Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New bookings!






UN weapons inspector Hans Blix is scheduled to testify to the Inquiry tomorrow. Do you know what would be really embarrassing about the above news if you were a writer in the US? Insisting that Iraq was no longer an issue in England. Ah, poor stupid Amitabh Pal, always the loser, always the fool. In the US, the big news is the latest release of documents from a whistle blowing organization? Which one? The only game in town. Backstory, Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Philip Shenon (Daily Beast) reported last month that the US government is attempting to track down WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. Last week, the military charged Manning. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported earlier this month that he had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted enough and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Over the weekend at the National Peace Conference, a measure of support for WikiLeaks and for Bradley -- if he is the whistleblower (and the statement notes that he may or may not be) was passed. and signed by Veterans for Peace's Mike Ferner, War Is A Crime's David Swanson and World Can't Wait's Elaine Brower and Debra Sweet -- click here to read the measure at World Can't Wait. Space permitting we'll come back to the Conference later in the e-mail but we also need to cover Lynne Stewart and a few other topics. Sunday, WikiLeaks released more documents, this time on Afghanistan. Newsweek explains:
Two sources familiar with material currently in the hands of Wikileaks, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said on Monday that the next subject to be featured in media revelations based on documents leaked to Wikileaks was likely to be U.S. conduct of the Iraq War. The sources indicated the type of material likely to be the basis of anticipated forthcoming exposes would be similar to the military reports -- many of them from U.S. military units operating in the field -- which began to surface on Monday in reports published by The New York Times, The Guardian newspaper of London and the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel regarding U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and related dealings with authorities in Pakistan.
Due to the sensitivity of the material, the sources declined to discuss any of the still-to-be-revealed documents about Iraq in detail. However, one of the sources characterised the material as describing the involvement of U.S. forces in a "bloodbath."
This isn't the "Afghanistan snapshot" and we're limited on space in this snapshot. For details of what's in the leaked documents, use the links above. Today Julian Assange held a press conference in London and you can stream that via CSpan.
The White House went into damage control yesterday and the whole thing seemed like a throwback to the days of Tricky Dick. In fact, the only thing missing might have been G. Gordon Liddy. Today, he emerges. George Stephanopoulos (ABC News -- link has text and video) interviews him today and he condemns the leak. Of course, these days, his name is Adrian Lamo but a convicted felon who tries to restyle as an uber-patriot will always be a G. Gordon Liddy and can ABC News please explain since when a convicted felon -- with no national security experience, please note, has any standing on this topic? (That's right, he doesn't.) Wait! Convicted felon? Oh, I can't leave it at that. Convicted felon and pervert. If Adrian's going to continue whisper campaign -- and he did it again today to two reporters -- about Bradley Manning (floating various supposed sexual revelations but doing so 'off the record' as Lamo continues his efforts to poison the press against Bradley), then let's be very clear that you don't get much more perverted than Adrian Lamo and, in fact, ABC News should issue a warning to get children out of the room before they ever show Lamo on the TV screens. To 'cover' the WikiLeaks story, little Ezra Klein (Washington Post) links to his cock-knocking buddy Spency Ackerman. If you gave as much verbal head to get ahead as Ezra did, you'd think you'd have gotten further, don't you? Like a male actor sleeping with Joel Schumacher who then pulls strings to get the actor on the cover of Vanity Fair and leaves the world pondering over a decade later how ___ became a so-called 'star,' Ezra's 'fame' (low-watt as it is) is all about the circle-jerk and he was damn lucky that the Columbia School of Journalism has no ethics or morals and refused to police their own. So Ezra hopped in a hot tub with ___ and Ezra became a CJR star, rewarded with lavish public praise and with multiple links. (We're not implying sex, Ezra's too frightening to trade on sex.) That's how a whore becomes a name -- even when it's just such a tiny name. And that whoring is what Ezra does today at the Washington Post whose reputation he trashes in order to do a reach-around on his boy pal Spency. Remember that -- at the Washington Post now, it's not about reporting. It's about lying to readers so that you can link to your friends who will then link back to you and Ezra just knows no one will ever be the wiser. Considering that Ezra's Journolist was used to map out strategies and narratives, the Washington Post should not be allowing him to link to his circle jerk buds. But Spency has to pay the bills! And he's new to Wired! And despite public statements, Wired management is now nervous about Spencer due to the Journolist. See, whether or not the strategy was implemented (it appears to have been implemented), Spencer's suggesting that the way to shut down coverage of a story was to scream "RACIST!" at people doesn't play well. And Ezra decision to link-f**k Spency? Even if doing so risks the repuation of the Washington Post which, for the record, is not in the business of stifling debate by screaming "RACIST!" at those it disagrees with. [Late to the party on Journolist? See Hillary Is 44's "Hillary Was Smeared First - DailyCaller, Race-baiting JournoList, And DailyKos DailyKooks - The Big Media/Big Blog Cartel," "'Call Them Racists' - The New Racism And The Political Importance of JournoList JournoGate; JournoLister Ben Smith's Delusions; And Scooter Libby" and "The Barack Obama Campaign Started "Call Them Racist" - JournoList Followed - And A Shocking 'Hooray For Tucker Carlson'!") and this week's edition of Third.
Off topic but needed, congratulations to Mauro Paim. The Brazilian blogger just celebreated his first anniversary of blogging. He blogs at Reality Observer and addresses LGBT issues worldwide. If more people took those issues as seriously as Mauro does, homophobia would vanish in the blink of an eye. Congratulations to him on his anniversary and on all the strong work he does. Back to Iraq, Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan also needs congratulations, she has a new grandson, Cohen Andrew Sheehan who was born Saturday (Jade and Andrew Sheehan are the parents). Back to the peace conference. David Swanson writes about it at his site -- this is noted after checking with Rebecca, Cedric and Ann (for any community members wondering):
While Marcy [Winograd] provided the progressive candidate's view of the media, Wendell Potter gave that of a former corporate hack and a current whistleblower, Cohen that of a former television talking head and current media critic and university professor, and the always brilliant John Nichols laid out in concise detail the documented dying of the old media and the lack of any birth, as of yet, of a new media that can replace it. Here's Cohen:

Also on Saturday, we shared notes in regional groupings, and I took part in the Southern one, where energy was high and planning eager. Southern progressives are
on the move and planning a regional conference, possibly in Atlanta.

Sunday morning, we split up along other lines, joining one or more of PDA's six Issue Organizing Teams:
• End War and Occupation IOT: Norman Solomon and Steve Carlson, table leaders
• Healthcare for All/Single-payer IOT: Donna Smith and Chuck Pennacchio, table leaders
• Stop Global Warming/Environmental IOT: Laura Bonham, table leader
• Accountability and Justice IOT: Susan Harman and David Swanson, table leaders
• Amend to Suspend Action Group (opposing corporate personhood): Dave Keeler, table leader
• Immigration Reform Action Group: Dan O'Neal, table leader

PDA is a major participant in immigrant rights struggles in Arizona and wants everyone to watch for big actions there on Thursday, July 29th. Through the combination of two groups into a single meeting, and by running down the hall, I was able to take part in three of the meetings. Each group laid plans for the coming months, assigned roles, and jumped to work, including taking on this week's expected House vote on war escalation funding. At the same time, some of PDA's key anti-war leaders were attending and playing a leading role in a huge and hugely successful
national peace conference in Albany, NY. The peace movement is joining forces with the labor and civil rights movements this fall, and PDA is in the thick of that. George Korn from Rainbow PUSH was at the PDA Conference planning a campaign for Jobs, Justice, and Peace with the United Auto Workers and others.
If those links don't work, go to his site. In the e-mail they were sent in, they're open (not closed) tags and I've had to log on to edit them myself as we try to slim down the snapshot which is way too long. But we're including Lynne. David has a note in his piece about PDA and I'm not trying to spit on him by noting that I don't believe the answer comes from new members of Congress. They've tried that strategy over and over. After giving his word Dennis Kucinich -- the PDA poster boy -- still caved and stuck America with that horrid ObamaCare -- which is not universal, single-payer and doesn't have the weak-ass public option that little Harry Reid wanted to tell Nutroots Nation this weekend they might get if they worked really hard. Golly, Harry weren't you the one elected, aren't you the member of the Senate, aren't you the Majority Leader, shouldn't your candy ass be working instead of tossing your responsibilites onto the voters? Nutroots got covered, Swanson's gathering didn't. For that reason, we're including and if we had more space, we'd include more of it. But as repeatedly noted, I do not think that we do the same thing over and over. (And if Marcy Winograd ever actually wants to win a seat in Congress, someone might try walking her through that. She could have won this year but she and her campaign did everything wrong. To defeat Jane Harman, Marcy needs to grasp, would mean losing a lot of pork Jane can provide via her seniority. Marcy needs to make clear to the voters how Marcy in Congress means money for the district. That was among the campaign's biggest mistakes. If she runs in 2012, she and her campaign need to rectify that.)
Now for Lynne. Michael Steven Smith writes "The Sentencing of Lynne Stewart" at the Center for Constitutional Rights:

Lynne Stewart is a friend. She used to practice law in New York City. I still do. I was in the courtroom with my wife Debby the afternoon of July 19th for her re-sentencing. Judge John Koeltl buried her alive.

We should have seen it coming when he told her to take all the time she needed at the start when she spoke before the sentence was read. It didn't matter what she said. He had already written his decision, which he read out loud to a courtroom packed with supporters. It was well crafted. Bulletproof on appeal. He is smart and cautious.

After about an hour into his pronouncement, he came to the buried alive part. He prefaced it by citing the unprecedented 400 letters of support people had sent him, all of which he said he read. He noted Lynne's three decades of service to the poor and the outcast. He stressed that she is a seventy-year-old breast cancer survivor with high blood pressure and other serious health problems. And then he laid it on her: 120 months.

Everyone in the courthouse divided 120 by 12. He had given her a death sentence, we all thought. She'll never get out. He almost quadrupled the 28 month sentence he had originally pronounced. She had told him that 28 months was a horizon, that she had hope. But no more.

Lynne's granddaughter gasped. Then started sobbing. She kept crying even as Judge John Koeltl kept reading. And reading. And reading. It was awful. The sentence was pitiless and cruel. How to understand it?

Lynne's lawyer Jill Shellow Levine rose after the judge finished. She asked him why. He was candid. He was told to do it by his supervisors, the judges on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. This court is an institution of the elite. It is considered the second highest court in America next to the Supreme Court because it presides over the financial center of the empire, not its capital, that is in D.C., but its real capital. This court makes policy and Lynne Stewart was to be made an example of in "the war against terrorism" just as a half a century before, in the same court, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were condemned to death in the war against communism, told that they had caused the deaths of 50,000 U.S. soldiers in the Korean War, and found guilty of the ridiculous charge of "stealing the secret" of the atomic bomb, when there was no secret, it was only a matter of technology. The sentencing Judge Kaufman knew they would leave behind two orphan children, Robert and Michael, ages six and three.

There's more,
use the link. Michael Smith is a co-host -- with Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian -- of Law & Disorder (airs on WBAI Mondays and elsewhere around the country throughout the week) which this week speaks with Vinie Burrows about the Lynne Stewart case. Ralph Poynter is Lynne's husband. He made the following statement last week.

Ralph Poynter: Just a brief statement on Lynne Stewart's sentencing. It's perjury, thy name is the United States government. The president-elect begins lying when announcing candidacy only to reneg on every promise. War, health care, Social Security, economy, etc. To excuse the president, it is quoted, he must perjure him or herself to become president. It is an understood and unstated American way, accepted perjury. When taking the oath of office, the president swears to uphold the Constitution and then proceeds to support the dismantling of the Constitution: The Patriot Act, hypocritical perjury. In office, the president employs signing -- that is, after signing a bill, signing a statement saying he will not abide by the bill. Pre-meditated perjury. There's more perjury gone on in this administration in these few years than all of the Bush administration. When Lynne Stewart was attacked by the government for making a press release on the Sheik's behalf it was revealed that other attorneys had made press releases as she did. The New York federal prosecutor said they didn't know about them. The national federal prosecutor said other lawyers should be charged and arrested. The Second Circuit of Appeals said it was selective prosecution but they would not deal with it and that Lynne Stewart should be further prosecuted and given a harsher sentence. Prosecutorial perjury. Is there anyone on the planet who does not know that the landmark [stage?] was hatched and planned for by the U.S. government with an Egyptian operative named Emad Salem? Is there anyone on this planet who does not know that the F.B.I. directed every step of the plot while promising unemployed, hapless hangers on money to be involved this so-called plot? It was staged, financed and filmed by the covert operative Emad Salem with constant oversight by the F.B.I. They desired to credit the blind Sheik. The F.B.I. charged the Sheik for not reporting the F.B.I. operative to the F.B.I. The blind Sheik merely said, "I don't think this would be good for Islam and go pick another target" -- never acquiesing to a plan of Emad Salem's. National security perjury. The judge first rejected this case against Lynne Stewart as being vague. The judge reversed himself and allowed the case to proceed. The judge allowed Osama bin Laden in the case while saying it had only to do with the state of mind of a third defendant. He allowed the massacre of Luxor in the case -- I guess for dramatic effect -- although having nothing to do with the case. Finally, I want to talk about the perjury on the part of the part of the so-called progressive people who leap to embrace any and every petty accusation made about Lynne Stewart. She is arrogant. She would like to think she would support and defend the First Amendment, speech. She would like to think she would defend the right for people to have an attorney. She is not remorseful. And have people forgotten, have we forgotten bravery, courage, Patrick Henry, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer? Have we forgotten the principles of Lynne Stewart -- the principles that she stood by for 50 years? Have we forgotten who we claim to be? Progressive people, whose side are we on, brothers and sisters? Let us remember John Paul Jones: We have not yet begun to fight. Join us. Join Lynne. Join the struggle, the view of America that is inclusive and the view that we think America should have and should become.

Ruth transcribed that. And, as she noted, WBAI's Taking Aim this Tuesday (5:00 p.m. EST) is planning on using the full hour to discuss the case of Lynne Stewart (and Ralph's comment can be heard on last week's Taking Aim, already archived).

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