Thursday, June 29, 2006

The problem is not the picture; it is the reality.

The problem is not the picture, the problem is the reality behind the picture.

A couple of weeks back, I posted the above picture on the door of my office. Above it I had “Brought to you by the US taxpayers and Bush Administration.” Below it was this caption: “A man at the scene holds up the body of a small child said to have died during a US- led raid near Baqouba in Iraq, Monday, June 12, 2006. According to the US military the raid was staged in the area where terror leader Abu Masab al-Zarqawi was killed and the targeted terrorists had ties to senior al-Qaide leaders across Iraq. The US military said coalition forces had killed seven terrorists and two children, whilst local residents accused the Americans of targeting civilians. (AP Photo)

And below that I had some quotes.

“Who’ll believe Bush’s rosy scenarios after they’ve heard the testimony of children who watched while their parents and siblings were butchered in front of their own eyes?” – Mike Whitney

“My moral and legal obligation is to the constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders.” – Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada on why he is refusing to deploy to Iraq.

“I have been lied to by my own government.” - Daniel Berg, father of Nick Berg who was reportedly beheaded by Zarqawi in Iraq in 2004.

“The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date.” – Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the US military’s chief spokesman in 2005.

Well, apparently “someone” complained about this photo on my door. And rather than talk to me, they went to a supervisor and complained. That happens a lot at my workplace. A lot of them are cowards and hypocrites. A lot of them are dumb as doorknobs also. A lot of them supported this war and fully believed in the lies about the WMDs. Like I said, they are DUMB. And while some of them are now opposed to the war, not a one of them has done a thing to stop the war. They do not come to rallies or meetings or write letters to the editors, and I doubt they ever call the Senators or Representatives and say they don’t like it. I guess they feel they are doing their part when they go vote, but in truth, their hands are very bloody indeed. Another thing, a lot of them claim to be Christians, but they are not. Well, one of them is, but she works in the Hendersonville office.

Anyway, if they had come to me and asked me to take it down, I would have done so, but with complaints. Instead, Pam decided to rip it down without saying a word to me. I heard her do it, so I went to retrieve it. This total lack of respect upset me greatly. I put up a replacement sheet that said Pam took down the picture, and that “someone” was upset by the picture. I commented that I imagine the parents of the dead child were upset by the bombing paid for by US taxpayers. Then I locked my door and only come out to do my work that I needed to do. This upset my immediate supervisor a great deal because I would not talk to her when she wanted me to. I told her that I would talk to her at 6:30. So, later in the day, the supervisor over her came to me and told me to go talk to her. The director also joined in. The say I cannot put up such pictures as these, because it is a state agency. Another staff person chimed in (as she was walking by) that she didn’t need to hear what we were talking about. I did not care who heard this conversation.

Pictures like the above don’t make it into US newspapers or on US TV stations. They say they do this because it would “upset” people, but they had no problem showing pictures of dead children from the Oklahoma City bombing. They didn’t show pictures of dead children from 9/11 because there were no such pictures. But it they had them, they would have used them. The reality is that Americans want to think what they are doing is good and just, when actually it is vastly evil. If they were proud of what their government and military is doing, they would look at the pictures without flinching. But, some of the people I work with are cowards and hypocrites. AND DUMB.

I don’t feel Pam treated me respectfully, and I don’t respect her. I also don’t trust her one lick, and I am VERY glad I am not she.

FCC Town Hall Meeting 06/28/06

Two members of the FCC (Adelstein and Copps) came to Asheville for a town hall meeting, along with Josh Silver of FreePress. This was also hosted by League of Women Voters. On the panel that talked first was Wally Bowen (director of Mountain Area Information Network and WPVM), Jim Goodman (Capitol Broadcasting Company), Ken Salyer (Clear Channel), Gustavo Silva (Afrotina), and Virgil Smith (President of the Asheville Citizen Times).

The funniest one was Virgil Smith. He asked rhetorical questions of the audience and got the answers he DIDN’T expect. Then he proceeded to tell the 400+ people in the audience that we were wrong. It was pretty darn funny. My friend Clare said “I guess he didn’t know who we was dealing with here” which is a pretty telling statement. The president and publisher of the ONLY local daily paper does not know what kind of audience would come to a town hall meeting about media issues. I will post a transcript of this later, if it is available. Personally, I don’t feel the papers here locally are the problem; it is the ONLY local TV station and the local radio stations (some of them) that are the problem. The ones that are bad are always the ones owned and run by some big corporation from out of town.

Here is what I had to say in my two minutes, late in the evening, in front of the FCC:

In 2004, I wrote a 16-page report on Sinclair Broadcasting and sent it to the FCC via certified mail and never received any acknowledgement. That made me angry. Today, I see evidence that the US Government is making propaganda and passing it off as news and that makes me angry.

But what really has made me furious is how the US government and the military-industrial complex joined with the corporate media to start an illegal and immoral war of aggression. I saw them vilify the few dissenting voices that managed to break through; I saw them suppress information that contradicted the lies. The corporate media, along with their government lackeys, enabled this war to proceed by keeping Americans ignorant. They failed America. And they did it for profits, big huge bloody profits. And while Clear Channel, Sinclair Broadcasting and Gannett representatives here today claim they do cover local stories, I can assure you that dissenting voices did not make it over public airways at all and only saw print on the letters page.

