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Students and Youth Demand End to the Occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan on the 6th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq
Press Conference with Student Organizers to Announce Actions for March 19th
Date: Wednesday March 18, 2009
Time: 11:00 am
Place: Meet at the Reflecting Pool in front of the U.S. Capitol, 3rd Street, Washington, D.C.
As the winds of change begin to rumble in DC, students and youth are still demanding an end to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. March 19th is the 6-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the 1-month anniversary of the start of Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Our Spring Break are student run and initiated organizations that are fighting to end these occupations, refuse to let their peers continue to be cannon fodder for illegal occupations and will bring their message of a just foreign policy to the streets.
By Sherwood Ross
As commander-in-chief of the military, former President George W. Bush was responsible for U.S. attacks on hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mistreatment of their personnel and patients, and the denial of medical supplies to them and to the general populations of those nations, an authority on war crimes says.
One of the most egregious of the Bush war crimes, the force-feeding of prisoners, is being continued by the Obama administration even though it is in violation of medical ethics and the first Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1977, the authority notes.
In a new book that compiles the war crimes committed by U.S. forces, “George W. Bush, War Criminal?”(Praeger), political scientist/author Michael Haas writes:
Almost three quarters of British people believe there should be a public inquiry into the invasion of Iraq, an opinion poll suggests.
The BBC Radio 5 Live poll also found almost two thirds are not convinced UK soldiers should be kept in Afghanistan.
The vast majority of those surveyed believe serving in the British armed forces is a job to be proud of.
And opinion is split over whether Prince William should continue to be protected from frontline duties.
The survey, conducted by ComRes for the BBC, found 72% of those questioned believe there should be an official inquiry into the UK's role in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
This figure increases to 81% in the 18-24 age group.
Last year the government defeated Conservative attempts to force a public inquiry, saying it would be a "diversion" for UK troops serving in Iraq.
Opinion poll ComRes surveyed 1013 adults by telephone between 6th and 8th March.
By Paul Waugh, Evening Standard
Intelligence experts explicitly warned Tony Blair's aides that Britain was not in "imminent danger of attack" from Saddam Hussein, a confidential memo revealed today.
The row over claims that the Government "spun" its way into war with Iraq is likely to be reignited after the release of the document by the Cabinet Office.
The memo, released after a long-running Freedom of Information battle, shows Mr Blair's officials knew seven years ago that the threat from Saddam was not immediate.
Despite the warning, the Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction included a claim that Baghdad was ready to launch an attack within "45 minutes".
Lord Hutton cleared the Government in 2004 of the charge that it tried to manipulate intelligence to pave the way for war.
By Melvin A. Goodman, The Public Record
In 1985, President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Gates to be director of central intelligence (DCI), but he was denied confirmation because a majority of members on the Senate intelligence committee believed he was lying about his knowledge and role in Iran-contra. The independent counsel for Iran-contra, Lawrence Walsh, “found insufficient evidence to warrant charging Gates with a crime,” but he established that Gates knew early on about Oliver North’s illegal support for the Contras and the illegal diversion of funds.
ADS Breaks Project Censored's #1 Top Story of 2009 - Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
Over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003 invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous “Killing Fields” during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.
A newly-released recording of Osama bin Laden compared Israel's January military strikes in Gaza to the Nazi Holocaust and renewed the al-Qaida leader's condemnation of Arab states for, in his view, failing to support the Palestinians.
A brief audio recording of bin Laden was aired by the Al-Jazeera satellite channel. Its authenticity could not be immediately verified. It refers to the Israeli military operation in Gaza in December and January, and charges that Arab states were, in bin Laden's words, "complicit with the crusader-Zionist alliance against our people."
Don't Cut and Run, But Get Out of Iraq Now
By Anna Brew
I thought you all might be interested to see that the Sundance Channel just launched a website in observance of the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The highlight of the site is a large collection of webisodes and clips from two documentaries that will premiere on television on March 19th (the date of the 2003 invasion): Hometown Baghdad and Heavy Metal in Baghdad. Both films capture the day-to-day realities confronted by Iraqi citizens. I'll paste more information about each film below.
HEAVY METAL IN BAGHDAD
Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi's Heavy Metal in Baghdad follows the
heavy metal band Acrassicauda from the fall of Saddam in 2003 through
the nightmare of the 2006 insurgency and into their new lives as
"heavy metal refugees." Moretti and Alvi, who are the chiefs of VICE
Films and VICE Records, established a relationship with Acrassicauda
Mr. Obama’s commitment to maintain perhaps 50,000 troops in Iraq after the drawdown of combat forces over the next 19 months, combined with his decision to send an additional 17,000 troops (for starters) to Afghanistan, could be the beginning of an unwanted debate about commitments abroad. If the country begins to see mounting costs in lives and money from the administration’s war policies, it risks distractions from the more urgent designs the president described in his campaign and recent messages to the Congress and the country.
The Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at President George W. Bush was convicted yesterday of assaulting a foreign leader and sentenced to three years in prison, lawyers said. He shouted “Long live Iraq” when the sentence was read.
The verdict came after a short trial in which Muntadar Al-Zeidi, 30, pleaded not guilty to the charge and said his action was a “natural response to the occupation.”
Some of his relatives collapsed after the verdict and had to be helped out of court. Security forces forcibly removed others when they became unruly, shouting “Down with Bush” and “Long live Iraq.”
Al-Zeidi could have received up to 15 years in prison for hurling his shoes at Bush last December during a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.
Iraqi jailed for Bush shoe attack
An Iraqi journalist hailed as a hero in the Arab world for throwing his shoes at former US President George W Bush has been jailed for three years.
Muntadar al-Zaidi had told the court his actions were "natural, just like any Iraqi" against a leader whose forces had occupied his country.
Shoe hurling is a grave insult in Arab culture, but Mr Bush - on a farewell trip to Iraq - shrugged off the attack.
Defence lawyers described the sentence as "harsh" and said they would appeal.
The head of Zaidi's team Dhiaa al-Saadi said the sentence was "not in harmony with the law" because his client had not meant to cause injury, but rather to express contempt for Mr Bush.
There has been no statement about the verdict from the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, which correspondents say suffered acute embarrassment over the incident.
March 19, 2009, 5:30 p.m., Kanawha Plaza, Richmond, Virginia
We will gather in downtown Richmond to mark the 6th anniversary of the occupation of Iraq, with an action and rally to express support for a major shift in our country's priorities.
The sponsoring coalition aims to draw attention to bloated U.S. spending on war and foreign occupations at this time of severe economic crisis.
The coalition calls for:
• Deep cuts in military spending and real funding for jobs, housing, schools, health care, green infrastructure, services for the poor, and returning veterans.
• An end to war and foreign occupations, including immediate withdrawal from Iraq, ending the occupation of Afghanistan and no attacks on, sanctions against or covert interference in Iran.
• Putting people’s needs before bank profits and taking monetary policy out of the hands of private banks and the Federal Reserve.
* Suicide bomber kills at least 28 in western Baghdad
* Police, army, journalists among casualties
* Second major attack in Baghdad in three days
BAGHDAD, March 10 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed at least 28 people and wounded 28 during a tour by tribal leaders and security officials of a crowded market in western Baghdad on Tuesday, officials said.
Major-General Qassim Moussawi said the bombing, the second major attack in the Iraqi capital in three days, took place in the Abu Ghraib district.
First Lieutenant Ahmed Mahmoud, a police official in Abu Ghraib, said the explosion occurred just as a government convoy passed through the market area, killing 30 people, including schoolchildren and security officials, and wounding 29 others.
Another police source said the dignitaries were leaving a reconciliation meeting at Abu Ghraib's municipal headquarters.
Exxon Mobil Corp is in constant dialogue with Baghdad to create the investment climate that would allow it to become a significant player in Iraq's energy sector, Exxon's chief executive said on Monday.
The world's largest publicly traded company is in the race for contracts to work on Iraq's biggest oilfields.
Iraq, which sits on the world's third-largest oil reserves, needs billions of dollars of foreign investment to overhaul its oil sector and boost output after years of sanctions and war.
"I hope Iraq creates the conditions that will allow a company like Exxon Mobil to be a participant in a significant way," Chief Executive Rex Tillerson told Reuters in an interview ahead of an energy conference in Qatar.
Prompt medical care is at last on offer in Iraq, for those who can find the dollars for it.
"Why would I want to go to government-run hospitals where there is no care, no functioning instruments, long lines, and in the end the same doctor who treats you there can treat you at a private hospital," says Mohammed Abbas, 35, an employee at Iraq's Ministry of Oil.
Abbas, speaking at the private Saint Raphael Hospital in the Karrada area of Baghdad, wanted treatment on time, and was prepared to pay for it. Like him, many are coughing up money for private treatment. When they have money, that is, in an economy with more than 50 percent unemployment.
Leaked analysis condemns US for lack of co-operation • Senior officers' criticisms also cover Iraq campaign
By Peter Beaumont, The Guardian/UK
A highly critical analysis of the US-led coalition's counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan has raised serious questions about combat operations in both countries - and the intelligence underpinning them.
