Wednesday, August 26, 2009






Starting in the United States. President Barack Obama is vacationing on Martha's Vineyard. Despite promising to end the Iraq War, he hasn't. He promised troops out in 16 months in his rah-rah speeches on the campaign trail and then, in Februrary 2008 speaking in Texas, suddenly said 10 months after being sworn in, he'd have the troops out of Iraq. Of course, he was lying. He is a politician. But that is what he promised. There are 130,000 US troops in Iraq currently, more than were present before Bully Boy Bush started his 'surge' in 2007. Barack was sworn in during the first month of the year, January. It's now August, the eighth month. It's possible to get 130,000 troops out before the tenth month but he's not planning on it. He wasn't planning even when lying through his War Hawk teeth. March 7, 2008, Sammy Power was suddenly out of Barack's campaign. The BBC was airing an interview. Though Tom Hayden would play dumb about the interview until July 4, 2008, we called it out in real time. Here's what she told the BBC:
Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?
Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can'te ven tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.
Power was not a campaigner, she was a high level, longterm foreign policy advisor being groomed to be the next Secretary of State. As Krissah Williams (Washington Post) notes, Senator Clinton's response to Power's BBC interview was to note Power's agreement that Obama's pledge to have "combat" troops out in 16 months was never more than a "best-case scenario". Hillary Clinton: "Senator Obama has made his speech opposing Iraq in 2002 and the war in Iraq the core of his campaign, which makes these comments especially troubling. While Senator Obama campaigns on his [pledge] to end the war, his top advisers tell people abroad that he will not rely on his own plan should he become president. This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another. You saw this with NAFTA as well."
And the response from Panhandle Media -- the US' alleged "alternative" media? Silence. March 9, 2008, we editorialized on this at Third Estate Sunday Review in "Editorial: The Whores of Indymedia." And we returned to the topic in July, after Tom Hayden 'suddenly' noticed Samantha Power's March BBC interview, "Letters to An Old Sell Out: Iraq." The old sellout Tom-Tom was insisting that this interview which he'd suddenly -- like Columbus -- discovered was ignored by "the media" and by "rival campaigns". Like his hero Barry O, Tom-Tom Hayden can lie through his teeth. And you can check Third's editorial ("Letters to An Old Sell Out: Iraq") to find examples of the Real Media outlets that covered it while Tom Hayden and all the beggars of Panhandle Media played dumb -- it's playing right? No one can really be that dumb, can they? What is known is that the watch doggies didn't bark in March 2009. Not Tom-Tom, not Jeremy Scahill, not the forever climbing on the soap box Naomi Klein, not Laura Flanders, not The Nation, not Amy Goodman, not Matthew Rothschild, not one damn radio show on KPFA, WBAI, KPFK, go down the list. (David Corn did cover it in real time for Mother Jones -- in order to insist it wasn't important. That everyone knew -- everyone, he insisted -- that Barack didn't mean any promise he made on the campaign trail.)
They played dumb then and they play dumb now. They refuse to use their power to speak out against the Iraq War. They've all written their books, apparently, and can no longer squeeze a dime out of the illegal war. They've all got 'better' things to do. And besides, as Naomi insisted to her imaginary anarchist friends (as made up as was her huge laughable lie about what she saw on election night -- and that says a great deal that The Progressive printed that obvious lie), she just wanted to enjoy Barack. Don't wake the Mall Rat, she thinks we're alone now, there doesn't seem to be anyone around.
Always several decades behind the times, Canada gives us their own Tiffany, Little Miss Naomi Klein. Daughter of a war resister who can't even talk about that to most outlets and had to be cornered into the topic to begin with. Her father went to Canada to avoid being shipped to Vietnam. Back then, you didn't need refugee status, you could just go through the process and become a Canadian citizen. Coward and liar, Naomi refuses to do a thing to help today's war resisters other than sign a petition. Get that. Grasp it. Because a hell of a lot of us back in the day helped her father and others. But Mall Rat Naomi doesn't believe in pay it forward, she just believes in gimmie, gimmie, gimmie. And in her Selfish Paradise, she has no time to help end the Iraq War, let alone help US war resisters in Canada. But if you ask her to dish on which New Kid On The Block she found dreamy, she can go for an hour. (Joey! Yes, Joey was her NKOTB. No, I don't know which one that is. But I'm a functioning adult.)
So while they've all Walked On,, hurried away from Iraq -- because, goodness, who knew it would be work to end a war? -- Cindy Sheehan's still standing.
Peace Mom's still fighting to end the Iraq War. And, take note those who thumbed a ride over to Afghanistan, Cindy's fighting to end that one as well. Today Cindy Sheehan lands on Martha's Vineyard and prepares to demonstrate against the continued wars.
Dave Cook (Christian Science Monitor) reports she will hold a news conference tomorrow "morning at the Oak Bluff's Elementary School on the island resort." Cape Cod Today adds that among the actions will be members of the peace movement sailing around Martha's Vineyard August 27 through the 29th and quotes her stating, "I am calling in the Peace Movement to encircle our country with our united demand for an immediate return of all U.S. forces around the globe. Bring every one of our troops home NOW! We need them in our families and towns. This world needs a permanent vacation from war." Jake Berry (Cape Cod Times) also reports on Cindy's impending arrival and quotes her stating, "The body bags aren't taking a vacation." Part of the demonstrations will include encircling the island on SS Camp Casey, named after Cindy's son Casey Sheehan who died April 4, 2004 in Iraq. IPA notes Cindy will hold a news conference tomorrow starts at 11:00 a.m. and quotes her stating, "I think that people are waking up to the fact that even if they voted for Barack Obama, he doesn't represent real change. July was the worst month for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan are continuing to be killed in these wars. These policies were wrong when Bush was president and they're wrong now that Obama is president." Speaking to Jennifer Harper (Washington Times), Cindy stated, "Our demand from the peace movement has always been 'troops home now,' and I am going to reassert the moral demands that we insisted upon from the Bush administration to an Obama administration." At her website, they note the following:
Her schedule of public events is as follows:

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 11am, Press Conference at Oak Bluffs Elementary School.

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 8pm, Peace Vigil, Ocean Park Bandstand, Oak Bluffs.

Thursday, Aug. 27, Friday, Aug. 28 and Saturday, Aug. 29: Boat trips with Cindy for peace movement leaders, press and public. These 'shipboard peace summit' meetings will leave Vineyard Haven twice daily on the 105 foot sloop 'SS Camp Casey' in the afternoons. Call for details. No charge, so reserve ahead. 207-604-8988 or email:

Saturday Aug. 29, 9 to 5 Peace Vigil Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs
and Walkabout around the Island

Saturday, Aug. 29, 8pm Cindy Sheehan speaking event "Peace Now, Again", Katharine Cornell Theater, 54 Spring St., Vineyard Haven.

Cindy is scheduling press and media interviews throughout the week. Call Laurie Dobson at 207-604-8988 or email: or Bruce Marshall at 802-767-6079.

In addition to these planned events, there will be impromptu gatherings during the week. A memorial site will be present on the island with an outdoor area designated as 'Camp Casey', a living tribute to her son Casey Sheehan, who died in the Iraq War, as well as honoring others who were war casualties.

The SS Camp Casey will welcome all those who wish to come to meet Cindy. She will be also available on the Vineyard for gatherings of visitors, which will be open to the public, the press, and anyone desiring to connect with those for whom the costs of war are a daily reality in their lives.

For information on the events, please contact Chris Fried at (508)-693-7741 and for information about Cindy, please contact Laurie Dobson at (207)-604-8988 or email:
What's the media reaction going to be? Have you heard Amy Goodman mention it? Even in her headlines? Nope. Well that's the Queen of Panhandle Media. And Real Media? Last week, Charlie Gibson issued the royal edict of "Enough already." Apparently grouchy due to the fact that no longer co-hosting Good Morning America means he's unable to nap on live TV, Queen Charlie Approximately showed just how nasty a TV reader who elected to leave the news department to go into entertainment (Good Morning America is produced by ABC entertainment) could be when forced to form an opinion that goes beyond, "Mmm. Smells good. In our next segment, we're joined by entertainer Joey Heatherton. And later, Shari Lewis joins us to talk about Lamb Chops brave battle with lint balls. Stay tuned!" Cindy responded to Charlie Gibson's nonsense and pointed out, "I certainly am not the anchor of a major network news show, but last time I checked, people are still dying at a heartrending clip in Iraq-Af-Pak. If my goal was '15 minutes of fame,' I could have gone quietly away a long time ago. I started because I wanted the wars to end, and I will figure I can go away when the wars end…but when is that going to be? In my lifetime, probably not." When will the war ends? The issue is raised in a letter today to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Times:
When I returned from Vietnam in the late 1960s, it seemed the deaths of soldiers and civilians were treated as though they were but the melodramatic nuance to somebody else's Aquarian Age. Today, the deaths seem cast as acceptable losses in the transition from the Bush to Obama policies. Protests are minimal, staunched by administrative promises proven insubstantial. One by one by hundreds, people are losing their lives, and still the wars go on. What was not accepted from Bush is tolerated from Obama.
The United States needs to leave Iraq and withdraw from Afghanistan, now. Accusations of isolationism don't wash while American soldiers and Iraqi and Afghani civilians die to prove the falsehood that intervention is peacemaking.
Jerry Maxham, Davie
We'll stay with the US for a big longer to address some of the damages from the illegal war.
"They gave me a gun" he said
"They gave me a mission
For the power and the glory --
Propaganda -- piss on 'em
There's a war zone inside me --
I can feel things exploding --
I can't even hear the f**king music playing
For the beat of -- the beat of black wings."
[. . .]
"They want you -- they need you --
They train you to kill --
To be a pin on some map --
Some vicarious thrill --
The old hate the young
That's the whole heartless thing
The old pick the wars
We die in 'em
To the beat of -- the beat of black wings"
-- "The Beat of Black Wings," words and music by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm.
Friday's snapshot noted:

Today the US military announced that Staff Sgt Enoch Chatman, Staff Sgt Bob Clements, Sgt Jarrett Taylor and Spc Daniel Weber are all "charged with cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates . . . The four Soliders are alleged to have treated Soldiers within their platoon inappropriately." CNN states they are accused of "cruelty and maltreatment of four subordinates in Iraq after a suicide investigation brought to light alleged wrongdoing, the military said Friday." Michelle Tan (Army Times via USA Today) reports, "The alleged mistreatment consisted of verbal abuse, physical punishment and ridicule of the subordinate soldiers, Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, spokesman for Multi-National Division-South wrote in an e-mail to Army Times."

The soldier has been identifed as Keiffer Wilhelm. August 4th the US military announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi-National Division - South died of a non-combat related injury August 4. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin." The Department of Defense announced August 5th: " Pvt. Keiffer P. Wilhelm, 19, of Plymouth, Ohio, died August 4 in Maysan province, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation." Andrew Kreighbaum (El Paso Times) reported August 6th, "Wilhelm, an infantryman from Plymouth, Ohio, enlisted in the army in December after graduating from Willard High School last year. His father, Adrian Wilhelm, said his son joined the Army to be like his older brother, who is in the U.S. Air Force. Adrian Wilhelm said Keiffer Wilhelm was the best man at his brother's wedding in Arizona on May 7 and was sent to Kuwait soon afterward. The wedding was the last time he saw his son." Chris Roberts (El Paso Times) reported Monday that Keiffer Wilhelm "was abused by his 'first-line supervisors,' Sgt. Brandon LeFlor wrote in an e-mail. He is a spokesman for Multi-National Division-South in Basra, Iraq." Roberts quotes Keiffer Wilhelm's parents stating, "We only want justice and to prevent this from happening to another family."
Thursday DoD identified Matthew Hastings as one of the fallen. Kevin Canfield (Tulsa World) reported on the death and quotes Hasting's mother Lawanda Lowry stating, "He was just an all-American kid. He was so proud to be in the Army and he was so proud to serve our country. [. . .] He called me when he was graduating from basic training and said, 'Mom, I have accomplished far more and greater things than I ever thought possible'." Saturday Manny Gamallo (Tulsa World) reported the family believes his death may have been a suicide and cited sister Michelle Brazil explaining that e-mails her brother sent to Kristy Moore (friend), Clark W. Hastings (grandfather) and herself "were basically the same. He said he couldn't take it anymore, and he was going to hang out with Clark tonight. [. . .] They were almost like twins. They wore the same clothes, had the same friends, did everything together." Clark was Matthew Hasting's brother who passed away. Earlier this month, Iraq War veteran Wesley David Gilson was shot dead by US authorities. His obit notes his survivors included his wife Carol Gilson, his children Christian, Danny, Emily, Mary, Ethan and Anna, his mother Joan Pass, a sister Karen Knoblich, an ex-wife Lisa Clark. Livingston Today reported he was "in a multihour standoff with police" and they later found they he had left a suicide note. Earlier this month, Jim Spellman and Wayne Drash (CNN -- link has text and video) reported on Iraq War veteran Thomas Delgado who is charged with attempted murder of his wife who states Delgado "needs medical help, not prison":
Shayla Delgado says her husband grabbed a gun and rattled off suicidal thoughts. "I've been thinking about how I'm going to do it," she recalled him saying. "I just can't live like this any more. I can't do it, I can't do it."
"He was telling me, 'Take our son and leave because you don't want to be here for this,'" she said, breaking down in tears. "I was really, really scared."
Iraq War veteran Jacob Gregory Swanson will be buried tomorrow. Glenda Anderson (Santa Rosa Press Democrat) reports, "Swanson turned a handgun on himself after shooting and killing his sometime girlfriend, Amy Salo, 36, Mendocino County law authorities said. Swanson's family said he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder before his discharge from the Army in 2005." Earlier this month, Kathy Mellott (Tribune-Democrat) reported Iraq War veteran Nicholas Adam Horner's defense in a murder trial will include his three tours of duty.

