to speed up indictments of Democrats before last November's elections.

want to say it wasn't about voting rights again? maybe the laughable rueben does, but this was about voting rights as much as anything else. back to the same article:

Two pages of handwritten notes by Monica M. Goodling, until recently Gonzales's senior counselor, include this criticism of Iglesias: "Domenici says he doesn't move cases." The notes are undated but appear amid a set of documents relating to meetings in February of this year.
Domenici and Wilson have admitted calling Iglesias but have denied pressuring him. Domenici called Gonzales or his deputy four times to complain about Iglesias, and Gonzales also fielded complaints about him last fall from Bush and Rove.
The documents show the evolution of March 6 testimony from William E. Moschella, the principal associate deputy attorney general, to a House subcommittee. Draft versions written just days before he appeared begin with a declaration that Justice "strongly opposes" efforts to revoke Gonzales's new authority to appoint interim U.S. attorneys without Senate confirmation. The scandal mushroomed in ensuing days, however, and Moschella's testimony was reshaped as the department backed down on the legislation.
The documents also reveal new details about the Justice Department's efforts to contain the political damage as controversy over the firings grew. On March 5, for example, chief Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos sent an e-mail to White House aides saying that Moschella should focus on admitting mistakes related to how prosecutors were notified of their dismissals.
"We are trying to muddy the coverage up a bit by trying to put the focus on the process in which they were told," Scolinos wrote, adding that "I don't know if the Senate Dems will let this go until it is all out in the open."

so what do we have? a conspiracy to cover up. those old enough to remember watergate remember the non-stop chatter of it wasn't the actual break in to the watergate (authorized by tricky dick) that got nixon in trouble, it was the cover up.

okay, that's it from me this morning. here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, April 13, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war will reach 3300 shortly (3299 currently), tensions flare between northern Iraq and Turkey and the refugee crisis continues so the US Senate offers help to "up to 500" of the estimated 3 million Iraqis internally and externally displaced.

In war resister news, we'll focus on
KPFA and Brian Edwards-Tiekert. Responding to a commentary by Marc Sapir in The Berkeley Daily Planet last week, Edwards-Tiekert wanted to address the issue of war resisters. Edwards-Tiekert is an important part of KPFA's news staff and does strong work, but appears to think much more is being covered than actually is. Sapir, sharing his feelings and fears regarding KPFA, wrote (this was not the thrust of his commentary), "How could KPFA be a useful tool for the GI resisters' movement, the immigrants' rights and sanctuary movements, the prison reform and opposition movements, the new sds [SDS] (already at 160 chapters), . . . if such an edict is upheld?" Sapir is referring to the fact that KPFA can promote events; however, they can not say "Be there" (as Sasha Lilley explained on the Listeners' Report earlier this month). Edwards-Tiekert grabs the subsection of that sentence and responds (this was not the thrust of his response), "Clearly, he [Marc Sapir] wasn't listening the week Aaron Glantz traveled to Fort Lewis, Washington, to produce up-to-the minute rports on the failed court martial of First Lieutenant Ehren Watada." Was Edwards-Tiekert? Aaron Glantz' reports were largely filed for Free Speech Radio News and re-aired duing the KPFA Evening News and during Aileen Alfandary's newsbreaks during The Morning Show. Sandra Lupien and Alfandary each spoke with Glantz once during the court-martial on programs other than the Free Speech Radio News. But, as Edwards-Tiekert well knows, Free Speech Radio News is an independent program, it is not a KPFA program.

Aaron Glantz did a wonderful job reporting on the court-martial for
Free Speech Radio News, for IPS, for OneWorld.net. His voice gave out and, possibly, had that not happened he would have done more reporting on it for KPFA. But in terms of reporting (not interviews days after the mistrial was called), Edwards-Tiekert appears to believe that Glantz was reporting on KPFA programs more than he was. This could result from the fact that it was usually announced (by the news staff) that he would be reporting but, in the morning or evening, what instead aired was a rebroadcast (sometimes edited down) of a report Glantz had done for Free Speech Radio News.

Ehren Watada's court-martial is important. His upcoming court-martial () will also be important and, hopefully, KPFA will do a better job covering it than they did with the February one. For that coverage, Aaron Glantz deserves praise. KPFA? Not so much. That was February. Since Watada's court-martial,
Agustin Aguayo and Mark Wilkerson have been court-martialed. Aguayo was court-martialed in Germany, possibly that's why it wasn't covered (reading wires doesn't really replace first person reporting)? Wilkerson was in Texas. Texas is much closer to California than DC (Edwards-Tiekert notes KPFA's DC coverage in his response) but it might as well be across the Atlantic. What of Robert Zabala's historic court case? Where was KPFA? Again, reading wire reports (or local press) on air doesn't really replace on the spot reporting.

Edwards-Tiekert muses, "Perhaps Sapir doesn't listen much to the radio station he maligns." As
Ruth pointed out regarded Sasha Lilley's declarations in the Listeners' Report, Lilley doesn't seem to listen a great deal. In the listners' report she maintained that KPFA news staff promoted, on air, the KPFA webpage of local events when, in fact, that wasn't the case. KPFA is an important radio station and a historic one. Edwards-Tiekert is a strong member of the news staff. His commentary (and recent call in on air to Larry Bensky) only fans simmering flames for many. I'm not interested in that. (Ruth may be. She can write whatever she wants in her space.) I am interested in war resisters.

Edwards-Tiekert may feel Watada was covered by the KPFA news. He really wasn't. (Off topic, but needs noting again, Philip Maldari, not part of the news staff, did a wonderful job last summer interviewing Bob Watada.) That false impression may come from on air announcements such as, "Tomorrow morning in the first half-hour of The Morning Show, Aileen Alfandary will speak with Aaron Glantz . . ." -- announcements that were made of coverage that never took place. (That's not a slam at Alfandary. Glantz' voice was giving out early on.) But announcements of intended coverage are not actual coverage. And re-airing reports done for a non-KPFA produced program (Free Speech Radio News) on KPFA news and news breaks does not indicate that KPFA itself provided coverage.

In February,
Kyle Snyder was hauled away in handcuffs (and in his boxers) by Canadian police. Joci Perri (Citizenship and Immigration) stated the arrest was requested by the US military and that deportation was supposed to follow. Did KPFA listeners hear about that on the news? Joshua Key is being 'shadowed.' Winnie Ng reported the incident that happened at her home. She was visited by three men, she was told they were Canadian police. They were looking for Key (Joshua, Brandi and their children stayed with Ng early on after moving to Canada). Ng's character was called into question (including by some 'friends' in Canada) and the police said it never happened. Turns out, it did happen. The Canadian police, WOOPS, did send out one officer . . . with two members of the US military. Has the KPFA news informed listeners about those developments? Dean Walcott self-checked out of the US military and went to Canada in December of 2006. How often has his name came up during news breaks or newscasts?