Based on scores of interviews with British, US, Canadian and Dutch military, intelligence and diplomatic officials - and marked for "official use only" - the book-length report is damning of a US military often unwilling to share intelligence among its military allies. It depicts commanders in the field being overwhelmed by information on hundreds of contradictory databases, and sometimes resistant to intelligence generated by its own agents in the CIA.
By Dal Lamagna
The United States may be leaving Iraq, but we should not be abandoning the Iraqi people. Particularly those who have put their lives on the line to rebuild their country in peace. Particularly someone like Mohammed al-Daini, a member of the Iraqi Parliament and critic of the Maliki government who disappeared recently under suspicious circumstances after being accused of terrorism by that government. I worked with al-Daini in 2006 and 2007; our goal was to reduce and stop the violence in Iraq. This is what I know:
Nearly 400 members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, were killed or injured by Turkish operations, Turkish military officials said Friday.
Military spokesman Gen. Metin Gurak said Turkish airstrikes and artillery fire against PKK targets in northern Iraq have caused "close to 375 casualties" since October.
The Turkish Parliament in 2008 approved a measure that extended permission for cross-border raids against PKK rebels. The U.S. and Iraqi militaries are cooperating with their Turkish counterparts to combat the group, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and several other nations, including Turkey.
Meanwhile, Ankara and Baghdad are in preparations to sign a deal for Turkish military support for the reconstruction of Iraqi forces, Turkey's Hurriyet reports.
UN General Assembly President, Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann on Wednesday urged the Human Rights Council to investigate "massive human rights violations" in Iraq.
The Nicaraguan diplomat describes Iraq as "a contemporary and on-going example of how the illegal use of force leads inexorably to human suffering and disregard for human rights."
He says "it sets a number of precedents that we cannot allow to stand."
If you are in agreement with this statement, please make a copy of it, sign it, and send it to the White House and your representatives in Congress. This is a critical time to weigh in. Putting this in the regular mail, as opposed to email, can give it more political weight. It is more effort, but it is worth it.
On February 27, 2009, President Barack Obama outlined “a new strategy to end the war in Iraq through a transition to full Iraqi responsibility.”
The Political Committee
The Republic of Iraq
Statement in Response to President Obama’s Remarks made on the 27th or February 2009 regarding the proclaimed ending to the occupation of The Republic of Iraq.
By Jane Burgermeister, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
Off-grid solar panels could soon be installed in Iraq in a push to supply electricity to people across the country, many of whom have no access to the national grid.
"They'll be able to go back to Baghdad and teach other colleagues how to build solar-powered street lamps and other systems. That way crucial know-how can spread quickly." -- Matthias Kaiser, Phaesun
Six thousand solar-powered street lamps already light up the streets of Baghdad, where electricity from conventional sources is available on average for only two hours a day as the country struggles to recover from years of war.
Thousands more solar street lamps have been ordered this year from the German off-grid specialist company Phaesun by the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity.
By Dave Lindorff
The dithering and ducking going on in the Obama White House and the Holder Justice Department over the crimes of the Bush administration are taking on a comic aspect.
On the one hand, we have President Obama assuring us that under his administration, there will be respect for the rule of law, and on the other hand we have this one-time constitutional law professor and his attorney general declaiming that there is no need for the appointment of a prosecutor to bring charges against the people in the last administration, in the CIA, in the National Security Agency and in the Defense Department and the military who clearly have broken the law in serious and felonious ways.
What gets silly is that America is either a nation of laws…or it isn’t. It is either a place where “nobody is above the law”…or it isn’t.
There is really no middle ground here.
This major November, 2008 RAND Corporation study on intelligence operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, conducted 300 interviews at all levels with US, UK and Dutch intelligence officers and diplomats.
The 318 page document could be described as part of the "Pentagon Papers" for Iraq and Afghanistan. It was confidentially prepared for the Pentagon's Joint Forces Command and focuses on intelligence and counterinsurgency operations.
The study's distribution was restricted to a select group of Coalition war partners and Israel.
It is a notable news and policy source, not for its arguments or conclusions, but rather for its wealth of candid and revealing interview quotes which are spread throughout the document, but especially in the 200 page appendix.
REVEALED: 'There was no Cabinet debate in run-up to war,' says Short as Government refuses to release minutes
"...the main reason for the ‘scandalous’ decision not to publish the minutes was not to protect confidential discussions about the war, but to cover up the fact there was no such discussion. At the last Cabinet meeting, no debate on the legality of the war was allowed and Tony Blair, then Prime Minister, said brusquely: ‘That’s it.’"
The Government is refusing to release minutes of Cabinet meetings before the Iraq War because they would reveal there was no discussion on the issue.
Details surrounding two crucial meetings on the eve of the conflict were laid bare for the first time yesterday when former Cabinet Minister Clare Short, who was present at both, gave a full account of what happened.