Saturday, July 26, 2008

Conference to Lay Plans to Prosecute High Level US War Criminals

Conference to Lay Plans to Prosecute High Level US War Criminals



A two-day conference on obtaining prosecutions of high level American war criminals will open September 13th, in Andover, Mass. The conference will explore the legal grounds for, and plan for, obtaining prosecutions of President Bush and top officials of his Administration for war crimes.

In the tradition of America’s Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials after World War II, Justice Robert Jackson, the Conference’s purpose is “to hold high U.S. officials accountable in courts of law and, if guilt is found, to obtain appropriate punishments. Otherwise,” said the Conference’s convener, Lawrence Velvel, “the future will be threatened by additional examples of Executive lawlessness by leaders who need fear no personal consequences” for their actions, leading to “the possibility of more Viet Nams, more Iraqs, and more repression.”

Velvel emphasized, “This is intended to be a planning conference, one at which plans will be laid, and necessary organizational structures will be set up, to seek prosecutions to determine guilt and, if guilt is found, appropriate punishments.”

Attendees will hear from prominent authorities on international law, criminal prosecutions, and constitutional rights who are determined to give meaning to Justice Jackson’s words: “The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.”

Topics to be discussed, Velvel said, include:

# What international and domestic crimes were committed, which facts show crimes under which laws, and what punishments are possible.

# Which high level Executive officials -- and Federal judges and legislators as well, if any -- are chargeable with crimes.

# Which international tribunals, foreign tribunals and domestic tribunals (if any) can be used and how to begin cases and/or obtain prosecutions before them.

# The possibility of establishing a Chief Prosecutor’s Office such as the one at Nuremburg.

# An examination of cases already brought and their outcomes.

# Creating an umbrella Coordinating Committee with representatives from the increasing number of organizations involved in war crimes cases.

# Creating a Center to keep track of and organize compilations of relevant briefs, articles, books, opinions, and facts, etc., on war crimes and prosecutions of war criminals.

Scheduled to address the Conference are:

# Famed former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, author of the best-selling “The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder”(Vanguard).

# Phillippe Sands, Professor of Law and Director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals at University College, London . He is the author of “Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values” (Penguin/Palgrave Macmillan), among other works.

# Jordan Paust, Professor of Law at the University of Houston and author of “Beyond The Law.”

# Ann Wright, a former U.S. Army colonel and U.S. Foreign Service official who holds a State Department Award for Heroism and who taught the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare at the Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg, N.C. She is the coauthor of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”

# Peter Weiss, Vice President of the Center For Constitutional Rights, which was recently involved with war crimes complaints filed in Germany and France against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others.

# Benjamin Davis, Associate Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law and former American Legal Counsel for the Secretariat of the International Court of Arbitration.

# David Lindorff, journalist and co-author with Barbara Olshansky of “The Case for Impeachment: Legal Arguments for Removing President George W. Bush from Office”(St. Martin ’s Press).

# Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, and the U.S. implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

# Lawrence Velvel, a leader in the field of law school education reform, has written numerous internet articles on issues relevant to the conference.

Legal authorities, media representatives, and the general public are invited to attend the conference. Attendees will receive a special hotel rate of $99 per night.

Andover is nearly equidistant from both Boston’s Logan Airport , served by all major airlines, and the Manchester , N.H. , Airport, served by Southwest Airlines and USAir.

