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Activist: Farmer Suicides In India Linked To Debt, Globalization

Activist: Farmer suicides in India linked to debt, globalization | CNN

Thousands of poor farmers in India have committed suicide over the past decade as changes in India's agricultural policy set off a widening spiral of debt and despair, one environmental activist said Tuesday.

"The farmer suicides started in 1997. That's when the corporate seed control started," Vandana Shiva told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "And it's directly related to indebtedness, and indebtedness created by two factors linked to globalization."

For Shiva, who works with farming communities across India, those two factors were the ceding of control of the seed supply to the corporate chemical industry -- leading to increased production costs for already-struggling farmers -- as well as falling food prices in a global agricultural economy.

An estimated 200,000 farmers have taken their own lives in India over the past 13 years, according to Indian government statistics.

"The combination is unpayable debt, and it's the day the farmer is going to lose his land for chemicals and seeds, that is the day the farmer drinks pesticide," Shiva said. "And it's totally related to a negative economy, of an agriculture that costs more in production than the farmer can ever earn." Read more.

Are US Forces Executing Kids in Afghanistan? Americans Don't Even Know to Ask

By Dave Lindorff

The Taliban suicide attack that killed a group of CIA agents in Afghanistan on a base that was directing US drone aircraft used to attack Taliban leaders was big news in the US over the past week, with the airwaves and front pages filled with sympathetic stories referring to the fact that the female station chief, who was among those killed, was the “mother of three children.”

But the apparent mass murder of Afghan school children, including one as young as 11 years old, by a US-led group of troops, was pretty much blacked out in the American media. Especially blacked out was word from UN investigators that the students had not just been killed but executed, many of them after having first been rousted from their bedroom and handcuffed.

Iraqi Government 'Astonished' After Blackwater Case Thrown Out

Iraqi government 'astonished' after Blackwater case thrown out | Telegraph.co.UK
The Iraqi government said it was 'astonished' after a US judge threw out the case against five former employees of the Blackwater security firm who were accused of indiscriminately shooting dead 17 Iraqis.

Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed charges of manslaughter and firearms offences on the basis that prosecutors had ignored the advice of senior Justice Department officials and built their case on sworn statements given under a promise of immunity.

In a major blow for President Barack Obama's Justice Department, the federal judge said that the constitutional rights of the guards had been violated and dismissed the government's explanations as "contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility".

Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, had been hired to guard US diplomats in Iraq. The contractors maintain insurgents ambushed them in traffic but prosecutors allege they unleashed an unprovoked attack on civilians using machine guns and grenades.

All five had faced mandatory 30-year sentences. According to US government documents, one of the men, Nick Slatten, allegedly made statements that he wanted to kill as many Iraqis as he could as "payback for 9/11" and repeatedly boasted about the number of Iraqis he had shot. But all charges were dismissed on Thursday.

"I was astonished by this decision," said Wejdan Mikhail, Iraq's human rights minister. "There was so much work done to prosecute these people and to take this case into court and I don't understand why the judge took this decision." Read more.

Western Troops Accused of Executing 10 Afghan Civilians, Including Children

Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children
By Jerome Starkey | Times Online

“The delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane Sunday night into Ghazi Khan village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took ten people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and ten, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead,” a statement on President Karzai’s website said.

American-led troops were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead.

Afghan government investigators said that eight schoolchildren were killed, all but one of them from the same family. Locals said that some victims were handcuffed before being killed.

Western military sources said that the dead were all part of an Afghan terrorist cell responsible for manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have claimed the lives of countless soldiers and civilians.

“This was a joint operation that was conducted against an IED cell that Afghan and US officials had been developing information against for some time,” said a senior Nato insider. But he admitted that “the facts about what actually went down are in dispute”. Read more.

UN Says Afghans Slain In Troop Raid Were Students

UN says Afghans slain in troop raid were students
Associated Press | Yahoo News!

The United Nations said Thursday that a weekend raid by foreign troops in a tense eastern Afghan province killed eight local students and warned against nighttime actions by coalition forces because they often cause civilian deaths.

The Afghan government said its investigation has established that all 10 people killed Sunday in a remote village in Kunar province were civilians. Its officials said that eight of those killed were schoolchildren aged 12-14.

