It is currently Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:23 am

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: A Subject Taboo: War Crimes; Support Our Troops But This?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 5:17 pm 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
The following article is particularly disturbing. If true, what happened in Fallujah makes My Lai look like Sunday school. I'm afraid it might be true because it jibes consistently with other accounts that were filed while the seige was underway (some of these journalists were targeted).

I am true blue American all the way. I support our troops. I've even flown half way around the world to entertain many of them. And, I have seen war up close and personal. But I will not and cannot support this kind of behavior. It is a disgrace to the Flag, the American way of life, and to the fallen vetrans of wars past. It sounds like the SS in the Ukraine. If you want to know how thousands of Al Queda recruits are being initiated, here's how.

There needs to be a full investigation. The officers who allowed this kind of butchery should be held to full account. My God what are we comming to?



How The U.S. Murdered a City 

Fallujah: The Truth at Last 

Doctor Salam Ismael took aid to Fallujah last month. This is a report of his visit.

02/17/05 - - IT WAS the smell that first hit me, a smell that is difficult to describe, and one that will never leave me. It was the smell of death. Hundreds of corpses were decomposing in the houses, gardens and streets of Fallujah. Bodies were rotting where they had fallen-bodies of men, women and children, many half-eaten by wild dogs. 

A wave of hate had wiped out two-thirds of the town, destroying houses and mosques, schools and clinics. This was the terrible and frightening power of the US military assault. 

The accounts I heard over the next few days will live with me forever. You may think you know what happened in Fallujah. But the truth is worse than you could possibly have imagined. 

In Saqlawiya, one of the makeshift refugee camps that surround Fallujah, we found a 17 year old woman. "I am Hudda Fawzi Salam Issawi from the Jolan district of Fallujah," she told me. "Five of us, including a 55 year old neighbour, were trapped together in our house in Fallujah when the siege began. 

"On 9 November American marines came to our house. My father and the neighbour went to the door to meet them. We were not fighters. We thought we had nothing to fear. I ran into the kitchen to put on my veil, since men were going to enter our house and it would be wrong for them to see me with my hair uncovered. "This saved my life. As my father and neighbour approached the door, the Americans opened fire on them. They died instantly. 

"Me and my 13 year old brother hid in the kitchen behind the fridge. The soldiers came into the house and caught my older sister. They beat her. Then they shot her. But they did not see me. Soon they left, but not before they had destroyed our furniture and stolen the money from my father's pocket." 

Hudda told me how she comforted her dying sister by reading verses from the Koran. After four hours her sister died. For three days Hudda and her brother stayed with their murdered relatives. But they were thirsty and had only a few dates to eat. They feared the troops would return and decided to try to flee the city. But they were spotted by a US sniper. 

Hudda was shot in the leg, her brother ran but was shot in the back and died instantly. "I prepared myself to die," she told me. "But I was found by an American woman soldier, and she took me to hospital." She was eventually reunited with the surviving members of her family. 

I also found survivors of another family from the Jolan district. They told me that at the end of the second week of the siege the US troops swept through the Jolan. The Iraqi National Guard used loudspeakers to call on people to get out of the houses carrying white flags, bringing all their belongings with them. They were ordered to gather outside near the Jamah al-Furkan mosque in the centre of town. 

On 12 November Eyad Naji Latif and eight members of his family-one of them a six month old child-gathered their belongings and walked in single file, as instructed, to the mosque. 

When they reached the main road outside the mosque they heard a shout, but they could not understand what was being shouted. Eyad told me it could have been "now" in English. Then the firing began. US soldiers appeared on the roofs of surrounding houses and opened fire. Eyad's father was shot in the heart and his mother in the chest. 

They died instantly. Two of Eyad's brothers were also hit, one in the chest and one in the neck. Two of the women were hit, one in the hand and one in the leg. Then the snipers killed the wife of one of Eyad's brothers. When she fell her five year old son ran to her and stood over her body. They shot him dead too. Survivors made desperate appeals to the troops to stop firing. 

But Eyad told me that whenever one of them tried to raise a white flag they were shot. After several hours he tried to raise his arm with the flag. But they shot him in the arm. Finally he tried to raise his hand. So they shot him in the hand. 

The five survivors, including the six month old child, lay in the street for seven hours. Then four of them crawled to the nearest home to find shelter. The next morning the brother who was shot in the neck also managed to crawl to safety. They all stayed in the house for eight days, surviving on roots and one cup of water, which they saved for the baby. On the eighth day they were discovered by some members of the Iraqi National Guard and taken to hospital in Fallujah. They heard the Americans were arresting any young men, so the family fled the hospital and finally obtained treatment in a nearby town. 

They do not know in detail what happened to the other families who had gone to the mosque as instructed. But they told me the street was awash with blood. I had come to Fallujah in January as part of a humanitarian aid convoy funded by donations from Britain. 

Our small convoy of trucks and vans brought 15 tons of flour, eight tons of rice, medical aid and 900 pieces of clothing for the orphans. We knew that thousands of refugees were camped in terrible conditions in four camps on the outskirts of town. 

There we heard the accounts of families killed in their houses, of wounded people dragged into the streets and run over by tanks, of a container with the bodies of 481 civilians inside, of premeditated murder, looting and acts of savagery and cruelty that beggar belief. 

Through the ruins That is why we decided to go into Fallujah and investigate. When we entered the town I almost did not recognise the place where I had worked as a doctor in April 2004, during the first siege. 

We found people wandering like ghosts through the ruins. Some were looking for the bodies of relatives. Others were trying to recover some of their possessions from destroyed homes. 

Here and there, small knots of people were queuing for fuel or food. In one queue some of the survivors were fighting over a blanket. 

I remember being approached by an elderly woman, her eyes raw with tears. She grabbed my arm and told me how her house had been hit by a US bomb during an air raid. The ceiling collapsed on her 19 year old son, cutting off both his legs. 

She could not get help. She could not go into the streets because the Americans had posted snipers on the roofs and were killing anyone who ventured out, even at night. 

She tried her best to stop the bleeding, but it was to no avail. She stayed with him, her only son, until he died. He took four hours to die. 