Here's where the real fault is, the real problem. Four years into the illegal war and
KPFA still has not created a program to focus on Iraq. Flashpoints started to cover the first Gulf War. KPFA can't spare one half-hour or hour a week for a program that focuses on Iraq? Of course they can. The fact that they haven't is more embarrassing than any of the back and forths or the old history (covered in both Edwards-Tiekert and Sapir's commentaries). Is KPFA frozen or paralyzed when it comes to new programming? No. In fact it did an election series for the 2006 elections. One would think that an illegal war was at least as important as a mid-term election.

Dean Walcott, the latest to go public, part of the growing movement of war resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Yesterday in Iraq, the Green Zone was the target of an attack.
AFP notes today that the US military is now saying that the bombing in the parliament's cafeteria killed only one person (but "an Iraqi security officer" maintains "three people died"). Though Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) prefers to call it the "International Zone," as William M. Arkin (Washington Post) notes of the Green Zone, "The Zone is officially known as the international zone, a less inflammatory label that suggests non-U.S. control, but everyone knows the truth." Bushra Juhi (AP) reports that al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the bombing and that it was a suicide bombing and that the Iraqi parliament met today ("about 90 minutes") but turnout was low due to the traffic ban and to the fact that many were visiting the wounded from yesterday's bombing. While AP repeats that the culprit is thought to be a bodyguard to a Sunni lawmaker, The Australian reports that three cafeteria workers are being questioned as well as "some parliamentary guards". CNN notes that this is due to the suspicion that the bombing was an 'inside job'. Robert Burns (AP) reveals: "The U.S. military will not take over security of the Iraqi parliament building in the wake of the deadly suicide bombing in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, a top commander said Friday. Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said "it is clear we still have a long way to go to provide stability and security to Iraq." Michael Howard (The Guardian of London) informs, "US officials admitted last night that the bombing of the Iraqi parliament shows that not even the heavily fortified Green Zone is safe any more, despite the security crackdown launched earlier this year in the Iraqi capital." Despite that reality, Robin Wright and Karin Brulliard (Washington Post) report that John McCain, "who this week spoke of 'the first glimmers' of progress in the new U.S. effort, said the attack on the parliament building does not change the 'larger picture'."

Or, as
William M. Arkin (Washington Post) observes, "For the past few weeks, we have been told by the administration and the military that the Baghdad Security Plan and the surge are working. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had his Snoopy in the tank moment walking through a marketplace in a well-oiled photo op, accompanied of course by American Humvees and soldiers and roof-top snipers. The Senator and his delegation then repaired to the 'relative safety' of the Green Zone, speaking of their safe drive to and from the airport to downtown, a trip by dignitaries that is usually made by helicopter. The boast itself spoke volumes about the truth of the Green Zone, and of Baghdad."

Security and refugess was a topic today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, where Andrea Lewis and Aaron Glantz spoke with guests including Dahr Jamail and Sarah Holewinski (Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict). (20 minutes in, Dahr speaks for the first time other than the normal greetings.)

Dahr: Well without a doubt, I think offering someone $2,500 when they've had a loved one killed by occupation forces is - is quite an insult especially now with the rate of inflation and the conditions in Iraq. I think the primary thing that I'd absolutely agree with her with is that the Iraqi people who are sufffering right now as we speak and all those who have lost loved ones certainly deserve and justifiably have earned compensation levels that are very, very fair and, in my opinion, I think that they should be compensation levels like we see in the United States when someone dies in a plane crash and there's a lawsuit or when someone dies in a car crash, typically millions of dollars are awarded to someone. How would people in the United States react if they lost a loved one and the government offered them $2,500?
[. . .]
I would start by amending the numbers that Nabil just said. I have updated numbers from meeting with Sybella Wilkes yesterday who is the UNHCR regional public information officer. And according to UNHCR, there are, there's 1.2 million is the minimum estimate they have in Syria alone. The governement of Syria, who UNHCR admitted probably has more accurate figures than they do, estimates there's between 1.4 and 1.5 million Iraqi refugees here [Syria], hundreds of thousands of those are Shia as well. I think people in the US are led to believe that it's only the Sunni population that's leaving and, while they are the majority, it's important to note that there's a giant number and growing number of Shia up here in Syria as well. But really the situation is really -- even just those numbers, as if they're not staggering enough by themselves -- the situation here is UNHCR has only actually registered approximately 70,000 of these people. So that means these are only the 70,000 that literally have so little of anything that they have to literally go there for food and in some way to find some housing. So the crisis is certainly going to grow exponentially as these other Iraqis here, and I have met with many of them, are living on their savings right now. What are they going to do when their savings run out? Syria right now has approximately a 20 to 25% unemployment rate. Add in another between 1.2 to 1.5 million Iraqis, so already that figure is too low. And as time persists, of course, the situation will worsen. And we have between 30 and 50,000 more Iraqis coming into Syria alone every single month.

Andrea Lewis: And Dahr what are some of the refugees telling you, other than concerns about their finances which obviously are important, what other things are you hearing from the people you're talking to?

Dahr: Well I'm actually sitting here right now with two friends who just came out yesterday from Baquba and they're telling me things like the US military has absolutely zero control of that city. There's only one street where one kilometer of that street is controlled by the US military and that's because that's primarily where their base is. The banks in Baquba have zero money whatsoever. It's a ghost town in the middle of the day. There's no marekts open. Of course, no one is working. And, as they described it, al Qaeda is in total control of that entire city and they state that the US military there is doing little to nothing to stop them.

Aaron Glantz: Well that's where Zarchawy was killed and we all remember Abu Musab al-Zarchawy. He was a big enemy and now he's dead and he was killed in Baquba.

Dahr: Right and clearly the situation has done nothing but degrade. As they said, it's like something out of a scene of a movie where literally it's a ghost town, nobody leaves their homes, nobody goes out. Even traveling from there to Baghdad, which is just barely 20 miles away, people just don't even make that trip. For them to even come up to Syria, they had to go, completely bypass Baghdad, and go to the north in order to come up here. Of course it was very far out of their way. But that just gives you an idea of how horrible the security situation is. There's literally no security and no regular life there to be found.

Turning to news from the US Senate,
Reuters reports that legislation passed allowing for the admission of a whopping (yes, that is sarcasm) "500 Iraqi and Afghan translators into the United States a year because their lives are in danger for helping U.S. forces during the wars."

Last month,
Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) noted that it was past time for US citizens to ask exactly who their tax dollars supported in Iraq. This month (at The Huffington Post), Hayden notes: "The time has come to understand the new de facto US policy in Iraq: to support, fund, arm and train a sectarian Shi'a-Kurdish state, one engaged in ethnic cleansing, mass detention and murder of Sunni Arabs." Hayden argues that the training of police fails to acknowledge who is being trained and for what -- as with El Salvador the 'blind eye' is a pretense upon the part of the US government. Tom Hayden proposes a series of recommendations including "peace advocates and critics must focus on the new reality that American blood and taxes are being spent on propping up a sectarian government that wants to carry out an ethnic cleansing of the Sunni population."