(At this point, the guy from the Clear Channel station WWNC spoke up uninvited and said that his Clear Channel station did not do this. I responded that they vilified the Dixie Chicks for expressing their opinion, and he responded by saying that he played Dixie Chicks songs on his radio show. I think he clearly showed how they stifle dissent and vilify alternate opinions, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. It is clear to everyone that Clear Channel vilified the Dixie Chicks and it was a nation-wide campaign, prior to the start of the war.)

What I also did not see on the corporate media was the stories of the people who suffered because of this illegal war. Their voices were also silenced.

Today, I see the corporate media still ignoring dissenting and knowledgeable voices, while I see advertisements for Lockheed Martin and Boeing and other military hardware manufacturers on the public airways.

May God forgive the corporate media particularly Clear Channel and Sinclair Broadcasting and their government lackeys for the thousands of silenced innocents who died in this war and may God forgive them for the thousands of screams of agony that they ignored and may God forgive them for the future violence that will be visited on our homeland as the consequence of this war.

Like the Dixie Chicks, I am not ready to back down, I am not ready to make nice, I am mad as hell, and I don’t have time to go round and round and round. I don’t have time to write 16-page reports that are just ignored either. And as long as I have breath, I will speak for all those permanently silenced voices from this war of aggression. And as long as I have memory, I will not forget how the US corporate media and their government lackeys promoted and profited from this war.

I want to see media consolidation reduced significantly. I want to see diversity and local control on our media. I want the internet to stay democratic, with equal access to all sites and all information for all people. And since We the People believe that all people are created equal, I want to see all media franchises required to provide equal access to all citizens in all areas, not just to the wealthy and powerful. I believe the purpose of the FCC is to serve the public interest, not to make huge media corporations more profitable.

[I did not get to read this part, because I ran out of time. I timed my presentation ahead of time, so I can only assume I ran out of time because of the Clear Channel guy’s interruption and distraction.]

And lastly, I have one final wish for every corporate media person and the government lackeys at the FCC who enabled them. I wish they would have dreams every night of their lives for as long as they live, dreams where they hear the words, the songs, the laughter, and the cries of those that they have permanently silenced. And most importantly, I wish they would hear the blood curdling screams of the innocents as American bombs were dropped, and still being dropped, on their homes and loved ones.

UPDATE: The following was taken from the recorded post of the FCC meeting.

More on my presentation to FCC, concerning the interruption from a Clear Channel employee during my 2 minute speech.

Susan: for example, Dixie Chicks and Clear Channel…

MM: I played Dixie Chicks then

Susan: Well, they banned them and they urged people to burn them – not you but your employer did

MM: unclear what he said

Susan: No, your employer did that. (The moderator then said we should get back on track)

Back to script: I saw them suppress ……

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summary of the Impeachment Resolution process

After the platform and the resolutions had been discussed and voted on, I asked to be recognized by the Chair, Jerry Meek. I had previously presented my resolution to the Vice-Chair, Delmas Parker, who is a friend of mine, so they had a copy of it at the podium. I presented this motion: "I move to suspend the rules to consider a resolution from the floor asking the NC legislature to file impeachment articles against George Bush." This was voted on, and needed a 2/3rd majority to pass, which it did. Then I read the full resolution:


Whereas Section 603 of section LIII of Jefferson’s Rules of the US House rules for the 109th Congress permits the inception of impeachment proceedings by charges transmitted from the legislature of a state; and

Whereas George W. Bush, President of the United States, has so conducted himself and his administration as to cause the people of the State of North Carolina to doubt his integrity and to believe that his official actions as president are subject to corrupt influences; and

Whereas the North Carolina Democratic Party has passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush; and

Whereas the North Carolina State Executive Committee also voted for the impeachment of George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and Alberto Gonzales in January 2006; therefore,

Be it resolved that this North Carolina Democratic Party convention asks our Representatives in the State of North Carolina (the senate concurring) to petition the US House of Representatives to start investigations of George W. Bush and his administration to the end that George W. Bush may be impeached and removed from office, and in doing so to follow the example set by California Assemblyman Paul Koretz in his submission of impeachment resolutions; and

Be it further resolved that the Secretary of State for North Carolina give, and is hereby instructed to certify, to each Senator and Representative in the Congress of the United States, under the great seal of the State of North Carolina, a copy of this resolution and the prior impeachment resolution, and notification of its adoption by the Democratic Party of the State of North Carolina at their convention in June 2006.


Following this, I had three minutes to speak on why I felt this resolution was important, which boils down to the fact that I believe George W. Bush has broken the law and defied our constitution. And I spoke to how the US Congress was not taking action, so it was up to the citizens to step up and do whatever they could do to stop George W. Bush. Then discussion was given to the floor, and the first person to speak was Eugene B. He said that it was politically incorrect (huh?) and felt it would hurt the Democrats politically and that we need to be doing, and focusing, on other things. He said that US Congressman Etheridge said we should not be pushing for impeachment. One thing he suggests that we do instead is to repeal Medicare Part D.