Further Information: Jeff Demers (see above) or Sherwood Ross, Ross Associates, Suite 403, 102 S.W. 6th Ave., Miami, FL 33130 or

There's more: "Conference to Lay Plans to Prosecute High Level US War Criminals" >>

A message about AFN from Walt Flanagan

Adrienne Carey Hurley: A message about AFN from Walt Flanagan


I don't know if you are familiar with Armed Forces Network (AFN) but its basically a series of government-owned TV channels that broadcast American programming. Sometimes the shows are surprisingly good (The Simpsons) and sometimes terrible (Hope and Faith). But always there are the commercials. Since AFN doesn't sell ad time to companies selling stuff they instead fill them with military-oriented Public Service Announcements. I have noticed some themes. The commercials seem to fall in to a few categories:

1. Celebrities are proud of soldiers- In these commercials, poorly-lit celebrities like Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, and Lance Armstrong read badly from cue cards to tell us to "stay army" and inform us that we are "heroes"
2. Don't beat your wife and children- basically that says it all, but not enough for Uncle Sam, so these PSAs run all the time.
3. Don't rape people- perhaps the most prevalent genre of PSAs on AFN, they outline all of the judicial punishments soldiers receive for sex crimes. It is alarming how many times they feel the need to tell us that this behavior is wrong. Do we not know?
4. Commercials for black soldiers- these commercials are a sub-genre of the others. Basically, there is a black version of every PSA. These are easily identified by the presence of elevator hip-hop music and themes such as "Do the right thing". Apparently the army believes that telling black soldiers to drive safely isn't enough. It needs to be done by men in a stereotypically "urban" barber shop. Also in all AFN PSAs people of different ethnicities almost never interact unless it is about how to bring your "foreign national" wife or adopted child back into the states.
5. Drive safely- The usual advice on driving sober and not taking chances all spewed out by a terribly annoying warrant officer.
6. Look how tough we are- these PSAs use unlicensed music from the likes of the Raconteurs, White Stripes, Korn and many other bands to show training and combat footage so everyone will remember that 1st Armored Division is "Iron Strong" or that some brigade is good at kicking in doors.

There's more: "A message about AFN from Walt Flanagan" >>

Real News: Iraq Events Moving Out Of US Control

July 21, 2008, 8 min 46 sec: Iraq events moving out of US control

Sabah al-Nasseri: Washington cannot dictate politics in Iraq

Sabah al-Nasseri: "They are instrumentalizing the internal resistance within the Iraqi Parliament, within the Iraqi societies, against the United States, against the presence of US troops in Iraq, and so on, to actually negotiate new deals concerning securities agreement, oil agreement, etcetera, by saying, "Look, we cannot signs all of these kind of agreements. Otherwise we'll commit political suicide."

Born in Basra, Iraq, Sabah al-Nasseri is Professor of Political Science (Middle East Politics) at York University, Toronto. Prior to that he was a Lecturer of Political Science at the J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt. Currently he is working on an article, “Understanding Iraq.”

July 26, 2008, 6 min 49 sec: Who will determine Iraq's future?

Sabah al-Nasseri: The majority of US troops and private security firms will stay in Iraq

Sabah al-Nasseri: "He [Obama] did not talk about the occupation. He never mentioned a word about the occupation, so as if things in Iraq will be determined in Washington and not on the ground by the Iraqi people themselves. So my argument is that Obama will not withdraw the troops, US troops. He will move few brigades, probably, from Iraq to Afghanistan, but the majority of the US troops and the private security firms or military firms, companies, will stay in Iraq."

There's more: "Real News: Iraq Events Moving Out Of US Control" >>

Friday, July 25, 2008

Footnote to the preceding, Lest We Forget Div.

(Cross-posted from Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time.)

Turkish officials stated that their warplanes bombed 13 "rebel targets" in northern Iraq on Wednesday, AP reported.

Turkey has conducted frequent air raids on suspected positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq. Earlier this year, it also launched a weeklong ground offensive there. ...

The PKK has been fighting for self-rule in southeast Turkey since 1984. The violence has killed tens of thousands of people since then.

The rebels use bases in Iraq as a staging ground for cross-border attacks on Turkish targets.

The military said it was determined to press ahead with anti-rebel operations both inside Turkey and across the border in Iraq "according to military needs."
It needs to be mentioned here that Turkey's battle with the PKK is largely of its own making, having viciously repressed the Kurds, who make up nearly 20% of Turkey's population, in the wake of the 1980 military coup - even for eight years banning the use of the Kurdish language in an effort to deny their cultural identity, an effort which continues today.

