"Failures of Imagination"–SHOCKING

Failures of Imagination
By Eric Umansky
Carlotta Gall was curious. It was early December 2002, and Gall, the Afghanistan correspondent for The New York Times, had just seen a press release from the U.S. military announcing the death of a prisoner at its Bagram Air Base. Soon thereafter the military issued a second release about another detainee death at Bagram. “The fact that two had died within weeks of each other raised alarm bells,” recalls Gall. “I just wanted to know more. And I came up against a blank wall. The military wouldn’t release their names; they wouldn’t say where they released the bodies.”
Gall started calling the governors of provinces, she says, “asking if a family had received a body back from Bagram in their province.” None had, but Gall did learn that U.S. forces had detained some suspects near the eastern border town of Khost.

She visited Khost and left empty-handed, but a few weeks later, she got another tip and traveled back. The body of one of the detainees had been returned, a young taxi driver known as Dilawar. Gall met with Dilawar’s family, and his brother handed Gall a death certificate, written in English, that the military had issued. “It said, ‘homicide,’ and I remember gasping and saying, ‘Oh, my God, they killed him,'” says Gall. “I hadn’t really been thinking that before.”

The press release announcing Dilawar’s death stated that the taxi driver had died of a heart attack, a conclusion repeated by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, then-Lieutenant General Daniel McNeill, whom Gall later cited as saying that Dilawar had died because his arteries were 85 percent blocked. (“We haven’t found anything that requires us to take extraordinary action,” McNeill declared.) But the death certificate, the authenticity of which the military later confirmed to Gall, stated that Dilawar – who was just twenty-two years old – died as a result of “blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease.”

Read more.


Support James Webb against Macaca Man

Subject: Re: [MCM] Macaca Man flips out
Did he really tie a noose from a tree outside his office? Wild!

FYI- There is a long front page article in Today’s Washington Post all about this recently disclosed Allen Jewish connection and it couldn’t sound more wierd. It actually looks like his campaign resurrected this angle to try to defeat the racist charge on the macaca business and to help raise money in Los Angeles but it’s backfiring. The variously reported timing of Allen’s first knowledge of this and his subsequent denials seem just dishonest frankly.
I STRONGLY URGE that everyone give money- even if it is just $25. to the WEBB campaign. Clearly Allen is a greasy guy any way you cut it. WEBB has a son fighting in Iraq and he himself is a Vet. He has a clear understanding and plan regarding Iraq. He was Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy. He is clearly the better man but his campaign is really suffering from being underfinanced.
Cynthia L. Butler

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He didn’t tie a noose to a tree outside his office. Worse, he had a small tree in his office that had a noose hanging from it.There’s only one reason in Virginia to hang a noose from a tree instead of a gallows. Allen should be asked for every detail about that.



House passes Hyde-the-Franchise Act!

For Immediate Release: Contact: Stacey Gates or Drew Courtney
September 20, 2006 at 202-467-4999 /
House Passes Reprehensible Voter Disenfranchisement Bill
Today, right-wing members of the House continued their assault on voting rights, as they approved H.R. 4844, the “Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006,” which requires all voters to obtain and show government-issued photo ID that proves their citizenship. Following today’s vote, People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas released the following statement:
“The House has passed a bill which is aimed at petty partisan advantage in the coming elections. It’s an effort to keep senior citizens, the poor, the disabled, students and minority voters away from the polls, disguised as a measure to counter massive voter fraud which simply does not exist. We already have harsh criminal penalties on the books to deal with this issue. H.R. 4844 is redundant and unnecessary and a poor attempt to deal with the REAL problems in our election system. Undocumented immigrants are not lining up at the polls to vote illegally, and there is no credible evidence to support this claim. This is a disingenuous attempt to fix the election process that instead primarily targets those groups likely to vote against the ruling majority party in the House and the Senate. That’s no accident. Weeks before mid-term elections that could change the balance of power in Congress, the House is continuing to pursue partisan advantage by trying to capitalize on unreasonable anti-immigrant fears. Shame on them.”


Monitor the polls on E-Day!

The Pollwatchers for Democracy (P4D) action has gone live nationwide. Please distribute the message below to your mailinglists and groups.

Pollwatchers for Democracy, an effort by Mainstreet Moms, Working Assets, VotetrustUSA, and Verified Voting encourages everybody to participate actively in the voting process. Please go to and sign up with Pollworkers for Democracy to work at the polls or, if that is not possible (too late to sign up for this year, or if your party registration status excludes you from working at the polls) to be a poll watcher.