Keeping the above in mind and turning to the northern section of Iraq, yesterday
Umit Enginsoy (Turkish Daily News) reported on the conference in DC regarding the the upcoming, proposed referendum that would etermine the fate of Kirkuk (an Iraqi citiy that "sits on nearly 40 percent of Iraq's oil") which Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is pushing (Talabani fell ill as the latest wave of the crackdown began earlier this year, he was represented at the conference by his son Qubad Talabani who is also "the representative for the Kurdistan regional government"). The issues revolve around the oil, obviously, and also around the demographic makeup of Kirkuk and who gets a vote with Turcomen and Arabs concerned over what "hundreds of thousands of Kurds [who] have flocked into Kirkuk in recent years while the number of Kurds expelled under Saddam's regime could be measured by tens of thousands."

Laith al-Saud (CounterPunch) explores the issue of the resettling, "Since the 2003 invasion of the country myth has taken precedence over history and Kurdish politicians have adopted the methods of that other myth-based nation-state in the region-Israel, to establish claims . . . During the invasion, Kurdish peshmerga (militias) entered Kirkuk and established de facto control of the city. Since then, as has been reported by the Center for Research on Globalization, Kurdish militias have forcibly evicted people from their homes, engaged in Murder, assassination and a slow ethcnice cleansing. The first victims in this regard have been the Arabs. Since the Arabs there are largely associated with Baa'th policy they have seen little support from the regime in Baghdad. Less publicized has been the targeting of Assyrians and other smaller minorities in the region. But the largest group in the city -- and the one that promises to be the most resistant to Kurdish aggression -- is the Turcomen. Ethnically Turks, the Turcomen have lived in the area for over eight-hundred years and have strong ties to Turkey."

Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) notes of the referendum: "The Kurds expect that large areas of eastern, northern and western Ninevah province will join theKRG, not not Mosul city itself because it has an Arab majority. The Kurds are absolutely determined to get what they consider their rights after years or persecution, expulsion and genocide. They rightly think that they now have an historic opportuniy to create a powerful near independent state within Iraq: They are America's only effective allies in Iraq; they are powerful in Baghdad; The non-Kurdish parts of the Iraqi government are weak."

At the conference, the US appeared to waffle (we'll get back to the point).
Michael Kuser and Guy Dinmore (Financial Times of London) note that Turkey's concern is that "an independent Kurdish state" will be created. This stems from Turkey's own issues in the southern part of its country where a historical and ongoing battle by Kurdish inhabitants of the area to gain self-autonamy has been rejected.If Iraq is partitioned off into regions and/or Kirkuk and other northern areas become their own independent body, Turkey's concerns include how such a breaking up could effect their own country. Chris Toensing (Foreign Policy In Focus) summed up the recent conflict within Turkey: "Since the invasion [of Iraq], the Turkish military and security services -- known to Turks as the 'deep state' -- have reasserted themselves, to the detriment of Turkish democracy. They are resisting even the Justice and Development Party's modest efforts to reach out to the country's Kurdish population, and inveighing against any ceasfire with the renewed Kurdish insurgency in the southeast. Far-right social elements associated with the 'deep state' are rallying in favor of chauvinistic versions of Turkish nationalism; in January, one such militan murdered an Armenian-Turkish journalist who sought to reconcile Turks' and Armenians' understanding of the 1915 Aremian genocide."

Another concern on the part of Turkey
pointed out by Kuser and Dinmore is that their border is not respected by "combat rebels from the Kurdish Wokers party (PKK)". Lebanon's The Daily Star reports that Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit has "asked the government" of Turkey "for approval to launch a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq, signaling growing frustration over a lack of action by Iraqi and US forces against Kurdish guerrillas. This follows, as Umit Enginsoy notes, that the head of Iraq's Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, stated last week if Turkey did not stop interfering in Iraq's northern region, Iraq would "retaliate by intervening in Turkey's Kurdish-related matters. The rising tensions come as Turkey's president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, prepares to step down (the parliament electes a new president in May). The Turkish Daily News presents a sample of Buyukanit's press conference where he touched on a number of issues, including political ones.

As the tensions rise and some commentators wonder what the US is doing -- signaling both ways is the answer. Fortunately, the issue is in questionable hands: Hoover Institute's Barbara Stephenson is now a 'diplomat' ("
deputy senior advisor and coordinator to the secretary of state"). In 1998, she was a "homemaker" and apparently $519,200 in donations is all it takes to buy a job at the State Department under US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice. (It's also a good little circle jerk since, Rice was "the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute"). Stephenson's main claim to fame/infamy may be her declaration of Iraqis, "They need to want this more than we do." Spoken by the person who some would argue bought her way into an administration.

From the north to the south,
Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports on the protests that took place Monday calling for foreign troops (all non-Iraqi troops) to leave the country. Historian Mahmood al-Lamy tells al-Fadhily, "Basra is the biggest southern city and the only Iraqi city that has a port near the Gulf. It is now controlled by various militias who fight each other from time to time over an oil smuggling business that is flourishing under the occupation."
Simon Assaf (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reminds that the protest on Monday (in Najaf) "was the biggest in Iraq since the massive unity demonstrations in the early days of the occupation" and that uniformed Iraqi soldiers joined in the protest.


Hussein Kadhmim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports one civilian dead from a roadside bombing in Baghdad, a Baghdad mortar attack that killed one person and left 15 wounded,
"a primary school was exploded in Instar village of Bani Saad," "a public clinic at (Tibtib) village" was bombed, and "LC Falih Hassan of the Iraqi national police was killed today after a road side bomb targeted his vehicle today after noon. Three of his body guards were killed."
CBS and AP note a Baghdad roadside bomb claimed the life of a police officer and left four other officers injured as well as one citizen injured. Reuters reports a second Baghdad mortar attack killed two people and left 8 more wounded, a Hilla bombing killed a police officer and left three others wounded, and a mortar attack in Iskandariya wounded 10 people.


Hussein Kadhmim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a woman wounded during an attack on a police patrol. Reuters reports that Mohammed Abd al-Hameed ("Mosque imam in the northern city of Mosul . . . well known figure in the Sunni Muslim Scholars' Association") was shot dead in Mosul, three guards of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party offices were wounded in an attack in Hilla, and an attack on a barber shop left two people "seriously wounded."


Hussein Kadhmim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports five corpses discovered in Baghdad,
Reporters Without Borders notes that two corpses were discovered in Mosul yesterday: Iman Yussef Abdallah ("journalist for a radio station operated by a group of Mosul trade unions") and her husband. She "was the second journalist to be murdered in Mosul this year and the 13th in Iraq."

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died April 12 due to a non-battle related cause." And they announced: "An MND-B Soldier died when a patrol was attacked with small arms fire north of the Iraqi capital. The unit was conducting a security patrol when the attack occurred." [Both were noted last night. They were announced Friday Iraq time.] And they announced: "An MND-B Soldier died and one other was wounded when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device south of Baghdad April 12. The unit was conducting a security patrol in the area when the attack occurred." And they announced: "Two MND-B Soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded when their patrol base came under attack by anti-Iraqi forces south of Baghdad April 12. Two Iraqi interpreters were also killed in the attack." ICCC's total for the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 3299 and 52 is the total for the month thus far.

