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Code Pink in Cuba & American Citizenry Say: Shut the Bush Regime Down!

by : BombShelter.org
Wednesday January 10, 2007 - 12:45
1 comment

We're here as American citizens to say that this WAR needs to be shut down! Defiant activists in march to shut down Guantanamo Havana January 8, 2007

ANTI-WAR activist Cindy Sheehan has defied a US ban on travel to Cuba, flying to Havana to join protesters demanding the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp for terrorism suspects.

Ms Sheehan will join a march to the US naval base in eastern Cuba where about 395 suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters are being held.

The march is part of planned international protests against the prison camp on Thursday, five years after it opened with the first detainees flown in from the US-led war in Afghanistan.

Washington has faced steady criticism over Guantanamo from rights groups and foreign governments because most of the detainees have not been charged and due to reports of prisoner abuse.

Americans who travel to Cuba without special licences from the US Government can be fined thousands of dollars.

"I’m not afraid. What is most important is the inhumanity that my country is perpetrating in Guantanamo," Ms Sheehan told reporters on arrival in Cuba.

"If I worried about reprisals I wouldn’t be doing anything … I think it is time for people to step up and try to stop this."

The Cuban Government, which has long condemned the prison as a concentration camp run by its political enemy, has allowed the protesters to march to the security perimeter of the US enclave.

The US has said it does not torture detainees and that the camp is necessary to deal with its war on terrorism.

It has quickened the pace of releasing captives. Last month the Pentagon said the prison’s population was about 395 out of more than 770 held there since it opened in January 2002.

The group of 12 marchers will include former detainee Asif Iqbal, a British citizen who was released after two years with no charges.

Ms Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq war, became a central figure in the US anti-war movement in 2005 after camping outside President George Bush’s Texas ranch. She has been arrested at a number of protests.

Fellow peace activist Ann Wright, a retired US colonel and diplomat who resigned over the invasion of Iraq, said: "We’re here as American citizens to say that this prison needs to be shut down."

REUTERS We're here as American citizens to say that this WAR needs to be shut down!

Cindy Sheehan Arrives in Havana with Other Anti-war Activists

International Delegation to Visit Guantanamo, Cuba to Protest Infamous US Prison Havana, Jan 6 (RHC) - A group of defenders of peace, including Cindy Sheehan, mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, arrived in Cuba on Saturday as part of a campaign to demand the immediate closing of Guantánamo prison.

Sheehan is accompanied by a former prisoner of that facility — illegally located in Cuban territory — as well as attorneys and relatives of some detainees. The group will call for increased international actions against the U.S.-run prison and against torture.

The delegation will protest the existence of the prison and will give a conference on the abuses committed there on the International Day for the Closing of Guantánamo, slated for Thursday, January 11th.

Asif Igbal, released without charges after years of abuse, and Zohra Zewawi, whose son was jailed, tortured and mutilated in Guantánamo, are also in Cuba on the delegation.

The group will be in Cuba until next Saturday, January 13th. Their program includes a visit to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center, the Latin American School of Medicine, the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and other places of interest.

They will travel to the eastern province of Guantánamo on Thursday to express their rejection of torture and will participate in a press conference to be held in Havana, the Cuban capital.

http://www.periodico26.cu/english/news_cuba/cindy010607.htm

We're here as American citizens to say that this WAR needs to be shut down!

For immediate release: 1,000 PEOPLE SPELL OUT "IMPEACH!" ON BEACH IN PELOSI’S DISTRICT CONTACT: Brad Newsham, 415/305-8294, newsham@mac.com

PHOTOS: http://beachimpeach.com/photos.shtml

January 6, 2007 — Over 1000 people gathered in Nancy Pelosi’s district, on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, to spell out the message "IMPEACH!" "America is a great country," said event organizer Brad Newsham, a local cab driver and author. "But President Bush has betrayed our faith. He mislead us into a disastrous war, and is trampling on our Constitution. He has to go. Now. I hope Nancy Pelosi is listening today."

A majority of Americans share Newsham’s sentiments. A 2006 Zogby poll found that 52% of Americans agreed with the statement: "If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment?"

http://beachimpeach.com/

We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down!

’Camp Resistance’ opens Ft. Lewis gates Monday, January 8, 2007 ByKaz Suzat

Seattle

On Jan. 4, 2007, several members of Iraq Veterans Against the War launched a new tactic in an effort to support and encourage resistance among service members to the U.S. war on Iraq by founding "Camp Resistance."