The result, almost a predictable one, has been to create a new, more radicalized generation, "the children of serhildan," (intifada, uprising) in the words of anthropologist Hisyar Ozsoy. It's a generation raised in poverty and schooled on
endless tales of family and friends burnt out of their villages in the hills and decanted into the slums of [the eastern city of] Diyarbakir
as part of a deliberate scorched earth policy undertaken by the Turkish military during an intense period of fighting in the early 1990s. A generation more prepared for more violence than their elders. A generation created by war whose existence promises more of it.

This is by no means to say the PKK is innocent; it has in years past been willing to kill those it regarded as "traitors" and has attacked civilians. Still, beyond a few examples such as suspected PKK bombing in Ankara in May 2007, actual cases of attacks on civilians as opposed to military targets and armed police have proved hard to come by, and most of the sources for those were Turkish, which necessarily raises issues of possible bias.

But again, this is not to say the PKK is innocent. It is, however, to say that if Turkey really wants to solve its "Kurdish problem" rather than, as it has in the past, temporarily suppress it, it will need to learn, as governments over history have learned, that "what goes around, comes around," and dropping bombs in not the way to do it. A. J. Muste was much closer to the mark:

"There is no way to peace - peace is the way."

Footnote to the Footnote: The US, among others, regards the PKK as a terrorist organization. According to Seymour Hersh, however, that has not kept the US and Israel from
working together in support of a Kurdish resistance group known as the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan. The group has been conducting clandestine cross-border forays into Iran, I was told by a government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon civilian leadership, as “part of an effort to explore alternative means of applying pressure on Iran.”
The Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, or PEJAK,
emerged this decade as an Iranian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK....

Former members say PEJAK was meant to circumvent Western restrictions on contacts with the PKK, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and the European Union.
Both the US and Israel deny any support for PEJAK, but given the choice between the US government, the Israeli government, and Seymour Hersh, I damn well know which one I trust.

There's more: "Footnote to the preceding, Lest We Forget Div." >>

Reality Check

(Cross-posted from Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time.)

Okay, kiddies, it's time to set the Wayback Machine for January 2007. What was the purpose of The Surge(reg.)(c)(pat.pend.)?

While you're thinking about that, check of this from ABC News for Wednesday:

Iraq's presidential council on Wednesday rejected a draft provincial elections law and sent it back to parliament for reworking - a major blow to U.S. hopes that the vote can be held this year.

The decision was likely to delay the elections until next year because there would not be sufficient time to make the necessary preparations.
The law was pushed through Parliament the day before in the face of a walkout by Kurdish members angered over the imposition of a secret ballot on a provision for ethnic power-sharing in the disputed city of Kirkuk.

The rejection of the method was echoed by Deputy parliament speaker Khalid al-Attiyah, a Shiite, who called the secret ballot unconstitutional and accused lawmakers of "arm-twisting," saying it is "foolish and absurd to pass a law that has been rejected by an entire bloc."

Iraqi laws must be ratified by the presidential council, which by Iraq's constitution consists of one Shiite, one Sunni, and one Kurd. President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite, rejected the election plan. Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi was out of the country.

The issue of Kirkuk is a very sensitive one for the Kurds. It is now a multi-ethnic city but Kurds have long considered it part of their historical land - and as a center of Iraq's oil industry, control of it carries economic and political clout as well. Article 140 of the Constitution says the status of the city is to be decided by a referendum which was supposed to have taken place by the end of 2007. So I suppose it's easy to understand the Kurds' frustration at not only not having a referendum but by the attempt to have the matter decided by what amounts to unconstitutional parliamentary fiat, frustration which they made clear:
"We declare that the Kurdistan region is not bound by the results of this unconstitutional process," the Kurdish Regional Government, which oversees the three provinces in its semiautonomous territory, said in a statement.
I've discussed on more than one occasion how the area could be a flashpoint for ethnic conflict. Clearly, it remains such.

