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2004 - April thru August

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Sat, August 28, 2004

US soldiers killed in August has passed July and June already. It may become the 5th highest month total of the 18 month old war. At the current rate of killing, we will reach 1,000 by mid September.

This doesn't count the multiple number of that - 6,400 - who are wounded and will spend the rest of their lives with disabilities and scars and pain and anger and mental problems. Mental and emotional problems? We can't even count those. Tens of thousands. Wrecked families? Thousands. Just numbers to those who - having avoided service or Vietnam themselves - send our kids into the killing fields. In a country that literally is on the other side of the world.

Unverified. We are building at least 14 permanent military bases in Iraq. The official name is "enduring bases". Haliberton has the contract. We intend to stay. And hammer the rest of the Mid East into becoming our "friends". Do a google search.

Those photos of the 205th MI that I link to on Aug 26? They are being "updated" as I watch this morning. Pages disappear and reappear as new pages. However, they are using Aug 26 as the update date - not Aug 28, which is today. The original photos had been there since Sep 23, 2003. Now some have been removed and others put in their place. Maybe after the photo pages have been sanitized the links will go back up. Probably just destroying photos that could be evidence in court martial trials or war crimes trials. As I finish posting this, at 7:48am, all eight pages of photos have been taken off line.

9:24am - They forgot page 6 - with links to the other deleted pages.

9:28am - Page 6 deleted. Here is one of the photos from page 6. Captain Caldwell is stirring something that is burning in a half barrel. They call it "poo" on photos now deleted from the website. What is this poo that calls for an officer to burn?

Fri, Aug 27

How did Bush get in the National Guard and avoid Vietnam?

Let the truth prevail. What is wrong with the Swift Boat ads that trash Kerry's Vietnam record? Is it because they are 527 ads? No. Is it because this is negative campaigning? No. Is it because we should not criticize war veterans? No. Is it because only the Bush Campaign organization and the Republican Party should be allowed to run TV ads about the candidates? No.

What is wrong with the ads is they are full of lies and distortions. Lies that have been proven to be wrong. That is what is wrong. While polls show Americans generally don't believe the ads, the polls also show the ads have been effective in lowering Americans' opinion of Kerry. And Karl Rove and the Republican campaign machinery know this. And more lies will follow. Because even lies can damage Kerry.

Thur, Aug 26

The military sure likes to cover up information. Make it disappear. Never happened. The 205th Military Brigade - the outfit running the Abu Ghraib prison - has deleted the links to pages with photos of their officers and staff goofing off in Iraq. Gone. Now that their commander, Col. Pappas, has finally been exposed as responsible for the abuses, they are revising the brigade website to hide information. Why? Maybe so someone can later say they never met someone else, while a photo may exist of them drinking together. When they hide things the question is why. And there is always a reason.

But NwCit saved the link to the pages photos. While you cannot get to these from the 205th MI website, you can get there from NwCit. If you want any of these for future reference, download them now as they could disappear for real at any time.

From May 4 to May 18, NwCitizen posted reports and links to show that Col. Pappas was responsible. How would some citizen posting a personal blog know this? By simply reading and doing some Google searches. Knowing how the military chain of command works is also necessary and most veterans are familiar with the process. Why did not the mainstream media figure this out? Because by automatic reflex the media protect the elite and top managers of industry, government and the military. The media today are elite members themselves, unlike times past. They feel easy exposing a private or a common citizen, but not a colonel or general. Or senator or governor. Or mayor or port commissioner.

The point is - on many of these issues, the emperor has no clothes. But most people do not go where someone else says don't go. This includes the editors of major news media. They wait for the NY Times and the Washington Post to go into a new issue first. Of course, we now know that NY Times reporters have been falsifying stories for months with a bias towards the Bush government.

A doctored document that is relevant to this was exposed by NwCitizen back on May 17. Interestingly, I was told by a national news reporter that I was the only one to actually copy the original version. Others spotted the changes, but did not have a copy of the original as proof. The document denies what the two reports released this week, August 25, reveal were actually true. While the author of the doctored document may not have known what we know now, he also had no basis for his strong denouncement of Seymour Hersh's reporting. Seymour Hersh is now proved right - again.

Wed, Aug 25

Bill Mize is turning over in his grave. This morning the Rome Grange cancelled the Motor Boats Off issue from their agenda at this evening's Bill Mize Forum. Why? Threats and demands from the motor boating community. Rational used to cancel: "Too contentious".

I knew Bill. I wonder how many of those organizers ever bothered to seek his philosophy of public debates and why he started the forum. Bill worked hard for progressive county government and open processes. His forum was intended to open the political campaigning season with a brief Q&A to each candidate. The whole idea of the Bill Mize Forum is to introduce candidates and issues to the public process. Shame on these current wimps. Bill never ducked anything. And shame on the stick in the mud motor boat owners.

Mon, Aug 23

Let truth prevail. The military records of Kerry and Bush are relevant. Both sides have spent millions because they think the American voters care. We are in a war and personal military experience is relevant.

Kerry objects to the lies, not the investigation of his record. Bush objects to any investigation of his record. Big difference. The lie has been put to the Swift Boat veterans and they are eating their own words.

What is relevant or not relevant in this campaign is subjective and we can all disagree. What are the facts and what is the truth can be investigated and exposed. Let the truth come out.

Shame on Senator Dole. He has suggested Kerry was not really wounded. Dole's first purple heart was for a slight would he received from a hand grenade he threw that bounced off a tree. Should we belittle him? Would Dole have us examine all veteran records and belittle those we - we who never came under enemy fire - think are not deserving? Pandora's box is being opened by the right wing veterans.