(Well, I don’t see how asking for our NC Legislature action is going to keep any citizens or federal legislatures from doing anything else they may want to do. I guess it might impact the federal legislatures if it is actually passed by the NC House and Senate and articles of impeachment are filed. I also fail to see how we are going to repeal Medicare Part D is even possible with Bush in office, so impeaching him would be the first logical step here. As to “politically incorrect” – well, I don’t know what to say to that nonsense.)

Others spoke to the resolution, all of them in favor except one or two. One man said we had already passed this resolution, and the next speaker said how this resolution was different from the prior impeachment resolution. Someone mentioned how our Constitution is just a piece of paper and we need to protect it. Someone mentioned that several other states have passed a similar resolution at their Democratic Party conventions. A man named Mr. Brooks got up to speak and Mac, president of the Progressive Democrats of NC, said to me, "is he speaking for or against the resolution?" and I said "don't know". Mr. Brooks is apparently well known in NC and he spoke for the resolution and said this was a good action to take at this time. The resolution was voted on and passed easily, but was not unanimous.

Next up: I have to write a short speech for the upcoming FCC meeting on Wednesday here in Asheville. And make sure the Secretary of State sends out certified copies of the resolution we passed to every member of the US House of Representatives and US Senate.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


The Progressive Summit

The Summit was held in Greensboro, NC the first weekend in June 2006. Progressive Democrats of NC Political Action Committee and the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina sponsored this summit. This summit was based on Open Space Technology, which is a process where people who want to have a discussion will propose (or host) a topic and then people who want to join in that discussion will go and join them and work on issues and develop an action plan. Most of the proposed subjects were state issues, but I proposed talking about the Iraq war. Other sessions were on alternative energy, energy independence, organizing campaigns, supporting and building a progressive movement in NC, torture and human rights issues, controlling urban sprawl, inspiring more energy in the progressive movement, economic issues, immigration issues, Iraq war, and impeachment. There was also a lot of discuss on what exactly makes a persons a “progressive” and what makes a candidate or politician a “progressive” one.

The first session I went to on Saturday was on Impeachment. I met Burt and Syndi and David at this meeting. This connection with others who are working or interested on this subject was valuable. We discussed ways to make impeachment possible, and the first idea is to get more Democrats elected to the US House of Representatives and US Senate. Other ideas were to ask Rep. Peloski to start on impeachment, pushing impeachment in the media, and continue grassroots issues. We all felt that we have a moral commitment to the world to demonstrate our decency as human beings by impeaching Bush and Cheney (We should do more than that! They should be tried in The Hague!) We discussed how California, Illinois and Vermont have voted to start impeachment issues from their state house. [I heard a talk from the women in California who helped pass this resolution, and she agreed with me that if we got this passed in NC, and then the legislators did it, it would be HUGE.] Some of the high crimes and misdemeanors include starting a war for totally bogus reasons, detaining people without charges or due process or years and years, kidnapping people, torture, secret prisons and outright murder. It also includes domestic violations, like spying on Americans without judicial oversight, suppression of free speech and suppression of the press. (I would have to say that I don’t believe they did this. Rather, they ‘own’ the press and push their own propaganda on the press.) The Iraq war was a violation of the Nuremberg principles, which is a treaty the US signed on to, and the fact that they have violated this treaty means they have violated the US Constitution.

[Here is some information on the Nuremberg Trial:

Reading the transcript of the first Nuremberg trial, we see that all who committed war crimes, from the foot soldiers to the highest leaders, were to be held responsible for their crimes. We also see, however, that the leaders who initiated the aggression were assigned primary criminal responsibility by the prosecutors and by the Tribunal, since none of the subsequent crimes would have been committed had the aggression not occurred. This principle was absolutely central to the Nuremberg Charter and Trials.

Moreover, we see that the intent of the authors of the Charter was not to limit the principles involved in this body of law to prosecution of Germans in 1946 but rather to set a precedent for all times and for all countries, including the United States.

From the Nuremberg Charter:

Article 6 of the Charter states: “The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility: (a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing; ...Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.”

And from Article 7: “The official position of defendants, whether as Heads of State or responsible officials in Government Departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.”

On Aug. 12, 1945, three months before the trial began, Justice Jackson made the intent of the American prosecution and of the law clear in a statement on the War Trials Agreement: “If we can cultivate in the world the idea that aggressive war-making is the way to the prisoner's dock rather than the way to honors, we will have accomplished something toward making the peace more secure. ...We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it.”]

The Bush administration has thrown away the Geneva Conventions also.

Back to The Summit:

I signed up to run a meeting on the Iraq War. Funny thing, just a Freudian slip, but I wrote “IRAN WAR” on my meeting report form. We had Judy, Ed, Syndi and David at this meeting, and we all agreed we need to get out now. This meeting went into an Impeachment discussion. We don’t know if this is the best political strategy, but Syndi pointed out that Bush/Cheney are violating the constitution, they are criminals and need to be held accountable. We need to do this to show the world that we care and are still decent people. We felt the next steps in Iraq are: *call for an immediate ceasefire and truce, *call all viable players to come to term because the USA is leaving, so start a plan, *use Islamic coalition to stabilize Iraq, *USA funds reconstruction because it is our moral duty, one way of doing this is to pay off all of Iraq’s debts so other countries will have some money to invest in Iraq, *a study on DU and it’s effects needs to be done and reported to Iraq and the rest of the world.