So in sum, the status of Kirkuk remains unresolved, the Kurds are walking out of parliamentary sessions, the process for regional elections is still deadlocked, and the Sunnis remain pretty much on the outside.

Now that you've had time to think about it, let's go back to the original question: What were we told was the purpose of The Surge(reg.)(c)(pat.pend.)? What's that? Did you say "to provide an opening for political reconciliation?" You are correct! Now for your bonus question: On its own terms, then, has The Surge(reg.)(c)(pat.pend.) worked? (Tick-tock, tick-tock....)

Footnote, Here's to Reconciliation Div.: The Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni party, has
denounced the shooting deaths of two relatives of a provincial governor Sunday during a U.S. raid north of Baghdad.

The U.S. military said two armed relatives of Salahuddin governor Hamad Hammoud were killed during a raid aimed at al-Qaida in Iraq elements in the city of Beiji. It said the slain men showed "hostile intent" and American troops fired in self-defense.
As they always do. But the IIP called the shootings unjustified and a "heinous crime" while denouncing what the group called "continued violations of the legal and judicial authority of the Iraqi government" by US forces.

Meanwhile, Middle East Online reports that in a separate incident, Iraqi police and US soldiers have given conflicting accounts of the shooting death of the son of the editor of a US-financed weekly paper.
"He lost control near the Bahrain bakery in southern Kirkuk... then they fired on him, killing him instantly," the police official said, adding that a friend riding next to [Arkan Ali al-]Nuaimi survived.

A US military spokesman, however, provided a different account of what appeared to be the same incident.

Major John Hall told AFP in an emailed response that a group of dismounted US soldiers was attacked with small arms fire from an approaching purple sedan.
And the soldiers fired, as they always do, in self-defense. As always.

There's more: "Reality Check" >>

Sham impeachment hearing update

Yesterday, I called today’s House Judiciary impeachment hearing a sham, above all for the reason that no impeachment vote will actually be allowed, but for the number of people banned from the witness list.

Well, the actual hearing has become even MORE of a sham, with Cindy Sheehan and other activists evicted from the gallery. Their crime?

Applauding too loud when witness Vincent Bugliosi said President Bush should be indicted for first-degree murder for lying us into Iraq.

But, THAT’s not all. Read on below the fold for people getting booted, John Conyers censoring himself and more.

A person in fatigues, claiming to be a veteran, was barred for wearing an anti-war pin. And, John Conyers was OK with this:

Conyers instructed committee staff and Capitol police officers to “ask anyone with such signs to either remove them or leave the hearing room from this point on.”

This request kicked off more than three minutes of disruption and commotion as blue-clad police officers entered the crowd to escort out a man wearing camouflage fatigues and an button with an anti-war button.

“You’re hassling a veteran for wearing a pin? That’s an outrage!” another spectator shouted, before escorting himself from the hearing room.

But, THAT’s not all. More of Conyers in the tank.
A committee aide tells RAW STORY that members were cautioned to abide by the Rules of the House, which prohibit lawmakers from “impugning” the president’s character during official debate. Some apparently took this to mean they could not explicitly call for Bush' impeachment. None of this would stop Republicans from accusing the committee's majority of seeking just that.

And, just what does “impugn” mean? Wearing a button?

And, Conyers wouldn’t even USE the “I-word”:
The prepared text of Chairman John Conyers opening remarks referred to Congress’s “power to impeach.” When he spoke before the committee, Conyers modified that line to the “power to remove through the constitutional process” officials who abused their powers.

With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans, eh?

There's more: "Sham impeachment hearing update" >>

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Caesar Incoming: Barack Obama in Berlin, Republic of Germany.

One For The Weasels.. | Radio Utopie

Berlin: Sure speech and pictures of Barack Obama at the Siegessäule in the German capital will be a called a big moment in history. Sure there will be one million Berliners celebrating their new leader of the Western World. Sure that moment will give him a big advantage in the race to the White House.
But be sure of that also: in the end it will mean “We face more costs, more loss and more agony”. Not only for America.