Veterans trashing veterans is amazing. This vindicates the truth seeking of Viet war critics 30 years ago - legitimate democracy discourse that Republicans and Right Wing radicals have denounced for 30 years. My my. They rush in to do what they condemned when it suits their political agenda.

In a democracy, the facts and the truth always deserve to be exposed about public officials and public agencies.

Sun, Aug 22

The Bush campaign machine's smear of Kerry's service record is beginning to backfire. Soon, when attention is turned to Bush's record, watch the Republicans scream foul. None screamed as lies were told about Kerry, but if the truth is told about Bush then they - being chicken, draft dodging Republicans - will scream.

William Rood, who served with Kerry, has written for the first time in 35 years to back up what Kerry says happened. And put the lie to the Swift Boat group of Viet vets. Go find it in today's news and read it.

I'm a Viet era vet. I volunteered for Vietnam but was told I was needed where I was - helping brief spy planes over Soviet areas. I joined the service before the Gulf of Tonkin and was proud to serve my country. After the service I came to Western on the GI bill and in April '68 came around to opposing the war. I tried hard to help my anti-war friends understand that it was the government, not the service men and women, that was responsible for the war. We vets understood how the system worked.

I respect a draft dodger or escapee to Canada who avoided the war and is up front about it. They saw how unjust the war was and they had no desire to lose their life or limbs for a useless attempt at empire by a corrupt US government. I know that if I had gone to Vietnam that I would have come home a war resister.

But Cheney, Limbaugh, Wolfowitz, Rove, Gingrich and O'Reilly, to name only a few, all avoided military service during Vietnam by one deception or another. Now they send our kids to war. And make no mistake about it - Rove is behind the Kerry attack ads. The supposed leader of today's smear - O'Neill - was secretly recruited by Nixon in 1971 to smear Kerry then. We only got proof a few weeks ago on a released tape recording. Will we wait 30 years for proof that Rove and the Republican party are in control of today's smear? Probably.

Pat Buchanan is coming out with a book explaining how the Bush government is not conservative. I urge my supposedly Republican and conservative friends to read it. Get yourselves back on track. Having a healthy conservative establishment is a needed foil to liberal ideas. But this present group in national power is a radical group that is leading us down the road to perdition. Wake up and think, my conservative friends.

Thur, Aug 19

Bush ads are trashing a Vietnam veteran's record. The trashing of Vietnam veterans is supposedly the realm of war hating hippies and liberals. Republicans have expressed their disdain about this for over 30 years - usually suggesting that anyone who trashs a veteran should be tried for treason or exiled.

The ads continue because Bush wants them to continue.

My Republican friends should pause and reflect on the weird places they find themselves this summer. They are trying to destroy a decorated Vietnam veteran. They are pulling our troops out of Europe and the Far East. They are running up budget deficits of record breaking sizes. The real Republicans - the true conservatives - that I knew would have considered these acts to be things that only Democrats or wimpy liberals would do. The power crazy clique in power now are not true conservatives nor adherents to Republican principles.

In a couple years my right wing friends will be denying they ever approved of such acts. But none will speak out now against them. In typical high school locker room fashion, they go along to get along. They crucify the different person and applaud their clique leader - no matter how nuts he may be.

Mon, Aug 16

So - will the Bush government now seek a violent way to overthrow Chavez as president of Venezuela now that he has easily survived the recall referendum? Our CIA and other secret U.S. agencies have been meddling for years trying to support rebels or anything to depose this democratically elected leader. Saying Bush is for democracy is like saying Reagan was keenly concerned about the poor and disabled in the 80s.

Why? Because of oil and oil profits. And the control of oil. Chavez is using the profits to help the citizens of his country - and the oil companies are depending on the Bush government to get rid of the bastard - no matter what it takes. His country is #5 for oil in the world.

What my conservative friends have to realize is there is absolutely no limit to how far the handlers of Bush will go for their goals. Don't be surprised by anything. Chavez will go - one way or the other. Period. Otherwise other elected leaders of other countries might get ideas of their own. And the Bush government will not allow that. Just watch.

Sun, Aug 15

The best comment yet on the movie Fahrenheit 911, in my opinion. Dan Carpenter of the Indianapolis Star puts the movie into perspective.

Mon, Aug 2

The Mercury Study by the U.S. Geological Survey has been released. It is available as a PDF file download at:

http://water.usgs.gov/pubs/sir/2004/5084/

This study is of mercury in lakes throughout western Whatcom County, with important studies on Lake Whatcom. There is mercury - and it is not naturally deposited. The report deals with where it came from and how much is there.

Yes, the Georgia Pacific Chlorine plant put a lot of mercury into the air that settled all over Whatcom County. Dah. The Northwest Passage alternative newspaper told us that in 1969 and 1970. It was denied or ignored for over 30 years by local media, city and county elected officials and our Washington State Department of Ecology.

Our County Health Department is today sitting on health reports of the tragic effects of the mercury - and other toxics - that were spewed for 30 years by GP. But even today - August 2004 - no county council representatives have the courage to speak out and demand the health department give us full reports. We may have to wait 30 years for that. The four supposed liberal and environmental council members avoid the issue of county health. Seth? Laurie? Dan? Sharon? Anyone want to step forward?

Tue, July 13

Bush is a one trick pony. He has his leering look as he leans over a podium and says the US is safer with Sadam removed from power. Thats it. And variations on that. He has it down pat. He stumbles when he speaks of anything else. But he has that one little act down perfect.

You would not know we had an intelligence failure to listen to Bush. He is on the same mantra. To say the CIA failed him is absurd - he is still saying the same stuff even now after it is revealed the supposed WMD facts were wrong. He changes a word or two but his message is the same.