Fallujah's main hospital was seized by the US troops in the first days of the siege. The only other clinic, the Hey Nazzal, was hit twice by US missiles. Its medicines and medical equipment were all destroyed. There were no ambulances-the two ambulances that came to help the wounded were shot up and destroyed by US troops. 

We visited houses in the Jolan district, a poor working class area in the north western part of the city that had been the centre of resistance during the April siege. 

This quarter seemed to have been singled out for punishment during the second siege. We moved from house to house, discovering families dead in their beds, or cut down in living rooms or in the kitchen. House after house had furniture smashed and possessions scattered. 

In some places we found bodies of fighters, dressed in black and with ammunition belts. 

But in most of the houses, the bodies were of civilians. Many were dressed in housecoats, many of the women were not veiled-meaning there were no men other than family members in the house. There were no weapons, no spent cartridges. 

It became clear to us that we were witnessing the aftermath of a massacre, the cold-blooded butchery of helpless and defenceless civilians. 

Nobody knows how many died. The occupation forces are now bulldozing the neighbourhoods to cover up their crime. What happened in Fallujah was an act of barbarity. The whole world must be told the truth.

Dr Salam Ismael, now 28 years old, was head of junior doctors in Baghdad before the invasion of Iraq. He was in Fallujah in April 2004 where he treated casualties of the assault on the city.

At the end of 2004 he came to Britain to collect funds for an aid convoy to Fallujah. Now the British government does not want Dr Salam Ismael’s testimony to be heard. 

He was due to come here last week to speak at trade union and anti-war meetings. But he was refused entry. The reason given was that he received expenses, covering the basic costs of his trip, when he came to Britain last year and this constitutes “illegal working”.

Dr Salam Ismael merely wishes to speak the truth. Yet it seems the freedom that Bush and Blair claim to champion in Iraq does not extend to allowing its citizens to travel freely. 

Legal challenges, supported by the Stop the War Coalition, were launched this week in an effort to allow Dr Salam Ismael to come to Britain.

Copyright © Information Clearing House. All rights reserved. You may republish under the following conditions: An active link to the original publication must be provided. You must not alter, edit or remove any text within the article, including this copyright notice.
:evil:

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:52 pm 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
War Helps Recruit Terrorists

Intelligence Officials Talk Of Growing Insurgency 

By Dana Priest and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers

02/17/05 "Washington Post" -- The insurgency in Iraq continues to baffle the U.S. military and intelligence communities, and the U.S. occupation has become a potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, top U.S. national security officials told Congress yesterday.

"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists," CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focused on acts of urban terrorism," he said. "They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries." 

On a day when the top half-dozen U.S. national security and intelligence officials went to Capitol Hill to talk about the continued determination of terrorists to strike the United States, their statements underscored the unintended consequences of the war in Iraq.

"The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists," Goss said in his first public testimony since taking over the CIA. Goss said Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist who has joined al Qaeda since the U.S. invasion, "hopes to establish a safe haven in Iraq" from which he could operate against Western nations and moderate Muslim governments.

"Our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment," Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate panel. "Overwhelming majorities in Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia believe the U.S. has a negative policy toward the Arab world."

Jacoby said the Iraq insurgency has grown "in size and complexity over the past year" and is now mounting an average of 60 attacks per day, up from 25 last year. Attacks on Iraq's election day last month reached 300, he said, double the previous one-day high of 150, even though transportation was virtually locked down. 

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told the House Armed Services Committee that he has trouble believing any of the estimates of the number of insurgents because it is so difficult to track them. 

Rumsfeld said that the CIA and DIA had differing assessments at different times but that U.S. intelligence estimates of the insurgency are "considerably lower" than a recent Iraqi intelligence report of 40,000 hard-core insurgents and 200,000 part-time fighters. Rumsfeld told Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.), the committee's ranking Democrat, that he had copies of the CIA and DIA estimates but declined to disclose them in a public session because they are classified.

"My job in the government is not to be the principal intelligence officer and try to rationalize differences between the Iraqis, the CIA and the DIA," Rumsfeld testified. "I see these reports. Frankly, I don't have a lot of confidence in any of them."

After the hearing, Rumsfeld told reporters that he did not mean to be "dismissive" of the intelligence reports. 

"People are doing the best that can be done, and the fact is that people disagree," he said. ". . . It's not clear to me that the number is the overriding important thing."

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House panel that the extremists associated with al Qaeda and Zarqawi represent "a fairly small percentage of the total number of insurgents."

Sunni Arabs, dominated by former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, "comprise the core of the insurgency" and continue to provide "funds and guidance across family, tribal, religious and peer-group lines," Jacoby said. 

Foreign fighters "are a small component of the insurgency," and Syrian, Saudi, Egyptian, Jordanian and Iranian nationals make up the majority of foreign fighters, he said.

On terrorism, Goss, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and the acting deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security reiterated their belief that al Qaeda and other jihadist groups intend to strike the United States but offered no new information about the threat. 

"It may be only a matter of time before al Qaeda or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons," Goss said.

Tom Fingar, assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, submitted a written statement that said: "We have seen no persuasive evidence that al-Qaida has obtained fissile material or ever has had a serious and sustained program to do so. At worst, the group possesses small amounts of radiological material that could be used to fabricate a radiological dispersion device," or dirty bomb.

Mueller, whose bureau has the lead in finding and apprehending terrorists in the United States, said his top concern is "the threat from covert operatives who may be inside the U.S." and said finding them is the FBI's top priority. But he said they have been unable to do so.

"I remain very concerned about what we are not seeing," Mueller said.

"Whether we are talking about a true sleeper operative who has been in place for years, waiting to be activated to conduct an attack, or a recently deployed operative that has entered the U.S. to facilitate or conduct an attack, we are continuously adapting our methods to reflect newly received intelligence and to ensure we are as proactive and as targeted as we can be in detecting their presence," he said. 

Mueller said transportation systems and nuclear power plants remain key al Qaeda targets. 

