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Will the US government or the mainstream media finally acknowledgethe slaughter of Iraqis by the US military?
By Michael Schwartz
I recently received a set of questions from Le Monde Diplomatique reporter Kim Bredesen about the 2007 Project Censored story regarding 1,000,000 Iraqi deaths due to the U.S. invasion and war. The questions and answers are, I think, useful in framing both the untold story of the slaughter in Iraq and the failure of the U.S. media to report on its extend or on U.S. culpability for it.
I observed recently that your story on Iraqi deaths caused by US >> occupation became story no.1 in this year's listing by Project Censored. I wondered if I could ask you a few questions on e-mail regarding this issue?
Kim Bredesen, Le Monde diplomatiqe (Norway)
These are my questions.
1.Do you expect that the new administration under Barrack Obama will acknowledge the validity of the statistics concerning Iraqi deaths caused by the US occupation force?
By Michael Schwartz
A friend recently sent me a set of questions/propositions about the war in Iraq. The interchange summarizes my views about the current situation and how we got there.
Clinton started war against Iraq, not Bush as Democrats insist!
I think there is a good argument to be made that the policy that led to the war originated with Jimmy Carter. The Carter Doctrine, enunciated in response to the first oil crisis, said that the U.S. would use “any means necessary” including “military power” to maintain access to Middle East oil. To implement this, he established the Rapid Deployment Force (later renamed Centcom), the military command that is currently fighting the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
By Agence France Presse
BAGHDAD - Followers of anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were making a bid on Monday to kill a controversial Iraq-US military pact passed by the Iraqi cabinet by trying to block it in parliament.
The Sadrist movement has vigorously opposed the wide-ranging agreement, which would replace a UN mandate that expires at the end of the year and allow US forces to remain in the country until the end of 2011.
Ahmed Masaudi, spokesman for Sadr's 30-member parliamentary bloc, said the movement would submit a bill that would require a two-thirds majority for parliamentary approval, replacing the current requirement of a simple majority.
"(The current law) is contrary to the constitution and to the instructions from the Guide, Sistani, to obtain a national consensus on this agreement," Masaudi said on Sunday, referring to Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani.
Here's the latest Iraq SOFA. Czech and Iraqi parliaments may both reject SOFAs while US Senate sleeps. We should have a No More SOFAs campaign, symbolized by a senator snoring on a sofa.
Dubya and Givemhellharry.
[NOTE: parliament is only the final hurdle (and a very high one) because the US Senate is lying facedown in the dirt with its eyes closed -- that goes for the treaties on "missile defense" with Czech Republic and elsewhere too. Somebody send the WSJ a copy of the US Constitution please. -- DS]
By Gina Chon, Wall Street Journal
After about nine months of intense negotiations, the Iraqi cabinet passed a security agreement Sunday that calls for U.S. troops to leave Iraq at the end of 2011. The next hurdle is in the Iraqi parliament, which will take up the pact Monday and is the final step in the approval process.
WHAT: Ann Wright and David Swanson speaking prior to screening of "Body of War," Phil Donahue's documentary about a veteran of the occupation of Iraq
WHERE: Starlight Cafe
511 5th ST.
Lynchburg, VA 24504
WHEN: 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Copies of Wright's book, "DISSENT: Voices of Conscience: Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq," will be available for purchase.
During the run-up to war in Iraq, Army Colonel (Ret.) and diplomat Ann Wright resigned her State Department post. She was one among dozens of government insiders and active-duty military personnel who leaked documents, spoke out, resigned, or refused to deploy in protest of government actions they felt were illegal. In "Dissent: Voices of Conscience," Ann Wright and Susan Dixon tell the stories of these men and women, who risked careers, reputations, and even freedom out of loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law.
By xofferson, Docudharma
Having again elected a new Congress with a mandate to end the war, activists are determined to hold Congress accountable this time. The Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign is urging contact with members of Congress, in their home offices, on the Third Friday of the month -- Iraq Moratorium day -- and has produced a video with Vietnam vet Ron Kovic to promote it. (That's next Friday, Nov. 21.)
United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) is urging meetings with members of Congress in their home offices between now and Jan. 3, when they are seated. Says UFPJ:
Last April, top George W. Bush administration officials, desperate to exploit any possible crack in the close relationship between the Nouri al-Maliki government and Iran, launched a new round of charges that Iran had stepped up covert arms assistance to Shi'a militias.
Secretary of Defence Robert M. Gates suggested that there was "some sense of an increased level of [Iranian] supply of weapons and support to these groups." And Washington Post reporter Karen DeYoung was told by military officials that the "plentiful, high quality weaponry" the militia was then using in Basra was "recently manufactured in Iran".
But a U.S. military task force had been passing on data to the Multi-National Force Iraq (MNFI) command that told a very different story. The data collected by the task force in the previous six weeks showed that relatively few of the weapons found in Shi'a militia caches were manufactured in Iran.
Check out report on NY Times website before Times deletes it.