NATO officials initially said all the dead were insurgents, but later backed off by saying there was no evidence to substantiate the claims that they were civilians. They requested a joint Afghan-NATO investigation to reach an "impartial and accurate determination" of what happened.

UN special representative in Afghanistan Kai Eide said in a statement that the preliminary UN investigation showed "strong indication" that there were insurgents in the area at the time of the attack.

But, he added, "based on our initial investigation, eight of those killed were students enrolled in local schools."

Civilian deaths are one of the most sensitive issues for international troops fighting the more than eight-year-old war. Although insurgents are responsible for the deaths of far more civilians, those blamed on coalition forces spark the most resentment and undermine the fight against the militants. Read more.

What a Hell of a Year! Good Riddance to It!

By Dave Lindorff

You know, the year 2009 started out kind of nicely. We watched Barack Obama take the oath of office, serenaded by the awesome Aretha Franklin (wearing her awesome hat), after first hearing Pete Seeger sing the real Woody Guthrie verses to "This Land Is Your Land" on the steps of the Lincoln Monument.

And we saw Congress pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to correct a scum-sucking decision by the US Supreme Court's conservative woman-hating, corporation-loving majority that said women (and minorities and the elderly) couldn't sue for pay discrimination unless they acted within six months of the initiation of the violation, even if they didn't learn about it until years later.

Great stuff.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered seven combat casualties in the week ending December 29, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 72,548. The total includes 35,090 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 37,458 (as of Dec. 5, 2009) dead, injured and sick from "non-hostile" causes requiring medical evacuation.

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, Iraq Coalition Casualties names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq but are not counted by the Pentagon.**

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,373 as of Dec 29, 2009) but rarely mentioning the 31,613 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 36,562* (as of Dec 2, 2009)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,373 reported deaths include 896 who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 197 suicides through Dec 5, 2009.***

** The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

The Israel/Gaza Face-Off In Los Angeles

by Linda Milazzo

Monday night, in remembrance of the one-year anniversary of Israel's Operation Cast Lead that killed 1,400 Gazans, and in solidarity with the 1,400 international peace pilgrims converging in Egypt from 42 countries for the planned Gaza Freedom March, Los Angelenos gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate for a solemn candlelight vigil.
IMG_2818
Photo by Mike Chickey

Christmas in Cairo: The Grassroots Comes To Gaza's Aid

By Medea Benjamim

One year ago, the brutal Israeli 22-day invasion of the Gaza Strip shocked the world, leaving some 1,400 people dead, thousands more wounded, as well as hospitals, schools, prisons, UN facilities, factories, agricultural processing plants and some 20,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the invasion, the plight of the
people of Gaza continues unabated:

- Despite pledges of money for reconstruction, Israel refuses to allow
in the machinery necessary to clear the rubble or the materials needed to rebuild--banning cement, gravel, wood, pipes, glass, steel bars, aluminum and tar. Many who were made homeless during the bombing are still living in tents amidst the onset of another cold winter. Desperate, some are reverting to the ancient techniques of building homes made of mud.

A Letter to Her Excellency, Madame Suzanne Mubarak

by Jodie Evans

The Egyptian government announced Monday that the border between Gaza and Egypt will be closed, just in time for 1,346 men, women, and children from 42 countries -- the Gaza Freedom March -- to arrive in Cairo. It's too late to turn back now. We will proceed, and are asking Egypt to permit the march to go on.

This has happened with each delegation we have taken but with the right pressure we have succeeded in crossing the border each time. Our first attempt was made possible thanks to First Lady Suzanne Mubarak. For International Women's Day we were taking in thousands of pink baskets of aid for the women in Gaza. As we made our way to the border we passed truck after truck brimming with rotting material aid that the Egyptians had not allowed into Gaza. But our outreach to Madame Mubarak proved fruitful: we were met by the Egyptian Red Crescent (which she chairs) and we proceeded into Gaza with no problems.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,551

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,551
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered three combat casualties in the week ending December 22, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 72,551. The total includes 35,083 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 37,458 (as of Dec. 5, 2009) dead, injured and sick from "non-hostile" causes requiring medical evacuation.