From our meetings at The Summit, we formed a group to promote Impeachment resolutions at the NC Democratic Party meeting later this month. We spend some time emailing, and decided to ask for impeachment (which should be one of the resolutions to be presented at the convention) and to ask for one other resolution. The second resolution would be to ask the NC House and Senate to start up Impeachment proceedings against the Bush administration like California has done.

Here is our resolution:


Whereas Section 603 of section LIII of Jefferson’s Rules of the US House rules for the 109th Congress permits the inception of impeachment proceedings by charges transmitted from the legislature of a state; and

Whereas George W. Bush, President of the United States, has so conducted himself and his administration as to cause the people of the State of North Carolina to doubt his integrity and to believe that his official actions as president are subject to corrupt influences; and

Whereas the North Carolina Democratic Party has passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush; and

Whereas the North Carolina State Executive Committee also voted for the impeachment of George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and Alberto Gonzales in January 2006; therefore,

Be it resolved that this North Carolina Democratic Party convention asks our Representatives in the State of North Carolina (the senate concurring) to petition the US House of Representatives to start investigations of George W. Bush and his administration to the end that George W. Bush may be impeached and removed from office, and in doing so to follow the example set by California Assemblyman Paul Koretz in his submission of impeachment resolutions; and

Be it further resolved that the Secretary of State for North Carolina give, and is hereby instructed to certify, to each Senator and Representative in the Congress of the United States, under the great seal of the State of North Carolina, a copy of this resolution and the prior impeachment resolution, and notification of its adoption by the Democratic Party of the State of North Carolina at their convention in June 2006.

And here is our explanation for the resolutions and what steps need to be taken by the convention delegates:


One of the resolutions that we will be (hopefully) voting on today is the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. This resolution passed at the North Carolina State Executive Committee meeting in January (and included Gonzales, too). Many Democrats in North Carolina feel strongly that Bush and Cheney have violated our US Constitution repeatedly, and that we need to defend our constitution! The US Congress is failing to act in this matter. Jefferson House Rules for the 109th Congress has a provision that enables state legislators to start up impeachment proceedings. A resolution asking state legislators to do exactly this has passed at the California, Vermont and Illinois at Democratic Party conventions, and is currently being initiated in the California State House. We are going to try to have a resolution passed at the North Carolina Democratic Party convention today asking for impeachment. Then, we are proposing a resolution to ask the NC House to file for impeachment, and this proposal is printed on the back of this page. In order to consider impeachment resolutions, we have to vote to suspend the rules and consider resolutions from the floor. The vote for the suspension of the rules must pass by a 2/3rds majority vote. We are hopeful that you will vote to suspend the rules and vote for impeachment and then vote to ask our NC Legislators to start up impeachment proceedings, following the example of the Democrats in California. (And please see our table “Grassroots Impeachment Movement” for more information.) Impeachment proceedings against Bush will also cover Cheney and the entire Bush administration.

If we are silent witnesses to crimes, we become complicit in these crimes. We must take action.


As I finish writing up this report, it is the eve of the NC Democratic Party Convention. I will let you know how it goes!

IT PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A typical day for me

After working a ten hour day (not to worry – they generally don’t work me hard, but they do drive me somewhat crazy there with the constant, unnecessary turmoil) and then going to the two hour Peace Coalition meeting (which has left me with about ten hours of work to do), I came home and watched the documentary called “The Dark Side” on PBS. It was an analysis of how the Cheney administration used the intelligence agencies here in the USA to start up the war in Iraq. While watching this, I was using the paper cutter to start making some more “Iraqi Civilian Casualties” flags, in order to expand that display (written about in March 2006 on this blog). Then I did my post for News about Iraq, did some email, and after posting this, I will be doing some work for the Progressive Democrats. This is a typical day for me. Anyway, here is some of the links I posted on my News about Iraq blog that I think are particularly good.

VIDEO: The Dark Side. After 9/11, Vice President Richard Cheney seized the initiative. He pushed to expand executive power, transform America's intelligence agencies and bring the war on terror to Iraq. But first he had to take on George Tenet's CIA for control over intelligence. [From 9/11 to Iraq. – dancewater]

PEACE ACTION: A worthwhile and reputable charity: Life for Relief and Development

And a blogger trying to help out Mosul’s hospital through this charity, click HERE.

SONG: Another World is Possible

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Andy Rooney speaks up

Hey, tonight on 60 minutes, Andy Rooney went on and on about the military-industrial complex and how they are out of control! He even showed a clip seen in the movie "Why We Fight". You can watch this movie on line at Information Clearing House, by the way.

Andy Rooney also is against any more war in Iraq and feels the whole thing is stupid!

At least some people are waking up!

On another note, please go and sign the Voters Peace Pledge. This is a pledge that says you will not vote for any candidate who supports war in any way.