James Loy, acting deputy secretary of homeland security, agreed. In a written statement, he said that despite the efforts of the U.S. intelligence community and his department, and advances in information sharing, technology and organization, "any attack of any kind could occur at any time."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company 

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:56 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
Posts: 14444
Location: NC
Are they still expecting candy and flowers to be thrown at our troops? It's not so hard to figure out why that's not happening.

US military presence throughout Iraq has come to be viewed as an iron-fisted occupation rather than as a liberation.

The Iraqi people aren't stupid.

Catherine

_________________
Image

"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Yikes
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 12:49 am 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
How can people ignore all the damning evidece. Crimes everywhere?

Papers reveal Bagram abuse 

· Prisoners subjected to 'mock executions' 
· Photographs of detainees being sexually humiliated 

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington and James Meek

01/18/05 "The Guardian" - - New evidence has emerged that US forces in Afghanistan engaged in widespread Abu Ghraib-style abuse, taking "trophy photographs" of detainees and carrying out rape and sexual humiliation. 

Documents obtained by the Guardian contain evidence that such abuses took place in the main detention centre at Bagram, near the capital Kabul, as well as at a smaller US installation near the southern city of Kandahar. 

The documents also indicate that US soldiers covered up abuse in Afghanistan and in Iraq - even after the Abu Ghraib scandal last year. 

A thousand pages of evidence from US army investigations released to the American Civil Liberties Union after a long legal battle, and made available to the Guardian, show that an Iraqi detained at Tikrit in September 2003 was forced to withdraw his report of abuse after soldiers told him he would be held indefinitely. 

Meanwhile, photographs taken in southern Afghanistan showing US soldiers from the 22nd Infantry Battalion posing in mock executions of blindfolded and bound detainees, were purposely destroyed after the Abu Ghraib scandal to avoid "another public outrage", the documents show. 

In the dossier, the Iraqi detainee claims that three US interrogators in civilian clothing dislocated his arms, stuck an unloaded gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, choked him with a rope until he lost consciousness, and beat him with a baseball bat. 

"After they tied me up in the chair, then they dislocate my both arms. He asked to admit before I kill you then he beat again and again," the prisoner says in his statement. "He asked me: Are you going to report me? You have no evidence. Then he hit me very hard on my nose, and then he stepped on my nose until he broken and I started bleeding." 

The detainee withdrew his charges on November 23 2003. He says he was told: "You will stay in the prison for a long time, and you will never get out until you are 50 years old." 

A medical examination by a US military doctor confirmed the detainee's account, yet the investigation was closed last October. "It is further proof that the army is not seriously investigating credible allegations of abuse," said Jameel Jaffar, a lawyer for the ACLU. 

The latest allegations from Afghanistan fit a pattern of claims of brutal treatment made by former Guantánamo Bay prisoners and Afghans held by the US, and reported by the Guardian last year. In December the US said eight prisoners had died in its custody in Afghanistan. 

In a separate case, which the Guardian reveals today, two former prisoners of the US in Afghanistan have come forward with claims against their American captors. 

In sworn affidavits to a British-American human rights lawyer, a Palestinian says he was sodomised by American soldiers in Afghanistan. Another former prisoner of US forces, a Jordanian, describes a form of torture which involved being hung in a cage from a rope for days. 

Both men were freed from US detention last year after being held in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. Neither has been charged by any government with any offence. 

Hussain Adbulkadr Youssouf Mustafa, a Palestinian living in Jordan, told the lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, that he was sodomised by US soldiers during his detention at Bagram air force base in 2002. 

He claims to have been blindfolded, tightly handcuffed, gagged and had his ears plugged, forced to bend down over a table by two soldiers, with a third soldier pressing his face down on the table, and to have had his trousers pulled down. 

"They forcibly rammed a stick up my rectum," he reports. "It was excruciatingly painful ... Only when the pain became overwhelming did I think I would ever scream. But I could not stop screaming when this happened." 

In a second affidavit, the Jordanian citizen, Wesam Abdulrahman Ahmed Al Deemawi, detained from March 15 2002 to March 31 2004, says that during a 40-day period of detention at Bagram he was threatened with dogs, stripped and photographed "in shameful and obscene positions" and placed in a cage with a hook and a hanging rope. He says he was hung from this hook, blindfolded, for two days although he was occasionally given hour-long "breaks". 

The Guardian asked the US military's central command, which has responsibility for Afghanistan, to respond to the allegations on Wednesday. By the time of going to press last night no response had been received other than an email from a Major Steven Wollman in Kabul, saying he was researching the question. 

Copyright: The Guardian.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 5:05 pm 
Offline
SuperMember!
SuperMember!
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:18 pm
Posts: 1485
Location: Left Coast
Catherine wrote:
Are they still expecting candy and flowers to be thrown at our troops? It's not so hard to figure out why that's not happening.

US military presence throughout Iraq has come to be viewed as an iron-fisted occupation rather than as a liberation.

The Iraqi people aren't stupid.


No, they're not, CATherine, but it sure seems like a little more than half of americans are...


:roll:

_________________
My Pep Talk For Lefties and Lurkers


I cannot teach anybody anything,
I can only make them think.

~~ Socrates


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Is It Any Wonder? Lost Lives and Lost Souls
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:29 pm 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
This from Sam Smith's "Progressive Review," today, March 10:


IRAQ
||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

LOSING INNOCENCE IN IRAQ
http://electroniciraq.net/news/1894.shtml

MAXINE NASH, ELECTRONIC IRAQ - I read a report today from a Quaker
therapist who works with returning U.S. soldiers and their families.
The
therapist noted that the returning soldiers are feeling like they've
lost an important part of themselves because of the actions they've
done
in Iraq, and fear they are damaged permanently by behaving against
their
core beliefs. The therapist also mentions that most of the soldiers
returning from Iraq are angry, and that the anger seems to be a
necessity to staying alive in Iraq.

I've met these soldiers here in Iraq. I've met the angry one who seems
to be angry all the time, with a permanently etched scowl on his face.
I've met the one who tells me of doing things he didn't want to do and
then telling me the ways he tries to cope with those actions. I've met
the one who seems to have turned off all emotion in order not to feel
anything. I've met the one who, when he got back home, said he'd done
his time in Hell and he wasn't ever going back.

