Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts on Cindy Sheehan, courage and other things

This is from Cindy Sheehan's "Requiem for the Antiwar Movement by Cindy Sheehan" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox):

During the campaign, many colleagues and friends of mine, assured me that Obama was just saying this hostile crap to “get elected” and once he was elected that he would “do the right thing.” Well, first of all, why support such a pandering Jackwagon, and secondly, how has that ever worked? Three days after Obama swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, he drone-bombed a “target” in Pakistan killing 3 dozen civilians—and since that day he has elevated the art of drone bombings to new heights, while the so-called antiwar movement looks on in silent complacency and while Democratic operatives disguised as antiwar groups are hoping against hope that Obama comes out strong with a new antiwar marketing campaign to assure his “re-election.” Even though not one progressive issue has been propagated during his term, these war supporters are looking forward to another four years of the dance of death. Right foot kill—left foot torture—spin around for environmental devastation—allemande left for health care fascism—and shimmy right for bankster bailouts. Wasn’t eight years of this crap during the Bush stain enough for y’all?

Many antiwar groups and people who claim they are for peace lose their minds during election season thinking that the razor-thin difference between the Democrat and Republican is enough to go ape-shit crazy in working for the Democrat. Just take the last two Democratic candidates, for example. Kerry and Obama both supported more war. An “antiwar” movement de-legitimizes itself when it works hard for a candidate who does not promise total and rapid withdrawal of troops from wherever they happen to be at the time AND does not promise to end war as an imperial tool of corporate conquest.

The majority of the so-called antiwar movement, in fact, voted for a candidate that PROMISED to contract one war only to be able to profoundly EXPAND another. Obama all along said that he is not against all war, just “dumb wars.” If there existed an antiwar movement that had integrity—it would have said that “all wars are dumb,” and we withhold our support for just another dyed-in-the-wool warmonger.

I was going to write about something else (as I noted last night) but I saw that at TCI -- on the sidebar, I need to put Cindy on mine too. She's the only non-community site I'll put on my blog list and I'll do it tonight after I post this.

But . . .

I don't know. Cindy's stronger than I am. I marvel at how strong she is.

And I don't think I could have done even half of what she has.

To lose your son to a war and, even worse, to one based on lies?

To try to take your grief and your loss and your wonderful son and make sure you've done your part so no other child has to die?

That's heroic. Cindy's a real hero.

But to do all of that and then to continue speaking out for what matters even when Democrats don't want you to because there's a Democrat in the White House?

I don't think the attacks heaped on Cindy, I don't think I could take the hate and the scorn.

She didn't change and I don't understand how former supporters can turn their backs. I don't get that. How much do you have to lie to yourself -- and hate yourself -- in order to look at Cindy and say, "I don't know what her problem is. Barack's in the White House and everything's groovy."

That poor woman.

She's given everything she has.

I don't and I wouldn't.

That's not modesty. I truly wouldn't. As part of my therapy after I was raped, I pictured a safe place within me where I could be protected and how to do that. And I don't give that up for anyone. It's how I make it through the day and through the month and through the year. I protect that untouchable place.

Cindy gives everything. She's a better person than me.

Someone's going to e-mail, 'Well you're not a Democrat!'

No, I'm not.

I don't trust them as a party, I never have. There are some Democratic politicians I like. But the party itself is a war party, is a corporation party. That's why I'm a Green. I voted Ralph in 2000 and I've never regretted it.

I didn't give Bush the White House. The Supreme Court did that. And I don't believe that if Al Gore had been in the White House we'd not have had a war. Early on, in 2002, he was making noises of war on Iraq. He changed his mind, good for him. But had he been in the White House that might not have been the case.

Al Gore lost the 2000 election because he didn't know how to fight. I'll allow the media was against him but Ralph Nader is a candidate I believed in. I voted for him and I never apologized for it.

I wasn't pathetic Susan Sarandon or Patti Smith or Eddie Veddar or any number of idiots who tried so hard in 2004 to 'atone' for their 'sins.'

People who need to apologize for their sins are the ones who voted for Barack.

If John McCain were president, you better believe no one on the left would trash Cindy Sheehan. They would be applauding her like crazy.

And if Hillary had gotten the presidency?

The 'creative class' would never have cut her any slack. The wheels of the antiwar movement would not have ceased rolling.

But (to steal from Ava and C.I.) Princess Tiny Meat gets into the White House and we learn how pathetic Democrats really are.

Not all. Some have spoken out. My husband is a Democrat and he and Wally hit hard on the lies of this administration every day. Ava and C.I. have hit harder than anyone. And look what happened to them?

TCI goes from 1,252 links down to 40 in a one month period in 2008 because they won't get on board with the Cult of St. Barack.

I checked last week and it was up to 452, The Common Ills was. And that's good. It's a sign that people are waking up.

But I mean, it would have been so easy for C.I. to have avoided it. She could have said "Domestic politics, we're focused on Iraq."

Or she could be one of the whores who offer a weak criticism of Barack in a single sentence surrounded by 5 paragraphs of how great he is.

There was a point where Betty was calling me and, Betty won't mind that I put this in, Betty's father was cheering C.I. on and thanking her for telling the truth. (Betty's entire family ended up supporting Hillary in the Georgia primary.) And Betty was like, "I keep saying, Dad, stop it. Stop putting pressure on her to be your truth teller. It is costing her links."

But C.I. didn't care. She's never cared.

What matters to her is that she's done the best she can.

So when 14-year-old West was posting comments at AlterNet and those two bastards who work for the site sent him those threatening e-mails, C.I. called them out and delinked from them. She knew it would cost her. She knew it would hurt her.

And it did. Right away, they de-linked, as she knew they would. Right away Mark Karlin (ASS) of BuzzFlash can't link to her because he doesn't want to offend.

Cause he's a chicken s**t. (And boy is that true now more than ever.)

She knew the backlash that would come from her decision. But a 14-year-old boy mattered more to her. A 14-year-old boy being threatened bullied by two grown ups mattered more to her.

(As community members know, I was one of the people the bullies were e-mailing. Eddie, Tiffany and I were community members back then and did exchange nice e-mails with the folks at AlterNet. When those two men went after West, they e-mailed everyone trying to get dirt on West. I was only one of the people who got those e-mails.)

And I look at this or that and I do think that in the end truth always wins.

And, back to Cindy, she is a truth teller.

And the people who scorn her right now are going to be very, very embarrassed.

Cindy's right.

What she's doing is right.

The angels and justice are on her side.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Friday, July 9, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, NPR dishes on Bradley Manning while trashing journalism, the Constitution and just about everything else, tensions rise between Turkey and the KRG, and more.

Today on the second hour of
The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), we learned that truth doesn't matter and that the American justice doesn't matter.

Doubt it? Enjoy this thrilling -- if fact-free -- exchange:


Diane Rehm: And, Nancy, we have an US soldier charged with leaking Iraq War video. Tell us about that.

Nancy A. Youssef: It's a really an interesting case. It's a 22-year-old uhm soldier named Bradley Manning who was a hacker -- a proclaimed hacker -- who claimed to have thousands and thousands of documents that he obtained. And he -- one of the things that he is charged with is getting his hands on was a video of airstrike that happend in Baghdad in 2007 In Baghagdad it killed a Reuters journalist and his Iraqi aid. And it really caused a firestorm among journalists and the Pentagon writ large about how they needed to handle these situations, at what point do you make the decision on whether to fire on someone? When you look at the video, it's clear to the naked eye that it's a camera man but in the fog of war at the height of violence it wasn't so clear. And what I found interesting was some of the comments that he made --

And we'll stop Nancy's lying right there. It's lying. It's not an error. Not when so much is at stake and when Nancy's so damn sure of what she knows when, point of fact, SHE DOESN'T KNOW A DAMN THING.

Nancy, someone could be sent away for 50 years. You damn well need to know what you're talking about. And you didn't. No, you didn't. You acted and sounded like a fool in public.

In the United States, people are guilty until proven innocent. That's an important bedrock to democracy and I'm really surprised that no one ever taught Nancy that. That's (A). (B), Bradley Manning hasn't self-claimed A DAMN THING.

He has not issued one statement. He has not spoken to the press. Nancy, you were an idiot. And this has consequences. You need to learn to do your job. And speaking of which, both men -- Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen -- were journalists. You damn well couldn't have done your 2006 Haditha reporting without Iraqis because you weren't free to travel. So how dare you downgrade the journalists? Haditha's only one example where were it not for people like Namir and Saeed, you wouldn't have had a story to file because you were not able to be where the action was happening. Both men are dead, both worked for Reuters, both died trying to get the story. They are journalists. Do not besmirch the memories of those two or of journalism itself.

And, Diane, as host, it was incumbent upon you to note that Nancy was dealing in gossip and not in fact. That was your job. That's why you are the host. Not only did you not do that, you joined in saying Bradley had 'said' when he's NOT SAID A DAMN THING. Unverified transcripts of alleged online chats are suspect. I'm so sick of this garbage. I'm so sick of alleged journalists who don't know the first damn thing about what they yack about. You do too much damage. We need
Jon Stewart to go on The Diane Rehm Show's roundtable and say, "For the love of God, for the sake democracy, please, I beg you, stop." There's no excuse for that garbage.

Bradley Manning is a US soldier and that's about all anyone got right. He is not a "proclaimed" anything. He has not spoken to the press, he has not issued his statements via his lawyer. He has not said anything. Diane and Nancy's idiotic claims were not only insulting, they were offensive to the system of democracy we have in the United States. There is no excuse for it and the show needs to issue an apology. They won't. They never will. That's a given. But that's what they should do.

Adrian Lamo is a hacker. He's a hacker and he's a convicted felon. He has stated a number of things to the press. These are not confirmed by anyone in government. He has released alleged transcripts to his personal court stenographer at Wired. He has made charges. He has spread rumors. We can deal with how vile those rumors were when Bradley Manning does speak. But for now we've been smart enough not to traffic in gossip from a convicted felon. It's a shame others can't say the same. (Leila Fadel is one who can make that claim. She's stuck to the verifiable facts when reporting on this story.)

Besides serving up gossip as fact, the program offered nothing. For instance,
it was Robert Kreuger this week (DC Political Buzz Examiner) who put Manning's arrest in with the wider context of US President Barack Obama's attack on whistleblowers and alleged whistelblowers and the First Amendment: "There is no doubt that Obama apologists and war hawks will spin this for Obama, claiming that the president must do what he can in the name of national security. However, if those who report undisputable proof of war crimes go to prison while those who commit them go unscathed, then both Washington and government are not really much different from those inhumane regimes that we love to hate." We can't get that on The Diane Rehm Show -- we can waste time with the near yearly To Kill A Mockingbird is a year older broadcasts, but we can explore the real events that are happening right now, in real time, that are shaping our lives and our futures.

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. Those are knowns, those are facts. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported Tuesday that Manning 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." On Assange, Jerome Taylor (Independent of London) reports today that he was to make his "first public appearance" since learning the US government was trying to track him down (he was set to speak at City University in London).

Meanwhile
Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) reports, "At least five Iraqis were killed and at least 18 others were wounded in a suicide bombing at an Iraqi army checkpoint in western Baghdad Friday morning, the Interior Ministry said." Andrew England (Financial Times of London) adds, "The government has blamed the attacks on extremists determined to stir sectarian tensions. Iraq has been plagued by political uncertainty since the inconclusive general election on March 7." The government. And, of course, AP: "The attacks on pilgrims and security forces of the past days bear the hallmark of Sunni insurgents in Iraq." AP repeats it and they do it unsourced. Nowhere in the article does this claim get sourced back to the Iraqi government. Link TV reports of the week's attacks on pilgrims, "More than 68 people were killed and nearly 150 others were wounded in a series of attacks on Shiite pilgrims marking the death of Imam Musa Kadhim in Baghdad. The attacks come despite the strict security measures taken by the Iraqi authorities. The security forces rushed to the scene of the blast and imposed a curfew in and around the area. The attack took place near the Aema Bridge where nearly 1,000 Shiite pilgrims were killed in 2005 in a stampede that was sparked by a rumor of a bomb in the area. Abed-Latif Omar reports." James Denselow (Guardian) explores the continued violence and quotes Lubna Naji ("Iraqi trainee nurse") stating, "Our methods of adapting to it have changed over time due to what I call 'emotional numbness' … Before, I used to cry bitterly and get really angry and frustrated, but now after seven years I just pretend that it never happened, maybe because we're actually too tired and sick of it all – you know, of all the continuing mess and madness, or maybe because if you react as a normal human being every time it happens you'll lose your will to go on with your day-to-day life, so you just pretend that it never happened. Is that normal? No of course it's not, but we have no other choice."

Saturday, Sunday and Monday, US Vice President Joe Biden was in Iraq (see
Tuesday's snapshot). There was an offensive statement: "I think Americans will recognize that there aren't body counts . . . that they got 95,000 people home." At least 4412 Americans are not coming back and those who do make it back may suffer wounds of a multitude of degrees. And this was done -- and many Americans recognize this -- for a war based on lies. So I think Americans will recognize that. Joe was also selling 'success' -- another wave of Operation Happy Talk and we've grown as accustomed to it from the current administration as we were encountering it from the previous one. Iraqis didn't bite even though many in the US press were (yet again) eager to swallow. An Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers shares various reactions to Biden's visit at Inside Iraq.

(Ms) Enas Rami, architect, mother of three, grandmother of two, "It is dis-gusting. All these people who call themselves (Iraqi) politicians -- Do they really need a visit from Biden in order to reach an agreement? What is his role? Did he advise them?? Threaten them?? -- Or did he need to whip them into order?? Let them (the Americans) deal, now, with the monster they have created".

[. . .]
(Ms) Sanaa Saeed, government employee, mother of (now) three, "Who?? Oh, yes. I don't know why he came. And I don't care. They said that we will be able to choose rulers who will take care of us -- and instead, the rulers are taking care only of themselves, as usual. So why should I care? What has changed in my life? I will tell you what has changed: I now live in an ugly city filled with fear. I have less electricity -- less water -- less brothers and cousins and one less son. This is what this man (Biden) and his country have brought me".

Those are two of the six voices -- we highlighted Iraqi women because (a) if women don't highlight women, they usually don't get highlighted and (b) Iraqi women have too often been stripped from the official story of the illegal war. The voices are in stark contrast to remarks Joe made throughout his visit.
He told Mike Allen (Politico), "The government that is the interim government now -- a little like our interregnum period between November and January -- is actually functioning in terms of security. I am hopeful -- I am confident -- that in the relatively near term, they're going to be able to work out an agreement on ... the new government."

Not only has this week's violence rejected that wave of Operation Happy Talk but "interim government"? There's no interim government. Ayad Allawi asked that one be set up. None was. What Iraq's done is continue the government in place before the elections. But before we get to elections, let's review the day's violence.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the Baghdad bombing already noted with 5 dead and she explains it was 3 soldiers and 2 civilians (eighteen people left wounded), she also reports a Baghdad attack on an Iraqi military patrol in which one service member was wounded and, dropping back to Thursday for the next two, a Baghdad assault in which three people were wounded by gunshots from unknown assailants and a Tikrit sticky bombing which wounded three people.

And now for the elections. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. It's four months and two days and,
in 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. If Iraq's the 'success' so many want the world to believe, then surely it will take less time this go round, right?

Today
AFP reports that Allawi stated, "We hope to form the government in August. The negotiations between the political groups entered their last phase and we wish to close this filel as soon as possible." Noting that the political stalemate "is no fault of Iraqi citizens," the Financial Times of London calls on the political leaders to work together, states Iraqiya can't be tossed aside and that the country "needs urgently the government of national unity and common purpose its people deserve." Huda Al Husseini (Asharq Alawsat Newspapers) interviews the KRG President Massoud Barzani:

Q) You were among the most prominent figures that contributed to the emergence of the new Iraq. How do you view the new Iraq today?

A) The new Iraq means that the Iraqi people should decide their future in the ballot boxes. Power should be rotated and should have democratic, federal, and pluralistic components.

Q) Are the factors for achieving this vision available or are they lacking?

A) The first step was drafting the constitution that recognized this identity and the new Iraq. The rest is the implementation of the constitution.

Q) What about the formation of the government and the current differences among the Iraqi lists? Do you consider this to be an obstacle to building the future of Iraq? What is the way to emerge from this impasse?

A) Unfortunately, I feel embarrassed when I am asked this question. Four months have passed since the elections were held but the government has not been formed. So if we do not resolve this problem, the situation will be embarrassing for Iraq and the Iraqi people. We hope that the Iraqi government would be formed as soon as possible and we will exert major efforts to emerge from this crisis.

Let's stay with the Kurdistan region where the PKK has camps in the mountains. Iraq's northern neighbor Turkey considers the PKK a terrorist group. The PKK has fought for independence and a Kurdish homeland for some time. Turkey has been bombing northern Iraq for some time. And it's been steady bombing for some time now. Last month, the Turkish government took it a step further by twice sending Turkish ground forces into Iraq. The conflict is one of those issues that the US government used to say wasn't a problem and they'd help with. Help has translated into the US military providing intelligence on the PKK and its locations to the Turkish government who then send airplanes to bomb northern Iraq.

It's not a new problem and it's one of those which should have been anticipated before the Iraq War ever started. The PKK are involved in a historical struggle for independence. Turkey wants to hold onto its land and worries about the national character and unity. What passed for 'peace talks' are long over. From the
June 3rd snapshot, "Shamal Arqawi (Reuters) reports that the cease fire the PKK had with Turkey is now off according to 'PKK spokesman Ahmed Danees [. . .] in Kurdistan.' Not unexpected? Over the weekend PKK leader (one of them) Abdullah Ocalan, in prison in Turkey since 1999, stated he was no longer engaging in any dialoge with the government of Turkey. That announcement laid the groundwork for the PKK in the KRG's announcement today." And while the attacks on pilgrims has garnered most of the press attention this week, it's far from the only area of attention in Iraq. Today's Zaman reports, "Turkey's foreign minister said on Friday that Turkey would take any necessary measures to eliminate threat of terrorism stemming from north of Iraq." Any necessary measures. The rhetoric gets even more heated. Yesterday the Southeast Europe Times reported the the Turkish Minister of the Interior, Besir Atalay, declared that, "The time for words is over. It is time for action now." Amir Taheri (Asharq Alawsat Newspaper) recounts, "Over the past three weeks Turkish air force has carried out a series of bombing raids against alleged Kurdish rebel positions while gunfights have continued between he ground forces f the two sides. According to news agencies at least 100 fighters, including 30 Turkish soldiers, have been killed, many more than the casualties reported from the Afghan war for the same period."

In the US,
Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) report, "President Obama's pick to lead military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and the Middle East is an experienced ground combat commander, but also earned a stern rebuke in 2005 for controversial comments about combat operations." Mike Mount (CNN) adds of Gen James Mattis, "His blunt talk has gotten him in trouble: In 2005 he said, 'It's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them,' referring to people in Afghanistan."

Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post)reports on the VA's change for PTSD claims. The change will replace paperwork with medical screenings to determine PTSD. O'Keefe notes that, under the system being replaced, women had a difficult time having their PTSD recognized. From the article:

Women often face more skepticism about PTSD claims during visits to male-dominated VA medical centers, said retired Army Sgt. Carolyn Schapper.
"If you happen to go once and the first person you speak to questions the authenticity of your story, you're less likely to go back," she said. "That's true for men and women, but women are more likely to be questioned than men."



April 23, 2009, US House Rep John Hall chaired the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs hearing. John Wilson (Disabled American Veterans) explained the struggle women in the military have as a result of the notion that they aren't 'in combat.' From his opening statement:

The female soldiers who accompany male troops on patrols to conduct house-to-house searches are known as Team Lioness, and have proved to be invaluable. Their presence not only helps calm women and children, but Team Lioness troops are also able to conduct searches of the women, without violating cultural strictures. Against official policy, and at that time without the training given to their male counterparts, and with a firm commitment to serve as needed, these dedicated young women have been drawn onto the frontlines in some of the most violent counterinsurgency battles in Iraq.
Independent Lens, an Emmy award-winning independent film series on PBS, documented their work in a film titled Lioness which profiled five women who saw action in Iraq's Sunni Triangle during 2003 and 2004. As members of the US Army's 1st Engineer Battalion, Shannon Morgan, Rebecca Nava, Kate Pendry Guttormsen, Anastasia Breslow and Ranie Ruthig were sent to Iraq to provide supplies and logistical support to their male colleagues. Not trained for combat duty, the women unexpectedly became involved with fighting in the streets of Ramadi. These women were part of a unit, made up of approsimately 20 women, who went out on combat missions in Iraq. Female soldiers in the Army and Marines continue to perform Lioness work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I would like to highlight the issues faced by Rebecca Nava as she seeks recognition of her combat experience and subsequent benefits for resulting disabilities. Then US Army Specialist Nava was the Supply Clerk for the 1st Engineering Battalion in Iraq. In conversations with her and as seen in the film Lioness, she recounts several incidents. Two of those incidents are noted in my testimony today.
The first is the roll-over accident of a 5-ton truck that was part of a convoy to Baghdad. In this accident, the driver was attempting to catcuh up with the rest of the convoy but in doing so lost control of the vehicle. The five ton truck swerved off the road and rolled over, killing a Sergeant who was sitting next to her, and severely injuring several others. Specialist Nava was caught in the wreckage. She had to pulled through the fractured windshield of the vehicle. While not severly injured in the accident, she did suffer a permanent spinal injury.
Another incident occurred wherein she was temporarily attached to a Marine unit and her job for this mission was to provide Lioness support for any Iraqi women and children the unit contacted. It was a routine mission patrolling the streets of Ramadi. Before she knew it, the situation erupted into chaos as they came under enemy fire. She had no choice but to fight alongside her male counterparts to suppress the enemy. No one cared that she was a female -- nor did they care that she had a Supply MOS -- their lives were all on the line -- she opened fire. The enemy was taken out. During this fire fight she also made use of her combat lifesaver skills and provided medical aid to several injured personnel.
This and other missions resonate with her to this day. When she filed a claim with the VA, she was confronted with disbelief about her combat role in Iraq as part of Team Lioness. Specialist Nava filed a claim for service connection for hearing loss and tinnitus but was told that she did not qualify because of her logistics career field. Since she does not have a Combat Action Badge, she cannot easily prove that the combat missions occurred which impacted her hearing.

When you can't prove the service connection -- under the system set to be phased out on Monday -- you've got a disability or condition that the VA isn't going to rate you for. In the hearing last year, US House Rep Ann Kirkpatrick discussed the struggle veterans were forced into as they attempted to prove service connection:

Ann Kirkpatrick: I just spent two weeks in my district meeting with veterans and there's so much anger about how they're being treated by the administration and specifically with regard to PTSD. I've met with veterans who said that -- how difficult it was to show the service connection. One veteran in particular was a Vietnam veteran and he told me how painful it was to try to track down his patrol finding out that so many of them had died since their days in the service. I finally was able to locate someone across the country who was able to validate the service connection. The other problem is also the lack of trained mental health care professionals specific to PTSD in some of these communities. And again they said, 'Please take back to your community our request that we have trained mental health counselors in PTSD in the Veterans Administration' and how specific that is to their treatment in those who qualify. My concern, and my question is for you Mr. Wilson, for a veteran who has PTSD or thinks they have it and can't show the service connection, where do they go for treatment? What services are there for them?

John Wilson: It's a good question. While I was in the field, I also had veterans come through with the same issues -- Vietnam in particular, some WWII -- their entire team wiped out. So who did they go to for support for their particular claim? No letters -- as we were talking about here -- and the distinguished gentleman was providing letters still postmarked from someone overseas at the time, excellent evidence typically. Why that claim was denied, I am not sure. It would, I think normally, I hope, it would be granted. It's difficult circumstances as I say and I have encouraged those people to go back and meet with their reunion websites for people who may be part of that unit, who may be able to provide, perhaps, some other story of 'Yes, I saw Johnny there on that -- on that truck going to that combat zone all geared up.' Those kind of things may all be of benefit. But it is nonetheless very difficult and the fog of war? How is it that you're going to appoint a stenographer or a court reporter, a videographer to accompany each person on that combat? You cannot. It's very difficult circumstance. I would contend that the VA does have the means before it in order to grant those benefits by looking at the lay evidence that a veteran submits and looking at the times, places and circumstances of that particular event, they should in fact be able to grant the service connection. But it nonetheless is a problematic condition.

Ann Kirkpatrick: And for those people who can't -- can't show the connection, are there other places they can go for help?

John Wilson: Ma'am, I wish I could find those. None that I'm aware of.

Ann Kirkpatrick: Mr. Chairman, let me just make one other comment. I asked the veterans I was meeting with if they were concerned about people applying for PTSD treatment who may not really qualify and they said "No." No. The risk really is that those who need treatment are not going to seek it out because of the current system and they emphasized over and over again that they were promised medical treatment for life when they enlisted and that that promise has been broken.


Service Women's Action Network's Anuradha K. Bhagwati notes:

Part of this ignorance results from male bias, but the rest is due to the Combat Exclusion Rule that precludes women from direct ground combat — even though commanders are knowingly violating this policy overseas. It's a policy that needs to be revised immediately, in part because it's too easy for a claims officer from Veterans Affairs to assume a woman is presenting a fraudulent claim for a combat-related wound or injury.

She also points to serious flaws in the changes and does so as part of variety of views the New York Times offers on this topic.

Bhagwait has regularly appeared before Congress to address the discrimination in veterans care.
July 16th, she testified at a hearing chaired by US House Rep John Hall and we'll note this exchange:

Chair John Hall: Thank you. And Ms. Bhagwati, is the lack of legal representation more determental to women when their claims are the result of a crime?

Anuradha Bhagwati: I'm sorry, sir, the lack of legal work?

Chair John Hall: Legal represenation.

Anuradha Bhagwati: Absolutely, sir. I'm finding that, without the assistance of an attorney, many of those legal claims would be left behind. It takes a lot of courage, stamina, finacial assistance for a veteran -- either male or female -- to pursue an appeal or reconsideration of a claim. A lot of pride and a lot of issues wrapped around a veteran's identity go into the claim process and when a claim is rejected by the VA -- even when the claim is deemed to be sort of sufficient to get an awarding of compensation -- when that denial happens, it can be life shattering. And many veterans, both male and female, just fall off the map.


Chair John Hall: I understand more all the time as we have these hearings about the issues surrounding reproting problems with MST, but what about domestic violence that takes place while the wife is on active duty? How are those instances of PTSD or other disabilities resulting from those injuries adjucated by the VA?

Anuradha Bhagwati: Sir, that remains to be seen. I think a lot of data as both the congressman and Ms. Halfaker pointed out has not been collected on domestic violence in particular. Right now, I can tell you anecdotally, we're working on a case in the marine corps with a -- an NCO who's going through through a commissioning program whose partner spent five days in jail for attempting to kill her and that partner who spent five days in jail is now at Officer Candidate School. So that shock factor -- it's almost unbelieveable that that can happen but there are ways around the system. And DoD needs to explore that.

Kat also covered that hearing and noted, "Anuradha Bhagwati explained that some of these facilities require two months of intensive therapy and while that's astounding therapy that's being provided, it's also true that some working women can't take two months off and it's also true that some female veterans have children and are the only one who can take care of them. They can't afford to leave their kids for two months and head off for treatment." To The Point (airs on many NPR stations) Monday will explore the changes in the VA.

TV notes. On PBS'
Washington Week, John Dickerson (CBS, Slate), John Harwood (New York Times, CNBC), Christi Parsons (Tribune Washington Bureau), Pierre Thomas (ABC News) join Gwen around the table. Gwen now has a weekly column at Washington Week and the current one is "Taking the candor challenge." This week, Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Eleanor Holmes Norton, Tara Setmayer, Amy Siskind and Genevieve Wood on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary to discuss the week's events. And at the website each week, there's an extra just for the web from the previous week's show and this week's online bonus is a discussion of whether someone convicted of domestic violence should be allowed to own a gun. Need To Know is PBS' new program covering current events. This week's hour long broadcast (Fridays on most PBS stations -- but check local listings) features a report on veterans' courts. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:
The Lost Children of HaitiScott Pelley reports on the most vulnerable victims of Haiti's earthquake, children who not only face hunger, disease and sexual assault, but a form of slavery that is legal in the Caribbean country. |
Watch Video
Kathryn BigelowLesley Stahl talks to Kathryn Bigelow about her award-winning film, "The Hurt Locker," for which she won the Academy Award for Best Director - the first woman ever to win in that category. | Watch Video
White HotU.S. snowboarder Shaun White shows Bob Simon some of the tricks he used to win gold in Vancouver. | Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, July 11, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.


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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oh, no, he didn't!

Does it get Whiter than our mixed boy?

Honestly and truly, come on. Barack couldn't be Whiter if both his parents were White (instead of just one). What am I talking about?

Carol E. Lee's "President Obama's new slogan: 'Yes we did!'" (Politico) is on Barack's new and stupid slogan he tried out today in Kansas City.

I need every Black women to come together with me in a moment. Hold on.

Barack, "Yes, we did!"

Sisters: "Oh, no, you didn't!"

I mean, it's so obvious. No Black man would ever come up with that as a slogan when his popularity had cratered (as Barack's has). A Black man would no the obvious response in Black culture would be: Oh, no, you didn't!

Meanwhile woman hating Terry Gross has a female director as a guest: Lisa Cholodenko. Before you get excited, go listen to the program. Then see if you can figure out why I'll be slamming Terry tomorrow.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, July 8, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the targeting of pilgrims continues, the stalemate continues, England has a partner in shame (Australia -- which is also deporting Iraqi refugees), the United Nations releases a new report on Iraq, US House Rep Charlie Rangel calls for a draft, did the US Justice Dept refuse to prosecute theft of over $100,000 in US tax payer monies, and more.

In Iraq this week, the big target has been pilgrims.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) explained Tuesday that the pilgrimage is "to commemorate the martyrdom of Iman Musa al Kathim on July 8." Pilgrims were targeted on Tuesday, on Wednesday and today. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reports, "On Thursday, more than 4 million people had gathered in the city to commemorate the death of the revered Shiite figure Imam Moussa al-Kadhim. Pilgrims had walked from all across the country to reach the Shiite shrine, despite attacks in the previous days. The attackers hit as tens of thousands of security forces patrolled the streets and most roads were blocked to allow pedestrians." Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) explains, "Security measures included using vehicles to transport pilgrims; thousands of deployed troops; security cameras in and around the shrine; aerial surveillance; and 500 personnel to combat the threat of female suicide bombers." Timothy Williams and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) reported this morning, "Less than a day after a suicide bomber killed more than 50 people in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims at a police checkpoint in Baghdad, more explosions struck worshipers on Thursday, killing seven and wounding about 60 despite intensive efforts by Iraqi security forces to foil such attacks." Sahar Issa counts the pilgrims death toll (by Thursday afternoon) for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to be 68 with 449 wounded. Scott Peterson and Sahar Issa (Christian Science Monitor) note, "Regardless of the death toll, pilgrims were defiant as they completed their march on Thursday and headed back home." And they quote a woman named Hussein stating, "It is like a treasure. I am not the loser by going on this pilgrimage. I am the winner. Security forces can secure the streets. They cannot cleanse intentions and hearts." Nizar Latif (UAE's National Newspaper) offers details that others haven't reported:


While the huge pilgrimages undertaken by Iraq's Shiite community are a reflection of powerful religious sentiment, the significance of poverty is a commonly overlooked factor in the willingness of so many to endure gruelling hardships and to face the bombers. Hospitality tents, paid for by wealthy businessmen, political parties or foundations, line the roads used by pilgrims, who come from as far away as Basra, 550 km south of the capital. Meals are provided free of charge to the walkers, and sometimes cash handouts or food supplies are given to the needy.
It is a massive incentive for the likes of Abu Abdullah. Unemployed and painfully thin -- like his sons -- he said he was unable to provide for his family and used the opportunity of religious celebrations for a practical purpose -- to eat. "At home, we have little food," he said. "When we walk, we get better meals than I could dream of getting; there is rice and meat and vegetables and Pepsi in the tents, we can eat three times a day."

Turning to today's actual numbers,
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 3 lives and left twenty-one injured, a second one which claimed 4 lives and left twenty injured, a Baghdad car bombing wounded ten people, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and wounded twenty, a Baquba roadside bombing wounded three people and Ramadi house bombings which claimed 3 lives and left four wounded (the homes belonged to police officers). Reuters adds that 5 pilgrims were shot dead in Baghdad and a Kirkuk sticky bombing claimed 1 life and left another person wounded.

Today the
United Nations condemned the attacks on pilgrims:

Ad Melkert, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, described the attacks as "horrific crimes committed against defenceless civilians who were practicing their faith."
The formation of a broad-based government will be the most effective response in the face of insurgents who are aiming at destabilizing the country, added Mr. Melkert, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (
UNAMI).

Gabriel Gatehouse (BBC News) offers this opinion, "By targeting Shia pilgrims, it seems clear that the bombers are intent on reigniting that sectarian violence which nearly tore the country apart." [For video of Gatehouse on the bombings, click here and scroll down.] Liam Stack (Christian Science Monitor) offers another opinion, "The attacks highlight fears that insurgents may try to take advantage of Iraq's political uncertainty to destabilize the country, four months after elections in March failed to produce a government and just weeks before a US troop drawdown is set to begin." Usama Redha and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) stick to context, "Since 2003, Shiite religious festivals have been marred by bombing attacks. This year's ceremonies for Imam Musa Kadhim were no different."

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. It's four months and one day and,
in 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. If Iraq's the 'success' so many want the world to believe, then surely it will take less time this go round, right?

US Vice President Joe Biden just wrapped up a three-day visit to Iraq (Saturday, Sunday and Monday -- see Tuesday's snapshot for details) and the outreach didn't stop there.
Alsumaria TV reports that he and Kurdistan President Massoud Barazani spoke on the phone yesterday about "a number of issues" and that he also spoke with Iraq President Jalal Talabani over the phone Wednesday: "Biden praised the application of President Talabani seeking to reach agreement over the next government and enhance the political process and democracy in the country."


Meanwhile theUnited Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued their latest [PDF format warning] "
Human Rights Report" covering Iraq from July 31st through December 2009. In the 26 page report, even the most casual reader will see, there is no 'success' in Iraq. In Iraq, all but the thugs elevated by the US government to 'rulers' are targeted regularly. Pick the targeted segment you follow most closely and, chances are, the report's covered it. For example, "Situation of Women" covers many, many issues but we'll zoom in on this, "During a visit to a female detention centre in Dahunk on 3 August, UNAMI observed that nine women were being detained there for their 'own safety'. The authorities argued that detention was the only safe solution due to threats on grounds of family honour. According to the investigating judge, the women may be released with a written guarantee for their safety from a male family member. The likelihood of such a guarantee is remote, as many of them are facing threat to life from their families for honour-related issues." It further notes that 'new Iraq' has many laws on the books unfair to women and that, "The laws are inherently discriminatory as men may effectively by exonerated from punishment for crimes such as murder and assault. They criminalise adultery committed by women while granting to men broad exemptions from punishment for the same act."

The report provides a breakdown on the 2009 Parliament Committees. Guess which committee had the most female members? Human Rights. Eight women serve on that comittee (five men also serve). On the Women's Committee, the seven members are all women. Which committees do women serve the least on? Security and Defence and Oil & Gas. No woman sits on those committees. After that, the worst is, no surprise, the Legal Committee and the Finance Committee (one women serves on each committee).

The targeting of the disabled and challenged continues. Among the things noted in the report is: "Structures have been established to support the disabled community, for example, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs runs various programmes for the disabled community, including a modest monthly stipend to approximately 50,000 disabled Iraqis. ICR operates at least 12 physical rehabilitation centres but accessibility is an issue due to security reasons and lack of transporation."

On refugees, UNHCR estimaed that there were 2,764,111 internally displaced refugees. But moving to external refugees,
Paige Taylor (The Australian) reports that the Australiang government "'has sent an an Afgan and an Iraqi asylum-seeker home for the first time in five years,' Immigration Minister Chris Evans revealed yesterday." This move puts Australia on the same level as England (among others) which elected to force people out of England in some perverse 'response' to World Refugee Day. And it makes a mockery out of the speech Evans delivered on World Refugee Day in 2008:

The Australian Government works closely with UNHCR on a number of fronts to promote and support the protection rights of refugees. So it is only appropriate that today we stand under the same banner of 'Refugee Protection'.
This is a perfect theme for World Refugee Day, but it inevitably leads us to ask: how is Australia's role in providing refugee protection understood? What does it mean to average Australians?
It is no secret that under the previous government, the issue of refugee protection was the subject of a deeply divisive debate. Australia's international reputation was tarnished by the way the previous government sought to demonise refugees for its own domestic political purposes. This is unfortunate, since it overshadowed some of the positive work on refugee protection that continued during those years.
The Rudd Labor Government brings a different approach to refugee and humanitarian issues.

In fairness to Rudd, it should be noted that Julia Gillard is Australia's new prime minister and that it was feared she would attempt to use the immigration issue (specifically 'crackdown' on immigration) to drive up support within Australia.
Peter Boyle (Green Left) reports:

What a difference a month and a change of leadership makes. In late May this year Julia Gillard said that Liberal-National opposition leader Tony Abbott's call for a return to the "Pacific solution" on refugees was just a
"slogan not a solution" but now she's PM (with the blessing of mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto and Xstrata), it has once again become a "solution".
In a
July 6 speech to the Lowy Institute Gillard announced that her government was pursuing a regional agreement for offshore processing of "unauthorised arrivals".

Turning to England where the Iraq Inquiry held no public hearing today but
did release a statement:

The Iraq Inquiry has now heard from 35 witnesses in private. This means that by the end of the this round of public hearings, the Inquiry will have heard from more than 140 witnesses. Sir John Chilcot made clear at the start of the Inquiry that whilst the Committee is determined to hold as many of its proceedings in public as possible, there were circumstances where a private hearing would be necessary. These were laid out in the
Inquiry's protocols.
Iraq Inquiry Chairman Sir John Chilcot, said:
"These hearings have given the Inquiry valuable evidence which could have not be heard in public session without damaging national security or international relations. They have supplemented the Inquiry's understanding as it takes forward its public work."
Some witnesses gave evidence in private because the evidence concerned matters which, if revealed in public, could damage national security or other vital national interests. In some cases, sessions took place in private because of the personal circumstances of the witnesses, either because of the organisations for whom they worked, or because they were relatively junior officials at the time that they served in Iraq or were giving evidence as part of a group with other people who were junior officials at the time.


The statement goes on to list the names of those offering private testimony.
BBC News counts 35 names on the list and notes, "They include two former heads of the Secret Intelligence Service M16 -- Sir Richard Dearlove and Sir John Scarlett. Former UK ambassador David Manning and UK special representative to Iraq Sir Jeremy Greenstock have given evidence in both public and private." Iraq Inquiry Digest's Chris Ames writes a column for the Guardian on the news of the secrety testimony:


A few new transcripts involving junior officials will be published, but most of what we really need to know will remain secret.
Are the old excuses of national security and international relations being used to hide personal and national embarrassment?
Like most people, I have always accepted that at least some of the Iraq inquiry would have to take place in secret session, if the inquiry is to find out all of what happened and, hopefully, tell us about it. It's a necessary trade-off and we have to trust that when Sir John Chilcot says that as much as possible will take place in public, he really means as much as possible. But, as
Tory MP Andrew Tyrie has noted, the inquiry doesn't entirely command public confidence. The trouble is that even the inquiry and the government can't agree about what really needs to be secret, so how can the rest of us have confidence?



Turning to the US where the Justice Dept issued a press release on US Maj Charles Sublett who has copped a plea "to making false statements to a federal agency" and, as you read through, ask the obvious (the obvious isn't dealt with in the press release):WASHINGTON - U.S. Army Major Charles E. Sublett, 46, of Huntsville, Ala., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Memphis, Tenn., to making false statements to a federal agency, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. Sublett was charged in an indictment, returned by a federal grand jury on Jan. 5, 2010, following his arrest in Huntsville. According to the indictment, Sublett smuggled more than $100,000 in currency, concealed in a shipping package, into the United States from Iraq in January 2005. According to the indictment, Sublett was deployed to Balad Regional Contracting Center on Logistical Support Area (LSA) Anaconda in Iraq from August 2004 through February 2005. LSA Anaconda is a U.S. military installation that was established in 2003 to support U.S. military operations in Iraq. According to the indictment, Sublett served as a contracting officer while deployed to LSA Anaconda. As a contracting officer, Sublett was responsible for, among other things, evaluating and supervising contracts with companies that provide goods and services to the U.S. Army. Sublett admitted that, on Jan. 11, 2005, he sent a package from Balad, Iraq, to Killeen, Texas, which was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Memphis. Sublett admitted that, on the international air waybill, he falsely described the contents of the package as books, papers, a jewelry box and clothes with a total declared customs value of $140 when, in fact, Sublett knew the package contained $107,900 in U.S. currency and 17,120,000 in Iraqi dinar. Sublett also admitted that he failed to file a currency or monetary instruments transaction report (CMIR) as required by federal law when transporting currency in amounts of more than $10,000 into or out of the United States. During the plea hearing, Sublett admitted to making false claims to investigators regarding his attempt to bring the currency into the United States in an effort to impede their investigation.The maximum penalty for making false statements to a government agency is five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, to be followed by a term of up to three years of supervised release. Sublett is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 8, 2010. As part of the plea agreement, Sublett also consented to the forfeiture of the $107,900 and the 17,120,000 Iraqi dinar that he concealed in the package. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Daniel A. Petalas and Justin V. Shur of the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section. This case is being investigated by Army Criminal Investigation Command; Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the FBI; Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The package contained $107,900 US dollars (in addition to Iraqi dinars)? Where did the money come from? Why isn't that in the press release. Why is he being allowed to cop a plea to a minor charge when most likely we're dealing with theft/embezzlement of US government money?
Lawrence Buser (Commercial Appeal) reports, "There was no allegation that the money was stolen and prosecutors would not say why the case took five years to be indicted." Where'd the money come from? The major was someone over supply contracts in Iraq.Are these CERP funds? For those late to the party, DoD Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble described Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) to the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) on February 2, 2009:CERP funds are appropriated through the DoD and allocted through each major command's sector of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Up to $500,000 can be allocated to individual CERP projects, and CERP beneficiaries often receive payments in cash. We have also identified occasions where soldiers with limited contracting experience were responsible for administering CERP funds. In some instances, there appeared to be scant, if any, oversight of the manner in which funds were expended. Complicating matters further is the fact that payment of bribes and gratuities to government officials is a common business practice in some Southwest Asia nations. Taken in combination, these factors result in an environment conducive to bribery and corruption.
CERP was an issue during the
September 10, 2008 House Armed Services Committee hearing (and see this entry by Mike). This is Committe Chair Ike Skelton's exchange with DoD's Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric S. Edelman:
Skelton: The issue raises two serious questions of course. Number one is they have a lot of money of their own. And number two the choice of the type of projects that are being paid for. I would like to ask Mr. Secretary if our committee could receive a list of expenditures of $100,000 or more within the last year. Could you do that for us at your convience please?
Edelman: We'll work with our colleagues in the controller's office and - and . . . to try and get you --
Skelton: That would be very helpful.Was the list provided?Who is providing oversight?Shouldn't be the Dept of Justice via charges and plea bargains.How did someone over contracts end up with $179,000 dollars -- sequentially numbered, one-hundred dollar bills, by the way? How did he end up with that money? Does it matter that
Adrian Sainz (AP) reports, "According to the indictment, the disbursement office where he worked provided payment in sequentially numbered $100 bills."

So let's put it together. The guilty tried to hide $179,000 dollars from the US government. The same government he was working for, by the way. He attempted to send it to the US and not be detected doing this. His $179,000 was in sequentially numbered one-hundred dollar bills and his office "provided payment in sequentially numbered $100 bills." Anyone seeing a problem and wondering why the Justice Dept didn't attempt to go for theft or embezzlement?

He may get two years or just one behind bars. But, in the real world, Deshawn Lamont Thomas is in trouble "for robbing and beating former NFL player Javon Walker,"
AP informs us but, more to the point, Thomas "was sentenced in April in Las Vegas in another case to five years in Nevada prison for the theft of a tourist's designer watch." Stealing a watch -- a designer watch -- resulted in five years prison -- state prison. Stealing over $100,000 of US tax payer money gets you what?And here's a better question: Where's his court-martial?He's an officer. A US major. He's supposed to be upholding certain standards and he's not, he's clearly not. Think of the way the military brass has gone after war resisters. Think of the way they tried to subvert the US Constitution in order to go after Lt Ehren Watada. But theft of over $100,000 and the man's still a US major? Not "a former US major today entered a plea . . ." War resisters are routinely stripped of any benefits by the military brass. So why hasn't Maj Charles Sublett been stripped of his rank, his benefits and been given dishonorable discharge?
Or does the code of conduct only to apply to those with a conscience?

In other news,
Jack Phillips (Epoch Times) reports, "Representative Charles Rangel said no more tax dollars should be spent on 'hunkering down in Iraq and Afghanistan' and if the people in the United States really support the conflicts, then Congress should be willing to set up a draft." John Del Signore (Gothamist) reports Rangel made his position public yesterday outside a Time Square recruiting station. US House Rep Charlie Rangel's office released the following statment by Rangel:



In Congress, we will soon be voting to provide additional funding to support wars in the Middle East that seem to have no end. Going on eight years, the war in Afghanistan is the nation's longest military conflict, shifting from Iraq to Afghanistan where it all started after Nine-eleven.
I strongly support President Obama's policies, particularly his historic initiative to expand health care coverage to millions of Americans, an effort which I helped design and move to passage in Congress. The President's economic stimulus not only saved the country from a total collapse into a depression, it created and saved millions of jobs and started the beginnings of a recovery. Nearly $300 million has been funneled by the program into my Congressional district alone.
The oil spill in the Gulf, which the President has handled as well as anyone could, has highlighted our need for a new energy policy, as pointed out earlier by President Obama. It also points up the nation's vulnerability with respect to alternative petroleum sources, including those in the Middle East.
I cannot challenge the President's handling of the war in Iraq, where he was left with few options after inheriting the conflict from the previous administration. I support his intentions to withdraw, but I'd like to see it happen sooner. In my view, no additional tax dollars should be appropriated for hunkering down in Iraq and Afghanistan, where taxpayers have already spent over $1 trillion. From here on, all expenditures should be for one purpose: to safely bring our brave and exhausted troops home.
In the two Middle East conflicts, more than 5,400 of our young men and women have been killed, over 4,400 in Iraq, and 1,000 in Afghanistan, where monthly casualties are climbing fast. Troop shortages have caused multiple deployments, up to six tours. Incidences of head injuries, PTSD and suicides have increased dramatically.
Again in this war, troops recruited from the lower income groups, from the large urban communities and economically depressed small towns, are carrying the heaviest burden of service. Financial incentives to enlist have reached as much as $40,000 which, combined with the economic recession, has made for record recruiting results.
While the longest in our history, the Iraq and Afghan wars are far from the bloodiest. In Vietnam, 58,000 of our sons and daughters were slaughtered in in a months less time. Maybe that's why the television cameras long ago left the battlefields of Afghanistan and Americans stopped caring about the war. Not bloody enough.
For those 5,400 families who've lost loved ones, this war is as painful as any of the others that came before it. And I believe every family would feel that way if one of its sons or daughters were at risk -- or subject to be in harm's way.
Whether in Afghanistan, or any future conflict, the test is whether Congress -- in supporting a war policy --is willing to require all eligible residents of this great country to make a contribution -- to put their own children at risk.
In other words, in order to fulfill one's moral responsibility to this democracy, anyone who supports this, or any war, should also support a compulsory military draft.




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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What a woman has to do

Fresh Air (NPR) is a really bad program with a hoop for women to jump through.

Finally a woman gets the full hour and, guess what, she's dead.

Emily Dickenson.

But the next day (today), a man can just have a (bad) FX show and it's time to go wild.

Terry Gross really hates women and makes that clear constantly.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010. Chaos and violence continues, on the fourth month anniversary of the Parliamentary elections the political stalemate continues, 49 pilgrims are killed in violence (178 wounded), 3 US service members died in Iraq last Friday (not just two as announced), the Iraq Inquiry hears from a witness who states former prime minister Tony Blair practiced revisionary history in his testimony ("I also felt, at the time of Mr Blair's testimony to you, that he was seeking to cast a retrospectively benign light on a series of very bad decisions taken about the legality of the attack on Iraq"), a former member of the US Congress enters a guilty plea in a federal court, and more.

Today is the 7th of July which makes today exactly four months since elections took place. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government.

Four months later and no prime minister. Four months later and Parliament's only met once -- and then they met for less than 20 minutes. Is that normal? For 'modern' and 'democratic' Iraq, is that normal. We have 2005 as a model so let's walk through. December 15, 2005 was Iraq's previous Parliamentary election. April 22, Nouri al-Maliki became prime minister designate. Four months and seven days later.

And let's remember things were a lot worse in Iraq then. (Violence has never gone away and today demonstrated that yet again.) For example, from the
April 26, 2006 snapshot, "The Associated Press notes that '[m]ore than 100 Iraqi civilians or police have been killed . . . since [Jawad] al-Maliki was tapped as Iraq's prime minister designate on Saturday . . .'" From Saturday to the following Wednesday. But a prime minister designate could be named. Not only that, grasp that Nouri wasn't first pick. The first pick was Ibrahim al-Jaafair. But the US nixed that.

Today, it's four months since the election and the political stalemate continues.
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (NPR) reports, "It has been four months since the parliamentary elections, and the parties are still bickering over who gets to form a government. Electricity is terrible, the phone networks don't work, and most basic services like water and sewage are patchy at best. Iraq is constantly indexed as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced. And there is still violence, every single day. About 4,400 American service members have given their lives in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died. Both Iraqis and Americans are still being killed, though in vastly reduced numbers." And the response to that from the US military? Snippy e-mails from US Maj Gen Stephen Lanza insisting that the correspondents are providing negative coverage. Is anyone wondering why the US didn't just change the Constitution and let Bush do is own third term if that's all Barack Obama was going to provide?

Is there a reason that USF (formerly MNF) can't get its act together. It doesn't have a lot of tasks. They don't do patrols, they just issue press releases. That apparently is too much work for them or else they're deliberately trying to distort the body count. From
Friday's snapshot:Today the US military announced: "BAGHDAD – Two U.S. Soldiers have died in unrelated non-combat incidents. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/. The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incidents are under investigation." If that's not the most s**t poor announcement USF/MNF has ever made, I don't know what is. When did the two die? Where did the two die? Why are those details not being supplied? Does anyone supervise these press releases? The announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in the Iraq War to 4411. "S**t poor" was actually too mild. The above press release -- the only one issued Friday by USF and none have been issued since on any military deaths -- tells us two US soldiers died in Iraq Friday. Simple enough?Yeah, except there were three. From Monday's entry: "Friday the US military announced two more deaths. The News & Observer notes that one of those deaths was Maryland's 19-year-old Spc Morganne McBeth who joined the military in 2008 and was deployed to Iraq August 17th." That's one of the two deaths announced. Yesterday's entry included: "Friday, 2 US service members died in Iraq. One was Maryland's 19-year-old Spc Morganne McBeth, the other was Sgt Johnny W. Lumpkin who 'died July 2 in Balad, Iraq from injuries he sustained in an incident the day before in Taji, Iraq.' Meredith Armstrong (WRBL, link has text and video) notes that the Columbus soldier is survived by parents Jan and Wayne Lumpkin, a wife (July 4th would have been the couple's ninth wedding anniversary) and three children."Follow that?Two deaths announced on Friday, two fallen identified. Except it's three. The Shreveport Times reports that Sgt Jordan E. Tuttle also died Friday ("in Baghdad of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident"). Is there a reason that the military can't get it right? Is there a reason that a division charged with nothing more than issuing press release can't do their damn job? Or is that they're being told not to?You might think with deaths down compared to previous years, their jobs would be eaiser. But they seem to have a real problem these days doing the jobs that the US tax payers foot the bill for.Spc Morganne McBeth, Sgt Johnny W. Lumpkin and Sgt Jordan E. Tuttle died on Friday in Iraq. It shouldn't be that difficult in this day and age for the US military to announce that there were 3 deaths. All USF does is announce deaths (and issue happy spin). The Defense Dept is the one who identifies the fallen. All they have to do is issue an announcement of a death. Why is so hard for them? This has been repeated issue for USF all year long. You might think at some point Congress would ask one of the many generals parading before it what the deal is.4412 is the current number of US service members killed in the Iraq War -- at least that's the current number as far as we know.

Staying with violence, yesterday at least 6 pilgrims were reported dead and 37 wounded.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) explained the pilgrimage is "to commemorate the martyrdom of Iman Musa al Kathim on July 8." It continued today -- both the pilgrimage and the violence. Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) notes 28 dead today from a suicide bomber and sixty-three more injured. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) supplies the details explaining a bomber took his/her own life in Adhamiyah and 38 pilgrims (eight-one injured) and that a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of police Maj Abdulrahman Sabeeh, a Baghdad roadside bombing wounded three Iraqi soldiers, a Baghdad suicide bomber took his/her own life and that of 1 police officer (two civilians injured and two soldiers injured), two Baghdad roadside bombings claimed the lives of 5 pilgrims (thirty-five more wounded) and another Baghdad roadside bombing wounded six pilgrims, another Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 6 lives and left forty-five wounded, and two other Baghdad roadside bombings injured eleven. Timothy Williams and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report, "Shiite pilgrims are frequent targets of Sunni insurgent groups, and this year Iraqi security forces ordered several major roads and bridges closed and banned bicycles and motorcycles in the capital to try to safeguard the marchers. Some 200,000 security force members had been assigned to patrol streets, check cars and search pilgrims at they walked along streets to the shrine." Note that the pilgrimage has not ended, it continues tomorrow. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) explains, "About 1 million pilgrims from many parts of Baghdad and other provinces are expected to gather near the Imam Mussa al-Kadhim shrine in Baghdad's northern district of Kadhmiyah for the annual commemoration of the death of the seventh of the most sacred 12 Shiite Imams." BBC News offers a photo essay on the pilgrimage. And what do the pilgrims talk about? Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) reports:

But conversation along the pilgrims' path has centered on how bickering between Iraq's politicians since the March 7 election
has damaged expectations, and raised fears of greater insecurity.
"It's the daily talk of the people: politicians and forming a government. Every day," says Mr. Jassim, sitting on the floor of the tent, as volunteers offered him cold packets of juice, bottles of water, and a plastic dish of rice with orange-brown sauce.

Ned Parker and Nadeem Hamid (Los Angeles Times) add an attack on a Falluja police checkpoint left 2 police officers dead.

The war the world never wanted (as evidenced by the massive protests before the start of the illegal war), the illegal war that was sold on lies, continues. And so do the lies. Press flacks with bars on their shoulders hassle the press, an Oval Office Occupant rushes to assure the people that things are better than before and the corner has been turned. All the Dems once in congress who scorned and sneered at "success" in Iraq now, from the White House, promote the laughable claim that there is "success" in Iraq.

If the people were confused by all the smoke and mirrors, it would not be at all surprising. However, yesterday
Rasmussen Reports released results from a poll (plus/minus 3%) where Americans were asked whether or not they believed that the US military endedcombat operations at the end of August? 33% of respondents -- snorting hope,apparently -- say yes. 59% -- that would be a clear majority -- say no. They werealso asked how history will view the Iraq War. 36% say as a failure, 33% say as asuccess and 31% just don't know. The 33% figure took a hard hit from March when41% were saying the illegal war would be seen as "a success." This isn't surprising because, as Thomas E. Ricks has long pointed out, the military does not have a pacifist wing. And Saturday Tim Arango (New York Times) explained US combat missions in Iraq will not be ending in August. He spoke with a group of US soldiers in Mosul currently "hunting terrorists and covertly watching an Iraqi checkpoint staffed by police officers whom the soldiers say they do not trust." Arango explains that combat missions ("hunting insurgents, joint raids between Iraqi security forces and United States Special Forces to kill or arrest militants") will be renamed "stability operations." Michael Gordon (of the Times) attempted to point out to then-candidate Barack Obama that these were indeed combat missions. But apparently pretty didn't come with brains. The International Herald Tribune featured an important letter Tuesday:Former President George W. Bush sent U.S. troops streaming into Afghanistan supposedly in "hot pursuit" of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. It didn't take long, however, for him to recast the war as a much more general fight for the forces of good. Then Iraq caught his eye, and he lost interest in either winning the Afghan war or ending it via diplomacy. Unfortunately, that left the U.S. military stuck there. Even more unfortunately, the Democrats haven't found the fortitude to fight for an end to the increasingly pointless conflict. Already there are hints that President Barack Obama's much-touted 2011 withdrawal date may slip. If that happens we can forget about withdrawal before January 2013; after all, there'll be an election to consider. And by 2013, who knows what other reasons will have been found by Mr. Obama, or by his successor, to stay. If America's political leadership won't find a way to end the fighting, the children and grandchildren of today's U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan may be serving there as well. Eric B. Lipps, New York
In related news,
Lara Jakes (AP) interviewed the top US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno, yesterday and, "Gen. Ray Odierno brought up the possibility of a U.N. forceduring an interview with The Associated Press. He observed that there is no immediate end in sight to the yearslong dispute between Arabs and Kurds, who have managed an uneasy political dance under American supervision since the fall of Saddam Hussein."

Meanwhile the
Latin American Herald Tribune reports that Spain's Supreme Court was reopening the case in which US troops killed journalist Jose Couso, a cameraman for Telecino, April 8, 2003 when they fired on Bagdhad's Palestine Hotel. Also killed in the attack on civilians was Reuters journalist Taras Protsyuk. Three journalists were wounded in the attack. From Joel Campagna and Rhonda Roumani's "Permission to Fire?" (Committee to Protect Journalists):A Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) investigation into the incident--based on interviews with about a dozen reporters who were at the scene, including two embedded journalists who monitored the military radio traffic before and after the shelling occurred--suggests that attack on the journalists, while not deliberate, was avoidable. CPJ has learned that Pentagon officials, as well as commanders on the ground in Baghdad, knew that the Palestine Hotel was full of international journalists and were intent on not hitting it.

In London, the
Iraq Inquiry continues. Today they heard from the UK Ambassador toIran from 2003 to 2006 Richard Dalton and the UK Ambassador to Iran from 2006to 2009 Geoffrey Adams (link goes to transcript and video options). Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) emphasizes Dalton's exchange with Committee Member Martin Gilbert who brings up Tony Blair's testimony to the Inquiry earlier this year claiming Iran was supporting al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Dalton replied, "From what I saw of his evidence, I thought he very much exaggerated this factor." Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian) also emphasizes this section of the testimony. We'll emphasize another point.

As the hearing wound down, Committee Member Lawrence Freedman had a few questions and used part of his time to clarify the relationship between Iran and Iraq and truth and Tony Blair's remarks.

Committee Member Lawrence Freedman: Can I just ask a final question to you, Sir Richard? After we had Tony Blair giving evidence here, you were quoted in the Daily Telegraph to the effect that he had been misreading Iran. Now, part of this was, looking back at it, about actions that might be taken in the future against Iran because of its nuclear programme. But I would just like your view as to whether you felt he was misreading Iran in terms of the role that Iran played in the development of instability within Iraq, and whether this is retrospective or whether you were concerned at the time that he was misreading the role of Iran.

Ambassador Richard Dalton: I think I have already answered that question at different points in my evidence so far, to recall what I think I said, I did believe at the time, particularly in 2003, that there was a misreading of Iran as inevitably hostile to the success of the coalition mission to replace Saddam with an Iraqi regime that would be democratic. Secondly, I felt that, at the time that the -- legitimate criticism and justified criticisim of Iran was sometimes used with too broad a brush; in other words, much more of the coalition difficulties were attributed to Iran than was the case, and I pointed out, for example, in some of my reporting that -- reporting that it would be very helpful if we could have more chapter and verse. If we were so sure of our case, then why weren't we showing captured intercepts or Iranian funds, given the sources at our disposal to counter subversion generally? There were several occasion on which we did present evidence of shoulder-launched missiles or IED technology that we felt originated in Iran and sought explanations, but those opportunities that we had weren't, I thought at the time, commensurate with the scale of our outrage at what Iran was doing. I also felt, at the time of Mr Blair's testimony to you, that he was seeking to cast a retrospectively benign light on a series of very bad decisions taken about the legality of the attack on Iraq by saying it was not only right to do it, but that we might have to do it again -- we, the UK, might have to do it again -- and I felt strongly then, and I do now, that a military adventure against Iran pre-emptively, supposedly against its nuclear programmes would be illegal in the absence of an imminent and real threat to any country from Iran and that no such nuclear threat exists at present, and that it was not a sufficient answer to the doubts about the way in which the decisions in 2003 had been taken to simply say that it is a dangerous world, other countries are dangerous and an action might be conceivable in future against those countries.

Committee Member Lawrence Freedman: So your concern was in all three of the areas that I mentioned?

Ambassador Richard Dalton: Yes.


Flying over to the other area ruled by Queen Elizabeth II, Canada. War resisters best chance currently is the court system. The legislative body's upper house is not inclined to vote into being a law in support of war resisters and all of Canada's laws are signed off on by the Queen of England who has already seen British soldiers prosecuted for refusing to take part in the illegal war. Jeremy Hinzman is the first war resister seeking asylum in Canada to go public. His efforts would spread the word and concept of war resistance to others.
Philip Ling (Canwest News Service) reports, "In a unanimous decision Tuesday by the three-judge panel, the court ruled that an immigration officer's decision rejecting Jeremy Hinzman's application for permanent residence in Canada was 'significantly flawed and therefore unreasonable'." His attorney, Alyssa Manning argued convincingly that the immigration officer had refused to consider Jeremy's reasons for opposition to the Iraq War. Wendy Gillis (Toronto Star) explains, "That means officials must another look at Hinzman's application to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds."
Moving over to the US, the Kansas City office of the FBI released the following today:

Former Congressman Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Justice, Acting as Unregistered Foreign AgentIARA Fundraiser Also Pleads Guilty to Conspiring with Former Congressman, Others
KANSAS CITY, MO -- A former congressman and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations pleaded guilty in federal court today to obstruction of justice and to acting as an unregistered foreign agent related to his work for an Islamic charity with ties to international terrorism, announced Beth Phillips, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
Mark Deli Siljander, 59, of Great Falls, Va., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to one charge contained in an Oct. 21, 2008, federal indictment, and an additional charge filed today, involving his work for the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) of Columbia, Mo. Siljander was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan and was a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly.
Co-defendant Abdel Azim El-Siddig, of Chicago, Ill., a former IARA fundraiser, also pleaded guilty today to conspiring with Siljander and others to hire Siljander to lobby for IARA's removal from a Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of having terrorist ties, while concealing this advocacy and not registering with the proper authorities.
"A former congressman engaged in illegal lobbying for a charity suspected of funding international terrorism. He then used his own charities to hide the payments for his criminal activities," U.S. Attorney Phillips said. "Siljander repeatedly lied to FBI agents and prosecutors investigating serious crimes related to national security. With today's guilty pleas, all of the defendants in this case have admitted their guilt and will be held accountable for their actions."
Siljander operated a Washington, D.C., consulting business called Global Strategies, Inc. IARA was an Islamic charity in Columbia, Mo., that served as the U.S. office of an international organization headquartered in Khartoum, Sudan. IARA was closed in October 2004, after being identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a specially designated global terrorist organization, for the support its international offices provided to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban. The executive director of IARA, co-defendant Mubarak Hamed, 53, of Columbia, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Sudan, has pleaded guilty in connection with this case.
According to today's plea agreements, between March and May 2004, Hamed and El-Siddig hired Siljander to lobby for IARA's removal from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of funding international terrorism, and its reinstatement as an approved government contractor. IARA lost its status as an approved government contractor in 1999, when the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) terminated grants for two relief projects in Mali, Africa. USAID informed the organization that the grants were not in the national security interest of the United States.
Siljander, El-Siddig, and Hamed each knew that IARA was part of a large international organization controlled by its headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, and agreed with each other to conceal Siljander's efforts on IARA's behalf. In order to do so, Siljander instructed El-Siddig and Hamed to transfer $75,000 of IARA's funds to him by funnelling them through non-profit entities. El-Siddig carried at least three checks issued to Siljander's charities from Chicago to Washington, D.C., and gave them to Siljander.
In exchange for the payments, during the Summer of 2004, Siljander acted as an agent for IARA by contacting persons at the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, USAID, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Army, in an effort to have IARA removed from the USAID list of debarred entities, and to remove IARA from the Senate Finance Committee's list of charities suspected of funding terrorism. Federal law requires anyone who serves as an agent of a foreign entity, including an organization, to register with the U.S. Attorney General.
In pleading guilty, Siljander admitted that in two separate interviews he repeatedly lied to FBI agents and prosecutors acting on behalf of a federal grand jury. Siljander obstructed justice by falsely denying that he was hired to advocate for IARA, and by falsely claiming that the payments from IARA were charitable donations intended to assist him in writing a book about bridging the gap between Islam and Christianity.
Under federal statutes, Siljander is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $500,000. El-Siddig is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the U.S. Probation Office.
Siljander and El-Siddig were the final defendants facing trial next week in Kansas City, Mo.
Hamed pleaded guilty on June 25, 2010, to conspiring to illegally transfer more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of federal sanctions, and to obstructing the administration of the laws governing tax-exempt charities. Hamed used IARA to solicit charitable contributions throughout the United States, taking in between $1 million and $3 million in contributions annually from 1991 to 2003, and then illegally transferred funds to Iraq, with the assistance of a Jordanian identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a specially designated global terrorist. Hamed also impaired and impeded the administration of the Internal Revenue laws by misusing IARA's tax-exempt status, providing false information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and lying to federal agents.
Co-defendant Ali Mohamed Bagegni, 56, a native of Libya who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and former resident of Columbia, pleaded guilty on April 6, 2010, to his role in the conspiracy. Bagegni was a member of the board of directors of IARA.
Co-defendant Ahmad Mustafa, 57, of Columbia, a citizen of Iraq and a lawful permanent resident alien, pleaded guilty on Dec. 17, 2009, to illegally transferring funds to Iraq in violation of federal sanctions. Mustafa worked as a fund-raiser for IARA and traveled throughout the United States soliciting charitable contributions. Further, in 1999, 2000, and 2001, at Hamed's behest, Mustafa traveled to Iraq on IARA business. In 2001, he visited Iraq for several weeks and met with numerous officials to discuss the process of opening an IARA office in Iraq. Among the officials with whom Mustafa met was Hushyar Zibari, who was at the time a leader in the Patriotic Democratic Party of Kurdistan and is currently the foreign minister of Iraq. Mustafa also looked to find a building suitable for an IARA office in the Kurdish provinces of Iraq.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony P. Gonzalez, Steven M. Mohlhenrich, Dan Stewart and Brian Casey from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri, and Trial Attorney Paul G. Casey from the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of the Inspector General.

Mark Siljander served in the US Congress from 1981 to 1987. He is a Republican and firmly against abortion rights, equal rights and basically any rights other than, apparently, the rights of foreign agents on US soil. Ronald Reagan made him a represenative to the UN (alternative representative) in 1987 (a one-year term).

Lastly, Francis A. Boyle is a professor of law and an international human rights expert. He is also the attorney for the Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinja and, on their behalf, releases this statement:

The Dutch National Team will be playing for the World Cup upon the fifteenth anniversary of the genocidal massacre at Srebrenica for which the Dutch National Government is jointly and severally responsible under international law. Furthermore, for the past 15 years the Dutch National Government has lied about, covered up, whitewashed, and stonewalled the fact that it cooperated in the massacre of 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, also rendering the Dutch National Government an Accessory After the Fact to the "genocide" at Srebrenica, as determined by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the so-called World Court.. For these reasons, the Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinja call upon all people of good faith and good will around the World, especially those at the World Cup Stadium in South Africa, to publicly root against the Dutch National Team in sympathy with the Victims at Srebrenica.
We will not rest until Justice is done!



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