Saturday, July 08, 2006

Law and Disorder on the Green Scare

I did post twice this week, in reply to Karen's e-mail, on Monday and Tuesday. What else I have been doing? I attended a birthday party Thursday night. I've also been picking up slack. I think I'm a supportive person but with Rebecca and Elaine both being on vacation, I've realized how little support I've probably given. Rebecca's infamous for her check-in phone calls where she just calls to see how you're doing. Though Elaine doesn't work the phones as much as Rebecca (no one does -- no one could, Rebecca lives for the phone), she also spends a lot of time talking to us and seeing how we're doing.

Mike was probably hardest hit because of reasons he discussed in his column in Sunday's Polly's Brew. This was a pretty depressing week for him. I saw it as liberating (I agree, you're better off realizing who you can count on and who you can't) but I understand why he was so depressed that so many chose to ignore the very important story that the US was keeping a body count on Iraq civilians. So I was on the phone with him. I was on the phone with Betty who was filling in for Rebecca. I was on the phone with Sunny who was filling in for Elaine.

And you know what? I wouldn't take back a minute of that. People need encouragement and I certainly get it from others so this was my week to give back. (And to realize how much we all miss when Rebecca and Elaine take a joint vacation.) I tried. Hopefully, I was some help.

Sunny's written some great things this week so I hope you read: "Substituting for Elaine," "About Elaine" and "About Rebecca." Betty's written epic posts. I asked her, "Weren't you supposed to cut down on your work by filling in?" She just laughed and said she had a lot to say and was having fun. Check out her "Betty filling in for Rebecca" and "Music, movies and Andrea Lewis."

Wally marched on (in a peaceful manner) all week and I say good for him. He offered twice that we could do a joint post (we did one on Monday) but I passed because I was too busy and didn't want to hold him back or weigh him down. But if, like Karen, you felt short changed by my site, I hope you appreciated Wally.

So that's what I've been up to. I'm going to note C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from yesterday and, if you're thinking, "That's yesterday" -- yeah but that's what the papers have today too.

Chaos and violence continue.
Iraq was rocked with bombings today. As Sandra Lupien noted on
KPFA's The Morning Show, "As many as 17 are dead and at least 50 wounded following attacks on mosques." The BBC reports that the bombs went off "in Baghdad and Baquba following Friday prayers." Al Jazeera notes that, in Baghdad, a car bomb went off near one Sunni mosque and a mortar round landed on another. In addition to the mortar attack on the mosque, Reuters reports another one in Baghdad that took the lives of at least three people and wounded at least 30. Reuters also notes a car bomb exploding near a mosque in Tal Banat ("killed six and wounded 46") and that three people were gunned down in Mosul. The Associated Press reports that, in Sinjar, at least eight died and 48 were wounded when "a car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque".
Along with the above, the
AFP reports that two sheikhs may have been kidnapped. Sheikh Said Mohammed Taha al-Samarrai of Mahmudiyah is reported kidnapped and killed according to Sunni members of Parliament. The second sheikh believed to be kidnapped is Sheikh Alaa Mohammed Abbas al-Rikabi -- and that's according to Sheikh Abdel Ghafur al-Sammarai who also states "that 181 Sunni clerics have been killed since February."
Mahmudiyah was the hometown of Abeer Qasim Hamza, the 15-year-old who was allegedly rape before being killed (along with three of her family members) by US military forces. Steven D. Green is the only one charged so far. In court Thursday, his attorney Scott Wendelsdorf "entered a plea of 'not guilty on all counts,'"
Reuters reports.
In peace news,
Bay Area Code Pink is fasting and picketing . . . outside the home of War Hawk Di Fi (the home warbucks is building): " Senator Diane Feinstein recently voted against John Kerry's amendment calling for the troops to come home. Let's make sure she doesn't disappoint her constituents again. Gather with us, as we encourage her to co-sponsor the Harkin bill (S. CON. RES 93) -- no permanent military presence or military bases in Iraq; no attempt to control the flow of Iraqi oil; and Armed Forces should be redeployed from Iraq as soon as practicable after the completion of Iraq's constitution-making process or December 31, 2006 - which ever comes first."
CODEPINK also continues their fast in DC and elsewhere as people across the country continue fasting or begin to show their support. Kris Wise (Daily Mail) writes of West Virginians taking part in the fast and quotes Janie Poe: "I'll go for as long as my body can hold out or until my group tells me to stop. It's probably detrimental for us on our bodies, but it's us screaming out to people to wake up."
Today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis interviewed Dahr Jamail and Mark Manning (info on tonight's event below) on the subject of Iraq. On the issue of the alleged rape and the murders, Dahr Jamail said, "This type of thing is happening on a regular basis in Iraq . . . [rapes during house raids] even in the capital city of Baghdad." Mark Manning pointed out that the legal immunity given to contractors and the military has created "a huge problem" and that the Iraqis have seen too many incidents being wiped away without investigation.
Event tonight:
An upcoming event: Brava Theater, 2789 24th Street, San Francisco, Friday, July 7th, 7:00 pm. (415-647-2822) Mark Manning will be screening his film
Caught in the Crossfire for those interested in knowing the realities on Falluja that Dexy and the other Green Zoners never got around to telling you. Nadia McCaffrey, who lost her son in the Iraq war, will bespeaking as will Dahr Jamail.

