Thursday, February 10, 2011







We'll open with Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan. Abby Martin (Media Roots Radio) interviewed Cindy and you can stream it here.
Abby Martin: We just wanted to jump kind of straight to the point here.
Abby Martin: You know, it seemed like when you were the figurehead of the peace movement, the mainstream media was fully behind you and then it seemed like they turned against you and the antiwar movement turned against you too. They used you as a symbol and they used you as kind of a scapegoat. Do you want to elaborate on that? What did you think about when that happened?
Cindy Sheehan: Uh, well first of all when I went to Crawford in 2005 it was a media circus. I remember like on the third or fourth day, there was this really cool AP photographer named Matt and he was down there constantly. And every day, I'd say, "Matt, is it a media circus yet?" And he'd go, "Not quite. Not quite." Then about Thursday, it was a media circus. He agreed that it was a media circus. And I think that -- You know, I used to think that the media was biased towards the right when Bush was president. And so a lot of that media -- and all the media, when they started to realize that I was like serious, I wasn't just a fluke and I wasn't going to go away, they like put the brakes on it and started to marginalize me, painting me as just a grieving mother or a slightly off-kilter because of my grief. And so that started to happen that summer. But still the so-called progressive liberal media, I was still like featured so many times on, you know, like Randi Rhodes or Stephanie Miller or Ed Schultz or whomever was considered on the left up until the Democrats came back into power in 2007. And then they didn't like it that I was saying the same thing about the Democrats that I said about the Republicans. So that came to an end. And I realized then when the Democrats came back into power -- and, you know, I'm just naming names. You know. Organizations like United For Peace & Justice and MoveOn. I realized then that they were not peace organizations. You know, United For Peace & Justice should really be United For Electing Democrats. And MoveOn really is like 'Let's Move On To Full Democratic Tyranny of Our Government.' And so, yeah, they didn't like somebody who realized that it was a systemic problem not a problem of political parties or -- You know, it wasn't just a problem for one side, it was a problem for the world. And so it's been hard -- especially since Obama's been elected because, especially in the beginning, I felt like I was one of the only people in this entire country who was saying, "No, he's -- First of all, why did you support him when he said he was going to send more troops to Afghanistan? When he said he was going to increase hostilities to Pakistan? And, you know, all of his hostile rhetoric against Iran and places like that. And his votes during the Senate? Supporting war, paying for the war, supporting the reauthorization of the Patriot Act for example? Things like that." I was like, "How can you? We have good candidates."
Abby Martin: Right.
Cindy Sheehan: We have Cynthia McKinney. We have Ralph Nader. They always have said and done the right things. So why are you supporting someone who's against what you supposedly believe in? You were against those same things when Bush was president. Why are you now pro these things now that Obama's president? So it was really, really hard, you know. But I never once considered saying, "Oh, let's just give him a chance. Let's wait and see." You know, because of the three days after, the three days after he was [sworn in] he bombed Pakistan. So it-it seems to be getting a little better. A lot of people are starting to come around. But I think that it's just -- it's just like finally, two years into this administration, you're against the wars again.
Abby Martin: Again, yeah. That's why I loved that, I remember I saw you immediately after Obama got elected, I think I saw you in San Diego speaking at the peace rally.
Cindy Sheehan: Right, it was a couple of months after, yeah.
Abby Martin: And you were just saying the same things. You said, "Why are we surprised he said he was going to do the things."
Abby Martin: "We shouldn't be shocked that he's doing them. He's an aggressive imperialist. This is -- this is who he campaigned on -- as." So I loved that. You didn't skip a beat. So that means you're a true advocate for peace. And a lot of people align themselves with the Democrats and think that's-that's an alternative and that's for peace. It doesn't make any sense. They're both aggessive imperialists, they're just two sides of the coin.
Cindy Sheehan: But there's -- but there's some people who are so-called anti-war, so-called peace activists who know the two party system is a sham, who know the Democrats are no different from the Republicans. But still it's about political party over policy and over peace and over progressivism. And so we can't -- There's some people who had just had it after eight years of the Bush administration, like all of us did. And they wanted a change and they didn't care what Obama was saying. They saw how he was saying it, they didn't hear what he was saying. So those people are one thing. But the people who are high up in the anti-war movement, high up in these organizations that literally used me to promote anti-Bush -- you know, the anti-Bush agenda -- which I was anti-Bush, I still am anti-Bush -- to promote that agenda without following through on, you know, what I felt was the most important thing and that's ending the wars.
Abby Martin: Yeah. Right. Exactly.
Cindy Sheehan: There's no excuse for those people.
Abby Martin: Right. There isn't. And just going along with what you're saying, it's astounding, that video I sent you about just interviewing people in the Bay Area and how asleep they are. All these people, they love Obama but they don't know why. They can't tell you one thing that he's doing.
Abby Martin: And just encountering other peace activists. Do you think -- Do you see more of a trend now, like you said, two years into his presidency, finally, do you see people waking up more and saying, "Oh my G**! I was duped!"
Abby Martin: So you are encountering that a lot more?
Cindy Sheehan: Yes and just like it happened when Bush was president that so many Republicans e-mailed me and said that they felt the same way. You know, at first they hated me but then they really started to research or he did something that sent them over the edge or whatever. And that started happening at the end of the Bush administration. And it's starting to happen now too because, I think really, the people who were opposed to Bush and opposed to his policies are -- I would think they were more of the intelligent people in our country. So it's not going to take them eight years to wake up like it took some Bush supporters. I'm not saying Bush supporters are stupid. [Laughter.] I guess I am saying that. If you supported Bush and still support him, what's the matter with you? Really. Come on.
Abby Martin: It's just, I almost feel like they're -- Yeah, I'd love to give people the benefit of the doubt and be like, you know, it's going to take you a couple of years to wake up. But I mean, if you got it and you woke up during the Bush administration, I don't see how you got duped at all.
Cindy Sheehan: Absolutely.
Abby Martin: There was really no -- I just don't see it. No change in civil liberties, no change in foreign policy.
Cindy Sheehan: Except for the worse. Except since Obama's been president, many things have gotten worse.
Abby Martin: Oh, yeah, exactly.