They have names - Ricky, Jeff, Jon. They have beautiful green eyes that
go all the way down to their tortured souls. They have lives, and
personalities, that they remember but can't quite keep in touch with
when they are here and can't fit into when they go home. They've seen
their friends die, and they fear for their own lives.

Where is the new beginning for them? How can they un-live everything
that's happened to them in this crazy situation and get back to being
whole human beings again?

The answer is of course that they can't ever undo what they've seen and
done as soldiers. No one can give them back the innocence they had
before coming here.

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:04 pm 
Offline
SuperMember!
SuperMember!
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:18 pm
Posts: 1485
Location: Left Coast
It's one thing to be a soldier and have to do things to survive, it's quite another to do the things described in these articles, Ben. IF these men did do that, I hope they remember and are haunted by everything they did, everyday, everynight... FOREVER...

Unforgivable... Tis sad what the once proud american soldier has become under this administration and sadder yet that the american people vegetate while it's being done in their name...


:evil:

_________________
My Pep Talk For Lefties and Lurkers


I cannot teach anybody anything,
I can only make them think.

~~ Socrates


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Forgive
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:09 am 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
That’s me, a marine, a murderer of civilians’

“I was a sergeant with the Third Marine Battalion during the invasion,
in the spring of 2003.”

“We killed more than 30 people. That was the first time that I had to
face up to the horror that my hands were soiled with the blood of
civilians. We laid down cluster bombs on them. - “We ended up massacring
innocent civilians – men, women, and children."
http://207.44.245.159/article8249.htm

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: General Sanchez Caught Lying Red Handed Point Blank
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:13 pm 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
ACLU Letter to Attorney General Gozales Requesting Investigation of Possible Perjury by General Ricardo A. Sanchez

March 30, 2005



The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
Department of Justice
Robert F. Kennedy Building
Tenth Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20530

Re: Request for Investigation of Possible Perjury by General Ricardo A. Sanchez; Renewal of Request for an Outside Special Counsel to Investigate and Prosecute Violations or Conspiracies to Violate Criminal Laws Against Torture or Abuse of Detainees

Dear Attorney General Gonzales:

The American Civil Liberties Union strongly urges you to open an investigation into whether General Ricardo A. Sanchez committed perjury in his sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2004.  We also renew our request, made in a letter to you of February 15, 2005 that you appoint an outside special counsel for the investigation and prosecution of any and all criminal acts committed in the mistreatment of detainees held in Abu Ghraib, other places in Iraq or Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, or transferred by the United States to foreign countries that engage in torture or abuse of prisoners.  An outside special counsel is the only way to ensure that all persons who violated the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441, or who violated, or conspired to violate, the Anti-Torture Act, 18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A, or other federal laws against torture and abuse will be held accountable and responsible for criminal wrongdoing.  

During sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2004, Senator Jack Reed asked General Sanchez, who commanded the Combined Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF-7) in Iraq, whether he “ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison.”  General Sanchez testified in response that he “never approved any of those measures to be used in CJTF-7 at any time in the last year” and that he “never approved the use of any of those methods within CJTF-7 in the 12.5 months that I’ve been in Iraq.”

However, a document that the Defense Department released to us late in the afternoon of Friday, March 25, 2005 specifically contradicts General Sanchez’s testimony.  In a memorandum signed by General Sanchez and dated September 14, 2003, General Sanchez ordered the immediate implementation of a policy signed by him, entitled “CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy.”  The policy approved by him for interrogation of “detainees, security internees and enemy prisoners of war under the control of CJTF-7” specifically approves “significantly increasing the fear level in a detainee,” “adjusting the sleep times of the detainee (e.g., reversing sleep cycles from night to day),” “sleep management:  detainee provided minimum 4 hours of sleep per 24 hour period, not to exceed 72 continuous hours.”  The policy also approves for detainees who are not prisoners of war (and sets up an individualized approval process for prisoners of war) additional techniques, including “yelling, loud music, and light control:  used to create fear, disorient detainee, and prolong capture shock.  Volume controlled to prevent injury,” and “presence of military working dogs:  exploits Arab fear of dogs while maintaining security during interrogation.  Dogs will be muzzled and under control of MWD handler at all times to prevent contact with detainee.”

The September 14, 2003 memorandum signed by General Sanchez does not square with his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.  The need for General Sanchez and all high-level government officials to tell the truth could not be more important.  The nation cannot afford to have anyone covering up their wrongdoing when such horrific abuse was the result.  And the nation needs a clear accounting of the extent to which the United States government tortured and abused persons under its custody and control.  For these reasons, we urge you to order an investigation, and if appropriate, prosecution for any criminal acts arising from General Sanchez’s testimony, as well as for any illegal actions taken pursuant to the September 14, 2003 memorandum.

We also emphasize again the need for you to appoint an outside special counsel.  There is an obvious public interest in investigating and prosecuting all persons committing torture or abuse or conspiring to commit those crimes against persons being held by the United States.  A small number of enlisted men and women and a few low-ranking military officers should not be the only persons held responsible, if civilians and top military officers also engaged in wrongdoing.  Given the increasing evidence of deliberate and widespread use of torture and abuse, and that such conduct was the predictable result of policy changes made at the highest levels of government, an outside special counsel is clearly in the public interest.  Moreover, your leadership at the Justice Department would clearly benefit from putting all these outstanding matters related to the torture issue to rest.            

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your response.

Very truly yours,

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director
ACLU

Laura W. Murphy
Director
ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Christopher E. Anders
Legislative Counsel
ACLU Washington Legislative Office

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: General Sanchez Caught Lying Red Handed Point Blank
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:13 pm 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
ACLU Letter to Attorney General Gozales Requesting Investigation of Possible Perjury by General Ricardo A. Sanchez

March 30, 2005



The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
Department of Justice
Robert F. Kennedy Building
Tenth Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20530

Re: Request for Investigation of Possible Perjury by General Ricardo A. Sanchez; Renewal of Request for an Outside Special Counsel to Investigate and Prosecute Violations or Conspiracies to Violate Criminal Laws Against Torture or Abuse of Detainees

Dear Attorney General Gonzales:

The American Civil Liberties Union strongly urges you to open an investigation into whether General Ricardo A. Sanchez committed perjury in his sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2004.  We also renew our request, made in a letter to you of February 15, 2005 that you appoint an outside special counsel for the investigation and prosecution of any and all criminal acts committed in the mistreatment of detainees held in Abu Ghraib, other places in Iraq or Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, or transferred by the United States to foreign countries that engage in torture or abuse of prisoners.  An outside special counsel is the only way to ensure that all persons who violated the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441, or who violated, or conspired to violate, the Anti-Torture Act, 18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A, or other federal laws against torture and abuse will be held accountable and responsible for criminal wrongdoing.  

During sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2004, Senator Jack Reed asked General Sanchez, who commanded the Combined Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF-7) in Iraq, whether he “ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison.”  General Sanchez testified in response that he “never approved any of those measures to be used in CJTF-7 at any time in the last year” and that he “never approved the use of any of those methods within CJTF-7 in the 12.5 months that I’ve been in Iraq.”

However, a document that the Defense Department released to us late in the afternoon of Friday, March 25, 2005 specifically contradicts General Sanchez’s testimony.  In a memorandum signed by General Sanchez and dated September 14, 2003, General Sanchez ordered the immediate implementation of a policy signed by him, entitled “CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy.”  The policy approved by him for interrogation of “detainees, security internees and enemy prisoners of war under the control of CJTF-7” specifically approves “significantly increasing the fear level in a detainee,” “adjusting the sleep times of the detainee (e.g., reversing sleep cycles from night to day),” “sleep management:  detainee provided minimum 4 hours of sleep per 24 hour period, not to exceed 72 continuous hours.”  The policy also approves for detainees who are not prisoners of war (and sets up an individualized approval process for prisoners of war) additional techniques, including “yelling, loud music, and light control:  used to create fear, disorient detainee, and prolong capture shock.  Volume controlled to prevent injury,” and “presence of military working dogs:  exploits Arab fear of dogs while maintaining security during interrogation.  Dogs will be muzzled and under control of MWD handler at all times to prevent contact with detainee.”

The September 14, 2003 memorandum signed by General Sanchez does not square with his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.  The need for General Sanchez and all high-level government officials to tell the truth could not be more important.  The nation cannot afford to have anyone covering up their wrongdoing when such horrific abuse was the result.  And the nation needs a clear accounting of the extent to which the United States government tortured and abused persons under its custody and control.  For these reasons, we urge you to order an investigation, and if appropriate, prosecution for any criminal acts arising from General Sanchez’s testimony, as well as for any illegal actions taken pursuant to the September 14, 2003 memorandum.

We also emphasize again the need for you to appoint an outside special counsel.  There is an obvious public interest in investigating and prosecuting all persons committing torture or abuse or conspiring to commit those crimes against persons being held by the United States.  A small number of enlisted men and women and a few low-ranking military officers should not be the only persons held responsible, if civilians and top military officers also engaged in wrongdoing.  Given the increasing evidence of deliberate and widespread use of torture and abuse, and that such conduct was the predictable result of policy changes made at the highest levels of government, an outside special counsel is clearly in the public interest.  Moreover, your leadership at the Justice Department would clearly benefit from putting all these outstanding matters related to the torture issue to rest.            

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your response.

Very truly yours,

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director
ACLU

Laura W. Murphy
Director
ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Christopher E. Anders
Legislative Counsel
ACLU Washington Legislative Office

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Where Did Those Torture Pictures Go?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:41 pm 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
April 2005


The Pentagon's Secret Stash

Why we'll never see the second round of Abu Ghraib photos

Matt Welch

http://www.reason.com/0504/co.mw.the.shtml

The images, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress, depict "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman." After Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) viewed some of them in a classified briefing, he testified that his "stomach gave out." NBC News reported that they show "American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys." Everyone who saw the photographs and videos seemed to shudder openly when contemplating what the reaction would be when they eventually were made public.

But they never were. After the first batch of Abu Ghraib images shocked the world on April 28, 2004, becoming instantly iconic—a hooded prisoner standing atop a box with electrodes attatched to his hands, Pfc. Lynndie England dragging a naked prisoner by a leash, England and Spc. Charles Graner giving a grinning thumbs-up behind a stack of human meat—no substantial second round ever came, either from Abu Ghraib or any of the other locations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay where abuses have been alleged. ABC News broadcast two new photos from the notorious Iraq prison on May 19, The Washington Post printed a half-dozen on May 20 and three more on June 10, and that was it.

"It refutes the glib claim that everything leaks sooner or later," says the Federation of American Scientists' Steven Aftergood, who makes his living finding and publishing little-known government information and fighting against state secrecy. "While there may be classified information in the papers almost every day, there's a lot more classified information that never makes it into the public domain."

It's not for lack of trying, at least from outside the government. Aftergood, for example, sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Defense Department on May 12, asking generally for "photographic and video images of abuses committed against Iraqi prisoners" and specifically for the material contained on three compact discs mentioned by Rumsfeld in his testimony. The Defense Department told him to ask the U.S. Central Command, which sent him back to Defense, which said on second thought try the Army's Freedom of Information Department, which forwarded him to the Army's Crime Records Center, which hasn't yet responded. "It's not as if this is somehow an obscure matter that no one's quite ever heard of," Aftergood notes.

Officials have given two legal reasons for suppressing images of prisoner abuse: "unwarranted invasion of privacy" and the potential impact on law enforcement. The Freedom of Information Act's exemptions 6 and 7 (as these justifications are known, respectively) have been used repeatedly to rebuff the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which since October 2003 has unearthed more than 600 torture-related government documents but zero images.

The privacy objection is easily answered: Why not just obscure any identifying features? The law enforcement question, which has a firmer legal footing, is whether distribution of the images could "deprive a person of a fair trial or an impartial adjudication." Yet even there, the globally publicized photographs of Charles Graner, for instance, were ruled by a military judge to be insufficient grounds to declare his trial unfair. And Graner, sentenced to 10 years for his crimes, is the only one of the eight charged Abu Ghraib soldiers to contest his case in court.