Yet - while he says we are "safer" now, his weird people are proposing that we be ready to postpone the election. Are we safer or are we in grave danger? They want it both ways. We must not delay baseball games or they say the terrorists "will win", but delaying the presidential election is OK. Do they think Americans cannot see the absurd disconnect?

By proposing that we consider delaying the election, Bush's weird people have given a victory to the terrorists. And maybe even encouraged a terrorist act as having a chance to seriously disrupt our political process.

Mon, July 12

Postpone the election. Well, no surprise. And not even close to the extreme measures the weird people behind Bush will go to avoid being thrown out of office. They went ballistics when Clinton was elected. They used the hostages in Iran to get Carter out of office - used them as bargaining chips - used them as pawns - allowed them to stay captives for months - just to get Carter out of office.

Nixon stopped at no despicable crime to prevent a Democrat from being elected in 1972. It was only chance that caught him and all his crooks.

Now we are treated to right wingers promoting plans to delay the election. To actually stop democracy. To hold things up until their guy has an edge in the polls. To set up a system that will not even need a terror attack in order to legally delay the election. Who needs conspiracy theories with these guys.

What is next? There will be some traumatic events during the next four months. Why? Because Bush and company are absolutely determined to not be voted out of office. They will go to any extreme to stay in office. Any extreme. It does not bode well for democracy over the next few months.

We have a plan in case of a terror attack. We have our election. Period. On the appointed day. We do not let terrorists dictate to us. We do not let a usurper of the presidential office dictate to us. Our plan is we will not delay our election. These are dark days for our republic.

Sun, July 11

Have you seen the movie yet? Seems most of my conservative friends are avoiding it. But they tell me what they think of Michael Moore and they are not nice comments. They should see the movie first.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is the #4 movie after three weeks in theaters and has grossed over $80 million. It has legs. If you have seen it then you know it will impact the election this fall. Bush is out. Will Cheney now withdraw for "health" reasons and allow McCain to be put on the ticket?

Let me add to my comments/review of July 3.

The movie is more an indictment of our news media than it is of Bush. It is not - Not - an indictment of Republicans or conservatives. It is a direct slam of Bush and his family and his motives. And his lack of intelligence. But no wonder our news media are so angry at the film as it really slams them.

I never knew that Bush's inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue was pelted with eggs and thousands of people were protesting and the motorcade had to speed down the Avenue to escape. Our news media did not tell me that.

I never knew that numerous black US Congress representatives tried to force a floor debate and vote on the presidential election process but that VP Al Gore and every single Democratic Senator refused to help them. Our Senators Murray and Cantwell refused to help them. These courageous black representatives were left out in the wind. This is a condemnation of our liberal friends. Shame on them. And on our news media who never reported this to us.

Moore makes a convincing case that Bush should not be reelected. But he does not make any case against conservatives or for liberals. My conservative friends should go see the movie. Bush does not represent the conservative values of Goldwater nor of fiscal conservative Republicans. Moore has made a movie that points out a lack of conservative values in Bush and his administration.

Sat, July 3

Saw Fahrenheit 9/11. Very good documentary. The Democrats do not get off clean. The Democrats are well documented in the movie going along with Bush's absurd war against Iraq. They are shown as mindless suits without a bit of backbone or courage. There are individual exceptions and most of those are black officials.

Not a single Democratic Senator - including Cantwell and Murray - would sign the opposition resolution of several House representatives which would have allowed discussion of the presidential election of 2000. Not a single one. Let Murray answer for that. She won't. Shame on her.

Op-ed or documentary? It is a well documented indictment of our government's war of aggression on Iraq. And of the Bush family ties to the Saudi ruling families and the bin Laden family. Does Michael Moore express opinions and do voice overs? Yes - as do all documentaries. Take an old Disney nature film. The voice over would say something like: "The deer is unaware of the cougar stalking it in the deep snow," while the film showed what was happening. Duh. Moore documents with film what he tells us in voice overs. But he lets people speak for themselves - and they do. It is well documented.

What is funny are the boys on FoxNews screaming that it is not a documentary and that it should be counted as a Kerry campaign expense. Well, then FoxNews should be a Bush campaign expense because Fox is not news but a propaganda unit for the Bush administration - and they don't even document their biased reports.

The strongest indictments of Bush come right from his own mouth - the scenes showing Bush talking. This movie tells the truth about our country's politics and wars. It is a shameful truth. And I don't think Americans want this to continue. Moore shows us what is happening and I think this will be a big factor in the defeat of Bush. Thank you Michael.

Thur, July 1

Fahrenheit 9/11 is breaking records. This from the movie revenue watch website Box Office MoJo. "In terms of raw dollars, Fahrenheit is actually the biggest opening ever for a movie playing at less than 1,000 theaters, topping Rocky III's $12.4 million at 939 venues." That includes all movies, not just documentaries. It has grossed over $35 million as of today at only 868 theaters. Do the math. Those who showed it made good profits.

Despite theater chains choosing to not show the film - political pressure? - Americans want to see it. Of almost 4,000 available theaters in the USA, only about 900 are showing the film. Until yesterday it was not being shown in Bellingham because Regal withheld it. It appears they choose to forego the profits and not show it.

See June 30 post for local viewing information.

Wed, June 30

No showing of Fahrenheit 9/11 in Bellingham this past week. Why not? Because Regal Cinema booked the rights to show it but waited to see if it was well attended. Regal controls all three movie theater complexes in Bellingham. It will now start at the Sehome theater. If the movie had not done well they would not be showing it in Bham. Shame on them.

I recommend you see the movie at the Cascade Cinema in Burlington - only 20 minutes south on I-5. Great seats - better screen and much better sound system. It is a fun experience to go to a movie down there. Much better than any Regal theater in Bellingham.

