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If You Want to Kill 24 People And Get Away With It, Make Sure They're Iraqis

From the Los Angeles Times:

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, accused in the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqis in 2005, announced an agreement Monday to settle the case.

Wuterich will plead guilty to a single count of negligent dereliction of duty. Other charges were dropped. No announcement was made on what kind of discharge Wuterich would receive.

The maximum sentence is three months in the brig. That decision will be made by the judge.

US Media Iraq Reporting: See No Evil

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The Iraq war may be over, at least for US troops, but the cover-up of the atrocities committed there by American forces goes on, even in retrospectives about the war. A prime example is reporting on the destroyed city of Fallujah, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place.

 

On March 31, 2004, four armed mercenaries working for the firm then known as Blackwater (now Xe), were captured in Fallujah, Iraq’s third largest city and a hotbed of insurgent strength located in Anbar Province about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Reportedly killed in their vehicle, which was then torched, their charred bodies were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River. 

 

N.C. Human Rights Group Report on Torture Flights

Human rights group calls on state to probe alleged 'torture flights'

19 January 2012 - A North Carolina human rights group is calling on state officials to investigate and stop alleged CIA missions originating in Johnston County that involve illegal torture.

North Carolina Stop Torture Now delivered a University of North Carolina School of Law report Wednesday to the governor, attorney general and others that claims the Central Intelligence Agency relies on Smithfield-based Aero Contractors Ltd. to provide planes and pilots to transport prisoners overseas from the Johnston County Airport for secret interrogation using torture techniques.

A MOMENTUM OF CYNICISM

By Robert C. Koehler

“But no matter how futile, repulsive or dysfunctional war may be,” Barbara Ehrenreich wrote in her book Blood Rites, “it persists.”

A fascinating story in the New York Times just after Christmas showed this persistence unfolding before our very eyes.

White House and State Department are in No Position to Issue Credible Denials Regarding Spying Charges

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

I wouldn’t want to be Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the 28-year-old former US Marine just recently sentenced to death by a court in Iran after being convicted of being an American spy.

 

Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian exile parents, and who grew up in Michigan, is being defended by President Obama, whose White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, declared, “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false.” The White House, not content with that denial, went on to trash the Iranian government and legal system, with Vietor adding, “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”

 

Journalist Dahr Jamail Reports from Baghdad on Political Chaos

Talk Nation Radio: LISTEN
Journalist Dahr Jamail Reports from Baghdad on Political Chaos

-’The Americans are gone and now we are in total political turmoil, and that’s the reality in Iraq today’.
-’Clearly killings and bombings that are targeting the Shiite population. Just like what we’ve seen in the past these are attacks carried out to incite sectarian warfare’.

‘Iraqis are very afraid today of a return to 2006, 2007, that horrific sectarian bloodshed period where we saw tens of thousands of Iraqis killed, literally just open sectarian war’. Dahr Jamail, in Baghdad, 1-6-12

Obama's Pentagon Strategy: A Leaner, More Efficient Empire

By Charles Davis and Medea Benjamin

In an age when U.S. power can be projected through private mercenary armies and unmanned Predator drones, the U.S. military need no longer rely on massive, conventional ground forces to pursue its imperial agenda, a fact President Barack Obama is now acknowledging. But make no mistake: while the tactics may be changing, the U.S. taxpayer – and poor foreigners abroad – will still be saddled with overblown military budgets and militaristic policies.

Speaking January 5 alongside his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the president announced a shift in strategy for the American military, one that emphasizes aerial campaigns and proxy wars as opposed to “long-term nation-building with large military footprints.” This, to some pundits and politicians, is considered a tectonic shift.

Targeting Journalists in Iraq

  Targeting Journalists in Iraq - by Stephen Lendman

 

March 19 marks Operation Iraqi Freedom's 9th anniversary. Brutal occupation continues. Thousands of US forces remain. 

