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A Slideshow of 30 Photos from the Peace Vigil at the White House


By BillyClub - Posted on 16 January 2011

Bill Hughes's slideshow of 30 photos, on Jan. 15, 2011, of the Vigil at the White House.

Tags

longer, sticking around for a while longer, though didn't say how many decades longer.

The articles linked in this post are not linked chronologically. They're basically linked in the order that I came across them.

"Biden’s Iraq Visit to Focus on Extending War Beyond 2011

Will Maliki's Calls for End to US Military Presence Extend to Talks?"

by Jason Ditz, January 12, 2011

http://news.antiwar.com/2011/01/12/bidens-iraq-visit-to-focus-on-extendi...

Fresh off a contentious visit to Pakistan, Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq on the latest unannounced visit of his tour with an eye towards serious talks about the continuation of the US war beyond the December deadline specified in the Status of Forces Agreement.

Iraqi officials have confirmed that Biden’s talks will center around the possibility of keeping American troops in the nation in 2012 and beyond, with meetings planned with President Talabani, Prime Minister Maliki and Kurdish President Barzani.

Just weeks ago Prime Minister Maliki insisted that the US would absolutely have to leave on time, but whether such comments will stand up to a meeting with US officials, a number of whom have expressed determination to remain in Iraq for years to come, remains to be seen.

But for Maliki backing off may not be an option either, as influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has made his current support for the government predicated on keeping the US withdrawal on schedule. Though Sadr seems keen at the moment to set himself up as a political power-broker and not a commander of militias, this could change at any time if he perceived the US, which openly opposed his bloc being in the government, were to remain.

There are links for the related articles referred to in the second, third and fourth paragraphs.

The first of the three articles is the following one.

"Biden: Iraq's success in US interest"
by AP, Jan. 13, 2011

www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jwBwDJnjRH_u-xFqkw8QrmjwHhiQ?...

The following copy of the AP article was written by Lara Jakes and provides a few images, including one for Biden, "Ambassador to Iraq James F. Jeffrey, and Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top U.S. commander in Iraq" photographed together in Baghdad.

www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9KNFKF00&show_article=1

The article linked in the last paragraph of Jason Ditz's piece is the following one.

"Sadr’s Office Confirms Major Saturday Speech

Popularity Soaring, Anti-US Cleric Set for Major Public Address"

by Jason Ditz, January 06, 2011

http://news.antiwar.com/2011/01/06/sadrs-office-confirms-major-saturday-...

He left the nation as a popular but controversial figure in the wake of violent turmoil. But Moqtada al-Sadr’s recent return to Iraq has a whole different view to it, with his supporters a large and powerful political faction and his supporters lauding the return as a game-changer.

The exact reason for his return has been the subject of no small speculation, but this is likely to come to an end soon. On Saturday morning, Sadr’s office has confirmed, he will address the nation in a major public speech. The content of the speech, as well as its location, has yet to be announced.

But the atmosphere around Iraq at this point is such that he could credibly announce almost anything. Openly condemned in 2006 as the “greatest threat” to Iraq by the Pentagon, even rival political blocs seem scared to offer anything but unequivocated praise.

His supporters in the Shi’ite community are hopeful that he will be able to offer some measure of stability with his return, particularly important with officials saying the level of violence against civilians is largely expected to remain flat in the upcoming years.

The announcement could really be anything from an effort to reconcile with the nation’s Sunni Arab minority to a demand for the US military to leave Iraq. With his power expected to only grow more as time goes on, both friend and foe will be looking at the speech with great interest.

That article also has supporting links and I'll include the link for Jason Ditz's update piece on the speech by Muqtada al-Sadr further below. As for the violence in Iraq being expected to remain "flat in the coming years", it's not zero or absence of violence. There's been a lot of violence and I'll provide a link or more than one further on in this post for one or more articles about a different kind of violence that's been going on in Iraq, the assassination of thousands of Iraqi security force members and some Iraqi officials. I'm not sure, yet, if the officials were also in Iraq's security force(s), or if the assassinations have also occurred against Iraqi officials from other parts of the government in Iraq.

"Sadr Backs Maliki Govt, Slams US Occupation in Speech

In Major Najaf Speech, Cleric Says Top Priority Is to Resist US"

by Jason Ditz, January 08, 2011

http://news.antiwar.com/2011/01/08/sadr-backs-maliki-govt-slams-us-occup...

