Religion as a Tool of Repression

Freedom of speech and dissent are always curtailed in times of war. Whenever soldiers occupy foreign nations, rational thinking is proscribed in favor of nationalistic hubris. Minority opinions, although grounded in ethics and reason, are repressed, often brutally. The majority becomes intolerant of dissenting views. Thoughtful dialog is suspended and irrational ideology gains ascendancy. Civil discourse breaks down, and the social order disintegrates into anti-intellectual emotionalism and chaos.

During World War I and World War II, it was dangerous for anyone to oppose war or to speak truth to power. When Eugene Victor Debs delivered his Canton anti-war speech in 1918, he went to prison. In An Enemy of the People, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen demonstrated that the majority of the people are easily deceived, their emotions manipulated by profiteers and special interests. It requires serious conviction to take a principled stand in the midst of nationalistic fervor in which men and women so easily turn upon one another. During war, nationalism and repression are conducted with the fervor of a religious crusade.

In this era of permanent war we see bumper stickers that attempt to meld religion with nationalism. They carry jingoistic slogans like “God bless America” or “God bless our troops.” Significantly, God even appears on our currency. But why would a just God, if God exists at all, bless a nation that kills with impunity? Why would God bless a nation with a history of repression and genocide?  Why would God bless a nation that institutionalized chattel slavery and the repression of its working class?

Continue reading

Study: Occupied Baghdad is least livable city on planet

The Iraq war is still being touted by Washington and the Pentagon as a war for progress and stability in the region. A study released May 26, however, reveals a radically different reality.

The Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Baghdad last in a list of “most livable cities.” The study took into account political, economic, ecological, social and cultural factors.

The result is not surprising considering the devastation brought on by the U.S.-led invasion. Sewage treatment plants, factories, schools, hospitals, and museums have been destroyed. As a result, Iraqi citizens now have scarce access to water and electricity.

The demolition of infrastructure is an important tactic in imperialist war and helps explain why the study found that, “A lack of security and stability continue to have a negative impact on Baghdad’s quality of living.”

The only benefactors from the occupation have been big corporations like BP, who got access to the giant Rumaila oil field. The citizens of Iraq continue to pay with their lives.

Marine Corps Major accused of taking reconstruction funds

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – A Marine Corps fighter pilot accused of stealing $440,000 in Iraq reconstruction funds turned himself in on Monday, federal officials said.

Maj. Mark R. Fuller, 42, of Yuma, Ariz., is facing 22 counts under an indictment issued by a federal grand jury, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix. An arrest warrant was issued for Fuller, who appeared before a federal judge Monday and “was released on his own recognizance,” said Special Agent James McCormick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal prosecutors charge that Fuller took cash earmarked for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, or CERP, and made 91 cash deposits totaling more than $440,000 into bank accounts with Navy Federal Credit Union, Bank of America and Chase Bank from October 2005 to April 2006. Each deposit was less than $10,000, the threshold at which federal law requires banks to report cash deposits.

While he was in Iraq in 2005, Fuller was assigned as a project purchasing officer with 5th Civil Affairs Group, officials said.

Fuller is an F-5 pilot assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 401, the Corps’ aggressor squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, said Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon, an air station spokesman.

The case stems from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction, officials said.

Fallujah birth defects investigated

An investigation of a rise in birth defects in Fallujah is underway, which is being attributed to the use of chemical weapons by British and American soldiers.

Public Interest Lawyers, representing Iraqi families, has requested that the Ministry of Defence release information regarding whether any British soldiers were involved in the fighting or helped to supply the use of prohibited weapons during the seize on Fullujah in 2004, and any legal advice given to Tony Blair at the time. During the attack, coalition forces are alleged to have used white phosphorus, a modern form of napalm, and depleted uranium against the population. Iraqi families accuse the UK government to breaching international law, war crimes and failing to intervene to prevent a war crime.
Continue reading

May 1st in History

US confronts its reputation abroad

Berkeley Supports Amnesty for Military War Resisters and Veterans

The Berkeley City Council recently sent out letters to President Barack Obama, Senators Barbara Levy Boxer and Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein, Speaker Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro Pelosi and Congressperson Barbara Jean Lee recommending amnesty for Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan war military resisters and veterans.

