BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
R. GERALD TURNER, PRESIDENT OF S.M.U., SAYS THAT WINNING THE BIDDING RIGHTS TO THE BULLY BOY'S "LIBRARY" (REPORTEDLY 2 CHILDRENS BOOKS, A TORN COPY OF SPORTS ILLUSTRATED AND A CRUMPLED AND INCOMPLETE 'WHERE'S WALDO?' PUZZLE) "WILL INCREASE THE SCHOOL'S VISIBILITY NATIONWIDE."
WHETHER BECOMING THE MOCKERY OF THE UNITED STATES WILL TRANSLATE INTO AN INCREASE IN ENROLLMENT, HOWEVER, IS DEBATABLE.
REACHED MOMENTS BEFORE TESTIFYING TO THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND INTERNATIONAL BILLIE JEAN KING LOOKALIKE ALBERTO GONZALES STATED, "HE'S GIVING S.M.U. THE WALDO PUZZLE? MAN, HE PROMISED THAT TO ME!"
THE NEWS OBVIOUSLY HIT A.G. GONZALES HARD WHICH EXPLAINS WHY HE WAS SO PETULANT WHEN TESTIFYING BEFORE THE SENATORS. ALTHOUGH IN FAIRNESS TO GONZALES, WE SHOULD NOTE HE ALWAYS HAS THAT HIGH WHINE VOCAL AS THOUGH HE'S PLAYING THE BEST FRIEND OF THE TEENAGE BOY IN A FAMILY SITCOM.
SOUNDING LIKE FAMILY TIES' SKIPPY, THE SIMPSONS' MILHOUSE, AND GROWING PAINS' BONER COMBINED, ALBERTO WHINED TO THE SENATORS, "WE ALL CONCLUDED, THERE'S NO WAY WE CAN DO WHAT WE BELIEVE WE HAVE TO DO TO PROTECT THE COUNTRY UNDER THE STRICT READING OF FISA."
AS HE LEFT THE HEARING, HE APPROACHED US AND DECLARED, "I USED 'US' AND 'WE' A LOT. WHEN THE SENATE CATCHES ON HOW ILLEGAL THIS PROGRAM WAS, I AIN'T THE ONLY ONE GOING DOWN!"
TO CHEER HIM UP, THESE REPORTERS GAVE HIM A COPY OF CRICKETS.
"KE-E-E-E-WL!" GONZALES EXCLAIMED. "I LOVE THEIR PUZZLES!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resister Ehren Watada who, in June of last year, became the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, the 'judge' of the pre-trial has issued a ruling on what is and isn't acceptable in the February 5th court-martial. As Courage to Resist notes "ALL POLITICAL SPEECH CHARGES GO TO TRIAL."
Teresa Watanabe (LA Times) reports that Watada has called for everyon to "stop the war so the death and sacrifices of American soldiers will not be in vain" and "I firmly stand by my belief that this war is illegal and immoral."
"Judge" Head issued his rulings on Tuesday and since Watada will not be allowed to present a defense, why even waste time and money on a court-martial? "Judge" Head has refused Watada's right to present a defense and, in his ruling, "Judge" Head is quite clear about "a preponderance of evidence" and is disallowing any evidence that could counter it so the kangaroo court-martial will go foward but the ruling is already pre-determined and contained in "Judge" Head's ruling. That's the only 'value' in the ruling (well, that and the revelation that, by his signature, John Head apparently thinks he's a young starlet).
The AP reports that "Army officials said in a statement that they had full confidence in the military justice system". Of course they're gloating -- JUDGE TOOL handed them a win before the first argument is made in the court-martial. Now if they had any self-respect, they'd realize that this isn't justice and that obviously there's no faith in their abilities to fairly prosecute Watada.
Earlier this month, Watada spoke with Lance Holter and Ave Diaz (Haleakala Times) and shared his expectations of the trial: "I certainly expect the army to make an example out of my stand and what I'm speaking against." He was correct. Holter and Diaz also note US war resister Pablo Parades who was allowed, in his court-martial, to argue his case. From Parades' statement at his court-martial (via Democracy Now!): "I am convinced that the current war in Iraq is illegal. I am also convinced that the true causality for it lacked any high ground in the topography of morality. I believe as a member of the Armed Forces, beyond having duty to my Chain of Command and my President, I have a higher duty to my conscience and to the surpreme law of the land. Both of these higher duties dictate that I must not participate in any way, hands-on or indirect, in the current aggression that has been unleased on Iraq. In the past few months I have been continually asked if I regret my decision to refuse to board my ship and to do so publicly. I have spent hour upon hour reflecting on my decision, and I can tell you with every fiber of certitude that I possess that I feel in my heart I did the right thing."