Finally, the
Austin American-Stateman weighs in with an editorial commenting on the decision by the White House to extend tours of duty to 15 months while, at the same time, searching for someone ( a war 'czar' -- "The first and most obvious is that a war szar already exists: the president of the United States is the commander in chief. The novelty of the idea doesn't make it viable.") to run the illegal war in Iraq and concludes, "It is especially troubling when you consider that the Bush administration is asking more and more from military personnel who can't appoint someone else to do their jobs for them."


gonzales and his blotter of many crimes

okay, it's almost the end of the week. marlene wondered today if we (flyboy and me) had found out what i'm having? no. we're going to find out tuesday. unless 1 of us backs out. i'm fine with a boy or a girl. it will be good to know and i can't believe we waited this long. what would happen was 1 of us would want to know when the other didn't. we finally, in the last few weeks, were able to get on the same page so now we're ready to find out.

let's hop into the cesspool that is alberto gonzales. 1st up this is from media matters:

An April 11 article in The Washington Post on the House Judiciary Committee's decision to subpoena hundreds of Justice Department documents related to the U.S. attorney firings noted that Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) has "joined other members in demanding records and additional information about a federal public corruption case" in Wisconsin. Regarding the case, the Post reported only that a federal appeals court in Chicago ordered a former state employee to be "released after overturning her conviction." The article did not report that Georgia Thompson -- who was not identified by name -- was convicted on charges brought by a Bush-appointed U.S. attorney just before the 2006 election, that Wisconsin Republicans used her conviction to attack Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) during the campaign, that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit took the highly unusual action of ordering the defendant released during oral argument because of the lack of evidence to support the conviction, and that Feingold and five other senators have requested information about the case to investigate whether "politics may have played an inappropriate role" in the prosecution.

now i noted that story about wisonsin this week and this is a voters' rights issue which we will get back to shortly. but right now i want to return to the fact that the white house used g.o.p. e-mail accounts, instead of their assigned white house 1s, to avoid a record being kept (they would be automatically archived). first up is a press release from crew on the e-mails:

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today has released a report, WITHOUT A TRACE: The Missing White House Emails and the Violations of the Presidential Records Act, detailing the legal issues behind the story of the White House e-mail scandal.
Download the executive summary 80K PDFDownload the exhibits 4.4MB PDFDownload the full report 2.4MB PDF
In a startling new revelation, CREW has also learned through two confidential sources that the Executive Office of the President (EOP) has lost over five million emails generated between March 2003 and October 2005. The White House counsel's office was advised of these problems in 2005 and CREW has been told that the White House was given a plan of action to recover these emails, but to date nothing has been done to rectify this significant loss of records.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, "It's clear that the White House has been willfully violating the law, the only question now is to what extent? The ever changing excuses offered by the administration Ð that they didn't want to violate the Hatch Act, that staff wasn't clear on the law - are patently ridiculous. Very convenient that embarrassing - and potentially incriminating - emails have gone missing. It's the Nixon White House all over again."
WITHOUT A TRACE covers the following areas:
Presidential Records Act (PRA): Enacted in 1978, requires the president to preserve all presidential records, which are defined as those records relating to the "activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies that reflect the performance of [the president's] constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties..."
Clinton Administration Policy: In 1993, then-Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary John Podesta sent a memo to all presidential staff explaining that the PRA required all staff members to maintain all records, including emails. Podesta stated that the use of external email networks was prohibited because records would not be saved as required. The 1997 White House Manual and a 2000 memo issued by Mark Lindsay, then Assistant to the President for Management and Administration echoed this policy, requiring staff to use only the White House email system for official communications.
Bush Administration Policy: The Bush Administration has refused to make public its record-keeping policy. A confidential source provided CREW with a 2002 document indicating the use of "non-EOP messaging-enabled mechanisms should not be used for official business."
Bush Administration Practice: In the wake of the scandals surrounding Jack Abramoff and the fired U.S. Attorneys, emails were released showing that top White House staffers routinely used Republican National Committee (RNC) email accounts to conduct official business. For example, J. Scott Jennings, White House Deputy Political Director, used an RNC account to communicate with the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales regarding the appointments of new U.S. Attorneys. Similarly, Susan Ralston, a former aide to Karl Rove, used RNC email accounts to communicate with Abramoff about appointments to the Department of the Interior.
PRA Violations: 1) The administration failed to implement adequate record-keeping systems to archive presidential email records; 2) two confidential sources independently informed CREW that the administration abandoned a plan to recover more than five million missing emails; 3) White House staff used outside email accounts to conduct presidential business, ensuring that emails were not adequately preserved. In fact, former Abramoff associate Kevin Ring said in an email to Abramoff that Ralston had told him not to send emails to her official White House account "because it might actually limit what they can do to help us, especially since there could be lawsuits, etc."
Hatch Act Excuse: The administration has claimed that Rove, Jennings and other staffers use RNC accounts to avoid violating the Hatch Act. This is untrue. The Hatch Act prohibits White House staff from using official resources for purely "political" purposes. "Political" refers to the president's role as either a candidate for office or as the leader of his party. Email communications regarding presidential appointments for U.S. Attorney and Interior Department positions clearly fall within the PRA as making appointment is an official presidential function and does not relate to the president's role as party leader.
Read the full WITHOUT A TRACE report at
CREW's Website

crew's done a fantastic job so please check out the links in the press release. so they used g.o.p. accounts to avoid the archiving process. and now that they're caught, they're trying to say the e-mails are gone and cannot be retrieved. senator patrick leahy, as ap points out, isn't buying it:

The White House's claim that e-mails sent on a Republican Party account might have been lost was challenged Thursday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, who quipped that even his teenage neighbor could find them.
"They say they have not been preserved. I don't believe that!" Leahy shouted from the Senate floor as the dispute over the firing of federal prosecutors continued at a high pitch.
"You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers," said Leahy, D-Vt. "Those e-mails are there; they just don't want to produce them. We'll subpoena them if necessary."
Later, Leahy and his committee's ranking Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said the White House and lawmakers should agree on an independent forensic expert to try to recover the messages.

now it is about many things and 1 of the things is an attempt to discriminate against some voters. with more on that marjorie cohn's 'U.S. Attorneys and Voting Rights'(counterpunch) is a great resource but what i'm going to pull from it is going to stick with the e-mails:

Shortly after the Watergate break-in, President Richard Nixon and his loyal chief of staff H.R. Haldeman spoke in the old Executive Office Building. Their conversation was taped, but 18.5 minutes were erased. This gap incriminated Nixon in the cover-up which eventually led to his impeachment and resignation.
Likewise, there is a suspicious 16-day gap in the email records between the Justice Department and the White House just before seven of the U.S. attorneys were fired in December. Moreover, many of the communications about the matter were conducted using email accounts of the Republican National Committee instead of government accounts, possibly in violation of the Presidential Records Act.
The Los Angeles Times reported that senior Justice Department officials prepared documentation to justify the firings after the dismissals. One Justice Department official threatened to "retaliate" against the eight fired U.S. attorneys if they continued to publicly speak about their dismissals.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who heads the Justice Department, denied he was involved in discussions about the firings. But Sampson testified that Gonzales was consulted at least five times and signed off on the plan to fire the U.S. attorneys. "I don't think it's entirely accurate what he [Gonzales] said," Sampson told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Gonzales is reportedly sweating bricks over his own testimony before that Committee, slated for April 17. As a result of Gonzales' stonewalling in response to the House Judiciary Committee's request for documents, committee chairman Rep. John Conyers has subpoenaed the records. If the Justice Department defies the subpoena, the Judiciary Committee, and the full Congress, could cite the department for contempt of Congress, and a federal grand jury could issue criminal indictments for obstruction of justice.
The White House has indicated it will not allow Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to testify under oath. Why the resistance unless they intend to lie?
Alberto Gonzales should be fired, not just for malfeasance in the U.S. attorney affair, but also for advising Bush to violate the Geneva Conventions which led to torture and abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. Recall that Gonzales told Bush the Geneva Conventions were "quaint" and "obsolete." Those were the same words the Nazi lawyers used at Nuremberg to describe the Geneva Conventions.

keep that in mind as you read this from canada's globe & mail:

0: Number of e-mails U.S. President George W. Bush has sent since his 2001 inauguration for fear they may later be subpoenaed

now bully boy's an idiot, no question. but do you really think he hasn't sent a single e-mail message in all this time?

okay. i love the snapshot today, especially the 2nd paragraph. i called c.i. and mentioned that and c.i. replies, 'oh ___! i was stuck on the part and tossed that in there to move on. when i was done dictating, i forgot all about it.' well, too bad. it's hilarious. so here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, April 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, war resisters continue standing even when little jerks attack, the puppet pushes the privatization of Iraq's oil, and Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

Starting with war resisters, it must have been a full moon. You had the overgrown "girl" going after war resisters and then you got Little Priss (at the most laughable student newspaper of any college in the US) doing the same. It takes a special kind of voice to 'sing' so passionately about the tough life when Daddy's a big league coach but we're not supposed to talk about that, I'm guessing. Just like we're all supposed to pretend Junior's slug line is in anyway authentic (Little Boys from Suburbia have nasty cases of Big City Envy that force them to lie -- something that was frowned upon in the private, religious school they attended to avoid mixing with other races). Maybe Little Priss can join the overgrown "girl" and assist her in basket-weaving her home-made maxi-pads. What has them up in arms? A nasty case of toxic shock syndrome?

No, a hatred of war resisters such as Camilo Mejia whose new book,
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia, will be published by The New Press next month (May 1st). Kirkus Reviews found it, "Timely, courageous and cautionary." Mejia, as noted in Amy Goodman and David Goodman's Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders and the People Who Fight Back, served six months in Iraq and, after returning to the US, applied for c.o. status and self-checked out of the military. Mejia was convicted of desertion and sentenced to a year at Fort Still. Upon release, Mejia declared, "Peace does not come easily, so I tell all members of the military that whenever faced with an order, and everything in their mind and soul, and each and every cell in their bodies scream at them to refuse and resist, then by God do so. Jail will mean nothing when brekaing the law became their duty to humanity." Another quote Camilo Mejia is known for, noted by Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker), is "Behind these bars, I sit a free man because I listened to a higher power, the voice of my conscience."

Mejia's book follows Joshua Key's successful
The Deserter's Tale and joins other books exploring the resistance in the military today including Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq. Mejia is also featured in the documentary To Disobey.
As Monica Benderman, wife of Iraq war resister
Kevin Benderman, has noted, there has been little on resistance in many bookstores. Monica and Kevin Benderman intend to do their part to change that by writing their own book.

Mejia and Benderman are a part of a movement resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Dean Walcott, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In Iraq today the violence continued. So badly that US Secretary of State Condi Rice felt the need to issue a laughable statement: "
We know that there is a security problem in Baghdad." "We know"? Speaking for the rest of the world, "we hope so." We hope you know there is a problem in Baghdad. Still, it is an improvement over her usual "no one could have guessed" statements.

The most shocking incident of violence today for the US administration may have been the bombing inside the Green Zone.
NPR's Tom Bullock notes that the explosion took place "inside the Iraqi parliament building" in the heavily fortified section of Baghdad known as the Green Zone and that it was "a major security breach." BBC offers that the cafeteria where the bombing took place "is for MPs and their staff, some of whom were having lunch there."
AFP, noting that the Green Zone is "the country's most heavily guarded site," observes that the bombing took place "despite a massive US-Iraqi security crackdown". Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes that the bombing was caputed by "news video camera" revealing "the blast: a flash and an orange ball of fire causing a startled parliament member who was being interviewed to duck, and then the smoky, dust-filled aftermath of confusion and shouting." The news team was from Al-Hurrah, the US based and US tax funded propoganda outlet. Abdul-Zahra also notes that two legs, apparently belonging to the person who detonated the bomb, can be seen on the videotape. There is dispute as to whether a person carried the bomb in and it exploded on his/her person or whether the bomb was planted somewhere in the cafeteria. Dean Yates and Ross Colvin (Reuters) sketch out the basic procedures of entry: "the confrence centre is restricted to accredited parliamentary staff, deputies, security guards and journalists. Only MPs, police and kitchen staff can access the cafeteria. Two Shi'ite lawmakers said the metal detector used at the VIP entrance was working, but a Sunni legislator said when he arrived there was a power cut and bags were being manually searched. A Reuters cameraman said the scanner at a second entrance used by staff and journalists was operating." Those steps are to access the cafeteria. AFP notes gaining entry to the Green Zone "is restricted to visitors carrying picture identity cards and required to pass through multiple checkpoints and metal detectors."

James Hider (Times of London) explains the bombing, in "practical terms," means "the incident also whosed that the bombers can get straight into the heart of what was meant to be the most protected place in Baghdad. Therefore, in effect, it serves to send out the message that nobody is safe and that the insurgents can get suicide bombers in anywhere. The reality is that, despite its reputation as a heavily fortified and protected area, the Green Zone isn't actually that impenetrable. Within the zone itself live 15,000 Iraqis who go in and out every day." CNN states that 14 MPs were wounded (reported number is currently as high as 20). AP notes three members of parliament dead -- Taha al-Liheibi (Sunni), Mohammed Awad (Sunni) and Niamah al-Mayahi (Shi'ite) -- and that they are part of the total eight reported dead. Martin Seemungal (CBS News) spoke with a parlimentarian in the cafeteria who stated that 6 MPs may have been killed in the bombing.