You can phone for show times. 1-360-707-2900 Here is what it says today. Fahrenheit 9/11 at 11:20 am, 2:10 pm, 5 pm, 7:40 pm and 10:20 pm. Take exit 229 off I-5. Exit 230 also works as it is between them.

The Pickford Cinema in Bellingham will be showing the movie this fall when it is done in the first run theaters. The Pickford, while being small, is also a fun place to see a movie.

What is amazing is the movie racked up $27 million is revenue in less than a week even though only 868 theaters showed it in the US, instead of the 3,020 that are showing the dumb Dodgeball. Americans had to really want to see this movie. They are giving it standing ovations at the end of the movie. The news media are doing their best to rank it - to no avail. It is averaging $27,568 per theater - check for yourself. The website Box Office Mojo follows movie revenues. This is more per theater than Shrek 2 or Return of the King. The media are under reporting this cultural phenomenon.

Thur, June 17

From a friend who is an enlisted person in the military - in a combat unit. The officers - the lieutenants - of his unit lectured them this week about torture. The officers said the enlisted soldiers at Abu Ghraib were stupid to take photos.

The officers told their troops to never take photos. The officers told the troops that when they capture an enemy, they should beat the shit out of captured soldiers - and torture them - but to not take photos.

This week. US active armed forces. Officers. Name withheld to possibly avoid retribution.

Thur, June 10

We are remembering Reagan for the wrong reasons and we will suffer for it. Reagan did not win the Cold War. Communism was systemically fatal - just as all the conservatives kept saying. Reagan did do the right things to end the Cold War - and he deserves or thanks and admiration for that. As does Russian leader Gorbachev.

There is an excellent short article in Slate about this. As time goes by over the next few years, I predict we will learn more of Reagan the dove. He was effective in his efforts to end the Cold War because he backed away from threatening the Soviet Union.

Domestically, Reagan was a Neanderthal. He cut social programs and put mentally ill people on the streets where they continue to cause us problems. He thought AIDS would punish gays and allowed it to spread - when it could have been stopped with social and health programs. He totally ignored the gains and needs of blacks and other minorities - figuring in his simplistic way that they needed to lift themselves up despite the prejudices and barriers set against their progress. He was intolerant of those who had values different from his own. He allowed the environment to be trashed. He talked of smaller government while he built the Federal government up. He oversaw the huge transfer of wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy. He started the process whereby multi-national corporations control the media. He was the hero of all who want simple answers to complex issues.

However, Reagan was a genuine person and I think much of his popularity is because of that. He acted from his own convictions - and was his own person. He deserves the honors as a past president who acted as he saw best for his country. I think that is why he is still so popular.

In the end, he and Gorbachev deserve credit for ending the Cold War. And that is more important than anything else. We humans stepped back from the abyss. If only our present leaders could see how to do that, as they take us towards the abyss again.

Thur, June 3

Mercury in Lake Whatcom. Today the Washington Department of Ecology released a report that says, basically, that mercury in the lake is less now than in the past. "Decreasing" is the operative word.

Local conservatives are sending out sarcastic emails. "Lets see how this is reported." Their point is the environmentalists who have been warning of health risks from our drinking water are alarmists with no scientific basis for their concerns. It is odd to see conservatives selectively deciding to believe a government report. To stay in character they should be screaming about the waste of taxpayer dollars on a study saying our safe water is safe. Why do they believe this study?

Our DOE office in Bellingham has a terrible record when it comes to telling the truth. They have covered up the danger from mercury leaking from the Chlorine plant at Georgia Pacific for many years. What mercury danger? Into our bay water and into our air. The mercury in Lake Whatcom may have come from the Chlorine plant. Maybe it is going down now because the Chlorine plant has been closed for several years.

Fish in the lake have high levels of mercury - high enough that the DOE recommends against eating them. That is not in the report. The source of the mercury is still unknown The reports admits that.

In a few days, the US Geological Survey will issue their report on the mercury in Lake Whatcom. It will be a full report, not a quickie like the DOE released. We will see what the Feds have to say - and if our conservative friends again want to uncritically believe a government report.

Mon, May 24

Re: Chamber of Commerce insert in today's Bellingham Herald.

The initiative is 'remove motor boats', not 'remove boats' from Lake Whatcom. Our Chamber of Commerce just lies in print to achieve their goal of defeating the initiative. Then the illustration shows a canoe - hello? No one is trying to remove canoes from the lake. The initiative is aimed at removing very polluting outboard motors from Lake Whatcom. Indeed, this would make the lake more attractive to canoeing. Have you ever been in a canoe when a speed boat roars by and gives you their wake?

For the record, the initiative seeks to give the voters a choice of whether to ban polluting motor boats from the lake which is also our drinking water source.

This false headline puts the rest of the article in disrepute - why believe anything else? And for that matter, the whole 12 pages of Vol. 1, #1 is a joke. The Bellingham Herald and the Chamber are teaming up to try and compete with the Bellingham Business Journal. In my opinion, the Journal is the most outstanding publication in Whatcom County. John Thompson and his staff do a better job on their mission than any other publication. Each month when the Journal comes out, the Herald manages to get an early issue and then quickly prints articles on topics in the Journal.

Ken Oplinger, Chamber president, wrote the article - although he did not have the decency to put his name to it. Ken is new to our area. The Herald sold the ads - and they can hide behind the Chamber and claim they did not write the lies. Did the Herald print the insert? Did Herald staff lay out the tabloid? And is the Herald ducking any responsibility for the contents?

I have not signed nor endorsed the Motor Boats Off initiative. Benzene is about #10 on the list of problems in the lake and clean motors should be allowed. But the initiative is a poke with a sharp stick to our power elite who have refused for years to do anything to clean up Lake Whatcom. Suddenly they are for reasonable measures. Take the initiative away and they will immediately go back to their reactionary stance of nothing is wrong.