Now for WBAI's Law and Disorder. I'm grabbing the last segment of the show. Heidi Boghosian may end up being the one I note. Ruth notes all of them but she really follows the Michaels (Ratner and Smith) and Mike follows Dalia Hashad. So I'll get Boghosian's back. The segment I'm focusing on was where Heidi Boghosian was anchoring a segment that offered three speakers from a recent panel on the Green Scare that was sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild who I see that I don't have a link for on my link roll. I'll fix that after I post this. Heidi Boghosian is --

What is she? I couldn't remember. I'm rushing this post because C.I. wants to note Mike and me in the entry this morning at The Common Ills and is holding it for us to get our stuff posted. I couldn't remember so I called C.I. who says Boghosian is the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. So the organization sponsored a panel on "What Is the Green Scare?" and Monday's show provided excerpts of three speakers (and it was noted that you can hear more from the panel at the Law and Disorder website).

Daniel Meyers, a civil rights attorney from New York, was first up. That was a really good choice because he explained how conspiracy charges work. You hear "conspiracy" right now and you probably think, "Oh, those tin foil hats the mainstream is always dismissing." Conspiracy is used by the federal government all the time as a charge in court. They've used it for years in drug cases, Meyers explained that. He talked about once that charge was allowed in court, you could then allow hear say testimony -- you can't do that in normal cases. Next up was Andrew Erba and when I called C.I. about Boghosian's title, C.I. spelled "Erba" ("just in case") for which I am thankful because I would have spelled it "Urba" here without the help.

Erba talked about how the conspiracy charge works. Let's say Sammy smokes some pot. Nancy gets some pot from her dealer. She calls Sammy and says, "Hey, I've got some, come over." He says cool and is on his way over. When the case is tried, suddenly Sammy and Nancy are parts of the 'conspiracy.' They're held responsible for every bit of pot the dealer got, the dealer's held for every bit that his supplier got and so on.

What this does is a) result in those unfair sentences that we all know about or should and b) lead to people flipping. That's what Erba spoke of, the flipping. They always flip on someone lower down the chain. So the person with the lengthy sentences, the harsh ones, tend to be the ones who were the least involved. And where do they get their initial information? From informers who've usually been busted and are making a deal to avoid harsh time.

Erba's large point here was that this has been going for decades and now that this is being used to target environmentalists, "middle class" America may wake up. They should. This isn't about justice and it's not about a sound legal system.

Lauren Regan then spoke about how free speech was not just verbal and how this country has a long history of seeing free speech as actions. She went through the history of people targeting "property" for their free speech actions including theft of "property" in the 1860s when people helped slaves escape. She noted the dumping of tea in the Boston harbor. Actions that are not intended threaten the life of anyone or overthrow the government are now being prosecuted as if they were.

The three excerpts were well chosen because each built on the information given right before. Boghosian did a good job setting up the segment by noting that the environmental movement was being targeted and spied on, then dealt "especially harsh" charges and sentences. At the end of the segment, she talked about the recent revelations from California, how Ahnuld's office
hired SRA International supposedly for 'security' and what ended up happening was that people engaged in peaceful (and Constitutional) protests were spied upon and tracked including an animal rights rally in San Francisco, a peace protest in Santa Barbara and one in Wall Creek at which a US Congress member spoke out against the war. This is about silencing dissent and criminalizing it. It's a really important segment and whether you heard it or already or plan to listen or if you're just going to read this here, I hope you'll think about it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

News for the Day

Make a difference on the 4th.

Iraq snapshot

Chaos and violence continue. As Dahr Jamail said on Monday's Flashpoints, "It really is horrible to try to keep in context the level of violence . . . Here we are doing it again with no end in sight and I wonder just how long we'll continue doing it? . . . Things are not just staying the same in Iraq, it's getting exponentially worse."

As Sandra Lupien noted on yesterday's KPFA's The Morning Show, former US soldier Steven D. Green was arrested and charged Friday with raping an Iraqi female while he was serving in Iraq and then killing her and three members of her family. The twenty-one-year-old Green was a member of the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army before being discharged with what The New York Times termed a "personality disorder." The BBC notes that Green's next appearance in court will be July 10th. Various press reports note that four others are suspected of involvement but Green has been the only one charged. The Associated Press reports that Minister Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shebli, Iraq's justice minister, has "demanded" that the United Nations provide oversight to ensure that those guilty be brought to justice.