 

Obama's alleged pullout repositioned troops nearby and left many there. Moreover, an army of paramilitary killers infest the country.

 

Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq

The end of the US military occupation does not mean Iraqis have full control of their oil.
 
 
Iraq plans to increase its oil production capacity up

Fallujah babies: Under a new kind of siege

By Dahr Jamail, Al Jazeera

Congenital abnormalities have mushroomed in the wake of devastating US sieges in Fallujah in 2004 [EPA]

Fallujah, Iraq - While the US military has formally withdrawn from Iraq, doctors and residents of Fallujah are blaming weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorous used during two devastating US attacks on Fallujah in 2004 for what are being described as "catastrophic" levels of birth defects and abnormalities.

Killing Kids is So American

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

According to news reports, 15-year-old  eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez, who was shot and killed yesterday by police in his middle school in Brownsville, TX, was hit three times: twice in the chest and once “from the back of the head.” 

 

Police say they were called by school authorities because Gonzalez was carrying a gun, which turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun, a weapon that uses compressed air to fire a metal pellet which, while perhaps a threat to the eye, does not pose a serious threat to life.

 

Iraq's Military Brass Coming to Las Vegas So YOU Can Sell Them WMDs - Then in 20 Years We'll KNOW They've Got Them and: War Time!

Be a part of this fabulous plan that's NEVER EVER been tried before.  Here's how:

Sixth Iraq Aviation and Defense Summit

                              February 16-17, 2012 Las Vegas, Nevada                             

Dear Colleague,

Iraq. Began with big lies. Ending with big lies. Never forget.

By William Blum

"Most people don't understand what they have been part of here," said Command Sgt. Major Ron Kelley as he and other American troops prepared to leave Iraq in mid-December. "We have done a great thing as a nation. We freed a people and gave their country back to them."

"It is pretty exciting," said another young American soldier in Iraq. "We are going down in the history books, you might say." (Washington Post, December 18, 2011)

Ah yes, the history books, the multi-volume leather-bound set of "The Greatest Destructions of One Country by Another." The newest volume can relate, with numerous graphic photos, how the modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state; how the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly, ... how the people of that unhappy land lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ... More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lying anywhere in wait for children to pick them up ... a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back together again.

"It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003," reported the Washington Post on May 5, 2007.

No matter ... drum roll, please ... Stand tall American GI hero! And don't even think of ever apologizing or paying any reparations. Iraq is forced by Washington to continue paying reparations to Kuwait for Iraq's invasion in 1990 (an invasion instigated in no small measure by the United States). And — deep breath here! — Vietnam has been compensating the United States. Since 1997 Hanoi has been paying off about $145 million in debts left by the defeated South Vietnamese government for American food and infrastructure aid. Thus, Hanoi is reimbursing the United States for part of the cost of the war waged against it. (William Blum, Rogue State, p.304) How much will the United States pay the people of Iraq?

On December 14, at the Fort Bragg, North Carolina military base, Barack Obama stood before an audience of soldiers to speak about the Iraq war. It was a moment in which the president of the United States found it within his heart and soul — as well as within his oft-praised (supposed) intellect — to proclaim:

This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making. And today, we remember everything that you did to make it possible. ... Years from now, your legacy will endure. In the names of your fallen comrades etched on headstones at Arlington, and the quiet memorials across our country. In the whispered words of admiration as you march in parades, and in the freedom of our children and grandchildren. ... So God bless you all, God bless your families, and God bless the United States of America. ... You have earned your place in history because you sacrificed so much for people you have never met.

Does Mr. Obama, the Peace Laureate, believe the words that come out of his mouth?

Barack H. Obama believes only in being the President of the United States. It is the only strong belief the man holds.

Iran and Historical Forgetting

 

By John Grant

 

Ever since George W. Bush lost the popular vote by 500,000 souls and was selected President by a right-leaning Supreme Court, the United States has seemed to me devoted to a twisted fate of slow-motion Armageddon.

