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Meet "04-309." I don't know his name--DOD redacted that from the reports on detainee deaths it released to ACLU some time ago. "04-309" is the number DOD assigned to the autopsy they did on him in Mosul on April 26, 2004, just two days before the Abu Ghraib story broke.
When 04-309 was captured by Navy Seals around April 2, 2004, he was around 27, a "well-developed, well-nourished" man, 6 foot and 190 pounds. He had no visible scars. He was, apparently, healthy.
04-309 did, however, show signs of minor injury: cuts and bruises around his head and belly and right shoulder and arm. These wounds may have come when he was arrested--his autopsy summary says "Q by NSWT [Navy Seals], struggled/interrogated" before it describes he, "died sleeping."
But 04-309's Final Autopsy Report--completed on November 22, 2004, long after Abu Ghraib broke and the CIA's Inspector General concluded the CIA's interrogation program was cruel and inhumane (though not all that long after a criminal investigation of homicides committed in 2002 concluded, on October 8, 2004, that the deaths were partly caused by sleep deprivation and stress positions)--doesn't conclude how he died. It does, however, describe these "circumstances of death:" Read more.
Not long after the statue of Saddam fell in Firdos Square, several CODEPINK women and I returned to Iraq. We'd first visited in February during the time Bush proclaimed, "The game is over" and announced his plans for "shock and awe." We'd learned then how much Iraqis loved Americans and did not want our disrupting their country; they asked us to let them deal with Saddam because the change had to come from within or it could be a disaster. We fell in love with Iraq and felt totally safe there, taking cabs in the wee hours of the morning, walking at 2 a.m. on the Tigress and driving to many parts of the country.
Returning a few months later, however, we found the country devastated. Bustling markets were empty, the streets were those of a ghost town. Electricity was rare if at all and gas lines were miles long. U.S. soldiers in Humvees sped down the streets with an embarrassing arrogance. Jerry Bremer had just arrived and had issued 100 edicts that infuriated every Iraqi. The story on the street was that it only took Saddam a month to get the country back in shape after the Gulf War, thus, impatience and anger toward the U.S. were growing. Over and over, we heard from Iraqis, "We had one Saddam and now we have hundreds."
We were in Iraq to see how to support women in the transition, going to meeting after meeting of how they were going to be included. Zainab Salbi from the non-profit peace group Women for Women International (W4WI) was in many of those meetings with us, including a reception that Bremer threw inside the Coalition Provisional Authority, now the Green Zone. Her father was Saddam's pilot and her mother had sent her to the U.S. to marry out of concern for her safety. I talked to Zainab a few days ago to learn about her most recent trip to Iraq.
"In six years they have destroyed Iraq," her eyes teared as she began to tell me what she found. She used the image of a pen trying to balance on the tip of her finger to describe Iraq now: balancing but very unstable. Since she was there last it is a bit safer. Women who had been in exile and hiding for four years were starting to reemerge. But more than 70 percent of the women are not sending their daughters to school. I asked her about the women from the Bremer reception, 20 women have been killed and most others are gone. Read more.
American forces have attempted to take over an Iranian oil field near the country's western border with Iraq, a security official says.
“US forces backed by tanks entered the Mousian area of the Dehloran County, laying around 100 meters of pipeline in Iranian territory," the source, talking on condition of anonymity, said Monday. Read more.
The postwar humanitarian crisis in Gaza takes a turn for the worse with the Israeli Navy intercepting a relief ship headed toward the coastal strip.
A group of 21 activists sailing to Gaza said Tuesday that Israeli forces had threatened to gun down their boat unless they changed direction.
"There is a patrol boat around us and we were told that if we did not turn back they would open fire," Reuters quoted Irish activist Derek Graham as saying.
"We are continuing our course to Gaza," he added.
The Free Gaza Movement activists had left the Cypriot port of Larnaca earlier on Monday to deliver three tons of medical supplies, some tool kits and copper wiring to Gaza.
The activists onboard included an Irish Nobel peace laureate and a former US congresswoman. Read more.
Tomorrow is the deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq, a date Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is calling a “great victory.” But in a new interview with Washington Times radio, Vice President Cheney was still pushing the U.S. to stay in Iraq, saying that withdrawal would “waste” the sacrifice of U.S. troops:
Mr. Cheney told The Washington Times’ America’s Morning News radio show that he is a strong believer in Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and that the general is doing what needs to be done.
“But what he says concerns me: That there is still a continuing problem. One might speculate that insurgents are waiting as soon as they get an opportunity to launch more attacks.
“I hope Iraqis can deal with it. At some point they have to stand on their own. But I would not want to see the U.S. waste all the tremendous sacrifice that has gotten us to this point.“ Read more.
Color Revolutions, Old and New
By Stephen Lendman
In his new book, "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order," F. William Engdahl explained a new form of US covert warfare - first played out in Belgrade, Serbia in 2000. What appeared to be "a spontaneous and genuine political 'movement,' (in fact) was the product of techniques" developed in America over decades.
In the 1990s, RAND Corporation strategists developed the concept of "swarming" to explain "communication patterns and movement of" bees and other insects which they applied to military conflict by other means. More on this below.