You can go sign the pledge HERE.

Media Issues

The paragraph below is from Information Clearing House, and it is an article by John Pilger about how our media just ignores certain stories that do not fit into the "story" or so-called "received wisdom" of our American and British culture. The story he cites below was also ignored in our country. Lately, we have been hearing all kinds of nonsense about how Iran is a threat. And we still are hearing stories about the number of people that Saddam put in mass graves with no supporting evidance given. We suffer from the "received wisdom" that the US bullets and bombs released in the world are there to do GOOD. And that we don't kill innocents, even though it happens all the time.

"Now consider the treatment of Harold Pinter, Britain's greatest living dramatist. In accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature last December, Harold Pinter made an epic speech. He asked why “the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought” in Stalinist Russia were well known in the west while American state crimes were merely “superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged.” Across the world, he pointed out, the extinction and suffering of countless human beings could be attributed to rampant American power, “but you wouldn't know it”, he said. “it never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest.” For the BBC, Pinter's speech never happened. Not a word of it was broadcast. It never happened." –written by John Pilger

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Another hero of mine

Lt. Ehren Watada has refused to go and serve in Iraq because he realizes it is an illegal and immoral thing to do. He had a prepared statement that he read on Democracy Now! recently. He is right in that the orders to go to war in Iraq is an illegal order, since the war itself is a violation of the Nuremburg principles, which means it is also a violation of the US Constitution. (And this fact is one of the main reasons why Bush & Cheney need to be impeached.)

PEACE ACTION: Contact Army to Say: “Drop Investigation into Lt. Watada's Protected Free Speech Against Illegal War” On Wednesday, June 7th U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada became the first U.S. commissioned officer to publicly speak out in opposition to the Iraq War and occupation. Lt. Watada outlined why he believes the war to be illegal, and why he would have to refuse to obey any future order to participate in it. The following day, Thursday, June 8th Lt. Watada's commanding officer moved to prosecute Lt. Watada for nothing more than his protected free speech. Lt. Watada was read his rights and declined to make a statement without a lawyer present. Although the Fort Lewis military public affairs officer has stated that Lt. Watada “hasn’t done anything wrong” so far, an official investigation into his public speech is underway. When soldiers join the military they swear to uphold our Constitution. They do not give up their basic right to freedom of speech. Outlined in Department of Defense Directive 1325.6, members of the military have the right to say what they think and feel about the military, and even participate in peaceful demonstrations, as long as they are off-duty, out of uniform, off-base, and within the United States.

Please Write and Call: "Dear Col Stephen Townsend; Please drop the investigation currently underway against First Lt. Ehren Watada of 3-2 SBCT for his protected free speech in opposition to the war in Iraq. Respectfully,"

Col Stephen Townsend
Commanding Officer
3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Fort Lewis WA 98433
(253) 967-9601

Lt Gen James Dubik
Fort Commander
Fort Lewis WA 98433

For background information:

Military attempts to stop Lt. Watada from speaking against illegal war

When soldiers refuse to fight: Is the US Army trying to silence Lt. Watada?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Geneva Conventions & Taguba Report

Protocol I, Article 75: “(1)…persons who are in the power of a Party to the conflict…shall be treated humanely in all circumstances…(2) The following acts are and shall remain prohibited…whether committed by civilian or by military agents: (a) violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons…(b) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault…and threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.”

The investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba found that “intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel” included the following:

· Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet

· Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees

· Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing

· Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time

· Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear

· Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being videotaped

· Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them

· Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture

· Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture

· A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee

· Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee

Protocol I, Art. 70: “The Parties to the conflict…shall allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, equipment and personnel…even if such assistance is destined for the civilian population of the adverse Party.”

  • Convoys sent by the Iraqi Red Crescent to aid the remaining population (in Fallujah) have been turned back.
  • Marked ambulances were repeatedly shot at by U.S. troops during the April, 2004 siege of Fallujah and troops prevented the distribution of medical supplies.
  • In Saqlawiyah, Dr Abdulla Aziz told IPS that occupation forces had blocked any medical supplies from entering or leaving the city. “They won't let any of our ambulances go to help Fallujah,” he said. ”We are out of supplies and they won't let anyone bring us more.”

Protocol I, Art. 35: “In any armed conflict, the right of the Parties…to choose methods or

means of warfare is not unlimited…It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment.”

  • On April 1, 2003 the residential al-Hilla outskirts of Babylon were hit with an undetermined number of BLU-97 A/B cluster bombs. Each bomb releases 202 bomblets which scatter over an area the size of two football fields, with a dud rate of 5%-7%. Immediate reports stated that at least 33 civilians died and around 300 were injured in the attack. Amnesty International condemned the attack, saying that “the use of cluster bombs in an attack on a civilian area of al-Hilla constitutes an indiscriminate attack and a grave violation of international humanitarian law."

  • On March 22, 2003, reporters from CNN and the Sydney Morning Herald - Melbourne Age embedded with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines at Safwan Hill near Basra reported air strikes dropping napalm.

Convention III, Art. 5: “Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed

a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy (are prisoners of war

under this Convention), such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention

until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.”

