The American military: Are they Bush's flying monkeys -- or not?
How embarrassing this must be to America's military right now. Here they are, the greatest armed force in the history of time -- reduced to the status of George W. Bush's flying monkeys. From what I have read and after what I have witnessed in Iraq, it seems clear to me that our armed forces -- including the CIA and State Department -- appear to be under the spell of GWB's every undisciplined whim and temper tantrum. And Bush wasn't even elected!
Can you imagine falling that low? To be reduced from the heady heights of being "Officers and Gentlemen" in the finest military ever assembled; then pulled down to the lowly status of being some tin-pot evil-witch wannabe's errand boys and flunkies? Eeuuww.
And when we Americans finally come to our senses and find the courage to pour water on the Wicked Witch of the White House, I bet you anything that those flying monkeys in the Pentagon are gonna thank us bigtime. "You've saved us! You've saved us!"
Get a clue, flying monkeys. Freaking save your selves. Just click your army-boots together three times and say, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." And then go back to Kansas where you are truly wanted and needed -- and get the hell out of Iraq.
PS: I ain't no cowardly lion! Not me. I'm the dread "Grandmother Blogger". The American military may be cowering off in some corner in fear of the Wicked Witch of the White House's every confused whim, but not me. The pen is mightier than the sword! "Assume attack mode, Jane! Sue the bastards."
PPS: Here's my proposed lawsuit. If I can just get the ACLU or the Lawyers Guild or John Grisham or somebody awesomely legal to take it on, then hopefully it will act like a bucket of cold water on Dubya's evil dreams.
Stillwater v. State Department & Department of Defense: My proposed legal action against the State Department and the Department of Defense regarding their systematic attack on freedom of the press
I’m seriously considering suing the State Department and the Department of Defense for failure to provide me access to news information in Iraq via journalistic embeds and violating my First Amendment rights to freedom of the press in order to cover for and protect George W. Bush. To this end, I have scheduled meetings with several attorneys, including a representative of the ACLU, in hopes that they will review and accept my case. Enclosed please find a sample Complaint for Damages that I have written on this subject.
I’m totally tired of begging DoD and State for an embed in Iraq and being repeatedly refused, allegedly on bureaucratic grounds -- but in actuality my lack of permission to embed appears to be due to my efforts to expose the negligence and corruption of Bush, Cheney, Rice, etc.
It’s time for the Department of Defense and the State Department to start acting in the best interests of America and stop protecting the special interests of Bush and his corrupt friends who are profiting from the sacrificial blood of America’s troops.
Here is my proposed complaint:
Stillwater v. U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State
Complaint for Damages:
From June of 2006 through present, journalist Jane Stillwater has actively pursued being granted an embed as a journalist in Iraq from representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense. Her request was repeateded denied, turned down, deflected and/or stonewalled. She was lied to, distracted, intimidated and denigrated during this process, apparently by CentCom Baghdad’s Combined Press Information Center (CPIC) but allegedly under the instructions of the defendants U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State (Department of Defense And State Department), allegedly because of her progressive reporting on the corruption and ineptitude of the current occupants of America’s White House.
II. The Plaintiff
Stillwater is a 64-year-old journalist residing in Berkeley, CA. She has written articles published by OpEd News, the American Conservative Union, the Baltimore Chronicle, the Berkeley Daily Planet, the Black Commentator, Digg.com, Global Research, Netscape.com, Aljazeerah.info, Novekeo, the Oakland Tribune, Counterpunch, the Online Journal and the Lone Star Iconoclast, Time Magazine. She has also appeared on BBC radio, NPR radio, Fox News, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News and has been the subject of articles in many media outlets including the Associated Press, the Times of London, the Oakland Tribune, the Daily Californian and the Iraq Slogger.
