Saturday, November 19, 2005
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The following piece was written by Andrew Stromotich for the 'Forum'section of the www.dahrjamailiraq.com website. If you would like to comment on it, please visit:
November 09, 2005
On September 29, 2005, shortly after 8 p.m., Amal Kadhum Swadi, and her youngest son Safa were arrested by U.S. forces in the Ghazaliya district of Baghdad on suspicion of planting an improvised explosive device.
They were just leaving their Baghdad home with other family members, and had opened their garage door to take out the family car, when the Swadi family were swarmed by multiple Humvees and numerous heavily armed U.S. soldiers with weapons drawn.
Haloed by headlights and surrounded by agitated soldiers, mother and son were separated from each other and hidden from view of other family members behind a wall of troops and humvees. They were blindfolded and handcuffed tightly with the plastic zap straps and hoods that have become potent symbols of the dehumanization Iraqis under occupation.
Ms. Swadi and Safa were made to squat on the highway’s dirt embankment while Zaid, her eldest son, was issued a handwritten receipt for his mother and brother. As Zaid yelled into the crowd of soldiers, trying to get response from his mother, Ms. Swadi and Safa were being packed into humvees for the trip to the Airport Detention Facility for further processing, leaving Zaid in a cloud of dust, clutching his receipt and trying to console his sobbing sister.
I first met Amal Swadi in Istanbul, at the culminating session of The World Tribunal on Iraq. Ms. Swadi was part of the Iraqi delegation invited to give testimony on their experiences of occupation; as a lawyer representing women held in Abu Ghraib and other U.S. and British detention facilities in Iraq, Ms. Swadi was there to speak on
the degenerating state of human rights.
As I found out, Ms. Swadi
is no stranger to the occupation, or the media covering it. As a lawyer willing to take on the mass of occupation, she is well known for her outspoken advocacy for those unfortunates caught in the machinery of occupation.
Amal Swadi is 52, and was accompanied to the Istanbul tribunal by her daughter, and eldest son Zaid, who is also a lawyer. At the events opening party, I was presented to Ms. Swadi and Zaid, whose love and respect for his mother were instantly apparent. He studied me closely as I was introduced, and when I put my hand out to shake his mother’s, he smiled and took it warmly.
Ms. Swadi, a humble religious woman, immediately forgave my lack of understanding of Islamic culture, and after a short conversation, agreed to be interviewed (the video of this interview will be available shortly).
Ms. Swadi’s involvement with investigations into female prisoners of the occupation started when she was told about a message the women detained in Abu Ghraib were trying to get to the resistance. The message, which had become public knowledge in the streets of Bagdad, was begging the resistance to attack Abu Ghraib with rockets, as the women held inside had given up hope, and could no longer bare the gross abuses and torture inflicted upon them daily. In Islam, as in Christianity, suicide is regarded as an ultimate sin, so these women were asking to be killed. Since then, Ms. Swadi has tirelessly worked for the recognition and release of these detainees (at the time I met her, she was representing nine of these shadow women).
Ms. Swadi told me of her visits to Abu Ghraib, and the difficulties she experienced in trying to gain access to the women held inside, including U.S. force’s outright denial of the women’s existence. When attempts to intimidate her did not work, dismissive guardsmen simply turned her away. When Ms. Swadi returned to Abu Ghraib for her second visit, she was accompanied by a determination cast in the previous sleepless night. Her resolve was eventually rewarded, and after waiting all day in one of the compound’s courtyards under the desert sun, without water or food, she was finally allowed access to her clients (six in total). Ms. Swadi told me the emotion of the experience was overwhelming, and she broke down and sobbed along with the first detainee presented.
Detainees were presented to her in a small, dark cement room that looked to be set up for interrogations. The women were escorted into the room through a heavy door behind a chair and desk. The guards accompanying her remained inches from these broken souls throughout the visits (it is referred to as being ‘in control’ of their subject).
The first woman detainee presented was a young woman in her 20’s. She was in poor condition, pale and gaunt, barely able to stand, and looked to be suffering from mental collapse. The woman stared at the floor, and when she did finally look up and see her visitor from the outside world, the two broke down.
During her brief interview, hindered not only by the woman’s captors who hovered only inches away at all times, but also by the woman’s fragile, quivering voice, Ms. Swadi learned how this woman’s young son and brother were killed in front of her during a raid on her home conducted by U.S. forces. She carried a crudely stitched wound the length of her forearm, which came from the bayonet of a soldier involved in the raid.
Since her arrest, the woman had been held naked in a small cement cell, without proper bedding or toilet. The woman spoke of rape and torture at the hands of her American and Iraqi captors. With Congress being presented with the images of Iraqi women forced to bare themselves as U.S. soldiers held guns to their heads, and with the Pentagon’s own acknowledgment of rape in their detention facilities, it is not hard to give credence to Ms. Swadi’s claims.
General Antonio Taguba, appointed to head the Pentagon’s investigation into Abu Ghraib torture and abuse allegations (which was restricted to investigation into members of the 800th Military Police Brigade), acknowledged that U.S. soldiers participated in rape at the prison. This acknowledgment came in the form of an inter-Pentagon memo in which General Taguba referred to images of American guards ‘having sex’ with female Iraqi detainees. Mr. Taguba’s choice of language when referring to rape is revealing, and further clarifies the Pentagon’s desensitized, casual attitude towards these crimes.
These images clearly depict violent sex crimes, with one congressman who was given access to these images collected by the Pentagon, stating that he believes the release will spark massive demonstrations and endanger Americans abroad (hardly the image of ‘consensual sex’ alluded to by Taguba).
General Taguba also reported that U.S. soldiers made videos of these violent sex crimes, a common practice amongst sex offenders, who often take trophies from their crimes to help them relive the event later; it is a practice that has aided greatly in prosecuting these offenders and will hopefully do the same in these cases. General Taguba has also acknowledged at least two pregnancies resulting from these sex crimes involving female detainees in Abu Ghraib.
With a recent attempt by the Senate to ban the Pentagon’s use of torture, and President Bush’s response of threatened veto of this bill, along with White House negotiations to exempt the CIA from any restraint with regards to torture, the image of a systematic use of torture becomes illuminated. For those already aware of the Phoenix Operation and the CIA’s past publication of torture manuals, this comes as no surprise.
On January 27, 1997, Baltimore Sun journalists Gary Cohn,
Ginger Thompson, and Mark Matthews ran a story in their paper under the headline “Torture was taught by CIA”. The reporters relied heavily on two manuals printed by the CIA, and released under pressure from the Sun’s 1994 freedom of
information challenge. The first manual, entitled KUBARAK Counterintelligence Interrogation- July 1963, along with the updated Human Resources Exploitation Training Manual-1983, paint a
picture of decades of CIA torture policy.
Although the Pentagon has maintained that these manuals were created only for educational purposes, in order to help U.S. troops identify torture facilities, the manuals themselves refute this position.
The 1963 manual states in the section entitled The Coercive Counterintelligence Interrogation of Resistant Sources that “drugs (and the other aids discussed in this section) should not be used persistently to facilitate the interrogative debriefing that follows capitulation. Their function is to cause capitulation, to aid in the
shift from resistance to cooperation. Once this shift has been accomplished, coercive techniques should be abandoned both for moral reasons and because they are unnecessary and even counter-productive.”