Please sign up with P4D even if you are already a poll worker. We will provide you with information, training and, after the election, with an online reporting form for election incidents you have observed. This information will be entered into a national database of voting incidents.

Please take action. There is an effort to privatize our election. Do not allow them to do that!

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Check your voter registration!!

Dear Progressive Leader, has built a revolutionary new system to help voters check
their voter registration quickly and easily. To prevent any more stolen
elections, we want to encourage *every* voter to “google” their voter
registration in September, while there is still time to submit a new
registration form.

And between now and Election Day we hope to add various online tools to
make sure every Democratic vote is Registered, Cast, and Counted. If you
have ideas on possible tools we could build, send them my way!

We are now looking for organizational partners who will help us encourage
voters to use our tools. Our initial partners are:
* Working Assets online voter registration (
* Progressive Democrats of America (

I hope we can find ways to work together!

Bob Fertik

Are YOU registered to vote?

Are you SURE??

You may THINK you’re registered and go to the polls on Election Day – and
be shocked to discover your name is not on the eligible voter list.

Make sure they haven’t removed YOU – “google” your voter registration!

Republican election officials are trying to disenfranchise Democratic
voters through an ever-increasing number of despicable laws, regulations,
and practices – even criminal activities.

* In 2000, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris purged 57,700
eligible voters through fraudulent use of “felon” lists – enough to steal
the Presidency for George W. Bush.

* In 2004, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell refused to process voter
registration forms printed in major newspapers because the paper was too

* In 2004, a Republican firm called Sproul & Associates paid canvassers to
register new voters – and throw away the Democratic forms.

* In early 2006, Los Angeles County threw out 43% of voter registration
applications because of computer glitches, slight discrepancies in
spelling, or missing ID numbers.

States now require an ID number on each new registration, such as a
drivers license or social security number. If you write that number
incorrectly, or if the name on your voter registration form does not match
your ID exactly, your registration will be rejected.

On Election Day, many voters will be shocked to discover their names were
removed from the voter lists and they cannot vote.

Make sure they haven’t removed YOU – “google” your voter registration!

Bob Fertik


The ordeal of Suzanne Swift

I. From The San Francisco Chronicle:

September 15, 2006

U.S. soldier goes AWOL — alleges sexual harassment

By Carol Burke

Car keys in hand, Army Spc. Suzanne Swift was about to leave her home in Eugene, Ore., for a second tour of duty in Iraq in January when she turned to her mother and said she couldn’t do it. With 2 1/2 years to go on her commitment, she opted out.

Swift hadn’t wanted to go to Iraq when she signed papers while still in high school, but she was no conscientious objector. She believed in what her president told her about the war on terror, and in Iraq she endured discomfort and danger with her unit. She had already shipped her personal belongings to Iraq for her next tour.

But Swift said she had also been singled out for repeated sexual abuse. In the eyes of some with whom she served, she said, she was never a comrade in arms; she was a target for their sexual advances. And despite her complaints, she said, the Army hadn’t protected her.

Read more.

