Saturday, February 18, 2012

Truthdigger of the Week: Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, Progrmas on Israeli-Palestinian Culture & History

At the end of this accolade there's a video interview with Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings talking about Colonel Davis's report,
on Democracy Now.  It's warm,interesting and what led me to Davis and this email. You have to click on the.URL to access it.
I want to acknowledge Truthdig for it's depth, offten brilliance (Sheer, Hedges, et al) and perserverence.  I've known Bob Scheer
for a long time, so it's ok that he growled at me in an email a week ago, asking that I send out a leader paragraph, asking you 
to go to the original for the rest of - in that case - the Chris Hedges article: "We have to pay Chris, you know."  Indeed, I do know,
personally, with performers, yet, and have been rumored to growl.  They need subscriptions to carry on their wonderful mission.  
I really hope you respond to their need, go to their site and subscribe or donate a few bucks. I'll continue with the full monte, gratis.
Truthdigger of the Week: Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis
February 18, 2012

It may seem quaint that a high-ranking Army officer with a career spanning some 27 years would look to Jimmy Stewart's everyman hero in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" for inspiration in his own life, but it's a darned good thing that Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis holds such old-fashioned ideals as truth-telling in high regard. For refusing to hew to the military party line about the supposed success of America's military strategy in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Davis is our latest pick for Truthdigger of the Week.

As The New York Times' Scott Shane reported in a Feb. 5 article that sent shock waves through the Capitol, Davis quietly summoned the resolve to act on his convictions late last year, after he returned from his second lengthy tour of duty in Afghanistan. Problem was, what he'd seen there didn't square with the story the government was selling to the American people about the war over there. Davis turned to two trusted moral guides while preparing to serve his conscience over his superiors.

The New York Times:

Since enlisting in the Army in 1985, he said, he had repeatedly seen top commanders falsely dress up a dismal situation. But this time, he would not let it rest. So he consulted with his pastor at McLean Bible Church in Virginia, where he sings in the choir. He watched his favorite movie, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," one more time, drawing inspiration from Jimmy Stewart's role as the extraordinary ordinary man who takes on a corrupt establishment.

Read more

In January, Davis kicked off his whistle-blowing campaign, which involved writing and releasing two reports, one classified and one unclassified, speaking with select Congress members and colleagues and contacting the NYT. Here's Shane's sum-up of the thrust of Davis' message:

The New York Times:

"How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?" Colonel Davis asks in an article summarizing his views titled "Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down." It was published online Sunday in The Armed Forces Journal, the nation's oldest independent periodical on military affairs. "No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan," he says in the article. "But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what's going on."

Colonel Davis says his experience has caused him to doubt reports of progress in the war from numerous military leaders, including David H. Petraeus, who commanded the troops in Afghanistan before becoming the director of the Central Intelligence Agency in June.

Read more

On Feb. 10, Rolling Stone magazine published Davis' unclassified report, "Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leader's Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort," in full, as the Pentagon, not surprisingly, had refused to release it. In the report, dated Jan. 27, 2012, Davis comes out swinging and makes a strong case for his decision to flout military convention and question the chain of command all the way up to Petraeus.

Dereliction of Duty II:

Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. This deception has damaged America's credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan. It has likely cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars Congress might not otherwise have appropriated had it known the truth, and our senior leaders' behavior has almost certainly extended the duration of this war. The single greatest penalty our Nation has suffered, however, has been that we have lost the blood, limbs and lives of tens of thousands of American Service Members with little to no gain to our country as a consequence of this deception.

Read more

Although Davis didn't release any classified information to the public, as he is "no WikiLeaks guy Part II," he writes that the American people "would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes" if they had access to both versions of his bombshell reports. Regardless, the gesture registered in the halls of Congress and at the Pentagon, but as Shane noted in his Feb. 5 NYT article, the potential repercussions against Lt. Col. Davis may have been contained "partly because he has recruited a few supporters among the war skeptics on Capitol Hill." And on Feb. 16, a group of five House members who supported Davis' effort invited him for a congratulatory huddle and to hear more about what he saw in Afghanistan and was forthright enough to tell in full. We'll round that out by saluting Lt. Col. Davis as a deserving winner of our weekly Truthdigger award.

