You are hereIraq
National Archives Building Occupied Again by Veterans for Peace
by Mike Ferner
At one point a Boy Scout troop came by and one of the vets on the ground crew smiled and said, "You boys can get your democracy badge here if you check this out." The scoutmaster, visibly unhappy with the display said, "Well, the troops sure aren't going to like this." "We are the troops," the vet responded.
"I could see your banners three blocks away," the young man said excitedly. "And since I knew they were hanging on the Archives building, I wondered if it might be some kind of free speech exhibit so I had to come over and see."
The National Archives Building does indeed house originals of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights which specifically guarantees freedom of speech. But this was no Archives-sponsored exhibit. It was the real thing.
By Adam Ashton, McClatchy Newspapers
BAGHDAD - Iraqi and American leaders say that a new security pact will have all U.S. forces and military contractors out of Iraq by 2012, but 14th Ramadan Street is skeptical.
"Americans won't leave," said Mazin Ali, 30, a coach driver. "They are the decision makers in all Iraq. The decision is theirs."
He and others on 14th Ramadan Street, a commercial strip in Baghdad's Mansour district, see too many signs of a long-term American commitment to believe that the U.S. will withdraw on the timetable in the so-called status of forces agreement.
"It is not reasonable, because even if it was true and they would commit to the dates, there are great big loopholes," said Khalid Muhsin Abid, 57, pointing to the sprawling new, nearly $600 million U.S. Embassy compound on the Tigris River as evidence that the U.S. will stay.
Iraqi leaders, however, say that the agreement will end the U.S. occupation of their country that began in March 2003.
From American Freedom Campaign Action Fund
Does this sound right to you?
Next week, the Iraqi Parliament is expected to vote on whether to approve an agreement setting the terms of the ongoing military relationship between the United States and Iraq. So far, so good. A legislative body, representing the people of a nation, shall determine the extent to which that nation's future will be intertwined with that of another.
Of course, one would expect that the United States Congress would be given the same opportunity. That, however, is not the case. Or at least it is not what the Bush administration is allowing to happen. Shockingly, the Bush administration is not even letting Congress read the full agreement before it is signed!
We need you to send a message immediately to U.S. House and Senate leaders, urging them to demand the constitutional input and approval to which they are entitled.
By Robin Long, prisoner of conscience | November 6, 2008
Dear President-elect Obama,
My name is Robin Long. I am currently serving a 15-month sentence at a Naval brig in California. I am locked up for refusing to participate in the invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq, a military action I felt was wrong and an action condemned by most of the international community.
It was illegal and immoral.
19 year-old Army private Tony Anderson was court martialed Monday and sentenced to 14 months of confinement and given a dishonorable discharge from the military for "desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty" and "disobeying a lawful order." The young soldier refused to deploy to Iraq in July of this year on the grounds of conscientious objection to war.
"I know in my heart that it is wrong to willfully hurt or kill another human being. I simply cannot do it. I don't regret following my conscience," he said at his trial as he struggled to compose himself. "I know there must be consequences for my actions and I must accept this fact."
Donate to Tony's defense here. For the next two weeks, you can write to him at: Tony Anderson / El Paso County Sheriff's Office / 2739 E. Las Vegas / Colorado Springs, CO 80906
by Amitai Etzioni, Huffington Post
My original timetable called for President Obama to retire Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the highest ranking uniformed military commander) on Jan 20 at 12:01 pm -- as quickly as possible after the new president took his oath of office. I then considered that one must first find a suitable replacement. President Obama should make it clear that he will not tolerate military officers publicly denouncing his policies, not to mention undermining an agreement the United States and the Iraqi government just worked out of after agonizing negotiations.
Washington D.C. (November 20, 2008) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement regarding the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that provides a legal framework for the U.S. military presence in Iraq until 2011:
“The Status of Forces Agreement ensures that our service men and women will remain in harm’s way until 2011.
“To date Congress has appropriated approximately $657 billion for the war in Iraq, but expert analysis tells us that the real cost of funding this war will amount to $3 trillion. Yet dollar figures cannot begin to estimate the true cost of war, which includes the lives of the 4,201 of our honorable troops who have been killed in Iraq; the more than 30,000 of our troops that have been wounded; or the more than 1 million innocent Iraqi civilian lives that have been lost.
Here's a good article on the SOFA that claims members of Congress are insisting on their right to approve or reject treaties. The only member cited by name is Barbara Lee.
Here's a letter (PDF) that Lee, Woolsey, and Waters just sent to Pelosi on this.
Lee is joined by
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 9/9/2008
Rep Carson, Andre [IN-7] - 9/9/2008
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 9/10/2008
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 9/9/2008
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 9/9/2008
Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 9/10/2008
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 9/9/2008
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 9/15/2008
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 9/9/2008
Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 9/15/2008
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 9/9/2008
Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] - 9/15/2008
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 9/9/2008
in sponsoring H.R.6846 while Senator Joe Biden (is he still a senator?) is joined by
Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] - 8/1/2008
Sen Hagel, Chuck [NE] - 8/1/2008
Sen Voinovich, George V. [OH] - 8/1/2008
Sen Webb, Jim [VA] - 8/1/2008
in sponsoring S.3433
It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) any agreement that sets forth the `broad parameters of the overall bilateral relationship [as between the United States and the Republic of Iraq] in every field,' particularly one that includes a security commitment or arrangement provided to the Republic of Iraq by the United States, would result in serious military, political, and economic obligations for the United States, and thus, consistent with past practice, should involve a joint decision by the executive and legislative branches; and
(2) a short-term extension of the mandate of the Multi-National Force in Iraq (currently provided by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1790 (2007)), would, in concert with Iraqi law, provide United States forces with the authorities, privileges, and immunities necessary for those forces to carry out their mission in Iraq.
By Gareth Porter, IPS
WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (IPS) - The text of the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari Monday closes the door to a further U.S. military presence beyond 2011 even more tightly than the previous draft and locks in a swift end to Iraqi dependence on the U.S. military that appears to be irreversible.
The agreement ends the George W. Bush administration's aspiration for a long-term military presence, aimed both at projecting power in the region from bases in Iraq and at maintaining that Iraqi military dependence on U.S. training, advice and support.
According to Helena Cobban, This is Raed Jarrar's English re-translation of the Arabic translation published by Al-Sabah in Baghdad.
Notice the title: "An agreement regarding the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from Iraq and regulating the U.S. activities during its temporary presence, between the United States and the Iraqi government."
"I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible."
One of Britain's most authoritative judicial figures last night delivered a blistering attack on the invasion of Iraq, describing it as a serious violation of international law, and accusing Britain and the US of acting like a "world vigilante".
Lord Bingham, in his first major speech since retiring as the senior law lord, rejected the then attorney general's defence of the 2003 invasion as fundamentally flawed.
By Nick Mottern and Bill Rau
When Iraqi imams sit down with prisoners at a US detention center in Iraq to discuss Islam, they are working for a subsidiary of Global Innovation (GI) Partners LLP, a California- and London-based private equity firm that claims to have “$2 billion in capital under management”.
GI Partners sells, among other things: base maintenance for US military forces in Iraq; psychiatric care in the United Kingdom; in-room television and movies for hotels; wine; movie production studios and pubs. GI Partners also manages hundreds of millions of dollars for California and Oregon public employees pension funds and, according to the GI Partners website, pension funds in the Netherlands and the Middle East.
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."