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions -were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, Iraq Coalition Casualties names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq but are not counted by the Pentagon.**

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,373 as of Dec 22, 2009) but rarely mentioning the 31,606 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 36,562* (as of Dec 2, 2009)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,373 reported deaths include 896 who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 197 suicides through Dec 5, 2009.***

Key:

** The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

`A Visit from St. Obama'

By Dave Lindorff (with apologies to Clement Clark Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
Not a creature was stirring in Afghanistan.
The bedrooms were bunkered with piles of hard stones
To protect from attacks by the Predator drones.
The children were huddled, afraid, in their beds
While visions of night raiders danced in their heads.

Mama doffed her hijab and I doffed my hat
And we both settled down for a rest and a chat
When out in the yard their arose such a clatter,
I sprang to the door to see what was the matter.
Away to the entrance I ran ‘cross the floor,
Pulled on the handle and opened the door.

The moon hadn’t risen but up in the air
A chopper was shining a light. Such a glare!
And what to my wondering eyes did appear
But a whole gang of men, armed and dressed in black gear.
With a tall skinny guy who was wearing a pistol,
I knew in a flash: it was General McChrystal.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 21 combat casualties in the week ending December 15, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion jumped to at least 72,548. The total includes 35,080 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 37,458 (as of Dec. 5, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries - mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.**

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,373 as of Dec 15, 2009) but rarely mentioning the 31,603 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 36,562* (as of Dec 2, 2009)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,373 reported deaths include 896 (up three) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 197 suicides through Dec 5, 2009.***

** The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

Is The Military Fudging Civilian Casualties To Avoid Pentagon Oversight?

Is The Military Fudging Civilian Casualties To Avoid Pentagon Oversight?
By Megan Carpentier | Air America

On Monday, the anonymous blogger Security Crank noticed something interesting: all the U.S. and NATO airstrikes in Afghanistan seemingly kill exactly 30 people every time. How can that be?

Security Crank documented no less than 12 occasions in which news reports, relying on field commanders' estimates, noted that exactly 30 suspected Taliban were killed in airstrikes and, occasionally, artillery attacks. He said:

But the much more important point remains: how could we possibly have any idea how the war is going, here or anywhere else, when the bad guys seem only to die in groups of 30? The sheer ubiquity of that number in fatality and casualty counts is astounding, to the point where I don’t even pay attention to a story anymore when they use that magic number 30. It is an indicator either of ignorance or deliberate spin… but no matter the case, whenever you see the number 30 used in reference to the Taliban, you should probably close the tab and move onto something else, because you just won’t get a good sense of what happened there.

So, why is it always 30? Do thirty casualties seem like enough to justify a military attack, or few enough to not attract too much attention to an incident?

Another blogger, Joshua Foust of the Central Asia blog Registan, seemingly stumbled upon the answer. In a tweet, he noted:

In 2003, an air strike killing 30 civilians could be launched w/o issues. 31 dead civilians and Rummy had to approve.

Foust then linked to an LA Times article from last July by Nicholas Goldberg that documented what field commanders were told. Read more.

INVICTUS Kicks Off New Campaign For The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights

By Linda Milazzo

Los Angeles gets a bad rap. It's assailed for being shallow and rarely acknowledged for its good heart. But Los Angeles has a huge heart - at the center of which is pulsating non-stop activism dedicated to ensuring all people are granted human rights. Just name any of the 30 human rights designated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and I guarantee you there are groups and individuals in Los Angeles who are working to enforce them - locally, nationally and globally.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,183

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,183
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered seven combat casualties in the week ending December 8, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,183. The total includes 35,059 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 40,124 (as of October 31, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries - mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.**

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,370 as of Dec 8, 2009), but rarely mentioning the 31,582 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 39,232 (as of Oct 31, 2009)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,370 reported deaths include 893 (up one) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 196 suicides through Oct. 31, 2009.***

Key:

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

The Shame and Folly of Obama's Afghan War

By Dave LIndorff

There are so many things wrong with Obama’s “New and Improved” Afghanistan War that it’s hard to know where to begin, but I guess the place to start is with his premise.

If America needs to be fighting in Afghanistan because Al Qaeda planned and launched the 9-11 attacks from there back in 2001, as the president claimed in his lackluster address to the cadets at West Point last week, then we would have to assume either that Al Qaeda is still there, or that if we were not there fighting, that Al Qaeda would be back to plan more attacks.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,176

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,176
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered three combat casualties in the week ending December 1, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,176. The total includes 35,052 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 40,124 (as of October 31, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

Holiday Greetings: President and Man-of-Peace Obama has a Xmas Present for Afghanistan

By Dave LIndorff

Merry Xmas Jarheads!! The Man of Peace, Nobel Laureate-to-be President Barack Obama, your latest commander-in-chief, is going to be shipping you out as a holiday gift to the people of Afghanistan.