There's more: "New Caesar Incoming: Barack Obama in Berlin, Republic of Germany." >>

Gays in Iraq terrorized by threats, rape, murder

Gays in Iraq terrorized by threats, rape, murder - CNN.comRami and Kamal, both gay Iraqis, say they rarely show affection for men in public.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Kamal was just 16 when gunmen snatched him off the streets of Baghdad, stuffed him in the trunk of a car and whisked him away to a house. But the real terror was about to begin.

The men realized he was gay, Kamal said, when he took his shirt off and they saw his chest was shaved.

"They told me to take off my clothes to rape me or they would kill me immediately. This moment was the worst moment in my life," he told CNN, weeping as he spoke of the 2005 ordeal.

"I was watching them taking off their clothes, preparing to rape me. I did not know what to do, so I started shouting loudly, 'Please do not do that! I will ask my family to give you whatever you want.'" Video Watch the tormented life of gays in Iraq »

His pleas went unheeded. "The other two kidnappers took off my clothes by force and, at that time, I saw them as three dirty animals trying to tear my body apart."

There's more: "Gays in Iraq terrorized by threats, rape, murder" >>

Anbar Sheik Cited By McCain Was Assassinated Last Year - The news you need, hand-picked by readers from around the World

The major Sunni sheik who John McCain said was protected by the surge and subsequently helped lead the Anbar Awakening, was actually assassinated by an al-Qaeda led group in midst of the surge.

On Tuesday evening, McCain falsely claimed that the downturn in violence in Iraq's Anbar province was a result of the surge, when in fact the surge began months afterward. Moreover, he said, if it weren't for the work of U.S. forces, the major Sunni figure leading that awakening wouldn't have had the protection he needed.

"Colonel MacFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks," said the Senator. "Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening."

There's more: "Anbar Sheik Cited By McCain Was Assassinated Last Year" >>

Key Benazir Bhutto assassination witness shot dead

Key Benazir Bhutto assassination witness shot dead - Telegraph

Khalid Shahenshah, who was the former Pakistan prime minister's security chief at the time of her assassination, was killed in a drive-by shooting as he left his house in the southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday, police said.

Mr Shahenshah, 45, was riding in Mrs Bhutto's bullet-proof car when she was killed in a suicide attack in the northern city of Rawalpindi on December 27.

He was expected to be called to give evidence at a United Nations probe into her death.

"He was a key witness in the case and was also interviewed by the Scotland Yard experts who came to Pakistan to investigate her killing," said Waqar Mehdi, the junior information minister of Sindh province.

"There is a possibility that his killing could be linked to his status as a witness, although investigations are still underway."

There's more: "Key Benazir Bhutto assassination witness shot dead" >>

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bush Prosecution in 30-Seconds

Famed prosecutor Victor Bugliosi sums up his closing arguments to prosecute George Bush for murder in thirty seconds.

The charges: Conspiracy to mislead the nation to war in Iraq. Murder of soldiers who Bush sent to war under false pretenses.


DemocracyNow! Citing Citing Iraq War, Renowned Attorney Vincent Bugliosi Seeks “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder””, July 13, 2008.


There's more: "Bush Prosecution in 30-Seconds" >>

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Walking the walk to witness against war

In some ways, much of Kathy Kelly's adult life has been a walk against war. So it was completely in character for her to be walking through Milwaukee Monday, on a 450-mile trek to St. Paul and the Republican national convention.

Kelly, (left) a high school and community college teacher, has repeatedly risked her life and her freedom as an advocate for non-violence. She is now affiliated with Voices for Creative Nonviolence, based in her hometown of Chicago, which organized Witness Against War now making its way across Wisconsin.

