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Friday, July 14, 2006


iraq, soldiers, rape. two comprehensive articles i highly recommend.

most men can (and do) sympathize with women. there is no way in a million years a man can UNDERSTAND what it's like to even be talked to in a (sexually) harrassing way. so to be actually assaulted is well beyond their sphere.

A Wave of Sexual Terrorism In Iraq

By Ruth Rosen, Tomdispatch.comPosted on July 14, 2006, Printed on July 14, 2006http://www.alternet.org/story/38932/
Abu Ghraib. Haditha. Guantanamo. These are words that shame our country. Now, add to them Mahmudiya, a town 20 miles south of Baghdad. There, this March, a group of five American soldiers allegedly were involved in the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza, a young Iraqi girl. Her body was then set on fire to cover up their crimes, her father, mother, and sister murdered. The rape of this one girl, if proven true, is probably not simply an isolated incident. But how would we know? In Iraq, rape is a taboo subject. Shamed by the rape, relatives of this girl wouldn't even hold a public funeral and were reluctant to reveal where she is buried.
Like women everywhere, Iraqi women have always been vulnerable to rape. But since the American invasion of their country, the reported incidence of sexual terrorism has accelerated markedly -- and this despite the fact that few Iraqi women are willing to report rapes either to Iraqi officials or to occupation forces, fearing to bring dishonor upon their families. In rural areas, female rape victims may also be vulnerable to "honor killings" in which male relatives murder them in order to restore the family's honor. "For women in Iraq,"
Amnesty International concluded in a 2005 report, "the stigma frequently attached to the victims instead of the perpetrators of sexual crimes makes reporting such abuses especially daunting." ...............

Female Soldiers Treated 'Lower Than Dirt'

By Rose Aguilar, AlterNetPosted on July 14, 2006, Printed on July 14, 2006http://www.alternet.org/story/38942/
U.S. Army Specialist Suzanne Swift will spend her 22nd birthday tomorrow confined to the Fort Lewis base in Washington, where she is awaiting the outcome of an investigation into allegations that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by three sergeants in Iraq.
Swift says the sergeants propositioned her for sex shortly after arriving for her first tour of duty in February 2004. She remained in Iraq until February 2005. "When you are over there, you are lower than dirt, you are expendable as a soldier in general, and as a woman, it's worse," said Swift in a recent interview with the Guardian.
When Swift's unit redeployed to Iraq in January 2006, she refused to go and instead stayed with her mother in Eugene, Oregon. She was eventually listed as AWOL, arrested at her mother's home on June 11, sent to county jail, and transferred to Fort Lewis.
"She's miserable and isolated," says Sara Rich, Swift's mother. "It's not good to have an idle mind while you're dealing with PTSD and sexual trauma. I want them to release her so I can get her the care she needs. I'm tired of waiting."
A colonel outside of Swift's chain of command is investigating the case, but Rich says she has been given little information with no time frame. "I believe they're trying to break her down using fear and intimidation.".......

you go grrrl!

it's about time ms plame filed suit! nothing is going to happen to the traitors who were responsible for revealing her name, but perhaps more people will realize a crime actually WAS committed.

Plame files suit against Cheney, Rove, Libby

Valerie Plame, the undercover CIA operative whose identity was revealed to reporters, has filed suit against Vice President Dick Cheney, former top presidential policy adviser Karl Rove, and Cheney's ex-chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on Thursday, RAW STORY has learned.
Plame is reportedly accusing the men of conspiring against her, targeting her career and reputation.
Conservative columnist Robert Novak revealed Plame's status as an undercover CIA operative in a July 14, 2003 opinion column. The piece ran just one week after Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote a New York Times op-ed claiming that the Bush administration had manipulated pre-war intelligence on Iraq.
The couple have started a website,
wilsonsupport.org, aimed at raising funds to cover legal costs.
Novak last week claimed that the revelation of Plame's name may have been an accident............

Thursday, July 13, 2006

it was a dark and stormy night

(by the way cv rick, that is EXACTLY how i am going to start my camping story. no, i haven't forgotten. it will get written eventually.)

It was a long and twisting sentence...

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An opening sentence containing a burrito, an angel and a shovel was judged appalling enough to win the annual Bulwer-Lytton literary parody prize on Tuesday.
Retired mechanical designer Jim Guigli of California was proclaimed winner of the contest, which challenges entrants to submit their worst opening sentence of an imaginary novel.
Guigli's winning entry read: "Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."
Guigli's powers of invention and his determination to succeed -- he submitted 60 different entries -- also won him a "dishonorable mention" in the historical fiction category...........

