Monday, October 08, 2007

Dem leadership busy caving again

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.

AS DEMOCRATIC LEADERS WERE EAGER TO RUSH OFF ON THEIR SUMMER VACATIONS AND SHIFTING FROM FOOT TO FOOT, AFRAID THEY MIGHT WET THEMSELVES IN EXCITEMENT, THEY PUSHED THROUGH AN INSULT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, TO THE CONGRESS AND TO ANY IDEAS OF DEMOCRACY OR JUSTICE.

INSTEAD OF STAYING IN D.C. TO CLEAN UP THE MESS THEY MADE, THEY RUSHED OFF TO THEIR VACATION BUT VOWED THEY'D CLEAN UP THE MESS WHEN THEY RETURNED.

NOW DEMS ARE SCARED THEY MAY NOT HAVE THE VOTES AND THAT THE BULLY BOY WILL GET THE POWER TO SPY ON AMERICANS RETROACTIVELY. THE BEST THE COWARDS CAN DO IS TO PROPOSE AN ALTERNATE BILL AUTHORIZING MORE SPYING ON AMERICANS BUT PUTTING THE OVERSIGHT OF IT ONTO THE SECRET COURT F.I.S.A.

BIT BY BIT, THE DEMOCRATS BETRAY AMERICANS AND AMERICA. SECRET COURTS ARE A-OKAY WITH THE COWARDS.

SAID SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI, "I KNOW SOME ACCUSE ME OF SELLING MY SOUL FOR POWER BUT THAT'S NOT TRUE. I'LL DIE AT SOME POINT. AND MY ATTITUDE IS LET THE NEXT GENERATIONS FIX MY F**K UPS."


FROM THE TCI WIRE:


Monday, October 8, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Watada's court-martial will not beging tomorrow, Blackwater . . . and the mainstream press that loves them (or, in the case of the New York Times, lusts after them), and more.

Starting with war resistance. Tomorrow Ehren Watada was set to face his second court-martial. As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, "A judge in Washington state has granted an emergency stay to postpone the second court-martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada". In June of 2006, Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. In February of this year, a court-martial was held and, over defense objection, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) declared a mistrial. As Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, pointed out, double-jeopardy had attached the case. To attempt to court-martial Watada again would be in violation of the Constitution. In what Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reports as "a rare, last-minute move, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle on Friday put Watada's Tuesday court-martial on hold. In the weeks ahead, Settle will decide whether ths second trial should proceed, or be quashed as a violation of the officer's constitutional rights that protect against double jeopardy, or being tried twice for the same crime." Tomas Alex Tizon (Los Angeles Times) notes the belief of some that there is a "pssobility that he might cancel the military trial altogether" and quotes James Lobsenz, one of Watada's two civilian attorneys, stating, "If we win the next part, we win." Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) explains, "Settle was careful to point out that 'the issues raised by the petition for habeas corpus bear no relation to the charges or defenses in the petitioner's (Watada's) court-martial proceedings.' Settle was a military lawyer in the Army in the 1970s and was recently appointed to the federal bench by President Bush.Quoting case law, Settle wrote, 'The irreparable harm suffered by being put to a trial a second time in violation of the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment stems not just from being subjected to double punishment but also from undergoing a second trial proceeding'." Currently, the court-martial is stayed until at least October 26th.

In news of other war resister, Canadian radio reported Saturday that the mayor of Nelson -- where Robin Long was arrested this week and where Kyle Snyder was arrested in February -- is openly bragging that the final report on an investigation into the police department and police chief Dan Maluta's illegal arrest of Synder is not only complete, but he's had it for a week and hasn't bothered to read it. Repeating: The mayor, John Dooley, charged with oversight has had the report on the investigation and does not see the point in 'rushing' to read it. He brags that he has carried it around in his briefcase "all week" -- which does explain how the Nelson police, under Maluta, have been able to conduct themselves as they have.


There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.


