Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bambi needs assistance

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- CAMPAIGN TRAIL.
 
"CHANGE!" SENATOR BARACK OBAMA WAS CRYING OUT.  HOLLERING, REALLY AS WE TRAVELED ALONG IN THE BARAKA-BUS..
 
THERE WERE GROANS AROUND THE BUS AND BAMBI HOPPED UP ONTO A TABLE WITH HIS LEGS IN THE AIR.
 
"THIS IS THE WORST PART OF THE JOB," DECLARED ONE STAFFER IN A SOTTO VOICE HEAVE. 
 
AS WE LOOKED ON, A MINI-PIT-CREW GATHERED ROUND AND BEGAN REMOVING OBAMA'S PANTS EXPOSING THE ADULT SIZE PAMPERS HE WAS WEARING.
 
"CHANGE!  CHANGE!" HOLLERED BAMI AS THE STAFF BUSIED THEMSELVES WITH APPLYING WET ONES TO THE REGION.
 
"IF YOU TOLD ME A YEAR AGO," EXPLAINED ONE STAFFER,  "THAT I'D BE DIAPERING A MEMBER OF CONGRESS, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU ROBERT BYRD CAN HOLD HIS OWN.  BUT THIS HAS BEEN A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.  HOPEFULLY."
 
"CHANGE IS GOOD!  MY NAME IS BARACK OBAMA AND I APPROVED THIS DIAPER CHANGE."
 
 
Starting with war resistance.  Courage to Resist interviews 24-year-old marine reservist Matt Mishler who has applied for CO (conscientious objector) status. Mishler had a religious awakening and is against wars now.  He cites the Sermon on the Mount in explaining how he realized he was a CO: "I don't see serving my God --as doing God's word -- as  . . . picking up a rifle and slinging it over my shoulder and walking through Iraq or Afghanistan and shooting other people with rifles and guns that are there."  He explains that his beliefs mean he will go to jail before he will deploy.  "If they tell me I'm not a conscientious objector it does not make me not a conscientious objector in my mind because that's a decision you make deep down inside yourself.  It's not a decision that's up to someone else outside of you.  It is a decision that you have to make and believe for yourself.  And if you believe in it strong enough and if that is truly your beliefs than just by someone telling you that you're not a conscientious objector does not make you a conscientious objector."
 
Also interviewed is war resister Robin Long who went to Canada to seek aslyum.  "I have no second thoughts at all.  This is totally better than having to go to that war torn country and participate in the indiscriminate killing of the Arab people.  It saddens me how so many people have been snowballed by it.  They just . . .  They don't, they don't realize that these people have brothers, they have sisters, they have kids, they have mothers and fathers just like us.  And . . . I wouldn't have it any other way.  This is -- I made the best decision, I know that.  And regardless of what hardships I go through I could have easily put a family or someone else in that country through way more hardships.  So I have no regrets."  We'll note more from the interview next week but Long, like the other war resisters in Canada, was dealt a set-back when the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey.  Today, Canada's Parliament remaining the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
 
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, at least fifty 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

 

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers. IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause.  Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible.  The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies.  It won't be easy but it must be done.  Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it."
 
Son of gun.  Cue the double pianos from Carly Simon's "You're So Vain."  "Awakening" Councils are no more.  The official US term now is "Sons Of Iraq."  That was made clear in Col. Tom James' press briefing (via videolink) today at the Pentagon where he repeatedly used the terms "Sons Of Iraq" and "SOIs" repatedly.  As to the "DOIs" -- or "Daughters Of Iraq" -- like every other Iraqi woman, they are ignored by the US.  When asked about the continued reluctance of the central, puppet government in Baghdad to deal with the "Sons Of Iraq," James explaing the he is "dealing with the SOI program.  We have just under 8,000" and he refers ("screened") them to "the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces . . . for potential employment".  So, in other words, the puppet government doesn't want them but the US is adament about forcing them to take them.  James claims 'progress' and "positive momentum" on that front.  Whether or not the Iraqi government would at some point pay the SOIs is side-stepped by James who only acknowled "that we have paid" their salaries why swearing that that the US would soon "transition them to government institutions".
 