The council approved the recommendation on a 7-0 vote March 9, with two councilmembers, Gordon Wozniak and Susan Wengraf abstaining on various grounds.

Continue reading

WikiLeaks: Collateral Murder

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded. For further information please visit the special project website www.collateralmurder.com.

New name for Iraq war: Operation New Dawn

Effective Sept. 1, the War on Iraq will acquire a new official moniker: “Operation New Dawn.”

Defense Secretary Robert Michael Gates announced the move Wednesday in a memo to Gen. David Howell Petraeus, chief of United States Central Command, that was first reported by ABC News.

In the brief, one-paragraph memo, a copy of which also went to Adm. Michael Glenn “Mike” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gates said the name change is designed to coincide with “the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq.”

“Aligning the name change with the change of mission sends a strong signal that Operation Iraqi Freedom has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission,” Gates wrote. “It also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq.”

David Kelly post mortem to be kept secret for 70 years as doctors accuse Lord Hutton of concealing vital information

Vital evidence which could solve the mystery of the death of Government weapons inspector Dr David Christopher Kelly will be kept under wraps for up to 70 years.

In a draconian – and highly unusual – order, Lord Hutton, the peer who chaired the controversial inquiry into the Dr Kelly scandal, has secretly barred the release of all medical records, including the results of the post mortem, and unpublished evidence.

The move, which will stoke fresh speculation about the true circumstances of Dr Kelly’s death, comes just days before Tony Blair appears before the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War.

It is also bound to revive claims of an establishment cover-up and fresh questions about the verdict that Dr Kelly killed himself.

Tonight, Dr Michael Powers QC, a doctor campaigning to overturn the Hutton findings, said: ‘What is it about David Kelly’s death which is so secret as to justify these reports being kept out of the public domain for 70 years?’

Continue reading

Dutch probe declares Iraq war ‘illegal’

An independent probe investigating the Netherlands‘ support for the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq says the US and Britain rushed to war without sufficient legal backing under international law.

The commission’s 551-page report says United Nations resolutions prior to the outbreak of the war did not provide the mandate for the attack.

“There was insufficient legitimacy” for the invasion, commission chairman Willibrord (Brord) Jacob Maria Davids told journalists in The Hague on Tuesday.

The report further concludes that there was no legal basis for the Iraq war, while accusing the Dutch government of spicing up allegation that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction — the main mantra on which arguments for war were erected.
Continue reading

Iraqis outraged as Blackwater case thrown out

In this Oct. 2007 image, Mohammed Hafiz holds
a picture of his 10-year-old son, Ali Mohammed,
who was killed when guards employed by
Blackwater allegedly opened fire at Nisoor
Square in Baghdad. Iraqis responded with
bitterness and outrage Jan. 1 at aU.S. judge’s
decision to throw out a case against Blackwater
guards accused in the killings.

BAGHDAD — Iraqis seeking justice for 17 people shot dead at a Baghdad intersection responded with bitterness and outrage Friday at a U.S. judge’s decision to throw out a case against a Blackwater security team accused in the killings.

The Iraqi government vowed to pursue the case, which became a source of contention between the U.S. and the Iraqi government. Many Iraqis also held up the judge’s decision as proof of what they’d long believed: U.S. security contractors were above the law.

“There is no justice,” said Bura Sadoun Ismael, who was wounded by two bullets and shrapnel during the shooting. “I expected the American court would side with the Blackwater security guards who committed a massacre in Nisoor Square.”

What happened on Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, 2007, raised Iraqi concerns about their sovereignty because Iraqi officials were powerless to do anything to the Blackwater employees who had immunity from local prosecution. The shootings also highlighted the degree to which the U.S. relied on private contractors during the Iraq conflict.

Blackwater had been hired by the Department of State to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The guards said they were ambushed at a busy intersection in western Baghdad, but U.S. prosecutors and many Iraqis said the Blackwater guards let loose an unprovoked attack on civilians using machine guns and grenades.

