Saturday, January 07, 2006

My Lai massacre hero dies "Hugh Thompson, a former US Army helicopter pilot honoured for rescuing Vietnamese civilians from his fellow soldiers during the My Lai massacre, has died, aged 62.

Thompson, whose role in the 1968 massacre did not become widely known until decades later, died at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centre in Alexandria, hospital spokesman Jay DeWorth said.

Trent Angers, Thompson's biographer and family friend, said Thompson died of cancer.

"These people were looking at me for help and there was no way I could turn my back on them," Thompson recalled in a 1998 Associated Press interview.

Early on the morning of March 16, 1968, Thompson, door-gunner Lawrence Colburn and crew chief Glenn Andreotta came upon US ground troops killing Vietnamese civilians in and around the village of My Lai.

They landed the helicopter in the line of fire between American troops and fleeing Vietnamese civilians and pointed their own guns at the US soldiers to prevent more killings.

Colburn and Andreotta had provided cover for Thompson as he went forward to confront the leader of the US forces. Thompson later coaxed civilians out of a bunker so they could be evacuated, and then landed his helicopter again to pick up a wounded child they transported to a hospital. Their efforts led to the ceasefire order at My Lai.

In 1998, the Army honoured the three men with the prestigious Soldier's Medal, the highest award for bravery not involving conflict with an enemy. It was a posthumous award for Andreotta, who was killed in battle three weeks after My Lai.

"It was the ability to do the right thing even at the risk of their personal safety that guided these soldiers to do what they did," Army Major General Michael Ackerman said at the 1998 ceremony. The three "set the standard for all soldiers to follow".

Lieutenant William Calley, a platoon leader, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the killings, but served just three years under house arrest when then-President Nixon reduced his sentence.

Author Seymour Hersh won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for his expose of the massacre in 1969 while working as a freelance journalist. The massacre became one of the pivotal events as opposition to the war was growing in the United States.

Thompson's role in ending My Lai didn't come to light until the late 1980s, when David Egan, a professor emeritus at Clemson University, saw an interview with Thompson in a documentary on the massacre. He launched a letter-writing campaign that eventually led to the awarding of the medals in 1998.

"I proudly and humbly accept it not only for myself but for the men who served their country with honour on the battlefield in Southeast Asia," Thompson said at the time of the award."


Military Confidence in Bush Hits New Low

POLITICS-US: Military Confidence in Bush Hits New Low: "WASHINGTON, Jan 3 (IPS) - Although morale among members of the professional corps of the U.S. military remains generally high, their confidence in U.S. President George W. Bush and other civilian government leaders slipped substantially during 2005, according to major new survey released Monday by the 'Military Times'. "

American Journalist Kidnapped

Crooks and Liars:
Gunmen kidnapped a female American journalist and killed her Iraqi translator Saturday in western Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official on

Maddox emailed me a link to a site that says the journalist is named Jewel Carrol. I can't verify that yet.

Duncan is right. Why hasn't the name been released yet?

Hot Tub Tom Throws in the Towel : "WASHINGTON (AP) - Embattled Rep. Tom DeLay decided today to give up his post as House majority leader, clearing the way for new leadership elections among House Republicans eager to shed the taint of scandal, two officials said.
These officials said DeLay, R-Texas, was preparing a letter informing fellow House Republicans of his decision. These officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt the formal announcement.
DeLay is battling campaign finance charges in Texas and was forced to step aside temporarily as majority leader last fall after he was charged in his home state. He has consistently maintained his innocence and said he intended to resume his leadership post once cleared. "

Friday, January 06, 2006

Sharon Death Covered-Up?

Conflicting reports of Sharon ALREADY being dead, have me wondering if Bu$hCo is trying to keep it quiet so the funeral does not interfere with the Scalito confirmation.


Duke Cunningham Wore A Wire

Think Progress :

Just out from Time Magazine:

Washington’s power players have always bragged about being well-wired, but for disgraced former congressman Duke Cunningham, “wired” wasn’t just a figure of speech. In a week when legislators are focused on the question of who else might be brought down by ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s cooperation with prosecutors as he seeks lenient sentencing over his two federal guilty pleas this week, sources tell TIME that ex-Rep. Cunningham wore a wire to help investigators gather evidence against others just before copping his own plea.