On private land, with the support of the property owner, an IVAW yellow school bus sits just across I-5 from the gates to the massive military base, Fort Lewis. In spite of difficult winter conditions, over half a dozen Iraq, Afghanistan and other recent veterans and resisters are vowing to stay until the conclusion of Lt. Ehren Watada’s court martial Feb. 5.

Lt. Watada is the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. His pre-trial hearing took place Jan. 4 and sparked the establishment of Camp Resistance. Watada is demanding to argue at his court martial the illegality of the war and his duty to resist illegal orders. He is facing six years in prison.

The Camp Resistance bus also displayed posters in support of Suzanne Swift and Ricky Clousing. Swift was released on Jan. 3 after serving 30 days in detention for refusing to redeploy to Iraq. She is legally obligated to remain in the army for two more years, although she is fighting for a medical discharge. Swift was sexually harassed and assaulted by military superiors while in Iraq.

Ricky Clousing went AWOL for 14 months after his deployment to Iraq. He came forward last August at the national Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle. He turned himself in to authorities, served three months in a military prison and was released on Dec. 23, 2006.

Both Clousing and Sara Rich, Swift’s mother, are involved with and committed to Camp Resistance.

http://wwwThankYouLt.org We're here as American citizens to say that this WAR needs to be shut down!

Lieutenant Watada’s War Against the War In a remarkable protest from inside the ranks of the military, First Lieut. Ehren Watada has become the Army’s first commissioned officer to publicly refuse orders to fight in Iraq on grounds that the war is illegal. The 28-year-old announced his decision not to obey orders to deploy to Iraq in a video press conference June 7, saying, "My participation would make me party to war crimes."

An artillery officer stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, Watada wore a business suit rather than his military uniform when making his statement. "It is my conclusion as an officer of the armed forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law," he said. "Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order."

Watch Video: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060626/brecherwebvideo

We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down!

28 arrested as Lt. Watada faces hearing by Watada Support Committee/API’s Resist! Tuesday Jan 9th, 2007 12:24 AM

Over 200 people gathered at the Federal Building in downtown San Francisco on January 4, 2007 to show support for Lt. Ehren Watada, the first U.S. commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq,and to demand an end to the Iraq war as the death toll has reached over 650,000 Iraqi’s and over 3,000 U.S troops.

San Francisco, CA (January 4, 2007) - Over 200 people gathered at the Federal Building in downtown San Francisco on January 4, 2007 to demonstrate support for Lt. Ehren Watada, the first U.S. commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq, and to demand an end to the Iraq war as the death toll reaches over 650,000 Iraqi’s and over 3,000 U.S troops. 28 people laid down with white shrouds in front of the doors of the Federal Building to declare "No business as usual while the killing and dying continue in Iraq."

Grace Shimizu, a member of the Watada Support Commitee/Asian Pacific-Islanders Resist!, was one of the 28 arrested at the doors of the Federal Building. She explains the reasons she was compelled to risk being arrested for the first time, "Lt. Ehren Watada has inspired me to make my own decision of conscience to take action against this illegal and immoral war and occupation of Iraq which has killed over 3000 US troops and 600,000 Iraqi men, women and children. I took part in this civil disobedience on the same day which marked the beginning of Lt. Ehren Watada’s court martial process. Supporting the courageous resisters within the military, like Lt. Watada, and their families is one very important way to stop the war crimes, end the occupation, bring the troops home and defend our Constitution."

Shimizu, along with other Bay Area supporters, plans to travel to Ft. Lewis to demonstrate her support for his refusal to deploy to Iraq. Watada faces over six years imprisoned if convicted of all the charges he faces. In addition to the one charge of missing troop movement for refusing to board a plane to Iraq on June 22, he is charged with four counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, all of which stem from public statements he made about his reasons for refusing what he believes is an "illegal order" and that by participating "would make me party to war crimes".

Speakers at the Vigil included David Hartsough, Ken Butigan, Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake, Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, and Rev.Lloyd Wake, but the crowd was moved to tears by Marilyn Saner, member of Miliatry Families Speak Out, and mother of an active duty Army soldier injured by an IED in Iraq currently facing the possibility of re-deployment. "Our children are not going to Iraq to spread democracy in the Middle East: They’re going to keep their fellow soldiers alive with the hope and prayers that they will survive that mission...We must demand of our leaders that they bring our troops home now..Remember it’s the people who have the power" View a video of her speech here: http://indybay.org/newsitems/2007/01/05/18344239.php

The day’s event began at the SF Japantown Peace Plaza in the late morning when over 30 people gathered displaying banners and signs in support of Lt. Watada as his pre-trial hearing was underway in Ft. Lewis, WA. There was a procession to the to the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco where they were joined by members of the Unitarian congregation and the Declaration of Peace.