The Green Zone is where Iraq's puppet government offices are, where the stadium-size US embassy is, where many journalists are. As a result, that bombing has cast a lengthy shadow over an earlier one today.
BBC reports that a truck bomb took out the Sarafiya bridge in Baghdad during rush hour traffic and that it "sent several cars toppling into the River Tigris below." CBS and AP report: "Cement pilings that support the bridge's stell structure were left crumbling. At the base of one laid a charred vehicle enigne, believed to be that of the truck bomb." CNN notes 10 dead, 26 wounded and that "two large sections in the middle of al-Sarafiya bridge collapsed into the river." AFP reports that "River police raced to the scene on patrol boats and divers donned oxygen cylinders to search the murky waters for survivors after officials said four cars tumbled off the bridge." Reuters reminds that, "The Tigris River cuts Baghdad in half and the Sarafiya bridge is a key artery in the northern part of the city."

James Hider (Times of London) offers his opinion of the message sent with the bridge bombing, "the attack on the al-Sarafiya bridge is also believed to be extremely symoblic. The east of Baghdad is mainly Shia while the west is mainly Sunni, and the Parliamentary speaker today said that the insurgents are conspiring to divide Baghdad in two. The particular bombing -- destorying one of the main access points uniting the city -- illustrates this well. . . . There are, of course, other ways to get across the city apart from this particular bridge. But the fewer there are, the greater the chance of those who use them getting caught up in the bombing." BBC News' Jim Muir observes that both "attacks are major blows to the much-trumpeted security surge now in its third month".

The puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, is in Seol and, from miles away, issued a statement on the bombings. It was apparently more important that he be present in South Korea for the big push that Iraq will raise producting of oil to 3 million barrels per day. In doing so, he was also selling the privatization of Iraq's oil (something the US Congress is on board with). Reuters notes: "The world's top oil comapnies have been maneuvering for years to win a stake in Iraq's prized oilfields such as Bin Umar, Majnoon, Nassiriyah, West Qurna and Ratawi, all located in the south of the country." In Baghdad, however, it was all smilles as Hoshyar Zebari (Iraq's Minister of Foreign Affairs) met with Hassan Kazimi Qumi (Iran's ambassador to Iraq) where they discussed the upcoming meeting in Egypt and Iraq's help in obtaining the release of one Iranian diplomat. Strangely, considering Little Willie's big press conference yesterday, bombings and weapons weren't a topic of the meeting.

Norman Solomon (CounterPunch) observes, the US government has their eyes on Iran and US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards are 100% all options for war (all repeating the "no option" off the table mantra). Despite this, Solomon notes, WalkOn.org is pushing the myth that "Hillary Clinton has provided some much needed leadership on" the issue of war with Iran -- apparently Hillary cried, "To the barricades!" Solomon concludes: "To praise Hillary Clinton for providing 'much needed leadership' on Iran -- and to mislead millions of e-mail recipients counted as MoveOn members in the process -- is a notable choice to make. It speaks volumes. It winks at Clinton's stance that 'no option can be taken off the table.' It serves an enabling function. It is very dangerous. The stakes are much too high to make excuses or look the other way."

Meanwhile, in the ruins of Iraq, another anniversary passed yesterday but it wasn't as crowd pleasing as the staged take-down of a Saddam statue.
Haydar Baderqghan (Azzaman) reminds that it is four years of "the looting of Iraq Museum," that the Ministry of Archaeology and Terrorism issued a statement condeming "the barbarism of wars and their destructive outcome," and that only 4,000 of the 15,000 stolen artifacts have been recovered (four years later).

In other violence today . . .


Reuters reports 2 roadside bombing in Kirkuk killed 6 and injured 21, a Baghdad mortar attack that left one person dead and one wounded.

Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) notes a Baquba bombing that killed 4 police officers and injured two more and another Baquba bombing that wounded two people;


Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports one person shot dead in south Baghdad and another shot and injured and one person shot dead in east Baghdad. Reuters reports a police officer "guarding civil servants on a bush" in Mosul was shot dead.


Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) offers a breakdown of the areas of Baghdad that 12 corpses were discovered in today.

Finally, in the United States, a passing deserves noting,
from Democracy Now!:

And finally, the author Kurt Vonnegut has died. He was eighty-four years old. Vonnegut authored at least nineteen novels including "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle." In recent years, Vonnegut was a fierce critic of the Bush administration and a columnist for the magazine In These Times.

Transcript, audio and video of Vonnegut can be found
here at Democracy Now!


gonzales has mail - that he's not sharing

i figured out today that i am like the administration. my belly continues to grow, just like their ballooning debts, it's painful for both of us but at the end of this, i'll have a baby. my guess on the administration? a few of them will be behind bars.

and on that note, the gonzales' crime spree. i'm starting off with this from mother jones because i know i linked to them while i was on the road (c.i. was e-mailing things to choose from) but i don't know that they've gotten the credit they've earned for exposing important issues. so, from mother jones:

The hidden scandal in the administration's already scandalous purge of eight U.S. Attorneys is the discovery that White House officials have been regularly communicating using nongovernmental email addresses, some of them administered by the Republican National Committee. As we reported a couple weeks ago, this seems a blatant attempt to prevent emails from being archived by the White House computer system and potentially flouts the Presidential Records Act, a law enacted after Watergate to ensure that the papers of presidents and their advisor's are adequately preserved (and eventually made available to the public).
Now that
congressional investigators are turning up the heat on the White House to explain this practice and Henry Waxman has asked the RNC to preserve White House communications archived on its servers, the email controversy is "creating new embarrassment and legal headaches for the White House," the Los Angeles Times reports. The paper explains that this "back-channel e-mail and paging system, paid for and maintained by the RNC, was designed to avoid charges that had vexed the Clinton White House -- that federal resources were being used inappropriately for political campaign purposes."

the g.o.p. e-mail accounts do not just raise a huge issue, they also threaten to expose a great deal more. to circumvent the automatic archiving process that white house e-mail would automatically go into. so they used it to cover up this series of crimes; however, a large issue opens up of what else did they use this for? i've already stated they could have used it to work out the outing of valerie plame. they could have used it for other things as well. if you remember, there was a delay before alberto gonzales ordered the preservation of e-mails in the wake of the valerie plame investigation. was that the wake up call? was that when they decided 'we better use g.o.p. e-mail accounts to cover our asses?' or were they doing it much earlier.

anything they sent through g.o.p. accounts should not even have the option of exec. priv. because they weren't using official white house accounts. that probably wasn't a concern because they probably didn't think they'd ever be found out. now that they have, the congress should really be exploring this issue.

now, if you remember, the original lie was that the prosecutors were fired because they weren't doing their jobs. this is from the washington post:

A half-dozen sitting U.S. attorneys also serve as aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales or are assigned other Washington postings, performing tasks that take them away from regular duties in their districts for months or even years at a time, according to officials and department records.
Acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, for example, has been effectively absent from his job as U.S. attorney in Montana for nearly two years -- prompting the chief federal judge in Billings to demand his removal and call Mercer's office "a mess."