What seems to guarantee this is one of our most characteristic American traits: We don’t learn from the past; instead, we choose to officially forget embarrassing history so we can move on from our debacles without losing an ounce of glory. We all know how it goes: Sure, mistakes were made, but we need to keep our eye on the ball and move forward. The costs are paid in slow motion and out of sight.

Selective Sympathy: War’s Mayhem and Murder is Somehow Less Hard to Bear than the Humane Termination of an Injured Animal

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The officer rested his arm holding the stock of the assault rifle on the top of a log pile, and aimed directly between the target’s eyes. She was looking directly at him, unblinking, from 30 feet away, and exhibited no fear. “I hate doing this,” he muttered, before finally pulling the trigger.

 

A sharp “bang!” rang out, her head jerked up and then her whole body sagged to the ground, followed by some muscle jerks, and it was over.

 

The officer went over and checked the body, decided no second shot was needed to finish the job, and then walked back to his squad car, took out his phone, and called in the serial number of his rifle, reporting his firing of one round, as required by regulations.

 

Numbers of Iraqis Displaced and Refugees Since 2003

Number of Iraqis displaced and refuges:

Congressional Research Service Reports for the People
http://opencrs.com/document/RL33936
It is estimated that in total (including those displaced prior to the war) there may be as many as 2 million Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and other neighboring states, and approximately 2.7 million Iraqis who have been displaced within Iraq itself. Between 2004-2007, the violence and insecurity resulting from the ongoing sectarian strife, terrorism, and insurgency in Iraq produced substantial civilian displacement in different parts of the country.

Read and see the stories of Iraqi refugees in their own words.

 

 

We Could Have Done Good

Michael Froomkin:

The population of Iraq is about 32,000,000. So that means the war cost us about $25,000 per Iraqi.

I think my suggestion back in 2003 that instead of staying in Iraq we just give every Iraqi $3000 per year for the next year or two is looking awfully good in retrospect.

Better than Obama: Why the Establishment is Terrified of Ron Paul

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

It’s fascinating to watch the long knives coming out for Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, now that according to some mainstream polls he has become the front-running candidate in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus race in Iowa, and perhaps also in the first primary campaign in New Hampshire.

 

Prospects for Peace on Earth

This time of year is ideal for reflecting on the miracle of Christmas 1914, that famous temporary truce and friendship between opposing sides in the midst of a war. Here was a new type of slaughter confronted with a new type of humanism, the leading edges of two opposing trends.

An op-ed in the New York Times last week by Steven Pinker and Joshua Goldstein argues that peace, rather than war, was the dominant development, and that over the millennia, centuries, decades, and right up to this moment, "War Really Is Going Out of Style."

The Big Lie Marches On: We must have an honest accounting of the Iraq War.

The war is over, sort of, but the Big Lie marches on: that democracy is flowering in Iraq, that America is stronger and more secure than ever, that doing what’s right is the prime motivator of all our military action.

And the troops will be home for Christmas. Hurrah! Hurrah!

(The men will cheer, the boys will shout, and we’ll all feel gay, except maybe Rick Perry.)

Bradley Manning: The Imperative of Truth

Pvt. Manning and Imperative of Truth

by Ray McGovern

When I was asked to speak at Saturday’s rally at Fort Meade in support of Pvt. Bradley Manning, I wondered how I might provide some context around what Manning is alleged to have done.

(In my talk [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4174QK1emtQ ], so as not to think I had to insert the word “alleged” into every sentence, I asked for unanimous consent to using the indicative rather than the subjunctive mood.)

What jumped into my mind was the letter Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham City jail in April 1963, from which I remembered this:

European Fail: Extraordinary Rendition Flights

Europeans accused over CIA rendition data

19 December 2011 - Almost two-thirds of countries asked by human rights groups about their involvement in extraordinary rendition flights have failed to comply with freedom of information requests – with European nations in particular accused of withholding evidence of the controversial CIA programme.