A three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work , Kelly is a longtime pacifist who refuses to pay war taxes. She's served prison time for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites and for crossing the line as part of an ongoing effort to close the School of the Americas, an Army military combat training school at Fort Benning, GA.

She helped initiate Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign which brought medicine and toys to Iraq in open violation of UN/US sanctions against Iraq. Voices in the Wilderness organized 70 delegations to visit Iraq in the period between 1996 and the beginning of "Shock and Awe” warfare in 2003. Kelly has been to Iraq 24 times since January 1996, when the campaign began.

In October 2002, Voices in the Wilderness declared their intent to remain in Baghdad, alongside Iraqi civilians, throughout a war they still hoped they could prevent. Kelly and the team stayed in Baghdad throughout the bombardment and invasion and maintained a household in Baghdad until March, 2004. During 2007, she spent five months in Amman, Jordan, living amongst Iraqis who’ve fled their homes and are seeking resettlement.

The 450 mile Witness Against War walk is a continuation of the effort to challenge and nonviolently resist our country’s continuing war in and occupation of Iraq.

The walk left Chicago on July 12 and had logged 108 miles, nearly one-fourth of the total distance, when it left Milwaukee on Monday morning, after a potluck and program at the Friends Meeting House that drew more than 100 people on Sunday night.

The core group of walkers numbered eight on Monday (it's an accordion-like group that expands and shrinks as some members drop out to take care of personal business, then drop back in). An equal number of local folks joined them for the day and the 10-mile hike from Zeidler Park in downtown Milwaukee to the Unitarian Univeralist church across the Waukesha County line in suburban, conservative Brookfield.

The group included Kelly's co-workers at Voices for Creative Nonviolence. an Iraq veteran from Minnesota, a young woman from Sweden, Helene Hedberg (with mileage sign) who met Kelly at a human rights conference, and others who were attracted to the cause and were able to make the time commitment for much or all of the walk. They are joined every day by local supporters who want the war and occupation to end; in Milwaukee that included members of Peace Action, a staff member from Casa Maria, a Catholic Worker hospitality house, and one young man who just joined us as we walked along Wisconsin Avenue. (I'm hesitant to try to name too many names, because I didn't ask everyone and took few notes. The ones I do mention I'm sure of.)

Two television cameras, the local NBC and ABC affiliates, showed at Zeidler Park for a brief informal news conference before the walk kicked off, with a colorful bus, provided by the Anathoth community in Luck, WI. That is major media for antiwar event, as any organizer who's tried to get coverage will attest. Monday morning's daily paper carried a photo of the group with supporters who greeted them when they arrived on Sunday. But no story accompanied it, and no reporters went along for the day, although it seemed to me, as a former reporter and editor, that it would have offered enough grist for an interesting feature story or column.

To walk with them for a day is energizing. It offers a chance to walk with different people for a stretch at a time, hear some of their stories, and get an idea about what motivates them. That helps the time pass, and the walk moves at a pretty good clip of 2 to 2.5 miles an hour. Monday's walk took five hours, including a lunch stop (Subway box lunches and healthy snacks) along the road.

Paul Melling, the Iraq veteran, (pictured giving his feet a break at the end of the day) has just finished an associate degree in computer networking at a St. Cloud, MN technical college and decided to do the seven-week walk before starting a new job. He spent 14 months in Iraq as an artillery crew member, in 2004-05. Melling said he was somewhat conflicted for a time about whether to speak out on the war while others were still fighting it, but decided the best way to support those troops still in Iraq is to work to get them home.

Unfortunately, Melling was taking a break in the bus to prepare a talk he was to give that night when we encountered an Army recruiter on Blue Mound Road, who pulled across the crosswalk and confronted our small band of sign-carriers. He challenged us on whether any of us had served, so I stepped forward, wearing my Vietnam Veterans Against the War T-shirt, and assured him there were some veterans in the group. He said he was an Afghanistan vet and said what we were doing was undermining the troops. The US military is in Iraq to keep the Iraqi sects from killing each other, he said -- seemingly unaware, as we pointed out, that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died because we are there. After he threatened to break my camera if I took a photo, I put him down as unpersuadable and let others take up the debate. (I had signed a non-violence pledge in order to join the walk, and tend to be nonviolent by nature anyway, although it was tempting to take another photo and see what developed. Maybe we would have actually made the newspaper; violence seems to get covered. He apparently didn't know I had already taken the one that appears here.)