Meanwhile, Camilla Hall (Bloomberg News) reports Moqtada al-Sadr has extended the truce/cease-fire for another six months today (taking it through August 15th).  At his briefing today, James was very 'up' on this news, stating it was "very positive to the security situation. . . this is a very positive situation because al-Sadr understands that a peace and establishing peace in the future is the way to success in Iraq, not violence.  And with the senior position that he holds, that will influence an enormous amount of the Shi'a population in AO Vanguard, and we see that as a being a very positive step in securing the security situation that we have now so that we can continue to exploit other things."  "Exploit" may be the key word there from the US military's view.  But there's also reality. Alexandra Zavis and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) note, "But in recent days, Sadr's followers, including loyalists in the national Parliament, have complained that their foes have used the cease-fire to try to crush his movement politically and militarily. Until the last minute, they had held out the possibility that Sadr might order his militia back into action."  So the real issue isn't al-Sadr now.  Having agreed to an extension, he is now out of the picture.  He is also out of Baghdad and whether or not the Mahdi Army will continue to listen to him from out of town, while he labors away as a hotel clerk and busies himself with studies, is the real issue at this point.  The anger and resentment that has been breeding in the Sadr City section of Baghdad has been doing so without al-Sadr's oversight.  How much pull he will have, how much control, is in doubt.  Residents of Sadr City have complained of mistreatment and abuses (including raids) throughout the truce/cease-fire and many noises were made by "aides" and "loyalists" throughout (made publicly to the press) that there was no way al-Sadr would renew the truce/cease-fire.  He has now done that and how much weight he will have now as someone not living in Sadr City is up in the air.  Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports that his supporters are in the "thousands" and can al-Sadr control "thousands" via communiques he has delivered to mosques?  Is he the remote-control leader?  Haynes quotes Abu Zahra'a al-Saadi complaining of the cease-fire, "We decided on peace and they decided to put us in jail."  "They" refers to "US and Iraqi forces".  Despite the reports of al-Sadr being in Najaf (and working a hotel there), AFP notes, "Sadr did not appear publicly at Friday prayers" in Sadr City "and it is not clear where he is now based. Some reports have suggested that he has crossed the border into Iraq's neighbour Iran, but his group would not confirm this."  AFP further notes that his announcement "was not universally welcomed by Sadr's supporters" and that goes to the issue that they're living in Sadr City and he isn't.  Is he really going to be able to control the area from outside of it?  Will a new leader emerge?  Will it faction off instead with some following his latest decree and others ignoring it?  Those are valid options under any study of resistance or rebellion. Mark Kukis (Time magazine) offers another, "Sadr could just as easily be simply biding his time until surge troops leave in July."  At the White House today, flack Scott Stanzel held a press gaggle and declared of the cease-fire/truce, "We welcome any move that forswears violence and encourages peaceful participation.  To the extent the announcement today serves to further isolate the groups that are engaging in violence, and to the extent that it helps enhance our intelligence to root out those groups, it's a positive development."
 


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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Life-Coaching Barack

 
THESE REPORTERS WERE BACKSTAGE WITH THE KING OF SODA POP, BARACK OBAMA, AT THE CAMPAIGN'S INVITATION (WE'RE SURE IT WAS A MIX UP) TO WITNESS THE PREPARATION FOR TONIGHT'S DEBATE OPPOSITE SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON.
 
BAMBI WAS PACING THE FLOOR IN FOOTIE PAJAMAS AS HE STUDIED SPEECHES OF OTHER CANDIDATES LOOKING FOR LINES HE COULD RIP OFF AND PRESENT AS HIS OWN.
 
FROM A CORNER, HIS LIFE-COACH OPRAH WINFREY CHEERED HIM ON WHILE HER GAL PAL GAYLE KING TRIED NOT TO LOOK BORED AND ANGRY.
 