"We've seen virtually no criminal investigations or criminal prosecutions," says ACLU staff attorney Jameel Jaffer, who plans to challenge the nondisclosure in court. "The vast majority of those photographs and videotapes don't relate to ongoing criminal investigations; on the contrary they depict things that the government approved of at the time and maybe approves of now."

Legalities are one thing, but the real motivation for choking off access is obvious: Torture photos undermine support for the Iraq war. In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."

The Abu Ghraib photos did more to kneecap right-wing support for the Iraq war, and put a dent in George Bush's approval ratings, than any other single event in 2004. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote two glum pieces about "the failure to understand the consequences of American power"; The Washington Post's George Will called for Rumsfeld's head; blogger Andrew Sullivan turned decisively against the president he once championed; and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned: "We risk losing public support for this conflict. As Americans turned away from the Vietnam War, they may turn away from this one."

News analyses about the war coalition's crackup competed for front-page space with the Abu Ghraib reports for nearly two weeks, until a videotape emerged showing American civilian Nick Berg getting his head sawed off in Iraq. Suddenly, editorialists were urging us to "keep perspective" about "who we're fighting against."

By that time, the executive and legislative branches had learned their lesson: Don't release images. The day after the Berg video, members of Congress were allowed to see a slide show of 1,800 Abu Ghraib photographs. The overwhelming response, besides revulsion, was, in the words of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.), that the pictures "should not be made public." "I feel," Warner said, "that it could possibly endanger the men and women of the armed forces as they are serving and at great risk."

Just before former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, author of two memos relating to interrogation methods and the Geneva Conventions, faced confirmation hearings to become attorney general, there were press whispers that the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), might choose the occasion to force more disclosure of torture photos. It didn't happen. "He and Senator Warner," says Levin spokeswoman Tara Andringa, "are on the same page."

As is, no doubt, a good percentage of the U.S. population. Public opinion of journalism has long since plummeted below confidence levels in government. Prisoner abuse wasn't remotely an issue in the 2004 presidential campaign, let alone an electoral millstone for the governing party. The mid-January discovery of photographs showing British soldiers abusing Iraqis barely caused a ripple in the States. Neither did the Associated Press' December publication of several new photos of Navy SEALs vamping next to injured and possibly tortured prisoners (prompting the New York Post to demand an apology from...the Associated Press).

As The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto put it, with great cynicism and possibly great accuracy, "if the Democrats really think that belaboring complaints about harsh treatment of the enemy is the way to 'score points with the public,' they're more out of touch than we thought."

Looking ahead to the next four years, there is little doubt that the administration, its supporters, and Congress will use whatever legal means are available to prevent Abu Ghraib—the public relations problem, not the prisoner abuse—from happening again. The Defense Department has commissioned numerous studies about America's problem with "public diplomacy" since the September 11 massacre; all those compiled since last May hold up the iconic torture images as the perfect example of what not to let happen again.

"The Pentagon realizes that it's images that sell the story," Aftergood says. "The reason that there is a torture scandal is because of those photographs. There can be narratives of things that are much worse, but if they aren't accompanied by photos, they somehow don't register....The Abu Ghraib photos are sort of the military equivalent of the Rodney King case....And I hate to attribute motives to people I don't know, but it is easy to imagine that the officials who are withholding these images have that fact in mind."




Associate Editor Matt Welch is a columnist for Canada's National Post.

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Where Did Those Torture Pictures Go?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:41 pm 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
April 2005


The Pentagon's Secret Stash

Why we'll never see the second round of Abu Ghraib photos

Matt Welch

http://www.reason.com/0504/co.mw.the.shtml

The images, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress, depict "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman." After Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) viewed some of them in a classified briefing, he testified that his "stomach gave out." NBC News reported that they show "American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys." Everyone who saw the photographs and videos seemed to shudder openly when contemplating what the reaction would be when they eventually were made public.

But they never were. After the first batch of Abu Ghraib images shocked the world on April 28, 2004, becoming instantly iconic—a hooded prisoner standing atop a box with electrodes attatched to his hands, Pfc. Lynndie England dragging a naked prisoner by a leash, England and Spc. Charles Graner giving a grinning thumbs-up behind a stack of human meat—no substantial second round ever came, either from Abu Ghraib or any of the other locations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay where abuses have been alleged. ABC News broadcast two new photos from the notorious Iraq prison on May 19, The Washington Post printed a half-dozen on May 20 and three more on June 10, and that was it.

"It refutes the glib claim that everything leaks sooner or later," says the Federation of American Scientists' Steven Aftergood, who makes his living finding and publishing little-known government information and fighting against state secrecy. "While there may be classified information in the papers almost every day, there's a lot more classified information that never makes it into the public domain."

It's not for lack of trying, at least from outside the government. Aftergood, for example, sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Defense Department on May 12, asking generally for "photographic and video images of abuses committed against Iraqi prisoners" and specifically for the material contained on three compact discs mentioned by Rumsfeld in his testimony. The Defense Department told him to ask the U.S. Central Command, which sent him back to Defense, which said on second thought try the Army's Freedom of Information Department, which forwarded him to the Army's Crime Records Center, which hasn't yet responded. "It's not as if this is somehow an obscure matter that no one's quite ever heard of," Aftergood notes.

Officials have given two legal reasons for suppressing images of prisoner abuse: "unwarranted invasion of privacy" and the potential impact on law enforcement. The Freedom of Information Act's exemptions 6 and 7 (as these justifications are known, respectively) have been used repeatedly to rebuff the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which since October 2003 has unearthed more than 600 torture-related government documents but zero images.

The privacy objection is easily answered: Why not just obscure any identifying features? The law enforcement question, which has a firmer legal footing, is whether distribution of the images could "deprive a person of a fair trial or an impartial adjudication." Yet even there, the globally publicized photographs of Charles Graner, for instance, were ruled by a military judge to be insufficient grounds to declare his trial unfair. And Graner, sentenced to 10 years for his crimes, is the only one of the eight charged Abu Ghraib soldiers to contest his case in court.

