Wednesday, November 21, 2007


In the lead-up to the Seattle public hearing by the F.C.C., I noted it here and, in the letter's ection entitled "More media consolidation is toxic to our democracy" (Seattle Times), several people share their thoughts on the Seattle meeting:

In "Clearing the air about radio and the community" [Times guest commentary, Nov. 15], Clear Channel's Michele Grosenick took exception to citizen comments at FCC hearings like the one last week in Seattle because they "have attracted out-of-town activists with a preordained viewpoint ... " Does she think the FCC hearings were intended only for the city where they are held?
There were only six of these hearings for all 50 states. They were meant to be hearings for the whole region where they were held. I suspect Grosenick is really unhappy that comments by citizens were overwhelmingly opposed to another round of media consolidation.
I attended the Seattle hearing and 99 percent of the more than 200 people making comments were opposed. People were willing to wait as long as six hours to voice their opposition to concentrating the American media in fewer and fewer hands.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin withheld public notice for the Seattle hearing until the last moment allowable under law, in a calculated attempt to suppress attendance by citizens of the Northwest from outside Western Washington. People came from as far away as Oakland, Wash., and Boise, Idaho. Martin employed that same tactic for the recent FCC hearing in Washington, D.C.
Martin is using undemocratic tactics to stifle opposition to his proposal for more media consolidation that he predictably trotted out last week ["FCC chief tweaks media-owner view," News, Nov. 14]. Like all of George Bush's regulators, Martin sees his mission as serving the corporate aristocracy and their underlings like Grosenick, not the nation's citizenry.
More media consolidation is toxic to our democracy.
-- Eric Tremblay, Coupeville

This commercial fake
Michele Grosenick's is a very polished commentary on the benefits Clear Channel brings to our community. It should be, because she is paid to promote her company.
As a longtime resident of Seattle who has no financial interest in any radio station, allow me to provide a different picture of what her company brings to the radio market. To a company like Clear Channel, radio stations are nothing more than a vehicle to sell advertising. It's very telling that Grosenick used the term "consumer" when describing those who listen to her stations. Radio stations are segmented and programmed according to target demographics, to maximize ad revenue.
Original ideas and music air on corporate radio only if they make it past the filter of the marketing department. How can such a model have the public interest at heart? Our community deserves better.
-- Mark Damberg, Seattle

Until December 11th, the F.C.C. will recieve public feedback. You can register your objection utilizing these e-mail addresses:

Chairman Kevin J. Martin:
Commissioner Michael J. Copps:
Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein:
Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate:
Commissioner Robert McDowell:

Unrelated, on KPFK's Uprising Wednesday morning, Aura Bogada completed her substituting duties as host. Sonali Kohlhatkar has been on family leave having given birth and will return to the program next week. Ms. Bogada did a very strong job filling in.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, more on yesterday's helicopter crash, CODEPINK thanks and ask others to show their thanks, students continue to be active and more.

Starting with war resistance. "I remember the day kids started throwing rocks," James Circello Iraq veteran and war resister
explains to Sara Olson (CounterPunch) who provides an overview of Circello's decision to check himself out of the military, the reaction of his parents, and his decision and quotes Iraq Veterans Against the War chair Camilo Mejia, "How do we honor veterans and then send them to fight in an illegal war? How do we honor the veterans and then not speak out about their service? We don't want to hear their analysis or their questions, and we don't want to hear how their 'service' in Iraq has changed them. How can we go on waving the flag and talking about supporting the troops, when we ignore the thousands of veterans opposing this war?" Olson's article concludes, "Last week, James turned himself in to the military at Ft. Knox, in Tennessee. Rather than going to prison as he had feared, James was simply discharged with an other than honorable discharge which prevents him from accessing healthcare or the GI Bill, but at least for now, James seems OK with that. Now he says he's ready to start the rest of his life, much of which is likely to be shaped by his time in Iraq and his experiences as an AWOL soldier opposing the war."