The 1963 version also deals with the layout of ‘interrogation’ facilities, as noted in the Sun’s article. The manual states: “the electric current should be known in advance, so that transformers or other modifying devices will be on hand if needed.”
It is important to note that the updated 1983 manual first came to light
publicly when it was recovered by resistance forces in Guatemala, who recovered it
from U.S. backed military death squads in that country, who acquired
this manual from the CIA School of the Americas training camp in Fort Benning, Georgia. It is also important to note that the U.S. embassy in neighboring Honduras has been generally accepted as the headquarters of CIA operations in Central America, with John Negroponte acting as ambassador during the bloody 1980’s (the same Negroponte appointed ambassador to Iraq when torture policy in Iraq first came to light).
These two manuals, and the visage of years of torture policy in Vietnam under the watchful eyes of the CIA, leave any argument of ‘rogue element’ responsibility for torture rather than systematic policy, totally unbelievable and impotent.
In the closing years of the U.S. occupation of Vietnam, and as it became more publicly obvious the U.S. was fighting those it claimed to protect (that in fact attacks on U.S. forces deep inside South Vietnam were being launched by the South Vietnamese themselves), the CIA launched a massive counter intelligence campaign aimed at targeting the South Vietnamese resistance, code named Phoenix.
With the Phoenix operation, the CIA started to compile lists of Vietnamese persons of interest. These lists were based on collected data and information gathered during subject ‘interviews’, and listed men, women and children as young as 15 and as old as 70.
This intelligence-gathering program was jointly run by US agents and those they recruited amongst the South Vietnamese forces. The administration of this program was eventually handed over completely to South Vietnamese forces, which kept no record of their victims; The CIA however, did, and by the end of official CIA involvement in Phoenix, over 20,000 Vietnamese listed had been tortured and murdered.
In 1971, Bart Osborn,
a former CIA agent, told Congress "I never knew in the course of all those operations, any detainee to live through his interrogation. They all died. There was never any reasonable establishment of the fact that any one of those individuals was, in fact, cooperating with the VC, but they all died and the majority were either tortured to death or . . . thrown out of helicopters."
As Nick Schou reports,
“Operation Phoenix detainees were tortured with electric shocks applied to their genitals, while women prisoners were typically raped, occasionally with foreign
objects.” (hauntingly similar to claims of treatment of modern Iraqi detainees).
Mr. Schou also points out in his article: Operation Phoenix Rises from the Ashes of History, that the CIA is now employing the Saddam era Mukhabarat (Iraqi Secret Intelligence similar in scope to the CIA) to investigate resistance support. Mr. Schou relies on statements by Vincent Cannistraro, a former chief of CIA counter-terrorism, to highlight what this means. Cannistraro was quoted in the Sunday
Telegraph as saying "They’re clearly cooking up joint teams to do Phoenix-like things, like they did in Vietnam."
As an advocate for those held without charge or trial by an occupation rooted in illegality, and under the increasing scrutiny of a world skeptical of U.S. intentions in Iraq, Amal Swadi is a person of interest indeed.
Amal Swadi and her 17-year-old son Safa, were brought into the heart of the machinery of occupation for processing. Ms Swadi's blindfold and shackles were removed and she was instructed by her interrogator to answer questions related to her person.
Ms. Swadi and Safa, were fingerprinted and made to undergo retinal scans. Her name, her husband’s name, and the names of her children were all documented. She was also asked her age, her address, and her occupation. Most alarming however was the collection of data on her religious status; apparently the U.S. military occupation felt it was pertinent to document if Ms. Swadi was Shia or Sunni.
What must be addressed is the motivation of U.S. occupational forces in recording individual’s religious affiliations in a country that is increasingly being divided along these very same religious lines, both in reality and by an over-simplified, blood frenzied corporate media intent on enflaming old rivalries. Why would U.S. forces be creating databases of information that could further pressurize this unstable situation (this also at a time of U.S. collusion with Saddam era secret
During the years of heavy U.N. sanctions, most in Iraq depended upon government assistance to supplement their nutritional needs. This aid came in the form of food rations, and was facilitated through the issuance of ration cards. In order to receive a card, information was given and processed, but the question of religious affiliation was not included. Much like in Tito’s Yugoslavia, the secular Saddam era Iraq did not want religious distinction to become paramount. This lack of statistical data leaves in question population figures with regards to religious denomination continually referred to by occupational forces and parroted by the corporate media.
For Saddam Hussein, as it was for Tito, national identity was key to
maintaining power, which simply meant stripping religion of any importance in public life. It was in fact this disregard for religion that made fundamentalist al-Qa'ida and Saddam Hussein bitter enemies.
The effect of this continual simplification of issues into Shia and Sunni has helped fuel a civil divide that is now being used as an excuse for occupation
(Simply argued by both the British and U.S. occupational forces; if we leave they will kill each other).
It also hints of what was referred to as the 'Vietnamising of the war' in the later stages of that occupation. In an effort to reduce American
casualties, the Pentagon trained native troops to do most of the heavy casualty fighting of occupation by fueling communist/capitalist phobias much in the same way religious difference is being highlighted now.
Although Ms. Swadi and Safa's stories end for the time being on the limited high note of release (after being 'tagged' and 'processed' like livestock, mother and son were released back into the general population without further harm), the experience forewarns the enormity of the human rights disaster being perpetrated against the civilian population of Iraq in the name of democracy. It also explains why this information remains a mystery to most Americans, as this arrest clearly demonstartes
the tactics used by a corrupt occupation to intimidate any daring to stand up.
Although generally unreported, this physical and psychological genocide is well underway and is being carried out by a U.S. Administration and Pentagon learned in the powers of terrorism and civil divide. It is a leadership willing to rape, torture, and murder much in the same way the U.S. war machine did in Vietnam, and as in Vietnam (which saw over 4 million direct deaths and countless others who continue to die from the arbitrary use of the WMD Agent Orange), this current illegal and
emboldened occupation will likely post similar genocidal tallies if not made to immediately account for its activities and be held responsible for these actions.
** Andrew Stromotich is an independent journalist and founding member of
*** Video interview of Ms. Swadi at the Istanbul WTI shot for Dropframe by
Rana Al-Aioubi and Andrew Stromotich will be released soon at
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Friday, November 18, 2005
But I suspect the real story is elsewhere. The great lesson of the Watergate era was: However bad you think things are, however nefarious you believe the administration's plans and actions might be, however deep you believe their roots might reach, it's only going to prove worse as the facts emerge -- and it looks like one small, new fact has indeed emerged from what Rory O'Connor at the Alternet website is already calling Woodward-gate. The source who informed Woodward of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name and occupation weeks before it was (as far as we know) slipped to any other reporter was not indicted former Vice Presidential Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby or, according to the New York Times (which gave the Woodward story the sort of instant front-page attention it so long denied the actions of its own "embedded" reporter Judy Miller), President Bush, or White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, or Card's counselor Dan Bartlett, or former Secretary of State Colin Powell, or the former director of the CIA George Tenet, or his deputy John E. McLaughlin, or, for that matter, Karl Rove. It's someone other.