III. The Incidents
The alleged pattern of stonewalling, distraction, intimidation and denial of Stillwater’s embed requests is documented in Exhibit 1, a timeline describing Stillwater’s numerous efforts to secure several types of embeds, including an embed within the Baghdad Green Zone, embeds in Iraq outside of Baghdad’s Green Zone and embeds elsewhere in the Department of Defense’s Middle Eastern theatre of operations.
The true names and identity of persons involved in this compilation of communications between Stillwater and others have not been used in order to protect them from possible reprisals from defendants Department of State and the Department of Defense.
Exhibit 1: Timeline of Stillwater’s embed requests:
July 6, 2006: I filed my original embed application with CPIC Baghdad.
July 8, 2006: I was informed by CPIC that OpEd News (with an internet circulation of 800,000) was not a viable news service, that I was considered to be a blogger and that "bloggers" were not allowed to embed. "Unfortunately, Jane, the policy about bloggers still stands. Unless you can get accreditation from a news service or other form of news media (newspaper, magazine, wire service, etc.), this embed is not going to happen," CPIC wrote.
July 9, 2006: The editor of OpEd News explained carefully to CPIC that OpEd News was indeed a genuine news service. The editor of the Berkeley Daily Planet also wrote a letter to CPIC stating that I would be representing the Planet, a genuine print newspaper with a circulation of 50,000 readers.
July 10, 2006: I got an e-mail from CPIC: "I’ll be honest with you, Jane. Multi-National Corps-Iraq (the major ground component command that owns the vast majority of combatants in theater) is not interested in embedding you."
July 20, 2006: I then contacted Senator Barbara Boxer, and a member of her staff wrote CPIC the following e-mail on my behalf: "Ms. Stillwater contacted our office regarding a concern that she is not being allowed to be a journalist in Iraq because she wrote for a progressive news service. Please look into her concerns at your earliest convenience and keep me informed of any updates."
July 21, 2006: CPIC replied to Senator Boxer that, "After reviewing Ms. Stillwater’s request for an embed, I denied Multi-National Force-Iraq credentialing and support based upon her work being opinion-based, rather than factual reporting, and that she is not backed by an organization that can be held responsible for her journalistic standards or, more importantly, her welfare in case of emergency. This does not stop Ms. Stillwater from entering Iraq commercially and providing for herself, but it does prevent her from being embedded with troops, using MNF-I facilities and covering MNF-I activities."
January 20, 2007: I again wrote to CPIC, once again requesting an embed:
Since my last request to you in July of 2006, I have had at least 25 articles published in various publications and, as you have stated, my articles are indeed opinion-based but they are also fact-based as well -- in the grand old journalistic tradition of the Washington Post, the New York Times, etc. I deeply regret to be placed in a position to have to say this to you but, while I admit that I do tend to give homilies and homey examples in order to help my readers to better understand complex political situations, I do not lie.
In addition, several media organizations have offered to sponsor me in your program and to take responsibility for my views -- as well as to act on my behalf in case of emergencies. Please reconsider your decision. I promise upon embedding in Iraq to tell "The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth". Plus with my access to over one million readers, embedding me will greatly be of help to our troops in Iraq.
I am enclosing a list of media outlets that have published my written efforts so that you can have an idea regarding the scope of my work. I am also enclosing URLs for articles I have written on India and Afghanistan. Please reconsider my application. I can be ready to leave at your earliest convenience. Thank you for reconsidering my request and I look forward to meeting you in Baghdad soon.
List of publications I have written for:
American Conservative Union Foundation
Berkeley Daily Planet
January 23, 2007: I contacted Congresswoman Barbara Lee in order to enlist her support in my efforts to embed.
January 25, 2007: My weekly column in the Black Commentator appeared, entitled Why I am not in Iraq:
I should be in Iraq. I should be in Baghdad. I should be sending back eye-popping stories to The Black Commentator about how our money is being misused, mismanaged, misspent and morally misdirected to kill women and children whose only crimes are to be born in an oil-rich country and to not be born the same color as George W. Bush.