Another U.S. attorney, Michael J. Sullivan of Boston, has been in Washington for the past six months as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He is awaiting confirmation to head the agency permanently while still juggling his responsibilities in Massachusetts.
The number of U.S. attorneys pulling double duty in Washington is the focus of growing concern from other prosecutors and from members of the federal bench, according to legal experts and government officials.
The growing reliance on federal prosecutors to fill Washington-based jobs also comes amid controversy over the firings of eight other U.S. attorneys last year. One of them, David C. Iglesias of New Mexico, was publicly accused by the Justice Department of being an "absentee landlord" who was away from his job too much.

so david iglesias gets fired and others don't? iglesias who was pulling national guard duty was, the lie went, fired for absences.

now 1 element that has been ignored by some tsk-tsking the gonzales crimes is that it's no big deal. as i've noted before it also involves voting rights. this is from gannett news service:

An effort by the Wisconsin Republican Party to speed up a federal investigation into voter fraud has emerged as the latest chapter in the controversy over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Among the many e-mails and other documents the Justice Department has turned over to congressional investigators is a 30-page timeline prepared by Christine Lato, former communications director for the Wisconsin Republican Party. The timeline summarized numerous news reports and GOP news releases regarding problems with new voter registration and alleged fraud between Aug. 31, 2004 and April 1, 2005.
The cover sheet for Lato's memo bears the name of Kyle Sampson, who recently resigned as Gonzales' chief of staff amid the furor over last year's firings.White House officials recently confirmed they received complaints that federal prosecutors in Wisconsin and two other states had not vigorously pursued voter fraud allegations. The complaints indirectly referred to Milwaukee-based U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic.

and we're back to the e-mails because c.i. just called to ask me if i'd seen something. i hadn't. this is from reuters:

Some White House staff wrote e-mail messages about official business on Republican Party accounts, and some may have been wrongly deleted, the administration said Wednesday in a disclosure tied to the inquiry into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
The White House said it could not rule out the possibility that some official e-mails relating to the firings had been deleted and are lost.
Democrats in Congress have been seeking copies of e-mails from the Republican National Committee as part of an investigation into whether the firing of the prosecutors last year was politically motivated.
"Some official e-mails have potentially been lost and that is a mistake the White House is aggressively working to correct," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel told reporters.
Asked whether some of the lost e-mails could be related to the firings of the U.S. attorneys last year, Stanzel said: "That can't be ruled out."

the e-mails are a serious angle that need to be explored. that's it for me tonight. here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, April 11, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Crazy John McCain intends to continue running for the GOP presidential nomination until the men in white coats cart him away, The Savannah Morning News merges with the US military, the International Red Cross issues a report that doesn't contain the preferred amount of happy talk, and the refugee crisis grows.

Today the
US military announced: "An MND-B Soldier died and two others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near their patrol in an eastern section of the Iraqi captial April 11." And they announced: "One MDN-B Soldier died and another was wounded after their unit came under attack in the southern portion of the Iraqi capital April 10." This brings the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 3294 with 47 for the month of April alone, reports ICCC.

We're starting with the above for a reason,
Crazy John McCain. Last week, Crazy John McCain took The John McCain Showboat Express to Baghdad and became a topic of ridicule for his boldface lies that things were getting better in Iraq and that he could walk freely through a Baghdad street. Robert Knigh ( Flashpoints, Monday, April 2nd) described the 'free walk' this way: "McCain, in defiance of various independent reports that Iraq's daily death toll actually increased last month, nevertheless declared that the so-called 'surge' was 'making progress' and that Americans were 'not getting the full picture of what is happening in Iraq'; however a zoom out from McCain's photo op shows that he was actually surounded by orbiting F16 fighter planes, three Black Hawk attack helicopters, 2 Apache gun ships, more than 100 US troops, snipers and armed vehicles, a flak jacket and personal body armour. The presidential contender and Congressional comedian concluded his celebration of April Fool's Day by declaring with a straight face that 'There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today. These and other indicators and reasons for cautious optimism about the effects of the new strategy'."

Crazy John McCain lost some of his luster over that and went on CBS' 60 Minutes Sunday where Scott Pelly asked him about the claims he'd made re: Iraq and Senator Crazy responded, "Of course I'm going to misspeak and I've done it on numerous occasions and I probably will do in the future. I regret that when I divert attention to something that I've said from my message but you know that's just life, and I'm happy frankly with the way I operate, otherwise it would be a lot less fun." Never deny a crazy their fun. Speaking at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, Crazy John McCain was at it again, kissing ass and telling lies and he asserted that he was speaking "to an audience that can discern truth from falsehood in a politician's appraisal of the war," then went on to dub the illegal war as "necessary and winnable" and attempted to drum up sympathy by stating his Crazy Walk through Baghdad left him at the mercy of "a hostile press corps". Crazy spoke of "memorable progress and measurable progress" and some probably fell for the crap. Those who did probably have forgotten the outline General John P. Abizaid presented on March 14, 2006 (link goes to Centcom, click here). He's also bragging about Baghdad where, as AFP notes, "the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a new report that the operation had not yet stabilised Baghdad." His bragging comes as Bruce Rolfsen (Air Force Times) notes "more than 850 wounded and injured service men" and service women "out of war zones during March, according to the Air Force. In February, the Air Force flew out 767 patients.

Senator Crazy went on to declare that the armed battle included a "struggle for the soul of Islam" sounding as insane as the Bully Boy when he originally used the term "crusade." Senator Crazy was, no doubt, amusing himself again with thoughts of bombs being dropped, rockets launched, bullets shot all for a "struggle for the soul of Islam." Senator Crazy remains the undeclared GOP candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination and with all the crazy remarks he makes, it's easy for the electorate to miss some of them. When
Scott Pelly (60 Minutes) pointed out that the majority of US citizens want and wondered to Crazy when Crazy would "start doing what the majority of the American people want?"

Well again, I disagree with what the majority of the American people want.

A memorable, if not winning, campaign slogan if ever there was one.
Crazy John McCain is running for president on the premise that, his words, "I disagree with what the majority of the American people want." Vote Insane! Vote McCain!

Staying with the crazies, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, little Willie Caldwell, grabbed his feather boa and marched before reporters to declare, "They're arming the insurgents, dahling." With the five Iranian diplomats still not released (and US military command announcing today that they weren't going to be), Little Willie strutted and made broad statements. Or, as
the BBC put it, "accused." AFP also uses the (accurate) terminology, noting that Little Willie "accused the Iranians of training Iraqi groups on how to assemble explosively-formed projecticles -- a type of armour-piercing roadside bomb that has caused many coalition casualties." Lauren Frayer, AP's frequent embed, paid to write for a living, somehow fails to utilize "accused" once; however, she did take down good stenography for Little Willie and deploy the term "said" eight times in a 300 plus word 'report' (324 -- check my math).