You will be delivering bullets and bombs, with my name and the name of other American taxpayers on them, to the long-suffering people of Afghanistan by December 25, according to press reports ahead of the Mr. Hope and Change’s planned nationwide speech tonight.

Back here in America, the land of the free and brave, come the holidays, we will be scraping together the cash to buy small gifts for our kids, hopefully without having to miss a rent payment or a mortgage payment. Fortunately, we’ve got Food Stamps, which are now, we are told, flooding the suburbs, and are “no longer a stigma,” so we won’t be hurting too much for Christmas dinner—though you still can’t use the stamps to buy eggnog.

SC WWII Vet's Battle Ends In Gunshot At VA Clinic

SC WWII vet's battle ends in gunshot at VA clinic
By JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press Writer | Yahoo! News

Chapman loaded all six bullets in the chamber, sat down, put the gun to the right side of his head and pulled the trigger. Doctors and nurses, some who took care of Chapman for years, heard a pop and rushed out to see what happened.

Harriet Chapman figures her father wanted to make one last stand against the VA.

"If he just wanted to kill himself, he would have done it behind the shed in the back yard," Harriet Chapman said. "He wanted to bring attention to what the VA had done to him and how they treated veterans."

But Grover Chapman left no suicide note. He appears to have spoken to no one at the VA that day and decided to take his life by the side door, where mostly doctors and nurses come and go, instead of the clinic's bustling front entrance or lobby. His bag contained all the items needed to identify him. And he almost guaranteed it would be medical professionals used to dealing with death who found him, sparing his family the shock of seeing the kind of things that haunted him since those days on the Liberty Ships, far out in the Atlantic....The funeral home noted he served in the Army and Navy and asked if they wanted an American flag to drape his casket. The family agreed.

On the last day of his long, troubled life, Grover Cleveland Chapman packed a black duffel bag, washed out his coffee cup, put it in the dish rack and fetched his Smith & Wesson.

He threw away his favorite slippers and left his house key on his bedside table in the two-bedroom yellow bungalow he shared with his daughter, tucked in an aging neighborhood full of 1950s starter homes a few miles from downtown Greenville.

Harriett Chapman called as she always did on her morning break at the Walmart deli, checking on her 89-year-old dad. Everything is fine, he told her.

As he shuffled down the steps that spring morning in 2008, Grover Chapman carried the latest letter denying him treatment at the Veterans Affairs clinic in Greenville, directing him instead to take a 200-mile round trip to the VA hospital in Columbia. This time it was about his prostate cancer, though Chapman had received plenty of notices just like it turning him down for help with his jumpiness and frayed nerves. He folded this letter neatly into the bag beside his bottles of medicine and settled into a taxi.

In a few weeks, candidate Barack Obama would take note of what Chapman would do upon arriving at the clinic this last time, calling it an indictment of society's treatment of disabled veterans. Read more.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,172

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,172
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 14 combat casualties in the week ending November 24, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,172. The total includes 35,049 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 40,123 (as of October 31, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,168

Last week: US Iraq casualties rise to 75,168
Compiled by Michael Munk | MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 14 combat casualties in the week ending November 17, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,168. The total includes 35,047 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 40,121 (as of October 31, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,365 as of Nov.17), but rarely mentioning the 31,571 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 39,232 (as of Oct 31, 2009)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,362 reported deaths include 889 (up three) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 196 suicides through Oct. 31.***

Key:

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

Will You PAY $1.12 for HEALTHCARE?

Images are copylefted and formatted to fit on a single sheet of letter sized postcard stock with no margins. Postage is only 28¢ each.

Universal, Single Payer Postcards-Front
Universal, Single Payer Postcards-Back

President Obama: Don't Lecture China on Censorship

By Dave Lindorff

President Obama, in his visit to China, held a “town meeting” with Chinese students in which he praised openness and lectured them on the value of freedom of information, saying that he is a “supporter of non-censorship” and that open access to information was a “source of strength.”