Bush had no business invading Iraq. Now he has killed 665,000 (and still counting) Iraqis and 3,020 (and still counting) U.S. soldiers in cold blood. If he can kill them without any conscience, what's to keep him from killing us next?
Yes, I've been sidetracked from observing the occupation and reporting back to you exactly what is going on over there. And who has sidetracked me? Who is keeping me from reporting to you from Iraq? Let me tell you. It is extremely difficult to get to Iraq as a reporter unless you are officially sanctioned and "embedded" by the U.S. military. Knowing this, I dutifully applied through the proper channels for embedding media personnel in Iraq and wrote to the U.S. Army CentCom in Baghdad. "I want to go over there so that I can tell our readers exactly what is going on in Iraq," I said.
"Sorry," they wrote back. "We don't embed bloggers." So. The Black Commentator doesn't count as real journalism? Nor does Counterpunch, OpEd News, CLG News, Aljazeerah.info, the Online Journal or TruthOut? It's only when the New York Times lies through its teeth to America that it's real? Yeah, sure you're sorry. Me too.
Then I wrote to Senator Barbara Boxer to see if she could help me to embed. But it's been four or five months now and I haven't heard back. "Senator, I need your help," I wrote. "They are not letting me into Iraq. Apparently you do not get allowed over there unless you promise to write what they want you to write -- about how well the illegal occupation, killing, torture, bombing, napalming, hanging, embezzling, etc. is going and how Bush has to Stay the Course as long as there is one drop of oil left in Iraq...." And you know that I can't make that promise.
But I will promise this: I will do every single thing humanly possible to stop this insane and bloody "war" on the people of Iraq. And on Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Darfur, Somalia and anywhere else where there is power or land or oil that the Bush murderers covet.
Martin Luther King Jr. risked his life to stop the war on Vietnam. We must follow his example. Why? Because our future is at stake here. We cannot afford to be sidetracked again.
PS: "In the future...they can do it to us." What am I talking about! They already have. Perhaps I should just go embed in New Orleans...or South Central.
March 7, 2007: I broadened my search for an embed in order to give CPIC more flexibility in finding one for me: "Regarding my recent embed request, yes, I would also be interested in the Army Corps of Engineers."
March 12, 2007: My embed seems to be actually happening, according to CPIC: "I've just sent a follow up on your approval."
March 13, 2007: The Lone Star Iconoclast also sponsors me, thus removing all obstacles to my embed that CPIC has asked for so far:
Multi-National Force-Iraq, ATTN: Combined Press Information Center
To Whom It May Concern;
The Iconoclast hereby provides accreditation for Jane Stillwater, who represents a bona fide media organization. The Iconoclast is a weekly newspaper published since the year 2000.
Journalist Jane Stillwater works for this organization as a freelance journalist/photojournalist. The Iconoclast accepts responsibility for the actions and journalistic standards of Jane Stillwater to include all stories and opinions produced for other media or public outlets and web log entries while embedded with the U.S. Military under Multi-National Forces Iraq during the period of March - April 2007 in Iraq, to cover human interest stories and to be embedded according to whichever units are available during this time.
The Iconoclast acknowledges and understands that the United States Government is not responsible nor is liable for the actions of Jane Stillwater resulting in death, injury or declared missing while embedded with the U.S. Military in a hostile combat environment. Jane Stillwater assumes full responsibility through The Iconoclast in providing her own medical and life insurance coverage while in a hostile combat environment. The Iconoclast hereby accepts responsibility in assisting or providing notification of next of kin and any necessary arrangements that will facilitate the general welfare of Jane Stillwater.
//Signed// W. Leon Smith
March 18, 2007: Getting a bit desperate for final embed approval, I once again wrote my congresswoman and my senator. "Here is an update on my efforts to try to embed in Iraq, hopefully leaving on March 29, 2007. When I talked with MNFI Baghdad this morning, they said that they were still reviewing my application. With only ten days to go before I am scheduled to leave for Iraq, this doesn't give me much wiggle room to book my flight, etc. so I was wondering if you could give me a little help."
