Sunday, May 24, 2009
The stunning plan Barack Obama slipped into his speech Thursday, a speech filled with "the rule of law" is PROLONGED, or PREVENTIVE DETENTION.
The President said he will "develop an appropriate legal regime" to indefinitely imprison people without charges based on what he thinks they might want to do, on their speech, or their associations. He admitted that there are people now detained who cannot be prosecuted because evidence against them is tainted by torture, or because there simply IS no evidence against them. He implied this could go on for a decade or more.
The Bush regime thought about this, but never tried it. This has never been done by the US in its history. What does it mean that Obama stated flatly that habeas corpus -- the right to know charges against you, and be able to defend yourself - will be indefinitely denied to a class of people.
-- Debra Sweet, "Who Will Step Out Boldly?" (World Can't Wait).
Another Sunday. A Memorial Day weekend and, yes, we're late.
Along with Dallas, the following participated in writing this week's edition:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.
And what did we come up with?
Truest statement of the week -- We caught this in an e-mail from World Can't Wait this morning and otherwise would have no Truest. Debra Sweet wins hands down.
Editorial: Destructive and Deadly -- We have so many of the illustrations used in this feature. And this was probably the editorial just because last week we weren't able to use those illustrations.
TV: The weird week that was -- Ava and C.I. tackle the weirdos in TV and zoom in on three. This has humor and a lot to make you angry. Vinnie Warren needs to go bye-bye.
Little Matthew Rothschild steps out of the closet -- Short feature to make Dona proud. We actually will return to this topic next week. We had a lengthy feature planned and possibly as an editorial. It was on this topic but we didn't have time for it this weekend.
Roundtable -- A roundtable. So loved by readers, so loathed by us (because they take so much time).
The Nation attacks history again -- This wasn't planned. I'd mentioned this to C.I. throughout the week as I read the e-mails from the one guy. C.I. would listen and explain what I needed to link to for him to get the point. At some point, it became an article. I think when I (Jim, sorry) was telling everyone Saturday night about it. In some form or another, every thing in this was noted in my e-mails to the crank. C.I. would direct me over the phone to various journals (C.I.'s journals) and tell me to check such and such date. Doing that and reading those journal entries and letters to and from C.I. (including some to and from James Aronson -- C.I. and Elaine both knew him) allowed me to reply to the e-mails. This became a major feature and took up a lot of time. We considered making it the editorial but decided against it.
Jim's World -- We really didn't have a great deal when I wrote this. The illustration, as I explain, is a porn mag of Ty's and I explain who bought it for him.
The Iraq War Crimes coverage (or lack of) -- This is a repost and we couldn't spell check. It wasn't working and we don't have time to wait all day. So enjoy. C.I.'s breaking down who covered and didn't cover the War Crimes.
The digital divide -- Short feature that Ava and C.I. have been saying must be done for three weeks now. Dona sided with them this week.
The People Need To Sue AP -- We'd planned this in some form for a while. When AP grabbed another public domain photo last week, we'd already decided to do it.
Truth Talker of the Month -- Dennis didn't get a Truest last Sunday and that upset some community members. So we're noting his remarks here and giving him Truth Talker of the Month. Created just for Dennis.
Box Office Poison -- If we had an illustration, this would be higher up. If we had an illustration that was dry. Betty's kids and Wally painted one but it's never dried. So we put this down lower.
Rights Lawyers File Motion for Activists Indicted ... -- CCR press release.
Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Kat, Betty, Wally, Cedric, Stan, Rebecca, Marcia and Ruth wrote this and we thank them for it.
And that's what we have. Finally up. Enjoy.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
Phyllis Bennis has said some stupid things in the past but when she declared, "Three months difference in the pull-out timetable (a timetable! remember the Bush rejection of timetables until Iraqi pressure forced the issue in his last days in office??) is of relatively little significance." Wow, way to spit on the families of 38 US service members. That is the number, thus far, who have died from the Iraq War since February 1st.
What's the death toll for Iraqis?
No one knows and Phyllis proved she didn't in the least care (as she repeatedly low balled the deaths).
But for Barack loving fools like Phyllis, it's not about Iraqis. Or US citizens. Or the people of Afghanistan. Or even her beloved Hammas. It's all about Barry O.
Phyllie's in love and the Phylllie sound is one long, low moan.
And she's far from alone.
Vincent Warren again made an ass out of himself last week. Providing cover for his boy friend Barry O is more important than defending the Constitution.
Which is how he was interviewed Friday by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and he never brought up Barack's newly announced belief that he can and should be able to detain anyone at will. Vincent didn't object to that or even raise the issue. He was too busy attacking any and everyone he just knew was against Barry. That included everyone from Dick Cheney to the US Congress. It was so appalling we decided that, like Alvy Singer, he'd decided to leave out the men's room attendant in his conspiracy theory.
At some point, Americans are going to have to face reality and take accountability.
As so many continue to offer excuses for War Hawk Barack, it becomes more and more apparent that the truth commission we really need is one to explore the Cult of St. Barack. As they blindly cheer him on in his illegal wars and applaud his attempts to dismantle the Constitution, they have become the biggest threat to the country.
What could be worst than an actress with nothing left to offer submitting herself to cheesy TV in a bad role? How about Democracy Now! offering up fabulists?
Two showed up last week to spin like there was no tomorrow.
The most offensive was the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Vincent Warren, who disgraced not only himself but also the organization. It was so embarrassing that he reminded us of another Vincent: Vincent Brooks offering those propaganda briefings to the press in Iraq back in 2003.
A bit of background, the Center is not a centrist organization. It is not a center-left organization. Nor is it a merely a liberal organization. It is a radical organization created to be part of the movement. It has a long history for an organization with so brief a lifespan (in two months, it turns forty-three) and has accomplished many things. It can point with pride to so much because it has never been a mouthpiece for the powerful. Jailhouse lawyer? Absolutely. State propagandist? Never.
Until the election of Barack. There's a huge split within the organization that's only growing more pronounced in recent months and will only continue to harm the Center as the board refuses to address it. The split is between those who believe that no governmental figure is beyond accountability and between mental midgets like Vinnie Warren who believe that bi-racial Barack ("Black," according to Vinnie) gets a pass because of race.
Amy Goodman an Juan Gonzalez wasted air time Friday featuring Vincent. There was no reason to have him as a guest unless you were going to press him. Vinnie made clear long, long ago, that he loved the Barack Kool-Aid and his favorite flavor was "urine." (Elaine kindly credited us Friday for a version of this joke -- the original actually comes from a board member of the Center and enlarges a popular joke a professor told on Philip Maldari.) So you don't book Vinnie expecting the truth.
That means you book him to hold his feet to the fire or you book him because you want to air propaganda. Since Goody and Gonzalez didn't hold his feet to the fire, we'll surmise they wanted to air propaganda and, boy, did they.
Here's Vinnie: "The President said -- you know, let's focus on some of the good things. President Obama said that he was going to close Guantanamo in a year, and he should be applauded for that. But, of course, Congress is messing with that timeline fairly severely by not providing the funding for him to do that and by saying no one will be able to release to American soil, whether they're in -- they come as prisoners or detainees or they come as free people, which, of course, holds up the timeline for any types of trials that the administration wants to do."
It is exactly those type of comments that have turned the ACLU into the brave organization and the Center into the cowardly one this year. It wasn't supposed to work that way. Despite attempts to smear the ACLU as "liberal," it truly does attempt to be both non-partisan and not right or left in its fight for freedom and open government. It is a centrist organization in every way. And it's been a shock to see the ACLU consistently be the leader in addressing the government's ongoing abuses while CCR had little to offer except tired re-runs about Bush-Cheney.
Vinnie wants Barry O to get praised for Guantanamo and says that "Congress is messing with that timeline" -- what timeline? Barack's not proposed any plan. He's said it'll be closed in a year. Congress has said (rightly), "Show us the plan."
Congress isn't funding it without seeing the plan.
Now that shouldn't be a left or right position. The plan will be funded by the US tax payers. It's our money that will be spent. Congress controls the purse and they are supposed to spend the public's money carefully. So Congress refusing (for a change) to sign a blank check should be seen as a good thing on those merits alone -- before we even get into what the check itself would be for.
But Vinnie's all bent out of shape because his Dream Lover's not getting his way, and apparently, at night, in bed, Vinnie's Dream Lover always gets his way. How dare Congress infringe upon Vinnie's masturbation fantasies!
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez refused to infringe upon Vinnie's right to be a hypocrite or to whore out the Center. As revealed on the broadcast, Vinnie had a private meeting with Barry O. What was discussed between this representative for the Center and Barry O?
As the candy commercial used to say, the world may never know.
Vinnie declared, "I gave my word that I would keep the meeting confidential. And I take those things seriously." Really? Do you take the Center seriously because the Center for Constitutional Rights is about exposing governmental secrecy not about advocating for it?