Bacevich starts at 3:53 - but Rachel also discusses the G20 summit, White House cuisine, a Laura Bush policy statement, Bush's stature among world leaders and more! Click through for more Bacevich at ADS.
A senior aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki said Iraq and the United States are now in agreement over a final draft of a security pact.
The draft deal, if approved, would allow American troops to stay in Iraq for three more years after their UN mandate expires December 31.
The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that copies of the agreement will be distributed to Cabinet members later Saturday after a final revision of the Arabic translation.
It could be put to a vote in an emergency meeting on Sunday or Monday, the aide said, adding that it stands "a good chance" of being approved in Cabinet.
If adopted by the Cabinet, the agreement will be voted on in parliament.
The influential Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq praised the actions of an Iraqi soldier who turned his weapon on American soldiers, killing at least two.
An Iraqi soldier on patrol with U.S. forces in the northern province of Ninawa opened fire on his American counterparts Wednesday following an altercation in Mosul. U.S. troops returned fire, killing the Iraqi.
The Sunni AMSI issued a statement on its Web site Thursday praising the "heroic" deed by the Iraqi soldier, which the group identified as Barzan Muhammad Abdullah.
AMSI said the American soldiers had violated the personal privacy of an Iraqi girl in public, prompting Abdullah to fire all of his ammunition at the U.S. troops.
New Blackwater Iraq Scandal: Guns, Silencers and Dog Food
Ex-employees Tell ABC News the Firm Used Dog Food Sacks to Smuggle Unauthorized Weapons to Iraq
By Brian Ross and Jason Ryan | ABCNews.com
A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, ABCNews.com has learned.
Under State Department rules, Blackwater is prohibited from using certain assault weapons and silencers in Iraq because they are considered "offensive" weapons inappropriate for Blackwater's role as a private security firm protecting US diplomatic missions.
"The only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant.
By David Swanson
I think the peace movement and every justice movement in the United States should simply overwhelm Congress members during the next two months with one and only one demand: Pass the Employee Free Choice Act in January. This is, of course, the bill that the labor movement has been trying to pass for years, and that Democrats in Congress and President Elect Obama have committed to making law: http://aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/efca
By Gareth Porter, IPS
WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (IPS) - The promotion of Robert M. Gates as President-elect Barack Obama's secretary of defence appears to be the key element in a broad campaign by military officials and their supporters in the political elite and the news media to pressure Obama into dropping his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in as little as 16 months.
Despite subtle and unsubtle pressures to compromise on his withdrawal plan, however, Obama is likely to pass over Gates and stand firm on his campaign pledge on military withdrawal from Iraq, according to a well-informed source close to the Obama camp.
AP has a huge scoop - the first English text of the draft U.S.-Iraq agreement. Until now, the only version anyone has seen was the Arabic translation of the English draft dated August 6 that leaked out of Iraq and was translated into English by Raed Jarrar. READ MORE.
By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's government spokesman said Monday the proposed U.S. changes to a draft security agreement were "not enough" and asked Washington to offer new amendments if it wants the pact to win parliamentary approval.
The comments by spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh were the first by the Iraqis since the U.S. submitted a response last week to an Iraqi request for changes in the draft agreement, which would keep U.S. troops here until 2012 and give Iraq a greater role in the management of the U.S. mission.
Al-Dabbagh said his remarks constituted the government response, but it had not been officially conveyed to the Americans.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood declined to comment on Al-Dabbagh's remark except to say: "We have not received any official response from the Iraqi government." U.S. officials had described the latest draft submitted to the Iraqis as the "final text."
by Linda Milazzo
According to the local Los Angeles newspaper, The Daily Breeze, California Congresswoman, Jane Harman, a blue dog conservative democrat, is up for a high level intelligence position in the Obama administration. The positions being considered are CIA Director, Director of National Intelligence, and Secretary of Homeland Security. If this speculation becomes fact, and Harman is appointed overseer of the freedoms of the American people, the people's freedoms are toast. Conservative Democrat Harman consistently legislates AGAINST participatory democracy and against personal freedom.
The most egregious example of Harman's disregard for participatory democracy is HR 1955 - the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" - a frightening bill she slipped in the House for passage just over a year ago. HR 1955 is so anti-dissent, so anti-freedom and so McCarthy-like in its establishment of citizen review Commissions that I've written on it twice - both times appealing to the public to stop passage of its Senate clone, S 1959, which luckily has not yet come up for vote. Unfortunately, Mrs. Harman was so covert when sneaking in "1955" that no citizens could lobby to stop it.
Dear President-elect Obama,
Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War congratulate you on your victory, and we admire and respect both Senator John McCain and you for your strong, patriotic dedication and desire to fix the deep problems our country now faces.
We appreciate your inspiring words spoken at Grant Park in Chicago on Tuesday night - words which should give all Americans hope for our future. But we also remember the hope your words gave to many Americans in an August 2007 speech - especially those serving in our military: "Ending this war will be my first priority when I take office. There is no military solution in Iraq. Only Iraq's leaders can settle the grievances at the heart of Iraq's civil war."
