You are hereIraq
You walk into a large, bright gallery full of large colorful portraits, portraits of men. They are fairly ordinary looking men. They could be from Western Asia or the "Middle East."
You approach one and look at him for an instant. He looks normal, relaxed, almost expressionless, certainly expressing no very strong emotion.
Before you can look long, your eyes are drawn to the curving lines of words swirling around the canvas like leaves in water. You read words like these, twisting your head almost upside down to follow them:
"FROM THE TIME OF MORNING PRAYERS THEY WOULD DRAW A CIRCLE ON THE WALL, AND I HAD TO STAND ON MY TOES TWO HOURS WITH MY NOSE TOUCHING THE CIRCLE."
You read on as more words flow around this one canvas. You read about dogs and cattle prods and death threats and harm to loved ones, sleep deprivation and confinement in a box and living human beings piled up like suitcases in a truck.
By Steve Horn
On November 12, ExxonMobil signed an oil production deal with the Kurdish Regional Government to drill in Iraqi Kurdistan, located in northern Iraq. This comes on top of an existing oil deal it landed in 2009, to drill for oil in the West Qurna Field, located in southern Iraq.
Not yet 30, Evan Knappenberger has already lived several lives. His story destroys the U.S. government's case against whistleblower Bradley Manning, exposes the toxic mix of fraud and incompetence that creates U.S. war policies, and highlights the damage so often done to soldiers who come home without visible injuries.
Knappenberger, seen in this video, was trained as an "intelligence analyst" at the U.S. Army's Intelligence Training Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 2003 and 2004, the same school attended by Bradley Manning. In April of this year, the PBS show Frontline, responding to an article Knappenberger had published, flew him to Los Angeles on a private jet, and interviewed him for four hours.
The man on the left served with the Marines in Southern Afghanistan from 2001-2006. The man on the right is now a public school teacher who served with the Army from 1986-1989. (Photo: pfarnac1)
If the last decade was the era of occupations that everyone called liberations, then the 99 percent movement is seeking to make this the era of liberations everyone calls occupations.
"It's clear that the interests of the majority of people in this country do not align with the military-industrial complex who put corporate profiteering based on destruction ahead of the needs of people," said Alex Kane, a journalist and activist. "The nexus of power that Occupy is looking to challenge in this country does not stop at Wall Street. Military profiteering is an integral part of the system and it should be challenged."
The "liberation" of Afghanistan has yielded a corrupt government in Kabul, where Hamid Karzai, the former CIA-paid fundraiser for the Mujahideen, is positioning himself as chief lapdog for the Taliban and the ISI (the Pakistan intelligence agency), this alliance acting alongside American bombs to create, in the words of one member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, "no positive change." Well, no positive change for some. For others, like Karzai's wealthy friends, embezzling great chunks of the $70 billion worth of security assistance and development projects American taxpayers have spent in Afghanistan since the invasion has yielded quite a large chunk of positive change.
Or as the Pentagon Post puts it:
As American troops head out of Iraq, U.S. officials are being forced to bring in more private security contractors.
The withdrawal of the remaining troops from Iraq — 33,000 at last count — has caused U.S. officials to move quickly to fill a series of security gaps to ensure the continued protection of American diplomatic personnel as well as U.S. goods.
The risk of suicide in military children nearly doubles during a parent's deployment. Daniel killed himself during his father's last tour. He was 12 years old.
He hung himself from the bunkbed he shared with his brother.
His mom, Tricia, is wondering how Daniel's brother will cope with his father's upcoming deployment.
So is another military spouse whose boy tried to kill himself during his dad's last tour - who also learned that her soldier will be deployed again in 2012.
Isolated incidents? Not if you're a military family member.
These two moms will join other military family members on November 17 in this nation's Capitol to present Homefront 911: Military Family Monologues. True stories about how 10 years of war is really coming home.
12:00 noon at the US Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium free & open to the public.
Nov. 2, 2011 - A new study suggests that defense hawks are crying crocodile tears over planned cuts to Pentagon spending.