That meeting, that off-the-record meeting, was a violation of everything the Center for Constitutional Rights is supposed to stand for. The Center is not about angling for jobs in an administration, it is not about providing comfort to those in power, the Center is about agitating and fighting, and knowing that you may not win in one instance, but in the larger movement, your work matters.
In that off-the-record meeting Vinnie couldn't stop bragging about (and that Amy and Juan refused to press him on), Vinnie betrayed and whored out the Center and he needs to go. (And there appears to be a growing consensus on that move by board members.)
Speaking to Huff & Puff, Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights president, declared "I always believe that democracy dies behind closed doors". He was referring to Barack's refusal to release the torture photos but his statement is in keeping with the Center's long held position and, to be really clear, democracy died a little when CCR's executive director glad handed with Barry O in private.
Co-founder William Kunstler never gave aid and comfort to presidents and if the occupant of the White House right now were a Martian with Vietnamese citizenship, you can be sure Kunstler still wouldn't give aid and comfort. The Center's role has never been to shield the White House from criticisms. CCR has always led the charge in criticizing every administration.
On Thursday, the Center released a statement which quoted Ratner ("The president wrapped himself in the Constitution and then proceeded to violate it by announcing he would send people before irredeemably flawed military commissions and seek to create a preventive detention scheme that only serves to move Guantanamo to a new location and give it a new name.") and Managing Attorney for the organization's Guantanamo project Shayana Kadidal ("Preventive detention goes against every principle our nation was founded on. We have courts and laws in place that we respect and rely on because we have been a nation of laws for hundreds of years; we should not simply discard them when they are inconvenient. The new president is looking a lot like the old.") responding to the speech Barack had given that day. The next day, Vinnie Warren is yacking it up on Democracy Now! and handing Barry O a blank check. While allegedly representing CCR. It was disgusting.
If Warren was an affront to civil liberties and a huge gob of spit hurled at CCR, Robert Draper was, by contrast, an unemployable comedian toying in another field.
Draper was just the clown Goody wanted you to meet. And she was all over his 'report' on Monday when she included it in headlines, declaring that, "GQ Magazine has revealed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly placed Biblical quotes on President Bush’s top-secret briefings during the early days of the invasion of Iraq." Really? No, as pointed out Monday, that is not what GQ's fluff article stated. In what may be the only concrete detail in his report, Robert Draper wrote of the Biblical quotes appearing on cover sheets, "These cover sheets were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense." On Tuesday, the 'expert' was going one-on-one with Amy as they both attempted to spin furiously. Is Rumsfeld involved in this as an active participant? Draper never could say. He did offer that, "Now, Secretary Rumsfeld is, himself, not the kind of person who wears his religion on his sleeve, but he seemed to appreciate these."
Really? And what's the basis for that claim, Draper? "The general who created them told other people that he would continue to produce these, because his seniors, meaning Secretary Rumsfeld, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Myers and President Bush, appreciated them," declared Draper. "And Secretary Rumsfeld would indeed bring this intelligence briefing paper with that cover sheet over to the Oval Office every morning during the time of the invasion and subsequent to it."
So the person who put the Biblical quotes on the reports claims "his seniors" liked them. Based on feedback, based on what? Based on his having a job? Based on what?
Based on nothing. Draper's got nothing. The lefty side of insanity could be found all last week whenever anyone was yammering away about this non-story. It sure cut into any real discussion about the war or Steven D. Green being sentenced to life in prison for gang-raping and murdering 14-year-old Iraqi Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, murdering her parents and murdering her five-year-old sister.
There was no level of sewer Draper and Goody wouldn't crawl into for that segment as became undeniably obvious during this bit of royal clowning:
AMY GOODMAN: Hurricane Katrina, Robert Draper, a very damning segment of your article about Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush. What happened in those days leading up to and right after Hurricane Katrina?
ROBERT DRAPER: Yeah, this is sort of a little-known fact, that Secretary Rumsfeld played an obstructive force in the response to Hurricane Katrina. In the days following landfall, there was great concern that lawlessness was prevailing over New Orleans. To some degree, that was a perception that was unfounded, or at least it was hyperbolized by the media. Nonetheless, the perception was important, because it prevented relief workers and bus drivers from coming into a city that they believed was in a state of anarchy. So, President Bush and the people around him wanted very much for there to be control, a show of control in the city. And there were already 50,000 National Guard members being dispersed throughout the area, but they weren't where they needed to be and, in any event, were overtaxed. And so, the belief was, held by many, that active-duty troops needed to be there to supplement the National Guard. The Secretary Rumsfeld was adamant in his belief that active-duty troops should not be used for this domestic crisis. And he didn't explicitly say that to the President; instead, he would make arguments about how there were unity of command issues or there was an insurrection issue. These, according to attorneys involved in the response to Katrina, were really sort of sideshows and that, in fact, if active-duty troops had come in to lend logistical support to the National Guard, that the Guard then could focus on law enforcement duties. But Secretary Rumsfeld, in any event, day after day, refused to supply those active-duty troops, and finally it required a direct order from the President on a Saturday, several days after landfall, basically saying to the Secretary, "Don, do it." And it was only at that point that he finally did put boots on the ground.
Rumsfeld was adamantly opposed to it? Considering the source (Draper), we can't say for sure.
What we can say is: Good for anyone who was.
For those who've forgotten, a number of people protested the use of the military in Katrina. Some of whom write for The Nation. Why would anyone oppose it? For a number of reasons including the Posse Comitatus Act. That's not a minor point and, if Rumsfeld opposed the use of the military due to Posse Comitatus, good for him. But the segment wasn't about information or informing. It was clowning and that's very clear by Amy's breathless intro to Draper to get him to bring up this issue so all the viewers can cluck, "Bad, bad Rumsfeld."
September 28, 2005, Goodman had William Arkin on the program stating ". . . I, for one, am extremely uncomfortable with the notion that we're going to supplant civilian authority by using the military to deal with disasters in the United States, and also as an American, I'm just incredibly ticked off with the notion that we spend $100 billion a year for a new Department of Homeland Security, and we're letting it get off the hook in terms of its responsibility for this basic function."
Not even a year ago, October 7, 2008, the issue was being addressed:
AMY GOODMAN: Matt Rothschild?
MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Well, you know, that doesn't really satisfy me, and I don't think it should satisfy your listeners and your audience, Amy, because, you know, our people in the field in Iraq, some of them have not behaved up to the highest standards, and a lot of police forces in the United States who have been using these tasers have used them inappropriately. The whole question here about what the Pentagon is doing patrolling in the United States gets to the real heart of the matter, which is, do we have a democracy here? I mean, there is a law on the books called the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act that says that the president of the United States, as commander-in-chief, cannot put the military on our streets. And this is a violation of that, it seems to me. President Bush tried to get around this act a couple years ago in the Defense Authorization Act that he signed that got rid of some of those restrictions, and then last year, in the new Defense Authorization Act, thanks to the work of Senator Patrick Leahy and Kit Bond of Missouri, that was stripped away. And so, the President isn't supposed to be using the military in this fashion, and though the President, true to form, appended a signing statement to that saying he's not going to be governed by that. So, here we have a situation where the President of United States has been aggrandizing his power, and this gives him a whole brigade unit to use against US citizens here at home.
There are many more examples (such as her interview with Gore Vidal in 2008 or her interview with Christopher Pyle in 2002) where the show is on the record that the Posse Comitatus Act is a law to be followed. But there was a chance to mock Donald Rumsfeld, to get a laugh at him and insult the audience's intelligence and she couldn't resist, now could she?
Janeane Garofalo's been insulting audiences' intelligence for some time. She's the 'smart actress,' that's the allegation anyway. She's the woman who had only one film that audiences flat out loved: The Truth About Cats & Dogs. Instead of being pleased with the film, a comedy which did make people laugh, Garofalo, who read the script before signing for the film, launched one non-stop attack on the film (disclosure, we know the director and we know co-star Uma Thurman, we also know Janeane) after another -- all about the 'sexist' storyline. Again, this would be the storyline to the script she read and agreed to make the film from.
Now if Janeane had a functioning brain, she'd quickly realize that all the slams she directs at Cats & Dogs are true . . . about her role in Bye, Bye Love which was a frightmare and that film is completely and totally sexist. She should be ashamed of taking part in that film. But she never brings that one up, she just attacks one of the few films she's been in that people can actually watch. And she attacks Drew and she attacks Charlie's Angeles and after awhile you get the feeling it's time to sit her down and explain, "Janeane, looking ugly is not a feminist requirement."
Neither is doing ugly but Janeane signed up for 24 long before it was well established that the show was pro-torture. The woman who has complained non-stop for thirteen years about Cats & Dogs and how she never should have made the film signs up to do a pro-torture TV series?
