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Casualties

The Battle Between the First and Second Amendments

By John Grant

There is a contest going on in America between the First and Second Amendments as to which has more favor in our court system. It's a face off between gun violence and freedom of the press and it involves individuals, giant corporations and standing armies.

Last week in Oakland, CA, demonstrations followed the manslaughter conviction of a white police officer who claimed he had meant to shoot a young black man with his Taser but grabbed the wrong item from his belt. That whole incident was “shot” by two citizens with cell phones.

Deciding what trumps what in this kind of conflict between rights is an issue relegated to the Supreme Court, an aloof entity accountable to no one. The question that should concern every American though, is how this court and those below it have their fingers on the scale when it comes to the first two amendments of the Constitution.

A New Year's subway shooting

wink;o} wink;o} Ginning up WMD Intelligence

Brit War Inquiry EXPLODES with Damning Testimony! Will the Chilcot group take this and remove the somewhat gentlemanly gloves of questioning so far and get tougher, will it also bring about a re-questioning of earlier participants, like Blair and company, who might have thought they were through with their spinning of facts! Will documents not intended for public view suddenly become very public to answer what isn't known but said only behind closed doors!

Tony Blair 'intentionally talked up WMD', Iraq inquiry told

13/07/2010 Tony Blair "intentionally" exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq inquiry heard yesterday.

Interrogation Guidelines Facing Their First Legal Challenge

New interrogation policy faces early legal challenge

12 July 2010 Lawyers acting for Iraqi civilians threaten judicial review over failure to ban hooding

The government's interrogation guidelines for intelligence officers are facing their first legal challenge, less than a week after they were published as part of David Cameron's attempt to signal a break with the counter-terrorism practices of the Labour administration.

Lawyers representing dozens of Iraqi civilians who were detained and allegedly mistreated by British troops are threatening to begin judicial review proceedings because the policy fails to outlaw the practice of hooding.

Violence, Not Overdose, the Likely Method of Suicide in Veterans With Substance Use Disorders

ScienceDaily (June 21, 2010) — Veterans with substance use disorders who die by suicide are more likely to use violent means (such as a firearm) rather than nonviolent means (such as a drug overdose), new research suggests.

In a study of more than 5,000 Veterans Affairs (VA) patients with substance use disorders, researchers found that, despite having access to potentially lethal substances, 70% of those who died by suicide used violent means. The study was reported in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Female Vets and Homelessness

Female Veterans Struggle To Stay Off Streets

 

Dr. Diane West (center), who runs a program for women at U.S. Vets, a nonprofit in Long Beach, Calif., with transitional housing residents Margaret Ortiz (left) and Andrea Guara.

July 11, 2010 More than 240,000 female service members have been deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but for many, reintegrating into civilian life and trying to find employment is not within their reach.

The Department of Veteran Affairs has acknowledged that women are nearly four times as likely as men to end up homeless.

In Los Angeles, outreach efforts are under way to get them off the streets and into the VA's transition assistance program.

Torture Complicity

Torture Complicity Under the Spotlight in Europe (Part Two): Germany and France

Rendition Map

Jul 9th, 2010 Last week, in the first of two articles examining how “War on Terror”-related complicity in torture is under intense scrutiny in Europe, I ran through the history of Britain’s post-9/11 involvement in US torture, and its extensive forays into holding people without charge or trial in the UK, attempting to send foreign nationals back to countries where they face the risk of torture, using information derived from torture in other countries (sometimes with direct British involvement) and subsequently using this information operationally and even in judicial hearings.

Sins of the Past Inquiry: Military Necessity?

The excuses for our guilty past "Military Necessity" and yet we condemn others while wondering "why do they hate us so?"!!

Korea bloodbath probe ends; US escapes much blame

Dr David Kelly,

a death that won’t be buried

From 1991, Dr David Kelly was one of the chief weapons inspectors with the UN in Iraq. He is seen leaving the House of Commons after giving evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee in 2003. His body was found three days later. Johnny Green / PA Archive

July 10. 2010 It was Brock, a cross-border collie working with the civilian Lowland Search Dogs Association, who found the body, shortly after 8am on July 18, 2003. Slumped against a tree, not far from his home in the Oxfordshire countryside, lay one of the most surprising victims of the West’s invasion of Iraq.

Afghanistan is a catastrophe.