“Investigations conducted by specialized Iraqi authorities confirmed unequivocally that the guards of Blackwater committed the crime of murder and broke the rules by using arms without the existence of any threat obliging them to use force,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement Friday.

He did not elaborate on what steps the government planned to take to pursue the case.

Continue reading

The Nevada gambler, al-Qaida, the CIA and the mother of all cons

The intelligence reports fitted the suspicions of the time: al-Qaida sleeper agents were scattered across the US awaiting orders that were broadcast in secret codes over the al-Jazeera television network.

Flights from Britain and France were cancelled. Officials warned of a looming “spectacular attack” to rival 9/11. In 2003 President George W. Bush‘s homeland security tsar, Thomas Joseph Ridge, spoke of a “credible source” whose information had US military bracing for a new terrorist onslaught.

Then suddenly no more was said.

Six years later, Playboy magazine has revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency fell victim to an elaborate con by a compulsive gambler who claimed to have developed software that discovered al-Jazeera broadcasts were being used to transmit messages to terrorists buried deep in America.

Dennis Montgomery, 56, the co-owner of a software gaming company in Nevada, who has since been arrested for bouncing $1m worth of cheques, claims his program read messages hidden in barcodes listing international flights to the US, their positions and airports to be targeted.

Continue reading

War Veteran’s Speech

Are America’s Mercenary Armies Really Drug Cartels?

News out of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India reports massive corruption at the highest levels of government, corruption that could only be financed with drug money. In Afghanistan, the president’s brother is known to be one of the biggest drug runners in the world.

In Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari is found with 60 million in a Swiss Bank and his Interior Minister is suspected of ties to American groups involved in paramilitary operations, totally illegal that could involve nothing but drugs, there is no other possibility.

Testimony in the US that our government has used “rendition” flights to transport massive amounts of narcotics to Western Europe and the United States has been taken in sworn deposition.

American mercenaries in Pakistan are hundreds of miles away from areas believed to be hiding terrorists, involved in “operations” that can’t have anything whatsoever to do with any Central Intelligence Agency contract. These mercenaries aren’t in Quetta, Waziristan or Federally Administered Tribal Areas supporting our troops, they are in Karachi and Islamabad playing with police and government officials and living the life of the fatted calf.

The accusations made are that Americans in partnership with corrupt officials, perhaps in all 3 countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, are involved in assassinations, “unknown” criminal activities and are functioning like criminal gangs.

There is no oil. There is nothing to draw people into the area other than one product, one that nobody is talking about. Drugs.

Continue reading

War zone pregnancy punishments being dropped

Raymond T. Odierno

A controversial policy that put pregnant soldiers in war zones at risk of discipline will be rescinded under an order from the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno has drafted a broad new policy for the U.S. forces in Iraq that will take effect Jan. 1, and that order will not include a pregnancy provision that one of his subordinate commanders enacted last month, according to the U.S. military command in Iraq.

Odierno’s order comes about a week after the pregnancy policy issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony (Tony) Cucolo triggered a storm of criticism. Cucolo had issued a policy that would permit the punishment of soldiers who become pregnant and their sexual partners.

The order listed a variety of offenses, and the punishments for them could range from minor discipline to a court-martial. But in a conference call with reporters earlier this week, Cucolo said he would never actually seek to jail someone over the pregnancy provision.

Continue reading

Not Just Drones: Militants Can Snoop on Most U.S. Warplanes (Updated)

Tapping into drones’ video feeds was just the start. The U.S. military’s primary system for bringing overhead surveillance down to soldiers and Marines on the ground is also vulnerable to electronic interception, multiple military sources tell Danger Room. That means militants have the ability to see through the eyes of all kinds of combat aircraft — from traditional fighters and bombers to unmanned spy planes. The problem is in the process of being addressed. But for now, an enormous security breach is even larger than previously thought.

Continue reading

Troops admit to abusing prescription drugs

About one in four soldiers admit to abusing prescription drugs, most of them pain relievers, in a one-year period, according to a Pentagon health survey released Wednesday.