Other than that, the walk was uneventful, although the walkers got a nice reception from a group awaiting them at Marquette. All of the walkers carried signs, whch promoted some friendly horn-blowing, waves and yells of encouragement from drivers along Wisconsin Avenue, Blue Mound Road, Highway 100 and North Avenue. The Chicago crew also leafleted when there was an opportunity.

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, a statewide coalition of local organizations, is helping coordinate the walk and find lodging and meals and arrange programs along the route.

Anyone's welcome to join the walk for a day or more if you can. There are some stretches across rural Wisconsin where there may not be any organized groups, so company and support might be especially welcome. Here's the schedule for the rest of July:

7/22 Tues 7 pm Witness Against War - The Iraqi Refugee Crisis – Waukesha. 1st Congregational Church, 100 E. Broadway. Contact: Judith Williams of the Waukesha Catholic Worker House at 262-524-8278.

7/24 Thurs 5:30 – 8:15 pm ‘Witness Against War’ speaks at ‘Democrats of Jefferson County’ Picnic – Lake Mills. Commons Park in downtown; Main and Madison. Schedule: 5:30 pm -a kids parade around the park, 6 pm - dinner, 7-8:15 speakers, including Jeff Leys of Voices for Creative Nonviolence - followed by video cast of Obama speech. Contact: Anne Johnson amjlakemills(at) 608.576.0498 or Ray Murawski of the Watertown peace group.

7/27 Sun 8 am – 3 pm WITNESS TO WAR WALK– Madison.- We are inviting members of the community to join VCNV, walking 8 miles from Cottage Grove into Madison. The walk will end up at Olbrich Park. (early-morning car-pools for community walkers- leaving from Olbrich Park to Cottage Grove - at 8 am) Check out ( ) for a form to sign from VCNV if you are interested in participating in the walk. Contact: Joy at

7/27 Sun 5 - 9 pm ‘Witness Against War’ - Dinner and Presentation by Kathy Kelly - Madison. St. Bernard's on Atwood Ave- Everyone welcome! Raging Grannies and Will and Dot Williams sing…..and more! Contact: Joy First at WNPJ is co-hosting the event today - Contact o call 608-250-9240

7/28 Mon 12 noon SPECIAL Vigil for Peace with ‘Witness Against War’ - Madison. In front of the Post Office on MLK Blvd. Contact: Mary Beth Schlagheck at .

7/29 Tues 3:30 – 5:30 pm Witness Against War - Waunakee. At the Village Park. There will be an informal conversation and/or a talk. A welcome of the marchers by concerned residents of Waunakee and surrounding towns would be most appreciated. For further information, contact Hildegard Dorrer, 608-849-4219

7/30 Wed 3:30 – 4 pm (flexible – when the Walkers arrive) WAW Vigil with Women in Black - Sauk City. Meet on the Bridge. We gather to silently mourn ALL that is lost to war – wherever this occurs. We stand in solidarity with those throughout the world who suffer from oppression, violence, and injustice. Contact – Mary Ann Novascone at

7/30 Wed 7 pm Spaghetti Dinner with the WAW Walkers – Sauk City. At Park Hall, 307 Polk Street. Bring a dish to share. Contact: Maggie McGlone at or Sally Dahir at

And here is the map and schedule for the whole thing.

There's more: "Walking the walk to witness against war" >>

Real News: Ex-CIA Agent Ray McGovern on Obama's 'New World'

Transcript here.