The delegation then joined the peace vigil already underway at the Federal Building. There has been a weekly peace vigil at the SF Federal Building from noon to 1pm every Thursday since October 2001, but this week as the death toll in Iraq continues to mount and Lt. Watada faces court martial for following his conscience and refusing to participate in the Iraq war, the numbers swelled to over 200 people demanding "Troops Home Now!".

The vigil was sponsored by Watada Support Committee, APIs Resists!, Declaration of Peace, First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, American Friends Service Committee, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship and San Francisco Friends Meeting. Other groups participating were Courage to Resist, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Code Pink.

"It is heartening to see so many different groups and people come together and to see support of Lt. Watada merging with the larger anti-war movement. It is not only a right but an obligation to resist illegal war and I’m especially supportive and inspired by the immense courage it takes those within the military to resist," said Buff Whitman Bradley, another arrested at the doors of the Federal Building. "By supporting these brave individuals, together we have the power to stop this war." He says he also intends to make the long journey to the Ft. Lewis area for the beginning of the upcoming court martial.

This action was the first civil disobedience in support of Lt. Ehren Watada. Organizers say that it demonstrates that support for Lt. Watada is escalting as his court martial approaches. Nationally, supporters are gearing up for a Day of Action to Stand with Lt. Watada on February 5, 2007 to coincide with the beginning of his court martial. A regional mobilization is planned at Ft. Lewis and solidarity events are being planned across the country. For more info visit: http://www.CouragetoResist.org or http://wwwThankYouLt.org

A Citizens’ Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College , Tacoma campus in order to fully evaluate Lt. Watada’s claims regarding the legality and morality of the Iraq War. Confirmed witness include: Daniel Ellsberg, military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War; Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General; Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University. For more information: http://www.WarTribunal.org

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehren_Watada

We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down!

We’re Losing the Infowar Insurgents using simple cell-phone cameras, laptop editing programs and the Web are beating the United States in the fierce battle for Iraqi public opinion. By Scott Johnson Newsweek

Jan. 15, 2007 issue - For nearly four years, U.S. military officials have briefed the Baghdad press corps from behind an imposing wooden podium. No longer. Last week U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell relaxed with reporters around a "media roundtable." He replaced the cumbersome headset once used for Arabic translations with a discreet earpiece. He cut short his opening statement, allowing for more back-and-forth banter. Yet even as Iraq emerged from the deadliest month in 2006 for American soldiers, Caldwell maintained the relentlessly upbeat patter that has come to characterize the briefings. "The key difference you’re going to see in 2007," he said proudly, "is this is truly the year of transition and adaptation."

A draft report recently produced by the Baghdad embassy’s director of strategic communications Ginger Cruz and obtained by NEWSWEEK makes the stakes clear: "Without popular support from US population, there is the risk that troops will be pulled back ... Thus there is a vital need to save popular support via message." Under the heading DOMESTIC MESSAGES, Cruz goes on to recommend 16 themes to reinforce with the American public, several of which Bush is likely to hit: "vitally important we succeed"; "actively working on new approaches"; "there are no quick or easy answers."

What’s even more telling is that the IRAQI MESSAGES—the very next section—are still "TBD," to be determined. Indeed, the document so much as admits that despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars, the United States has lost the battle for Iraqi public opinion: "Insurgents, sectarian elements, and others are taking control of the message at the public level." Videos of U.S. soldiers being shot and blown up, and of the bloody work of sectarian death squads, are now pervasive. The images inspire new recruits and intimidate those who might stand against them. "Inadequate message control in Iraq," the draft warns, "is feeding the escalating cycle of violence."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16497895/site/newsweek/ We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down!

Rome’s Colosseum lights up in death penalty protest Jan 06 5:00 PM US/Eastern

The Colosseum in Rome was illuminated evening as part of Italy’s campaign for a global moratorium on the death penalty following the bungled hanging of Saddam Hussein. Following an initiative by the Italian capital’s left-wing mayor Walter Veltroni, the arches of the world-famous 2,000-year-old Roman era stadium were lit up as night fell.