"Had he heard or read nothing of the Pashtun Taliban, of their reputation as insurgents and their obsession with fighting anyone and everyone?"

But we will have to wait for a new Chilcot to admit it

8 July 2010 Our leaders would rather avoid embarrassment than be honest about the horrific futility of the wars we are fighting

As British troops retreat from the fortress of Sangin in south Afghanistan, a sleepy room in Westminster again plays host to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. The British establishment is strangely dotty. Chilcot is like reviewing Passchendaele during the Battle of Britain, or Boudicca's charioteering after the charge of the Light Brigade. American congressmen tear their generals apart when fighting stupid wars. The British prefer to avoid embarrassment.

Guantanamo habeas cases

cheney and his puppet, Rendition, False Imprisonment, Possible Torture, with No Proof, possible outcome: Created more insurgent fighters as well as possible international criminal terrorist, with the expanding al Qaeda network and others, and not even those held but their countrymen!!

U.S. has now lost 75 percent of Guantanamo habeas cases

9 July 2010 A federal judge has ordered the release of another Yemeni captive at Guantanamo, the 37th time a war on terror captive in southeast Cuba has won his unlawful detention suit against the U.S. government.

Judge Paul Friedman's order in the case of Hussein Almerfedi at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., instructs the Obama administration to "take all necessary and appropriate steps to facilitate the release of petitioner forthwith.''

Bloated Defense Budgets

Doesn't bring National Security, now frankly destroyed with the extreme rise of hatreds towards us and other so called Western Powers after the previous decade!!

 

And not to leave out the huge amount of graft, corruption and political crony-ism embedded with the budgets of each contract!

 

A Cautious Welcome

A Cautious Welcome for British Torture Inquiry

8.7.10 Human rights campaigners have reacted with cautious optimism to the British government’s official announcement of a judicial inquiry into the involvement of the British security services — MI5 and MI6 — in torture and rendition since the 9/11 attacks, although many pressing questions are, as yet, unanswered.

Snip

In its most significant complaint, Reprieve asked why the inquiry will not be held under the Inquiries Act of 2005, noting that the Baha Mousa inquiry (into the murder, in British custody, of a hotel clerk in Iraq) was held under the Act and has been “a model of an inquiry functioning efficiently, including the hearing of secret evidence.” Continued

Brits Hague: "A Humane Nation"

Gee ya think! that's why we the Brits and others condemn other countries for their Human Rights and much more, then we joined that same gutter thrash and expect to be justified, because well we're the righteous!!

A humane nation is a safer nation

7 July 2010 William Hague is right to put human rights at the heart of the UK's foreign policy – for practical as well as ethical reasons

The foreign secretary William Hague said last week that human rights should be the "irreducible core" of the UK's foreign policy. But he did not spell out why, or what that would mean in practice.

Brit Torture Inquiry: "Authoritative" inquiry

Torture inquiry head to be scrutinised after Omagh

7 July 2010 David Cameron says there will be an "authoritative" inquiry, led by a judge, to settle once and for all whether MI5 and MI6 were complicit in the torture of terror suspects.

The inquiry is intended to resolve this vexed question, which, the prime minister said, had "overshadowed" the reputation of the security services for the past few years.

I can think of really only two occasions in the past 30 years when the authorities have allowed the failings and misdemeanours of the British intelligence services to be held up to the public light - warts and all.

Snip

In the year before the Iraq war, he concluded that two thirds of MI6's intelligence in Iraq had been coming from just two main sources. Continued

Trust is hard to come by in Afghanistan

Rachel Maddow does her show live from Afghanistan, she traveled there last week and the first show was aired last night, 6 July 2010.

 

We came to Afghanistan because we wanted to understand whether the American war strategy makes sense, whether the continuing and growing presence of U.S. troops is helping us reach our goals there. President Obama's "uplift" strategy for winning in Kandahar is in full swing -- only it's not about blowing things up but rather opening police stations and trying to create a civil society.

As Brigadier General Ben Hodges told us on a drive through Kandahar City this week, that's a tough bar to reach. Kandahar has run on corruption since the days of ancient traders on the Silk Road paying for safe passage. Hodges said coalition forces need to establish trust between local people and the government, at the level of policemen and district officials.

This is the first cut from last nights airing.

Brit Iraq War Inquiry: British Families 'let down'

Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq 'let down'

 

6 July 2010 The government "let down" the families of British troops killed in Iraq over the support given to them, ex-Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has said.