Meanwhile, truth takes a back seat. And our best educated and wealthiest community members push blatant lies at the voters. Shame on them.

Tue, May 18

The Military Intelligence units are beginning to be exposed. ABC News has an exclusive interview with a sergeant in the 302 MI Battalion, a unit of Col Pappas 205 MI Brigade. See NwCit report below of May 4 - two weeks ago. The sergeant says there was and is a coverup going on to hide the Military Intelligence units directing of the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. We can assume this torture is still going on in Afghanistan and in Cuba where this brigade operates.

Mon, May 17

How our US Government falsifies documents. This was posted on the DOD website on Saturday - and I took a computer photo of it on Sunday - to catch them if they changed it. Well, they went back and doctored it - improved it - without giving any indication of their meddling. Check what is posted today. Note the date is May 15 - but it was changed today. I made the computer photo at 11 pm Sunday evening, 2 am Monday Pentagon time. Maybe they will change it again next week. Compare them side by side and see for yourself.

If government documents are modified for the protection and convenience of government agencies and employees, then the idea of documents goes out the window. We cannot trust government documents to be what they say they are. In the old days of paper, this could not be done once documents were released to the public. Now, with electronic documents on the Internet, it is very tempting. Too tempting, apparently.

So - they lie and twist the truth to suit their needs. It is not a question of if they do it, but rather a question of how often. Why am I not surprised. I first looked at this DOD press release via a link from the blog of Josh Marshall on Sunday, and then today Josh noticed the change. In the right side column under War & Peace is a link to his website.

Sy Hersh has exposed some serious military scandals in the past - and the Pentagon accused Hersh of false reporting then. Sy was proved correct. His story in the New Yorker asserts that Secretary of Defense Rumsfield authorized the torture of prisoners.

A careful reading of the Pentagon statement shows they do not actually deny the story is correct. The statement rants and insults Sy Hersh and his magazine, but does not actually deny the main charge that Rumsfield authorized the torture.

Oh, and yeah, I made another screen dump just now. Will it be doctored again?

Wed, May 12

Torture. What is it? It is to cause extreme physical or mental pain for punishment or to extract a confession or information. Our government officials are now saying we do not torture because we follow the Geneva rules. That is a teenager's method of reasoning. Our government as a matter or policy endorses torture of war captives. And they expect us to accept their mealy mouthed explanations.

Those MPs in the photos may not have done anything to the prisoners. The 205nd Military Intelligence Brigade officers - up to Col Pappas - were in charge of the torture and setting up the humiliating photos. The MPs were ordered to stand in the photos. Now our government is covering up the torture by the officers and allowing young enlisted kids to take the rap.

Our country has come down a long road. I cannot believe Americans would learn of this stuff 10 years ago and shrug it off as just the daily news. We have become dulled to our own atrocities. I grew up with people wondering how the Germans could have allowed a Hitler to arise among what is a good nation. Well, this is how it happens. One week at a time with increasingly horrifying acts. We adjust to them gradually as we go about our daily lives - working and trying to just live.

Torture is barbaric. No matter what approved or novel methods are used. Sleep deprivation, being forced to kneel or stand for long periods, being bomarded with loud noise, being stripped naked, being forced to wear a hood over your head, being subject to heat or cold, being isolated, being made confused - all are inhumane and barbaric.

The new commander of the Iraqi prison was in charge of the base in Cuba - Gitmo. There he oversaw torture of prisoners and prevented any photos from leaking out. He is an expert in torture and how to keep it secret. Sending him to Iraq is how our government addresses this problem.

Mon, May 10

A short note. For days we have all listened to voices from the left demand resignations and voices from the right actually defend this behavior or at least excuse it. We have not seen any reporting on the Military Intelligence - the 205 Military Intelligence Brigade and its commander Col. Thomas Pappas. Reporting is very one dimensional.

What is needed is simple. A full, prompt investigation of the entire matter. That is not happening. None have started. Only secret Army controlled internal investigations are being done. The Army has a long, proud history of whitewashing scandals in its own ranks.

We have a rush to scapegoat - a rush to court martial one of the MPs - starting next week. Does anyone think he will be found innocent? This is a kangaroo court at it finest. We Americans are sticking our collective heads in the sand. We will reap the whirlwind.

Thur, May 6

Questions not being asked by the press about the abuses. At least I've not run across them in news reports. The reports have not gone into any more detail in three days. We see a few more photos but no really new facts.

Are the soldiers in the photos just dupes - asked to stand and pose for photos by the Intelligence officers who are the ones that "arranged" the humiliating poses of Iraqi prisoners?

Did civilian interrogators hired by the Defense Department commit the actual tortures and abuses? Military Law supposedly does not apply to them.

Why is the press not interviewing participants? We are three days into this mess.

Wed, May 5

Colonel Thomas Pappas continues in command of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade - according to today's Baltimore Sun. He is the bastard who has the most to answer for in this whole abuse mess. And maybe he is the guy who should be pilloried in public - and not some poor privates and a sergeant.

Foreign press again provides better news coverage on our news than do American press firms. The Sydney Morning Herald, of Australia, has an excellent article. Seems the Army command in Iraq gave special control of the prison to Pappas' Military Intelligence outfit last November - just about when the abuses reportedly began.

If you are reading this and you have a connection with another Internet news or blog website, please do some google searches and post links to articles exposing the military intelligence involvement. If the TV and print news media will not out these guys, then let us on the Internet do it. You can encourage other websites to post information on this. The Internet now has the power to trump the TV and print media - if we use it.