Again, you can stream it here at Media Roots Radio. Time permitting, we'll note more of the interview tomorrow. It's a really frank and important interview (as is to be expected from Cindy). And she has praise as well, including for World Can't Wait which she sees as a real organization dedicated to peace. (In fact, World Can't Wait should make their slogan, "Peace Mom approved.")
Death was in the ancient fortress
Shelled by a million bullets
From gunners, waiting in the copses
With hearts that threatened to pop their boxes
As we advanced into the sun
Death was all and everyone
-- "All and Everyone," written by PJ Harvey, from her forthcoming album Let England Shake released next Tuesday
CNN reports that an Al-Dujail "suicide bomber drove into a rest tent for Shiite pilgrims" and took his own life and that of 8 other people while thirty more were left wounded. Xinhua has the pilgrims marching and a car rigged with explosives going off as they passed and notes: "The pilgrims were heading to Samarra, some 110 km north of Baghdad to mark the death of Iman Hassan al-Askari at his tomb in the shrine of Ali al-Hadi in the Sunni dominated city. The shrine of Ali al-Hadi is one of the four most revered Shiite shrines in Iraq. It contains the tombs of Ali al-Hadi who died in 868 A.D. and Hisson Hassan al-Askari who died in 874 A.D." AFP adds, "The mosque itself was built in 944, and the golden dome was added in 1905." The golden dome, Lara Jokes (AP) reminds, was "sheered off" in February 2006 bombings, "Its destruction in 2006 sent Iraq into a downward spiral of violence between Sunnis and Shiites that left whole neighborhoods around the country cleansed and divided by sect." Sabah al-Bazee, Waleed Ibrahim, Jim Loney and Mark Trevelyan (Reuters) notes 8 people died and quotes Raysan Abood stating, "I know them by name. They were our friends and they were delivering food and tea to the pilgrims who came from other towns." They also note it was a suicide car bombing. In other reported violence?
Michael S. Schmidt (New York Times) reports a Baghdad bombing which left two people injured. Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing injured one Iraqi soldier, a second Mosul roadside bombing wounded one police officer and a third Mosul roadside bombing left a young girl injured.
Michael S. Schmidt (New York Times) reports 1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad.
How is our glorious country ploughed
Not by iron ploughs
How is our glorious country ploughed
Not by iron ploughs
Our land is ploughed by tanks and feet
Our land is ploughed by tanks and feet
-- "The Glorious Land," written by PJ Harvey, from her forthcoming album Let England Shake released when? This Tuesday.
Alsumaria TV reports protests took place in Babel Province today with one protest calling for the release of prisoners and another calling out the continued lack of public services. Dar Addustour reports the the Council of the Bar Association issued a call for a Baghdad demonstration calling for corruption to be prosecuted, for the Constitution to be followed and sufficient electricity in all the schools. Nafia Abdul-Jabbar (AFP) reports that approximately 500 people (mainly attorneys "but also including some tribal sheikhs") marched and that they also decried the secret prisons. They carried banners which read "Lawyers call for the government to abide by the law and provide jobs for the people" and "The government must provide jobs and fight the corrupt." Bushra Juhi (AP) counts 3,000 demonstrating and calls it "one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in Iraq" this year. Juhi also notes that attorneys staged smaller protests in Mosul and Basra today. Al Rafidayn reports that five provinces saw protests yesterday as the people demanded reliable public services and an end to government corruption. Noting the Babylon Province protest, the paper quotes Amer Jabk (Federation of Industrialists in Babylon president) stating that the provincial government has not provided any of the services the province needs, that basic services have deteriorated and that heavy rains have not only seen streets closed but entire neighborhoods sinking. Hayder Najm (niqash) observes protests have taken place across Iraq, "The protesters' grievances have been many and varied: the quality and level of basic services, government restrictions on civil liberties and freedom of expression, violations against civil servants, and the rampant financial and administrative corruption within state institutions. [. . .] Eight years after the US invasion of Iraq, the electricity supply in most areas of the country still does not exceed two hours a day, and the country still suffers from poor infrastructure, a weak transport network, and an acute crisis of drinking water and sanitation."
October 31st kicked off the latest wave of targeting Christians in Iraq with the assault on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. Catholic Culture reports that Iraq's Ministry of Tourism has announced Pope Benedict XVI may visit Iraq, specifically make a pilgrimage to Ur. Meanwhile Simon Roughneen (National Catholic Register) reports:

Al Qaeda in Iraq has targeted the country's fast-disappearing Christian population, describing them as "legitimate targets" and causing unknown hundreds of thousands to flee in recent years. Out of an estimated 800,000 to 1.3 million Christians during the Hussein era, now less than half are thought to remain in the country.
Since an Oct. 31 attack on Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church, thousands more Iraqi Christians have run to Turkey. Exact figures are unknown, but Chaldean Church records show more than 600 arrivals in December 2010 alone, which exceeds the total arrivals for all of 2009.
The Oct. 31 attack began when Islamic militants with ties to al Qaeda took Sunday worshipers hostage. As police moved in, 58 people, including two priests, were killed. According to accounts of the carnage, a young child was killed when one of the attackers blew himself up inside the church. Over 100 more were wounded.
The latest arrivals are seeking asylum in Turkey and applying for formal refugee status in the hope of transfer to third countries, such as the United States, Canada and Australia. According to Father Gabriel, a Turkish Chaldean priest from the east of that country and now on sabbatical from his parish in Brussels to assist refugees in Istanbul, the resettlement process takes about two years.

Some of the injured in the October 31st assault found medical treatment and asylum in France. Jim Bitterman (CNN) reports, "They are part of a group of nearly 60 brought here in early November after a bloody massacre at their church in Baghdad. In that attack, believed to have been carried out by al Quaeda, 56 people died, including two auxiliary priests, and more than 70 were injured -- among them the parish priest of Our Lady of Salvation, Father Raphael Kuteimi." The International Organization for Migration provides [PDF format warning] an update on Iraqi Christians through January 31st. The report notes that Erbil has seen an increase in Internally Displaced People families. It explains, "Monitors in Baghdad report that Christians continue to face grave threats. Some Christians remaining in Baghdad rely on newly-created security checkpoints near their homes for protection, and church leaders are in contact with Iraqi security forces for assistance in protecting their communities. However, despite increased security measures an atmosphere of extreme insecurity persists among Christians remaining in Baghdad and many still intend to move or emigrate." And beyond temporary?
An increasing number of displaced Christian families intend to integrate into their current location. IOM monitoring teams in the field report that a clear majority of the displaced Christians in Erbil, Dahuk, and Sulaymaniyah governorates now plan to settle in their current location due to stable security environments and welcoming host communities. However, a far smaller number of the displaced Christians in Ninewa governorate expressed a desire to remain in their location of displacement. Monitors estimate that fewer 10% of the displaced in the Bashiqa district of Mosul intend to integrate locally.
While many displaced Christian families intend to locally integrate, monitors also report increasing Christian emigrations. IOM monitors only assess internally displaced persons, but monitoring teams have been told by community leaders of increasing Christian emigration to Turkey since November 2010, which is confirmed by colleagues in Turkey as well as recent media reports.
Turning to England where the Tenth Imperial War Museum Film Festival Awards were held in London. Richard Moss (Culture reports, ". . . Iraqi filmmakers dominated the honours in the museum's Annual Film Festival Awards by grabbing two out of the three main prizes. Doctor Nabil (2007), a searing documentary recounting the experiences of a surgeon working in a busy and under-resourced Baghdad hospital, won the Audience Poll for the young Iraqi documentary maker Ahmed Jabbar. Best Documentary went to fellow Iraqi Emad Ali for A Candle for the Shabandar Cafe (2007). The film tells the story of a the favourite haunt of Baghdad's writers and intellectuals which was destroyed in March 2007 by a suicide bombing which ripped the heart out of the historic Al-Mutanabbi street book market killing 26 people."
I have seen and done things I want to forget
A Corporal whose nerves were shot
Climbing behind a fierce, gone sun
I seen flies swarming everyone
Soldiers fell like loads of meat
These are the words, the words are these
Death lingering, stunk
Flies swarming everyone
Over the whole summit peak
Flesh quivering in the heat.
This was something else again
I fear it cannot explain
The words that make, the words that make murder
What if I take my problem to the United Nations
What if I take my problem to the United Nations
What if I take my problem to the United Nations
-- "The Words That Maketh Murder," written by PJ Harvey, from her forthcoming album Let England Shake

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Iraqi politics, Iraqi Christians"
"Continued deployments, weaponization of diplomacy"
"The crooks get away with it (Ava)"
"Michelle Obama lied"
"JP Morgan Chase's song and dance"
"The police state"
"Grading the new Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee"
"JP Morgan Chase broke the law"
"No Ordinary Family"
"Nicole Colson can't stop lying"
"The distractions"
"No surprise at all"