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

as always, THANK YOU CASS

i love this frog

Photograph courtesy Ron D. Holt

baghdad burning

if you've never read it, READ IT. a woman FROM iraq writing IN iraq

Atrocities... from baghdad burning a blog by riverbend

It promises to be a long summer. We're almost at the mid-way point, but it feels like the days are just crawling by. It's a combination of the heat, the flies, the hours upon hours of no electricity and the corpses which keep appearing everywhere.The day before yesterday was catastrophic. The day began with news of the killings in Jihad Quarter. According to people who live there, black-clad militiamen drove in mid-morning and opened fire on people in the streets and even in houses. They began pulling people off the street and checking their ID cards to see if they had Sunni names or Shia names and then the Sunnis were driven away and killed. Some were executed right there in the area. The media is playing it down and claiming 37 dead but the people in the area say the number is nearer 60.......

..........At nearly 2 pm, we received some terrible news. We lost a good friend in the killings. T. was a 26-year-old civil engineer who worked with a group of friends in a consultancy bureau in Jadriya. The last time I saw him was a week ago........... I feel like I've given the traditional words of condolences a thousand times these last few months, "Baqiya ib hayatkum… Akhir il ahzan…" or "May this be the last of your sorrows." Except they are empty words because even as we say them, we know that in today's Iraq any sorrow- no matter how great- will not be the last........

............Rape. The latest of American atrocities. Though it's not really the latest- it's just the one that's being publicized the most. The poor girl Abeer was neither the first to be raped by American troops, nor will she be the last. The only reason this rape was brought to light and publicized is that her whole immediate family were killed along with her. Rape is a taboo subject in Iraq. Families don't report rapes here, they avenge them. We've been hearing whisperings about rapes in American-controlled prisons and during sieges of towns like Haditha and Samarra for the last three years. The naiveté of Americans who can't believe their 'heroes' are committing such atrocities is ridiculous.
Who ever heard of an occupying army committing rape??? You raped the country, why not the people?......

this is by far, one of the best stories

on modern day slavery i have read. there is nothing cute or even poignant i can add. i will just ask you to read this and be aware......please

True Tales of Modern-Day Slaves

By Anneli Rufus, AlterNet. Posted July 11, 2006.

Despite the Civil War, slavery hasn't gone away. Three writers consider what life is like for the more than 27 million people on Earth who don't even own themselves

Say what you will about the USA, but slavery has been illegal here since the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865, and was outlawed long before that in many states. North Americans tend to see slavery in sepia tones, as a legacy, because in practice it belongs to our receding past.
OK, not for the preteen girl forced to serve the large Orange County family of Abdelnasser Eid Youssef Ibrahim and Amal Ahmed Ewis-abd Motelib from 2000 to 2002 while being slapped and threatened and forbidden to go outside. But Ibrahim and Motelib are on trial, charged with keeping a child in involuntary servitude, facing an October 23 sentencing. As part of a plea deal, they must pay the now-16-year-old some $100,000 in restitution and back wages. In the courtroom, Motelib told the judge through a translator: "We did a mistake here in the United States of America because at that time we were new here." The Los Angeles Times called the keeping of poor children as servants in wealthy households "a common though illegal practice in Egypt."....

this should NOT be funny

but it really IS. how stupid IS this? (i'd have pictures but blogger just isn't cooperating in uploading them)

U.S. Terror Targets: Petting Zoo and Flea Market?
WASHINGTON, July 11 — It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”
But the inspector general of the
Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these “unusual or out-of-place” sites “whose criticality is not readily apparent” are inexplicably included in the federal antiterrorism database.
The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.
The database is used by the Homeland Security Department to help divvy up the hundreds of millions of dollars in antiterrorism grants each year, including the program announced in May that cut money to New York City and Washington by 40 percent, while significantly increasing spending for cities including Louisville, Ky., and Omaha.
“We don’t find it embarrassing,” said the department’s deputy press secretary, Jarrod Agen. “The list is a valuable tool.”
But the audit says that lower-level department officials agreed that some older information in the inventory “was of low quality and that they had little faith in it.”
“The presence of large numbers of out-of-place assets taints the credibility of the data,” the report says......

.....The inspector general questions whether many of the sites listed in whole categories — like the 1,305 casinos, 163 water parks, 159 cruise ships, 244 jails, 3,773 malls, 718 mortuaries and 571 nursing homes — should even be included in the tally..........