II. From Sara Rich, M.S.W.:

Update on Suzanne Swift
September 19th, 2006
101 days since her arrest.
I do not even know where to start. So much has happened so fast that our heads are spinning.
First about Suzanne. Her mental health is declining. She has had two write ups (counselings/official reprimands) in the past few weeks for being late in the mornings for formation. She is having a hard time waking up because her anxiety and depression are getting so bad. She is having trouble sleeping and bad dreams when she does sleep, so waking up early is just brutal for her. She is still doing office work filing police reports in an office. She is being allowed to come to Eugene every other week to meet with Dr. Schwartz, her psychologist. She has seen him only 6 times in the past 101 days. It is really hard for her to go back to Ft. Lewis and it breaks my heart every time she leaves, because I know she is beyond miserable up there and being re-traumatized by them daily.
With the increasing media attention, Suzanne has been getting more and more silent, yet solid, support form other active women in the military. This gives us great hope that we are helping effect change for them as well as for validating women veteran’s experiences and working to create new hope for the future safety for young women who hope to serve their country without fear of harassment and abuse someday.
Suzanne has given 7 interviews now and they have really taken their toll on her. She has spoken to: The San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Democracy Now, The Register Guard, ABC Nightline, and Fox news. These were very hard on her and her attorney, Keith Scherer, and I decided along with Suzanne that there would be no more interviews until she is either charged or freed. If she is charged her mental state will most likely deteriorate so that is very much up in the air. We appreciate the thoughtful way that the press has been working with us and we appreciate your professionalism.
The Iraq Veteran’s Against the War and Vets for Peace took matters into their own hands and staged a sit-in on the 97th day in Congressman Peter DeFazio’s Washington DC office. They would not leave until Congressman DeFazio agreed to take some serious action on behalf of Suzanne. he Congressman’s office called me and we agreed that a Congressional Investigation into Suzanne’s case would be beneficial and within 24 hours, on Wednesday the 13th of September, Suzanne was signing a release of information for the Congressional investigation to proceed.
On Friday, September 15th Suzanne was on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle and it has been major media ever since. I am flying to Washington DC this week to meet with Congressman DeFazio and talk to him about military sexual violence and the treatment Suzanne has received from the military to date and the future unknown plans for her.
Our attorney came out to Eugene to meet with us. Keith Scherer,, is a wonderful man and a very aggressive, intelligent attorney. We are so impressed with him and feel complete trust in his legal wisdom and ability. We are financially and emotionally preparing for a court martial, so please, if you have not done so already either make a financial contribution to Suzanne’s legal defense fund or get some type of fundraising activity planned in your community. I am going to be doing some traveling around the country to talk about Suzanne’s case, raise awareness and fundraise.
Also, please set Suzanne’s website as your home-page,, until she is free. It is a very interactive and alive site full of new things almost daily. HUGE thanks to Stacy Hafely, MFSO Missouri, for being the web goddess supreme. Suzanne’s petition has reached 6,000 signatures which is AMAZING!
Please continue to make calls and write letters on Suzanne’s behalf. There are easy forms and all the numbers and addresses on the website. It is very easy to use. Also, please feel free to post or forward this email to other sites/lists. I want to spread the word so we can increase the numbers of supporters for Suzanne. Thank you!
Most of all please visualize Suzanne’s case being resolved with integrity and justice being served. Suzanne deserves a timely resolution to this nightmare that they have created for her and many other women in the military.
Once again, do something everyday, no matter how big or small……


So go get CJR…!


Dear Readers,

This is from our latest CJR editorial, “Guarding the Vote,” just

“A story’s tone, its placement, and whether it gets followed up all
have something to do with whether it is perceived by the public as
a big deal. Sometimes the press seems leery of making that
determination. The possibility of manipulation of the vote in
national elections is that kind of story. It’s as if we don’t want
to go there. Consider the battleground state of Ohio…”

And on CJR Daily:

There are polls, and there are polls. As the midterm elections
approach, how much weight should journalists give to the Zogby/Wall
Street Journal interactive poll? Not so much, says our Felix Gillette.

The Editors


Macaca Man flips out

He ought to have a sitdown with that other Jewish Nazi, Michael Savage…


War Room
George Allen and the “aspersion” of Judaism
George Allen insists that he didn’t mean anything by it when he called an Indian-American college student “macaca.” But when a reporter asks Allen whether some of his ancestors were Jewish — well, now, that’s an “aspersion” worthy of boos, hisses and public condemnation.

The question came up Monday as Allen debated Jim Webb in Tysons Corner, Va. Allen, asked yet again about his “macaca” moment, underscored his long-standing belief in tolerance and acceptance — all those Confederate flags notwithstanding — by noting that his grandfather had been “incarcerated by the Nazis in World War II.” WUSA-TV’s Peggy Fox followed up by noting that Allen’s grandfather was Jewish and asking him “at what point” his family’s “Jewish identity” may have ended.

Fox says she was just looking for “honesty” from Allen, a Californian by birth who has reinvented himself as a cowboy-boot-wearing, tobacco-chewing Southern darling of the religious right. And while Milbank says that Fox’s question may have seemed a little out of place at a candidate’s debate, Allen’s wrath seemed entirely out of proportion to the provocation. He said he was glad that the crowd had booed Fox, and he accused her of “making aspersions about people because of their religious beliefs.” Even after the debate ended, Allen was still fuming. When somebody asked why Fox’s question had made him so angry, he shot back: “What do you mean, ‘make me so angry’?” He complained about Fox’s attempt to bring his family’s history into the debate — then mentioned again that his grandfather had been “incarcerated by the Nazis in World War II.”