Capitol Hill conservatives and Pentagon brass fighting cuts to defense spending have argued that the military is limping off the battlefield with decrepit hardware. It's quite the sob story: At a hearing last week, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chair of the House armed services committee, cut his remarks short to literally sob for "these young men that are going outside the wire over in Afghanistan, every day on patrol."
Despite the Obama administration’s announcement Friday that U.S. combat troops are finally leaving Iraq — giving rise to the popular perception that “Iraq war is over”– I ask those who are celebrating to consider: where is the joy coming from?
It’s been ten years now since Donald Rumsfeld’s brain went “9/11 = attack Iraq,” apparently minutes after the WTC was hit by airliners. From that moment, when the world’s largest military machine began planning it, through today, after over a million Iraqi deaths, this war and occupation has never been legitimate, just or moral!
28 October, 2011 - A human rights group has filed a lawsuit against Lithuania for its role in a CIA rendition program which allegedly involved the illegal detention and torture of “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah.
Zubaydah, who was initially captured by American and Pakistani special services in a raid in Pakistan in 2002, spent some of his time in custody in a secret detention center in Lithuania, according to the Interights group. The European country allegedly collaborated with the CIA on its program of secret prisons, which allowed suspects to be incarcerated and tortured outside American territory.
Oct. 28: Rachel Maddow expresses exasperation that Paul Wolfowitz is still treated by the media as if he has credibility on foreign policy matters despite his infamous history of disastrously poor judgment.
Never More Proud to Be in a Courtroom
by Kathleen Kirwin
October 28, 2011
“AS THE FATHER OF A YOUNG SON, I WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE ON MARCH 19TH TO BE A VOICE FOR SHAHIDULLAH.” From the closing argument of Defendant Art Laffin in DC Superior Court.
by WALTER BRASCH
We know the names of every one of the 4,479 Americans who were killed and the 32,200 who were wounded, both civilian and military, between March 20, 2003 and Oct. 21, 2011, the day President Barack Obama, fulfilling a campaign promise, declared the last American soldier would leave Iraq before the end of the year.
We know Second Lieutenant Therrel Shane Childers was the first American soldier killed by hostile fire in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On March 21, 2003, less than a day after the U.S.-led invasion, Childers was shot in the stomach by hostile forces while leading a Marine platoon to secure an oil field in southern Iraq. His father, Joseph, told NPR that it was his dream to lead Marines into combat.
By Mike Ferner
America’s war in Iraq is over. The last U.S. troops will leave by year’s end, “with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.” So sayeth President Obama.
A “sham of a mockery of a sham,” is what Groucho would call Obama’s announcement and he would be right.
For several reasons Mr. Marx would be much closer to the truth than Mr. Obama.
http://www.accuracy.org * email@example.com AP reports today: "On his flight to Indonesia on Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters that negotiations with Iraq on future training possibilities will begin later. "If such talks are held, they likely would start either when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visits Washington in December or after the end of the year, according to a senior U.S. defense official familiar with the discussions. "The officer spoke Sunday on condition that he not be identified because the issue of possible future U.S. training is highly sensitive." RAED JARRAR, Jarrar is an Iraqi-American blogger and political analyst based in Washington, D.C. He said today: "The Iraq war is not over yet. Shortly after President Obama's announcement that the U.S. is going to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta started talking about planned negotiations with the Iraqi government on a new role for troops inside the country. Most of Iraq's politicians believe the Pentagon is trying one last attempt to keep trainers by sending them under the NATO umbrella. The Iraqi government signed a training agreement with NATO in 2009, but did not send it to the parliament for ratification until earlier this month, a day after the immunity talks with the U.S. collapsed. The agreement, which grants NATO trainers some level of immunity, will be debated in the Iraqi parliament after the recess that ends on November 20th. It is not likely the Parliament will pass the agreement. "But even if the Pentagon's attempt fails, the U.S. is planning to leave up to 16,000 State