What is the point? The military police are not the culprits here, as the press is reporting. The most responsible is probably the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade. The press is just trashing the MPs and not even mentioning the 205th. The MPs have their share of blame, but not the primary blame. The military intelligence outfit made the abuse systematic - and may well continue unless they are made accountable.

When I was in the service, I lived in the same hallway for three years with MI guys. They were weird. In three years we never had a decent conversation with them. On the other side of us were the rooms for the MASH outfit for Europe - and we were all good buddies. (This was long before the book that glamorized them.) It is important that the MPs not be blamed for abuses committed by the spooks. The spooks need to be brought under control. They are weird cookies - as anyone who has been around them knows.

Tue, May 4

Colonel Thomas Pappas. Why have the news media not told you about this guy? They have told us a lot about General Janis Karpinski, the commander of the military police who operated the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq where the prisoners were abused. But good old boy Pappas seems to be below the radar. He commanded the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade - the folks who did all the interrogating - and the folks who apparently encouraged the abuse by the untrained MPs.

Pappas is included in the Taguba Report - the Army's own investigation of the abuses. You can look at photos at the 205th's website - but they forgot to post abuse photos. Pappas is a cigar chomping commander. This was the group that the MPs were ordered to cooperate with. This was the group that ran the interrogation area. Strange silence about this guy and his brigade. Why? Only vague references to an interrogation outfit. Hell, we know who they are.

Let the investigation continue. Let the reporting be comprehensive.

Mon, May 3

The abuse of Iraqi prisoners is a sad development for our country. I don't want to pile on and kick our military as we need a strong armed services to survive in this world. We can only hope that full investigations are carried out.

But I can tell you this - and every service veteran can tell you this. This abuse could only happen with officers up the chain of command knowing about it. There is emerging evidence that special interrogation units - operating outside the chain of command - were responsible. So far this is being largely ignored by the press. Perhaps officers in the chain of command were ordered to overlook these interrogation units and give them cooperation. That is my guess of what will emerge.

It is contrary to their training and code of honor for regular US military officers to initiate such abuse. But it is part of the military justice system to find scapegoats and let upper level officers who knew what was happening to go free. Hopefully the press will expose the interrogation units and the higher officers who looked the other way.

Tue, Apr 27

C-130 gunships are massacring innocent people in Fallujah and Najaf. No question - we Americans have constructed horrible killing machines. The military likes to say they save "friendly" personnel. Well, yes, if you kill everyone in a 50 yard circle and demolish every building in a city block, then you have probably killed the enemy soldiers - and all the innocent civilians cowering in their homes also. Dropping a huge bomb does the same - like when we killed dozens at a time trying to bomb Saddam a year ago.

This Fallujah blood bath was executed during the 'cease fire' that our American military says was not interupted by the action. We show unbounded ability to deceive ourselves. Our military shows that old gung ho attitude of ignoring reality and going straight ahead into disaster.

This war will get worse - because we are turning the entire Arab and Islamic world against us. The war hawks hope we will soon reach a point where the Iraqis will stop resisting us because they will be afraid of our ability to annihilate them. Just listen to the actual words our generals are saying on TV news shows this week. They are threatening death with incredibly stark words. But it only convinces more Iraqis to resist us.

Just one citizen's concerns. An ordinary citizen - a veteran - appalled at what out country is turning into. We are on a blind rampage. We will have all the world against us soon. And we won't have a clue why. Indiscriminate use of C-130 gunships will be one reason why. You know how we can prevent our soldiers from being killed by Iraqis fighters? Bring our kids back to the USA.

Thur, Apr 22

Dead US soldiers. Showing you this photo is considered unpatriotic by the US Department of Defense. Maybe against the law. They ship these guys and gals home at night and forbid photos. You are not supposed to ever see this photo. It might occur to you that we are needlessly killing off our young people.

These are our youngsters. They wanted to help defend democracy and our country. Instead they were used as cannon fodder in a foreign war of conquest - ordered by men who avoided their own military service when they were youngsters. George Bush avoided Vietnam through his father's connections and then went AWOL. Most of his advisors avoided the draft and never served in uniform. While other youngsters were dying in Vietnam. And now he is using the lives of a new generation to maintain his macho image of hanging tough. He wastes the lives of our kids.

Nice flags. But drapping these coffins in flags is an empty gesture. There is no glory in a wasted life.

Sun, Apr 18

NwCitizen applauds the Spanish pullout from Iraq. They have chosen to stop being dupes of the US. The Spanish people overwhelmingly told their government to stop the invasion and occupation of a country that was no threat to any other country - and certainly not Spain.

Their pullout will help reduce terrorism. The Islamic terrorists want only one thing - the end of the US invasion of the Middle East. They are using the only weapons they have against us - terrorism. The US, meanwhile, is wasting lives and effort in Iraq and now we are pulling troops out of Afghanistan and reducing the search for Osama and the real terrorists. This allows Osama to continue terror against those countries invading Iraq. Does this sound like a viscous circle? It is.

We have idiots leading our government who are pursuing family feuds and personal wealth and power. Their macho attitude is killing our troops for no reason. Bush is blind in his pursuit of "victory" in Iraq. And he is leading the US into disaster. Spain has decided to get off this crazy bus. They are showing common sense.

Oh - another 10 US troops have been killed in Iraq this weekend.
Of course no information on how many were wounded. Or how many Iraqis killed and wounded.

Tue, Apr 13

Watching George Bush self destruct. This will go down as the worst presidential press conference is the history of the American Presidency.

The fellow spoke today to mute the headlines that would result from his intelligence chiefs testifying before the 911 Commission today. Well, he will get the headlines tomorrow. And hopefully the testimony will be covered in the future.

He gave us many incredible quotes that will be fun to read and laugh about during the next few months and years. And he will go down to defeat this November.