That someone other -- according to Jason Leopold (one of the rare on-line reporters to do regular investigative work) and Larisa Alexandrovna at the Raw Story website -- may be former Deputy National Security Adviser, now National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, a hardliner and part of "a loosely constituted group of foreign policy advisers known as the Vulcans who advised candidate Bush in 2000 and were at the core of the presidential transition team following Bush's election." He is well known for his closeness to Vice President Cheney from whose office so much of the Plame affair seems to have been planned. Though not the only suspect, that he might be Woodward's leaker would hardly be surprising. He was deeply enmeshed in the planning for the Iraqi invasion, seems to have been involved in the touting of the forged Niger "yellowcake" documents, and was even the official "fall-guy" (along with CIA Director Tenet) for those infamous sixteen words on Niger uranium that made it into the President's 2003 State of the Union Address. As he put it then, I should have recalled... that there was controversy associated with the uranium issue" (only to repeat in a subsequent Chicago Tribune op-ed the claim that Saddam's "regime has tried to acquire natural uranium from abroad"). If Hadley is indeed the ur-Plame-leaker, it merely indicates what everyone should by now have suspected -- that the discussion of how to discredit ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger went wider and deeper than previously known; that, to use a word Patrick Fitzgerald has yet to mention, the "conspiracy" had deep roots indeed.
Looking back on Fitzgerald's October 28th press conference, two things stand out for me: First, he capitalized brilliantly on an administration mistake. Days before his appearance, the Republicans started leaking "talking points" dismissive of the significance of a Libby indictment. The Special Counsel clearly took the opportunity to study them and much of his press conference was implicitly devoted to dismantling them, something he did so effectively that they have hardly surfaced since. Second, Fitzgerald's message seemed essentially to be this: He had been pursuing the Plame investigation when one or more people got in his way, obstructing his view; he was now indicting one person (and leaving open the possibility of indicting another on the similar grounds). He was, that is, simply and quite logically clearing his sightlines, leaving the case itself still to be dealt with. In due course, we should expect more of it to come into view.
In the meantime, former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega who, in The White House Criminal Conspiracy, a cover story for the Nation magazine and for Tomdispatch, recently made a case for the way the Bush administration defrauded the American people into war, considers below what the fate of I. Lewis Libby is actually likely to be. She offers answers that might surprise those who believe Woodward's revelation will work to Libby's advantage. De la Vega will continue to cover the Plame case and its ramifications for Tomdispatch. Tom
The "Some Other Dude Did It" Defense of I. Lewis Libby
Is Woodward's Revelation a Bombshell or a Smokescreen?
By Elizabeth de la Vega
Shortly after Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, was indicted for obstructing justice and making false statements to a government agent and a grand jury, Libby's attorneys suggested that they would use the standard he's-a-busy-man-who-can't-remember-everything defense. But now, with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's revelation that a senior administration official other than Libby told him, in mid-June 2003, that Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger had been arranged by Wilson's CIA operative wife Valerie Wilson, it appears the Libby team has added another favorite, the SODDI Defense -- as in, "Some Other Dude Did It." Unfortunately for Libby, that turkey won't fly. Here's why.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.
** Note: All of Tom Engelhardt's dispatches and Tomgrams are republished here with the kind, explicit permission of the author. Many thanks, Tom, for these wonderfully-informative, poignant dispatches!
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Bush has found his leadership niche. He's making the world safe for torture.
We supposedly liberated Iraq to stop torture, but then we started doing it in the same prison Saddam did it in. Meanwhile, the Shiite Iraqis said "heck, if it's good enough for the Busheviks, it's good enough for us" and started torturing Sunnis. There were probably CIA operatives training them. (BuzzFlash doesn't buy the spin that Americans "liberated" the latest torture jail. It was probably just about to be exposed in some paper, so the Busheviks did a pre-emptive shut down and blamed the Iraqis for everything.) Let's be open-minded and "modern" about this, if torture is good enough for the White House, why shouldn't the Iraqis do it, again!
Okay, so now we've used chemical weapons in Iraq, made it a haven for terrorits, and brought back torture in a big way. Tell us again, why did we need to invade Iraq to stop these things?
Oh, silly BuzzFlash, we ask too many questions.
Oh, yeah, and six more American soldiers and countless Iraqis died yesterday.
"You're doing a heck of a job, Bushy." One heck of a job. "
*** This is hilarious, so be sure to check it out!! Very well done, Buzz!! -- Annamarie
Can the makers of Electronic Voting Machines Steal Votes? Do Bears....? Check Out This Must See BuzzFlash Demonstration of Electronic Voting by a 'DeekBold' Voting Machine Company Representative -- and Then Support Our Work with FreeSpeech TV
Bush's Folly is a Killer: Six More U.S. Service Members Die in Iraq
Cheney today slammed the Dems for daring to call the Busheviks on their lies about Iraq. So let's talk a walk down memory lane and revisit Cheney's own numerous lies he used to justify the war. There are at least 51.
Help Fight Gun Violence by Buying an Auction Item and Supporting Work at the Grassroots Level to Change America's Attitudes About Guns. New Items Up.
The discovery of the prison by the American military in a raid on Sunday has galvanized Sunni Arab anger and widened the country's sectarian divide just a month before elections for a full, four-year government. The Iraqis were just doing what Bush condones, but says we invaded Iraq to stop. Monkey See - Monkey Do. 11/17 "
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
As terror and tragedy hit the headlines again, James Howarth looks at the motives, and the message, behind the bombs in Jordan. He also delves into the complex nature of the global jihadist movement.
James Howarth is an analyst for Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and translator of Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden (Verso, 2005). He lives in Amman.
10 - 11 - 2005
The Amman hotel bombs have ripped through peaceful Jordan. They represent a dangerous and potent fusion of domestic dissent, revulsion at American influence, Iraqi-influenced insurgent violence and global jihadism, writes James Howarth in Amman.
" You probably haven’t heard of Ahmed al-Khalayleh before. He used to work in a video store in Zarqa, a run-down urban sprawl outside of Amman, Jordan. But in the coming days you are about to hear a lot more about his vicious alter-ego, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the street gangster who found Islam and became the poster boy for the latest era of jihadi violence...
.....If Iraq has become global jihadism’s latest training-ground, assessing the after-effects of the invasion and occupation of that country may be the work of years. For the present, it seems that the people of Jordan are also paying the price. Although uttered in an entirely different context, the words of Martin Luther King seem eerily prescient as the regional consequences of the Iraq misadventure continue to unfold: “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.” " Read this article from Open Democracy....
|This article originally appeared on openDemocracy.net under a Creative Commons licence. To view the original article, please click here.|
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
"Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people." (August 1765) John Adams
Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?
By Steven E. Jones
Department of Physics and Astronomy. Brigham Young University
In writing this paper, I call for a serious investigation of the hypothesis that WTC 7 and the Twin Towers were brought down, not just by damage and fires, but through the use of pre-positioned explosives.