In attendance were members of Italy’s libertarian Radical Party, whose 76-year-old leader Marco Pannella began a hunger strike on December 26 in support of the moratorium.

Italian politicians were unanimous in their revulsion over Saddam’s execution, with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi calling it a "political and historic error."

Rome’s initiative will involve 85 UN member states that signed a non-binding declaration in December against capital punishment, Prime Minister Romano Prodi has said. We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down!

Hanging is worse than porn: ’Make Love not War’ Sarah Smiles, Canberra January 8, 2007

THE film of Saddam Hussein’s execution should be given a more restricted classification than pornographic films, says an adult-industry lobby group with the motto "make love, not war".

The Eros Association is considering classifying the film to illustrate what it says is the "hypocrisy" of Australia’s film-rating system, which gives explicitly violent films a restricted R 18+ rating, and explicit pornographic films X 18+.

Freely available on the internet, the Saddam film, which depicts hooded men hanging the former Iraqi dictator, likely would be rated R 18+ if sold commercially here, said Robbie Swan, Eros’ chief executive officer.

He said the Classification Review Board viewed "consenting sexuality" more harmful than depictions of real-life murders and executions.

"In Victoria, you can go to jail for selling sexually explicit and consensual films, but you can sell a film that shows someone being murdered in a convenience store," he said.

It was illegal to sell X-rated films in Victoria, but not to possess or buy them from Canberra, where sale was legal. Mr Swan said he did not think the film of Saddam’s hanging should be censored, but called for "a more even-handed approach" to violence and sex.

The Australian Family Association defended the Classification Review Board system as reflective of community standards, and said the classification of sex and violence were separate issues.

"The Eros Association thinks that the people defending the current laws are pro-violence," said spokeswoman Angela Conway.

"This is ridiculous. The community does not say that extremely violent content is any worse than X-rated content. There’s always been a concern in the community to give a special classification to very, very explicit pornographic films.

"There’s anecdotal evidence around the country about children and adolescents being traumatised by this content.

"We’ve had Aboriginal leaders raising big concerns about the impact of this sort of content on child-protection issues."

Ms Conway said current laws were perhaps too permissive.

"The Eros Association is a coalition of businesses that have money to make," she said. "They’ve got another agenda here. They want this explicit content available in public cinemas, or to pick up in any old video shop."

Yet Mr Swan said the classification system was out of touch with prevailing attitudes towards sex. In the past, Victorians probably thought depiction of explicit sex was worse than murder.

But young people now were more free-thinking.

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We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down! STOP THE WAR BRACELETS! We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down! Channel 4 imagines Blair on trial for war crimes

AFP Jan 09 12:07 PM US/Eastern

Channel 4 television has unveiled details of its new satirical drama in which Prime Minister Tony Blair faces war crimes charges over the Iraq conflict in an imagined, not-too-distant future. "The Trial of Tony Blair" is set in 2010 and sees Blair (actor Robert Lindsay) on the brink of extradition to a war crimes tribunal, plagued by nightmares about the war and fears that he will be killed by a suicide bomber.

In the programme, to be screened next week, Blair converts to his wife Cherie’s faith, Catholicism, in a bid to seek forgiveness for his sins.

"I gather Mr Blair is very concerned about his place in history. This film is my idea of where that place might be. Whether it’s fiction or prediction remains to be seen," writer Alistair Beaton said.

"If it contributes to the public perception that Blair has done something wrong and he needs to pay a price for that, that would be terrific."

He said he hoped it would "get up Tony Blair’s nose".

At a pre-screening Tuesday, Lindsay said he had made the film because he was "seriously angry" with Blair over the "illegal" Iraq war.

The drama could also make unpleasant viewing for Blair’s likely successor, finance minister Gordon Brown, who is shown winning his first election after taking charge with a parliamentary majority of just two seats.

A jealous Blair, incensed by Brown’s huge popularity, is seen to sabotage his chances of winning more votes by leaking an email Brown sent while finance minister saying that taxes would have to be raised.

But as prime minister, Brown ultimately gets his revenge by allowing Blair to be sent for trial at The Hague.

Meanwhile in the fiction, former US president George W Bush is shown in rehab after being discovered comatose at his ranch.

Domestically, Blair has moved from the premier’s residence in Downing Street to London’s Connaught Square, home to many wealthy Arabs and celebrities, which his wife describes as "ghastly" and like "Little Beirut".

"Not a great place to live when your husband is hated by 250 million Arabs," she says.