We couldn't figure that out. And all her rationalizations and lies to the press made no sense. Finally, we began to wonder if the part came with a twist that would provide her a major scene? Maybe Janeane's Janis was the bad guy? Maybe she was the mastermind? Someone on the inside appeared to be helping the terrorists, what if it was the FBI's Janis!
That might have provided a juicy scene for Janeane. But, alas, it was not meant to be. Janis was two rungs below supporting character. She added nothing and, in that, Janeane's performance was convincing because it added nothing either. Does she really think, at this late date, that reciting lines in the same manner in role after role qualifies as acting? It doesn't even make for a performance. In fact, we realized the only way to tell Janeane's characters apart is the hair styles. Reality Bites finds her with 90s hair, for example.
Mary Page Keller was on the last episode of 24 this year. With little to do, she held viewers attention. Janeane was aced out acting-wise by Mary Page Keller. While we don't deny MPK's talent, her role was hugely underwritten yet she gave a performance from the start which had you thinking, "This isn't some innocent woman just sitting around the airport lounge."
By contrast, Janeane offered Janeane. The reason she stood out originally, all that time ago, had to do with the fact that she seemed unique. What's apparent now is that she wasn't unique. She was wooden and what seemed interesting acting choices were in fact the only way someone with her limited abilities could go. If that's harsh, it's nothing compared to the hate she's hurled at Americans in recent months. And, thing is, Janeane, you could have used that time to work on your craft. Could have and should have. Instead, as always, Janeane wanted to be Debby Downer (yes, that SNL skit did come about as an inside joke on Janeane after she'd given yet another interview about how miserable she was when she was part of that cast). The woman is never satisfied. You get the eye their could be a public stoning of Bully Boy Bush and Janeane would show up whining that the stones weren't the right size and why didn't this take place years ago and who does anyone think they're tricking and . . .
Comedians are supposed to provide joy. They make you laugh. There are many humor genres they can work in but their work is supposed to make you laugh. Janeane is the ultimate applause getting comedian -- tossing out angry lines that pass for pith to college freshman and getting rounds of applause because no work's been done to shape an act which could provide laughs.
No work is ever done by Janeane and that's why she's never seriously studied acting (which she needed to do back when she had a chance at an acting career), which is why she never shows up on a set with a character to play, which is why her tired stand up is the exact same thing she was doing over 15 years prior (but back then, she did it in better clubs). Doing anything, anything at all, might risk Janeane's chances of being miserable and it appears that, in the end, being miserable is the only thing she continues to hold onto.
In a sane world, Janeane's turn as Janis would stand as the weirdest thing on TV last week. We don't live in a sane world and as long as Janeane's wooden acting has to go up against real people like Warren and Draper, you'll have to file it under yet another competition Garofalo lost.
It might seem honesty comes easier with age; however, Matty is a portly, married man with children and his finally stepping out of the closet and getting honest about who he was must have been a very tense moment for him.
We say, "Good for you, Matty." Good for you.
And we award you the above copy of Latin Inches for your actions.
Judging by the way you write, you're obviously a bottom. Not a "power bottom" like Wentworth Miller might play, mind you, but the sort of bottom that reflects all the stereotypical yentas that fill much of Philip Roth's work (you know, the ones who just lay there).
Here's to you, Matty Rothschild, Jesus in the Castro District loves you more than you will know, woah-woah-woah.
Wally: Cedric and I didn't know Sunny posted at Elaine's site. We'll link to it this week.
Jim: I figured that was the case. But I did want to point out that Elaine doesn't post on Thursdays because she has her group and that her assistant Sunny posted the snapshot because it was news. Wally and Cedric, of course, carry the snapshot in their joint-posts as well so, community-wide, the case was covered. That's not true of other things. In case we get to that topic, I wanted it noted but I know Rebecca wanted to speak.
Rebecca: Sgt. James Russell apparently shot five US service members in Baghdad at a stress clinic this month. This happened while the Steven D. Green trial was ongoing. The jury was not sequestered? Did they refrain from all news of Iraq? I would like to know why the jury wasn't sequestered. This was a capital punishment trial and they should have been sequestered.
Jess: I agree with Rebecca on that. When Jim told me they weren't sequestered, I couldn't believe it. I called Ava and asked her and she said, "No, they're not." Now Ava's my girlfriend and I've now heard it from her and Jim. Even so, I ask, "Could you check with C.I.?" And the answer still comes back that they weren't sequestered. The charges were murder and gang-rape and, C.I. correct me if I'm wrong, the court was expecting a huge press presence?
C.I.: Absolutely. Weeks and weeks before the trial started -- before jury selection even started -- they had issued media guidelines and explained the media room they were creating which would have a feed from the court room and handle overflow. They were expecting the courtroom to be packed with journalists every day of the hearing.
Kat: Which didn't happen.
Jess: Which didn't happen. But they expected it and for that reason alone they should have sequestered the jury. It's appalling that they didn't. And I agree with Rebecca the 'stress' angle the defense played was built on the news of Sgt. John Russell and had nothing to do with Steven D. Green.
Jim: You sound upset. I'm assuming not because Green didn't receive the death penalty.
Jess: No, that doesn't upset me. What upsets me is when basic procedures that should have been followed aren't.
Jim: Betty, you were hoping for the death penalty. Is that fair?
Betty: On some levels, yes. I thought he deserved it and I said if he got it I wouldn't be bothered in the least. When the news came down? I had seen the snapshot. That's where I learned about it. I had the radio in the car on and was listening to a number of stations, including KPFA, and heard nothing. But KPFA didn't have their news hour that day, they did a special for fundraising instead. But I was flipping all over and thinking, "C.I. got this into the snapshot and news still isn't reporting on the radio that the sentence is out?" Anyway, I came in and went to my room and changed, got out of my high heels and dress and into something casual, then went looking for the kids and found them with Jess, playing in C.I.'s music room. When they finished their song, after I applauded, I did make a point of telling Jess I was happy for him. For Jess. Not for Steven D. Green. I think he should have gotten the death penalty. I know Jess doesn't want anyone to get the death penalty and the sentence made me furious. The only person I could be happy for was Jess.
Jim: It made you furious?
Betty: It made my blood boil. I didn't read all of Thursday's snapshot. I couldn't. I got to the second paragraph and that's all I could make it through. When I found out he was getting life in prison and not the death penalty . . . I just wasn't in the mood. I'm still mad.
Jim: And not the only one mad. By the way, Betty's oldest son did the illustration if it's the one we use of the table. If it's a newer one, it's by her three kids but we're waiting on that one to dry and if it's not dry when we start posting, we won't be able to scan it. Cedric and Wally do humor posts together. So they don't get the opportunity to sound off the way some do. I'm going to toss to them.
Wally: Betty's not the only one who was mad. The reaction coming out of Iraq is not surprising at all. Of course they're outraged. For the record, I wasn't for or against Green receiving the death penalty. I wanted him to be found guilty but, other than that, I was focused on other things. I don't think Cedric and I even discussed the sentence to each other this week. Did we?
Cedric: No. It was sort of expected. The day the sentence came out, for example, C.I. had written "I'm not predicting Green will receive the death penalty." And that sort of lowered expectations. I'm not for the death penalty in a traditional sense, but, as with Betty, on this case, I really did think it was deserved. There was no question that the person was guilty and these crimes, if they'd taken place in the US, would have been awful enough. When you add in that he was in Abeer's neighborhood to 'protect' her, that makes them all the worse. My uncle who was in the army says if Green had been tried in a military court, he would have gotten the death penalty because he was the ringleader.
Marcia: I'm sorry, I have to jump in on that. On the ringleader. That bad writer, Gail, is pimping -- apparently provided to her by the man writing the book on the incident -- that Green wasn't really the ringleader. What a load of garbage.
Wally: I agree but she's also pimping that Abeer wasn't gang-raped.
Elaine: C.I. took that on the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin and also in "I Hate The War" and I just want to touch on that. What that woman wrote, that suggestion, it's offensive. It's offensive to women, it's offensive therapeutically. Now it's wrong factually and if Gail knew the first thing about the other hearings into these War Crimes and the testimony offered in them, she'd know that. But for her, for anyone, to suggest a rape victim wasn't a rape victim? What message is that sending? It's appalling. She's trying to suggest that Cortez and Baker couldn't get it up and didn't rape Abeer. Now they both testified. And one of them half-assed floated that at his own court appearance, "maybe." "Maybe" he couldn't get it up? He's appearing before a military court and charged with rape and doesn't know whether or not he got it up? That's a lie. As C.I. pointed out, it's nothing but Cortez and Baker now lying in order to minimize their actions. Both men will be up for parole at some point and now they just know -- both of them! -- that they didn't take part in the gang-rape. That's disgusting. Shame on Gail.