Meanwhile, over 80 of our US service men and women were killed in Iraq over the past two weeks. We will go down to defeat in Iraq - just as sure as we were thrown out of Vietnam.

Mon, Apr 12

The following is from an email I received from Takhoman, the Internet news in Tacoma who first broke the story of their police chief Brame when the regular media would not touch it. Takhoman is reliable. And I bet you know nothing of the detention facility being built in our state. This is also the business of us in Bellingham. This story refers to his experience this past week. - John Servais

Watchers watching the watchers

The following is an internet post from Tim Smith, Chair of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee of Tacoma. Smith and members of his committee have been outspoken vocal opponents of the soon to be opened federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility on Tacoma's tide flats. The camp, which is scheduled to be populated on April 23, will be operated by Correctional Services Corp. of Florida.
----

The current struggle with the Northwest Detention Center (Camp Tacoma) is moving to yet another level. We are in contact with the Mexican Consulate in Seattle, The Russian and Ukrainian Embassies in Washington DC and a few other missions from Central Europe and the Pacific-Asian Community. No where in the world other than Iran, Iraq,
Libya, North Korea and China (PRC) would a modern, civilized country place any human being in a prison on a toxic waste site.

Yesterday I left the camp after having watched the guards do lunch. I was also taking a close look at the big piles of dirt behind the building.

On a wonderfully sunny Tacoma day I drove toward home from the site to get some sleep. I had been up for about 48 hours straight and needed some downtime. I drove up Portland Avenue and started going down the 509 freeway into Tacoma. From seemingly out of nowhere a dark green car with heavy duty (maybe bulletproof) tires moved behind
my truck and turned on the front grill red and white lights.

Of course I was alarmed and pulled over. A fine young American officer wearing an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) uniform approached the truck from the driver's side. His partner, a striking female, stood near the tailgate with her hand on a 9 mm Glock pistol with a 20 round magazine.

Officer Smith (how interesting) asked me for ID. I gave him my passport. I also asked him why he stopped me and under what authority. He stated I was in an ICE Enforcement Zone (technically correct - I was still in the Port Area) which the Coast Guard declared some months ago.

Again I asked about why I had been stopped and Officer Smith stated it was because I had a broken light on the left side of my license plate. This is true but being just after lunch on a sunny day I did not need to use this light. My headlights were not on.

Officer Smith then asked for my driver's license, registration and insurance card which were immediately provided. Officer Smith went back to the car and put some information into the laptop computer.

Then another ICE Chevy Suburban with 4 burly men showed up and pulled behind the cruiser. Officer Smith returned and asked me to step from the vehicle. I asked why and he stated they needed to search the vehicle for their own safety. At this time I began to realize that the intent of the stop was both intimidation and a search for information. I told the Officer that I did not consent to the search but the 9mm Pistol and the burly men were enough for me to use discretion and not push the issue.

Another Chevy Suburban pulled up with tinted windows and 5 radio antennas which included cell phones and a GPS system. Four more burly guys in suits were seated inside.

They then proceeded to search my truck and valise. My valise contains all the important documents (copies) supporting our cause and also holds pictures related to the Detention Camp. They focused on these documents and pictures.

In my bag, I also had a Swiss Army knife and they insinuated that I had some sort of concealed weapon. They didn't push the issue when I again informed them that the search was illegal.

Officer Smith stated, "We will protect this country and if we have to stop you, we will." I realized that I had nothing to hide and everything in the truck and bag was perfectly legal. All of the documents had come from public records. They did not have the capability or desire to open the files on the computer disks and CD-ROMS, however.

It seemed like an hour but it was only about 20 minutes. I watched the mountains and enjoyed the sunshine. I broke out my copy of the Bill of Rights and began to read from it once again.

The Big Chevy Suburban with the black windows and room for 8 but only holding four turned out and sped away. The ICE truck then left. Officer Smith gave me back my identification documents and recommended I fix my tail light then he drove away with his partner.

I went home.

Am I afraid you may ask? Not one bit. I've been through various checkpoints in my life and most were much more severe and professional than this one. But for many the experience might be traumatic. If I had a last name like Mohammed or Garcia things would have been quite different I am sure. I need to fix that light.

So should you. Make sure your car is completely functional. Carry all the current documents. Take your passport. Know your rights if stopped.

Sat, Apr 10

If you want to know what is happening in Iraq then you have to read the foreign press and independent websites. The major American news media are not present where the action is and are simply sanitizing the news for us.

Children and teenagers often hope for the best and ignore all the warning signs of problems. They hope if they ignore them then they will go away or that they won't even exist. If we adult citizens read and watch only the news that is comforting and reassuring to us and pretend bad news must be distortions by those who do not share our democratic values, then we are like children. And we will bring the whirlwind down around us.

Already it is becoming unsafe for Americans to travel abroad. Our US State Department is warning us. Even now countries who were our good friends a few years ago are turning against us. If we think like children and stubbornly assert we are right and everyone else is wrong, then we have only ourselves to blame when we suffer the consequences.

If you think you live in a democracy then you need to learn the truth of what is happening in Iraq. You - me - all of us - are in charge. We will make decisions this November. If we make those decisions based on wishes, fantasy, stubborness and ignorance then we cannot blame anyone else for what happens during the next four years.

Simply put - if we all knew what our government is doing in Iraq then we would all - conservatives and liberals - vote out this president. Read the non-mainstream press and websites. Please.

Fri, Apr 9

10:00 pm
Tragedy and war crimes in Iraq. You will not learn the full truth about this week in Iraq for many years - if the US military has its way. Our troops are causing unspeakable horrors to the Iraqi people. You must read the foreign press reports. The War and Peace links below.

What must we do? Should or might do? Tell our elected representatives - Larsen, Murray, Cantwell - to speak out against the insanity. They can help stop our country from becoming the most hated country in the world since Nazi Germany. Hell, I don't expect my words to do anything. But I will be able to look back later and answer those who will say "who would have known?" I know - and you know - and we are common citizens. Our leaders are deer frozen in headlights.

5:00 pm
My right wing friends, who worship Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia have so much to be proud of. Wednesday he made a speech in which he praised the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Of course he had his SS guards physically harass reporters and confiscate recorders. Ahh yes - the very same fellow who violated the constitution and installed George the usurper into office as president. And we think we are entitled to tell Iraq what kind of government they should have?

Wed, Apr 7

4pm
To watch CNN
today is to ask "what mass killing of Iraqis in a mosque". Same on FoxNews. Not mentioned directly and you have to look elsewhere for details. Much talk about 'test of wills' and US military 'firmness' and efforts to 'control' and other such empty noises. But the killing of dozens of women and children in a reckless assault on a city three times the size of Bellingham is not reported.

Gee - a missile into a mosque. A dozen US Marines killed yesterday. My right wing friends think we can solve this with resolve and firmness and showing we will not back down. So a missile into mosque. Well, that just added another million Iraqis to the those we need to be firm with. Hell, we may have to destroy the towns in order to bring democracy to Iraq.

In any society there is 8% who will elect a dead dog to public office or support the most immoral actions of any government official. The big news corporations make money if people are compelled to follow news. Put these two facts together and you have our present insanity of conducting a war against a country that is literally half way around the world from us and that never threatened us.

We will reap what we sow. Our right wing friends will blame everyone but themselves and their own idiocy. Many Nazi fanatics went to their deaths blaming the German people for defeat in WWII. Don't expect the true believers in American imperial goals to every see the light.

A missile into a mosque. We are nuts. Of course Americans will be targeted around the world. Like German officers in occupied France, we will be confused about why the natives are upset with us. We won't understand. Don't they realize we are the good guys?

Mon, Apr 5

When some of the 24 US soldiers wounded in Iraq over the weekend die from their wounds - they will not be counted as deaths in Iraq. Only those who actually die on the battlefield are counted.

10 were killed this weekend - as you know. But that figure of 610 killed so far does not count wounded who die later from wounds. Many wounded will be handicapped the rest of their lives - many severely. Nor does it count suicides and accidental deaths.

And then there is the mental and emotional toll. Thousands of soldiers will be like our Vietnam veterans - walking casualties for the rest of their lives. Best buddies of those killed and wounded. Those who killed innocent civilians - probably inadvertently. And then there are their loved ones - their mothers, fathers, siblings, friends and mates.

So - don't read "10 killed" and think only 10 lives were wrecked this weekend. The number of American lives wrecked or severely injured this weekend from the war in Iraq is probably in the hundreds. This war has a higher human cost than our government wants us to know. 10 killed is only the tip of the iceberg.

The number of Iraqis killed and wounded is only loosely reported. It is always several times the number of US military deaths. So add their loved ones to the list of those lives harmed and wrecked. And the number of wounded Iraqi civilians who will be handicapped the rest of their lives.

Fri, Apr 2

Initiative 872 will allow us citizens to vote to have a 'Top 2' primary election process. The 'Peoples Choice' initiative is now launched by the Washington State Grange. You can order petitions at the special website - www.blanketprimary.org

Did you know our Public Disclosure laws were the result of an initiative process? Yes, our legislators were too afraid to allow us to gain access to our public records. It took action by citizens. That was 30 years ago.

This year our legislators - Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative - were too afraid to preserve our open and independent primary election process. They caved in to the political party bosses who want to control who we elect. Again we citizens need to take the initiative. If we value democracy then we will act to reform our primary election process. Please join me in getting petitions and signatures to qualify this initiative for next November's vote.

Thur, April 1, 2004

10:30 am
As scripted, a partial veto. Gov Locke vetoed the 'Top 2' section of the primary election bill, SB6453. This gets the Republican and Democrat party bosses off the hook - a huge favor to them by Gov Locke. The legislature sent him a bill that was worded for this partial veto.

Locke's press release puts positive spin on his action - and labels the 'Top 2' as "unconstitutional" without being specific. I'll tell you the specific - that the two political parties could successfully sue to prevent candidates from labeling themselves as Democrat or Republican. This was intentional by the legislature and with the Governor's consent. A poison pill that the governor wanted in the bill and he can now cite as a reason for vetoing the 'Top 2' section of the bill.

The 'Montana System' section of the bill that Locke has signed into law will allow the party bosses to get control of our election process. This website has been correct in assessing this bill's fate. We citizens will get the government we allow to be pushed in our faces. We can either decide we really don't value democracy that much or we can work to defeat this dysfunctional primary process.

8:00 am
At 10 am
this morning. Gov Locke will "act" on SB6453, the new primary election bill passed by the state legislature. With that will start five months of political turmoil and confusion - no matter what he does. Locke, the legislature and the bosses of the Republican and Democrat parties worked together in March to create a dysfunctional election bill - a bill that is designed to not work as written. I have fully explained this process in posts here dating back to Feb 24 when the US Supreme Court made final the requirement that we reform our state primary election process.

Today another part of this charade plays out. Our state officials are playing with our basic rights to exercise democracy in their attempt to rig our elections and keep power for themselves and away from us citizens and voters. All six representatives from Whatcom County to Olympia participated - whether they voted for or against SB6453. Not one of them will speak out and tell us the bill is a fraud. Shame on each of them.

Secretary of State Sam Reed deserves credit for his speaking out for democracy. He will be key to our efforts to restore democracy this summer. The Washingon State Grange is also ready to work for democracy. And this website will do what it can.


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