And yet America is hardly free of censorship. Heck, the president himself has gone to court to prevent the release of photographs of US troops torturing captives in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo. Talk about censorship! But it goes way beyond just such crude, totalitarian style control over information.

Huge Rise In Birth Defects In Falluja

Huge rise in birth defects in Falluja
Iraqi former battle zone sees abnormal clusters of infant tumours and deformities
Martin Chulov | Guardian.co.UK

Link to video: The Babies of Falluja

Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting.

The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja's over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born.

Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable.

A group of Iraqi and British officials, including the former Iraqi minister for women's affairs, Dr Nawal Majeed a-Sammarai, and the British doctors David Halpin and Chris Burns-Cox, have petitioned the UN general assembly to ask that an independent committee fully investigate the defects and help clean up toxic materials left over decades of war – including the six years since Saddam Hussein was ousted. Read more.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 75,151

Last week: US Iraq casualties rise to 75,151
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 13 combat casualties in the week ending November 10 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,151. The total includes 35,033 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 40,118 (as of October 31, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,362 as of Nov.10, 2009), but rarely mentioning the 31,557 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 39,232 (as of Oct 31, 2009)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,362 reported deaths include 886 (up two) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 196 suicides through Oct. 31, 2009.***

Key:

* The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
*** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

The UNKNOWN VETERAN

Modern War Makes-St. Paul

Modern War Makes-Shanghai

Modern War Makes-Siapan

This Armistice Day, let us remember that civilians are 3.5 times more likely to die in war and its associated evils than soldiers are. And, that civilians do so without training, without equipment, and without medical care; and, without pay, retirement and other benefits.

Heck, they don't even rate the thanks and remembrance of a grateful nation for their sacrifice.

Every Veterans Day I remember that at least I know the immediate action for a grenade attack. Every Veterans Day I think of the poor innocents that have never been trained in the simplest survival skills-combat immediate action drills. At least I know to yell "Grenade!" and to fling myself to the ground, hopefully landing with my boots toward the grenade in order to provide the smallest target, and to cover my neck and head with my hand to protect those vital areas.

I wonder how many people that I pass by every Veterans Day know what to do with a sucking chest wound or any other rudiment of first aid for the massive trauma that results from military hardware colliding with civilian bodies.

I wonder how many civilians realize they will be the ultimate, though perhaps not always the intentional, targets of all manner of weaponry and military expertise.

I wonder why the peace movement does so little to convince civilians that they should be demanding rigorous survival and first aid training if they don't want to stop war as policy.

Each Veterans Day, every Armistice Day, I wonder how many deaths, how much destruction, it will take for people to realize MODERN WAR MAKES VETERANS OF US ALL and that WAR IS HELL.

Horror at Fort Hood Inspires Horribly Predictable Islamophobia

Horror at Fort Hood Inspires Horribly Predictable Islamophobia
By John Nichols | The Nation

Thursday's shootings at the Fort Hood army base in Texas -- which left at least 12 people dead and more than 30 others wounded -- were of course the "horrific outburst of violence" that President Obama bemoaned and condemned.

But, because a soldier identified as the gunman had a name that led to the presumption that he was Muslim, the incident inspired an all-too-predictable explosion of Islamophobia.

News reports named the man who used two handguns in the assault on his fellow soldiers at a base that is a prime point of departure for troops headed to Iraq and Afghanistan as Major Malik Nidal Hasan. The major, who was wounded during the incident, was identified as a psychiatrist who had served in the Department of Psychology at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Bethesda Naval Facility in Bethesda, Maryland, before his transfer to Fort Hood.

Hours after the incident, and hours after news anchors and politicians cited his religion as an explanation for the shootings, a family member told reporters Major Hasan was indeed a Muslim. Read more.

Many US Children May Live In Families Receiving Food Stamps

ScienceDaily (Nov. 4, 2009) — Nearly half of all American children will reside in a household receiving food stamps at some point between the ages of 1 and 20, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Last week: US Iraq Casualties Jump To 75,136

Last week: US Iraq Casualties Jump To 75,136
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered at least ten combat casualties in the week ending November 3, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion rose to at least 75,136. The total includes 35,020 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 40,116 (as of October 31, 2009) dead and medically evacuated from "non-hostile" causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions - were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.***

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