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

i be a healer

virgina had one, connecticut had many (and some say the FIRST execution) as did other states. today really isn't that different (in my most humble AND knowing opinion)

Three-century-old Virginia witch is exonerated
Grace Sherwood was convicted through trial by water in 1706 VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (AP) -- The Witch of Pungo is no longer a witch.Gov. Timothy M. Kaine gave an informal pardon Monday to Grace Sherwood, who 300 years ago became Virginia's only person convicted as a witch tried by water."I am pleased to officially restore the good name of Grace Sherwood," Kaine wrote in a letter that Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf read aloud before a re-enactment of Sherwood's being dropped into the river."With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice," Kaine wrote. "We also can celebrate the fact that a woman's equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams." ( Watch the re-enactment of Sherwood's riverside trial -- :42 )Sherwood, a midwife who at times wore men's clothes and lived in what today is the rural Pungo neighborhood, later became known as "The Witch of Pungo."..........

i wrote about alse young a while ago. ties in

i wrote about
sgt patrick stewart, here

as did
left of center

all i can say is


Mystic mushrooms spawn magic event
Findings could lead to treatments for addiction, depression
NEW YORK (AP) -- People who took an illegal drug made from mushrooms reported profound mystical experiences that led to behavior changes lasting for weeks -- all part of an experiment that recalls the psychedelic '60s.
Many of the 36 volunteers rated their reaction to a single dose of the drug, called psilocybin, as one of the most meaningful or spiritually significant experiences of their lives. Some compared it to the birth of a child or the death of a parent.
Such comments "just seemed unbelievable," said Roland Griffiths of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, the study's lead author.
But don't try this at home, he warned. "Absolutely don't."
Almost a third of the research participants found the drug experience frightening even in the very controlled setting. That suggests people experimenting with the illicit drug on their own could be harmed, Griffiths said.
Viewed by some as a landmark, the study is one of the few rigorous looks in the past 40 years at a hallucinogen's effects. The researchers suggest the drug someday may help drug addicts kick their habit or aid terminally ill patients struggling with anxiety and depression...........

IMAGE: shawnzuke.com
Ned Lamont Has a Messy Desk

(NOT as messy as mine, i must say!!!)

should he be


you decide

Could Bush Be Prosecuted for War Crimes?
By Jan Frel, AlterNet. Posted July 10, 2006.
A Nuremberg chief prosecutor says there is a case for trying Bush for the 'supreme crime against humanity, an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.'
The extent to which American exceptionalism is embedded in the national psyche is awesome to behold.
While the United States is a country like any other, its citizens no more special than any others on the planet, Americans still react with surprise at the suggestion that their country could be held responsible for something as heinous as a war crime.
From the massacre of more than 100,000 people in the Philippines to the first nuclear attack ever at Hiroshima to the unprovoked invasion of Baghdad, U.S.-sponsored violence doesn't feel as wrong and worthy of prosecution in internationally sanctioned criminal courts as the gory, bload-soaked atrocities of Congo, Darfur, Rwanda, and most certainly not the Nazis -- most certainly not. Howard Zinn
recently described this as our "inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. We are penned in by the arrogant idea that this country is the center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior.".................

it just keeps getting deeper and deeper

and worse and worse. there ARE legal avenues the fbi (and nsa and all of 'em all) COULD take. you know, GET WARRANTS and the like. i UNDERSTAND the need to monitor phones or the internet or mail IF there is something to ACTUALLY base suspicions on, IF one follows the LAW and IF one gets the proper warrants from A JUDGE. how long are we going to allow our constitution to be trampled and spit upon before we stop them? remember, there WILL come a time WHEN IT IS TOO LATE

FBI Plans New Net-Tapping Push

by Declan McCullagh

The FBI has drafted sweeping legislation that would require Internet service providers to create wiretapping hubs for police surveillance and force makers of networking gear to build in backdoors for eavesdropping, CNET News.com has learned.
FBI Agent Barry Smith distributed the proposal at a private meeting last Friday with industry representatives and indicated it would be introduced by Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.
The draft bill would place the FBI's Net-surveillance push on solid legal footing. At the moment, it's ensnared in a legal challenge from universities and some technology companies that claim the Federal Communications Commission's broadband surveillance directives exceed what Congress has authorized.
The FBI claims that expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act is necessary to thwart criminals and terrorists who have turned to technologies like voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.
"The complexity and variety of communications technologies have dramatically increased in recent years, and the lawful intercept capabilities of the federal, state and local law enforcement community have been under continual stress, and in many cases have decreased or become impossible," according to a summary accompanying the draft bill..................

Monday, July 10, 2006

and THIS is why i believe in miracles

in the same vein as the previous story, hate crimes, neo-nazis, white power.................