Department personnel in Iraq after the end of this year. This number includes 8,000 armed mercenaries and 4,500 so-called 'general life support' contractors who provide food and medical services, operate the aviation equipment, etc. This huge presence will be distributed over several sites around the country: The massive U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone, two consulates in Basra and Erbil, two support sites in Iraqi airports, three police-training facilities, and one diplomatic presence office in Kirkuk. A report by the Office of Inspector General in 2009 recommended downsizing the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The OIG report, number ISP-I-09-30A, described the U.S. embassy in Baghdad as 'overstaffed,' and confirmed it should be able to carry out all of its responsibilities with 'significantly fewer staff and in a much reduced footprint.' The report claimed that there is a 'clear consensus from the top to the bottom of the Embassy' that the time has come for a 'significant rightsizing,' and it recommended that 'the rightsizing process has to begin immediately.' "The plan to leave 16,000 personnel in Iraq, the size of an Army division, contradicts the OIG's recommendations and puts the future of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship in jeopardy. The U.S. intervention in Iraq started more than 20 years ago, and it will not be over from an Iraqi perspective until the U.S. downsizes its massive footprint in Iraq." Background: "Occupying Iraq, State Department-Style" http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175401/tomgram%3A_peter_van_buren,_how_not_to_withdraw_from_iraq
Switching Focus from Iraq to Iran
By Ray McGovern
Introductory Note:There I go again — reading the Washington Post before breakfast.
“Clinton cautions Iran on U.S. resolve in Iraq” headlines an article by N.S. Aizenman on who said what on Sunday’s talk shows yesterday.
Aizenman points out that the guests were “pressed by multiple interviewers on … whether the [U.S. troop] withdrawal would open Iraq to greater influence from Iran.” (No coincidence: talking points courtesy of the White House, no doubt.)
Was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blindsided by the question? Hardly. She probably drafted it. In any case, she was well prepared to lead the chorus well into its rehearsals to blame Iran, when Iraq falls apart.
The occupation of Freedom Plaza is organizing events every day, including protest actions, lectures, workshops, and dance parties.
To join in, just show up.
To follow along, just visit http://october2011.org
Here's one not to miss:
Monday October 24:
Tribute to the Iraqi people--with free food, live music and discussion!!!
Where: Freedom Plaza, 13th and Pennsylvania, NW, Washington DC
When: 7pm, Monday, October 24
What: Free dinner
A discussion of what is happening in Iraq and what the withdrawal of US troops means--led by a panel of Iraqis
Live music by a visiting boys band of Iraqi-Americans (UNT1) !!!
Come join us in paying tribute to the Iraqi people and saying no to the occupation of other countries.
Plus ça change…; Iraq Done, Now On to Iran
Ray McGovern, October 22, 2011
Editor Note (Consortiumnews.com): One not-so-funny fact about Washington is that nearly all the news media stars who fell for neoconservative falsehoods about Iraq are still around to fall for new ones on Iran, even some like Richard Cohen who briefly regretted his earlier gullibility, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Paul R. Pillar, my former colleague in the CIA’s analytical division, has raised a warning flag, cautioning that the same imaginative neocon composers who came up with the various refrains on why we needed to attack Iraq are now providing similar background music for a strike on Iran.
He is right. And as one of my Russian professors used to say, “This is nothing to laugh!”
Under the influence of U.S. military propaganda, Western accounts of occupation and resistance in Iraq have tended to characterize the occupation forces and their Kurdish and formerly exiled Iraqi allies as representing legitimate authority, stability and security in Iraq, and popular resistance forces as "insurgents" or "terrorists". An ever-changing official narrative in which US forces must be held blameless for the violence of the invasion and occupation has required the demonization of the Iraqi Resistance and fueled an endless quest for the roots of violence in caricatures of Iraqi history that have gained wide acceptance in Western popular culture.
By David Swanson, RootsAction.org
I just got an email from Huffington Post telling me that Obama was keeping his campaign promise to get U.S. troops out of Iraq. Not quite. Here's a video of Obama's promise.
In that 15-second video he says: "I will promise you this: that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank."