March 19, 2007: I received an encouraging e-mail from CPIC which stated, "Jane, my apologies for the delay..."
March 23, 2007: I tried to broaden my embed options again by offering to embed in Kuwait at a troop training and staging airbase. I received a reply from Kuwait that it was too early to embed there before I went to Iraq but that it was very possible to get an embed in Kuwait on my way back:
Maam, I guess that I understood the date you were talking about. At this time March 29th is way too early to know if you can embed in Kuwait . We have to have your paperwork first and then create a decision memo. This can take a couple of days and then it has to be approved by the command here. Are you still planning on transiting to Iraq? I was wondering how long you were going to be in Iraq because maybe we can work something out when you come back. I am sorry about the misunderstanding and did not realize that you were talking so soon, I figured you would go to Baghdad and then come back through and cover Kuwait. I apologize for the misunderstanding but like I said this process to embed here in Kuwait takes a bit and 6 days from now is not nearly enough time to get the command to sign off on this.
March 23, 2007: Joe Graifoli, a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle, contacted me, stated that the Chronicle wanted to do a story on me. Joe then offered to help me get embedded, and his efforts seemed to produce results -- he was told that everything looked good and so, based on what they had told Joe, I booked a flight to Kuwait.
March 25, 2007: I learned from a reporter who was already in Iraq that all I had been told about bloggers not being allowed to embed just wasn’t true. "Jane, you’ve been lied to. The Army has let a blogger live at Camp Liberty near Baghdad. His name is Michael Yon. He is only a blogger and he has been embedded for over one year. They give him an office and everything."
March 29, 2007: The San Francisco Chronicle ran a front-page story on my efforts to embed. "As Stillwater waited for her plane at the airport Wednesday, the Army was still trying to find a unit in which to embed her. ‘Oh, yeah, her application looks fine,’ said...a media embedding coordinator for Iraq. ‘We're just trying to find a unit anywhere that will take her. There's a lot of people out there now.’" However, that day I left for Iraq, still not certain of having an embed -- not just within CPIC and the Green Zone but with an actual unit -- even after almost a whole year of trying to obtain one.
March 30 -- April 17, 2007: Upon arriving in Kuwait, I was flown to Baghdad and housed in CPIC. Things were looking great! I was going to get stories and be embedded outside the Green Zone and everything! And then I went to John McCain’s press conference and asked him a hard question about Bush’s plans to invade Iran. And the next day I also asked a hard question at General Caldwell’s press conference regarding troop pull-outs. And after that, although CPIC started talking constantly about searching for an embed outside the Green Zone for me, no embed ever appeared. Other reporters came and went but I just continued to wait and haunt the CPIC offices, asking them several times a day if they would please find me an embed.
NPR had also arranged to take me into the Red Zone as did CNN. But right after the McCain conference, even those invitations suddenly dried up.
Finally I started looking for my own embeds and scored one with the Iraq Army. But then it too suddenly melted away. I also contacted CPIC supervisor Lt. Col. Garver and General Petraeus’ office, etc. and was assured that my not getting an embed was unusual but that they would find me one. But none ever materialized. And whenever a reporter went out on an embed outside the Green Zone, I’d talk with CPIC about letting me go along. Their answer was always negative, citing the short notice of my requests. Finally someone told me that it was not CPIC’s fault that I wasn’t getting any embeds and that CPIC was merely following orders. The U.S. embassy itself was blocking my embeds. And other reporters told me that they had been warned off of talking to me as well.
And when I finally returned to the Kuwait airbase, guess what? My embed there had also magically disappeared.
Despite all these limitations placed on me, all the articles that I did manage to write from Iraq and Kuwait were featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Lone Star Iconoclast, the Berkeley Daily Planet and OpEd News as well as numerous other media outlets. Associated Press, the BBC and the Times of London ran articles about me.