Blair is convinced he will be offered a top job at the United Nations or in the US administration as an adviser to new president Hillary Clinton.

But instead his former celebrity friends — U2 pop star Bono, actor Kevin Spacey and Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates — refuse to return his calls and the US abandons him to his fate.

We're here as American citizens to say that this war crime regime must be shut down!

Damn Liberals Cost Us The War! At the dinner table in a very red state, little room for obvious truths. But can you try?

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist Friday, January 5, 2007

So I’m up in the Idaho hinterlands at the family getaway lake house over the holiday break and I’m sitting at a nice dinner party with some family friends, and the wine is flowing and the friends are lovely and the conversation seems relatively open and hence I forget what a deeply, aggressively red part of the country I’m in because, well, the wine was very good, and when you’re from San Francisco you tend to carry the progressive bubble with you as some sort of happy delusion that much of the world must be at least relatively informed and open and somewhat willing to lick the divine candy of current truths.

It can be, you know, a problem.

This is when it happened. One of the dinner guests I’ve met before but don’t know very well, he asks me about the media world and the general timbre of my column and, more specifically, what the atmosphere was like in San Francisco when the Dems swept back into power in November like a glorious gob of long overdue balm for our festering national BushCo rash (analogy, of course, mine).

I smiled, I sighed, the nubile S.F. bubble present over my head like a hum of cosmic lubricant as I mentioned the general feeling of a wary sense of renewed hope, a feeling among the attuned and the informed that maybe there can now be a slight return to balanced humanitarian progress in the nation, alongside a blessed reduction in all sorts of brutal, dehumanizing, embarrassing scandals and BushCo atrocities and environmental devastations, et cetera and so on and pass the wine.

This is when I should’ve noticed. This is when I should’ve been paying attention to the signs: the crossed arms, the utter lack of smile or nod, the narrow eyes looking at me like I was from some planet where pagan pervert yoga teachers grow Toyota Priuses on the backs of organic chickens.

But alas, I forget. Or rather, I don’t really care to stop to ponder, and so I begin tell my tablemate what I think is the terribly amusing and illuminating tale about the recent spate of hate mail I’ve received, much of it in response to a column I wrote about how the United States has so obviously and painfully lost yet another war, this time in Iraq, and how we have so little idea what we’re really doing on the world stage anymore, how we cannot seem to learn from our mistakes.

The hate mail, I tell him, goes something like this: Yes, we have probably lost the war, you freak hippie commie punk. But do you know why we lost? You know why the terrorists hate us even more? I’ll tell you why: Because of the goddamn liberal media! Because of the liberal agenda, the one that wouldn’t give Bush a chance to really unleash the dogs of war, to quash our evil Islamic enemies, to really make America into a strong and ruthless machine of brutal moral justice.

We lost the war (my hate mail sneers), in short, because of people like you (that is, me), who so obviously hate America and hate our president and won’t allow our fine and manly military to take whatever actions necessary to bring terrorism down because of some stupid ethics rules and anti-torture laws and hippie-dippy Geneva Conventions and silly pagan notions about saving innocent lives and examining true causes. Goddamn you liberals!

Something was wrong. There was a decided lack of laughter and incredulity on the part of my tablemate. There was no knowing nod, no chuckle, no shake of the head at the absurdity and intellectual despair of it all. I had the distinct feeling, in fact, that nearly everything I had just said came out in Greek and I’d just hurled a whole pile of words at a large and uncomprehending sweater.

Perhaps, I think to myself, he did not understand the humor? The rich and sickening irony? I decide to reiterate: Isn’t that hilarious? Isn’t it amazing how, despite nearly six full years of unchecked Republican power, despite a brutal and scandal-ridden rule over both houses of Congress, despite a stunning gutting of the treasury and a war that is costing us $100,000 per second, despite a lapdog media that was terrified as a Chihuahua in a hurricane of Karl Rove’s appalling disinformation machine — a supposedly liberal media that, for more than five years, didn’t dare question anything about Dubya’s rush to war for fear of upsetting the wailing evangelical neocon "majority" that ruled the schoolyard with a bloody iron Bible, is it not amazing that the GOP’s historic national disgrace is, of course, all the liberal’s fault?

Nothing. No response. Just a narrowing of the eyes, a slight shift in the seat. And finally the words that sound like fingernails on the chalkboard of truth: "You know what bothers me?" he said. "The feeling I get that I’m never really told the truth about Iraq and all the good things that are happening there."

Wait wait wait. What?