The first speech of the increasingly powerful anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr since his return to Iraq came today in Najaf, and he offered qualified support for the Maliki government, saying he would continue to support them so long as they were working to make the situation in Iraq better.

But when it came to the US occupation, the position was less conciliatory, as Sadr urged Maliki to follow through on his promise to get the US troops out and insisted that Iraqis should stop fighting amongst themselves and unite to chase the 48,000 US troops out.

To that end Sadr admonished the various militant groups, condemning the attacks on Iraqi Christians as well as the assassinations of government officials, saying “do not kill Iraqis but target the American forces.”

Sadr’s speech was one of the most highly anticipated in recent Iraqi history, and thousands of Shi’ites flocked to Najaf to hear it. It appears however that the crowd was a bit too much to handle for the cleric, and as the cheers and chanting grew more and more raucous, the cleric made a final call for the release of Mahdi Army detainees from Iraqi prison and abruptly left. Some reports suggest that was not designed to be the end of the speech but that the cleric decided to end early to avoid riling up the crowd even more.

That article also has links and the following piece is also about al-Sadr's speech.

"Al-Sadr calls on Iraqis 'to resist'

Shia leader urges peaceful resistance and a rejection of violence in his first address since returning from exile."

by AlJazeera, Jan. 8, 2011

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/20111872647305497.html

Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi Shia Muslim religious leader, has called on his followers to resist the "occupiers" of Iraq.

In his first public address since returning from self-imposed exile, he called on the newly formed government to make sure all US forces left Iraq by the end of the year as planned.

"We are still resisting the occupation through armed, cultural and all kinds of resistance, so repeat after me: no, no to occupiers," al-Sadr told a crowd of thousands outside his ancestral home in Najaf on Saturday.

"Yes, yes for Muqtada! Yes, yes for the leader!" the crowd shouted, waving Iraqi flags and al-Sadr's pictures.

David J. Ranz, the spokesman for the US embassy in Iraq, brushed off al-Sadr's remarks, saying the speech contained "nothing new".

A security agreement between Washington and Baghdad requires all US forces to be out of Iraq by the end of the year, but officials in both countries have admitted that security forces are not yet ready to protect Iraq's borders from possible invasion.

Disciplined group

Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf in Baghdad said that al-Sadr's message specified ending the occupation as a key goal.

"He made clear reference to fighting them [the US forces] with all means necessary ... but he also made clear that this is a more disciplined Sadr organisation," she said.

"He said breaches would not be tolerated and that Iraqis would not assassinate Iraqis ... altogether a much more determined, perhaps a more disciplined Muqtada al-Sadr."

Police and al-Sadr's guards were out in force in Al-Hanana, the area of Najaf where al-Sadr's home is located, and where he spoke.

(snip)

Government role

(snip)

Iraq's new government, which was finally approved by parliament on December 21 after nine months of delays, includes six ministers from Sadr's bloc and the popular leader said that it must be given a chance to perform.

(snip)

"Anti-Biden Protests in Iraq: Iraqis Call on US to Withdraw

Sadr Supporters Urge VP Not to Come Back"

by Jason Ditz, January 14, 2011

http://news.antiwar.com/2011/01/14/anti-biden-protests-in-iraq-iraqis-ca...

Protests against Vice President Joe Biden’s visit and the ongoing US military presence in general were reported in a number of cities in Iraq, with supporters of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr getting the credit for organizing many of them.

Protesters urged the US to withdraw its remaining 50,000 troops from Iraq, and urged Vice President Biden not to come back either. Biden had claimed the US withdrawal was on track in a speech with Prime Minister Maliki, but later hinted at a long term continuation of the war when speaking to US troops.

Sadr, whose supporters hold a number of key positions in the new government, gave a speech last weekend denouncing the ongoing US presence, and warning that his support for the coalition government was predicated on Maliki keeping his word on the pullout.

Maliki for his part has insisted the US will leave at the end of the year, as mandated by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). A number of US officials have openly said however that they expect Maliki to request the contnuation of the occupation through 2012 and potentially beyond.

Like with his other articles, the above one by Jason Ditz also has links.