April 17, 2007: I returned home to Berkeley and was interviewed on television by ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News.
May 1, 2007: I e-mailed CPIC that, "Someone just offered to sponsor another trip to Iraq for me so I am asking you to try to get the embed process going so that I could embed in one of the JSSs in Baghdad." Then I called CPIC to verify but was informed by phone that it was too late to get an embed for May so I changed my embed request date to June 16.
May 5, 2007: I wrote CPIC, "Sorry that my May embed request came too late to be shopped around but attached please find my embed request for June 16, 2007 to July 7, 2007. I am requesting to embed in a Baghdad JSS and/or the Baghdad Red Zone. And I would also like to embed with [a unit] in Anbar province as well if there is time. I have talked with the [unit commander] and he has okayed the embed. Thanks again for all of your help."
CPIC then informed me that there were no embeds available for me after June 16 because I had requested my embed "too early".
May 6, 2007: I sent the following e-mail to CPIC: "Regarding my request for an embed in June, please let [your embed coordinator] know that not only has [one Anbar unit] offered to embed me but [another Anbar unit] has offered to embed me as well.... I am also still interested in a JSS embed in Baghdad. Thanks again."
May 14, 2007: I wrote the Anbar unit commander again, requesting he write to CPIC regarding my June embed.
May 16, 2007: I again e-mailed CPIC, once again asking for an embed.
May 22, 2007: I gave up on CPIC and tried embedding with the Navy, writing their public affairs officer in Bahrain that, "I haven't embedded with the Navy before -- have only been embedded with the Army through CPIC. I write for a variety of media outlets including OpEd News, the Lone Star Iconoclast, the Berkeley Daily Planet and the San Francisco Chronicle. I am enclosing a copy of my embed application FYI and will also cc this e-mail to CPIC. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
May 25, 2007: The Navy sounded really helpful. "Jane, please complete the attached embark form and return to me as a .doc attachment (meaning please don't embed it in an email). I can offer you a carrier embark for sometime after 16 Jun as per your note below. If you can spend up to 4 days here I can also get you aboard some of the smaller combatant ships which are conducting maritime operations in the Gulf. From Kuwait, you'll have to catch either mil air or com air into Bahrain -- embarks to our ships originate out of Bahrain."
May 29, 2007: Suddenly the Navy started citing regulations regarding various hurdles to embedding me -- ones that are certainly on the books but are apparently ignored with regards to many reporters -- especially conservative bloggers: "Jane, There are some issues with theatre clearance for Kuwait and Qatar, the transit hubs for mil air. ARCENT in Kuwait does not do theatre clearance for transiting media -- only media that's embedding with them. So, in order for you to transit to Bahrain via Kuwait, CPIC needs to do a theatre clearance for you."
The Navy PAO in Bahrain went on to state, "Media is only allowed to remain on Kuwait for 48 hours in transit, so unless you have a guaranteed flight to Bahrain or a theatre clearance from CENTCOM, ARCENT Kuwait will be unable to bring you [here] for billeting if you're delayed. Please also ensure theatre clearance covers your entire visit to the region." These rules, as far as I can tell by talking with other reporters, are not often enforced.
May 30, 2007: I wrote to the Navy that I did have orders to fly on military aircraft. Immediate CPIC sent me the following e-mail, apparently panicked that I had orders that would let me back into Iraq: "Hello Jane, I have been in contact with [the Navy PAO] about your interest in embedding with a carrier group off the coast of Kuwait. I just want to clarify a couple of things before you move forward with your request with the Navy --The CPIC Badge is only good for media wanting to report on Coalition forces in Iraq and not off the waters of Kuwait. [the Navy PAO] also said that you had military orders dated 31 August 2007 for travel using Mil Air. Could you please tell me who issued you these orders? Our office issued you travel orders in April but they are only good for travel between Iraq and Kuwait. We also don't provide travel orders with such long expiration dates since they are primarily used for traveling around in Iraq, and travel between Iraq and Kuwait."