In other Press Shames,
Joe Strupp (Editor & Publisher) reports what's what at The Savannah Morning News these days. On their front page, they are now running a column by Major General Rick Lynch -- at least it may be by him. The paper's editor, Susan Catron, asked of the names at the end of Lynch's opinion column offers happily, "I can't tell if they wrote it or not." Catron also reveals that the paper is not paying the general for his column. Hmmm.

The editor can't state for the record whether or not the column was written by the general and this weekly column (carried on the front page) requires no payment to the writer? For many, that would be enough to raise red flags but Catron's still recovering from the mighty Sunday comics war that so drained the paper's resources

Strupp reveals that the newspaper staff believes (and they are right) that if the column belongs anywhere, it is "on the opinion page . . . Is this appropriate for a 50,000-reader newspaper that purports to be free from government influence? Staff members feel it has undermined the newspaper's credibility and independence."

Turning to news of attempts to increase leisure time,
AP reports that the US "White House is considering naming a high-powered official to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and report directly to President Bush".

There seems to be some confusion here so let's turn to the US Constitution, Article II, section 2 which reads:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

If anyone's confused (and apparently the White House is) the role being discussed is a Constitutionally mandated role for the occupant of the Oval Office. It's really not something that can be "delegated." Possibly Bully Boy's all tuckered out from his vacation in Crawford?
Mimi Kennedy (writing at Truthout) notes that Camp Casey was in full swing in Crawford last weekend with the Bully Boy in town. Kennedy reports that Friday was spent at the checkpoint singing "We Shall Overcome" and chanting "We are here with Cindy/We're here to ask/What noble Cause/We are here with Cindy now" dying Easter eggs and singing; with Saturday revolving around Pink Police actions. On the topic of CODEPINK, they have redesigned their website adding many new features and one of the new campaigns revolves around the video "Toy Soldiers" -- watching it and passing it on.

Cindy Sheehan will be speaking in Indiana Thursday. The South Bend Tribune reports she will deliver "Speaking Peace to Power" at 10:30 Thursday morning on the campus of Saint Mary's College (auditorium in Madeleva Hall). The event is free and open to the public. On last weekend, Cindy (writing at BuzzFlash) notes, "At our five acres of Camp Casey, we also announced phase two of our development from a protest camp to a peace facility. The Camp Casey Peace Institute is partnering with Farm Hands to create a therapeutic farm for Vets and their families and active duty soldiers. We are having our first build on Memorial Day Weekend to put up our lodge building."

Staying with peace news, we'll turn to US war resisters.
Meghan Eves (Canada's Eye Weekly) takes a close look at three war resisters who are among the 300 attempting to find refuge in Canada. Eves notes that Jeremy Hinzman was the first to apply for refugee status and that Hinzman's currently appealing the rejection by the Immigration and Refugee Board "to the Federal Court of Appeals but no date has been set"; that Joshua Key, his wife Brandi and their four children await the response of the Federal Court of Canada on his appeal (all war resisters have been refused refugee status by the Immigration and Refugee Board) and notes his book The Deserter's Tale, and Dean Walcott who self-checked out and went to Canada at the end of last year (December 2006) -- someone could pass it on to Paul von Zielbauer that Walcott and Key both suffer from PTSD.

Key, Hinzman and Walcott are part of a movment of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum. Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Turning to Iraq, yesterday on
Flashpoints, Emily Howard spoke with Darh Jamail about the Doha conference and Iraq. On Iraq, Jamail noted the growing Iraqi refugee problem and how nothing was being done about it. They discussed his recent article at IPS on the topic of refugees and Jamail spoke of how when attacks were on going, the lucky ones were able to buy themselves or a relative out but, having exhausted their money with that, they were left to wander around or live in refugee tents. Those who could afford to get out, such as doctors, have already left. Dahr spoke of how the problem now was that a country was now in a situation where the people trained and needed for basic needs (electricity, water, etc.) are now leaving. Writing today at IPS, Jamail interviews Iraqi refugees now in Damascus including 68-year-old Abdul Abdulla who recalls of his family's time in Baghdad prior to leaving, "We stay in our homes, but even then some people have been pulled out of their own houses. These death squads arrived after (former U.S. ambassador John) Negorponte arrived. And the Iraqi Government is definitely involved because they depend on them (militias)."

Reuters reports that the International Red Cross has declared that "The suffering that Iraqi men, women and children are enduring today is unbearable and unacceptable" (ICRC director of operations Pierre Kraehenbuehl). BBC reports, "Four years after the US-led invasion, the ICRC says the conflict is inflicting immense suffering, and calls for greater protection of civilians." The ICRC issued their report in Geneva today.

The (PDF format) report is entitled "
Civilians Without Protection: The ever-worsening humanitarina crisis in Iraq" and notes:

Civilians bear the brunt of the relentless violence and the extremely poor security conditions that are disrupting the lives and livelihoods of millions. Every day, dozens of people are killed and many more wounded. The plight of Iraqi civilians is a daily reminder of the fact that there has long been a failure to respect their lives and dignity. Shottings, bombings, abudctions, murders, military operations and other forms of violence are forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and seek safety elsewhere in Iraq or in neighboring countries. The hundreds of thousands of displaced people scattered across Iraq find it particularly difficult to cope with the ongoing crisis, as do the families who generously agree to host them.

The report addresses a number of issues including the medical care situation with the 'brain drain' and the violence causing many medical professionals to leave the country at a time when Iraqi hospitals are overcrowed. The report also notes this with regards to the water situation in Iraq:

Both the quantity and quality of drinking water in Iraq remain insufficient despite limited improvements in some areas, mainly in the south. Water is often contaminated owing to the poor repair of sewage and water-supply networks and the discharge of untreated sewage into rivers, which are the main source of drinking waters. Electricity and fuel shortages and the poor maintenance of infrastructure mean that there is no regular and reliable supply of clean water and that sewage is often not properly demanded.

On the subject of prisoners, "Tens of thousands of people are currently being detained by the Iraq authorities and the multinational forces in Iraq" -- often without any news of the prisoners being passed on to their families.

In addition to the above,
Robert Fisk (Independent of London) reports on the latest efforts to turn Baghdad into a series of "gated communities" -- part of the 220 page plan FM 3024 -- which is based on the fact that the easy areas can be 'secured' and then the 'security' can be spread out wider. More logically, as Fisk notes, is the greater of spreading out and depending on Iraqi soldiers, the less loyalty to the US forces and the greater the ties to Iraqis. (Meaning the Shi'ite or Sunni trained officers is more apt to blow off US orders than turn against an Iraqi who may be a threat to the US but is not seen as an Iraqi threat.)


CBS and AP report a Hilla bombing that killed a police officer and left three more wounded, a Mosul bombing that killed a police officers, wounded two more police officers and left six other people injured. Reuters notes mortar attacks in Baghdad that killed one and left 4 others wounded.


Reuters reports two police officers shot dead outside their homes in Kut, Abdul Abbas Hashim ("general director in the Electricity Ministry" shot dead in Baghdad.


Reuters reports 11 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 9 in Mosul.