"You know, that I never hear what’s really going on from the liberal media. They just can’t be trusted. I never feel like I’m getting the real story. And we’re doing some damn good things over there. That’s what I think."

My jaw hung open, a smile of disbelief drifted across my face as statistics and studies and staggering death tolls and harsh anti-war comments from American generals and tens of thousands of dead civilians and the shrill idiocy of Fox News swam into my head and prepared to launch out my mouth in a torrent of arguments and fact and proofs that would have done, well, absolutely nothing to penetrate the ideological fortress of what I had just heard. There was, I see now, simply no room. But I was about to try anyway.

Then something unexpected happened. Before I could unleash my disbelief, my other tablemate, herself a young and whip-smart New York liberal and history buff, jumped in. Deftly, calmly, with the ease of a seasoned rhetoric pro, she wiggled into our friend’s seemingly impenetrable frame of reference and first offered some understanding, some consideration of his "position," then skillfully steered him to another relevant, though less volatile point that still made him think and reconsider, just a little. And she did it all sans combat, or angry debate, or wary rolling of the eyes.

There was, in other words, no jumping down of the throat. There was no hammering home of the obvious numbers, the headlines, the countless undeniable proofs of the Bush disaster that would have found no intellectual purchase anyway. There was only the deft maneuvering of simplified ideas, a calm allowing of another’s observations — no matter how foreign or uninformed — so as to, at the very least, keep it all on a reasonable keel. It was a precious — if frustrating — lesson indeed.

After all, we all have our frames, our boundaries of perception, into which we only allow certain notions of truth that resonate with our levels of education, spiritual understanding, experience. And the true art lies in respecting the frames of others, plying those borders with words of polite wisdom, all while still able to enjoy the same wine.

Which is not to say it all doesn’t make you want to scream and tear out your hair and whip out the picture of George Bush giving Satan a back rub and some smooches over at Ted Haggard’s bathhouse. But, hey, you do what you can.

We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down! Bush’s Obfuscators vs. the ’Prince of Darkness’: When mates let you down

January 8, 2007

Three advocates of the Iraq war condemn themselves with fierce criticisms of the Bush team, writes Michael Gawenda.

WHEN Vanity Fair magazine posted excerpts of an article about them on its website in late October, two weeks before the mid-term congressional elections, several leading neoconservatives who had been among the most bullish supporters of the Bush Administration’s war in Iraq cried foul.

The excerpts were part of a long article by the British journalist David Rose that was due to be published in the January edition.

But after reading the piece, Vanity Fair’s editors decided it was important to post excerpts in October, before the elections. The elections, after all, were in part a referendum on the Bush Administration’s Iraq fiasco.

In the excerpts, several of the neoconservatives who were interviewed by Rose — who was a supporter of the war — said that the disaster in Iraq was basically the fault of George Bush, who did nothing about his dysfunctional and inept senior national security officials, including Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

These were not just your ordinary, garden variety neoconservatives. Richard Perle, known as The Prince of Darkness, was the chairman of the Pentagon’s defence policy board advisory committee; David Frum was the speech writer who wrote Bush’s 2002 State of the Union speech that dramatically referred to Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil"; and Ken Edelman was a member of Perle’s Pentagon advisory committee, a former Pentagon official in the Reagan administration and a close political and personal friend of Donald Rumsfeld.

Other neoconservatives were interviewed for the article published last week, including James Woolsey, the former CIA director in the Clinton administration, and Douglas Feith, who was under-secretary of defence in the lead-up to the war and who helped plan the Iraq invasion.

But the main focus of the Rose article is on Perle, Edelman and Frum, and that’s because these three most fervent advocates and supporters of the Iraq war are so fierce in their criticism of Bush and Rumsfeld and Rice and everyone else in the Administration, even as they deny any personal responsibility for the decision to go to war in Iraq and for the disaster that followed.

Woolsey and Feith do not play that basically disgusting game of denying any responsibility for what happened in Iraq, for which they deserve some considerable credit.

Both Frum and Perle complained bitterly after the excerpts were posted. Both said they had either been misquoted or quoted out of context. Both said they thought Rose had agreed that nothing would be published before the mid-term elections.

Their complaints were always suspect at best. The claim that the excerpts could not be published before the mid-terms lest they damage the Republican Party’s chances was not worth a moment’s consideration.

Here were three leading proponents of the war and former Administration insiders saying that George Bush was a hopeless President surrounded by incompetent advisers. The idea that these damning judgements should have been kept secret from the American people until after they had voted was contemptible.