May 30, 2007: Still searching for an embed, I wrote to [the second Anbar unit commander] again and cc-ed my e-mail to CPIC: "I am looking for an embed in Iraq some time between June 14, 2007 and July 4, 2007. Please let me know if you have any available slots for during that time. Thank you very much." I have now started cc-ing everything to CPIC just to see how fast they can manage to kill my embed requests.
June 1, 2007: CPIC then e-mails me that there are no embeds in all of Baghdad during my requested time-frame. In all of Baghdad there are no embeds during the last part of June? CNN, ABC and Fox can’t get embeds either? They are not allowing press into Baghdad any more? Or is it only me? Age discrimination? Sex discrimination? It can't because of my reporting, described by one reporter this way: "Jane’s unpretentious, no-bull style of writing really stands out. Other (mostly right-wing) bloggers have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan, but few have written anything worth reading."
With regard to my travel orders, I informed CPIC that they are contained in a Memorandum for Record dated 30 MAR 07 and state that "...this travel is authorized within or outside the United States during the period of the conflict. This memorandum expires on 31 August 2007" in accordance with DoD 4515.13R, Chapter 9, JFTR VOL.I, Appendix E, Part I, Paragraph E.8 and AM.C124101V14 dated 1 April 2003, paragraph 21.9."
I also made another request for an embed. "Please see what you can do to get me an embed with a unit under CPIC's jurisdiction as well during the time frame that I will be in that theatre – approximately June 14 to July 4.... Thank you in advance for any help you can give me in settling this matter in the best interest of all parties concerned."
June 7, 2007: I received an affirmative reply from Anbar province: "We'll see what happens. I put a package together and set it up to my immediate boss, the Regimental Combat Team commander. He’s good to go with you coming so I sent his endorsement to higher headquarters to let them know that you are good with us. The endorsement needs to go up several more levels before I get a definitive thumbs-up. I'll keep you posted."
June 15, 2007: I got an e-mail from Anbar advising me that I should "tell CPIC that [a Regimental Combat Team] in western al anbar will accept your embed," but that they weren’t hopeful that it would happen. As of this date, I have no embeds lined up, no possibility of being embedded and only a long list of e-mails indicating how, when and where my embed requests have all been stone-walled despite my having jumped through every kind of hoop that the Department of Defense has asked me to jump through.
Stillwater is allegedly being systematically denied press access opportunities within the U.S. Department of Defense’s embed program that are routinely granted to other reporters and journalists in her same position and which are covered by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution with regard to freedom of the press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Plaintiff alleges that defendants U.S. Department of Defense and State Department’s negligence, harassment, discrimination, bias, favoritism and malicious prosecution of herself are in violation of the First Amendment with regards to the embed process as currently exercised by defendants Department of Defense and the State Department with regards to Stillwater in comparison to defendants’ treatment of other journalists. In addition, defendants’ selective treatment of Stillwater is allegedly in violation of U.S. civil law on the grounds that First Amendment protection of freedom of the press needs be applied to journalists reporting from a war zone (as long as military personnel are not endangered by said journalists’ actions) as well as being applied to journalists within United States civil jurisdiction.
In the words of Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Larry Cox, the embed program itself is designed to allow journalists to "make judgments for themselves":
The whole concept was not to put limits on the embed experiences, but simply to provide the opportunity, and let the embedded press experience whatever there is to experience. Torie Clarke, the Pentagon spokesperson, used the words: "Embedding the press would provide journalists the opportunity to see the good the bad and the ugly." That was the assumption from the very beginning, from the conceptual stages to the detailed planning. It became a principle value in Department of Defense's program. That could be considered either good or bad. Part of the journalistic endeavor is for the journalists to make that judgment themselves, and we expected they would, one way or another.