From American soldiers to British ones, Danny Fitzsimons is facing a trial in Iraq and could be sentenced to death. He served in the British military for eight years and was stationed in Afghanistan and Kosovo. He is accused of being the shooter in a Green Zone incident this month in which 1 British contractor, Paul McGuigan, and 1 Australian contractor, Darren Hoare, died and one Iraqi, Arkhan Madhi, was injured. Eric and Liz Fitzsimons spoke to the BBC (link has video) and noted that they are not asking for Danny to 'walk.' They stated that he has to take responsibility. But they want a fair trial and do not believe that is possible in Iraq. His legal defense team doesn't believe he can get a fair trial either stating today that the British military's presence in Iraq during the war means that Fitzsimons will be used as scapegoat. The Sunday Mail quoted Danny Fitzsimons yesterday stating, I see Paul and Darren's faces every night before I sleep and every morning when I wake up." Jonathan Owen (Independent of London) quotes him describing his cell, "There's 12 of us sleeping on the floor; some are sharing – two to a mattress. The guys that are in here with me are a really good bunch, but the water gets turned off at odd hours and the electricity goes off. It could be a lot worse – I'm not complaining. [. . .] The only thing that gets me stressed out is the amount of people in here. It's quite loud. I like to be able to escape somewhere on my own but I can't. In the scheme of things I know that's trivial. I've got nothing to moan about -- this is as good as it gets here." The Manchester Evening News adds, "His British lawyer, John Tipple, is stepping up efforts to have him extradited to Britain under an unused provision in the Iraqi legal code that dates back to the 1930s." Tipple is quoted stating, "We are not going to let the British government hang him out to dry. He is a British national and the right place for him to be tried, if at all, is at home." Today Matthew Cookson (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reports on the issue:

John Tipple told Socialist Worker, "There is no way that a fair trial can take place in Iraq.
"We fear that Daniel will be scapegoated for the decision made by Tony Blair to make Britain a key part of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
"Daniel spent eight years in the Parachute Regiment. He was diagnosed with adjustment disorder after seeing horrors in Bosnia and Kosovo.
"After he left the army he had a few brushes with the law, and his situation began to deteriorate when he became a private security contractor.
"The British government has abandoned its duty of care towards soldiers. When they return from war zones, often brutalised by their experiences, they are left to their own devices.
"That is why there are a disproportionate number of soldiers in the prison system, with mental health problems or homeless. They are victims of war as well as the people of Afghanistan and Iraq."
Some or all of above may have resulted from experiences in the war zones. And there are many more reports of violence aimed within and outside. The point in noting this is not to say, "Iraq War vets are crazy and dangerous!" That's not the point. The point is that experiences impact different people differently and that some conditions, such as PTSD, are easier to manage for some veterans than for all. PTSD is the topic of "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder as a Rsik Factor for Suicidal Ideation in Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans" (Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 23, No. 4, August 2009, pp 303 - 306). For the study, 435 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans were used for the sample. Half of the sample was diagnosed with PTSD (49.6%). The study notes:
Prior research with Vietnam veterans with chronic PTSD has established an association between PTSD and suicide (Bullman & Kang, 1994). This study extends these findings by demonstrating an association between suicidal ideation and PTSD in treatment-seeking OIF/OEF veterans with more acute forms of PTSD. PTSD was significantly associated with suicidal ideation after accounting for age, depression and substance abuse, with PTSD veterans over four times more likely to report suicidal ideation than veterans who did not screen psotive for PTSD. Among veterans who screen positive for PTSD, there was no significant increase in risk for suicidal ideation associated with a single comorbid disorder. However, the likelihood for suicidal ideation was 5.7 times greater in veterans with PTSD who screened positive for two or more comorbid disorders relative to veterans with PTSD alone. Results suggest that veterans with PTSD who have multiple psychiatric comorbidities may be at greater risk for suicidal ideation. This increased likelihood of suicidal ideation associated with comorbidity is notable because, of those OIF/OEF veterans diagnosed with a mental disorder, 27% have three or more different mental health diagnoses.
Repeating, a veteran with or without PTSD is not 'crazy' or 'dangerous' either to his or herself or others either because of being a veteran or because of having PTSD. But some suffering from the war -- with or without PTSD -- are really struggling and, a percentage of that struggling group, is obviously not getting the help they need.

RECOMMEND: "Iraq snapshot"

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