Though the United States military has maintained that the rape victime was at least twenty-years-old, reports beginning with Ellen Knickmeyer's (Washington Post) on Monday have placed the female's age much lower. Yesterday, Reuters reported that the mayor of Mahmudiya declared today that the woman "was no more than 16 years old when she was killed along with her parents and young sister".

In the United States, members of CODEPINK, Granny Peace Brigade, Gold Star Families for Peace, United for Peace & Justice and Women for Peace have gathered in DC and are fasting: "While many Americans will be expressing their patriotism via barbeques and fireworks, we'll be fasting in memory of the dead and wounded, and calling for the troops to come home from Iraq."

Yesterday, they gathered in front of the Ghandi statue at 3:00 PM where Cindy Sheehan spoke: "This war is a crime. We represent millions of Americans who withdraw their support from this government." Others participating include Daniel Ellsberg, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn and Dick Gregory. On yesterday's WBAI's Cat Radio Cafe, Janet Coleman spoke with several members of Granny Peace Brigade about the fast and other actions. Among the women Coleman spoke with was former WBAI programmer Vinnie Burrows who sang a portion of one her songs: "The kids are dying far away in a foreign land/ I must keep on trying, their lives are in our hands."

In Scotland last weekend, members of Military Always Delivers (an activist group like the Billionaires for Bush in the United States) participated in a pro-war march and rally on Saturday. Scotland Independent Media Center reports (text and photos) that many pro-war marches were not in on the prank as members of MAD shouted slogans such as "Cut Welfare, Buy More Bombs!"; "War is the Health of the State"; and "Power Grows out of the Barrel of a Gun" while passing out "deception dollars."
Today, in Iraq, Reuters reports that Raad al-Harith, Iraq's deputy electricity minister, and 19 of his bodyguards were kidnapped in Baghdad. In other violence thus far today, a roadside bomb in Baghdad claimed the lives of at least two police officers and wounded at least four; in Hawija, a mortar attack claimed the lives of at least one and wounded at least two others; and, in Falluja, "[g]unmen wounded a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars."

An upcoming event: Brava Theater, 2789 24th Street, San Francisco, Friday, July 7th, 7:00 pm. (415-647-2822) Mark Manning will be screening his film Caught in the Crossfire for those interested in knowing the realities on Falluja that Dexy and the other Green Zoners never got around to telling you. Nadia McCaffrey, who lost her son in the Iraq war, will bespeaking as will Dahr Jamail.

To date 2538 American troops have lost their lives in Iraq (official count). And 150 members ofAlpha Company of the 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry are headed for Fort Dix and then Iraq.

Around the globe. The AFP reports that confronted with a direct threat of nuclear strikes, from North Korea, the White House shrugs and White House spokesmodel Tony Snow declares, "It is still deeply hypothetical." However, the Bully Boy demonstrates no reluctance to play Wallflower with Iran. The Associated Press reports "Western powers" are demanding a July 12th dealine for beginning talks and ceasing nuclear enrichment -- after that, it's a nuclear dance off! This despite Seymour Hersh's reporting that "Pentagon planners and other experts" are not in support of Bully Boy's plan to nuke Iran. Korea? Iran? Iran? Korea? Michael R. Gordon's head spins as he attempts to figure out which war is a "go" in order to start marketing his own brand of home-made (war) porn. (Seymour and Shane -- what have you wrought!) And in the occupied terroritories? The 'jokesters' at the Associated Press, reporting on continued armed agression, dub their story "Israel keeps up pressure on Gaza." In the real world, Nora Barrows-Friedman, on KPFA's Flashpoints, noted that over 130,000 Palestinians have been left without water; that sonic booms are being used to terrorize the population throughout the night; that Israeli forces, in the last week, have abducted " one-third of the Palestinian government. No one in the international community has yet expressed any outrage at this or the Palestinian political prisoner's conditions."

In election news in the United States, Robert Parry writes on the campaign "tool" that benefitted the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004: Osama bin Laden's rush-released video timed to debut four days prior to the election. Though it didn't fly off the shelves at Blockbuster, CIA analysts studying the release came to the judgement that "that bin-Laden was trying to help Bush gain a second term." Meanwhile, professional politician Joe Lieberman, who never met a baby or an ass he couldn't kiss, has thrown down his Zell-Miller-like marker announcing that if he doesn't win his party's nomination (Democratic), he will run as an independent to hold on to his Senate seat. Particularly surprising to Lieberman may be no cries of: "Say it ain't so, Joe!" This as fellow Democratic War Hawk Maria Cantwell appears to hope she can just wish the war away from constituents' minds. In contrast to Cantwell's fiddle-dee-dee approach, newly declared Democrat Jim Webb stated in Saturday's Democratic radio address: ""I have believed strongly that when things aren't working well, it is the responsibility of our leaders to admit it, and to fix the problem. Some say that speaking out against a war is disloyal to the troops. Whoever says that should consider what it's like to be a troop, wishing someone would speak the truth."