By obstructing Stillwater, an accredited journalist, access to the embedding process and thus denying her to be in a position to make her own judgments and come to her own conclusions, defendant Department of Defense, with the aid of defendant State Department, is thus violating their own stated goals as well as those of the First Amendment.
In the matter of JB Pictures, Inc. v. Department of Defense and Donald B. Rice, Secretary of the Air Force, it was ruled that JB Pictures’ rights to freedom of the press were not being denied when they were not allowed to view soldiers’ remains – thus indicating by default that First Amendment rights were applicable to the Department of Defense except under extreme circumstances.
In the matter of Associated Press v. Department of Defense, the Associated Press sued the Department of Defense under the federal Freedom of Information Act to compel disclosure of George W. Bush’s full record of service in the Texas National Guard. The court ordered the Department of Defense to provide the documents. This case is a clear example of the Department of Defense acting in the best interests of George W. Bush rather than the best interests of America’s citizens. This ruling should be applied to Stillwater’s case as well because since 2000, Stillwater’s journalistic endeavors have centered upon her efforts to uncover evidence that corruption and gross self-interest govern the formation of the majority of Bush’s foreign and domestic policies. By denying Stillwater access to report on one of Bush’s greatest policy failures, the Department of Defense is allegedly again supporting Bush’s interests over the best interests of American citizens.
V. Pain and Suffering
As a result of not being allowed to embed and re-embed in Iraq, Stillwater was forced to spend almost a year trying to rectify this situation, devoting many hours of her time in pursuit of an embed.
"I e-mailed people, made phone calls, wrote letters," stated Stillwater, "dealt with congressional representatives, read information published on the subject, talked with fellow reporters, read up on case law, scheduled, un-scheduled and re-scheduled flights to Kuwait and tried to rally support for my embed with groups and organizations across the entire United States. I went on radio and television, corresponded with officers in the field in Iraq, corresponded with CPIC, corresponded with...you name it, I tried it. And all in vain. It was – and is – very frustrating. And it was especially frustrating because there was nothing exactly I could put my finger on that was causing this rejection. Most of my refusals were of the iron-fist-in-the-velvet-glove variety, especially when I was in the Green Zone. Nobody ever said, ‘Jane, go home, you are wasting your time, you are never going to get embedded in the Red Zone.’ They couldn’t have said that because it would have been clearly discriminatory so instead they just kept stonewalling me and giving me the run-around."
Stillwater’s frustration and mental anguish as a result of being stonewalled and allegedly covertly blackballed from embedding in Iraq and returning to Iraq have caused her great pain and suffering. The actions of the State Department and the Department of Defense have also cast a shadow on her reputation as a journalist. "Being told that I was not fact-based really hurt," stated Stillwater. "It was as if they had accused me of lying – as if I had done something really detrimental to my country such as lying about weapons of mass destruction or lying about Iraq being involved with Al Qaeda before 2003."
Stillwater was also upset that her credence as a patriotic American was being denigrated. "My journalism is greatly influenced by my love for America," stated Stillwater. "And to see that patriotism being repeatedly challenged by the State Department as they apparently try to protect George W. Bush at the cost of the American military and American troops has really been hard for me, a lone female journalist up against the entire Bush war machine. Sometimes I even fear for my safety."
WHEREFORE, due to negligence, harassment, discrimination, bias, favoritism and malicious prosecution suffered by Stillwater as a result of the defendants State Department and Department of Defense’s actions, Stillwater is seeking the following relief:
1. That arrangements be made immediately by defendants to transport Stillwater via the fastest means available – either by commercial air or by military air to an embed in Anbar province, commencing no later than June 22, 2007 and at defendents’ expense;
2. An immediate embed in Anbar province;
3. Immediate access to all Department of Defense media embed facilities;
4. $17,280 in payment to Stillwater for damages due to pain and suffering, damages to her professional reputation and for punitive damages.