"YOU ARE THE ONE I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!" EXCLAIMED THE BIG O.  "YOU PULL THIS OFF AND I'LL GIVE YOU A TOYOTA!"
 
"WASN'T ENOUGH FOR STEADMAN," GAYLE MUTTERED CAUSING THE BIG O TO BARE HER FANGS AND HISS.
 
"BARACK," OPRAH SAID IGNORING GAIL, "THIS IS YOUR MOMENT.  I BELIEVE YOU CAN RUN ON.  I KNOW YOU ARE EVERYWOMAN, IT'S ALL IN YOU --"
 
"I'M EVERYWOMAN?"  BAMBI ASKED.  "I LIKE IT.  'I'M EVERYWOMAN.  IT'S ALL IN ME.'  I'LL USE IT!"
 
"OKAY, BUT SAY 'YOU,'" COUNSELED THE BIG O.
 
"YOU'RE EVERYWOMAN.  IT'S ALL IN YOU!'  BAMBI HOLLERED POUNDING HIS FIST UP AND DOWN IN THE UNIVERSAL HAND SIGNAL FOR JERKING OFF.
 
"PERFECT!  SOMEONE GET DR. PHIL!" HOLLERED OPRAH.
 
 
Starting with war resitance.  Gina Hotta (Asia Times) writes today of James Yee, Antonio Taguba and war resister Lt. Ehren Watada noting, "The war in Iraq has thrust American soldiers of Asian ancestry into the limelight as no toher US conflict has ever done before." Of Watada, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the Iraq War, Hotta notes his "refusal to deploy to Iraq underscored the Bush administration's determination to go to war, with Truth being its first casualty.  Watada argues that the President misled the public and that the reasons for going to war were based on false premises.  Watada states that he will not fight an illegal war.  He now faces a possible court martial.  The stand Watada took remains a source of controversy.  Yet support for him is strong, with a group of Asian American supporters driving several hundred miles to his trials in Washington State."  Earlier this month Gregg K. Kakesako (The Honolulu Star Bulletin) offered an update on Watada, citing one of Watada's civilian attorneys, Ken Kagan (James Lobsenz is Watada's other civilian attorney) is cited explaining there is "No real News . . . since the federal judge issued a preliminary injuction in November prohibiting the Army from bringing Watada to a second court-martial.  Watada's first court-martial, a year ago, ended in a mistrial."  The mistrial was declared over the objection of defense counse.  Kakesako notes, "Watada and his attorney claim that a second trial would violate his constitutional rights.  U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled on Nov. 8 that no court-martial will be held for Watada pending the outcome of his claim that it would violate his Fifth Amendment rights by trying him twice for the same charges."  Whether or not double-jeopardy applies (it should apply, it attached when the February court-martial started) will be determined by the US Circuit Court for the Armed Forces and Kakesako concludes, "Watada's term of service in the military ended in December 2006, but the legal proceedings have prevented his discharge.  He lives in Olympia, Wash. and continues to perform administrative duties at Fort Lewis, south of Seattle."  Watada himself weighed in this month with "Is the Iraq War Illegal?" (Pacific Citizen) where he explains exactly why it is illegal:
 
Is the war illegal? Before answering this question, it is essential to divide up this conflict into: 1) the invasion and toppling of the former regime, and 2) the subsequent occupation of Iraq by American troops.       
There can be no doubt that according to the UN Charter which forbids preventative wars and regime change, the invasion of Iraq was unlawful on its face. Is outlawing pre-emption fair? Absolutely - there is nothing that prohibits a nation from having a very strong defense. Moreover, nothing in the Charter prohibits a nation from retaliating after being attacked (which we were not as stated unequivocally and after-the-fact by the Bush Administration).
Ultimately, this law was established to protect the weak from the powerful, which left unaccountable, can invent any rationale for an invasion and occupation like Hitler did with Poland.        
Next, is the occupation illegal? That would depend on who you ask. For supporters of continued involvement, the answer is no -- American troops are protecting us against international terrorism and the Iraqis have requested our help; we have a legal mandate granted by the same institution that we ignored and de-legitimized by invading in the first place. 
On the other hand, if you ask the Iraqis themselves (who make up the vast majority of the anti-American insurgency and not Al Qaeda) - as a democratic people, they may have an entirely different answer. 
[. . .]
I may not know much, but one thing is certain. Japanese American men and women did not sacrifice their lives and freedoms throughout history, so that today's leaders could invade and occupy another country, then strip the people of their democratic rights when it didn't suit their interests. To believe otherwise, is to bring dishonor upon their memory.
 
Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the illegal war.  Camilo Mejia is the first Iraq War veteran to refuse to return.  Stephen Funk was the first non-officer (after the war was declared) to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.  Jeremy Hinzman was the first war resister to go public about seeking asylum in Canada.  In March of 2004, Brandon Hughey also went to Canada and he also went public.  Hinzman and Hughey have repeatedly attempted to be granted asylum and repeatedly been denied.  November 15th, Canada's Supreme Court refused to hear their cases.  Today, Canada's Parliament remaining the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
 
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, at least fifty 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

 

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers. IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause.  Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible.  The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies.  It won't be easy but it must be done.  Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it."
 
In preparation of the March action, IVAW has posted a video online featuring three veterans.  They also note the action will be carried over KPFA airwaves (Friday through Sunday) and available for streaming online via KPFA -- video will be streamed online from Thursday through Sunday via IVAW.  They also note Chelsea Hover's (News 8 Austin) report "Fort Hood soldiers breaking the silence in war in Iraq" (text and video at link and at the IVAW homepage) which features Ronn Cantu, Selena Coppa, Hart Viges and Casey Porter.  Porter explains, "We lost really good friends, really good leaders who died in Iraq.  From my perspective, it didn't make any sense, we didn't accomplish anything, and I talked to a lot of other soldiers who feel the same way."  That's Texas.  North Carolina?  Erin Callender (The News Observer) reports SDS and IVAW took part in an action today where "UNC-Chapel Hill students burned fake draft cards symbolizing their opposition to the war in Iraq" as part of a rally where IVAW's Jason Hurd spoke along with Iraqi-America Dahlia Wasfi ("Hurd and Wasfi will also speak tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Dey Hall.").
 


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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama pleasures himself -- only himself

 
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA DECIDED TO GET HONEST WITH A NEW AD CAMPAIGN AIRING IN TEXAS.
 
TO THE SOUND OF BAD ROCK, MIXED WITH PHOTOS OF DESTRUCTION -- A TEASER FOR LIFE UNDER AN OBAMA PRESIDENCY -- HE FEATURES NON-STOP CAMERA SHOTS WITH HIMSELF AND WHITE PEOPLE -- TWO AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN ARE SHOWN LOOKING AT HIM BUT, APPARENTLY BEING BLACK, AREN'T ALLOWED TO TOUCH THE WAY THE WHITES ARE. 
 
"WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD" PROMISES THE COMMERICAL WHILE BARACK EXPLAINS REALITY WITH A REPEATED GESTURE.
 
CLOSING HIS LEFT HAND INTO A FIST, BARACK REPEATEDLY MAKES THE JERKING OFF GESTURE.  WE THINK IT'S THE MOST HONEST HE'S EVER BEEN.
 