Here's the Huffington Post:
October 21, 2011 - Ottawa: Hundreds of protestors have asked the Canadian authorities to arrest former US President George W Bush for war crimes after he reached a Surrey hotel on Thursday.
Bush and his predecessor Bill Clinton were among the keynote speakers attending the annual Surrey Regional Economic Summit at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel. Human-rights groups, including Amnesty International were demanding the arrest of Bush.
Gail Davidson of the Lawyers against the War expressed outrage over the federal government for ignoring its responsibility in not arresting Bush.
Uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah, Iraq
Recent reports have drawn attention to increases in congenital birth anomalies and cancer in Fallujah Iraq blamed on teratogenic, genetic and genomic stress thought to result from depleted Uranium contamination following the battles in the town in 2004. Contamination of the parents of the children and of the environment by Uranium and other elements was investigated using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Hair samples from 25 fathers and mothers of children diagnosed with congenital anomalies were analysed for Uranium and 51 other elements. Mean ages of the parents was: fathers 29.6 (SD 6.2); mothers: 27.3 (SD 6.8). For a sub-group of 6 women, long locks of hair were analysed for Uranium along the length of the hair to obtain information about historic exposures. Samples of soil and water were also analysed and Uranium isotope ratios determined.
Levels of Ca, Mg, Co, Fe, Mn, V, Zn, Sr, Al, Ba, Bi, Ga, Pb, Hg, Pd and U (for mothers only) were significantly higher than published mean levels in an uncontaminated population in Sweden. In high excess were Ca, Mg, Sr, Al, Bi and Hg. Of these only Hg can be considered as a possible cause of congenital anomaly. Mean levels for Uranium were 0.16 ppm (SD: 0.11) range 0.02 to 0.4, higher in mothers (0.18 ppm SD 0.09) than fathers (0.11 ppm; SD 0.13). The highly unusual non-normal Fallujah distribution mean was significantly higher than literature results for a control population Southern Israel (0.062 ppm) and a non-parametric test (Mann Whitney-Wilcoxon) gave p = 0.016 for this comparison of the distribution. Mean levels in Fallujah were also much higher than the mean of measurements reported from Japan, Brazil, Sweden and Slovenia (0.04 ppm SD 0.02). Soil samples show low concentrations with a mean of 0.76 ppm (SD 0.42) and range 0.1-1.5 ppm; (N = 18). However it may be consistent with levels in drinking water (2.28 μgL-1) which had similar levels to water from wells (2.72 μgL-1) and the river Euphrates (2.24 μgL-1). In a separate study of a sub group of mothers with long hair to investigate historic Uranium excretion the results suggested that levels were much higher in the past. Uranium traces detected in the soil samples and the hair showed slightly enriched isotopic signatures for hair U238/U235 = (135.16 SD 1.45) compared with the natural ratio of 137.88. Soil sample Uranium isotope ratios were determined after extraction and concentration of the Uranium by ion exchange. Results showed statistically significant presence of enriched Uranium with a mean of 129 with SD5.9 (for this determination, the natural Uranium 95% CI was 132.1 < Ratio < 144.1).
Whilst caution must be exercised about ruling out other possibilities, because none of the elements found in excess are reported to cause congenital diseases and cancer except Uranium, these findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases. Questions are thus raised about the characteristics and composition of weapons now being deployed in modern battlefields
By Gareth Porter, IPS
By Dave Lindorff
While this statement by Occupy Wall Street is a powerful list of grievances against capitalism, it fails to even once mention the word "war." This is a significant failing, and cannot have been an oversight. The activists in Liberty Park and in cities across the country, if they want to make this a mass movement to confront the corporate domination of American politics and society, must be willing to confront head on the reality that the corporate elite have made the U.S. into the world's greatest war-monger. It is not just "colonialism," an outmoded term, that is the problem. It is a vast web of imperialism, imposed by a war machine that is bigger and costlier than all the rest of the world's armies combined, and it is the single biggest reason that this country is descending into a state of social and economic decay and decline.