Former Pakistani Army General Mirza Aslam Beig claims the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has distributed 400 million dollars inside Iran to evoke a revolution.
In a phone interview with the Pashto Radio on Monday, General Beig said that there is undisputed intelligence proving the US interference in Iran.
“The documents prove that the CIA spent 400 million dollars inside Iran to prop up a colorful-hollow revolution following the election,” he added. Read more.
Obama must call off this folly before Afghanistan becomes his Vietnam
Senseless slaughter and anti-western hysteria are all America and Britain's billions have paid for in a counterproductive war
By Simon Jenkins | Guardian.co.UK | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
If good intentions ever paved a road to hell, they are doing so in Afghanistan. History rarely declares when folly turns to disaster, but it does so now. Barack Obama and his amanuensis, Gordon Brown, are uncannily repeating the route taken by American leaders in Vietnam from 1963 to 1975. Galbraith once said that the best thing about the Great Depression was that it warned against another. Does the same apply to Vietnam?
Vietnam began with Kennedy's noble 1963 intervention, to keep the communist menace at bay and thus make the world safe for democracy. That is what George Bush and Tony Blair said of terrorism and Afghanistan. Vietnam escalated as the Diem regime in Saigon failed to contain Vietcong aggression and was deposed with American collusion. By 1965, despite Congress scepticism, American advisers, then planes, then ground forces were deployed. Allies were begged to join but few agreed – and not Britain.
The presence of Americans on Asian soil turned a local insurgency into a regional crusade. Foreign aid rallied to the Vietcong cause to resist what was seen as a neo-imperialist invasion. The hard-pressed Americans resorted to ever more extensive bombing, deep inside neighbouring countries, despite evidence that it was ineffective and politically counterproductive.
No amount of superior firepower could quell a peasant army that came and went by night and could terrorise or merge into the local population. Tales of American atrocities rolled in each month. The army counted success not in territory held but in enemy dead. A desperate attempt to "train and equip" a new Vietnamese army made it as corrupt as it was unreliable. Billions of dollars were wasted. A treaty with the Vietcong in 1973 did little to hide the humiliation of eventual defeat.
Every one of these steps is being re-enacted in Afghanistan. Read more
On January 22, 2009, two days after he was sworn in as president of the United States, Barack Obama signed an executive order revoking Bush regime directives, orders, and regulations concerning detention and interrogation.
He commented, "We believe that ... we can abide by a rule that says we don't torture, but that we can still effectively obtain the intelligence that we need. This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers ... that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it's easy, but when it's hard."
The issuance of this executive order was Obama's first act as president of the United States. It could be seen as evidence of his desire to return the United States to a condition of moral rightness. It should be seen as a signal to the United States that facing what we did in the name of "fighting terror" during the debacle of the Bush years is of paramount importance. Continue reading.
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9,728 - The estimated number of people who have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since the start of 2007, shortly after Mexican president Felipe Calderon declared war on drug traffickers. That's more than the fatalities in the Iraq war.
See the LATimes' complete series, including interactive map, multimedia gallery, video Q&A, chronology and more.
Any agreement on cyberspace presents special difficulties because the matter touches on issues like censorship of the Internet, sovereignty and rogue actors who might not be subject to a treaty.
The United States and Russia are locked in a fundamental dispute over how to counter the growing threat of cyberwar attacks that could wreak havoc on computer systems and the Internet.
Both nations agree that cyberspace is an emerging battleground. The two sides are expected to address the subject when President Obama visits Russia next week and at the General Assembly of the United Nations in November, according to a senior State Department official.
But there the agreement ends. Read more.
President Obama signed the $106 billion war-spending bill into law Friday, but not without taking a page from his predecessor and ignoring a few elements in the legislation.
Obama included a five-paragraph signing statement with the bill, including a final paragraph that outlined his objections to at least four areas of the bill.
President George W. Bush was heavily criticized for his use of signing statements, declaring he'd ignore some elements of legislation by invoking presidential prerogative. Read more.
Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator, U.S. Labor Against the War writes:
Below is a translation of the attached Arabic language communication from the Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq (IFOU) regarding the announced plan of the Oil Ministry to open bidding to foreign corporations and award 20 year contracts for development of Iraqi oil fields.
The IFOU argues that opening bidding in this manner violates the Iraqi constitution and several laws that govern development policy. The note that the decision of the Minister of Oil to proceed with the awarding of contracts goes against the expert opinion and advice of management of the Southern Oil Company and other government officials, and is being done without the required impact reports.
The San Diego Public Library will host a screening of A Senseless Death. This new film by Raymonde Provencher tells the little known story of "green card soldiers"-young, non-citizen soldiers and Marines struggling to achieve, the so-called, "American Dream"-who were among the first casualties of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Read more, Map.
FBI compounds mystery with secret justification of gag order
The FBI continues its secrecy binge by filing a classified justification of its use of a gag order on an ISP in the ongoing Doe v. Holder battle.
