I did post twice this week, in reply to Karen's e-mail, on Monday and Tuesday. What else I have been doing? I attended a birthday party Thursday night. I've also been picking up slack. I think I'm a supportive person but with Rebecca and Elaine both being on vacation, I've realized how little support I've probably given. Rebecca's infamous for her check-in phone calls where she just calls to see how you're doing. Though Elaine doesn't work the phones as much as Rebecca (no one does -- no one could, Rebecca lives for the phone), she also spends a lot of time talking to us and seeing how we're doing.
Mike was probably hardest hit because of reasons he discussed in his column in Sunday's Polly's Brew. This was a pretty depressing week for him. I saw it as liberating (I agree, you're better off realizing who you can count on and who you can't) but I understand why he was so depressed that so many chose to ignore the very important story that the US was keeping a body count on Iraq civilians. So I was on the phone with him. I was on the phone with Betty who was filling in for Rebecca. I was on the phone with Sunny who was filling in for Elaine.
And you know what? I wouldn't take back a minute of that. People need encouragement and I certainly get it from others so this was my week to give back. (And to realize how much we all miss when Rebecca and Elaine take a joint vacation.) I tried. Hopefully, I was some help.
Sunny's written some great things this week so I hope you read: "Substituting for Elaine," "About Elaine" and "About Rebecca." Betty's written epic posts. I asked her, "Weren't you supposed to cut down on your work by filling in?" She just laughed and said she had a lot to say and was having fun. Check out her "Betty filling in for Rebecca" and "Music, movies and Andrea Lewis."
Wally marched on (in a peaceful manner) all week and I say good for him. He offered twice that we could do a joint post (we did one on Monday) but I passed because I was too busy and didn't want to hold him back or weigh him down. But if, like Karen, you felt short changed by my site, I hope you appreciated Wally.
So that's what I've been up to. I'm going to note C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from yesterday and, if you're thinking, "That's yesterday" -- yeah but that's what the papers have today too.
Chaos and violence continue.
Iraq was rocked with bombings today. As Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, "As many as 17 are dead and at least 50 wounded following attacks on mosques." The BBC reports that the bombs went off "in Baghdad and Baquba following Friday prayers." Al Jazeera notes that, in Baghdad, a car bomb went off near one Sunni mosque and a mortar round landed on another. In addition to the mortar attack on the mosque, Reuters reports another one in Baghdad that took the lives of at least three people and wounded at least 30. Reuters also notes a car bomb exploding near a mosque in Tal Banat ("killed six and wounded 46") and that three people were gunned down in Mosul. The Associated Press reports that, in Sinjar, at least eight died and 48 were wounded when "a car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque".
Along with the above, the AFP reports that two sheikhs may have been kidnapped. Sheikh Said Mohammed Taha al-Samarrai of Mahmudiyah is reported kidnapped and killed according to Sunni members of Parliament. The second sheikh believed to be kidnapped is Sheikh Alaa Mohammed Abbas al-Rikabi -- and that's according to Sheikh Abdel Ghafur al-Sammarai who also states "that 181 Sunni clerics have been killed since February."
Mahmudiyah was the hometown of Abeer Qasim Hamza, the 15-year-old who was allegedly rape before being killed (along with three of her family members) by US military forces. Steven D. Green is the only one charged so far. In court Thursday, his attorney Scott Wendelsdorf "entered a plea of 'not guilty on all counts,'" Reuters reports.
In peace news, Bay Area Code Pink is fasting and picketing . . . outside the home of War Hawk Di Fi (the home warbucks is building): " Senator Diane Feinstein recently voted against John Kerry's amendment calling for the troops to come home. Let's make sure she doesn't disappoint her constituents again. Gather with us, as we encourage her to co-sponsor the Harkin bill (S. CON. RES 93) -- no permanent military presence or military bases in Iraq; no attempt to control the flow of Iraqi oil; and Armed Forces should be redeployed from Iraq as soon as practicable after the completion of Iraq's constitution-making process or December 31, 2006 - which ever comes first."
CODEPINK also continues their fast in DC and elsewhere as people across the country continue fasting or begin to show their support. Kris Wise (Daily Mail) writes of West Virginians taking part in the fast and quotes Janie Poe: "I'll go for as long as my body can hold out or until my group tells me to stop. It's probably detrimental for us on our bodies, but it's us screaming out to people to wake up."
Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis interviewed Dahr Jamail and Mark Manning (info on tonight's event below) on the subject of Iraq. On the issue of the alleged rape and the murders, Dahr Jamail said, "This type of thing is happening on a regular basis in Iraq . . . [rapes during house raids] even in the capital city of Baghdad." Mark Manning pointed out that the legal immunity given to contractors and the military has created "a huge problem" and that the Iraqis have seen too many incidents being wiped away without investigation.
An upcoming event: Brava Theater, 2789 24th Street, San Francisco, Friday, July 7th, 7:00 pm. (415-647-2822) Mark Manning will be screening his film Caught in the Crossfire for those interested in knowing the realities on Falluja that Dexy and the other Green Zoners never got around to telling you. Nadia McCaffrey, who lost her son in the Iraq war, will bespeaking as will Dahr Jamail.
Now for WBAI's Law and Disorder. I'm grabbing the last segment of the show. Heidi Boghosian may end up being the one I note. Ruth notes all of them but she really follows the Michaels (Ratner and Smith) and Mike follows Dalia Hashad. So I'll get Boghosian's back. The segment I'm focusing on was where Heidi Boghosian was anchoring a segment that offered three speakers from a recent panel on the Green Scare that was sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild who I see that I don't have a link for on my link roll. I'll fix that after I post this. Heidi Boghosian is --
What is she? I couldn't remember. I'm rushing this post because C.I. wants to note Mike and me in the entry this morning at The Common Ills and is holding it for us to get our stuff posted. I couldn't remember so I called C.I. who says Boghosian is the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. So the organization sponsored a panel on "What Is the Green Scare?" and Monday's show provided excerpts of three speakers (and it was noted that you can hear more from the panel at the Law and Disorder website).
Daniel Meyers, a civil rights attorney from New York, was first up. That was a really good choice because he explained how conspiracy charges work. You hear "conspiracy" right now and you probably think, "Oh, those tin foil hats the mainstream is always dismissing." Conspiracy is used by the federal government all the time as a charge in court. They've used it for years in drug cases, Meyers explained that. He talked about once that charge was allowed in court, you could then allow hear say testimony -- you can't do that in normal cases. Next up was Andrew Erba and when I called C.I. about Boghosian's title, C.I. spelled "Erba" ("just in case") for which I am thankful because I would have spelled it "Urba" here without the help.
Erba talked about how the conspiracy charge works. Let's say Sammy smokes some pot. Nancy gets some pot from her dealer. She calls Sammy and says, "Hey, I've got some, come over." He says cool and is on his way over. When the case is tried, suddenly Sammy and Nancy are parts of the 'conspiracy.' They're held responsible for every bit of pot the dealer got, the dealer's held for every bit that his supplier got and so on.
What this does is a) result in those unfair sentences that we all know about or should and b) lead to people flipping. That's what Erba spoke of, the flipping. They always flip on someone lower down the chain. So the person with the lengthy sentences, the harsh ones, tend to be the ones who were the least involved. And where do they get their initial information? From informers who've usually been busted and are making a deal to avoid harsh time.
Erba's large point here was that this has been going for decades and now that this is being used to target environmentalists, "middle class" America may wake up. They should. This isn't about justice and it's not about a sound legal system.
Lauren Regan then spoke about how free speech was not just verbal and how this country has a long history of seeing free speech as actions. She went through the history of people targeting "property" for their free speech actions including theft of "property" in the 1860s when people helped slaves escape. She noted the dumping of tea in the Boston harbor. Actions that are not intended threaten the life of anyone or overthrow the government are now being prosecuted as if they were.
The three excerpts were well chosen because each built on the information given right before. Boghosian did a good job setting up the segment by noting that the environmental movement was being targeted and spied on, then dealt "especially harsh" charges and sentences. At the end of the segment, she talked about the recent revelations from California, how Ahnuld's office
hired SRA International supposedly for 'security' and what ended up happening was that people engaged in peaceful (and Constitutional) protests were spied upon and tracked including an animal rights rally in San Francisco, a peace protest in Santa Barbara and one in Wall Creek at which a US Congress member spoke out against the war. This is about silencing dissent and criminalizing it. It's a really important segment and whether you heard it or already or plan to listen or if you're just going to read this here, I hope you'll think about it.