Rebecca: And I was surprised by C.I.'s comment in the snapshot, I agreed, but I was surprised that C.I. went there. I would have but I honestly would have thought C.I.'s stance would have been 'too graphic.' I understand that it was needed to make the point and, again, I would have gone there instantly myself. For those who didn't see it, C.I. pointed out that this nonsense of 'we didn't rape her,' if it were true Green would have known. Abeer was a virgin. He would have known if he was raping first. They didn't use condoms. Green would have known if he was going first. Green bragged about their crimes and his role in it. He bragged about the gang-rape and who took part in it. He hailed himself as the ringleader of the whole thing. You really think if he was the only one raping Abeer that he wouldn't have included that fact? Of course he would have.
Elaine: Exactly. So what Gail's doing is trying to rewrite history. Trying to say, "Oh, she was only raped by one. Thank goodness!" No, Gail. And your attempt to turn a gang-rape into a rape, your attempt to let two rapists off the hook? Not beneficial to survivors of rape, not helpful at all. Shame, shame on Women's Media Center for running Gail's garbage. That was so offensive.
Jim: I'm going to bring Mike in now for another part because I heard him snort when I was doing the intro earlier.
Mike: Well Elaine and I were with C.I., Ava, Wally and Kat on Friday. So was Ruth and Rebecca. We were able to join them on some campuses and speak out against Barack's illegal Iraq War. And the snapshot was late in part because C.I. was arguing with you over the phone.
Jim: Right. Go on, I'm not stopping you.
Mike: This community has followed the War Crimes that resulted in the gang-raping of Abeer and her murder and the murder of her parents and sisters for nearly three years. Now that's not just those of us with sites or those with newsletters. All members have followed it. And the sentence was a huge deal to this community. Throughout the day, C.I. was checking in with Martha and Shirley and others to see what the e-mails from community members were like. Friday they were all about Abeer. That was the only topic. So C.I. was trying to figure out what to do and tells us, "The thing to do is to turn the snapshot over to her. I can do press coverage of the story from the last years, do an evaluation. We could note Abeer one more time that way." And we're all like that's a great idea. And C.I. says, "But --" and Ava finishes --
Ava: "Jim will have a fit."
Mike: Right. So C.I. calls you, Jim, and says, "Look the community needs Abeer noted. I've got little else I can provide other than a news critique at this point." And a nearly 15 minute exchange takes place between the two of you.
Jim: Correct. And C.I. doesn't have to listen to me ever. I'll voice my opinion -- and on that, it was that we should do such a critique here -- and I'm not God, I don't control what everyone does.
Mike: But you were providing non-stop reasons for why C.I. shouldn't do it.
Jim: Right and Dona heard me, nudged me and said, "Look at the time." At which point, I realized that C.I. had delayed the snapshot and already wrestled with this issue before seeking my input. So I said, "Go ahead but I want us to repost it at Third."
Dona: Which we're doing with at least one addition. Typos will also be fixed. C.I. dictates the snapshot so this repost will combine some additional things and also smooth over the typos.
Mike: And I was laughing because Jim's praising the Friday snapshot at the top and I know he was actively urging C.I. not to do it on Friday.
Jim: Which is true. Were it up to me, everything that goes up at The Common Ills would be saved to draft for me to read over and pick through with a "Oh, yeah, post this. But this one, let's carry this to Third."
Ty: C.I.'s "Steven D. Green's case may not be over" is the sort of thing that could not be written with Jim looking over the shoulder. We've all seen Jim scream and beg C.I. for stuff like that so it's fortunate C.I. wrote that while on the road. I work the public account and the private accounts for members, at The Common Ills, the members weren't surprised but I did read about four e-mails from visitors who were surprised that C.I. was stating, paraphrase, 'If I were on the jury for an appeal, I'd vote to let Green off.' I thought we could talk about that.
Jim: Sure. And I would have loved for that to have run here. But let's have C.I. set it up.
C.I.: The defense is stating to the press -- and has been doing this since the trial section of the case ended -- that they were really focused on Green not getting the death penalty and that was their focus all along. Well Green's focus was being found not guilty. The plea he entered was not guilty. The defense's comments and their actions -- only one day and a half of witnesses for the defense during the trial, many days of witnesses called during the hearing -- appear to imply that Green's own wishes were ignored. A defense can't do that, especially a public defender who is court-appointed to the case. They have to present the best defense for their client and that defense has to be the argument the client wants made. So, for example, if they had convinced Green that he would be found guilty of all charges ahead of the start of the trial and he had agreed and stated, "Well, like you said, let's just focus on the defense" -- that would be one thing. But he entered a plea of not guilty and his attorneys did nothing to make that case. That appears to be a huge betrayal and grounds for someone losing their license to practice. Based on that, if I served on a jury hearing an appeal by Green, I would vote to toss out all charges.
Jim: Which means he would walk.
C.I.: Which does mean he would walk. And I believe he's guilty of everything. But I also believe in the process and when the process is abused, it has to be rectified. Our system isn't perfect and sometimes guilty people do go free. Better that someone guilty go free than that people end up wrongly convicted. Allowing public defenders to disregard the wishes of their clients would encourage wrongful convictions. I feel the process was abused and Green was denied the best defense -- or any defense for what he was charged with -- and I would, as a result, refuse to convict were I on a jury hearing an appeal in this case. I see what was done as professional misconduct.
Jim: Okay. Now Ty pointed out that some visitors e-mailed to say they disagreed. I'm going to go to Betty on this one. Betty, what's your opinion?
Betty: I wanted Steven D. Green to get the death penalty. If I'd been on the jury of the trial, we'd still be deliberating and I would refuse to conceed defeat and make every juror continue deliberating with the hopes of wearing the hold out or outs out. That said, for exactly the reasons C.I. outlined, if I were on an appeals jury, I wouldn't vote to convict. I'm not a legal expert so possibly what I'm suggesting can't be done, but I honestly believe that the statements by the defense attorneys should be reviewed by a higher court and that they should make a decision on whether or not to -- trying to think of the term --
C.I.: Set aside the verdict?
Betty: Thank you. Yes, set the verdict aside.
Ruth: I think the defense was inept. I know C.I. pointed out, before the sentencing phase started, that the defense was doing an awful job and that their refusal to call Green as a witness might suggest that they were hoping for a later appeal to any verdict and didn't want Green on the record for that reason. If the process is abused, the entire system suffers. I went back and forth on the death penalty -- which I am opposed to in theory but with this case, I went back and forth. I'm probably closer to Betty's way of thinking than anyone except maybe Cedric and I agree with Betty and C.I. I would, serving on an appeals court, let Green walk for the simple reason that the process was abused.
Jim: Wally, I'm curious about how you and Cedric didn't discuss the verdict. Was that because you were on the road with C.I. and heard all week that Green wouldn't get the death penalty?
Wally: That probably played into it. I mean, Cedric and I are both busy and we're not going to waste time talking about something that's not going to happen.
Jim: Okay. Ava, your take on the week.
Ava: Since I'm being asked, a lot of crap. A whole lot of crap. I think, for example, C.I. was far too kind to far too many people who did not deserve it. I think, for example, that a lot of people used C.I. -- and her attidue with that is always "fine, if it gets the story out" -- and I think I'm glad the hearing's over because after this week's edition, we never have to note a lot of people again. I'm just saying "a lot of people" here but in our column for El Spirito today, I do add my thoughts on this. C.I. and I do a back and forth on this. I think there was a lot of work C.I. put in -- both at The Common Ills and offline with news outlets -- and I don't think C.I. got any of the credit earned and deserved. I saw a lot of ingratitude and I saw of lot of ripping off and I saw a lot of things that make me very, very furious. I'm not the only who feels that way, obviously.
C.I.: I paused to get all of Ava's remarks down.
Jim: Ava and C.I. take the notes for this transcript piece.
C.I.: I don't disagree with Ava. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, however. But, in our piece for El Spirito, which is really a transcript piece, I do agree with her that, in the case of one person in particular, I shouldn't have had to spend two hours on the phone last week explaining why the case was news and needed coverage.
Rebecca: Well, if I can get specific, and I'm the only one other than Jim who will, I'll focus on non-press. Gail. She credits Women's Media Center which had one article and Robin Morgan's column -- both in 2006, and that's really it. But she credits them "and blogs" with keeping the story alive. And I haven't read Ava and C.I.'s column so I don't know if Gail comes up in it --
Ava: She doesn't.
Rebecca: Okay, but there's no denying that no site covered Abeer more in than The Common Ills. No one. Her story was regularly kept alive by C.I. And, like Trina, I think it's bulls**t that another blog, an alleged friend of The Common Ills and someone more than willing to contact to ask for help when it's time to beg for money, wants to credit some linkage -- nothing original -- done by another website. Now that pisses me off. And I did not name a name. But I could have. I could also name who I consider to be the most ungrateful of all but, like Ava, I won't here. And Elaine and I have known C.I. longer than anyone else participating in this roundtable and we fully know that credit isn't an issue. Never has been. However, when someone has gone out of the way on this story and when someone's gone out of the way for you, it is bad manners not to give them the credit they earned.