"We've seen virtually no criminal investigations or criminal prosecutions," says ACLU staff attorney Jameel Jaffer, who plans to challenge the nondisclosure in court. "The vast majority of those photographs and videotapes don't relate to ongoing criminal investigations; on the contrary they depict things that the government approved of at the time and maybe approves of now."

Legalities are one thing, but the real motivation for choking off access is obvious: Torture photos undermine support for the Iraq war. In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."

The Abu Ghraib photos did more to kneecap right-wing support for the Iraq war, and put a dent in George Bush's approval ratings, than any other single event in 2004. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote two glum pieces about "the failure to understand the consequences of American power"; The Washington Post's George Will called for Rumsfeld's head; blogger Andrew Sullivan turned decisively against the president he once championed; and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned: "We risk losing public support for this conflict. As Americans turned away from the Vietnam War, they may turn away from this one."

News analyses about the war coalition's crackup competed for front-page space with the Abu Ghraib reports for nearly two weeks, until a videotape emerged showing American civilian Nick Berg getting his head sawed off in Iraq. Suddenly, editorialists were urging us to "keep perspective" about "who we're fighting against."

By that time, the executive and legislative branches had learned their lesson: Don't release images. The day after the Berg video, members of Congress were allowed to see a slide show of 1,800 Abu Ghraib photographs. The overwhelming response, besides revulsion, was, in the words of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.), that the pictures "should not be made public." "I feel," Warner said, "that it could possibly endanger the men and women of the armed forces as they are serving and at great risk."

Just before former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, author of two memos relating to interrogation methods and the Geneva Conventions, faced confirmation hearings to become attorney general, there were press whispers that the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), might choose the occasion to force more disclosure of torture photos. It didn't happen. "He and Senator Warner," says Levin spokeswoman Tara Andringa, "are on the same page."

As is, no doubt, a good percentage of the U.S. population. Public opinion of journalism has long since plummeted below confidence levels in government. Prisoner abuse wasn't remotely an issue in the 2004 presidential campaign, let alone an electoral millstone for the governing party. The mid-January discovery of photographs showing British soldiers abusing Iraqis barely caused a ripple in the States. Neither did the Associated Press' December publication of several new photos of Navy SEALs vamping next to injured and possibly tortured prisoners (prompting the New York Post to demand an apology from...the Associated Press).

As The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto put it, with great cynicism and possibly great accuracy, "if the Democrats really think that belaboring complaints about harsh treatment of the enemy is the way to 'score points with the public,' they're more out of touch than we thought."

Looking ahead to the next four years, there is little doubt that the administration, its supporters, and Congress will use whatever legal means are available to prevent Abu Ghraib—the public relations problem, not the prisoner abuse—from happening again. The Defense Department has commissioned numerous studies about America's problem with "public diplomacy" since the September 11 massacre; all those compiled since last May hold up the iconic torture images as the perfect example of what not to let happen again.

"The Pentagon realizes that it's images that sell the story," Aftergood says. "The reason that there is a torture scandal is because of those photographs. There can be narratives of things that are much worse, but if they aren't accompanied by photos, they somehow don't register....The Abu Ghraib photos are sort of the military equivalent of the Rodney King case....And I hate to attribute motives to people I don't know, but it is easy to imagine that the officials who are withholding these images have that fact in mind."




Associate Editor Matt Welch is a columnist for Canada's National Post.

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Et tu ... No Takers ... Like Roma?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 10:55 pm 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
The requirements for "Crossing the Rubicon," (Rupert):

30,000 U.S. military troops not citizens

By UPI

WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- More than 20,000 military personnel have become U.S. citizens since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the Pentagon.

Another 5,000 have applications pending for citizenship, with that process being expedited for military members, shortening the wait from about nine months to 60 days.

There are still about 30,000 active duty and 11,000 Guard and Reserve personnel in the military who are not U.S. citizens, according to Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel David Chu. He testified Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee on personnel issues facing the military.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

Copyright © Information Clearing House. All rights reserved. You may republish under the following conditions: An active link to the original publication must be provided. You must not alter, edit or remove any text within the article, including this copyright notice.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 4:06 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
Posts: 14444
Location: NC
Ben, take a look at the photos at this site:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.inf ... le7802.htm

What do you think? Summary execution or something else? :dontknow:

Catherine

_________________
Image

"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: It Doesn't Look Good
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 1:48 am 
Offline
Speaking My Mind
Speaking My Mind
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:34 pm
Posts: 59
God, Catherine, it doesn't look good to wit:

The Purveyors of Violence; The NY Times in Falluja

"Things are almost back to normal here. We have teachers and books. Things are getting better." New York Times 3-26-05 "Vital Signs of a Ruined City Grow stronger in Falluja"

"I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today-my own government." Rev. Martin Luther King

by Mike Whitney

04/18/05 "ICH" - - Cameras aren't allowed in Falluja; neither are journalists. If they were then we would have first-hand proof of America's greatest war crime in the last 30 years; the Dresden-like bombardment of an entire city of 250,000. Instead, we have to rely on eyewitness accounts that appear on the internet or the spurious reports that sporadically surface in the New York Times and Associated Press. For the most part, the Times and AP have shown themselves to be undependable; limiting their coverage to the details that support the overall goals of the occupation. For example, in the last few weeks both the NYTs and the AP ran stories on the alleged progress being made in Falluja. The AP outrageously referred to the battered city as "the safest place in Iraq"; a cynical appraisal of what most independent journalists have called nearly total destruction. One can only wonder if the editors at the AP would approve of similar security measures if they were taken in their own neighborhoods.

The NYTs also ran a lengthy story, "Vital Signs of a Ruined City Grow stronger in Falluja", which portrayed Falluja as a city 'on the mend' after a healthy dose of imperial medicine: "Classes have started again two months ago and the cheerful shrieks of children can be heard in the hallways." This was just one of the more contemptuous quotes lifted from the NYT's story of "rebirth" from the epicenter of American devastation. The quote was accompanied by a picture of a Marine in full-combat gear bending over to tie the shoe of a seven or eight year old Iraqi boy; a threatening image used to convey the spirit of American generosity.