 

Britain's dirty torture secrets

Britain's dirty torture secrets to be laid bare: Huge payouts for victims as PM orders inquiry into security services

7th July 2010

* Tony Blair and David Miliband could face public grilling

* Inquiry could strain relationship with U.S. to 'breaking point'

* Probe will focus on detention of UK nationals at Guantanamo Bay

Britain faces paying out millions to detainees who claim they were tortured with the complicity of the security services.

Compensation settlements may be made with up to a dozen former terror suspects ahead of an independent inquiry announced yesterday by David Cameron to help ‘restore Britain’s moral leadership in the world’.

Iraq 'mistreatment' inquiry

British High Court challenge for Iraq 'mistreatment' inquiry

July 06, 2010 A British High Court battle was launched today for a wide-ranging public inquiry into the alleged mistreatment of more than 100 Iraqis detained by British troops.

Judges heard accusations that the detainees were the victims of "systemic" inhuman and degrading treatment in British-controlled detention facilities in Iraq in the aftermath of the war to topple Saddam Hussein.

Snip

The QC said other investigations have already been set up. They include an ongoing inquiry into how Baha Mousa met his death at the hands of British troops in Basra.

A second looked at allegations that British forces murdered and tortured a number of Iraqis at Majar-al-Kabir in May 2004.

Children and PTSD

Slowly, but much much faster then over the previous four decades, the country has woken up to PTS in the civilian society especially in abused and traumatized children!!

Children's hospital screening for PTSD

July 6, 2010 Badly injured kids who have disorder are being offered treatment, free of charge.

Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin is now screening the most severely injured children those who come through the hospital's trauma center for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Visualizing Memory, War

Visualizing Memory, Photographing War Stories

Listen to the Story

July 4, 2010 How do you photograph memory? It's a question that fine-art photographer Jennifer Karady is exploring. Her latest project visualizes not just any memory, but memories of war brought home by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. An exhibition of photos from her ongoing project, "Soldiers' Stories of Iraq and Afghanistan," is currently on display at SF CameraWork in San Francisco.

Brit Torture Claims Inquiry

UK names judge to lead inquiry into torture claims

6 July 2010 Britain will hold a judge-led inquiry into allegations that its spies were complicit in the torture of terror suspects held by the U.S. and other allies.

The government also announced Tuesday it will pay compensation to detainees found to have been mistreated in the global pursuit of terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The probe, by a three-member panel headed by retired judge Peter Gibson, could complicate intelligence-sharing with Washington.

It follows civil cases brought against the government by 12 ex-detainees who claim British intelligence agents colluded in their mistreatment in Pakistan, Morocco and elsewhere. Continued

A Soldier's Eye on War

Local veteran's suicide reflects troubling trend

 

July 5, 2010 Orrin Gorman McClellan is among the war casualties that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has just begun to track — young men and women who served in the post-9/11 military, and killed themselves after struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and other war wounds.

DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES Perry McClellan and Judith Gorman put a flagpole in front of their home to commemorate their son's life and service. A talented artist, he helped his parents create a new veterans center on Whidbey Island before taking his life in May.

Unfit for War Duty, Occupations Military Toll

The wars {occupations} physical and mental tolls!

Thousands of Soldiers Unfit for War Duty

6 July 2010 More than 13,000 active-duty Army soldiers -- the equivalent of four combat brigades -- are sidelined as unfit for war because of injury, illness, or mental stress.
In an unmistakable sign that the Army is struggling with exhaustion after nine years of fighting, combat commanders whose units are headed to Afghanistan increasingly choose to leave behind soldiers who can no longer perform, putting additional strain on those who still can.

Iraq War Inquiry: 'Muddled up', Iraq War Planning

Iraq war planning happened too late, says ex-minister

5 July 2010 The Blair government should have "sorted out" its plans to rebuild Iraq after the war much sooner, an ex-minister has said.

Ms Keeble wrote to Tony Blair shortly after leaving office

Sally Keeble said the Department for International Development's role was still under debate "close to the action" starting in 2003.

There was also a "problem" with the UK's military and aid roles not being focused enough on one area of Iraq.

Ms Keeble told the Iraq inquiry "real issues" had arisen over money.

The investigation is looking at the UK's role in the lead-up to, conduct of and aftermath of the war, which began in March 2003.