Read more from Information Clearing House
Video: Prof, Steven E. Jones, “Why Indeed did the WTC Buildings Collapse?,”
The Hidden History of 9-11. Flash video
Click here to watch video
Riots are a class act - and often they're the only alternative
France now accepts the need for social justice. No petition, peaceful march or letter to an MP could have achieved this
By Gary Younge
'If there is no struggle, there is no progress," said the African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass. "Those who profess to favour freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters ... Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
U.S.-Iraq Troops Raid Government Jail Where Abuses Are Alleged:
Scores of bodies have been discovered in Baghdad and elsewhere around Iraq, handcuffed, blindfolded and shot through the head. Relatives of the dead often say that the last time they saw their loved ones, they were being led away by Iraqi police officers.
UN: US detains Iraqis in mass arrests:
The United Nations has reported that the US military in Iraq is detaining people faster than a new board can review their cases to determine whether their rights are being respected.
US sweep of arrests after Iraq invasion leads to few convictions :
More than 35,000 Iraqis have been detained by American troops since the invasion of the country but only a tiny fraction have been convicted of wrongdoing
Exposed: The Carlyle Group :
Shocking documentary uncovers the subversion of Americas democracy. I defy you to watch this 48 minute documentary and not be outraged about the depth of corruption and deceit within the highest ranks of our government.
Provoking Syria: Cambodia All Over Again:
The analogy the administration is using for this invasion? Cambodia, which the Nixon administration accused of harboring North Vietnamese troops during the war in Southeast Asia.
Arafat the obstacle has been exposed as a myth :
The Palestinian leader's portrayal by the west and Israel has been a barrier both to understanding the conflict and to peace
Sharon's Son Pleads Guilty of Corruption :
Sharon admitted to falsifying corporate documents, perjury and violating the party funding law. Under a plea deal, prosecutors dropped more serious charges of fraud and breach of trust.
Secrecy order in CIA leak case challenged by media :
The proposed protective order, which was agreed to by Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, would cover grand jury transcripts, witness statements and a wide range of other documents involved in the case. Any leaks could result in civil and criminal fines, the order warns
Red State Road Trip: A 60-Minute Documentaryt r u t h o u t
How could America have given George W. Bush a second term? Filmmaker Chris Hume decided to find out by embarking on a 6,000-mile, cross-country journey in search of America’s soul. The result: a fascinating, hilarious, and often disturbing road-trip adventure.
US Troops Used Lions in Torture
t r u t h o u t
"They took us to a cage - an animal cage that had lions in it within the Republican Palace," he said. "And they threatened us that if we did not confess, they would put us inside the cage with the lions in it.... And they opened the door and they threatened that if I did not confess, that they were going to throw me inside the cage. And as the lion was coming closer, they would pull me back out and shut the door, and tell me, 'We will give you one more chance to confess.' And I would say, 'Confess to what?'"
Iraq Prime Minister Orders Torture Investigation
t r u t h o u t
Iraq's prime minister disclosed Tuesday that more than 170 malnourished Iraqi detainees were found at an Interior Ministry detention center and that some appeared to have been tortured.
Knock on the Door, a Knock on the War
t r u t h o u t
Loren Farell went downstairs, looked through the peephole and saw an Army sergeant. "You remember how you got butterflies as a kid?" Farell asks. "I got that tenfold. I opened the door, and she asked me, 'Does Ashley Ashcraft live here?' I said, 'Yes, she's my daughter,' and the sergeant asked if she could speak to her." Farell knew what was coming. His daughter's husband, Evan Ashcraft, 24, was with the 101st Airborne Division.
Former President Jimmy Carter: 'This Isn't the Real America'
"In recent years, I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican." - Former President Jimmy Carter...Read article from Truthout.org
John Edwards | "I Was Wrong"
"I was wrong. Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told - and what many of us believed and argued - was a threat to America. But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda. It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake." - Former Senator John Edwards .....Read article from Truthout.org
Claim: U.S. Created Al-Zarqawi MythThe U.S. is known for creating Hollywood-style legends and myths -- its larger-than-life heroes and villains. Therefore, this article merits serious credence....
"The myth of al-Zarqawi, Napoleoni believes, helped usher in al-Qaida's "transformation from a small elitist vanguard to a mass movement."
(Click here for photo)
" The United States created the myth around Iraq insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and reality followed, terrorism expert Loretta Napoleoni said.
Al-Zarqawi was born Ahmad Fadil al-Khalayleh in October 1966 in the crime and poverty-ridden Jordanian city of Zarqa. But his myth was born Feb. 5, 2003, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell presented to the United Nations the case for war with Iraq.
Napoleoni, the author of "Insurgent Iraq," told reporters last week that Powell's argument falsely exploited Zarqawi to prove a link between then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. She said that through fabrications of Zarqawi's status, influence and connections "the myth became the reality" - a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"He became what we wanted him to be. We put him there, not the jihadists," Napoleoni said.
Iraq's most notorious insurgent, Napoleoni argues, accomplished what bin Laden could not: "spread the message of jihad into Iraq." .....Read rest of this article from Truthout.org
Bush's Vision Fails to Win Over Middle EastWhen will the Busheviks ever get it through their heads that most of the world is NOT INTERESTED in 'democracy:' American style? American democracy is a crude parody at best, and no amount of image-polishing will dispell this notion from anyone but the Americans themselves...
Published on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 by the Guardian / UK
by Simon Tisdall
" Jack Straw put his finger on it. Speaking after a disputatious Middle East summit in Bahrain at the weekend, the foreign secretary said: "It would be a disaster if this region thought democracy was an American idea." Many in the region appear to think exactly that - and have ideas of their own.
Washington's latest disappointment came when a 30-country Middle East "democratic manifesto" statement was torpedoed in Bahrain. Backed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt insisted that governments should decide which activist groups benefited from a new $50m (£29m) regional democracy fund." ....Read rest of article from the Common Dreams News Center
CIA Accused of Using Airport in Mallorca in "Extraordinary Rendition" ProgramMore dirty deeds about the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program are coming to light.
CIA Accused of Using Airport in Mallorca
by Maria Jesus Prades
" The National Court has received a prosecutor's report on allegations that the CIA used an airport on the Spanish island of Mallorca for a program of covert transfers of terror suspects, court officials said Monday.
The chief prosecutor for the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca, submitted the 114-page report to the court in July, after a four-month investigation prompted by articles in a Mallorca newspaper, the court officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because court rules bar them from giving their names.
The newspaper, Diario de Mallorca, said Spanish police have identified three planes used by the CIA at the airport in Palma, the capital of the Mediterranean island, in its "extraordinary rendition" program, in which terror suspects were transferred to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible ill-treatment. " ....
Read rest of this article from Common Dreams here
They had no qualms about elbowing the CIA aside, or using forged, unreliable, or clearly inaccurate intelligence, or simple disinformation, or just repeating endlessly things they certainly knew to be fictions in order to make Democrats (who knew better) run for their lives and put a full-court press on the media. They were happy to raise rhetorical mushroom clouds over all-too-real American cities to panic Americans into their war of choice. They had no hesitation (as far as we know) -- to cite a conveniently forgotten absurdity of that prewar moment -- about sending the President out in front of television cameras to announce the ridiculous in all fearful solemnity: That, for instance, there was a danger Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) armed with chemical or biological weapons might be sent to spray their deadly mists over East coast cities or even hundreds of miles inland. (Forget that the planes didn't exist and that, if they had, and if the CBW weaponry had been available, the Iraqis had no way to get them to the coast, or anything to launch them from.) When people want to talk about what we may or may not have known about subjects like Iraqi WMDs, they forget the baldfaced absurdity of some of the administration's claims -- or exactly how unchallenged they went in the mainstream media. (I saw the President make the UAV claim on television with my own eyes, by the way.)