Here's another article about al-Sadr's return to Iraq. I haven't yet read the whole piece, yet, and am not sure if Robert Grenier is truthful or accurate in what he says in the first part of this article, suspecting that he might not be telling the whole truth about the killing of a rival of Muqtada al-Sadr and for which an arrest warrant against him was created. A lot of violence that Washington and its media supporters claimed to have been al-Sadr's responsibility wasn't his doing. And I would not trust a Robert Grenier very much about this, since he was the CIA Iraq Mission Manager in 2003 and 2004.

"Iraq: Threats of foreign influence

Return of Muqtada al-Sadr will have an unpredictable influence on Iraqi politics"

by Robert Grenier, Jan. 11, 2011

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/2011110142254749996...

Bio.: Robert Grenier is a retired, 27-year veteran of CIA's Clandestine Service. He was the CIA's Iraq Mission Manager in 2003 and 2004.

"'Hit Men Kill 240 Iraqi Officials'"
by Press TV, Jan. 11, 2011

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22752

Iraqi Interior Ministry's Under-Secretary for Security Major General Hussein Kamal says nearly 240 security men and intelligence officials have recently been killed by hit men.

Nearly 360 Iraqis, including 240 high-level security officials, have been killed by so-called 'hit men,' a recent phenomenon that has taken root in Iraq, General Kamal added on Tuesday, the Iraqi daily Al-Zaman, a newspaper published simultaneously in London and Baghdad, reported.

The tactic involves utilizing silencers on pistols and rifles to enable an attacker to silently kill their victim and then flee without being noticed, the Iraqi official added.

Such weapons were produced during the Baath regime; however, there is a possibility that they are smuggled into the country from the porous northern, eastern and southern borders, General Kamal explained.

The deputy Iraqi interior minister further added that Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were taking measures to track down the attackers supposedly belonging to al-Qaeda and the Baath Party of executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi Council of Ministers has agreed to recruit 200,000 policemen and interior ministry staff for better protecting Baghdad, Kamal said earlier.

The force will approximately double the number of the current policemen in the Iraqi capital.

Militant threats and a lack of hotel space for delegations pose stiff challenges to Iraq's plans to host for the first time in 20 years the annual Arab League meeting on March 23.

"Insecurity surges as unidentified assassins spread terror in Iraqi security ranks"

by Fatih Abdulsalam, Azzaman.com, January 14, 2011

www.uruknet.info/?p=m73901

The last two years saw an upsurge in insecurity due to an unprecedented hike in assassinations whether in Baghdad or other major Iraqi cities.

These assassinations, which have so far claimed more than 2,000 lives among the country’s security forces, are carried out in two major ways.

In the first, the assassins rely on silencer guns which are either imported or produced locally. In the second, the assassins rely on stick explosive charges most of which are imported.

The problem with these assassinations is two-fold. First, the assassins select their victims very carefully and make sure they have a role to play in the country’s armed forces and security ranks. Second, they have turned into an unstoppable contagious disease.

The paradox is that no one can say exactly who is behind these assassinations and why they are being carried out at this particular junction.

There are no Wikileaks reports to reveal the secrets behind these terrifying killings. But one can say with certainty that both U.S. and Iraqi government claims of having succeeded to reinstate relative calm in the country are false and hollow.

Blaming them on al-Qaeda branch in Iraq, the so-called the Iraqi Islamic state, is the worst conspiracy theory-hatched scenario one can imagine. If the assassinations are truly of al-Qaeda making, then we the Iraqis and the whole world with us should lament not only our future but the future of our children.

Such an allegation, if true, it will mean that al-Qaeda is unbeatable and that the U.S. has cut and run in Iraq and that our shaky government will soon be overthrown with the terror group’s operatives taking over.

Who other than the world’s mightiest intelligence agencies is capable of carrying out such highly coordinated and well-targeted assassinations? (my emphasis) How come that the mighty U.S. armed forces could not put an end to them?

The ongoing assassinations leave more than on question mark about whatever the U.S. and Iraqi government officials say in regard to conditions in Iraq.

They tell every Iraqi person that nothing is secure in Iraq. If government army and security officers can be killed in droves every day, what about ordinary Iraqis? If those supposed to protect Iraqis cannot protect themselves, one can imagine the hell the Iraqi people have been in since the 2003-U.S. invasion.

Large-scale assassinations carried out with such intensity and precision are not the work of an individual or even a group firing at random or planting a bomb on the side of a road.