Ehren Watada will not be allowed to present a similar defense. What is the military afraid and what sort of 'judge' acts in such a cowardly craven manner?
Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports that what Watada will not be able to present in 'court' of 'judge' Head, he will be able to present "this weekend, a 'Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq' will convene in Tacoma to address that issue in support of Watada." The hearing will take place at the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus on January 20th and 21st from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm each day. Among the participants will be Antonia Juhasz, Ann Wright, Daniel Ellsberg, Enis Halliday (who was on yesterday's Flashpoints speaking with Dennis Bernstein about the deaths caused by sanctions against Iraq), Bejmain G. Davis, Richard Falk, Francis Boyle, Dennis Kyne, and US war resister Darrell Anderson. In addition, Karen Hucks (The News Tribune) reports that Daniel Ellsberg ("who started a national uproar in 1971 when he released the Penatagon Papers") will speak in Tacoma Friday "from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Washington State History Museeum, 1911 Pacific Ave. The University of Washington Tacoma is sponsoring the free event." In addition
Iraq Veterans Against the War have set up Camp Resistance on the edge of Fort Lewis to show their support for Watada.
Ehren Watada spoke in Seattle on Monday (MLK day) and Kay Suzat (PSL) reports: "A tremendous standing ovation greeted Watada and concluded his remarks. The crowd demonstrated its solidarity and support for his refusal to deploy to Iraq and be part of the imperilist occupation."
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Kyle Snyder, Agustin Aguayo, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske 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.
And, good news!, you can find information about a war resister at The Nation . . . provided he's a resister of the Vietnam war, a professional athlete and a household name. Dave Zirin
covers sports and he's always managed to cover the war (unlike The Nation). To read his column "Muhammad Ali: The Brand and the Man" use the link freely, it takes you to Yahoo and not to The Nation which still can't manage to show interest in war resisters.
Turning to the topic of 14-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza who was gang raped and murdered on March 12, 2006 by what was spun as 'insurgents.' The reality is that it was by American soldiers who also murdered her five-year-old sisters and both of her parents. The soldiers watched the 14-year-old, making her uncomfortable with their inappropriate attention to the point that she complained to her parents who immediately began making arrangements to get their daughter the hell away from perverts supposedly stationed in their area to protect the Iraq people. Abeer was due to move but, before she could, Paul Cortez, James P. Barker, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and Steven D. Green wanted to have a little 'fun' and, boozed up to the gills in a war zone, they decided the most 'fun' they could have would be in murdering a family after gang raping the 14-year-old daughter. So they changed into civies, approached the home via a hole in a fence they'd already created, and the 'fun' began -- adult males holding down a 14-year-old girl to take turns gang raping her while her parents and sister were shot dead and then, after the gang rape, murdering Abeer.
At the Article 32 hearing in August, Captain Alex Pickands declared: "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."
In November, James P. Barker confessed to his role in the planning of the war crimes and to his raping Abeer. He also named Steven D. Green as the one who shot and killed Abeer, her parents and her sister. He identified Green as taking part in the gang rape and also identified Paul Cortez as taking part in the gang rape. Green has denied any involvement and will be tried in a civilian court because the US military had discharged him before the crimes were uncovered. Last week, Ryan Lenz (AP) reported that Green had been diagnosed by the Army Combat Stress Team with "homicidal ideations" on December 21, 2005, three months prior to the rape and murders. Today, Ryan Lenz reports that William Cassara, attorney for Paul Cortez, has stated, "Sgt. Cortez is going to go in and accept the responsibilities for his part in what occurred" which would be WAR CRIMES and that "Our version of events is that he knew what was going to take place and participated as an observer." According to Barker's confession, Paul Cortez took part in the gang rape -- that's a bit more than 'observing.'
AFP is now reporting that Cortez "has pleaded guilty in the rape and murder" of Abeer
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Joshua Frank, Medea Benjmain"
"Fire Charles Stimson"
"Serving symbolism and trying to pass it off as the real thing"
"THIS JUST IN! IT'S A SYMBOLIC WORLD AFTER ALL!"