And that was when they were riding high. Imagine what they might do in desperation. In fact, Michael Klare, author of the indispensible Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependence on Imported Petroleum, does just that below, evaluating the various wag-the-dog scenarios this administration might seriously consider using if its situation grows too desperate and elections too near.
After considering these possibilities yourself, think about the context. The signal from the recent hotel bombings in Jordan seems clear enough in its own horrific way. Through its invasion and uniquely inept occupation, the Bush administration has already created a "failed state" not on the failed continent of Africa or in an economically or politically peripheral land like Afghanistan, but exactly in the heart of the richest oil lands of the planet. Iraq is now largely an anarchic world with a central government hardly capable of commanding its own fortified heart -- the Green Zone of Baghdad -- no less much of the rest of the country; where religious militias, terrorist organizations, and fractured insurgent groups have the run of the land; where internecine killing is on the rise; and the delivery of such basics of modern life as electricity and potable water (or water of any kind) are no longer givens.
Whether some in the Bush administration meant to turn Iraq into a land of "chaos" or not, they have certainly succeeded in doing so. Now, the chaos is spreading across borders. The Jordanian bombers, after all, were Iraqis. The targets, American hotels, were both soft and symbolic. But in the future, they may be harder and even more vital -- oil pipelines or other facilities outside Iraq, for instance.
Add into this formula for disaster, an "administration" in Washington that is "uninterested in governing," as Jonathan Schell wrote recently in the Nation magazine (focusing on what the post-Katrina world has revealed to us, but Iraqis already knew all too well). "We all keep referring to the ‘Bush administration,'" he added, "yet administering seems to be the last thing on its mind... If the Bush outfit is not governing, what is it doing? The answer comes readily: It wishes to acquire, increase and consolidate the power of the Republican Party."
If administration is nothing to Bush's people and power is all, the Klare scenarios that follow only seem that much more likely to be used, and what the implementation of any one of them will certainly do is add yet another chaotic pressure to the crumbling structure of our ever less safe and secure world and way of life. Tom
Click here to read more of this dispatch.
" European medicines regulators have ordered a safety check on Tamiflu after reports that two teenage boys died in Japan in apparent suicides after taking the anti-flu drug.
The deaths have raised safety fears about the only treatment against a threatened pandemic of avian flu. The deaths are not linked and occurred a year apart.
The Japanese health ministry issued a warning in June 2004 about psychological and neurological disorders linked with Tamiflu, with an instruction that doctors should be alerted - but no similar warning was issued in Europe and the UK. " .... Read entire article from The Independent UK
" British troops have come under attack in Kabul and Nato forces were targeted in two co-ordinated suicide car bombings in which at least four people died.
The attacks took place as ministers revealed that units are preparing to extend Britain's role in Afghanistan when it takes command of the international peacekeeping operation next year.
John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, told Parliament that Britain faced a "prolonged" involvement in the country. But MPs warned last night that British troops faced being mired in a long-term military commitment to a country in the grip of a growing insurgency. " .... Read rest of this article from The Independent UK
November 15, 2005
" I'm excited to tell you about an important IWT milestone.
We've just unveiled the Business Plan for IWT's next phase -- culminating in the launch of IWTnews Nightly, our flagship one-hour news show that will boldly investigate and uncompromisingly reveal the world in which we live. Together with collaborators around the world, IWTnews Nightly will become the foundation upon which we will build our global network.
You'll find a copy of our new Business Plan and a new version of the Birth of a Network video on our web site:
With this crucial piece of work completed, IWT now has the people, plan and vision to make the world's first non-profit, truly independent news network a reality. But we need your support. Your contribution will help us start producing sample IWT videos, dramatically expand our web site, and launch the public campaign for IWTnews Nightly to go on-air in 2007. To learn more, go to:
** I support this ambitious endeavour, and strongly urge those who are interested in news reported by a truthful, unbiased, 'un-corporate', truly independent media network to contribute to Independent World Television
" An explosion at a fast food restaurant in Karachi has killed at least three people and wounded many others, according to Pakistani police.
The burnt out remnants of the KFC set on fire in Karachi in May 2005 (CP photo)
The Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was set on fire by the blast, as well as a number of cars on the street. Witnesses reported at least a dozen injured being taken away by ambulance...
...There have been other attacks on U.S.-linked businesses in Pakistan, but KFC appears to be a favourite target.... " Read on...
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website**
** Website by JeffPflueger.com **
'I treated people who had their skin melted'
By Dahr Jamail
Published: 15 November 2005
Abu Sabah knew he had witnessed something unusual. Sitting in November last year in a refugee camp in the grounds of Baghdad University, set up for the families who fled or were driven from Fallujah, this resident of the city's Jolan district told me how he had witnessed some of the battle's heaviest fighting.
"They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud," he said. He had seen "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns".
As an unembedded journalist, I spent hours talking to residents forced out of the city. A doctor from Fallujah working in Saqlawiyah, on the outskirts of Fallujah, described treating victims during the siege "who had their skin melted".
He asked to be referred to simply as Dr Ahmed because of fears of reprisals for speaking out. "The people and bodies I have seen were definitely hit by fire weapons and had no other shrapnel wounds," he said.
Burhan Fasa'a, a freelance cameraman working for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), witnessed the first eight days of the fighting. "I saw cluster bombs everywhere and so many bodies that were burnt, dead with no bullets in them," he said. "So they definitely used fire weapons, especially in Jolan district."
Mr Fasa'a said that while he sold a few of his clips to Reuters, LBC would not show tapes he submitted to them. He had smuggled some tapes out of the city before his gear was taken from him by US soldiers.
Some saw what they thought were attempts by the military to conceal the use of incendiary shells. "The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah," said one ousted resident, Abdul Razaq Ismail.
Dr Ahmed, who worked in Fallujah until December 2004, said: "In the centre of the Jolan quarter they were removing entire homes which have been bombed, meanwhile most of the homes that were bombed are left as they were."
He said he saw bulldozers push soil into piles and load it on to trucks to carry away. In certain areas where the military used "special munitions" he said 200 sq m of soil was being removed from each blast site.
/The author is an unembedded journalist who reported from Fallujah/
For the version posted on The Independent website, click here.
To read 'The fog of war: white phosphorus, Fallujah and some burning questions',
which the above piece accompanied in The Independent, click here.
(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the DahrJamailIraq.com website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media jeffpflueger.com . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.
More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at DahrJamailiraq.com
" How did American interrogation tactics after 9/11 come to include abuse rising to the level of torture? Much has been said about the illegality of these tactics, but the strategic error that led to their adoption has been overlooked.