Meanwhile, in
yesterday's snapshot we noted a Joanne Fischer, apparently Canada's answer to Mr. Richard Feder (see Roseanne Roseannadanna), and her 'logic' regarding war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Today the Toronto Star is a buzz with responses to her illogical 'logic.' James Clark attempts to set her straight noting, "Many were soldiers who enlisted voluntarily, before they had the chance to be drafted, but quickly became opposed to the war after hearing from returning soldiers about what was really happening in Vietnam" and concluding, "Anyone who refuses to fight in an illegal and immoral war, whether in Vietnam or Iraq, should be welcomed to Canada as heroes, rather than jailed in the U.S. as criminals. It's time we let the resisters stay." Michael Gaspar notes, "Yet when Fisher argues that whether the Iraq war is just or unjust has no bearing on whether Hinzman and Hughey were justified in refusing their orders, she is really saying that an employment contract supercedes every other legal and moral responsibility. A soldier's right to refuse any order they believe would result in the commission of a war crime has been enshrined in the Geneva Conventions, as well as in the Nuremberg Principles. It is also set out in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Article 92), which governs all U.S. military personnel. To argue the contrary, that a soldier must blindly follow all orders regardless of the consequences, takes us right back to the gates of Auschwitz." Matthew Swan also voices support for Hinzman and Hughey and notes, "The idea that soldiers should follow the orders of their superiors without question, or complete 'one's obligations,' as letter writer Joanne Fisher suggests, is repugnant. As she is familiar with the Vietnam War, she may remember the massacre at My Lai in 1968. A soldier who acts without thought is capable of acts against humanity." Also weighing in is Vietnam war resister Richard van Abbe who shares his own experience and concludes, "Perhaps it's true that Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey do not meet the stringent criteria to be considered refugees. And so what if they joined the military voluntarily? Surely they joined to help defend their country from attack -- not to fulfill the ambitions of an incompetent president in an invasion condemned around the world. In refusing further participation in this murderous fiasco, these two young men exemplify the humanity for which Canada is renowned. The government has the option of permitting them and others like them to stay on compassionate grounds, and it should do so without delay." Because asylum during that time period was never about the draft. The asylum was about the illegal war. The draft had been in place and utilized during the Korean War. Canada didn't feel the need to weigh in then. The issue was the war. Just as it is today.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

The voice of war resister Camilo Mejia is featured in Rebel Voices -- playing now through December 16th at
Culture Project and based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's best-selling book Voices of a People's History of the United States. It features dramatic readings of historical voices such as war resister Mejia, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Malcom X and others will be featured. Musician Allison Mooerer will head the permanent cast while those confirmed to be performing on selected nights are Ally Sheedy (actress and poet, best known for films such as High Art, The Breakfast Club, Maid to Order, the two Short Circuit films, St. Elmo's Fire, War Games, and, along with Nicky Katt, has good buzz on the forthcoming Harold), Eve Ensler who wrote the theater classic The Vagina Monologues (no, it's not too soon to call that a classic), actor David Strathaim (L.A. Confidential, The Firm, Bob Roberts, Dolores Claiborne and The Bourne Ultimatum), actor and playwright Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Clueless -- film and TV series, Gregory and Chicken Little), actress Lili Taylor (Dogfight, Shortcuts, Say Anything, Household Saints, I Shot Andy Warhol, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, State of Mind) and actor, director and activist Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Beloved, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Rainmaker, Places In The Heart, Dreamgirls, Shooter and who recently appeared on Democracy Now! addressing the US militarization of Africa) The directors are Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati with Urbinati collaborating with Zinn and Arnove on the play. Tickets are $21 for previews and $41 for regular performances (beginning with the Nov. 18th opening night). The theater is located at 55 Mercer Street and tickets can be purchased there, over the phone (212-352-3101) or online here and here. More information can be found at Culture Project.

IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 15th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

Free Bilal Huessein. Bilal is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who was taken into military 'custody' on April 12, 2006. He's remained in 'custody'. He's been imprisoned for over 19 months without a trial, with the US military making baseless charges in an attempt to try the matter in the court of public opinion and this week's news is that they've announced they'll turn Bilal over to the Iraqi (puppet) government for a trial. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press issued this statement:

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today condemned the process being used by the U.S. military to prosecute an Associated Press photographer who has been held without charge in Baghdad since April 2006.
A Pentagon press spokesman said Monday that "new evidence has come to light" to prove the military's allegation that Bilal Hussein, 36, is "a terrorist operative who infiltrated the AP." He has been charged with unspecified crimes and U.S. military authorities in Iraq apparently will file a formal complaint against him in the Iraqi court system on Nov. 28.
While AP officials have said they believe it is possible for Hussein to get a fair trial in Iraq, they criticized the U.S. military's failure to provide AP with specific information or evidence related to charges, which could hamper efforts to mount a defense and ultimately free Hussein, whom AP contends is innocent.
AP officials have been working for 19 months to get the U.S. military to either charge Hussein with a crime or let him go. They have repeatedly criticized the government's failure to provide Hussein with basic due process protections found in the American court system.
Hussein is part of the AP team that won a Pulitzer Prize for photography in 2005 for coverage of the Iraq war.
"The U.S. government has exhibited complete indifference to basic due process rights in the way they have treated Bilal Hussein," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish. "Even if you actually consider the Pentagon's threadbare accusations credible, it is outrageous that they would suddenly inform the AP that Hussein will be in court facing charges they won't specify but that could carry a penalty of capital punishment, based on evidence they won't disclose, on a day that could be as early as Nov. 29 -- but they won't tell you which day until 6:30 a.m. on the day itself. Does that sound like justice to you?"

Someone who
knows a great deal about Bilal's case is Scott Horton. At Harper's magazine today, Horton explains, "There is probably no journalist in Iraq who did more to provide dramatic coverage of the insurgency in Al-Anbar than Bilal Hussein. This why he was seized, and it is why he is now coming to face charges. But in the end, the facts couldn't be plainer. The Pentagon's real gripe has never been with journalists on the ground like Hussein: it has been with the editors who allow their reporting to creep into the American mainstream. It is in the end about freedom of the press, and the right of the American public to secure more comprehensive coverage of what is happening in a war zone." As AP's CEO and president Tom Curley explained to Charles Layton (American Journalism Review) last year, "This is about thwarting a journalist from reporting the news. We have seen no fact that diminishes our belief that Bilal Hussein is not guilty of anything except committing journalism." At the end of this summer, Layton reviewed the many charges the US military has repeatedly made and how those have not panned out (repeatedly). Joe Strupp (Editor & Publisher) reports on the concerns for Bilal's case by AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll who explains, "I have no reason to think the Iraqi court system will be anything but fair and impartial. But they can only be imparital about what is presented to them. If one side has evidence and the other side doesn't know what it is, how can we defend Bilal? They have told our lawyers they will find out specifics when the complaint is filed next week."

Amy Branham (Amy's Head) has photos posted of the vandalization of Iraq veteran Alexander Scott Arredondo's tombstone. His parents Carlos and Melida Arredondo have spoken out against the illegal war and last September, in DC, a group of right-wingers attempted to deface a casket Carlos Arredondo had in honor of his son Alex. When Carlos insisted they stop, the thugs attacked him. Now, apparently, similar thugs have taken to defacing his son's tombstone. Thugs trolling grave yards, thugs in charge of the country -- obviously since Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reports today, "The Pentagon is forcing thousands of wounded veterans to return signing bonuses they received for joining the army. The military says the injured soldiers aren't entitled to the money because they didn't complete their full tour of duty. Jordan Fox of Pennsylvania left the military three months early after being hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He sustained back injuries and lost all vision in his right eye. Earlier this month he received a Pentagon letter asking him to return some three thousand dollars in sign-up bonuses. Fox and his mother had recently started a program to send thousands of care packages to servicemembers in Iraq."