  • President Bush issued an order on February 7, 2002, specifying that the U.S. would not apply the Third Convention to members of Al Qaeda. That order set forth policies that led to the willful killing, torture, or inhuman treatment; and great suffering or serious injury to body or health, of prisoners in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay.

Need more documentation? Try the 1996 War Crimes Act; the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, Article VI (par. 2); or the above-mentioned treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Principles, U.N. General Assembly resolutions, and others.

Just as the news media’s fascination with Abu Ghraib was way after the fact and limited in scope, so too, is its present fascination with the Haditha killings. As they used to say during WWII, “There’s a war on, ya know!” Exactly what do Americans think happens when their nation goes to war?

Dr. Jonathan Shay, a psychologist with years of experience treating Vietnam vets with PTSD and author of the seminal “Achilles in Vietnam,” gave his prescription for preventing that disease and preventing the breakdown of character that would likely happen to any of us in combat. It wasn’t better training, or better diagnoses, or better drugs. He said “Abolish war.” It’s time we took his advice seriously.

Mike Ferner served as a Navy Corpsman during Vietnam and is a member of Veterans For Peace, whose slogan is “Abolish War!”

The above article was taken from a report on Information Clearing House.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Torture Issues

Torture is something we can not stand by and ignore. That’s not an American value. Most Americans find torture to be repugnant. – Christina Cowger

“What does it say if torture is condemned in word, but allowed in deed?”
– Advertisement by 27 religious leaders in The New York Times

Religious leaders from across the faith spectrum today joined Nobel laureates Jimmy Carter and Elie Wiesel in a call for the U.S. government to abolish torture – without exceptions. Concerned by assertions from the U.S. government that torture and inhumane treatment could be permitted in some cases, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) published this statement in an advertisement in The New York Times today: “Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.” Among the signatories of the statement are Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, Rev. Rick Warren, author of the best selling “A Purpose Driven Life”, Jim Wallis, Executive Director of Sojourners, and Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director of the Islamic Society of North America. Friends Council on National Legislation (FCNL) is a founding member of NRCAT and helped organize this advertisement. See the advertisement and read a full list of signatories.

Take Action Now

Write your members of Congress today. Urge your senators and representative to join these faith leaders in calling for Congress to pass legislation abolishing torture – without exceptions. You can find a sample message and contact your legislators directly through FCNL's online legislative action center.

Got a little more time? FCNL will be joining with other groups on June 26, United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, to call on Congress to clearly state that torture is never acceptable, anywhere, anytime. Visit to find out more.

My letter to my Senators and Representatives:

I want to see an end to all torture by all agents of the US government, and anyone who contracts with the US government. I want the people in Guantanamo Bay brought to trial and then sentenced if they are guilty, and if found not guilty, then set free. I want all "disappearings" by US agents to STOP and all "torture flights" to STOP. I want to see my country and my fellow citizens and my elected officials act like MORAL people. TORTURE IS IMMORAL. I do not think we gain ANY benefit from torture, but even if we did, I would still be opposed to it because it is IMMORAL.

Hospital in Samarra in June 2006

June 13, 2006

Photo: A doctor treats one of the injured, who died about 30 minutes later, on the floor of a hospital after a roadside bomb detonated and missed a police patrol but killed three civilians and wounded another eight near a market in central Samarra, Iraq Tuesday, June 13, 2006. (AP Photo/Hameed Rasheed)

While Mr. Bush does his publicity stunt in the Green Zone, THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE ENOUGH BEDS FOR THE INJURED IN SAMARRA.


The grief that war brings.....

Monday, June 12, 2006

This is so disgusting.....

So, here we are in the land of the free and the brave, .... and.... we have our troops and CIA folks kidnapping people around the world, detaining them without evidence, charges, arrest, trial or sentence - opps, got that wrong, they are sentenced to HELL ON EARTH. And then they torture and sometimes murder them.

And one of the men who felt he needed to end his life was due to be released, because he didn't do anything!!



Three Detainees Who Committed Suicide Are Identified

The Pentagon identified the three as Saudi Arabians Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi al-Utaybi, 30, and Yassar Talal al-Zharani, 22, and Ali Abdullah Ahmed of Yemen, who was 29 or 30. Ahmed, the Pentagon said, was a "mid- to high-level al-Qaeda operative." It said he was "hostile" during his time at Guantanamo Bay and was a "long-term hunger striker" from late 2005 to last month. The Pentagon identified Shaman Turki as a militant who worked as a recruiter for al-Qaeda and who had been part of Jamaat Tabligh, which it said had been banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. He had been recommended for transfer to the custody of another country before his suicide, the Pentagon said. It said he would also have been under detention there. Yassar Talal was said to have been a front-line fighter for the Taliban who was captured by Afghan forces, then in November 2001 participated in a prison uprising in Mazar-e Sharif in which Johnny "Mike" Spann, a CIA officer, was killed. The deaths come amid growing criticism of the prison, where about 450 detainees have been held for years. Last month, a U.N. panel called for the United States to close the facility. The suicides occurred weeks after two detainees tried to kill themselves with antidepressant drugs they had gathered in their cells. Shortly after those suicide attempts on May 18, detainees at the prison rioted, attacking guards with makeshift weapons. Until the latest incident, Defense Department officials had prided themselves on not having a single suicide, despite 41 attempts by about 25 detainees.