The study, which surveyed more than 28,500 U.S. troops last year, showed that about 20 percent of Marines had also abused prescription drugs, mostly painkillers, in that same period.

The findings show the continued toll on the military from fighting wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Those wars have required troops to serve multiple combat deployments.

“We are aware that more prescription drugs are being used today for pain management and behavioral health issues,” Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force, said Wednesday. “These areas of substance abuse along with increased use of alcohol concern us.”

The survey showed that pain relievers were the most abused drug in the military, used illicitly at a rate triple that of marijuana or amphetamines, the next most widely abused drugs.

Continue reading

Predator drones hacked in Iraq operations

Iraqi insurgents have reportedly intercepted live video feeds from the U.S. military’s Predator drones using a $25.95 Windows application that allows them to track the pilotless aircraft undetected.

Hackers working with Iraqi militants were able to determine which areas of the country were under surveillance by the U.S. military, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, adding that video feeds from drones in Afghanistan also appear to have been compromised.

Meanwhile, a senior Air Force officer said Wednesday that a wave of new surveillance aircraft, both manned and unmanned, were being deployed to Afghanistan to bolster “eyes in the sky” protection for the influx of American troops ordered by President Obama.

This apparent security breach, which had been known in military and intelligence circles to be possible, arose because the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles do not use encryption in the final link to their operators on the ground.

Read more of “U.S. was Warned of Predator Drone Hacking” at CBSNews.com.

Silence over sudden death of Jordan’s ex-spy chief in Vienna

There is widespread silence in Jordan about the sudden death of the country’s former intelligence chief, at his luxury Vienna hotel room, on Wednesday. The country’s tightly controlled press barely mentioned the news of the death of Field Marshal Said Bashir Saad Kheir, 56, whose body was reportedly discovered in bed by a maid in Vienna’s Hotel Imperial.

Austrian police representatives have ruled out foul play in Kheir’s death, which they attributed to heart failure. But there is conflicting information about the purpose of the former spy chief’s visit to the Austrian capital, which is considered the world’s largest espionage hub, with the highest density of foreign intelligence agents on Earth.

Continue reading

Marine shooting death tied to football spat

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina-based Marine was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow Marine on Sunday as the pair argued over a football game, according to local media reports.

Cpl. Johnathon Clinton Rodriguez, 21, an aircraft electrical systems technician at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, was shot in the chest around 1 a.m. at an off-base home in Havelock, according to an air station news release. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lionel Loya, 23, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to The Daily News of Jacksonville. His rank was not immediately available. Friends told authorities that he and Rodriguez were assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2.

Continue reading

Army Captain Pleads Guilty to Pilfering $700k

PORTLAND, Oregon — An Army captain pleaded guilty Monday to charges that he stole nearly $700,000 from the U.S. government while serving in Iraq.

U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty set sentencing for March 1 after Capt. Michael Dung Nguyen entered guilty pleas to theft and money-laundering charges. The maximum sentence for each offense is 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

A federal grand jury indictment alleged that between April 2007 and February 2009, the 28-year-old stole more than $690,000 in U.S. currency entrusted to him as the battalion project purchasing officer in Muqdadiyah, Iraq.

The funds were designated for payment of security contracts as well as for humanitarian relief and reconstruction.

Prosecutors say Nguyen mailed the stolen money to himself at his family’s Portland home before he returned from Iraq to Fort Lewis, Washington. Then, prosecutors say, he opened new accounts at several banks and deposited $387,550.

The indictment alleges Nguyen used some of the money to buy new vehicles along with computers, electronics and furniture.

During a search of the family’s home, investigators found more than $300,000 of the stolen currency hidden in the attic, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nguyen agreed to forfeit all of the stolen money as well as all of the personal property purchased with the stolen funds, the department said.

The investigation of the theft was initiated by the Portland office of the Internal Revenue Service after the discovery of large, frequent currency deposits and substantial expenditures “above Capt. Nguyen’s legitimate level,” the agency said.

Lawyers: Green should have had military trial

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former Army soldier who raped a girl, 14, and killed her and three family members in Iraq challenged his convictions Monday, saying he was wrongly tried in a civilian court and should have faced a military trial.