Turning to the subject of the mercenaries at Blackwater USA. Jeremy Scahill (Guardian of London via Common Dreams) observes, "A pattern is emerging from the Congressional investigation into Blackwater: the state department urging the company to pay what amounts to hush money to victims' families while facilitating the return of contractors involved in deadly incidents for which not a single one has faced prosecution." The relationship between the US State Department and Blackwater is one of repeated cover ups. On Saturday, John M. Broder (New York Times) got all excited on a new 'answer' -- the State Department would by utilizing "its own personnel as monitors on all Blackwater security convoys in and around Baghdad" and by placing "video cameras in Blackwater armored vehicles to produce a record of all operations". Friday NPR's Jackie Northam (All Things Considered) discussed the so-called measures with -- after noting that Rice's recordings "apply only to Blackwater and only in Baghdad" -- Peter W. Singer (Brookings boy) who said that most already had recording devices, questioned "embedding' a State Department monitor with a private contractor doing government work" (a monitor who will "be making somewhere between 3 to 500 dollars less a day than the people that he or she is supposed to be chaperoning") and sees the measures as "very small, and they don't deal with the fundamental issue". CNN reported over the weekend that the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Henry Waxman, sent another letter to US Secretary of State Condi Rice regarding the State Dept's refusal to stop stonewalling Congress over the issue of Blackwater and CNN noted that Andrew Moonen (Blackwater gun for hire who shot the bodyguard of Iraq's vice-president -- allegedly while Moonen was drunk -- in December 2006) was working, in Kuwait, for a US Defense Dept contractor weeks later. For those who have forgotten, last week -- in Tuesday's hearing -- Blackwater CEO, Erik Prince, told Congress that Moonen (unnamed in the hearing) was stripped of his security clearance before being hustled out of Iraq. If Moonen was stripped of his security clearance, how is it that the DoD and their contractor didn't know that? If he was stripped of his security clearance and still made it back over to the region without it, how many other contractor employees are not in compliance with the basic guidelines?

Paul von Zielbauer (New York Times) reports that the Iraqi government has finalized their investigation and "found that employees of the American security company Blackwater USA shot unprovoked at Iraqi civilians at a downtown traffic circle three weeks ago, an episode that killed 17 people and wounded more than 20 others, a government spokesman said Sunday" quoting Ali al-Dabbagh who also declares that Blackwater's vehicles were not "even hit by a stone" before Blackwater initiated the slaughter of Iraqi civilians. James Glanz and Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) add, "Those conclusions contradict Blackwater's original statement on the shooting, which said that a convoy operated by the company's guards 'acted lawfully and appropriately in response to a hostile attack.' The Iraqi findings are also at odds with initial assertions by the State Department that the convoy had received small-arms fire." Which again goes the issue that the US State Dept has repeatedly provided cover and falsehoods in order to protect Blackwater. AP reports, "Iraqi authorities want the U.S. government to sever all contracts in Iraq with Blackwater USA within six months and pay $8 million in compensation to each of the families of 17 people killed when the firm's guards sprayed a traffic circle with heavy maching gun fire last month."


Naomi Klein's new book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism and she uses the book and the research for her article "Disaster Capitalism: The new economy of catastrophe" (October's Harper's magazine, pp. 47 -- 58). this is from the article (page 48):

Everywhere in Iraq, the wildly divergent values assigned to different categories of people are on crude display. Westerners and their Iraqi colleagues have checkpoints at the entrances to their streets, blast walls in front of their houses, body armor, and private security guards on call at all hours. They travel the country in menacing armored convoys, with mercenaries pointing guns out the windows as they follow their prime directive to "protect the principal." With every move they broadcast the same unapologetic message: We are the chosen, our lives are infinitely more precious than yours. Middle-class Iraqis, meanwhile, cling to the next rung down the ladder: they can afford to buy protection from local militias, they are able to ransom a family member held by kidnappers, they may ultimately escape to a life of poverty in Jordan. But the vast majority of Iraqis have no protection at all. They walk the streets exposed to any possible ravaging, with nothing between them and the next car bomb but a thin layer of fabric. In Iraq, the lucky get Kevlar; the rest get prayer beads.

That's pretty clear. Except to the mainstream. Over the weekend on PBS' Washington Week (or Washington Weak) Linda Robinson of US News and World Reports decided to chat and chew the topic with star Gwen:

Linda Robinson: Well Blackwater has about 800 people who are primarily providing bodyguard service to the embassy personnel. And there are about, well there are some thousands of other contractors doing this exact kind of job. So they're moving around the city in convoys and they apply very aggressive tactics in general. There are some who are alleging that Blackwater in particular uses much more aggressive tactics. But let's just set the stage a little bit. Very, very violent city. You're driving around, bombs are going off, at any unpredicted time. So what happens is these convoy drivers uses a tactic: they throw things at people, they sound their horns their sirens if you don't get out of the way they will shoot. So Iraqi drivers generally pull over as soon as they see a convoy. The problem is SUVs cannot readily be identified often from a distance --

Gwen Ifill: Yeah, how do you know it's a convoy? How do you know it's not the military? How do you know -- tell the difference?