In other election news: Que una sorpresa -- another election in Mexico is rife with accusations of fraud and rigging. Possibly, next time an election approaches, US media outlets could spend less time shoring up the lite candidate as "left" and more time exploring the system that continues to fail the people? (We mean the system itself, but if it's easier to focus on the voting mechanics, even that would be preferred.) The BBC reports that conservative Felipe Calderon is the winner and the less conservative Manuel Lopez Obrador is waiting for a recount while the people of Mexico wait for a real leader to emerge. (The actual count of the votes will not begin until Wednesday, as noted by the KPFA Evening News Monday.)

In science & techonology news, the London Free Press is reporting that: "A huge asteroid whizzed by Earth early yesterday, passing about 433,000 kilometres from the planet's surface -- slightly farther away than the moon." Meanwhile, Jane Kay (San Franciso Chronicle) reports on a new study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Science which has found the world's bird population to be disappearing at an alarming rate: "The study, the most thorough analysis of global bird species, says 12 percent of existing species -- about 1,250 -- are threatened with extinction by 2100." La loco bird flies on the op-ed pages of the Washington Post where the always laughable Eugene Robinson shows up days late, without a tardy slip, and rushes to shore up the justifiably (long) tarnished image of Star Jones (a modern-day Joan of Arc burned at the TVQ pyre, to hear Robinson tell it) in a column that will provide laughter for years (print it up, it's doubtful the 'collected works' will ever be published). The always late for the train Robison trots out a seventies spoof of Barbara Walters but seems (not surprisingly) unaware that Star Jones has been spoofed repeatedly in more recent years on both Saturday Night Live and Mad TV. For the record, roaches weren't used in any spoof revolving around Walters. Alleged homophobe, peace-activist hater, and attorney Jones will apparently next argue the case that her firing from The View just because the audiences hated her was a case of wrongful termination at I-Hops and truck stops across the country. Chances are that she won't draw a crowd there either. Meanwhile Robinson is prepping his next hard hitting column: an exploration of Shannen Doherty's public firings. [Note: C.I. participated in the writing of the previous six sentences only after consulting with friends at the Washington Post.] In a better use of space, investigative journalist and internet sleuth Ron Byrnaert discovers that a certain Free Republic poster is apparently better known to many as a voice of the left or 'left.' Ron (Why Are We Back In Iraq?) searches for the answer to the question of "Who is Vis Numar?"

Monday's Democracy Now! offered "We Shall Overcome: An Hour With Legendary Folk Singer & Activist Pete Seeger" while today's broadcast will feature:

StoryCorps: A national social history project records the voices of ordinary people -- citizen and non-citizen, old and young -- telling their stories to each other.

Musical question of the day from Carly Simon's "Playing Possum" (written by Simon, title track to the CD of the same name):

We lived up in Cambridge
And browsed in the hippest newstands
Then we started our own newspaper
Gave the truth about Uncle Sam
We loved to be so radical
But like a rugged love affair
Some became disenchanted
And some of us just got scared
Now are you playing possum
Keeping a low profile
Are you playing possum for a while?

This joint entry written by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz; Wally of The Daily Jot; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; and Ruth of Ruth's Public Radio Report. [With additional help from Dallas and Tracey.]

Monday, July 03, 2006

SICFUCS Love Condi












Recommended: "And the war drags on . . ."
"Democracy Now: Pete Seeger; Iraq snapshot -- Steven D. Green arrested on rape & murder charges"
"NYT: The soft porn of dizy Dexy"
"Popsicles in the Kitchen"
"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts 'Bully Boy and Koizumi Play Dress Up'"
"Hard Promises (that's a Tom Petty CD)"
"'Details Emerge in Alleged Army Rape, Killings' (Ellen Knickmeyer)"
"The cross-dressing, I can live with, the right-wing plotting . . ."
"NYT: 'Sunnis Boycott Parliament After Colleague's Kidnapping' (Kirk Semple)"
"Put Away the Flags (Howard Zinn)"
"NYT: There is no grace, even at Graceland even in the Green Zone"
"action alert from fair and chatty post"
Editorial: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld -- what matters
TV: TESR Investigates: NYC
Two books, Ten Minutes
Somebody Killed Her Career
Psst, over here, it's the story you're not supposed to know about
Uh, Correction Time, New York Times
Cheney has a heart!
A non-Star loses her sparkle time