Dead Detainee ‘Was To Be Freed’

One of the three men who committed suicide at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay was due to be released - but did not know it, says a US lawyer. Mark Denbeaux, who represents some of the foreign detainees said the man was among 141 prisoners due to be released. He said the prisoner was not told because US officials had not decided which country he would be sent to. Meanwhile, a top US official appeared to row back from the tough line taken by other officials over the suicides. At the weekend, one top state department official called them a "good PR move to draw attention", while the camp commander said it was an "act of asymmetric warfare waged against us".

Professor Denbeaux told the BBC World Service that the feeling among detainees at the Cuba camp was one of hopelessness. "These people are told they'll be 50 by the time they get out, that they have no hope of getting out. They've been denied a hearing, they have no chance to be released," he said. He said US policy was to refuse to tell prisoners they were due to be released until a location had been found. Utaybi had been declared a "safe person, free to be released" but the US needed a country to send him to, Professor Denbeaux said. His despair was great enough and in his ignorance he went and killed himself," he said.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."

Bush, June 18, 2002

"War is Peace"

Big Brother in George Orwell's 1984

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Spying in the USA

They (the politicians) can't band together now against Bush because he knows of every phone call to every known local hooker and every sex phone line and every call to every psychologist and psychiatrist office, and every call to god-knows-what-else.....ever made by a US politician in the last couple of years. And even if their record is clean, I'm sure that the Bushits can somehow twist things around... like how they smeared McCain because he adopted a child form overseas. In 2000, in South Carolina, the Bushits insinuated that McCain had an illicit affair that produced the adopted child. And it worked, too. What is amazing to me is this - I was talking to someone fairly liberal who claimed that the "government" would not do something illegal or immoral with the data they collect!!! This is after "they" started up a war for a pack of lies! And on an ABC Sunday morning news show not long ago, Senators Hagel and Biden both assured us that the NSA is looking for *patterns* not individual data.

They would not know a *pattern* if it slapped them in the ass.

I have always had the opinion that the Bushits and the NSA and Homeland Security should read every email I write, open every letter and listen in on every phone call I make or receive. I figure they might learn something.

"If laws were broken......"

"If laws were broken there will be punishment." - Bush

What crimes have Bush/Cheney administration committed? They started a war on bogus reasons; a war of aggression that violates the Nuremberg principles, and that also violated the US constitution. Torture, disappearings, kidnapping, murder are all a part of this current administration. They have fostered a culture of lawlessness, where might equals right, always. They have spied on Americans without judicial oversight, they have violated the Geneva Convention, and they have denied habeas corpus to American citizens. They have tortured men and teenagers in Guantanamo Bay – people who were kidnapped and detained without charges, trial, or evidence. Today, three of those illegally detained men have committed suicide to escape the hell on earth they created.

Laws were broken, and there needs to be punishment. That punishment is IMPEACHMENT. And since our congress and senate is not pursuing this avenue, then the citizens need to rise up and demand that their state legislators need to act.

If you think that winning the next election is so important, and you think not pursuing impeachment now in the supposed strategy that doing so will inspire Bush supporters to show up and vote when they would not if this issue were pursued, well, I think you are sadly mistaken. The pursuit of winning the next election should not stand in the way of doing what is RIGHT, and in this case that means holding those who have committed these crimes and contributed significantly to the grotesque suffering of innocent millions around the world, RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR CRIMES. So, if you take this position of not pursuing impeachment now for political reasons and you also claim to love your country, then I will claim that future generations will say DAMN YOUR LOVE AND DAMN YOUR LIES.

And I would add that if you don’t love your country enough right now to stand up for the constitution and preserve it, you may not get the chance to do so in the future, because we are losing our country. We need to restore our constitution and restore the rule of law.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Using Imperfect Evidence

Those of us who are pacifists fighting against war and violence do have to be careful what evidence they present. Because, even though war is full of atrocities, with loads of stories of human suffering, if we present even one story that is not totally factual and totally accurate, they will use it against us. Here is an example of the usage of the statements made on a video by a man named Jessie MacBeth, who claimed to be a US military person in Iraq. His story was full of atrocities of the Iraq war, all of which are possible, but he was just making it up.

From Dahr Jamail

"The video was in fact downright difficult to find anywhere on the web that day, let alone the "last few weeks" before FOX's broadcast. FOX's deceptive promotion of this video and concurrent discrediting was deliberate propaganda to preempt any future or existing claims of war crimes, such as the Haditha Massacre, as well as an attempt to dismiss the entire left wing blogosphere and the "antiwar" movement. By far the greatest promoters of the MacBeth video were FOX news and the right-wing bloggers."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bush and Torture

Mr. Bush exempted the US military from the Geneva Conventions when he declared the prisoners in Afghanistan as “ememy combatants” rather than “prisoners of war”. This was true in Iraq also, and it was also on this basis that Guantanamo Bay was started – a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and the US constitution.