WE CAN CHANGE. we CAN become human again, it IS within us

Pair Form Unlikely Team to Fight Prejudice

A former neo-Nazi and the gay man he once left bloodied on a street tell their stories at the Museum of Tolerance.
By Anna Gorman, Times Staff Writer 10:14 PM PDT, July 9, 2006
Theirs is an unlikely friendship.Timothy Zaal is a former neo-Nazi skinhead who served time behind bars on hate crime charges for assaulting an Iranian couple.
Matthew Boger is a gay man Zaal once beat unconscious on a street corner in Hollywood.More than two decades later, Zaal, 42, and Boger, 39, were brought together by their work at the Museum of Tolerance to fight hatred.After their initial shock, the two men have become friends, even turning to each other for advice and consolation. On Sunday, they sat next to each other on a museum stage and shared their story of reconciliation.Zaal, a stocky man with a goatee and tattoos, turned to Boger during the program and apologized for what he had done when they were teenagers.Boger, a much smaller man in a blazer and jeans, smiled awkwardly and responded, "But you are a good guy — now."That night in 1981, Boger was hanging out with a few friends at a hamburger stand when a group of skinheads ran toward them shouting obscenities. He remembers trying to flee to an alley, where Boger said he was trampled, punched and kicked."I came to, and all I saw was blood," Boger said...............

as always

i just don't GET it. i don't understand why one group is killing another. in this case it's shias killing sunnis but it COULD have been (and HAS been) the other way around

Shia massacre revives fears of civil war

· Mahdi army blamed for Baghdad street slaughter · Shias killed as car bombs explode near mosque Jonathan Steele Monday July 10, 2006 The Guardian

At least 40 people, apparently all Sunnis, were killed yesterday by Shia militants in a rampage in a Baghdad suburb - one of the capital's most deadly sectarian pogroms - that revived fears of civil war.
Witnesses said gunmen, some masked, set up roadblocks and stopped motorists in the mainly Sunni suburb of Jihad, near Baghdad airport, demanding to see identity cards. Those with Sunni names were shot dead; Shias were released.
The slaughter lasted several hours, according to Alaa Makki, a spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic party, one of the main Sunni parties, who blamed the Mahdi army, the Shia militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr. "There is a lot of evidence it was done by the Mahdi army," he told the Guardian by phone from Baghdad.............

many stories about this subject have been in the news of late

neo-nazis, skinheads (skinheads in the BAD definition), white supremacists, infiltrating our armed services. getting training so they will be well prepared to fight in their 'race wars'. we're allowing (well NOT we, THEY) them into the service well aware of who and what they are. even though there are REGULATIONS AND LAWS AGAINST admitting nazis into OUR armed forces, the decline in inlistments has recruiters shaking in their combat boots.

anyway, this is one of the best articles i've read on the subject:

Pentagon Reduced to Recruiting Neo-Nazis
By David Holthouse, Intelligence Report Posted on July 8, 2006, Printed on July 9, 2006http://www.alternet.org/story/38680/
Before the U.S. military made Matt Buschbacher a Navy SEAL, he made himself a soldier of the Fourth Reich.
Before Forrest Fogarty attended Military Police counter-insurgency training school, he attended Nazi skinhead festivals as lead singer for the hate rock band Attack.
And before Army engineer Jon Fain joined the invasion of Iraq to fight the War on Terror, the neo-Nazi National Alliance member fantasized about fighting a war on Jews.
"Ever since my youth -- when I watched WWII footage and saw how well-disciplined and sharply dressed the German forces were -- I have wanted to be a soldier," Fain said in a Winter 2004 interview with the National Alliance magazine Resistance. "Joining the American military was as close as I could get."
Ten years after Pentagon leaders toughened policies on extremist activities by active duty personnel -- a move that came in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing by decorated Gulf War combat veteran Timothy McVeigh and the murder of a black couple by members of a skinhead gang in the elite 82nd Airborne Division -- large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists continue to infiltrate the ranks of the world's best-trained, best-equipped fighting force. Military recruiters and base commanders, under intense pressure from the war in Iraq to fill the ranks, often look the other way.
Neo-Nazis "stretch across all branches of service, they are linking up across the branches once they're inside, and they are hard-core," Department of Defense gang detective Scott Barfield said. "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," he added. "That's a problem."
The armed forces are supposed to be a model of racial equality. American soldiers are supposed to be defenders of democracy. Neo-Nazis represent the opposite of these ideals. They dream of race war and revolution, and their motivations for enlisting are often quite different than serving their country.
"Join only for the training, and to better defend yourself, our people, and our culture," Fain said. "We must have people to open doors from the inside when the time comes.".............