McGovern: "The game is over with Iraq and so the question is how does this strategic change affect the real players in the area. The Israeli right wants a confrontation with Iran to keep US forces in the region. The US military leadership is against a "third front" but has to contend with Cheney.

Raymond McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many of them. McGovern was born and raised in Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.
Obama states near the beginning of the speech...
"...we will keep a residual force to perform specific missions in Iraq, targeting any remnants of al-Qaeda, protecting our service members and diplomats, and training and supporting Iraq's security forces, so long as the Iraqis make political progress."
protecting our service members?

What? Is his "residual force" not going to be composed of service members?

so long as the Iraqis make political progress?

What right does Obama or anyone else in Washington have to determine what is Iraqi "political progress"?

A relevant quote from Armando at Talkleft this morning:

Why Should The Iraqi Gov't Need Leverage To Have US Troops Leave?
If you understand Iraq is a sovereign country, then you should understand that they should not have to have leverage at all in telling the United States to leave. The United States has no right to have troops in Iraq. Indeed, the ostensible purpose of the troop presence in Iraq is to assist the Iraqi government. Suppose the US, in good faith, disagrees with the Iraqi government's assessment of the situation. So what? If they ask you to leave, then you leave.

But of course the most amazing part of this is that the American People as well as the Iraqi government wants the United States to leave Iraq, but for the Bush Administration and John McCain, it does not matter what the people want.
Neither, for that matter, does it seem to matter to Barack Obama what the Iraqi government or the American people want.

Obama talks of keeping 'Residual Forces' in Iraq to fight al-Qaeda.

For anyone interested in fully informing themselves, I recommend Andrew Tilghman'a October 2007 article from The Washington Monthly...

The Myth of AQI
Fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq is the last big argument for keeping U.S. troops in the country. But the military's estimation of the threat is alarmingly wrong.
By Andrew Tilghman
By now, many in Washington have learned to discount the president's rhetorical excesses when it comes to the war. But even some of his harshest critics take at face value the estimates provided by the military about AQI's presence. Politicians of both parties point to such figures when forming their positions on the war. All of the top three Democratic presidential candidates have argued for keeping some American forces in Iraq or the region, citing among other reasons the continued threat from al-Qaeda.

But what if official military estimates about the size and impact of al-Qaeda in Iraq are simply wrong? Indeed, interviews with numerous military and intelligence analysts, both inside and outside of government, suggest that the number of strikes the group has directed represent only a fraction of what official estimates claim. Further, al-Qaeda's presumed role in leading the violence through uniquely devastating attacks that catalyze further unrest may also be overstated.

Having been led astray by flawed prewar intelligence about WMDs, official Washington wants to believe it takes a more skeptical view of the administration's information now. Yet Beltway insiders seem to be making almost precisely the same mistakes in sizing up al-Qaeda in Iraq.
How big, then, is AQI? The most persuasive estimate I've heard comes from Malcolm Nance, the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a twenty-year intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq. He believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq," according to Nance, "is a microscopic terrorist organization."

There's more: "Real News: Ex-CIA Agent Ray McGovern on Obama's 'New World'" >>

Every Drop of Petroleum Kills Someone, Somewhere

Fourth World Eye » Blog Archive » Every Gallon Kills

Militarized US energy policy begun under FDR is now acknowledged as a failure. With invasions now conducted by the Pentagon, proxy militaries and mercenaries in Africa, Asia and South America, the flow of oil is now decreasing as a result of this policy. Terrorism aside, energy security is higher and the cost lower where the militarized approach is not used.

The use of force to take oil supplies rather than simply purchase them from willing sellers is now an industry in itself, which explains why we will perhaps someday spend more on destroying oil-rich countries around the world than we spend on the product itself. The only way to abort this perverted mission is to dissuade our youth from becoming petroleum mercenaries and to persuade our neighbors to stop driving around like maniacs.

Every gallon kills.

There's more: "Every Drop of Petroleum Kills Someone, Somewhere" >>