When the Abu Ghraib torture was brought to light, no higher ups were held accountable, lest of all Rumsfeld and the man he sent to Iraq to start up this brand of sexual torture. (The only thing that has happened in Iraq that I did not expect at all was the gay S&M videos by US troops. And the fact that they reportedly put some of the pictures on their computer as screensavers. They turned into monsters.) When McCain got an anti-torture amendment passed, Mr. Bush issued a “signing order” saying that he was not subject to this new law of the land passed by the US legislature. (Bush has done this 750 times, by the way. He does not “veto” he just “ignores” and “exempts” the executive branch from the laws of the land.)

All of these things contributed GREATLY to the increase of torture by US agents and US troops around the world. And Mr. Bush is the criminal responsible for this. He sent a clear message that human rights abuses, torture, and violation of international law and US treaties were going to be the norm under his watch and during the never-ending “war on terror”. And, he violated the Nuremburg Principles when he started up this war in Iraq, and that violated our US constitution. (The fact that the US president has violated the constitution does not seem to be of much importance to the US legislature at this time – if it was, they would IMPEACH.)

Also note that the Canadian Mounties have arrested terror suspects with evidence that they are truly guilty, whereas the Bush administration has arrested nobody that was convicted on evidence – they were convicted by confessions from the “terrorists” who may have been tortured, or who may have been threatened with detention without trial for the rest of their lives. Yes, Bush did that too – guess if you are going to trash the constitution, might as well go for the Bill of Rights also.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Torture Awareness Month

June 26th is the date that the United Nations has marked as the International Day in Support of Survivors and Victims of Torture. This year a coalition of human rights, civil liberties and faith organizations have joined TASSC International, a leading survivors organization, in declaring June “Torture Awareness Month." This awareness raising month is an effort to respond to the growing evidence that the United States government is engaging systematically in the use of torture and inhuman treatment as part of the “war on terror.”

This campaign was started by Torture Awareness Month:

Organization Sponsors
American Civil Liberties Union
Amnesty International USA
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Victims of Torture
Council on American Islamic Relations
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
No2Torture, The Presbyterian Initiative Against Torture
Physicians for Human Rights
Torture Abolition Support and Survivors Coalition (PDF)

Also, this past weekend there was a conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was organized by the Quakers to work on stopping torture by the US government and US agencies in various parts of the world. I could not attend this conference because I was at another conference, the Progressive Summit. I will blog on that one in a few days.

The Quakers in the USA have moved to take up the issue of torture and work to abolish it. They are also totally opposed to war. And in the history of the USA, they worked to end slavery and helped run the underground railroad. They also worked to stop the genocide on the Native Americans and walked with them on the Trail of Tears.

Slavery was wrong, so is war and torture.

Friday, June 02, 2006

June is Torture Awareness Month

This month has been designated as Torture Awareness Month in part of an anti-Torture campaign. It saddens me beyond words that my country, the USA, is engaging in torture around the world. This includes sending people to other countries to be tortured, and torture in the two countries that they are occupying right now: Iraq and Afghanistan.

Not only is torture immoral and downright evil, it does not give you good information to catch criminals. It is stupid.

I will try to present an article on torture every few days during June 2006 to highlight the torture issues. I also have two other blogs, one about Iraq and one about Afghanistan. They have information on what is happening in those countries, which for the most part, is not good.
Here is the first article on torture.


Nuremberg Tribunal Charter

Principle VI: “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law: (b) War crimes: …murder, ill-treatment…of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war…plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages…

  • Two Afghan prisoners who died in American custody in Afghanistan in December 2002 were chained to the ceiling, kicked and beaten by American soldiers in sustained assaults that caused their deaths, according to Army criminal investigative reports.
  • At least 26 prisoners have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 in what Army and Navy investigators have concluded or suspect were acts of criminal homicide, according to military officials
  • In Fallujah, 40% of the buildings were completely destroyed, 20% had major damage, and 40% had significant damage. That is 100% of the buildings in that city.

(c) Crimes against humanity: Murder, extermination…and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population…when such acts are done…in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

  • "I decided to swim ... but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the (Euphrates) river."
  • “We were tied up and beaten despite being unarmed and having only our medical instruments,” Asma Khamis al-Muhannadi, a doctor who was present during the U.S. and Iraqi National Guard raid on Fallujah General Hospital told reporters later. She said troops dragged patients from their beds and pushed them against the wall. “I was with a woman in labour, the umbilical cord had not yet been cut,” she said. “At that time, a U.S. soldier shouted at one of the (Iraqi) national guards to arrest me and tie my hands while I was helping the mother to deliver.”
  • Abu Hammad said he saw people attempt to swim across the Euphrates to escape the siege. “The Americans shot them with rifles from the shore,” he said. “Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white clothes over their heads to show they are not fighters, they were all shot.” Hammad said he had seen elderly women carrying white flags shot by U.S. soldiers. “Even the wounded people were killed. The Americans made announcements for people to come to one mosque if they wanted to leave Fallujah, and even the people who went there carrying white flags were killed.”

Mike Ferner served as a Navy Corpsman during Vietnam and is a member of Veterans For Peace, whose slogan is “Abolish War!”