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Latest News

Week of June 05 2006

by Stephanie Westbrook


More Civilian Massacres in Iraq Come to Light
Reports of civilian massacres by U.S. military in Iraq continue to come to light. Last week we reported on Haditha. The BBC has released a video tape of another massacre in Ishaqi, killing 11 people, including a 6 month old infant. Mathew Scofield of Knight Ridder first reported on this last March. The BBC just released a video that challenges the U.S. military version. Editor & Publisher also suggests a cover-up.

Military investigations have found no wrong-doing. And this has infuriated Iraqi leaders who have demanded an apology and have declared they will go ahead with their own probe into the massacre.

Meanwhile, 7 marines and a navy corpsman face murder charges in the killing of an unarmed Iraqi civilian in Hamandiya on April 26, 2006. Nancy Youssef of Knight Ridder interviewed Hashim Ibrahim Awad's family in which they gave their version of the facts.

Take Action: United for Peace and Justice has put together a list of talking points to aid you in writing letters to the press. See the Congress.org web site for media contact information and the Media Matters web site for tips on effective letters. And June 7 is National Call-in Day to demand an open debate on Iraq in Congress. Sign the Declaration of Peace. Pledge to vote only for anti-war candidates in the U.S. elections.


Signs of An Ailing Democracy
Electronic voting and election fraud were all over the news lately, even the main stream. It all started with a report by Finnish security expert Harri Hursti, which found what has been described as "the most serious security flaws ever documented" in Diebold voting machines. Read the full report and a supplement [pdf files]. The news made the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, AP and UPI. See a news roundup at VoteTrustUSA. The Washington Post also recently covered problems with electronic voting in the article Debating the Bugs of High-Tech Voting.

The Hursti report was a result of a request made by Bruce Funk, County Clerk of Emery County, Utah. Funk asked the watchdog organization Black Box Voting to analyze Diebold machines the county was considering implementing. Following the release of the report, Funk was forced to resign. Democracy Now! has more on the report as well as Funk losing his job.

And then there was the article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr on Rolling Stone, Was the 2004 Election Stolen? This is an exhaustive article on the 2004 elections, with a great deal of focus on the battleground state of Ohio. Rolling Stone also published an editorial, A Call for Investigation. Kennedy was on CNN to defend the article; see the video on Crooks and Liars.

Thom Hartmann also wrote an excellent article summarizing the issues and the media coverage: Stand Up for Democracy With Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

More details on the results in Ohio can be found in the article How They Stole Ohio by Greg Palast.

The bad news wasn't all about electronic voting. The New York Times published the editorial Block the Vote with details on recent laws aimed at discouraging voting. Jack Cafferty of CNN railed against the same laws; see the video on Crooks and Liars.

Take Action: Urge your representatives to sponsor H.R. 550, the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act." Write a letter to the editor of your favorite newspaper about voting issues. See the Congress.org web site for media contact information and the Media Matters web site for tips on effective letters. Tell your friends and family in the U.S. to join "The Waiting Room Project". Simply purchase a copy of Rolling Stone and leave it, open to the RFK article, in waiting rooms, on the subway, bus or commuter trains.


Afghanistan, Inc.
Riots broke out in Kabul last week as a U.S. military vehicle slammed into a traffic jam in Kabul. The riots were a clear sign of growing frustration and hostility toward the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. Read an article by Juan Cole, Kabul under Curfew after Anti-US, anti-Karzai Riots, 14 Dead, over 100 Wounded, 50 Killed in US Airstrike as well as an editorial on the New York Times, Afghanistan, Unraveling.

Democracy Now! interviewed Habib Rahiab, an Afghan-born human rights activist who was forced to flee Afghanistan two years ago because of his work documenting human rights abuses. Watch the video or read the transcript: Afghanistan in Turmoil.

For more insight into the reasons behind the frustration, see the recent report by CorpWatch, Afghanistan, Inc, detailing the failed reconstruction plans as well as the article "Pink 'iPods' for Democracy!" about an $8.3 million contract to distribute 65,800 MP3 players to remote Afghan villages.


Blackwater in New Orleans
Alan Maass of Counter Punch interviewed independent journalist Jeremy Scahill on the private security firm Blackwater USA, their contracts in New Orleans and the implications of a privatized army. Read the interview entitled "A Mercenary Army."

For an idea of salaries and job descriptions at Blackwater, see job postings in Yahoo Hot Jobs.


Soldiers Say No To Iraq
Peter Laufer, journalist and Viet Nam war resister, has written a new book entitled "Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq". Read an excerpt from the book on AlterNet. The book is published by Chelsea Green. Read more about the book and the soldiers profiled in it.

And the first U.S. military officer is poised to publicly refuse orders for Iraq. Read about LT (whose name will be made public shortly in a press release).

Read also about Suzanne Rich, who served in Iraq and then refused to return.

Take Action: Support war resisters! See the Thank You LT web site to sign a petition and/or send a statement.


Another Call to Shut Down Guantànamo
Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzón called on the U.S. government to immediately close down Guantánamo, calling it "an insult to countries that respect laws." As reported in early May, the U.K. Attorney General has also called for Guantánamo to be closed.

Meanwhile, the number of prisoners on hunger strike has risen to 89. Read an article on the BBC.

Take Action: Call on Congress to shut down Guantánamo.


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Upshot of our Nov. 9th group discussion on current politics:

It wasn't the Russians that got us Trump. Or Comey. Or even the massive GOP election fraud. It was the DNC.*
*Dem National Committee

To learn how to stop the DNC from delivering us another Trump, read Autopsy: the Democratic Party in Crisis.


Photo of a school in Yemen bombed by Saudi Arabian jets supplied by the U.S. and fueled in the air by the U.S. Air Force. Tell Trump to STOP THIS CARNAGE, not fuel it! Click here.

Also participate in the CodePink email and/or phone initiative:




Click here to sign a petition, to put an end to the sanctions against Syria - their only effect is to take a terrible toll on the population, causing them to migrate! And click here to see the video by the Italian Committee to lift sanctions against Syria.



Iraq Deaths Estimator
Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn al-Malaki in Iraq and then Assad in Syria, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
Write your senators and tell them: "Enough! U.S. out!! Iraq has shown it can curb ISIS by itself!"

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