 
Starting with war resisters, Nisa Islam Muhammad (Final Call) reports on realities for war resisters in Canada:
 
In the '60s and '70s, Canada was a refuge for war resisters and conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War. Iraq war resistors want the same reception and protested at Canadian consulates from coast to coast as part of Courage To Resist's "Dear Canada: Let Them Stay" campaign.
"We had actions in eight cities Jan. 25, at five Canadian consulates around the county on behalf of war resisters in Canada," Max Diorio of Courage to Resist told The Final Call.
"Thousands of soldiers are AWOL. The military doesn't know how many or where they are. Canada was a safe haven, but the climate now has Canada wanting to be on the good side of the United States."
Hundreds of U.S. military personnel are in Canada because of decisions not to participate in U.S. wars and the occupation in the Middle East. There is no legal or political provision in effect in Canada that affords U.S. war resisters the right to stay in the country.
Deportation looms as a real threat for many women and men seeking refuge from prosecution south of the border, even as widespread support for the rights of resisters to stay grows among Canadians.
 
With Canada's Parliament remaining the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
 
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, at least fifty 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

 

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers. IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause.  Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible.  The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies.  It won't be easy but it must be done.  Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it."
 
 
Staying with reality, Iraq is off the media radar and FOOLS and LIARS don't get it back on the radar.  Debate whether Tom Engelhartdt is a a FOOL, a LIAR or a little bit of both when reading his latest pathetic piece at Common Dreams. Bully Boy says there's no problem -- says Tom -- and the media "miraculously" vanished Iraq.  "The mainstream media," he tells us.  Fool or liar or just a bit of both.  Little media didn't stand up during the Myth of the Great Return.  Amy Goodman devoted one full segment to Iraq last month when?  January 25th.  She waited until January 25th. [The 'we only have one minute!' garbage doesn't count.]  Engelhartdt needs to stop peddling those tired lies.  It may keep the checks coming in from The Nation but it's not reality.  Nor is this claim that "Juan Cole's Informed Comment website" is "perhaps the best daily round-up of Iraqi mayhem and disaster on the Web".  Really?  Well sure he was for the illegal occupation after he was against it (as Steve Rendall pointed out to his face on CounterSpin) but, hey, if he's providing a "daily round-up of Iraqi mayhem" -- best or otherwise -- we should certainly make a point to check in..  Wednesday's sole entry (thus far) -- John McCain, Bambi and Pakistan.    Monday's entry -- he did only one -- on Afghanistan. Tuesday's entry -- he did only one -- on Pakistan. Not a "daily round-up" but it's a nice way for someone to kiss ass with a shout-out, isn't it?  Stick to McClatchy Newspapers, Reuters and ICCC, they provide daily information.  Here's the reality Tom Engelhartdt isn't telling you because he's not willing to or he's too stupid to: Iraq's off the radar because we tolerate it being off the radar.
 
Because we renew our subscriptions to the garbage that is The Nation or buy it in stores, because Amy Goodman's begging on air for Pacific (for herself really) and we toss out a few bucks to shut the beggar up.  There is an illegal war going on that hits the fifth year mark next month.  There is nothing in independent media -- despite all the money we've forked over to them -- that reflects this reality.  Nothing.  And as long as we continue to accept that, as long as we're thrilled to death that Katrina vanden Heuvel can provide John Nichols, the Aris (Mebler and Berman) and assorted others covering the Democratic presidential primaries each damn day while providing NOTHING on the Iraq War, the illegal war is going to go on.  Engelhartdt may be too stupid to tell you that or he may just enjoy being on the dime of The Nation.  But that's reality and anyone telling you otherwise is a LIAR. 
 