In a 71-page appeal filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, attorneys for Steven Dale Green are seeking to have the law used to prosecute him — the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act — overturned.

The law, passed in 2000, allows the federal government to try former soldiers, their spouses and contractors in civilian courts for crimes that happened overseas.

“That’s the overarching issue,” said Green’s defense attorney, Darren C. Wolff of Louisville.

Green is also contesting whether the military validly discharged him before he was charged in civilian court.

A message left for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Louisville, which prosecuted Green, was not immediately returned Monday. Prosecutors have until Jan. 5 to file a response.

A jury convicted Green, 24, a former 101st Airborne Division soldier, in June of raping and killing 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi. He also was convicted of killing three of her family members in the March 2006 attack.

Green, of Midland, Texas, is serving a life prison sentence without parole. The other four soldiers charged in the plot faced military trials, known as a court martial.

Federal Public Defender Frank Heft wrote that Green faced more severe punishments in civilian court, which violated his rights to equal protection and due process.

Much like the strategy at trial, the appeal does not contest Green’s guilt in the crimes near Mahmoudiya, Iraq, about 20 miles south of Baghdad.

Continue reading

Ex-British diplomat: Iraq war was illegitimate

The former UK ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock says that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was “of questionable legitimacy”.

Greenstock was speaking on day four of public hearings at a wide-ranging inquiry into the US-led, British-backed Iraq War covering the period from 2001 to 2009.

Jeremy Greenstock said the United States seemed to be “preparing for conflict” despite British efforts to secure consensus following a United Nations resolution in November 2002 giving Saddam Hussein a last warning to disarm, AFP reported.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 in late 2002 gave Iraq a “final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” but the council did not ultimately agree to a second resolution clearly authorizing the March 2003 invasion.

This meant the invasion was “legal but of questionable legitimacy, in that it didn’t have the democratically observable backing of the great majority of member states,” Greenstock said in spoken evidence to the Chilcot inquiry.

Continue reading

Aliens in Alliance? UK military smears US ‘Martian’ generals

15-fold rise in birth defects in Fallujah

There has been a 15-fold rise in birth defects and early childhood cancers in the war-ravaged enclave of Fallujah, the site of two major battles after the Iraq invasion, doctors say.

Dr. Ayman Qais said that before the war began in 2003, there were sporadic numbers of deformities in babies, but now the frequency of deformities “is increasing dramatically.”

“We are seeing a very significant increase in central nervous system anomalies,” Dr. Qais added.

Doctors of Fallujah’s over-stretched health system say they are unsure of what is behind the spike in birth defects, but suggest it may be linked to the toxic materials left over from the fighting.

The city was the site of some of the worst fighting of the war, including a battle in which the United States admitted to using white phosphorus in 2004.

There have also been unconfirmed reports that US troops used depleted uranium munitions in Fallujah.
Continue reading

America Owned by Its Army

Paris, November 3, 2009 – It is possible that the creation of an all-professional American army was the most dangerous decision ever taken by Congress. The nation now confronts a political crisis in which the issue has become an undeclared contest between Pentagon power and that of a newly elected president.

Barack Obama has yet to declare his decision on the war in Afghanistan, and there is every reason to think that he will follow military opinion. Yet he is under immense pressure from his Republican opponents to, in effect, renounce his presidential power, and step aside from the fundamental strategic decisions of the nation.

The officer he named to command the war in Afghanistan, Stanley A. McChrystal, demands a reinforcement of 40 thousand soldiers, raising the total U.S. commitment to over 100 thousand troops (or more, in the future). He says that he cannot succeed without them, and even then may be unable to win the war within a decade. Yet the American public is generally in doubt about this war, most of all the president’s own liberal electorate.

President Obama almost certainly will do as the the general requests, or something very close to it. He can read the wartime politics in this situation.
Continue reading

Depleted Uranium: Dead Babies in Iraq and Afghanistan Are No Joke

The horrors of the US Agent Orange defoliation campaign in Vietnam, about which I wrote on Oct. 15, could ultimately be dwarfed by the horrors caused by the depleted uranium weapons which the US began using in the 1991 Gulf War (300 tons), and which it has used much more extensively–and in more urban, populated areas–in the Iraq War and the now intensifying Afghanistan War.