C.I.: I don't think I'm a factor in the story of Abeer or Steven D. Green. I think this is all naval gazing. With Ava, she was going to an issue regarding how difficult it was to get coverage on this story as well as to the issue of credit and that was a press issue and I responded for that reason -- both here and in El Spirito. However, I think now we've completely stripped this from a press issue into "How great am I?" and I'm an asshole and we can move on to another topic. Thank you.
Elaine: Which I will do. I've gotten a lot of e-mails on the verdict. I'm still reading the ones Sunny printed out. What stands out to me is that, remember this community -- all of us, not just the ones with sites and newsletters -- has been following this case for almost three years, so what stands out to me is a sort of feeling that reminds me of The Two Jakes. Jack Nicholson's helping Faye Dunaway's daughter in this Chinatown sequel. She asks if the pain goes away and he suggests it does. Then he goes running after her to tell her that no, it doesn't. What I'm saying is, I -- I think a number of people thought there would be closure but no one seems to feel -- from the e-mails I'm reading -- that there was.
Ty: Let me jump in to back that up. I see the same in e-mails to this site, firstname.lastname@example.org, and to The Common Ills. There does seem to be, after all these years, an unexpressed desire or expectation for closure and the reality is that it didn't come.
Dona: I agree with that and I think that's most obvious in the Iraqi reaction. I think their reaction is valid and agree with their objections which include that Green's actions were terrorist actions -- and he did terrorize the family -- and that an Iraqi court would have sentenced him to death and that an Iraqi doing the same thing would have been found guilty and put to death. I also agree with points Stan and Marcia both made this week that were Green not White, he'd probably be looking at the death penalty right now. Stan hasn't spoken at all -- Marcia's spoken once briefly by my notes -- so I'll toss to Stan.
Stan: Yeah. I think more and more he should have gotten the death penalty. And that's what a large number of my readers think as well. "The sentence" covered it and I encouraged people to leave reactions or e-mail. And the bulk of people are saying "death penalty." I've got two readers who e-mailed wanting more time to mull it over, so I didn't pick the topic back up Friday as I planned to. But I will pick it up next week and the reaction overwhelmingly is that Green should have been sentenced to death.
Stan: All but one e-mail says the death penalty and the comments are mainly death penalty.
Jim: I'm looking at the comments and the second most popular choice -- a very distant second -- is that the person leaving the comment could go either way or didn't want to decide. Does that surprise you, Jess? Jess is completely against the death penalty, was raised to be against it.
Jess: No, not at all. And I regret that the beggar media didn't cover the Green case. Green's completely unsympathetic in my book. I wouldn't be surprised, for example, if the defense had asked the mother not to testify on his behalf because it fit so perfectly into their "Blame Mommy" for Green's problems. I think too often beggar media -- and death penalty opponents -- chose the easiest cases to make their points. I'd like to hear a more substantive discussion and that would include people like Green, clearly guilty and guilty of War Crimes. I don't think we advance the discussion until we start bringing in those aspects. And Betty and I disagreed on this and I think we're both better off for disagreeing. I think I know her view and why she holds it better and she knows mine and why I hold it. I think my side is guilty of reducing proponets to "Kill everyone!" and the other side is guilty of simplifying the argument at times. But this is a deep cultural issue and it needs real discussions, not supreficial ones, for it to develop. I thank Betty for always sharing her view with me and for sharing it fully.
Dona: Betty's nodding and too choked up to speak. Okay, so what did we learn from last week?
C.I.: Well what about one aspect we brought up but didn't touch on?
C.I.: Trial in Iraq.
Ava: That came up repeatedly. Speaking slowly. All last week, it came up everytime we spoke. Some comments from students included that the US government continues to trumpet Iraq's 'justice' system. So if they're going to praise it and if the crimes were committed in Iraq, why wasn't Green tried there. Now his co-horts were tried in military courts. True. But they were also tried before the infamous SOFA. Once the SOFA went into effect, January 1st, since Green still hadn't been tried in a civilian court, shouldn't he have been transferred to Iraq to be tried there?
Marcia: That is a good point. Why didn't that happen? Because they were afraid he'd get the death penalty. The US government wasn't fretting it when Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death. That should have happened. The trial should have been moved to Iraq. In fact, under the SOFA, I believe the Blackwater contractors who shot up Baghdad should be facing trial in Iraq and not in US federal courts. They probably won't be found guilty and, if they are, they certainly won't face the death penalty.
Ruth: For me, the issue is: If the US government is going to continue to praise the Iraqi justice system, they need to be turning these cases over to it. Put up or shut up.
Jim: But you don't believe the Iraq justice system is just?
Ruth: Absolutely not. But I do not go around singing its praises.
Jim: Okay, on that point, we'll close down the roundtable. We are reading the e-mails and hope to do an e-mail roundtable shortly. We will have features this edition dealing soley with issues raised in e-mails or that is the plan.
The Bay of Pigs, of course, was not prevented. Nor did JFK praise The Nation for their Bay of Pigs "work."
The Nation, O'Brien maintained, was the only US publication to address the base operating on Guantanamo in 1961. He was corrected that it was Guatemala. The exposures came out in 1960 but when O'Brien finally confessed to his source material, it was easy to understand the errors. Katrina vanden Heuvel is an ahistorical idiot (when it comes to the US, she can offer many factoids on Russia and the Soviet Union) and she's a vainglory. In July of 2006, she 'authored' "Nation and NY Times: Bay of Pigs Deja Vu" which is about as historically reliable as those volumes of past Nation writing she compiled.
vanden Heuvel wrote:
What is little known is the role The Nation played in this story. In November 1960, The Nation published the first article on preparations being made for what would become the Bay of Pigs invasion. According to Carey McWilliams, The Nation's editor at the time, "Ronald Hilton, director of Stanford University's Institute of Hispanic-American Studies had just returned from Guatemala with reports that it was common knowledge --indeed, it had been reported in La Hora, a leading newspaper, on October 30--that the CIA was training a guerrilla force at a secret base for an early invasion of Cuba." McWilliams promptly got in touch with Hilton, who confirmed details, and agreed that he could be quoted. McWilliams wrote an article setting forth the facts Hilton had given him, including the location of the base near the mountain town of Retalhulea. If the reports were true, McWilliams wrote, "then public pressure should be brought to bear upon the administration to abandon this dangerous and hare-brained project." in the meantime, he added, the facts should be checked out immediately "by all US news media with correspondents in Guatemala." Although a special press release was prepared-- to which copies of the article were attached-- the wire services ignored the story and only one or two papers mentioned it.
In the above you can clearly see why someone would have to sleep with their college professor. A mind like the above doesn't warrant strong grades on the basis of academic work.
With Katrina, it's always difficult to determine when she's just being her usual uninformed self and when she's lying. We'd guess the latter on this statement, "In November 1960, The Nation published the first article on preparations being made for what would become the Bay of Pigs invasion." Why would we guess she's lying there? Check out the links in her article. She's linking to her beloved Frankie Rich and The New York Times and . . . Why, everything but The Nation 'article.' Why is that?
The Nation wasn't the first and the 'article' is an editorial (unsigned) which asks questions and it's asking these questions based upon the report published in the Hispanic American Report. Written by whom? Ronald Hilton. (Stanford was the publisher of the Hispanic American Report.) That's why Carey McWilliams contacted Hilton. Katrina botches that up as well. When her 'mistake' allows The Nation to take credit for writing a 'complimentary' piece (largely of questions) to Hilton's article in Hispanic American Report, it could be just her usual uninformed mind at work but, then again, if she was so proud of this 1960 editorial, she could have put it online. The fact that she didn't makes a case for her keeping it offline in order to tell her vainglory lies.
Did Katrina read the editorial? Reading's hard for Katty-van-van, so possibly, she didn't. Had she, sentences such as the following were not uncommon: "On the other hand, if the reports as heard by Dr. Hilton are true, then public pressure should be brought to bear upon the Administration to abandon this dangerous and hare-brained project."
Katrina wants to erase Hilton as an author of the original material The Nation based their argument upon and wants to take an editorial and pass it off as a report -- an editorial which voices skepticism of Hilton's claims. In other words, The Nation did their usual cowardly two-step. They wouldn't confirm the reports were true but they wanted someone else to. And now, years and years later, Katty-van-van wants to pretend that The Nation "reported" and that they told the US (and told the US first) what was going on in Guatemala.
The Nation had correspondents they could have sent to Guatemala. They chose not to send them. They chose not to confirm Hilton's claims. They chose to raise a potential and all these years later Katty-van-van's trying to claim The Nation filed some ground breaking report.
These lies are as ridiculous as Katty-van-van.
She types, "Although a special press release was prepared-- to which copies of the article were attached-- the wire services ignored the story and only one or two papers mentioned it." Which papers, Katty? If only one or two mentioned it, surely you could refer your readers to it. We'll spoon feed Katty's readers a little, one paper was The York Gazette & Daily.