Yesterday a helicopter crashed in Iraq and the US military announced deaths. "Presumably US soldiers/service members but the military isn't saying," as
noted in yesterday's snapshot. This morning there was still confusion as to the incident and whether another crash being discussed was the same one? A British helicopter crashed. BBC reported: "The US military issued a statement on Tuesday saying two people had been killed and 12 injured when a coalition helicopter crashed near Salman Pak, on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital. But a spokesman for the UK defence ministry said he could not confirm whether this was the same incident but the details did appear to match." UK's Ministry of Defence released the following: "It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two military personnel near Baghdad, Iraq last night, Tuesday 20 November 2007. The two personnel were killed when the RAF Puma helicopter they were travelling in crashed." The statement also notes two British soldiers were seriously wounded. Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) noted that this brings to 173 the number of British troops killed in the illegal war. The Times of London says it appears they were SAS troops. That would be Special Air Service Regiment. The most public SAS event in Iraq may have previously been the Basra September 2005 incident when two SAS members were caught dressed in disguise and with explosives in the back of their car leading to their arrests, leading the British military to destroy Iraqi property and leading to many suspicions about exactly who is attacking Iraqi civilians since the men's 'costumes' were clearly intended to allow them to pass themselves off as Muslims. Thomas Harding (Telegraph of London) reports they are SAS and that, "The soldiers were part of anti-terrorist mission flying low over the city at night." And AFP says there was only one crash yesterday and that it was the British helicopter.

Inside Iraq (McClatchy Newspapers), an Iraqi correspondent, writes, "Within two months I lost two of my best friends without say goodbye because they dead alone and far. Sorrow breaks my heart and I need to blame some one for that but how I could blame? Why death happens in that difficult way in Iraq only? Have you ever experienced the feeling of losing dears of your heart while you can not be beside them, sharing them the last moment or say goodbye to them. Anwar was a jounalist who was kidnapped and killed by terrorist in Baghdad. I couldn't say goodbye to him he just disappeared suddenly. His body found in the street three days after the incident. Ahmad used to work with UN when the terrorist threatened him. He was forced to leave the country to protect his life. Yes to run from death that was waiting for him in his exile . . . unfortunately Ahmad infected with kidney cancer while he is in exile. Another time I couldn't say goodbye to my dear friend. He is dying alone and far from his lovely land, no friends round him to share him his last hours as if that our destiny . . . die alone by terrorist or abroad far from whom we love." Not the kind of feel good spin that the mainstream turns out but then the correspondents only duty is to tell the truth which he or she does very well in the entry. It's a shame the same can't be said for many of the US correspondents in Iraq. Or rather, in the Green Zone of Iraq.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing wounded three police officers, a Ramadi car bombing that claimed 5 lives (plus the person in the car for 6) with at least thirty people were wounded, and a Baquba explosion wounded two and a a bombing in Ranya city tarteged "[t]he head of the political prisoners in Kurdistan region" leaving him wounded. Reuters notes a Mosul truck bombing that claimed 1 life and injured three.


Reuters notes that In "operations targeting al Qeada" the US military "killed six suspected insurgents and detained 10 others" -- suspected. (See this article by Robert Parry for the issue of killing 'suspects.').


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 8 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 3 found in Baquba. Reuters raises the count by 1 to note nine corpses have been discovered.

Today the
US military has announced: " An explosively-formed penetrator detonated near a combat patrol in eastern Baghdad, killing one Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier and wounding three others Nov. 20. An Iraqi interpreter was also killed. The patrol was returning to base after conducting an escort mission at the time of the attack."

Turning to news of student activism. As
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, US students let former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales know just how a torture czar should be greeted, "In Florida, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was greeted with a hostile reception Monday at his first public lecture since stepping down. Speaking at the University of Florida, Gonzales was repeatedly heckled with calls of "liar" and "criminal".' Just minutes into his talk, two students climbed the stage dressed in Guantanamo Bay prison jumpsuits and hooded masks. The students were led away and arrested. At least a dozen audience members stood with their backs to Gonzales during his hour-long speech. He did not take questions from the audience. Gonzales was paid forty-thousand dollars for the appearance." And Sam Beaton (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reports, "Glasgow and Strathclyde university Stop the War groups mobilised to oppose US ambassador Robert Tuttle's visit to Glasgow University last Wednesday. Tuttle has lied about rendition flights of prisoners and the use of chemical weapons in Iraq. He was met by a group of 60 demonstrators. After his meeting, activists blocked the building and prevented him from leaving for over an hour. The demonstration showed Tuttle and other war criminals that our movement will hold them to account for their actions." ["Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place. If you found this article useful please help us maintain SW by making a donation."]