Depleted uranium, despite its rather benign-sounding name, is not depleted of radioactivity or toxicity. The term “depleted” refers only to its being depleted of the Uranium-235 isotope needed for fission reactions in nuclear reactors. The nuclear waste material from nuclear power plants, DU as it is known, is what is removed from the power plants’ spent fuel rods and is essentially composed of the uranium isotope Uranium-238 as well as Uranium-236 (a product of nuclear reactor fission, not found in nature), as well as other trace radioactive elements.

Once simply a nuisance for the industry, that still has no permanent way to dispose of the dangerous stuff, it turns out to be an ideal metal for a number of weapons uses, and has been capitalized on by the Pentagon. 1.7 times heavier than lead, and much harder than steel, and with the added property of burning at a super-hot temperature, DU has proven to be an ideal penetrator for warheads that need to pierce thick armor or dense concrete bunkers made of reinforced concrete and steel. Once through the defenses, it burns at a temperature that incinerates anyone inside (which is why we see the carbonized bodies of bodies in the wreckage of Iraqi tanks hit by US fire).

Continue reading

Pentagon used psychological operation on US public, documents show

Figure in Bush propaganda operation remains Pentagon spokesman

In Part I of this series, Raw Story revealed that Bryan Whitman, the current deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations, was an active senior participant in a Bush administration covert Pentagon program that used retired military analysts to generate positive wartime news coverage.

A months-long review of documents and interviews with Pentagon personnel has revealed that the Bush Administration’s military analyst program — aimed at selling the Iraq War to the American people — operated through a secretive collaboration between the Department of Defense‘s press and community relations offices.

Raw Story has also uncovered evidence that directly ties the activities undertaken in the military analyst program to an official US military document’s definition of psychological operationspropaganda that is only supposed to be directed toward foreign audiences.

The investigation of Pentagon documents and interviews with Defense Department officials and experts in public relations found that the decision to fold the military analyst program into community relations and portray it as “outreach” served to obscure the intent of the project as well as that office’s partnership with the press office. It also helped shield its senior supervisor, Bryan Whitman, assistant secretary of defense for media operations, whose role was unknown when the original story of the analyst program broke.

Continue reading

US soldiers shoot and kill Iraqi shoe thrower

American soldiers have killed an Iraqi civilian after he hurled his shoe at their military convoy in the central city of Fallujah.

Witnesses say US troops opened fire on Ahmed Latif, who was mentally disturbed, after he insulted the soldiers as they patrolled in the centre of the city.

US troops, however, claim that they acted in self-defense since they had assumed that their convoy was being targeted with a ‘suspected grenade’, AFP reported.

“Positive identification of the attacker was made, and US forces fired in self-defense wounding the attacker,” said the US Army in a statement. Ahmed Latif, 32, died of gunshot wounds in the hospital.

The violent incident came only one day after Muntazer al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former US President George W. Bush last December, was released from a Baghdad prison after serving a nine-month term.

Continue reading

Canadian Bill Would Aid US War Deserters

TORONTO – The Parliament of Canada will consider a bill introduced Thursday that would allow American and other war resisters to stay in Canada.

The bill, introduced by the Liberal Party‘s Gerard Kennedy, would allow other countries’ military deserters to stay in Canada if their refusal to serve is based on sincere moral, political or religious objections.

Parliament has already voted twice to support war resisters, but those were non-binding motions.

Kennedy’s bill would be binding because it would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Most war resisters in Canada are U.S. military personnel who have refused to participate in the Iraq War on the grounds that it’s illegal and immoral.

There are thought to be about 200 American military deserters who have come to Canada to avoid service in Iraq.

Canadian immigration officials and the courts have rejected efforts to grant them refugee status, and several face deportation. At least two have already been deported to the U.S.

During the war in Vietnam, thousands of American fled to Canada to avoid the draft. Many were given permanent residence status that eventually resulted in citizenship.