Iraq War Inquiry: 'hampered by Clare Short'

Iraq humanitarian effort 'hampered by Clare Short'

5 July 2010 Chilcot inquiry hears that Sally Keeble, deputy to international development secretary, claimed her decisions were disastrous

Former international development secretary Clare Short. Photograph: PA

The extent to which Britain's role in helping Iraqis after the invasion was sabotaged by upheaval within the Blair government was exposed today as it emerged that decisions by Clare Short, the international development secretary, had been described at the time as "disastrous" by her deputy.

Obama warns corruption erodes faith in government: Hillary Clinton Blasts Steel Vise of Government Crushing Dissent

By Dave Lindorff

Finally, a politician has stood up and boldly denounced the creeping fascism that is gradually crushing democracy and political activism.

Not mincing her words, or trying to justify the jackboot, Secretary of State and 2008 presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton roundly condemned government actions that she said are “closing in the walls” on unions, rights advocates and organizations that press for social change or that shine a light on government shortcomings.

“Democracies don’t fear their own people,” she declared in ringing tones. “They recognize that citizens must be free to come together to advocate and agitate.”

Clinton even got the normally taciturn President Obama to join her, releasing a statement in which he said he was concerned about “the spread of restrictions on civil society, the growing use of law to curb rather than enhance freedom, and wide-spread corruption that is undermining the faith of citizens in their government.”

Making Sure One Always Has An 'Enemy'!

Thus much easier to control your own, and prosper from in power, stature and wealth!

Thousands missing out on education in Gaza

Photo: Suhair Karam/IRIN Nuha Abed Rabbo, 9, on her way to an UNRWA elementary school in eastern Gaza

GAZA CITY, 5 July 2010 (IRIN) - Thousands of Palestinian refugee children in the Gaza Strip are unable to receive adequate education, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

About 39,000 child refugees in Gaza will not attend UNRWA schools this year, since the agency is unable to build or re-build schools due to the Israeli blockade, damage sustained during the 23-day Israeli offensive (27 December 2008 - 18 January 2009) and population growth, UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said in Jerusalem.

Iraq: Not Just 'wrong' but Criminal!

Did Blair know it was wrong to invade Iraq?

4th July, 2010 EIGHTY years ago, just after the First World War and with the world rapidly sliding towards the next, the French philosopher Julien Benda wrote a book called "The Treason of the Clerks" "clerks" in the medieval sense, educated men, intellectuals, who despite their high calling chose to serve the State rather than Truth.

They were the ones who provided the justification for the wars and made them possible.

Curiously, nobody has ever written a book called "The Treason of the Lawyers." Nobody has ever accused Lord Goldsmith of being an intellectual, either. But while the Law is not exactly the same as the Truth, it is certainly possible to betray it in the service of the State. That is what Goldsmith did, and it ended in a war.

July 5, 1989: Oliver North

One of the many parts of the start to the countries present day situations on many fronts!

From United States v. Oliver L. North, Office of the Independent Counsel (OIC) Papers, National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.Former National Security Council aide Oliver North received a $150,000 fine and a suspended prison term for his part in the Iran-Contra scandal. The scandal was a secret arrangement directed from the Reagan White House that provided funds to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels (despite specific congressional prohibition) from profits gained by selling arms to Iran (at war with Iraq at the time) in hopes of their releasing hostages, despite Pres. Reagan’s claim that he would never negotiate with hostage-takers.

Iran Remembers Victims Of Airliner Shot Down By US

Iran remembers victims of airliner shot down by US
By Ali Akbar Dareini (AP) | Google News | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

A statement from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was read out at the ceremony, saying the "disaster was not an understandable accident, but a declaration of war against humanity" and claiming it was carried out "with the covert planning of White House leaders."

Iranian helicopters scattered flowers into the Persian Gulf waters on Saturday as family members and relatives remembered the 290 passengers killed when a U.S. warship shot down an Iranian airliner 22 years ago.

About 250 relatives of victims and officials sailed from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas to the spot where the Iran Air A300 Airbus was downed on July 3, 1988 — just a month before the end of the Iraq-Iran war.

The USS Vincennes shot down the airliner shortly after it took off from Bandar Abbas for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Washington said the Vincennes mistook the airliner for a hostile Iranian fighter jet. Iran maintains it was a deliberate attack. Read more.

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