Not misinformed, not disinformed, not misguided -- just a LIAR.  That's reality.  And lying to people is DISGUSTING.  Want Iraq covered?  Demand it.  Refuse to support media that doesn't cover it.  And let's get one damn thing real clear, it's not, despite Engelhardt's claim, the "MSM" that's dropped Iraq.  If the New York Times doesn't file a story for Iraq that's the headline of a morning entry here.  I know how often that's the case and how often it isn't.  (And not hear to spoonfeed lazy minds like Engelhardt).  The New York Times isn't dropping Iraq -- they may resell the illegal war most days, but they do cover it.  It's Little Media that's dropped Iraq.  And no one needs a lecture from Tom Englehardt to begin with but we certainly don't need him on his high horse when he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.  If you're talking corruption in Iraq, to provide one example, you're largely talking James Glanz of the New York Times.  Not that Glanz is corrupt but you are talking his beat.  He's covered it.  He's defined it.  When few have given a damn and the occassional moments when they have, he has covered that beat since the illegal war began.  I'll slam the New York Times every day of the week.  I'll slam Glanz if the article offends.  But I don't pretend for a minute that Little Media 'competes' with the Times or other MSM outlets.  Little Media doesn't compete because Little Media (broadcast and print) doesn't give a damn.  Engelhardt's offering up the kind of crap we got in 2004 and 2005 when it was time to open the checkbooks: "Look what we do!  No one else brings you the truth!  Judith Miller did not work for us!"  Independent media hasn't done a thing worthy of praise on Iraq -- or Iraq related topics -- in years.  Anyone telling you otherwise is a fool or a liar.   And you should be sick of it. 
 
Sick Of It Day is an action Veterans for Peace started on the 14th of this month and VFP's Mike Ferner offers, "I've seen the pain on the faces of the people of Iraq and the soldiers who come back from war.  It's something I can't get out of my mind and there are days when it really does make me sick" to explain the need for the action asking people to call in sick March 19th and then selecting "from a wide variety of other things to do that day -- from contacting Congress and going back to bed, to more ambitious ideas like helping quarantine military shipments in U.S. ports.  Campaigners are invited to come up with their own 'Sick Of It Day' activity and post it to the site."  Ferner (writing at Online Journal) speaks with IVAW co-chair Adam Kokesh ("campaign originator") who explains, "I'm sick of seeing America in denial about how much we have been lied to."
 
To return to the nonsense offered about the MSM, it was Sewell Chan (New York Times) who reported on a Friday NYC action where "20 antiwar activists gathered outside an Army recruiting office in East Harlem" -- it was not Democracy Now!, it was not The Nation, it was not Free Speech Radio NewsThe War Stops Here is a new website created to be "an online hub and journal of DIRECT ACTION."  The website features text and videos.  The creator of the site explained at Infoshop: "This is a project that I've long been thinking about, and unfortunately, nobody else has stepped up to help me out with it. So, here goes nothing. The basic premise is this: we're finally at a stage in the antiwar movement where there is something to report in terms of creative, militant direct actions against the occupation of Iraq happening right here in the US. It's happening on campuses, at ports, in the Capitol, in small towns and in big cities. Therefore, there ought to be a regularly-updated hub for those of us who take this work seriously, want to learn what other people are doing, and to let new people know that there are ways to tangibly grind this war to a halt."  The creator's a member of today's Students for a Democratic Society and SDS' Kati Ketz is interviewed by Ron Jacobs (Dissident Voice) addressing what's coming up next month with Ketz explaining, "SDS is again putting out a call for students to take action, this time a week of action between March 17th-21st in order to protest five years of war in Iraq.  We are focusing on March 20th as a student and youth specific day of action, where schools will be having walk-outs or rallies and protests on their campuses and in their cities." Ketz explains how her UNC-Asheville chapter of SDS is working with the local chapter of IVAW, "It seemed natural to our SDS group that when the IVAW-Asheville group started up in November of 2007 that we invite some of their members to speak on our campus.  From that, a couple of members of IVAW-Asheville started coming to SDS meetings and getting involved in our actions on campus, which led to the counter-recruitment action we did recently.  During this counter-recruitment action, we staged a mock Iraq raid based on what one member of IVAW-Asheville witnessed firsthand, with a family of Iraqi people being zip-tied and asked for information that they did not have before being carried away."  More information is available at this page of the SDS website.
 
 


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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bambi caught stealing

 
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA IS WHINING AGAIN.  BAMBI IS STAMPING HIS FEET AGAIN.  HE REACHED THESE REPORTERS BY PHONE TO WHIMPER, "IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!  IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!"
 