Legal action charity Reprieve and open government pressure group Access Info Europe made a total of 67 requests for flight data relating to the years 2002 through to 2006.

Iraqis who aided US left behind and fearful

Long delays for visas mean thousands of former interpreters for US remain in Iraq, afraid of assassination.

BAGHDAD – It was supposed to be a simple deal: Work with the American occupation here for one year, and earn a visa to resettle in the United States.

John put in 27 months as a linguist and adviser, both with the military and with a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) attached to the US embassy in Baghdad. Last November, midway through his tenure with the Americans, he applied for a visa under a special State Department programme.

Thirteen months later, he is still waiting for an answer, and worries that he might be killed before he gets one: The Iraqi government has been gathering details about people who worked with the US military, and John fears that information could be leaked to armed groups; and he has received several anonymous, harassing phone calls from people who know about his work history.

“It’s a fact to these people, we betrayed our country, anyone who worked with the Americans,” he said in an interview. “They think we don’t even deserve to be Iraqi.”

Huge backlogs

As the last US troops depart Iraq this month, they leave behind thousands of former colleagues, like John, who thought they would have emigrated by now. (John is not his real name, of course; he asked to remain anonymous, both to protect his safety in Iraq and his visa application in the United States.)

More than 140,000 Iraqis worked with the United States during the nearly nine-year war and occupation., and tens of thousands have since applied for immigration visas in the United States.

The US issued only a handful in the early years of the war. A law passed in 2008 created the Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) programme, which was supposed to expedite the process: It allocated 25,000 visas over five years for Iraqis who worked with Americans and face an “ongoing threat” in their home country.

But four years later, only about 7,000 of those visas have been issued, according to the State Department, with more than 30,000 applications pending a decision.

The process has become especially slow this year, after the Obama administration started requiring more detailed background checks for visa applicants. Just nine people received visas under the SIV programme during the entire month of April.

READ THE REST

Supporters Give Bradley Manning a Hero’s Tribute Outside Fort Meade

 

By John Grant


Ft. Meade -- Saturday, December 17th was Bradley Manning’s 24th birthday, and at least 300 supporters gathered outside Fort Meade, Maryland, where the military was in its second day of a preliminary hearing process that’s expected to take about a week. Manning worked in military intelligence and is alleged to have released military secrets to WikiLeaks, which released the material publicly.

Chicago Rally to Thank Obama for Supposedly Ending War in Iraq Turns Up 30 Speakers and 10 Audience Members

Obama promised to make ending the war in Iraq his first act in office. Then he did what he could to avoid ending it. Forced by Bush and Maliki and the Iraqis to remove troops, he's keeping troops nearby and filling bases with mercenaries, while expanding ground and drone wars around the region and claiming the power to make war anywhere he likes, including having already done so in Libya. Nonetheless a hearty band of Obama-Right-Or-Wrongers planned a rally in Chicago to praise the president for . . . well, for something or other.

The rally was sponsored by Marilyn Katz and Carl Davidson and "Chicagoans Against War in Iraq," and was promoted as a big national event. I heard about the planning here in Virginia. Among the 30 speakers were the president of the Cook County Board Toni Preckwinkle, Alderman Joe Moore, and Tom Hayden. But an email report I've just been forwarded says the audience was "5-10," and "Dozens and dozens of prepared placards that said 'yes we can' were in a box, untouched."

Meanwhile, "In opposition, holding placards, were some 15 or more from March 19th Anti-War Coalition, Occupy Chicago, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Albany Park, North Park, Mayfair Neighbors for Peace and Justice, and others. The placards included slogans "The U.S. War on Iraq is NOT Over" "Obama Does Mot Deserve Praise," "Obama is Continuing Illegal & Unjust Wars," "Obama Is Threatening Iran and Syria," "Free Bradley Manning," "No War on Iran," "Orambo," "There Is Nothing to Celebrate" and others. Hundreds of leaflets from the March 19th Anti-War Coalition entitled "The Government is NOT bringing all U.S. troops home or ending its wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or its threats against Iran and Syria and elsewhere" were distributed to passersby as well as those at the rally."