The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods. But those tactics were not only inhumane, they were ineffective. For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession. Fearful of future terrorist attacks and frustrated by the slow progress of intelligence-gathering from prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Pentagon officials turned to the closest thing on their organizational charts to a school for torture.
....A full account of how our leaders reacted to terrorism by re-engineering Red Army methods must await an independent inquiry. But the SERE model's embrace by the Pentagon's civilian leaders is further evidence that abuse tantamount to torture was national policy, not merely the product of rogue freelancers."
Read the entire International Herald Tribune article about SERE's deplorable techniques.
Amman Attack: Is America to Blame?Has Bush's 'War on Terror'(read 'War on Iraq') made the world safer? As anyone with a few brain-cells can see, it did not. What it did was actually make it much worse, as shown by the latest spate of terror attacks in Jordan on 11/9. These attacks can be largely blamed on Bush's illegimate, illegal, deadly war of aggression against Iraq.
"The critical political and operational point is that American-dominated Iraq has provided the environment of occupation, resistance, violence and chaos that has made that country the base for attracting and training terrorists." ....." many Arabs feel that American policies have promoted rather than reduced terror in the Middle East. The Jordanian commentator Jamil Nimri stated succinctly in the Amman daily Al-Ghad last week: "The United States' policy in fighting terrorism has made terrorism even worse and has widened its circle. We are the ones paying the price." Rami G. Khouri, IHT
The main point of 11/9 in Amman is not about the specific attack, but the wider war it portends. America's unmitigated support of Israel with disregard for the Palestinian people adds to the pot in this volatile region.
Read full article from which these quotes were taken in the International Herald Tribune here
Monday, November 14, 2005
This wonderful little intro and the commentary with each article are provided by Buzz, at BuzzFlash. I particularly like his 'Keystone Cops' analogy. Many thanks, Buzz! Check out the site where you will find many more interesting articles.
" It gets more insane everyday.
Rove has Cheney's new Libby, Stephen Hadley (who helped write Cheney's pro-torture policy), clarify that Bush misspoke when he said he would not torture people. It's kind of torture having the Busheviks act like the Keystone Cops in explaining their "policy" of "non-torture torture."
Another dirty little Bush secret that everbody knows. "
McCain: Torture Ban Needed for U.S. Image
Devastating last-minute amendment will permanently remove all legal rights from detainees at Guantanamo Bay and every other similar US facility on foreign or American soil -- latest disgrace to American tradition
Oops. White House "clarifies" Bush statement by refusing to rule out torture. 11/14
GOP Candidate for Governor of New Jersey Says He Lost Because of Bush 11/14
Get the Just Released "Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power," by Mary Mapes. This was a book that reportedly was almost kept from publication because it reveals how the corporate media so cravenly accedes to the demands of the Bush Administration.
"To give a Fairtrade mark to a company whose baby food trade systemically violates child rights on such a massive scale, contributing as it does to the deaths of millions of children,’ .... ‘makes an absolute mockery of what the public believes the Fairtrade mark stands for.’" Patti Rundall, Policy Director at Baby Milk Action
A New Internationalist Special Feature
"The wrong label
In a move that has astonished campaigners in the trade and global-justice movements, the giant Nestlé corporation has been awarded a ‘Fairtrade’ mark for a new brand of its coffee in Britain. David Ransom wonders why.
There’s never been anything quite like this. On the one hand, the world’s largest food corporation, with annual revenues in excess of $60 billion, is promoting its new ‘Partners’ Blend’ coffee in Britain as ‘Fairtrade’. On the other, ‘Partners’ Blend’ has joined the rest of its products on the target list of a long-established and active boycott campaign against Nestlé. Interested supporters of fair trade must be wondering what on earth is going on.
Harriet Lamb, Director of the Fairtrade Foundation – which provides the certification – is sanguine about ‘Partners’ Blend’. ‘This is a turning point for us and for the coffee growers,’ she says. ‘It’s also a turning point for the many people who support Fairtrade and have been pressing the major companies to offer Fairtrade coffees.’ She does not, however, suggest who these ‘many people’ may be."
Read full article from the New Internationalist
** For global news that matters, go to the New Internationalist website. Be sure to read "About NI", and I am sure you will like what they are "About". Also, take advantage of their special print subsription rates and subscribe to receive more indepth news and articles from around the globe about important issues that impact on everyone. This nascent news organisation and magazine is well worthy of your reading and support!
" New Internationalist is an independent not-for-profit communications cooperative. Our multi-award winning magazine, New Internationalist, brings to life the people, the ideas and the action in the fight for global justice." -- Editor, New Internationalist
In any case, it's none too early to try to put the events in France into some perspective as both Francoise Mouly and Mark LeVine do below. Mouly, the art editor for the New Yorker and a chevalier in France's Order of Arts and Letters, reminds us that cars haven't been the only thing burning in France; that, in the human brain, words burn too -- and brightly at that. LeVine, a professor of Islamic studies who writes regularly for Tomdispatch, puts the recent riots and the response to them into the context of globalization and warns of the possibility of a grim backlash future on all sides. Tom
The War of Words in France
By Françoise Mouly
Although we have seen countless images of cars burning in the poor and segregated suburbs of France, we have not heard much about the war of words that has accompanied them. Yet when you pay attention to the words, you begin to realize that the second and third generation French-African and French-Arab youths burning cars are a lot more French than they may be willing to acknowledge. As true Frenchmen, they understand the importance of discourse. Maybe to their detriment, they seem to parse the fine nuances of every word; then they fight back bitterly -- especially over having the last word, le dernier mot.
Facing off against them in the prolonged verbal sparring are three hommes d'état (statesmen), each using a very different verbal strategy. The President, Jacques Chirac, may have acknowledged early on that "the absence of dialogue could lead to a dangerous confrontation," but then he neither spoke, nor encouraged his minions to speak. The haughty silence Chirac's government dispensed in response to night after night of provocative TV images was received as the ultimate affront by the "nine-three" -- the poor inhabitants of the Parisian department of Seine Saint-Denis where it all started. They clearly got the message: They were not even worthy of being talked to.
Chirac could afford to say nothing: After leading the French right-wing Gaullist party for the past thirty years and being president for the past ten, he will finally step down in time for the 2007 presidential election. This has created a heated contest between his two presumptive heirs, Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. Although all three players are on the right, only Sarkozy is an economic neoliberal who advocates "openness, suppleness, and letting citizens make their own choices." A second-generation immigrant with a Greek-Jewish mother and a Hungarian father, Sarkozy openly admires American neoliberalism, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Rudolph Giuliani. He regularly counteracted the lofty pronouncements of the patrician Chirac with comments like "I do what works." As one French ghetto kid put it, "He acts and speaks like a gang leader."
Earlier this year, as Sarkozy's popularity soared, many predicted he would replace Chirac in 2007. (At the moment, the French Left, with no viable candidate, seems to prefer to remain in opposition.) That was before Chirac brought de Villepin into the picture by appointing him prime minister. Besides being handsome, polished, and using the optional "de" in his last name (hence pegging himself as landed gentry), de Villepin, who was born in the former French colony of Morocco, is the consummate politician, a man who went to all the right schools and played by all the right rules. By September, polls were indicating that, though Sarkozy's brash "I'm telling it like it is" approach still appealed to working class supporters of the extreme right-wing Jean-Marie Le Pen and his Front National, the electoral pendulum had abruptly swung toward De Villepin.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2005
"The U.S. sees the contents of a stolen Iranian laptop computer as evidence of a dangerous nuclear program.
In mid-July, senior U.S. intelligence officials called the leaders of the international atomic inspection agency to the top of a skyscraper overlooking the Danube in Vienna and unveiled the contents of what they said was a stolen Iranian laptop computer.
The Americans flashed on a screen and spread over a conference table selections from more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments, saying they showed a long effort to design a nuclear warhead, according to a half-dozen European and American participants in the meeting.
The documents, the Americans acknowledged, do not prove that Iran has an atomic bomb."
Read rest of this article from the International Herald Tribune
"Our men . . . have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up.... Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to "make them talk," and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later. . . stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.": Philadelphia Ledger newspaper in 1901, from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain for the control of the Philippines
"The only place you and I disagree . . . is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about the civilians, and I (in contrast) don't give a damn. I don't care.". . . "I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. . . Does that bother you? I just want you to think big." : Richard Nixon to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the Watergate tapes
" ... the United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the other of ends-justify-the-means brutality sponsored by counterinsurgency specialists. Normally the specialists carry out their actions in remote locations with little notice in the national press. That allows the public to sustain its faith in a just America, while hard-nosed security and economic interests are still protected in secret. ": Robert Parry, investigative reporter and author
To read this newsletter online: Information Clearing House or http://snipurl.com/ayzc
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Charge Him or Release Him!
Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 189 Days
Revealed: UK wartime torture camp
By Ian Cobain
The British government operated a secret torture centre during the second world war to extract information and confessions from German prisoners, according to official papers which have been unearthed by the Guardian.
CIA allegedly hid evidence of Iraqi detainee's torture and murder - report
By AFX News
The death of secret detainee Manadel al-Jamadi was ruled a homicide in a Defense Department autopsy, Time reported, adding that documents it recently obtained included photographs of his battered body, which had been kept on ice to keep it from decomposing, apparently to conceal the circumstances of his death.
Iron Fisted America
By Charles Sullivan
Understanding the collective American psyche is no easy task. To those living in other lands we Americans are an enigma. Indeed, we are an enigma unto ourselves. To others we appear foolish, dim-witted, cowardly and morally bankrupt. To allow the rise of a fascist regime to take power is compelling evidence for those views. Let me try to explain why.
** NOTE: This is one of the best articles I've read in a long time about the 'real' America, not the fantasy most Americans believe in. -- Annamarie
Unheeded warnings before Sept. 11 could turn case in Moussaoui's favour :
The fact that the U.S. government overlooked numerous warning signs in the run-up to the Sept. 11 attacks is an old story that is being used in a new way in the Zacarias Moussaoui case. It could save his life.
Robert Scheer: On Leaving the LA Times :
On Friday I was fired as a columnist by the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where I have worked for thirty years. The publisher, Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Read more... ( from the Huffington Post)
Grand Daddy Neocon Shoots Messenger :
Norman Podhoretz, the grand daddy of the Straussian neocons, expends a few thousand words in an attempt to convince us George Bush didn’t lie when he told us Saddam had a WMD program and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden.
Methodist Bishops Repent Iraq War 'Complicity' :
Ninety-five bishops from President Bush's church said Thursday they repent their "complicity" in the "unjust and immoral" invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Is America above the Geneva Conventions?:
The debate over an anti-torture bill is a sad moment for a country that once stood for human rights.
Video : Sister Dianna Ortiz, OSU "I Was Tortured":
“Many of our fellow Americans wear a blindfold hiding from the truth of what our government is doing. But each of you has eyes to see, ears to hear, and a voice to oppose this crime against humanity.”
Larry C. Johnson: ... And why it should never be one:
I'm a former CIA officer and a former counterterrorism official. During the last few months, I have spoken with three good friends who are CIA operations officers, all of whom have worked on terrorism at the highest levels. They all agree that torturing detainees will not help us. In fact, they believe that it will hurt us in many ways.
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From t r u t h o u t
Bodies Found After US Iraq Offensive
Saturday 12 November 2005
"Ramadi, Iraq - An Iraqi Red Crescent doctor said on Saturday more than 50 bodies had been found in the rubble of a town near the Syrian border which U.S.-led troops swept through this week in an anti-insurgent offensive.
Around 2,500 U.S. troops and 1,000 Iraqi soldiers launched Operation Steel Curtain a week ago around the western town of Qusayba. They conducted house-to-house searches to root out insurgents and destroyed a number of houses in airstrikes."
Read rest of article here
From: t r u t h o u t
By Frank Rich
The New York Times
Sunday 13 November 2005
"If it weren't tragic it would be a New Yorker cartoon. The president of the United States, in the final stop of his forlorn Latin America tour last week, told the world, "We do not torture." Even as he spoke, the administration's flagrant embrace of torture was as hard to escape as publicity for Anderson Cooper.
The vice president, not satisfied that the C.I.A. had already been implicated in four detainee deaths, was busy lobbying Congress to give the agency a green light to commit torture in the future. Dana Priest of The Washington Post, having first uncovered secret C.I.A. prisons two years ago, was uncovering new "black sites" in Eastern Europe, where ghost detainees are subjected to unknown interrogation methods redolent of the region's Stalinist past. Before heading south, Mr. Bush had been doing his own bit for torture by threatening to cast the first veto of his presidency if Congress didn't scrap a spending bill amendment, written by John McCain and passed 90 to 9 by the Senate, banning the "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of prisoners.
So when you watch the president stand there with a straight face and say, "We do not torture" - a full year and a half after the first photos from Abu Ghraib - you have to wonder how we arrived at this ludicrous moment. The answer is not complicated. When people in power get away with telling bigger and bigger lies, they naturally think they can keep getting away with it. And for a long time, Mr. Bush and his cronies did. Not anymore."
Read rest of this article here
Published on Sunday, November 13, 2005 by The Sunday Herald (Scotland)
"Blair Faces New Inquiry into Iraq War
Impeachment Campaigners Claim Former Ministers will Join 200 Supporters to Force Commons Probe
by James Cusick
MPs organising the campaign to impeach Tony Blair believe they have enough support to force a highly damaging Commons investigation into the Prime Minister's pre-war conduct.
A renewed attempt to impeach Blair over claims he misled parliament in making his case for war against Iraq, will be made in the Commons within the next two weeks.
The impeachment process effectively stalled last year when just 23 MPs signed a Commons motion. But the scale of the government's defeat on its anti-terror legislation last week - where 49 Labour MPs rebelled - has galvanised the momentum for proceedings to be invoked.
Organisers say they are expecting 200 cross-party signatures, including those of former government ministers, to force the Commons to set up a Privy Council investigation that would examine in detail the case for impeachment against Blair.
The size of the Labour revolt, allied to unified opposition benches, is said to have changed the climate inside the Commons."
Read rest of article here
Sunday, November 13, 2005
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **
November 14, 2005
Nearly a year after they occurred, a few of the war crimes committed in Fallujah by members of the US military have gained the attention of some major media outlets (excluding, of course, any of the corporate media outlets in the US).
Back on November 26, 2004, in a story I wrote for the Inter Press Service titled 'UnusualWeapons' Used in Fallujah, refugees from that city described, in detail, various odd weapons used in Fallujah. In addition, they provided detailed descriptions such as “pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt the skin even when water was thrown on the burns.”
This was also mentioned in a web log I’d penned nine days before, on November 17, 2004, named Slash and Burn, where one of the descriptions of these same weapons by the same refugee from Fallujah said, “These exploded on the ground with large fires that burnt for half an hour. They used these near the train tracks. You could hear these dropped from a large airplane and the bombs were the size of a tank. When anyone touched those fires, their body burned for hours.”
On December 9th of 2004 I posted a gallery of photos, many of which are included in the new RAI television documentary about incendiary weapons having been used in Fallujah.
Like the torture “scandal” of Abu Ghraib that for people in the west didn’t become “real” until late April of 2004, Iraqis and journalists in Iraq who engaged in actual reporting knew that US and British forces were torturing Iraqis from nearly the beginning of the occupation, and continue to do so to this day.
All of this makes me wonder how much longer it will take for other atrocities to come to light. Even just discussing Fallujah, there are many we can choose from. While I’m not the only journalist to have reported on these, let me draw your attention to just a few things that I’ve recorded which took place in Fallujah during the November, 2004 massacre.
In my story “Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone” published on December 3, 2004, there are many instances of war crimes which will, hopefully, be granted the attention they deserve.
Burhan Fasa’a, an Iraqi journalist who worked for the Lebanese satellite TV station, LBC and who was in Fallujah for nine days during the most intense combat, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not speak English.
“Americans did not have interpreters with them,” Fasa’a said, “so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English. They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and [they] shot people because [the people] didn’t obey [the soldiers’] orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a word of English.” He also added, “Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they shot them. But the people just couldn’t understand them.”
A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving white flags while they tried to escape the city.
“I watched them roll over wounded people in the street with tanks,” said Kassem Mohammed Ahmed, a resident of Fallujah. “This happened so many times.”
Other refugees recounted similar stories. “I saw so many civilians killed there, and I saw several tanks roll over the wounded in the streets,” said Aziz Abdulla, 27 years old, who fled the fighting last November. Another resident, Abu Aziz, said he also witnessed American armored vehicles crushing people he believes were alive.
Abdul Razaq Ismail, another resident who fled Fallujah, said: “I saw dead bodies on the ground and nobody could bury them because of the American snipers. The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah.”
A man called Abu Hammad said he witnessed US troops throwing Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates River. Abu Hammed and others also said they saw Americans shooting unarmed Iraqis who waved white flags.
Believing that American and Iraqi forces were bent on killing anyone who stayed in Fallujah, Hammad said he watched people attempt to swim across the Euphrates to escape the siege. “Even then the Americans shot them with rifles from the shore,” he said. “Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white clothes over their heads to show they are not fighters, they were all shot.”
Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein reported witnessing similar events. After running out of basic necessities and deciding to flee the city at the height of the US-led assault, Hussein ran to the Euphrates.
“I decided to swim,” Hussein told colleagues at the AP, who wrote up the photographer’s harrowing story, “but I changed my mind after seeing US helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river.”
Hussein said he saw soldiers kill a family of five as they tried to traverse the Euphrates, before he buried a man by the riverbank with his bare hands.
“I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some US snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim,” Hussein recounted. “I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards.”
A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving white flags while they tried to escape the city. “They shot women and old men in the streets,” he said. “Then they shot anyone who tried to get their bodies.”
“There are bodies the Americans threw in the river,” Khalil continued, noting that he personally witnessed US troops using the Euphrates to dispose of Iraqi dead. “And anyone who stayed thought they would be killed by the Americans, so they tried to swim across the river. Even people who couldn’t swim tried to cross the river. They drowned rather than staying to be killed by the Americans,” said Khalil.
Why should blatant lying from the military come as a surprise? Even back in November of 2003, I wrote about how US forces claimed to have been attacked by, and then killed 48 Fedayin Saddam in Samarra. Then magically, overnight, they raised the number to 54. Upon investigation of this, I found that 8 civilians had been killed in the city, and wrote about it here, and posted photos of it here .
However, why should any of us be surprised at this? When we have an administration which led the country into an illegal war of aggression and continues to lie about it, events like torturing and the use of incendiary weapons on civilians are small change.
(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
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STOP SUPPORTING ISRAEL'S WAR CRIMES!Following is a statement that will be released by Thursday Nov. 17,2005. Please respond by that time if your organzation approves of the statement. Please send your endorsements to Hanna Kawas at email@example.com. Also, please distribute to any other groups you feel would be interested.
"November 13, 2005
The Canadian Hadassah-WIZO is holding its 38th National Convention in Vancouver, November 19th - 23rd, 2005. In addition to the Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, as one of their "Distinguished Guests", also in attendance will be the new Jordanian Ambassador to Canada, Nabil Barto. Barto will be addressing the Gala Banquet that will be held Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005 and will also be speaking on Monday, Nov. 21 alongside the same Israeli Ambassador at a forum called "Partners in Peace", moderated by the Canadian Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Sport, Stephen Owen, a leading member of "Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel".
The Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization) is by name a Zionist organization, although it claims to be "a non-political women's volunteer organization". It is "the largest constituent organization of the Canadian Zionist Federation"; it "serves on the Board of Directors of the Canada-Israel Committee" and is "represented on the Executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress"; and part of its Mission Statement says it "highlights the role of Israel in today's world".
Simply put, this Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, as part of the Zionist movement, is directly responsible for the dispossession of the Palestinian people and the physical liquidation of the Palestinian nation.
Without peace and security for the Palestinian people, without recognizing the injustices that befell the Palestinian nation since 1917, without the realization of the Palestinian inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination, the right to be free from occupation and the right to return to their homeland, Israel, as a supremacist state, should not be rewarded for its continued war crimes against the Palestinian people.
For all the above reasons and recognizing that peace will not be achieved without justice and equality for all, we the undersigned organizations denounce the Jordanian ambassador to Canada and all those* who are giving a cover for brutal Zionist practices. We hold them responsible for Israel's flaunting of international law and conventions, and accordingly hold them complicit in Israel's war crimes and military ventures.
Canada Palestine Association www.cpavancouver.org
Voice of Palestine, Vancouver www.voiceofpalestine.ca"
* Others attending the Canadian Hadassah-WIZO National Convention in Vancouver are:
Iona Campagnolo, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Joy Macphail, Former Head of BC NDP Party
Dr Martha Piper, President, University of British Columbia
Kathleen Bartels, Director, Vancouver Art Gallery
Patricia Graham, Editor in Chief, Vancouver Sun
Dr. Grace McCarthy, OC, OBC, former B.C. Cabinet Minister
Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun Journalist
Marc Gold, Chairman, Canada Israel Committee
Rosalie Zalis, Member of the Executive Committee of AIPAC
Dr. Karen Gelmon, Head of BC Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Screening