As for the wire services? The wire services didn't 'ignore' it.
Francis L. McCarthy was over UPI and sought to answer some questions asked (but not answered) in The Nation's piece. UPI being UPI, they went with what the US government told them. (No story there.) Had The Nation actually reported on the topic, UPI might have been more skeptical of the government's claims but, UPI being UPI, it's doubtful. (The Nation was aware of McCarthy's actions. He and the magazine's Jess Gordon were in regular contact on this story.) What about AP?
According to the The York Gazette & Daily (November 24, 1960), they contacted AP who felt the editorial in The Nation was "thin" -- and it was thin. It was nothing but questions, contained no reporting by the magazine itself and tossed out a lot of speculation. But the AP did follow up. They interviewed Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes and then sent "Guatemala President Denies Reports of Anti-Castro Force" out over the wires. The New York Times then followed with another denial from Ydigoras.
However, The Nation's article was then called to the attention of a New York Times editor who assigned Times' reporter Paul Kennedy to do a story. Kennedy filed an article in January 1961 covering similar ground to the Nation's.
Did he? Yes, he did. But what Katty leaves out is The Times' story with the denial from Guatemala's president. The one we mentioned above. Who wrote that? Paul Kennedy.
Katty feels the need a Daddy hero and, Katty being Katty, she also needs to suck up and stroke. Which is how she makes Paul Kennedy a hero. Not just by ignoring that he shot down The Nation's questions in The New York Times originally, but by acting as if he did something brave and original.
In Katty's 'history,' Big Brave Paul Kennedy steps up to the plate and is the first to do so.
Again, she's ahistorical and stupid. Never forget that.
Richard Dudman and Don Dwiggins are the reporters who were there long before Kennedy. First was Dudman who worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and confirmed the airstrip and the barracks. His article also led to an editorial in his paper. Though Katrina acts unaware of that reporting and editorial, Carey McWilliams wrote of it in the December 10, 1960 edition of The Nation. Then Don Dwiggins of The Los Angeles Mirror went to Guatemala and also confirmed the story. Dwiggins December report ran not only in The Mirror but was also picked up by AP. Though Katty-van-van plays dumb, The Nation commissioned Don Dwiggins to write an article on the subject (it ran in the January 7, 1961 issue).
This was December. Paul Kennedy, Katrina's created hero, covers it in January of 1961 -- after The St. Louis Dispatch, The Los Angeles Mirror and the AP have already reported the camp exists. Don Dwiggins has reported for The Nation in their January 7, 1961 issue. Only after all of that does Paul Kennedy write some reality (January 10, 1961, New York Times). And, unlike Dudman and Dwiggins' reporting, Kennedy's was a lot of qualifiers and a lot of whitewash -- a detail Katrina 'forgets' to point out.
Paul Kennedy was only one of the many latecomers who suddenly reversed themselves, at the same time, The Miami Herald would reveal that they knew of airlifts from Miami to Guatemala and had known of them for months, Time magazine reported the reactionary fighters (anti-Castro types) were being paid $500,000 in US tax payer monies by the CIA. There are many, many other examples. But what's most important is what The New York Times and Paul Kennedy did after his late to the party story: Nothing. Not one damn thing. Unless you consider Scotty Reston's white wash propaganda via the State Dept to be 'reporting.' They could have. They had an explosive story and they could have printed it as was (we'll get to it) but they didn't.
Typical of failed social climber Katty, those who did the actual work are stripped out of the story and she sucks up to others who did nothing in the hopes of being invited to the after-party. As her source material or recommended reading, Katty cites Carey McWilliams highly creative autobiography and also "the Columbia University 'Forum'." The basics above, and more, can be found in The Columbia University Forum's Fall 1967 issue, in an article entitled "The Press and the Bay of Pigs" written by Victor Bernstein and Jess Gordon -- both on staff at The Nation (Gordon was the one who wrote the p.r. release for the magazine when the editorial ran and who followed up with phone calls to the press, he was also an editorial consultant for the magazine; Bernstein was managing editor of the magazine during the Bay of Pigs Crimes). We have no idea why Katty types "the Columbia University 'Forum'" and, we're willing to bet, she couldn't tell you either. For the record, the quarterly's title was The Columbia University Forum ("A quarterly journal of fact and opinion").
As for McWilliams (a Kennedy knob-polisher from way back) claiming that, a week after the invasion, JFK was privately telling the press they should have covered the story ahead of time and it would have prevented the Bay of Pigs 'fiasco' (the word is: crimes), that the sort of whoring The Nation's long been famous for and Katty's just the latest to spread for the Kennedy clan.
Reality check: Regardless of what private fairy tales the suck-ups offer, we do have the public record.
Katty avoids that as well.
According to the fairy tale, a week after the Bay of Pigs, JFK was praising the press and saying they should have done more -- praising and saying silently.
What was he doing publicly?
The United States of Amnesia indeed. (US of Amnesia is the phrase Gore Vidal popularized and, we believe, he also invented it.)
The usual suck ups from the press and academia (gee, so very much like today) spent the period following the Bay of Pigs Crimes offering excuses for JFK, making him the victim. The bad guys were the CIA and solely the CIA. (We don't worship the CIA and think it should be broken up and outlawed from reconstituting itself in any form in the US but we've never bought into the JFK myth.) The Bay of Pigs Crimes took place April 17, 1961. April 20, 1961 found JFK delivering a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in which he ordered the countries of Latin America to help oust Fidel Castro from power in Cuba. April 27, 1961, he spoke to the Bureau of Advertising of the American Newspaper Publishers Association in New York and there he called for the press to censor itself. Among his remarks:
I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to re-examine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country's peril. In times of war, the Government and the press have customarily joined in an effort, based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosure to the enemy. In times of clear and present danger, the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security.
[. . .]
Every newspaper now asks itself with respect to every story: "Is it news?" All I suggest is that you add the question: "Is it in the interest of national security?"
We could print the entire thing and maybe we should. JFK went after the press and this bulls**t suggesting otherwise is nothing but lies. A lot is made of how JFK's many affairs were never covered (and really still aren't, especially if they involve same-sex encounters). The press sucked up to JFK. They wanted to work in the administration. They sucked up to him and sucked him off as much as they do Barack today. Long before the Kennedy family sought to destroy all evidence of the relationships between Marilyn Monroe and both JFK and RFK, the press had already censored themselves. As soon as she was dead, they began trashing their own photographs (most famously, their photos of Monroe performing "Happy Birthday" -- what they forgot was that the photos ran in many newspapers and that newspapers were archived in many libraries).
And the press still lies for him. JFK didn't do much in office. He spied on MLK. That's a good thing? He stood in the way of progress. That's a good thing? He was baked and doped up his entire term. That's a good thing?
Instead of dealing with reality, the left then lied for him and continues to lie today. The Nation's John Nichols is one of the biggest Barack Whores around. Today, Nichols is associate editor of The Capital Times. When JFK attacked the press in the speech quoted above, when JFK advocated for censorship in the alleged name of 'national security,' how did that piece of trash rag respond?
The Capital Times responded with a weak-ass editorial noting, "The president can survive the blunder if he does not now make worse mistakes, one of which would be chipping away at the First Amendment." The "blunder" is the Bay of Pigs Crimes. And how nice of the 'radical' paper to make their first concern not Cubans under attack or a nation (the US) with imperial ambitions or a president declaring war on the First Amendment, but instead to focus on how to save Johnny F. Kennedy.
The idiot Katty goes on to praise "the Tad Szulc article in the Times" -- as only an idiot can. Szulc himself stated his article was drastically censored and rewritten. And that should be known to Katty because paragraphs six and seven of her blog post, which she wrongly credits to Carey McWilliams' bad book, are nothing but badly rewritten sentences from Clifton Daniel's speech to the World Press Institute June 1, 1966 ("A Footnote to History").
How true were they? The public record contradicts them in regards to Kennedy's public statements.
It is curious how Daniels' statements are credited by Katty to Carey McWilliams (who appears to have skipped the speech but cribbed from The New York Times' June 2nd write up of their managing editor's speech). Maybe admitting that she'd read Daniel's speech would have required her to note how the paper censored Tad Szulc's article?
Daniel's speech offers facts from inside The Times' offices (where he worked) and recounts a meeting he did not attend (where JFK allegedly lamented the press didn't do more to expose the Bay of Pigs before it went down -- remarks allegedly made the same day he gave the April 27th speech calling for censorship on the basis of 'national security'). McWilliams wasn't present in the office but, from Katty's bad writing, he apparently grabs Daniel's presentation of a meeting that Daniels wasn't at either and a twice-removed fantasy becomes 'fact.'
It takes a lot of revisions to make that happen. Among them, the vanishing of JFK's two public speeches on the press following the Bay of Pigs Crimes.