These assassinations are the product of a complex intelligence effort determined to liquidate a class of Iraqis for purely strategic benefits. (my emphasis)

This year will turn into a fertile ground for the agencies carrying out their assassinations. There is good reason to believe that 2011 will see further intensification by these assassinations targeting and selecting more important individuals in government ranks.

2011 will become one of the most difficult years for the Iraqi street since the 2003-U.S. invasion.

Some additional articles:

I got the following link from a copy of the piece at Uruknet. This copy includes an embedded video for part 1 of 4 of "Iraq's Secret War Files" posted at Youtube last October. The full length of the 4 parts is roughly 48 minutes and the first paragraph of the description provided at Youtube begins by saying, "The only TV documentary to have advance access to the biggest WikiLeaks release ever. This is what really happened during the Iraq war, not what the US PR machine of the time wanted us to believe. The reality behind the civilian death count; al-Qaeda's fictitious presence; torture, torture and more torture. A wall of truth revealing unprecedented levels of unwarranted aggression. Dispatches, Channel 4's flagship current affairs strand, exposes the full and unreported horror of the Iraqi conflict and its aftermath, ....".

Now the article.

"Iraq Is Bleeding Every Day"
by Siun, January 2, 2011

http://firedoglake.com/2011/01/02/iraq-is-bleeding-every-day

Iraq enters 2011 – the year in which American forces are supposed to finally leave – with all too many wounds from our occupation. While we hear little here in the US about the effects of our war and occupation, Iraqis live with the results daily.

Take for example, the continuing level of violence. Western media keep reminding us that the casualty count is lower than at the height of the war – but for 2010, conservative estimates, from Iraqi government sources, place the dead and injured from violence at unbearable numbers:

"“The statistics carried out during the periiod from 01/1/2010 and 31/12/2010, the violence acts, including killings, assassinations, along with unknown dead bodies and victims of the security forces in Iraq has registered 4,561 killings and 12,749 injuries,” the report, copy of which landed in Aswat al-Iraq news agency, said."

(snip)

Part 1 of 4 of the Channel 4 documentary:

"Iraq's Secret War Files 1/4" (15:00)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUDxADbXhuU

The only TV documentary to have advance access to the biggest WikiLeaks release ever. This is what really happened during the Iraq war, not what the US PR machine of the time wanted us to believe. The reality behind the civilian death count; al-Qaeda's fictitious presence; torture, torture and more torture. A wall of truth revealing unprecedented levels of unwarranted aggression.

Dispatches, Channel 4's flagship current affairs strand, exposes the full and unreported horror of the Iraqi conflict and its aftermath, revealing the true scale of civilian casualties; and allegations that after the scandal of Abu Ghraib, American soldiers continued to abuse prisoners; and that US forces did not systematically intervene in the torture and murder of detainees by the Iraqi security services. The programme also features previously unreported material of insurgents being killed while trying to surrender.

Channel 4 is the only UK broadcaster to have been given access to nearly 400,000 secret military significant activities reports (SIGACTS) logged by the US military in Iraq between 2004 and 2009. These reports tell the story of the war and occupation which the US military did not want the world to know.

(snip)

The data shows that the Americans were aware of the horrific level of violence inflicted by Iraqi sectarian militias: over 32,500 murders; more than 10,000 shot in the head; nearly 450 decapitated; over 160 were children.

One of the reasons given for the invasion of Iraq was the suggestion of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The US told the UN Security Council in 2003 that Iraq 'harboured' the terrorist network. However, in the leaked data there are only seven reports mentioning Al Qaeda in 2004, and none of these refer to Al Qaeda killing anyone. By 2008, there are 8,208 reports mentioning Al Qaeda attributing to it the deaths of 45 coalition soldiers, 486 members of the Iraqi Security Services and 1,291 civilians.

(snip)

The rest of the text with the video provides links, including one for downloading the documentary.

Re. what the last two excerpted paragraphs say:

a) I doubt that there's actual proof that it was Iraqi fighters against the occupation of their country who killed 32,500 Iraqis, et cetera. Many killings were by covert "black" ops of both Iraqi government "security" forces members as well as US and UK special ops, perhaps also Israelis. For this I can only recommend reading through the "Salvador Option and Death Squads" index of articles at www.brussellstribunal.org .

b) The "8,208 reports mentioning Al Qaeda" by 2008 might again be false reports. It's very possible that all of this was actually attributable to covert "black" ops, special forces ops.

