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Friday, Oct 24th

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There's No Going Home For Iraqi Squatters

Iraqi squattersNadia Karim Hassan says she stayed in her Baghdad neighborhood as long as she could, but by the height of the sectarian war in 2007, too many fellow Shiites were getting killed, and she had to leave the area and move into an abandoned building.

As American troops pull out of Iraq, one of the most striking consequences of the war remains unresolved today: the issue of people who were forced out of their homes and still can't go back. Relief organizations estimate there are some 2 million displaced people inside Iraq.

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Civilian killings created insurmountable hurdle to extended U.S. troop presence in Iraq

What US troops left behind in IraqIn the accounting of what was won and lost in America’s Iraq war, this sleepy farming town deep in the western desert will rank as a place where almost everything was lost.

It was here, on Nov. 19, 2005, that a group of Marines went on a shooting spree in which 24 Iraqi civilians were killed. Their patrol had been hit by a roadside bomb and one of their comrades was dead. They ordered five men out of a taxi and gunned them down. Then they went into three nearby homes and shot 19 people, including 11 women and children.

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Birth defects and rubble still scar Iraq's Fallluja

FallujaAs U.S. forces pull out of Iraq, residents and officials in Falluja say they leave behind bullet-riddled homes, destroyed infrastructure and a worrying increase in birth defects and maladies in a city polluted by weapons and war chemicals.

Amir Hussain and Awfa Abdullah got married in Falluja in 2004 but their lives were turned upside by the birth of their two babies. Their first child, a baby boy born in 2006, had brain damage and died last year. The second, a baby girl who was born in 2007, suffers from severe skin rashes and has one leg longer than the other.

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War drums are beating for Iran. But who's playing them?

Dwight D Eisenhower

Just like the taxpayers of medieval Italian cities, we're having our money siphoned off to pay for a a greedy military machine


Wind forward 650 years or so. The US, under George W Bush, decided to privatise the invasion of Iraq by employing private "contractors" like the Blackwater company, now renamed Xe Services. In 2003 Blackwater won a $27m no-bid contract for guarding Paul Bremer, then head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. For protecting officials in conflict zones since 2004, the company has received more than $320m. And this year the Obama government contracted to pay Xe Services a quarter of a billion dollars for security work in Afghanistan. This is just one of many companies making its profits out of warfare.

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Pearl Harbour memo shows US warned of Japanese attack

Pearl HarborOn the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbour, the attack that propelled America into the Second World War, a declassified memo shows that Japanese surprise attack was expected.

Now, on the 70th anniversary of Japan's devastating bombardment of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, evidence has emerged showing that President Franklin D.Roosevelt was warned three days before the attack that the Japanese empire was eyeing up Hawaii with a view to "open conflict."

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The boys who cry “Holocaust”

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and neonconservative William Kristol The same neocon hawks who lied us into Iraq are using the ultimate argument-stopper to push war with Iran


When hawks begin beating the drums for war in the Middle East, Israel is usually a big reason why. That was true in the run-up to the war in Iraq, and it is doubly true with the current  hysteria over Iran. Despite disingenuous claims to the contrary, the only reason the U.S. is even talking about war with Iran is Israel. As the invaluable M.J. Rosenberg, who knows the working of the Israel lobby as only a former card-carrying member can, notes, “It is impossible to find a single politician or journalist advocating war with Iran who is not a neocon or an AIPAC cutout. (They’re often both.)”

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Cost to house a captive at Guantanamo Bay is $800,000

GitmoGuards get combat pay, just like troops in Afghanistan, without the risk of being blown up. Some commanders get to bring their families to this war-on-terror deployment. And each captive gets $38.45 worth of food a day.

The Pentagon detention center that started out in January 2002 as a collection of crude open-air cells guarded by Marines in a muddy tent city is today arguably the most expensive prison on Earth, costing taxpayers $800,000 annually for each of the 171 captives by Obama administration reckoning. That's more than 30 times the cost of keeping a captive on U.S. soil.

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