If The Nation does something remotely praise worthy, we still note it. If you feel we haven't noted them in some time, that's a reflection on their output. If you're foolish enough to believe the propaganda that ahistorical Katrina churns out, you're foolish enough to believe that The Nation offers realities. You'll rarely find reality in The Nation. For example, they really aren't interested in unburying the work RFK did on the McCarthy Commission, the HUAC committee they regularly decry. (They're correct to decry it, they're wrong to slant the facts.) Another reality: The National Guardian, US weekly paper, covered this story repeatedly and Katty-van-van leaves that out as well. James Aronson wrote multiple books and we recommend all of them. You'll find out more reality one any one page of them then you ever will in a year's worth of issues of The Nation.
I was going to include this story in the note to the readers this week; however, we're short on content and some of those who appreciate the male form were wowwed by cover boy Victor Rios.
That's Ty's issue of Latin Inches.
It was not his first porn mag.
Jess, Ty and I were roommates back in our undergrad days.
In early 2003, Ty became particularly cranky (after the end of a relationship) and went on a Felix Unger trip that was totally not Ty or even remotely Ty-like and the object of his vocal objections was my "immense porn collection."
It consisted then of one Playboy video and maybe six magazines (all Playboy, nothing hardcore). And it had been around our place for some time. Jess and I talked trying to figure out what was really going on and decided it was the break up. Then I told Ty he could leave his porn out, that it wouldn't bother me in the least. (The Playboy video was on a shelf by the TV, otherwise my porn was stashed unless you were foolish enough to walk in on me.)
Turns out Ty had no porn.
How could he have no porn?
It bothered me.
Jess had no porn but Jess is like Mr. Super Cool Catch A Wave Dude and probably too busy trying to figure out where to buy Hemp products to actually flip through a porny one-handed.
But it bothered me that Ty had none.
I felt like he was being short changed.
So I began buying him some.
I made the mistake, because I like Playboy, of assuming that Playgirl would be a solid choice. Wrong.
"No erections. Not sexy. And the men were too White. And, by the way, Jim, every guy is not cut."
Ty informed me of that and more after flipping through one in about 20 seconds.
I don't give up easy.
Latin Inches was probably the sixth or seventh mag I bought for him. It was the first one that he didn't toss out or gripe at me about.
(Ty's involved in a longterm relationship, as most readers know, and the man is Latino, as most readers know. When I bought him Latin Inches, he hadn't yet met the man.)
We needed a short feature this edition (unless we wanted to tick off Dona) and there was an obvious choice. Ty said, "Oh, let's use a magazine to illustrate this. I have a copy of Latin Inches that would be perfect." So we wrote it in and then Ty went to get the issue much later in the edition and we scanned the cover, at which point, the cover, the mag and how Ty ended up with it became a source of conversation.
It's six years or so since I gave the magazine to Ty. Good to know it brought him so much pleasure for so long.
Let's look back to what should be the most known War Crimes of the Iraq War, the gang-rape of 14-year-old Iraqi Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, her murder, the murder of her five-year-old sister and the murders of both of her parents. The fact that they aren't goes to a media failure. There are some who have earned praise. Many more have not. From July 2, 2006 snapshot: "[Sandra] Lupien also noted the arrest of Steven D. Green. Green, is 21 and was with the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. Friday, in Asheville, North Carolina, he was arrested and charged with both the four deaths as well as the rape. According to the US government press release, if convicted on the charge of murder, 'the maximum statutory penalty . . . is death' while, if convicted on the charge of rape, 'the maxmium statutory penalty for the rape is life in prison'." Green's trial finally began April 27th. The first day, Andrew Wolfson (Courier-Journal) reported, "In an opening statement in a trial that is expected to last three to five weeks, Justice Department lawyer Brian Skaret said the government will present at least five witnesses who say Green bragged about the crimes, including one who says Green told his fellow soldiers that it was 'awesome'." Wolfson bid closest without going over: Four weeks.
The trial lasted four weeks. In all that time, there was only one known editorial. The Washington Observer-Reporter made the trial the topic of an editorial and they concluded, "But there are no hardships, military or otherwise, that could excuse an atrocity like this and you can't blame it on a 'lack of leadership'."
The New York Times? During the four weeks, they filed three reports on the story. Three. Campbell Robertson and Atheer Kakan filed "Ex-G.I. Guilty of Rape and Killings in Iraq" from Iraq and this is the first report the paper ever carried which mentioned Abeer by name. It was not their first story on the topic, or the second or third or . . . But it was the first time that Abeer's name was ever mentioned. The paper had repeatedly rendered her invisible for nearly three years. James Dao filed "Civilian Jury Considers Death Penalty for Ex-G.I." which moved Abeer's name back to paragraph 14 (paragraph thirteen was where Robertson and Kakan were able to get it in) and was a pretty sorry report with no saving graces. Today Dao filed "Ex-Soldier Gets Life Sentence for Iraq Murders" which is such a huge improvement, it's hard to believe that both articles were written by the same reporter. Praise for Dao.
That was the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times loves, loves to cover 'military justice.' They're always dispatching Tony Perry to . . . Well, as a friend at the San Diego Union-Tribune likes to put it, "Where ever Rick goes, they [LAT] send him." And if anyone ever doubted that Tony was anything other than a camp follower they had their proof over the last four weeks. Rick Rogers wasn't dispatched to Kentucky so . . . Tony didn't go. Some people call it "competition," some people call it "stalking."
The Washington Post? Though Ellen Knickmeyer wrote the definitive newspaper account of the crimes in 2006, "Details Emerge in Alleged Army Rape, Killings" (July 3, 2006), the paper made do with Reuters and AP when 'covering' the Green trial.
Wall St. Journal? Didn't Old Man Rupaul Murdoch promise no lay offs and that resources would be pooled so there would be even more coverage? Apparently the only thing that pooled was the blood from his lifeless head because the Wall St. Journal, which should have been covering it, wasn't covering it. Now everyone knows -- check any Marriott -- that the Wall St. Journal isn't really the paper with the largest circulation in the US (the bulk of the Wall St. Journals at Marriotts are never picked up -- many front desks 'store' them in the closet nearest to the front desk) but it claims to be and, as such, it certainly should have been able to manage one reporter covering the case.
September 13, 2006, USA Today ran Gregg Zoroya's "Soldier describes anguish in revealing murder allegations" on the front page which not only offered a look at Justin Watt who heroically came foward, it also named the victims (Abeer, sister Hadeel, parents Fikhriya Taha and Qassim Hamza) and featured photos of her two brothers Ahmed (then nine) and Mohammed (then eleven). Justin Watt did a courageous thing in coming forward and Zoroya explained that he took the issue to a mental health counselor "because he wanted to bypass what he thought would be a skeptical command structure and get an audience with Army investigators". You might have thought they'd want to live up to their high water mark because, let's be honest, USA Today is not the paper most people read -- it's a glance-at. It's the paper which causes serious readers to groan at the airports when they realize it's the only one left. And yet despite having one of those few moments in their history that they could be proud of, they elected not to build it and appeared to think they'd show the world they were a real news outlet -- honest they were -- by blogging about what the AP wrote. Yesterday they teamed their Andrea Stone up with the Courier-Journal's Andrew Wolfson for "Ex-soldier gets life for Iraqi murders." It was a move they should have considered weeks ago but they still come out ahead of many, many other outlets.
McClatchy Newspapers? They've ignored the story. Always. They just don't give a damn. They never really did. This "McClatchy [Knight-Ridder back then] could have saved us!" is just b.s. McClatchy didn't bother to cover it. They haven't covered Iraqi reaction to the trial and they haven't covered the trial. Now, for those who don't know, McClatchy is a chain. And the federal trial was held in Kentucky and McClatchy's owns the Lexington Herald-Leader. Had the Lexington Herald-Leader covered the trial daily, McClatchy could have carried it at its website and in the various papers it owns. In California, that would have included the Sacremento Bee. For Florida, that would have meant papers including the Miami Herald. In Texas it would have been limited to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In the state of Washington, it would have included The Olympian. In Kansas, it would have been the Wichita Eagle. In North Carolina, it would have included the Charlotte Observer. In South Carolina, it would have included The State. They have papers in Idaho, in Illinois, in Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. They could have covered it. They have chosen not to.
McClatchy as the savior of us all is, and always has been, nonsense. The Lexington Herald-Leader, a Kentucky paper owned by McClatchy, 'covered' the case by . . . running AP stories. Click here for Brett Barrouquere and here for Kristen M. Hall (both AP journalists). Obviously the paper doesn't 'lead' nor 'herald' much. It's an embarrassment that McClatchy has a paper that close to Paducah (you can make it from Lexington to Paducah in a roughly four hour drive) and they produce nothing. But they've got US and Iraqi reporters based in Iraq and they can't file on the reaction to the verdict. It's obvious that they don't give a damn. There's nothing to suss out there. Their actions have made it very clear. Repeatedly so. Not just with Green's trial. The myth of McClatchy is only repeated by the vastly uninformed. But it's repeated less and less because with any event, with any topic, it's back down to earth for McClatchy if you even half-way pay attention.