In the side column of the Youtube page for the above video clip and where there are links for suggested videos there's a link for an AlJazeera documentary of 56 minutes and which is similarly titled, "The Secret Iraq Files", btw. I didn't view it yet, but it was posted last October and is based on the Iraq war logs released by Wikileaks; or is at least partly based on those logs.

Like US diplomatic cables, inaccurate war logs:

I only viewed part 1 of the Dispatches documentary, so far, but some of what it tells us is that the war logs must not be taken as accurate. Some, if not many, definitely are false. But what I have more in mind is that we need to treat the diplomatic cables being released (not produced, only released) by Wikileaks in the same way. They aren't necessarily accurate and many evidently aren't. They can contain errors as well as lies and they need to be carefully vetted.

Some diplomatic cables seem to have a high probability of being accurate, and some are clearly accurate, tout court; f.e., the cable sent from the US embassy in Honduras about the June 2009 coup there. But surely few people can know that most of the cables are accurate or very accurate without some investigation being carefully performed in order to vet what the cables say.

Diplomats work for imperialist and corporatist Washington. Few soldiers and other military people can be trusted; very, very few.

It seems like a good documentary and I'm now going to view the rest.

More assassinations of Iraqis, and Cui bono?:

And another article fitting to refer to with the slideshow for the vigil held in Washington January 15, 2011, is the following one. The last part of the article, under the subheading of "A dark summer for Iraqi academics", tells of the or some of the assassinations of important Iraqi academics in 2010 or summer 2010.

"Iraq: The Age Of Darkness"
by Dirk Adriaensens, Sept. 19, 2010

The article is linked in the page for "recent BRussells Tribunal articles, analyses and newsletters...", which is linked just beneath "ENTER THE WEBSITE" at www.brussellstribunal.org. I'm not providing the direct link because people should check out other parts of the Web site, which I rarely see any references to.

Who stands to benefit and/or profit?

Iraqis won't benefit from the killings of their academics and the US can certainly and strategically exploit the apparent lack of security caused by the assassinations of Iraqi security people. Some anti-occupation Iraqis, the ones willing to fight and capable of fighting, might want to kill Iraqi security force members, such as for treason, f.e.; but any serious Iraqi resistance leadership would know that this would only encourage lengthening of the presence of the US et al.

Length of the US war(s):

US war on Iraq, 20 years, and still counting, the counter hasn't stopped, yet everyone says the war on Afghanistan has been the longest war or the longest US war or US-led war, and it hasn't been going on for 20 years straight. It basically is 20 years in total, counting the 1980s and since October 2001, for the 1980s war in Afghanistan basically or essentially was the doing or making of the US; but Iraq has been 20 years straight. The US warred on Iraq throughout the two Clinton terms, since he was C-in-C of continuous bombings of Iraq; not bombings every day, but repeated many times in order to destroy Iraqi military capabilities. And the criminal economic sanctions were an even greater act of warfare against Iraq and these were constantly applied, enforced.

I and some other people still hold to the Vietnam War having been longer than the present war on Afghanistan, for it did not last for only 8 years. Even the Wikipedia page provides information or a description that informs us that this war started in, I believe, 1960 or 1959 and ended in either 1972 or '73. And the US did war there during all of those years, but there's also information that tells readers of it that when France was warring there, the US provided most of the funding, which essentially meant that the US was warring there through proxy. If a party wars through proxy, then the the former party is committing war and both parties are guilty. And in that sense, the US war on Vietnam was longer than 12 or 13 years. Forget 8, for while it usually, often anyway, is not meant in half-truth terms, it still is half of the truth, very incomplete.

The war on Iraq has been longer in terms of direct or overt US involvement and being led by the US.

20 years and still counting ...

UPDATE:

I finished viewing all four parts of "Iraq's Secret War Files" from Channel 4 Dispatches and have comments about it, but if anyone's interested in knowing what the comments are, then they're posted in the Youtube pages for the four clips. It's a fine documentary even if far from complete, but it repeats Washington claims and Washington is the last place that I'll look for for truth. Washington doesn't "rain" truth; it "rains", "downpours" lies.

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