So why is Allen so upset? It seems pretty simple to us. When you paint yourself as one with rednecks and racists — wrapping yourself in the Confederate flag, hanging a noose from your office tree, cozying up to the modern version of the Ku Klux Klan, calling out the dark-skinned college kid in your midst — you don’t take it kindly when someone asks whether you might be on the other side of the line you’ve been drawing.

Macaca is always the other guy. It can’t possibly be me.

— Tim Grieve

Sept. 19, 2006

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Free the media!

The problem is the media cartel.

So let’s try solving it!

The FCC’s dirty secret has been exposed: they destroyed their own study when it proved media consolidation reduces local news coverage.

Rupert Murdoch owns FOX News and rightwing newspapers in key cities like New York (the New York Post) and around the world. Now he wants to buy more media outlets in cities across the U.S. to complete his takeover of America’s news. We know what will inevitably follow: more propaganda and lies like those that led to the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

Tell the FCC to say no to media monopolies like FOX News.
Bob Fertik

Big media will soon get bigger, unless you help us stop it. The FCC’s media ownership comment period ends soon!

Tell the commissioners how you feel about the spin you get from Fox, Time Warner and other big media conglomerates!

Last week, the Associated Press revealed a secret study by FCC staff that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage. The FCC had ordered its staff to destroy all copies of this report!

“Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that ‘every last piece’ of the report be destroyed. ‘The whole project was just stopped — end of discussion,’ he said.”

The newly found report contradicts the FCC’s 2003 rationale for allowing media corporations to gobble up increased shares of the media market. Millions of comments from people like you stopped them back then, and can stop them again today.

Take a moment now to tell the FCC to stop the underhanded tactics!

It’s time to listen to America and safeguard a diverse and independent media.

After you have added your thoughts to the public record, please forward this email to five other people who can add their ideas as well. We only have a few days left before the official comment period closes. The FCC needs to hear from us now!

Morgan Jindrich
A project of Consumers Union
1300 Guadalupe, Suite 100
Austin, Texas 78701


"American Blackout "opens in NYC!

>Indeed, this has been an interesting development in
>NJ. You might find the Star-Ledger story actually a
>bit stronger than the Times’:
>Be well,

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Have you heard about AMERICAN BLACKOUT? I want to make sure that you do because it’s premiering in NYC this Friday, Sept 22nd, and we need to support this important film!

** Friday Evening Screenings 7:10 and 9:20 pm will feature a Q&A with Director Ian Inaba and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney***
You can watch the trailer at:
AMERICAN BLACKOUT is a documentary film about the power of the black vote and the tactics that are used to suppress African-Americans voters. Winner of numerous film festival awards including the Special Jury Prize at this years Sundance Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Urbanworld Vibe Film Festival, this “engrossing” and “powerful” film sheds new light on what happened during the Presidential elections in Florida (2000) and Ohio (2004). The film also goes in depth with Cynthia McKinney during her campaigns for reelection in 2002 and 2004. Whatever you think you know about McKinney, this film will open your eyes and stir your heart!
BE FOREWARNED: This film will fill you with OUTRAGE and frustration. But it will also afford you tears and LAUGHTER and bring about HOPE and energy for what is possible in the future. With everything that has transpired sine the 2000 election, we need people to see this film, to understand what is happening so that we can figure out how to address these problems with unity and strength.
If you cant make it to the theater, you can still show your support! Here are some suggestions:
* Sign-up for the AMBL Newsletter at
* Pre-Order a DVD at
* Host or attend a house party or community screening and show the DVD to your friends and family
* Tell 10 people about the film. Encourage them to see it, write about it, blog about it, talk about it, and request it at their local theaters, cable networks, video stores and Netflix, etc
* Forward this email to 10 people.
If you feel like I do after watching the film, tell all of your folks. We need to keep the word moving on this!
PS – I’ve heard that many groups are using the film as a new way to support their GOTV efforts this Fall. You can find out more about this on the film’s website.
(Check your local listings for show times.)
:: SEPT 22-28 – NEW YORK, NY, Quad Cinemas
:: SEPT 22-28 – MARIN / LARKSPUR, CA, The Lark Theater
:: OCT 5 – PARK CITY, UT Sundance Program at the Park City Library
:: OCT 18 – CHICAGO, IL Chicago International Film Festival
:: OCT 20 -26 – HARTFORD, CT, Real Art Ways
:: NOV 7 – BELLINGHAM, WA, Pickford Cinema

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