Then there is the claim of Frum and Perle that they were quoted out of context. Having read the full article, this charge is ridiculous. It was an attempt to deflect the criticism of former friends in the Administration who would have been beside themselves with fury at the timing of the Perle and Frum interventions, on the eve of an election.

There are no qualifications from Perle: the planning and "policy process" in the lead-up to the war was "disastrous". And that was the main cause for the catastrophe in Iraq. Decisions were endlessly debated and Bush did nothing to end the divisions. He was living in a fantasy land.

Reading all this, one wonders about Perle’s own grip on reality when he complained that the excerpts published in October were out of context. And one wonders where he was when all this incompetence, all these fantasies, all the endless divisions were on display in the lead-up to the war?

He surely must have known. So did he remain silent because he figured even an incompetently fought war was better than no war at all? Or is all this criticism of Bush and his team an unseemly attempt at self-exoneration?

As for Frum, he, too, ultimately blames Bush for the catastrophic failures, saying at one point that Bush could read the words written for him by people such as Frum, but that it seems he didn’t understand what he was saying. This seems to be about as serious a charge as could be laid against a president.

If this is what Frum always thought, then that he remained silent about it and remained an unabashed supporter of the war is unforgivable. That is the real context in which Frum’s charges against Bush and the Administration should be judged.

Edelman, who in late 2002 said the war in Iraq would be a cakewalk, sheets home the blame for everything that has gone wrong to his old friend Rumsfeld, describing him as the leading player in the "most incompetent team" of national security advisers and officials in the post-war era.

He, too, remained silent, it seems, when he came to realise that Rumsfeld was, in Edelman’s words, enormously flawed. Edelman’s silence when he should have been blowing the whistle on Rumsfeld and the national security team means that whatever he says now has no moral force.

All the neoconservatives quoted in the article fear that Iraq is lost and the consequences for America and the world will be dire. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps they are even right when they argue that the incompetence of the Bush Administration doomed the Iraq project even before it started.

But the attempts by Edelman, Frum and Perle to deny any responsibility for the war is contemptible. It means that whatever they have to say now can’t be taken seriously.

Michael Gawenda is United States correspondent.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/01/07/1168104864895.html

Hard evidence: A photo of a marine standing at the site where five unarmed civilians were killed on November 19, 2005, contained in an investigative report. Four marines have been charged with murder after events on that day.

Global evidence hunt uncovers horrific images Josh White, Washington January 8, 2007

US MARINES took dozens of gruesome photographs of the 24 civilians who were killed in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.

The images, which investigators tracked down on several laptop computers and digital media drives — some in the US — provide visual evidence of a series of shootings outside a taxi and inside three homes that military criminal investigators have alleged were murders.

Much like the photographs that emerged in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse cases, the Haditha images have provided investigators with powerful and visceral evidence of what happened. But unlike the detainee photographs, which were turned over to officials who then investigated the case, the Haditha images were discovered months after the shootings as more than 60 Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents scoured the globe for them.

Investigators found images on laptop computers that were shipped back to the US and recovered images that had supposedly been deleted from a Sony PlayStation Portable memory drive, according to investigative documents.

Marines were found to have downloaded the images from each other’s devices, traded them and loaded them onto personal websites, and one marine told investigators he saw some of the photographs set to music on one computer. Some were emailed from Iraq to a civilian in the US, but none surfaced publicly until now.

Several marines took photos on November 19, 2005, some of them as part of an intelligence-gathering operation and some in order to record what had happened to the Humvee that was destroyed by a massive roadside bomb, killing Corporal Miguel "T. J." Terrazas.

The photographs of the bomb crater and the shredded vehicle show the power of the explosion that first set the Haditha incident in motion.

Among the images, there is a young boy with a helicopter on the front of his pyjamas, slumped over, his face and head covered in blood. There is a mother lying on a bed, arms splayed, the bodies of three young children huddled against her right side.

There are men with gaping head wounds, and a woman and a child hunkered down on their knees, their hands frozen around their faces as if permanently bracing for an attack.

The images are contained in thousands of pages of NCIS investigative documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Post editors decided that most of the images were too graphic to publish in the newspaper.

Ed Buice, an NCIS spokesman, said he could not comment on an open investigation: "NCIS strives to ensure the integrity of every investigation and finds the idea that someone might leak any of its investigative products to be deeply troubling."

We're here as American citizens to say that this Criminal Regime must be shut down!

A Shameful Retreat From American Values By Garrison Keillor

Tribune Media Services

I would not send my college kid off for a semester abroad if I were you. This week, we have suspended human rights in America, and what goes around comes around. Ixnay habeas corpus.

The U.S. Senate, in all its splendor and majesty, has decided that an "enemy combatant" is any non-citizen whom the president says is an enemy combatant, including your Korean greengrocer or your Swedish grandmother or your Czech au pair, and can be arrested and held for as long as authorities wish without any right of appeal to a court of law to examine the matter. If your college kid were to be arrested in Bangkok or Cairo, suspected of "crimes against the state," and held in prison, you’d assume that an American foreign service officer would be able to speak to your kid and arrange for a lawyer, but this may not be true anymore. Be forewarned.

The Senate also decided it’s up to the president to decide whether it’s OK to make these enemies stand naked in cold rooms for a couple days in blinding light and be beaten by interrogators. This is now purely a bureaucratic matter: The plenipotentiary stamps the file "enemy combatants" and throws the poor schnooks into prison and at his leisure he tries them by any sort of kangaroo court he wishes to assemble and they have no right to see the evidence against them, and there is no appeal. This was passed by 65 senators and will now be signed by Mr. Bush, put into effect, and in due course be thrown out by the courts.

It’s good that Barry Goldwater is dead because this would have killed him. Go back to the Senate of 1964 — Goldwater, Dirksen, Russell, McCarthy, Javits, Morse, Fulbright — and you won’t find more than 10 votes for it.

None of the men and women who voted for this bill has any right to speak in public about the rule of law anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third Reich, or to wax poetic about the American Idea. Mark their names. Any institution of higher learning that grants honorary degrees to these people forfeits its honor. Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Burr, Carper, Chambliss, Coburn, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeMint, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Frist, Graham, Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Isakson, Johnson, Kyl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Lott, Lugar, Martinez, McCain, McConnell, Menendez, Murkowski, Nelson of Florida, Nelson of Nebraska, Pryor, Roberts, Rockefeller, Salazar, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Specter, Stabenow, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Thune, Vitter, Voinovich, Warner.

To paraphrase Sir Walter Scott: Mark their names and mark them well. For them, no minstrel raptures swell. High though their titles, proud their name, boundless their wealth as wish can claim, these wretched figures shall go down to the vile dust from whence they sprung, unwept, unhonored and unsung.

Three Republican senators made a show of opposing the bill and after they’d collected all the praise they could get, they quickly folded. Why be a hero when you can be fairly sure that the Court will dispose of this piece of garbage.

If, however, the Court does not, then our country has taken a step toward totalitarianism. If the government can round up someone and never be required to explain why, then it’s no longer the United States of America as you and I always understood it. Our enemies have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They have made us become like them.

I got some insight last week into who supports torture when I went down to Dallas to speak at Highland Park Methodist Church. It was spooky. I walked in, was met by two burly security men with walkie-talkies, and within 10 minutes was told by three people that this was the Bushes’ church and that it would be better if I didn’t talk about politics. I was there on a book tour for "Homegrown Democrat," but they thought it better if I didn’t mention it. So I tried to make light of it: I told the audience, "I don’t need to talk politics. I have no need even to be interested in politics — I’m a citizen, I have plenty of money and my grandsons are at least 12 years away from being eligible for military service." And the audience applauded! Those were their sentiments exactly. We’ve got ours, and who cares?

The Methodists of Dallas can be fairly sure that none of them will be snatched off the streets, flown to Guantanamo, stripped naked, forced to stand for 48 hours in a freezing room with deafening noise, so why should they worry? It’s only the Jews who are in danger, and the homosexuals and gypsies. The Christians are doing just fine. If you can’t trust a Methodist with absolute power to arrest people and not have to say why, then whom can you trust? Garrison Keillor’s "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story."

Video: Hemingway's home in Cuba opens as museum

Video: Hemingway’s home in Cuba opens as museum



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Code Pink in Cuba & American Citizenry Say: Shut the Bush Regime Down!
Sunday January 21 - 22:57 - Posted by 2494fdd5c4202569...

Did it ever occur to you that we may actually be winning the war in Iraq? You all seem to quickly gobble up the above with out really thinking through the big picture. The worse the problem, the longer it takes to get corrected. And, as cute as it might appear, Cindy Sheehan violated the law. Our leader is Bush and our prayers should be with him also.







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