Here's a clip from the Feb. 15 edition of "Democracy Now!" in which Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings talks about Davis' report:

Democracy Now!:

* * *




FEB 17-29, 2012

new sarah's war play premieres in february FEB 17-26, Check out L.A. Weekly's "Pick of the Week," Sarah's War, a play based on the true story of the late peace activist Rachel Corrie, set in Gaza, Israel and California. Sarah's War is a family drama that has less to do with politics than with the universal impulses towards peace and acceptance. SAT. FEB. 18, a talkback facilitated by the Levantine Cultural Center follows the performance. More info at

Written by Valerie Dillman. Directed by Matt McKenzie. Produced by Jordan Elgrably for Freedom Theatre West. Executive producer: Amani Jabsheh. Coproducer: Sheana Ochoa.

WHERE: Hudson Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038. Valet parking $5 or street parking after 7 pm.
Runs through Sunday, March 18. Thurs.- Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 3 p.m.
: Regular performances - $30 preferred, $25 general, students $12.50. Call for group rates.

RESERVATIONS: by phone 310.657.5511 or 323.960.5521 or online or

Get Tix for Performances Feb. 17-March 18

"A Child's View of Gaza" Exhibit At the Inside/Outside Gallery, Levantine Cultural Center (L.A.)
HELD OVER Daily through Feb. 21, 10 am-6 pm
child's view of gaza exhibit through feb. 17 Children should never be the victims of war, under any circumstances. In May 2009, an ad hoc delegation of 13 Americans traveled to Gaza to witness the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead. After visiting many children centers, homes, NGOs and seeing the powerful art the children had made during art therapy sessions, the delegation discussed how they could share Gaza's stories and needs with the world. A Child's View of Gaza allows the children to share their own experiences through art. (See photos of the opening event.) (Read article in the Jewish Journal.) Info.

at CSUN Feb. 20, 4 pm and UCLA Feb. 24, 3 pm

Iilan pappé at csun and uclalan Pappé is a revisionist historian and the author of many books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This talk will focus on Israeli policy before and after the June 1967 war. He'll speak at CSUN on Feb. 20, 4 pm, and UCLA Feb. 24, 3 pm. Two theses will be argued through this revisit of the 1967 events: the first is that one can understand fully Israeli policies in that year only within the context of the overall Israeli strategy in 1948 and onwards. This means that the war of 1967 was a direct continuation of the 1948 Nakbah and not a separate event. The second argument will be that Israeli strategy, including the devise of what was later named as "'the peace process," was formulated already in 1967 and has not changed ever since that year and until today. This strategy it will be argued in the talk is the main obstacle for peace in Israel and Palestine. Info.

MENA-X: The Secrets of Saudi Women
with Ferial Masry & Chris Cryer (L.A.)

Feb. 22, 7 pm

mena-x secrets of saudi women An evening in the MENA-X series with authors Ferial Masry and Chris Cryer. Chris Cryer's new book is Tolstoy in Riyadh-A Story of a Teacher and Her Muse. Ferial Masry is the author of Running for All the Right Reasons: A Saudi-Born Woman's Pursuit of Democracy. The two women discuss their lives, their friendship and their books on the Saudi exotique. More info.


Feb. 29, 7:30 pm

gilad atzmon at the levantine center London-based, Israeli-born Gilad Atzmon is one of Europe's finest jazz musicians, as well as a critic of his native land. Atzmon is the author of the recently-published and controversial book The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics--which prompted Alan Dershowitz to call Atzmon "anti-Semitic."

Join jazz and world music fans, political junkies, Israeli-Palestinian aficionados and sundry Angelenos on Leap Year Wednesday, Feb. 29, 7:30-9:30 pm, to learn more about this complex figure. Info/RSVPs.
An independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the Levantine Cultural Center is non-partisan and is supported by its individual members, small grants, private donors, and income from public programs. Get involved.
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