That's the problem. Washington Weak tells you that's the problem. For the record, Robinson informs Gwen that it's very obvious when it's the military and it's only confusing when it comes to civilian contractors. So the question is, were Linda Robinson or Gwen to be walking to their cars at the start of the day and a car came zooming through with those in it throwing things at them, would they see that as a problem? Should Jon Stewart attempt to find out for The Daily Show? In fact, it shouldn't even be a surprise. Gwen and Robinson should volunteer for it to prove what good sports they are. After ten to fifteen minutes of drive-bys where water bottles are hurled at them (the mildest object usually cited in press reports) from speeding cars, let's see their smiling, bruised (possibly bloodied?) faces and find out whether they now think that "the problem" includes a great deal more than being able to tell if a convoy is approaching? What's really appalling is Robinson admits to being selective in her report explaining that's why she "set up" because, apparently, reporters are not supposed to show any sympathy for the civilian populations they are allegedly covering but instead are supposed to be act as a p.r. hack for multi-billion dollar corporations. And the chat and chew only got worse as it was wondered if this was all just sour grapes due to Blackwater's "success"?

Last week, the Financial Times of London editorialized: "But privatising war is, in reality, financially, politically and militarily very expensive. The lawlessness of some of these outfits has stained America's reputation and stirred up rage against its troops. Blackwater, which has earned nearly $1bn from the Department of State for protecting its officials, is notoriously trigger-happy: opening fire first in 163 out of 195 shooting incidents since 2005, according to a report by Congress. A Blackwater employee killed a bodyguard of Adel Abdel Mahdi, an Iraqi vice-president Washington favours as a possible prime minister, in an argument last Christmas." Yet our Weak Washington gas bags couldn't explore the topic and, besides, Robinson vouched that the illegal war couldn't continue without mercenaries so they are needed. (Naturally, whether the illegal war 'needed' also went unaddressed on programming 'brought to you by viewers like you'.)

And in "Get them a subscription to Young Miss already!" news, James Risen (New York Times) decided to follow in the foot steps of John M. Broder (Times of New York) and Peter Spiegel (Times of Los Angeles) by going public with his crush on Blackwater CEO Erik Prince in today's New York Times. Little Jimmy explains what puts the "rise" in Risen and it's, "Erik D. Prince, the crew-cut, square-jawed founder of Blackwater USA". Apparently Details doesn't provide facial types? Prince is not square-jawed, he has a pointy chin and his facial type is a triangle (an inverted triangle). Over fifty is a bit late in life to begin learning facial types but if it's suddenly important to Risen, someone quickly get him a subscription to Young Miss -- where he may also learn that Prince does not have a "crew-cut." Those little wisps and bangs and the dip do not qualify for a crew-cut. Astronaut Alan Shepard (link goes to Life magazine 1961 cover) had a crew-cut. If Risen can be pulled away from his day-drooling, the differences can be explained to him and possibly it can also be explained to him that he's supposed to be a reporter for a daily paper, not a fanzine? For any wondering, yes, this is how criminal Ollie North was elevated and protected by the press during Iran-Contra, with fan scribbles (Risen's first sentence) and nonsense.



RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bully Mama Interrupts Playtime"
"Blackwater"
"'This is a struggle about power' -- Dep PM Barham Salih"
"And the war drags on . . ."
"Forget your history, cries Tavernise"
"Watada court-martial on hold"
"Susan Blake, NYT provides more State Dept cover, etc."
"Truest statement of the week"
"A Note to Our Readers"
"Editorial: No Court-Martial of Watada"
"TV: Diveristy Network Style"
"Another war resister arrested in Canada"
"Question for the week"
"Faux or real?"
"Goodman's announcement"
"Susan Blake"
"Highlights"
"No book discussion this week"
"Condi Rice, come on down!"
"THIS JUST IN! CONDI LOOKS FORWARD TO THE SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN!"

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

caving's all they can do.

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