The truth about Falluja is far different than the bogus reports in the AP and Times. The fact that even now, a full 6 months after the siege, camera crews and journalists are banned from the city, tells us a great deal about the extent of America's war crimes. Just two weeks ago, a photographer from Al Aribiyya news was arrested while leaving Falluja and his equipment and film were confiscated. To date, he is still being held without explanation and there is no indication when he will be released. This illustrates the fear among the military brass that the truth about Falluja will leech out and destroy whatever modest support still exists for the occupation. Journalists should realize that Falluja may turn out to be the administration's Achilles heel; a My Lai-type atrocity that turns the public decisively against Bush's war.

The fairytales in the Times and AP are typical wartime propaganda; no different from the fabrications about Jessica Lynch's heroics or the Dear Leader larking-about in Baghdad with a plastic turkey in tow (Bush's "surprise" Thanksgiving day visit) The articles suggest that the administration has settled on a strategy for concealing the unpleasant facts about the obliteration of the city. Along with an active disinformation campaign featured in the nation's leading newspapers, the administration has put together a PR operation to shape public perceptions. This explains why the State Dept's number two official, Robert Zoellick, popped up in Falluja last week for a photo-op at a bread-making factory and a water-pumping station. Zoellick's visit was supposed to draw attention the progress being made in Falluja's restoration. Instead, his plans were disrupted by threats to his personal safety and he was hustled-off to a fortified military compound in the center of town. There he was beset by the cities tribal leaders' complaining about the dismal pace of reconstruction.

Zoellick's appearance was intended to highlight the alleged return of 90,000 Fallujans to the city and the reparations that have been made to the city's water system. In fact, there's no way to verify the administration's claims about the numbers of returning residents, and its doubtful that there have been any measurable improvements to the water-treatment plants, sewage facilities, electrical grid or hospital; all of which were intentionally bombed during the siege.

Zoellick's "confidence-building" trip turned out to be just another in a long list of bungled public relations gambits. If anything, it only further proved that the US still has no control over the security situation on the ground, and that the majority of Iraqis were better off under Saddam.

The Bush administration claims that the military is slowly providing compensation to the people whose homes were destroyed during the Falluja offensive but, again, there's no independent source that can verify those claims and it seems inconsistent with the existing policy. Zoellick summarized the Bush policy succinctly in his remarks to the Fallujan leaders, "I know it won't be easy. There will be many days of frustration, even threats. We can help, but YOU have to make it happen."

Zoellick's comments are little more than a distillation of the Bush ethos, "You're on your own;" the underlying theme of "compassionate conservatism".

It's doubtful that anyone in Falluja is so naïve that they believe the administration will actually help-out with the reconstruction. Two years have passed since the initial invasion and Baghdad is still limited to three or four hours of electricity per day. The problems with water and sewage systems are equally grave. Only one in five Iraqis has access to clean water and there are still many places in Baghdad where raw sewage can be seen on the city streets. As a result there have been reports of outbreaks of cholera, diarrhea and other more obscure water-borne illnesses.

Falluja is undoubtedly doomed to the same fate as Afghanistan. The media will create the illusion of improvement for the American public; celebrating the meaningless trappings of democracy (sham elections, claims of sovereignty, and the writing of a constitution) while the nation remains fractured and under the brutal rule of the regional war-lords. Afghanistan is a lawless, drug-colony run by gangsters and narco-smugglers. By any standard of measurement, our involvement there has been a complete failure. The real Afghanistan bears no resemblance to the flourishing democratic republic that graces the pages of American newspapers.

Falluja and the rest of Iraq can expect the very same treatment. There is no Plan B; the Bush strategy for toppling regimes and replacing them with the Neoliberal model is a cookie-cutter approach to governance; a one-size-fits-all formula for global rule.

In Naomi Klein's article "The Rise of Disaster Capitalism", Klein points out that there really is no intention on the part of the US to rebuild Iraq or anywhere else for that matter. When the State Dept gets involved, through its Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) "the mandate is not to rebuild any old states, but to create 'democratic and market-oriented' ones". That entails selling off "state owned enterprises that created a nonviable economy" and, thereby, "changing the very social fabric of a nation."

There it is! Deregulation, privatization and control of resources; the same model applied over and over again. The real goal is a radical, fundamental change to the system; "shock therapy", the all-purpose antidote prescribed by the global banking and financial establishment. These changes are facilitated through their political surrogates in the Bush administration, and executed by their own private security apparatus (aka; the US Military). After Iraq has passed through this vicious transition from semi-socialist government to deregulated capitalist colony, it will be entered into the new world order of American protectorates; stripped of its resources and subjected to the tyranny of foreign rule. All government properties and services will be controlled by multi-national corporations and all assets will be held by the foreign lending institutions that own the majority shares of the Iraqi National Bank.

The NY Times: "Our business is selling war; and business is good."

The real story of Falluja will never appear in the pages of the New York Times; the banned weapons, the bloated corpses, the thousands of dead animals killed by illicit chemicals, the wasteland of rubble and ruined lives. The magnitude of the crime simply won't fit within the paper's glib account of benign intervention. Rather, the Times is focused on promoting a credible story of "rebirth amid the ruins"; of lives patched together by a kindhearted father in Washington and his heavily-armed disciples.

They're wasting their time. The cruelty of the siege and the vastness of devastation will eventually be brought to light and the Time's feeble apologetics will amount to nothing.

The Times remains the command center of the imperial chronicle; the indispensable shaper of the colonial digest. Its pages furnish the muddled logic for the invasion of defenseless nations, the rationale for continued repression, the requisite smokescreen for American war crimes, and the dubious justification for the ongoing occupation. Their work in Falluja is just one of many services they carry out as the information-annex of the defense establishment. They perform subtler assignments others as well. They continue to be an invaluable cog in the machinery of state-terror; executing their function with extraordinary skill.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Copyright © Information Clearing House. All rights reserved. You may republish under the following conditions: An active link to the original publication must be provided. You must not alter, edit or remove any text within the article, including this copyright notice.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

_________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom and yet deprecate agitation, want crops without plowing and rain without thunder. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. - Frederick Douglass


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Blue Moon by Trent © 2007
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group