UPDATE: Story and Photo Here.

UPDATE 2: Hayden, Davidson, and Katz tell me this was no rally at all, just a press conference.  None of them can explain the placards.  They gave NBC the impression it was a rally. They gave In These Times the impression it was a rally. I'm not aware of any other press, of any press that did not think it was a rally.

UPDATE 3:

 

NEWS ALERT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:

Marilyn Katz

MK Communications

Activists From Across the Nation to Gather in Chicago at

2002 Rally Site to Mark Iraq War End

Determination of a few can change the world

 

(CHICAGO—December 15, 2011) Nine years and two months after the first large protest against the then impending war in Iraq, organizers of the now-famous rally will return there with anti-war leaders from throughout the nation to mark the end of what they predicted to be and has turned out to be an ill-conceived and costly war.

“On October 2, 2002,” said Marilyn Katz, “to the surprise of themselves and a nation still reeling from the events of 9/11, thousands of people gathered in Federal Plaza to voice our opposition to an impending war that we felt was built on lies and would cost both the people of Iraq and America thousands of lives and billions of dollars. Among the speakers that day was a relatively unknown state senator – Barack Obama, who added a strong voice in opposition when it was not yet a popular position.

“What began as a few thousand people in Federal Plaza and places like it grew to a movement of millions who opposed a war and became a critical force in electing a president who promised to end the war he had long opposed.  That movement has continued.  The promise has been kept.  We return to Federal Plaza to mourn the losses all have endured and  to celebrate the difference that citizen action can make in creating and changing  history – and to honor those whose word is their promise.”

Among those joining Among those joining Bettylu Saltzman, Marilyn Katz and others who founded Chicagoans Against War and Injustice (CAWI), the group that called the demonstration, will be Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; Alderman Joe Moore, president of Cities for Peace; labor leader Tom Balanoff, SEIU; anti-war stalwart Tom Hayden, Progressive Democrats of America; Chuy Garcia, commissioner, Cook County Board; Bill Zimmerman, media consultant to MoveOn.org and author of Troublemaker, a memoir of the Vietnam antiwar movement; Ryan Canney, Move On.org; Juan Andrade, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute; Julie Hamos, director, state of Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services; David Cortright, Win Without War; Bill MacInary, Lynda Deforge, William McNary, Citizen Action; Carl Davidson, Progressive Democrats for America; Adele Simmons, former president the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; representatives from VetVotes; and Ilya Sheyman, candidate for U.S. Congress.

 

###

 

George Galloway Credits Exposure of Iraq Lies for Birth of Current Movement

Galloway:

I wrote at the time that the invasion of Iraq would be worse than a crime: it would be the Mother of All Blunders. I told Tony Blair – outside the men's lavatory in the library corridor of the House of Commons, to be precise – that the fall of Baghdad would be not the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. And that the Iraqis would fight them, with their teeth if necessary, until they had driven them from their land. I told Blair that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq, but that if he and Bush were to invade there would be thousands of them.

But two things, as George Bush would put it, I "mis-underestimated". First, that when the tower of lies on which the case for the Iraq war had been constructed was exposed, the credibility of the political systems of the two main liars would collapse under the weight. And second, that the example of the Iraqi resistance would trigger seismic changes in the Arabian landscape from Marrakesh to Bahrain.

Almost nobody in Britain or America any longer believes a word their politicians say. This profound change is not wholly the result of the Iraq war, but it moved into top gear following the war and the militarised mendacity that paved the way to it. In America this malaise has fuelled both the Tea Party phenomenon and the Occupy movement alike, even if the word Iraq seldom crosses their lips. And from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf the plates are moving still ...

Informed Activist

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