As we noted on ThinkProgress yesterday, before this story broke: “The Department of Justice made a plea deal with Jack Abramoff to get incriminating information on members of Congress. Why did they make a deal with a member of Congress, Duke Cunningham? It’s likely that there are bigger fish to fry.”

More on Cunningscam in this morning’s Progress Report.

McCain pushing for tougher lobbying rules

McCain pushing for tougher lobbying rules : "Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain is a very busy guy during Congress' Christmas break. The Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal in Washington has McCain pushing hard for increased reporting requirements for corporate and other lobbyists.

McCain and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) want to force lobbyists to disclose their financial activities quarterly instead of twice a year and they want to make former lawmakers and staffers wait longer before they can lobby ex-employers."

Ford Calls For Reform Of House Rules

Breaking News - "WASHINGTON - Congressman Harold Ford today announced his support for a package of institutional reforms in the House of Representatives that would end many of the practices that resulted in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

'We needed to make these changes a long time ago. Jack Abramoff and his corrupt practices have exposed that government, under the leadership of Congress today, is sometimes for sale. This common sense package of reforms should shine more light on our practices and help clean up the process,' Rep. Ford said. "

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sharon Taken to surgery - possible "blood on the brain" News - Latest News - 'Unwell' Sharon taken to hospitalIsraeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been taken to hospital, his office said, after feeling unwell.

Israeli media reported that he apparently suffered another stroke or possibly a heart ailment.

The announcement said he was taken to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, where he was scheduled to undergo a heart procedure on Thursday.

Sharon's office said his personal doctor was with him, and he was fully conscious.

He was being taken by ambulance, a drive of more than an hour from his home in the Negev Desert in Israel's south, instead of by helicopter.

On December 18, Sharon was taken to Hadassah Hospital from his office after suffering a mild stroke.

Doctors said he would not suffer long-term effects from the stroke, but they discovered a birth defect in his heart that apparently contributed to the stroke.

He was to enter the same hospital on Thursday morning for a procedure to correct the defect.

Channel 10 News quoted Sharon's spokesman as saying that the symptoms were not severe, and reported that he was feeling pressure or pain in his chest.

Another hospital, Soroka in Beersheba, is much closer to the ranch, and Israeli media were concluding that his condition was not serious. Channel 10 said the heart procedure might be advanced.

Since the stroke, Sharon has been receiving blood thinners to try to prevent a recurrence of the clotting that caused the stroke.

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2006, All Rights Reserved.

Infiltration of files seen as extensive Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

Monday, January 02, 2006

FISA, Alito, and the High Stakes of the New Year

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006: If by the end of the month Bush is able to give his State of the Union address without a major and dramatic groundswell demanding his ouster, the people will have been dealt a real and serious setback.
On the other hand, should people seize this moment to mount a massive demand for Bush to step down--should people join together and make this whole month a staging ground for organizing the seething anger in society into a massive movement demanding that Bush step down, climaxing with powerful political expressions at the time of the State of the Union, then that could change the whole political dynamic in society. Struggle coming from the grassroots, struggle coming from organizations and prominent individuals from every walk of society, struggle that uncompromisingly demands that Bush step down and is NOT tied to what this or that top politician is or is not calling for, struggle so powerful that it compels every political and social force in society to relate to its demands, one way or another--that and only that can carve out a different road. If the movement succeeds in that, then a giant step will have been taken off the road toward fascism and onto a road where people broadly can begin to imagine the future and struggle in the present without a claustrophobic horror setting in.

RIAA lawyers bully witnesses into perjury If you're into reading legal proceedings verbatim, here's a doozy for you. It gets even better if you like to see RIAA lawyers dragging themselves, rather than their chosen targets, through the dirt. Let's get a feel for what's going on here:
In Motown v. Nelson, pending in federal court in Port Huron, Michigan (Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division), the defendants -- Mr. and Mrs. Nelson -- have made a motion for attorneys fees against the RIAA attorneys, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1927 for unreasonable and vexatious litigation and improperly interfering and/or obtaining false testimony from a prospective witness."

Spy in the sky could target your home for a rocketing bill

Scotsman.comTHE row over "astronomical" council tax bills went into orbit yesterday with a revelation that satellite photographs could be used to re-evaluate homes.

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