By Dave Lindorff
Now that the street dancing is over, and President-elect Barack Obama is measuring the drapes for the new Oval Office (let’s hope he loses the mounted Saddam Hussein matching pistol set and that he has the direct hard-wired link between the Vice President’s Office and the Pentagon severed), it’s time to start focusing on how to make this new president live up to his mantra of “Change We Can Believe In.”
Well over 65 million people voted Obama in on the belief that he meant what he said with that largely empty slogan. They are going to be hugely disappointed if he doesn’t deliver.
A senior Iraqi official on Thursday explicitly backed U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's plans to withdraw combat troops from the country by mid-2010, Baghdad's clearest endorsement yet of Obama's exit strategy.
The outgoing administration of President George W. Bush presented Iraq with a "final text" of a pact accepting Baghdad's demand that troops leave in three years, but Baghdad said it wanted more talks on questions that were still unresolved.
Asked to comment on Obama's pledge to pull combat troops out within 16 months of taking office, National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told Al-Arabiya television: "We think 16 months is good."
Iraq Vet Calls on Antiwar Movement to Press President-Elect Obama for Immediate Withdrawal from Iraq
In the wake of Barack Obama becoming the forty-fourth president of the United States, we speak with Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, a member of Iraq Veteran Against the War. Sgt. Chiroux served in the Army until being honorably discharged last year after over four years of service, including in Afghanistan, where Obama has pledged to escalate the war. [includes rush transcript]
Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, Served in the Army until being honorably discharged last year after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Philippines. He is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Iraqi lawmakers of different parliamentary blocs called on the newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama to withdraw his country’s forces, to achieve Iraq’s “sovereignty and independence.”
Ali al-Adeeb, legislature from the Unified Iraqi Alliance (UIA), told Aswat al-Iraq “Obama promised his constituents to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, and we hope that this issue will become a part of his agenda and the withdrawal will take place at the suitable time.”
“What Iraq currently cares about is a full U.S. pull out of Iraq as soon as possible, considering circumstances on the ground, and not leave a security or military vacuum in Iraq,” he said.
Fawzai Akram, parliamentarian for the Sadr bloc, told Aswat al-Iraq “We demand Obama to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, to achieve sovereignty and independence for Iraqis.”
Military Casualty Update in Iraq as of 11/4/2008
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered 13 combat casualties in the week ending Nov. 4 as the official casualty total climbed to at least 68,496. It includes 34,162 dead and wounded by what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 34,334 dead and medically evacuated (now over two months old) from "non-hostile" causes.*
By Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service
PORTLAND, Oregon – Artist Jim Lommasson hates war. His exhibit of 1,500 photographs, taken by soldiers who served in Iraq, brings the war home to the United States, in a way he hopes will help bring it to an end.
“It’s all about the soldier’s lives upon their return home,” Lommasson, a soft-spoken man with kind, yet piercing eyes, told IPS at a reception for his powerful exhibit in mid-October. “I want people to listen to the soldiers. I want them to support the veterans, and hear what they have to say about Iraq, and what they’ve done to civilians.”
The photographs, handpicked from thousands brought home on laptops by soldiers who served in the occupation of Iraq, are grouped together on two walls. Collages of photos surround larger photos of the soldier who took them, along with quotes from interviews Lommasson conducted with them over the last year.
Iraqis have an obvious personal stake in who becomes the next president of the United States. In my discussions with Iraqi officials and average residents in recent weeks, I’ve heard many views about how the political system works in America.
By Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation
There's no doubt that the financial crisis, job insecurity, and fundamental economic worries are the No. 1 issue in Tuesday's vote. But that raises a critical question: If Barack Obama is elected, will he have an antiwar mandate?
The answer isn't clear.
In 2006, when Democrats reconquered the House and Senate, the election was widely seen as a referendum on the failing war in Iraq. Many Democrats, including those who had previously been supporters of the war, felt tremendous pressure from that public expression of antiwar sentiment, even if the Democratic majority in Congress was either unable either to block the so-called surge or to pass legislation halting the war. Their inability to do so was largely the result of President Bush's veto powers and the Senate minority's ability to filibuster defense spending bills and other measures.
The Roman historian Tacitus famously put the following lines in the mouth of a British chieftain opposed to imperial Rome: "They have plundered the world, stripping naked the land in their hunger… they are driven by greed, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor… They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire. And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace."
Or, in the case of the Bush administration, post-surge "success." Today, however, success in Iraq seems as elusive as ever for the President. The Iraqi cabinet is now refusing, without further amendment, to pass on to Parliament the status of forces agreement for stationing U.S. troops in the country that it's taken so many months for American and Iraqi negotiators to sort out. Key objections, as Juan Cole points out at his Informed Comment blog, have come from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, which is [Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki's chief political partner, the support of which he would need to get the draft through parliament." That party, Cole adds tellingly, "is close to Tehran, which objects to the agreement." The Iranian veto? Hmmm…