US military pulls plug on largest prison in Iraq

The American army has decided to shut down Camp Bucca in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra as it moves to release thousands or transfer them to Iraqi custody before the year end.

All the remaining 180 detainees of the facility, located just north of the Kuwaiti border, were transferred to US military’s two remaining detention facilities — Camp Taji and Camp Cropper, just outside Baghdad.

The isolated Camp Bucca began as a small tent camp for prisoners of war just after the US-led 2003 invasion. Over the next six years, it grew into a 40-acre desert prison filled with row after row of watchtowers, barbed-wire-topped fences and metal trailers or plywood barracks to house detainees.

Continue reading

Kabul U.S. Embassy Guard: Sexual Deviancy Required for Promotion

Private security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were pressured to participate in naked pool parties and perform sex acts to gain promotions or assignment to preferable shifts, according to one of 12 guards who have gone public with their complaints.

In an interview with ABC News for broadcast tonight on the “World News with Charles Gibson,” the guard, a U.S. military veteran, said top supervisors of the ArmorGroup were not only aware of the “deviant sexual acts” but helped to organize them.

Watch Brian Ross’ full report tonight on “World News with Charles Gibson” at 6:30pm.

“It was mostly the young guys fresh from the military who were told they had to participate,” said the guard, who talked on a phone hook-up arranged by the Project on Government Oversight, which first revealed photographs of the parties.

“They were not gay but they knew what it took to get promoted,” said the guard, spoke on condition that ABC News not publish his name.

The State Department said it was investigating the allegations and the circumstances surrounding the photographs which show naked and barely clothed men fondling one another. The guard who spoke with ABC News said the drunken parties had been held regularly for at least a year and a half.

The State Department renewed its contract with ArmorGroup to provide security at the Kabul embassy last month even though there have been a series of complaints about its performance.

In June 2007, the State Department warned “the security of the US embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy” because of “deficiencies” on the part of ArmorGroup.

Similar complaints were raised at a Senate hearing in June 2009 by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

Sam Brinkley, vice-president of the ArmorGroup’s corporate parent Wackenhut Services, defended the company’s performance in Kabul.

“We are a guard company that prides itself in doing missions well,” Brinkley testified.

Wackenhut did not immediately return requests for comment.

Naked Photos at U.S. Embassy in Kabul

The photographs of the naked parties all involve one of four shifts assigned to the embassy, Charlie Shift, according to the guard who spoke with ABC News.

He said other shifts tried to complain about the activities but were ignored by officials from corporate headquarters who visited Kabul.

“It was demeaning, it was humiliating and that was the whole point of it all,” the guard said.

Asa Eslocker and Anna Schecter contributed to this report.

Majority in US oppose both wars

July 24, 2009 — (AP)   -A majority of Americans oppose both the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, though the war in Afghanistan is a little more popular. Here are details:

OVERALL RESULTS: 34 percent favor the war in Iraq and 63 percent are opposed; 44 percent favor the war in Afghanistan and 53 percent are opposed.

PARTISAN DIFFERENCES: 64 percent of Republicans are in favor of the war in Iraq and just 10 percent of Democrats are; 66 percent of Republicans favor the war in Afghanistan, as do 26 percent of Democrats.

PRESIDENT’S RATING: 56 percent of Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the situation in Iraq, and 55 percent approve of his handling of Afghanistan. Both numbers are down just slightly since April.

THE FUTURE: 68 percent think it is likely that Obama will be able to pull most troops out of Iraq in the next four years, but that’s down from 83 percent before his inauguration.

METHODOLOGY: The AP-GfK Poll was conducted July 16-20 and involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,006 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

‘America lives in a fascist state’ – Gerald Celente

The merger of corporate and government powers in modern America is plain and simple fascism, believes Gerald Celente, the founder of the Trends Research Institute and publisher of Trends Journal.

Celente takes an in-depth look at what AIG and Goldman Sachs really are and the people behind them; explains the policies of the Obama’s administration, and the moral basis for a forthcoming new American Revolution.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers