"THE TRUST ME CANDIDATE" IS HOW THE BARACK OBAMA CAMPAIGN IS BILLING THEIR NON-STAR.
IN 2002, BARACK OBAMA WAS NOT IN FAVOR OF THE IRAQ WAR. HE DIDN'T THINK IT WAS ILLEGAL. HE JUST DIDN'T THINK IT WAS 'SMART.' WHILE RUNNING FOR THE SENATE IN 2004, HE REGULARLY NOTED HE WAS AGAINST WITHDRAWAL; INSTEAD HE ARGUED THAT NOW THAT U.S. FORCES WERE IN IRAQ, THEY HAD TO STAY.
BUT "TRUST HIM" -- HE WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE -- IF HE'D BEEN IN THE SENATE IN 2002 HE WOULD HAVE VOTED AGAINST THE ILLEGAL WAR.
BUILDING ON THE CONCEPT THAT AMERICA IS A COUNTRY WHERE A SUCKER'S BORN EVERY MINUTE, OBAMA ATTEMPTED TO DRAW A LINE BETWEEN HIMSELF AND HIS SIAMESE TWIN HILLARY CLINTON TODAY.
ON CNN TODAY, BAMBI REMINDED THE WORLD YET AGAIN THAT SENATOR CLINTON VOTED IN FAVOR OF AUTHORIZATION OF THE WAR (CLINTON DISPUTES THAT IS WHAT SHE WAS VOTING FOR) AND THAT HE DID NOT . . . BECAUSE HE WAS NOT IN THE CONGRESS.
HE THEN REMINDED EVERYONE THAT SHE JUST VOTED IN FAVOR OF WHAT SOME SEE AS AN IRAN WAR MEASURE (CLINTON'S ARGUMENT IS THAT SHE VOTED TO HAVE IRAN DESIGNATED A TERRORIST STATE SO THAT OPTIONS OTHER THAN WAR COULD BE USED).
"THIS IS A PROBLEM," BAMBI WHINED.
THE ARGUMENT IS THAT SENATOR CLINTON WAS WRONG TO VOTE FOR THE IRAQ MEASURE IN 2002 AND WRONG TO VOTE FOR THE IRAN MEASURE THIS YEAR. THE ARUGMENT DEPENDS ON PEOPLE TRUSTING BAMBI. HE WASN'T IN THE CONGRESS IN 2002 FOR THE IRAQ VOTE AND HE WASN'T IN CONGRESS IN 2007 FOR THE IRAN WAR. NOW HE WAS A SENATOR BUT INSTEAD OF VOTING ON THE MEASURE HE NOW CONSIDERS SO DAMN IMPORTANT, HE SKIPPED THE VOTE TO CAMPAIGN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. VOTERS MUST TRUST BAMBI BECAUSE HE HAS NO RECORD TO POINT TO -- EVEN AFTER BECOMING SENATOR.
THESE REPORTERS CALLED THE CAMPAIGN THIS AFTERNOON AND REACHED WAR HAWK SAMANTHA POWER. WHEN ASKED WHERE BAMBI GOT OFF CRITICIZING ANYONE ON A VOTE HE SKIPPED, WAR HAWK SAMMY POWER HISSED, "WHEN BARACK MAKES ME SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, I'LL BOMB YOU BOTH! I'LL BOMB DARFUR! I'LL BOMB SWITZERLAND! I'LL BOMB THE WHOLE DAMN WORLD! WAR! WAR! WAR!"
SAMMY POWER BEGAN PANTING INTO THE PHONE AND THESE REPORTERS HUNG UP ON HER.
Starting with war resistance. Sunday in Corvallis, Oregon (a college town not far from Portland) Gerry Condon will speak at the Odd Fellows Hall, 223 S.W. Second St. at 7:00 pm. Gerry Condon is a war resister from the Vietnam era and he's very active in war resistance today. He can speak about war resisters in Canada -- not just Kyle Snyder, but he knows Snyder's case front to back -- and about the legal process in Canada which has thus far refused to grant any war resisters of this era refugee status. Along with a can't-miss-speech, those attending will also be able to see Michelle Mason's Breaking Ranks -- a documentary about war resisters in Canada today.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
Today Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) broke the news that the Center for Constitutional Rights was filing a lawsuit against the mercenary company Blackwater USA. CCR's Susan Burke explained that, "We were approached by the families of three gentlemen who were shot and killed, as well as a gentleman who was very seriously injured. They came to us because they know of our work representing the torture victims at Abu Ghraib, and they asked us whether it would be possible to try to get some form of justice, some form of accountability, against this rogue corporation. So we put together a lawsuit that is being filed this morning in federal court in the District of Columbia on behalf of the families of three gentlemen who were killed: Mr. Atban, Mr. Abbass and Mr. Ibraheem The three gentlemen, amongst them, had fourteen children, including one, Mr. Atban, had a newborn baby daughter. So, needless to say, we are very interested in holding this company accountable and in pursuing the lawsuit vigorously." This is relation to the September 16th incident where the mercenaries slaughter at least 17 people in Baghdad. CCR explains that they filed the case and joining them in the filing were the firms of Burke O'Neill LLC and Akeel & Valentine, P.C.: "Filed in Washington, D.C. federal court by Talib Mutlaq Deewan and the estates of the deceased men Himoud Saed Atban, Usama Fadhil Abbass, and Oday Ismail Ibraheem the lawsuit claims that Blackwater and its affiliated companies violated U.S. law and created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company's financial interests at the expense of innocent human life. The complaint alleges that Blackwater violated the federal Alien Tort Statute in committing extrajudicial killing and war crimes, and that Blackwater should be liable for claims of assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision." Among Paul Bremer's orders was CPA Order 17 and the latest report from the United Nations (more on that later in the snapshot) notes, "While CPA Order 17 also enables the US Government to waive a contractor's immunity, to UNAMI's knowledge it has not done so to date." Susan Burke explained on Democracy Now! that "one of the interesting things to point out is that the Bremer order, which is widely viewed as immunizing these contractors, actually just says that the Iraqi courts will not have jurisdiction over them. So I think as a practical matter that the general choice of law principles still apply that Iraqi law would apply. But in addition, the conduct that we're talking about offends and violates the law of every nation. So when we bring the lawsuit here, whether you apply, you know, the law of the District of Columbia or the law of Iraq, you come to the same conclusion: you're not allowed to gun down innocents." CCR's president Michael Ratner declares, "Blackwater's repeated and consistent failure to act in accord with the law of war, U.S. law, and international law harms our nation and it harms Iraq. For the good of both nations, as well as for countless innocent civilians, the company cannot be allowed to continue operating extra-legally, providing mercenaires who flout all kinds of law. This lawsuit, like the ongoing U.S. and Iraqi government investigations, cannot bring back those killed at Nissor Square but it can make Blackwater accountable for its actions." (Ratner is also a co-host -- along with Heidi Boghosian, Dalia Hashad and Michael Smith -- of WBAI's Law and Disorder -- which also airs online and on other radio stations across the US.) Meanwhile the Blackwater 'investigations' become more of joke. Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Michael Gordon (New York Times) report Iraqi investigators and the US military are both complaining about the US State Dept which is not sharing information from their own alleged investigations and Iraqi investigators see the same stalling from the FBI. And in other non-communicating, non-sharing news, Farah Stockman (Boston Globe) reports that,"US military officials say they have launched a successful effort to reduce the number of such shootings by training soldiers to give more visible warnings, but the Pentagon so far has declined to release data to back up the assertion. That refusal has sparked a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking copies of military reports on such escalation-of-force shootings. Key members of Congress have also called for the release of the documents."