By Jon Stokes | Arstechnica
When the FBI uses a national security letter (NSL) to force the cooperation of an ISP or phone company in the surveillance of a suspect, the agency typically slaps a gag order on the service provider to prevent it from revealing the existence of the NSL. Civil liberties groups have successfully challenged the DOJ on these gag orders in the ongoing Doe v. Holder, and last month the Obama administration decided not to appeal a federal court ruling that the FBI must justify these gag orders by meeting a relatively high First Amendment standard.
The implication of the court's ruling was that the FBI would finally have to justify the gag order that it had placed on the John Doe in the Doe v. Holder case, so that the plaintiff could talk about the NSL. The FBI has now cooperated, and has given the court a justification of the gag order, in secret.
The classified declaration that justifies the gag order can't even be seen by Doe's attorneys at the ACLU. In a statement, the ACLU elaborated on the move: "The government did not even file a redacted version of its secret affidavit or even an unclassified summary of what the secret affidavit says. Basically, the government is asking us just to trust that the gag is justified." Read more.
PART 4: FBI Ignored Compelling Evidence of bin Laden Role
By Gareth Porter | IPS News
On Jul. 11, 1995, he had written an "Open Letter" to King Fahd advocating a campaign of guerilla attacks to drive U.S. military forces out of the Kingdom.
Bin Laden’s al Qaeda organisation began carrying out that campaign later that same year. On Nov. 13, 1995 a car bomb destroyed the Office of the Programme Manager of the Saudi National Guard (OPM SANG) in Riyadh, killing five U.S. airmen and wounding 34.
The confessions of the four jihadists from the Afghan War to the bombing, which were broadcast on Saudi television, said they had been inspired by Osama bin Laden, and one of them referred to a camp in Afghanistan which was associated with bin Laden.
"It was a backhanded reference to bin Laden," says veteran FBI agent Dan Coleman.
The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh immediately requested that the FBI be allowed to interrogate the suspects as soon as their arrests were announced in April. But the Saudis never responded to the request, and on May 31, the embassy was informed only an hour and half before that the four suspects would be beheaded. Read more.
A team of journalists investigating the global electronic waste business has unearthed a security problem too. In a Ghana market, they bought a computer hard drive containing sensitive documents belonging to U.S. government contractor Northrop Grumman.
The drive had belonged to a Fairfax, Virginia, employee who still works for the company and contained "hundreds and hundreds of documents about government contracts," said Peter Klein, an associate professor with the University of British Columbia, who led the investigation for the Public Broadcasting Service show Frontline. He would not disclose details of the documents, but he said that they were marked "competitive sensitive" and covered company contracts with the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Transportation Security Agency.
The data was unencrypted, Klein said in an interview. The cost? US$40.
Northrop Grumman is not sure how the drive ended up in a Ghana market, but apparently the company had hired an outside vendor to dispose of the PC. "Based on the documents we were shown, we believe this hard drive may have been stolen after one of our asset-disposal vendors took possession of the unit," the Northrop Grumman said in a statement. "Despite sophisticated safeguards, no company can inoculate itself completely against crime." Read more.
Ever since President Obama proposed holding terrorism detainees without trial, the debate over preventive detention has been growing. Now, NPR has the first look at a detailed legislative proposal to hold detainees indefinitely. The document comes from two experts outside of government, and it is already being discussed in the Obama administration.
In a speech last month at the National Archives, President Obama opened the door to the possibility that some terrorism detainees will neither be tried nor released.
"If and when we determine the United States must hold individuals to keep them from carrying out an act of war," he said, "we will do so within a system that involves judicial and congressional oversight."
Attorney General Eric Holder was not much more specific last week when he testified before a Senate committee that a preventive detention program "would be some kind of review with regard to the initial determination [that the detainee should be held], and then a periodic review with regard to whether or not that person should continue to be detained."
Although the controversy has been hazy until now, it is about to come into sharp focus. Read more.
In an act of nonviolent Civil Resistance, 11 activists participated in a “Die In” in front of the U.S. Justice, in Washington, D.C., on the afternoon of Thursday, June 25, 2009.
The protesters were demanding a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to urge him to appoint a “Special Prosecutor for Torture.” Their purpose: To hold accountable to the supremacy of the Law, certain members of the Bush-Cheney Gang, including ex-President George W. Bush, Jr. and V.P. Dick Cheney, who are suspected of authorizing torture on numerous detainees, in violation of the Geneva Convention, International Law, the Nuremberg Principles and the U.S. Constitution.
National Coalition To File Formal Complaints And Call For Dismissal Of The Lawyer Architects of Detainee Torture Programs
National Coalition to file formal complaints and call for dismissal of ‘Torture Architect’ and current top CIA lawyer, John Rizzo, and other current and former CIA counsel | Press Release
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, June 29th at 9:30AM in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club, ( Map ) three prominent D.C. lawyers, including a former Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, will discuss the legal case against the lawyer architects of a program of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees held in the custody of the U.S. government since shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
The sponsoring coalition, Velvet Revolution, has called for the disbarment of over a dozen lawyers filing formal complaints in five states as part of a national campaign described at disbartorturelawyers.com.
See more below.
The military town of Killeen, Texas becomes a free speech refuge for Fort Hood soldiers.