WHAT HAD THE SENATOR SO BENT OUT OF SHAPE WAS HIS NEW NICKNAME "SENATOR MIX TAPE" AS A RESULT OF HIS PLAGIARIZING THE REMARKS OF OTEHRS.
 
 
AND WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT TODAY, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO -- WHERE BAMBI USED TO LECTURE -- TOLD THESE REPORTERS, "IT'S PLAGIARISM.  THIS ISN'T EVEN DEBATABLE ANYWHERE OUTSIDE THE PRESS.  IT'S PLAGIARISM PURE AND SIMPLE AND THERE'S A REASON WE RECOMMEND CHARLES LIPSON'S DOING HONEST WORK IN COLLEGE: HOW TO PREPARE CITATIONS, AVOID PLAGIARISM AND ACHIEVE REAL ACADEMIC SUCCESS TO OUR STUDENTS -- BUT WHO KNEW WE'D HAVE TO EXPLAIN THE IMPORTANCE OF IT TO OUR STAFF?"
 
 
Starting with war resistance.  US war resister Camilo Mejia,chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, is the subject of the documentary Dear Camilo (Querido Camilo) which was awarded first prize in December at the Tenth Icaro Central American Film and Video Festibal in Guatemala.  The film is plays next month at the 25th Miami International Film Festival.   The Miami Herald notes: "Dear Camilo, a portrait of Camilo Mej√≠a who was the first soldier of the U.S. to declare himself a conscientious objector to the war in Iraq and the first to be convicted for his refusal to return to the Middle East. In English and Spanish with English subtitles; 9:15 p.m. COSFORD. Also 9:15 p.m. March 7 at REGAL."  A trailer for the film can be seen at YouTubeThe summary from the official site notes: "Camilo Mejia was the first soldier in the U.S. Army to declare himself a conscientious objector to the war in Iraq, and went public with his refusal to return to the front line.  On 21 May 2004, amid great public interest, court-martial sentenced the 28-year-old sergeant to one year of imprisonment.  Dear Camilo tells his story from his perspective, but also from that of his parents and a former classmate.  It is the story of a naive but intelligent young man who grew up in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  His parents advised him against volunteering for the army, but he did so all the same.  After experiencing the ragages of the war in Iraq firsthand, he started to have serious misgivings.  Upon his return from Iraq, he first went into hiding, but then realised he could not go on like that and openly decided to refuse military service.  From prison, Camilo writes that even though he is behind bars, he finally feels free, because he heeded a higher power than his army superiors: his conscience."   Camilo Mejia tells his own story in Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (published last May by the New Press). 
 
War resisters are also in Canada and with Canada's Supreme Court refusing to hear appeals on the issue of safe harbor status for war resisters in Canada. The country's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters like McCall may have. You can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
 
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, at least fifty 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

 

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers. IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause.  Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible.  The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies.  It won't be easy but it must be done.  Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it."
 
In the United Kingdom much attention is focused on the lies that led to the illegal war.  On Monday, Chris Ames (New Statesman) explained that "[t]he secret first draft of the Iraq WMD dossier written by Foreign Office spin doctor John Williams has finally been published after a ruling back in January under the Freedom of Information Act. . . . The document places a spin doctor at the heart of the process of drafting the dossier and blows a hole in the government's evidence to the Hutton Inquiry. . . .  From the time that the row first erupted over Andrew Gilligan's allegations that the dossier had been sexced-up, the government has claimed that [Intelligence chief John] Scarlett's draft, produced on 10 September 2002, was the first full draft and produced without interference from spin doctors.  But the Williams draft, dated a day earlier, shows that spin doctors were sexing up the dossier at the time the notorius 45 minutes claim was included." Today Alex Barker (Financial Times of London) reports the response to yesterday's release includes the fact that "[o]pposition parties renewed calls for an inquiry into the origins of the Iraq War" while Rose Prince (Telegraph of London) explains, "Opposition politicians said the report proved that the case for war had been based on the arguments and rhetoric of spin doctors rather than an impartial analysis by intelligence experts" and that while "Ministers were keen to stree that the dossier had been drawn up by the Joint Intelligence Committee . . . [,] critics last night seized upon the similarities between the draft written by Mr Williams and the final version." Nigel Morris (Independent of London) reports, "Last night, the opposition parties said the language used by Mr Williams, the former political editor of the Daily Mirror, showed that ministers initially turned to senior press officers to make eye-catching claims about the evils of Saddam's regime.  They renewed calls for a public inquiry into the build-up to the conflict."  As Great Britain's Socialist Worker points out, "It's no wonder that the foreign office tried to suppress it. . . .  It's bad enough that Tony Blair took us into a war apparently on the basis of a document written by a foreign office press officer.  But what's worse is that the infamous claim that Saddam Hussein could launch chemical weapons within 45 minutes was not in the draft document.  It was written in the margin by someone else in Whitehall and appears in the final dossier -- backing up the claim that the dossier was 'sexed up' to justify the war."
 
Turning to some of the reports coming out over the weekend.  As if cholera, malnutrition and becoming an orphan aren't enough risks for the children of Iraq, a disease long present in the region is suddenly thriving.  Maria Cheng (AP) reported that already "275 children in southern Iraq have been infected with a disfiguring skin disease, an outbreak some health officials are blaming on the war's devastating effect on the public health system.  According to the United Nations -- citing reports from Iraq's southern province of Qadissiyah -- 275 children have been struck with leishmaniasis, which is spread by sand flies.  Most have a form that causes skin sores, but others have a type that strikes internal organs and can be fatal."  IRIN explained yesterday, "Children are particularly at risk because they typically have weaker immune systems than adults, he [Qadissiyah General Hospital's Mohammed Sahib] said.  A single sand fly bite can be enough to transmit the diesease."  The one that produces sores but does not attack the body's organs is not simply a few 'bumps.'  The CDC explains, "The skin sores of cutaneous leishmaniasis will heal on their own, but this can take months or even years.  The sores can leave ugly scards.  If not treated, infection that started in the sink rarely spreads to the nose or mouth and causes sores there (mucosal leishmaniasis). . . .  Mucosal leishmaniasis might not be noticed until years after the original skin sores healed.  The best way to prevent mucosal leishmaniasis is to treat the cutaneous infection before it spreads" and as for the other form (also currently being found in the children of southern Iraq), "If not treated, visceral leishmaniasis can cause death."  The World Health Organization provides photos of those who had the disease on their face that show the permanent scarring produced (scroll down WHO's page).  As for the version that attacks the body's organs, WHO notes, "Visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala azar, is characterized by high fever, substantial weith loss, swelling of the spleen and liver, and anaemia.  If left untreated, the disease can have a fatality rate as high as 100% within two years."  On February 11th, IRIN was noting that 180 children had been diagnosed with it and quoted Fahan Mohammed ("head of Siniya local council"), "About a month ago, we informed the provincial officials about the spread of this disease in our area and that we did not have enough medicines for it.  But no one responded in a serious way and that contributed to the spread of this disease, as our modest efforts in the area's medical centre were not enough." Ismail Salami (Iran's Press TV) observes the outbreak "is yet another appalling consequence of US invasion of Iraq. . . . Wars are wars but the invasion of a country under the banner of democracy and bringing disease and calamity instead to the women and children, looting a nation's natural resources and exercising greater control over the region for egoistic or military pursuits is a telltale charade orchestrated by the diseased minds of the imperialists who seek to achieve their fiendish goals by any means."  Note that the article contains a photo of a very small child with the disease.  AP notes, "Though the disease was first identified in Iraq more than a century ago, outbreaks were rare during Saddam Hussein's regime.  But since the conflict began, experts say the destroyed health system has opened the way for diseases lurking in the environment."  A photo of a woman with scars from the cutaneous leishmaniasis accompanies this IRIN article which notes, "The disease's incubation period is up to six months, so thousands could have the disease without knowing it."
 
 


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