On Tuesday, Geneva Jalal Antranik and Marani Awanis Manouik were killed for the 'crime' of driving with approximately 30 bullets fired into their vehicle. As Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) noted today, "Meanwhile in Iraq, mourners buried two Iraqi women killed Tuesday by guards with another private military firm. The victims were driving home from work when their vehicle came under fire by guards with the Australia-based Unity Resources Group." Andrew E. Kramer (New York Times) reports, "Mournful members of Iraq's Armenian Christian population bowed their heads and recited the Lord's Prayer over an altar of burning incense at a funeral here on Wednesday for two Armenian women killed by private security contractors, the second such fatal shooting in less than a month. Relatives also called for justice on Wednesday, though security contractors are immune from prosecution under Iraqi law." Scott Horton explains to Alissa J. Rubin and Paul von Zielbaer (New York Times) that
despite all the violence contractors have inflicted on Iraqis, "there has yet to be a prosecution for a single incident of violence." Kramer reports that Marany Awanees was a cab driver and "the youngest of nine children in the Momook family, including three brotehrs who are part of the Armenian diaspora in Europe and the United States" and quotes Paul Mammok stating, "She was a lovely sister, my younger sister, a lovely, lovely sister." Democracy Now! quotes an unidentified relative (presumaly of Geneva Jalal Antranik) declaring, "They called me to Basra and told me that the security firms have shot them dead. She is a housewife." As Jeremy Scahill noted (on Democracy Now!) today re: Blackwater USA's September 16th slaughter, "We have to remember that upwards of a million Iraqis have died since the beginning of the US invasion and the names of the victims of both the US military and these private military companies are almost never reported." [Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.] Christian Berthelsen and Said Rifai (Los Angeles Times) report that Marani Oranis had been a scientist with the country's Agriculture Ministry until she and her husband Azad decided to start a family (Nora, Karon and Alice are the three daughters) but in 2005 her husband died and she began using her 1990 Oldsmobile as a cab to support herself and her three daughters and Marani's niece tells the Times, "She was forced to traverse the roads of Baghdad on a daily basis in order to provide for her daughters. This turn of fate is something that every single one of us Iraqis expects on a daily basis. We are all targets for elimination, leaving for work and school in the mornings and not knowing whether we will make it back home safely."
Today the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq released a (PDF format warning) report "documenting widespread human rights abuses and recommending specific measures in response, including due process for detainees, punishment for perpetrators of 'honor killings,' and investigations into deaths caused by private military firms operating in the country." The UN report ("Human Rights Report 1 April -- 30 June 2007") finds, "Daily life for the average Iraqi civilian remains extremely precarious. The violence remains in large part indiscriminate, targeting public places where large numbers of people gather to inflict maximum casualties and foment fears of further descent into chaos and loss of any semblance of state control. The violence has affected all of Iraq's ethnic groups and communities, including minority groups. Targeted assassinations, abductions for ransom or other motives, and extrajudicial executions, continued to be reported on a regular basis. As in the past, professional groups remained a prime target of such attacks, among them media professionals and members of the leagl profession, as highlighted in this report." During the period of the report, UNAMI found that "88 civilians were reportedly killed during air strikes conducted by MNF forces. They included the following: nine civilians killed in five villages in the al-Anbakiya area near Ba'quba on 11 March; two civilians killed in Dulu'iya in Salahuddin Governorate on 15 March; 16 civilians killed in Sadr City in Baghdad on 30 March; 27 civilians killed in Khaldiya, Ramadi, on 3 April; four civilians killed in Sadr City and four others west of Taji on 26 April; three civilians killed in Basra on 30 April; seven civilians killed east of Baghdad on 5 May; one civilian killed in Sadr City on 6 May; and eight civilians killed in Basra on 26 May. On 8 May, seven children were reportedly killed when helicopters attacked an elementary school in a village in Diyala Governorate near the Iranian border. Following this incident, a spokesperson for US forces in Iraq, Lieutenant-Colonel Christoper Garver, announced that the MNF authorities were conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the children. However, the findings of such investigations are not systematically publicized. On 28 June, UNAMI wrote to the MNF Chief of Staff, seeking further information on all these recorded incidents in which civilians were said to have been killed during air strikes." BBC reports today that the US military is admitting that even if they killed 19 'insurgents' in Lake Tharthar, they also killed "15 civilians, including nine children" in an air strike (that happened when? -- no date given).
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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