And what about radio? A lot of McBurgers were sold to make NPR what it is so where's the beef? Never on air. Diane Rehm famously BANNED the topic from her show when the jury released their verdict of guilty (on all counts). After they were exposed (here) the show sent out a laughable e-mail to those who had e-mailed on the topic and those who had called Rehm out for banning the topic. We've got seven forwarded copies of that and I've confirmed it with a friend with the show so on a slow day this summer we may include it in the snapshot. (Click here for some of the e-mails sent into the show on the day Diane was banning the topic.) All those hours to fill every day and not a word about Abeer on the NPR programs. This afternoon Frank James blogs and includes some comments by NPR's JJ Sutherland. But actually getting it on air was too damn much work for NPR.
Pacifica Radio? They didn't send anyone. They're begging for money right now and they're doing awful. KPFA, for example, is supposed to be ending their fund drive and they are $100,000 short of their target goal. KPFA has the best fundraising (because it has the richest base) of any Pacifica radio station. WBAI is teetering due to already being in debt. No one thought to send anyone to Kentucky and despite the fact that all the Pacifica stations have listeners in Kentucky, no one thought to ask one of them to file some sort of report or, for that matter, to interview Evan Bright. We'll come back to Evan. Lila Garrett talks a good game about caring about Iraqis, she talks a good game. But when it came to an Iraqi teenager who was gang-raped and murdered by US soldiers? Where were you, Lila? We know where Margret Prescond was -- on the corner whoring for Barack. Remember that when Maggie The Cat wants to tell you yet again how wonderful she is and how she interviewed Hugo Chavez and how she . . . Didn't do s**t.
I'm not overly fond of Amy Goodman. I'd love to right now be able to point to someone else but Amy's the only one who consistently was aware of Abeer. It was never more than headlines but when Goodman's getting ready to go to bed, she can tell herself, "I did cover it." And she did. Credit where it's due. Not as much but also deserving credit, Andrea Lewis on KPFA. Andrea covered it twice. Andrea does know what actual news is. Which puts her far ahead of her morning replacement, to be honest. When Andrea co-hosted The Morning Show and when Sandra Lupien did the news breaks? They broke the story. No other radio station in the country had run with the arrest of Steven D. Green. Sandra worked her ass off and she didn't -- as Aileen does -- just grab AP and read it out loud (which some call plagiarism when you don't say "AP reports . . ."). She found the government's announcement of the arrest and found it about ten minutes after it was released and worked furiously to include it in the news break she was about to do. KPFA was the first broadcast outlet to note Steven D. Green's death.
They're short now. And why is that? Why should we give money to KPFA? They didn't send anyone to cover Abeer's case. We had Aimee Allison making a fool herself every damn morning, being the equivalent of Phyllis George, and we're supposed to pay for that? We're supposed to pay to listen to them read Associated Press stories to us that they pass off as news? We're supposed to pay for all that Barack Whoring? It's not news. It's not free speech. It is propaganda and, no surprise, they're learning people aren't going to pay for it. (See Panhandle Media for how KPFA in particular ABUSED the airwaves and the audience to WHORE for Barack.) Andrea Lewis is a functioning adult. She may be one of the few left at KPFA. But despite all the calls and e-mails and all the blog comments they've had (you can leave comments at their archives) asking why they weren't covering the Green trial, the only KPFA employee who seemed to think "Maybe in a fundraising cycle it's really not good to piss off our audience?" was Andrea. When the layoffs come, they need to start way at the top. When the layoffs come they need to start with the execs who allowed this to go on and who have turned The Morning Show into two hours that no one can listen to because it's a daily sermonette (preached strongest by Brother Mitch Jeserich in that hideous "Washington Letter") on the Glory and Goodness of St. Barack. Instead of sending Mitch to DC to reach his hands down St. Barack's pants, maybe the money could have been spent reporting on the War Crimes trial coz, pay attention, in ten years when Pacifica really needs to beg for money, their happy time chatter about Barack won't be worth s**t but if they could say "We covered the War Crimes trial" they might have have impressed someone. That's especially true of Free Speech Radio News which appears to be utilizing all of their energies currently to demonstrate that they are not "free speech" nor are they news. Message received. May you share warm reminisces . . . on the unemployment line.
[KPFA friends in offices -- not on air -- wanted it noted that KPFA ended up $50,000 short, not $100,000. It was a little befor 4:00 p.m. PST when the snapshot went up Friday and C.I. had been on the phone with KPFA thirty minutes before dictating the snapshot, at which time the station was stating it was $100,000 short. They also wanted it noted that its "Letters from Washington" -- the name of Mitch Jeserich's series. Yes, and C.I.'s referring to it daily and calling it "Washington Letter."]
Turning to televison. I have friends with The NewsHour and I know they are re-tooling the show. That's no excuse for their silence on this story. That's no excuse for not covering it. For those wondering, PBS does have a member station in Paducah, Kentucky (where the trial was held), WKPD. There's no reason they couldn't have partnered with that station to cover it. There's no reason -- other than it wouldn't let her be the airhead she loves to be -- that Washington Week couldn't have covered the trial in their gas bag way. (For those not aware of it, even under Gwen, Washington Week has brought reporters on to do a report and not gas bag, they're usually reporting by remote from outside the studio.) PBS is broadcast television. The network news? Damn disgusting. And it's really sad that when we finally do have a woman anchor that the gang-rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager by US soldiers isn't seen as news. It's really sad.
MSNBC? They don't do news, kids. They think they do comedy and that actually is funny. CNN? CNN covered this story starting in 2006. They have always covered the story. While MSNBC and Fox 'News' served up pompous wind bags, CNN offered news. They deserve a lot of credit for the reports they did -- including the reports done by Dave Alsup and Deborah Feyerick on the Green trial. Yet again, CNN proved they are in the news business. They may be the only ones, but they are in it.
Newsweek couldn't be bothered. When can they be? TIME magazine offered a report by Jim Frederick who has long covered the story and who is writing a book on Green's unit. US News & World Reports? Stop, you're making us laugh. The Nation? Oh that is funny. You think any of those useless writers at The Nation gives a damn about Abeer. Ugly Girl Katha Pollitt who poses as a feminist? What has that useless woman ever done? Not real damn much. She's trashed the NAACP, true. That made her feel good, I guess. What a proud moment for White Katha, lecturing the NAACP on what she thinks they should focus on. How they were wasting their time complaining about the unfair portrayals on TV and the lack of them. But what does Katha do but kvetch and moan every two weeks about something in the media. Real problems? Katha doesn't have time for them. And she never had time for Abeer. It was almost one year after the War Crimes were known that, under tremendous pressure, Katha was forced to mention Abeer. Which she did . . . for a half-sentence. The self-styled den mother of the push-up bra set of 'feminists,' the 21st century's Charlotte Rae, Katha Pollitt, take your bow. Ruth Conniff? She makes Katha look like a deep thinker. The Progressive's a monthly but, no, it didn't cover Abeer. There was time for Matthew Rothschild to come out of the closet this week but no time for Abeer. Never time for Abeer. Well, hey, Matthew Rothschild, what he's really like, him telling us that, does qualify as news, right? News you can use? No, it's more naval gazing from the man who is far too intimate with his own pot belly and who, honestly, should have grasped long ago that, as a news topic, he's just not interesting.
Reuters, UPI, AFP and AP filed stories. AP was fortunate to have Brett Barrouquere who has covered the story for nearly three years and may know it better -- all the ins and outs -- than any other reporter who has followed the story. AP's not really fond of bylines. They're not really fond of reporters names. They prefer their 'product' be known and not individuals -- their 'product' is not the news reports, they mean "Associated Press." Well tough, because Brett Barrouquere deserves praise for the work he's long done on this story and, his own natural talents aside, he's also the strongest argument for keeping reporters on stories. Other outlets should learn something from that. In a reporter's universe, 'heaven' may be tenacity paying off. If so, Brett's earned his joy.
And then there's Evan Bright. The 18-year-old high school senior, one who's not even necessarily planning to be a reporter, one who wasn't even aware the case over six months ago. But he reported -- REPORTED -- on the case. He was in the court room every day. During the last four weeks we've been treated to a load of sanctimonous claims about the power of the newspapers and how important they are and how much they matter to democracy and how we need to give them a bail out and blah, blah, blah. No national newspaper put a reporter in a court room every day. Evan Bright put himself in that court room. When the US media system failed (excepting only Brett's work for AP), Evan Bright was there. Instead of bailing out newspapers, maybe Congress can fund Evan's college career? Evan's offered closing thoughts on the trial here.