On the topic of activism,
CODEPINK has a new action and also gives thanks to all who have participated in previous ones:

Over 4 million Iraqis are currently displaced and impoverished as a result of war and sectarian violence. This week, as we give thanks for all the blessings in our lives, we need also to remember those who are suffering because of our disastrous military policy in Iraq. We wanted to share with you a message we received from our friends in Iraq who are providing aid to Iraqi orphans, widows and internally displaced people. They work under the radar so we need to keep them anonymous, but here are their words:
"Our organization has succeeded in opening a new branch in the north in Nineveh Province. We now have five branches. We also have arranged a special medical clinic that provides free services for widows & orphans in Abu-Ghraib. We have enough funds to run this clinic for three months and hope to receive more financial assistance to keep it going. We are walking a long and difficult road in Iraq and try to focus on the good we can do for people here so we don't feel hopeless. Thank you to the women of CODEPINK for your continuous work to bring freedom and peace to my country."
When you donate to CODEPINK this week, half the proceeds will go toward assisting Iraqi women and children, and half will go toward funding our continuing actions on Capitol Hill. Your donation will work to end the occupation and help repair the awful damage this military misadventure has wrought. Click here and scroll down for more information on the dire humanitarian crisis in Iraq.
On this Thanksgiving, we want to thank YOU for your continuing support -- thank you for joining our vigils and marches, for making phone calls to Congress, for signing petitions and coming up with new and creative ways to raise your voice for peace. We couldn't do this important work without you.

Coming up on
Democracy Now! 1) Thursday, November 22, 2007: On this 75th Anniversary of "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" and the 60th Anniversary of "Finnian's Rainbow," A Tribute to the Blacklisted Lyricist Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in theWizard of Oz. (This is one of the two favorite holiday specials in the community. If you're able to catch it -- watch, listen or read -- take the time to share it with someone.) 2) Friday, November 23, 2007: Leading Australian Scientist Tim Flannery on Global Warming and the Worsening Dangers of Climate Change Denial. We play a speech he gave in Santa Fe, NM.
(The second is a new special. Goodman interviewed Flannery during the last pledge drive cycle.) If you want to share it over the holidays, remember
Democracy Now! streams online (live and also after the live broadcast) and you can also check the site to see which stations in your area or the area you may be in for the holidays broadcast DN! on TV or radio. Goodman will be taking part in the Pacifica Radio Archives special next Tuesday which will raise money to preserve the rich audio history that Pacifica has offered throughout its history. The 24 hour special will include many programs looking at the Black Panthers, feminism and much more. Goodman will be contributing to the specials on war resisters -- historical and current. Aimee Allison, who co-wrote with David Solnit Army Of None and now co-hosts KPFA's The Morning Show, will be on with Goodman for one special (Allison is a war resister of the Gulf War).

NOW with David Brancaccio offers:

On Friday, November 23 at 8:30 pm (check local listings) NOW shines a bright light on the scandalous connection between VECO Corporation -- an Alaska-based oil services company -- and Alaska's old-boy Republican network. Two state legislators have been convicted in Federal court for accepting bribes from VECO, while one more awaits trial. The FBI has video and audio evidence that reveal VECO executives shockingly handing out cash to those legislators in exchange for promises to roll back a tax on the oil industry. But that may only be the tip of the oily iceberg. NOW's Maria Hinojosa learns that dozens more lawmakers are being eyed in the growing scandal, including one of the country's most powerful politicians, Alaska U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. NOW investigates the bribes, the connections to big oil and the payoffs to obtain friendly tax policies. The NOW website at offers a web-exclusive report detailing how the oil and gas industry navigated Washington power structures during the past eight years. Using campaign contribution and lobbying data, the article connects the dots between the industry's biggest spenders and the favorable policy outcomes they received. The report also exposes the connections between Big Oil and 2008 Presidential candidates.

And today on
KPFK's Uprising Nezua (The Unapologetic Mexican) outlined why Brian De Palma's Redacted is a must-see film. The film opened today in:

San Diego, CA: Hillcrest Cinemas Denver, CO: Mayan Theatre Minneapolis, MN: Lagoon Cinema Seattle, WA: Metro Cinemas

democracy nowamy goodman