As many as 12 soldiers killed themselves in July, the Army announced today, and the service remains on course to setting a record for suicides in a single year. Of the 12 deaths, eight were active-duty soldiers and four were National Guard or Army Reserve soldiers who were not on active duty at the time of their deaths. All 12 deaths are possible suicides and remain under investigation. Typically, about 90 percent of these investigations are ruled suicides, Army officials have said. The Army reported 140 suicides in 2008 and is on track to surpass that number this year.
US soldiers in Iraq have become the largest group in the country to be infected with the deadly A/H1N1 virus, which is rapidly spreading in Asian countries. Iraqi health officials reported on Wednesday that some 67 American soldiers have been diagnosed with swine flu, adding that 23 Iraqis and six other foreigners have tested positive for the deadly virus.
Ray McGovern: "It's there in black and white - The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy." The advantage of the Downing Street minutes is that it's a documentary piece of evidence of the kind that intelligence analysts or investigative reporters or people really lust after in terms of proving a case, and this does prove a case. You have to think back to 2002. Blair was in Crawford, Texas. He committed himself to do whatever Bush decided with respect to war. And then he got a little bit worried. You know, Bush was on the phone with him every other week or so, and Blair was hearing these braggadocio type things about what we're going to do to Saddam and why, and he wanted to check that out. And what better way to check it out than send his intelligence chief to meet with his opposite number, George Tenet, who at that time was head of the CIA and meeting with Bush six mornings a week with the president's daily brief? What better way than to send Sir Richard Dearlove over the Atlantic to meet with Tenet? Now, Tenet was reluctant to meet with him for obvious reasons, but Blair prevailed upon Bush to make Tenet meet with Dearlove. And once you get Tenet going—he's that big, garrulous fellow who likes to brag about all the secrets he knew—well, he really gave Dearlove an earful. The Downing Street memo Pt 2
Since the revelation earlier this week of allegations by two former employees of security firm Blackwater that its owner was complicit in murder in order to cover up the deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians, explosive charges have continued to emerge. Perhaps the most shocking of those charges — quoted by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Thursday from the employees’ sworn declarations — is that Blackwater was guilty of using child prostitutes at its compound in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and that owner Erik Prince knew of this activity and did nothing to stop it. The declarations describe Blackwater as “having young girls provide oral sex to Enterprise members in the ‘Blackwater Man Camp’ in exchange for one American dollar.” They add even though Prince frequently visited this camp, he “failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men.”
Unless the Dept. of Justice re-invokes their twice-invoked "state secrets privilege" claim in order to once again gag former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, her attorneys have notified the department by hand-delivered, sworn letter of declaration [PDF] this week, that she intends to give a public deposition, open to the media, in response to a subpoena this Saturday in Washington D.C. Here's what she's ssaid earlier: Bin Laden worked for US till 9/11: Sibel says that the US maintained 'intimate relations' with Bin Laden, and the Taliban, "all the way until that day of September 11." These 'intimate relations' included using Bin Laden for 'operations' in Central Asia, including Xinjiang, China. [...] This process involved using Turkey (with assistance from 'actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia') as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army.
A series of allegations including murder, weapons smuggling and the deliberate slaughter of civilians have been levelled against the founder of Blackwater, the security company being investigated for shooting deaths in Iraq. In one of the statements, John Doe 2, who worked for Blackwater for four years, alleged that Mr Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe” and that his companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life”. The affidavits and motion have been posted on the website of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, which is representing the Iraqi plaintiffs. CCR: Opposition to Motion to Dismiss in Consolidated Cases Against Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc. et al.
The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God. Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.” PakAlertPress: Flashback 2007: Israel Warns World War III May be Biblical War of Gog and Magog: US President George W. Bush said a nuclear Iran would mean World War III. Israeli newscasts featured Gog & Magog maps of the likely alignment of nations in that potential conflict. Channel 2 and Channel 10 TV showed the world map, sketching the basic alignment of the two opposing axes in a coming world war, in a manner evoking associations of the Gog and Magog prophecy for many viewers. The prophecy of Gog and Magog refers to a great world war centered on the Holy Land and Jerusalem and first appears in the book of Yechezkel (Ezekiel). On one side were Israel, the United States, Britain, France and Germany. On the other were Iran, Russia, China, Syria and North Korea. US President Bush said Wednesday during a press conference that Iran attaining nuclear weapons raises the risk of “World War III.”
An unusually blunt memo (concluding) that Iraqi forces suffer from entrenched deficiencies but are now able to protect the Iraqi government and that it is time “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.” As the old saying goes, ‘Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days,’” Reese wrote. “Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose.” As usual, committing truth horrified Reese’s superiors. Those (Reese’s) conclusions are not shared by the senior U.S. Commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno . . . A spokeswoman for Odierno said that "the memo did not reflect the official stance of the U.S. military and was not intended for a broad audience." Truth never is. On the situation in Iraq as on everything else, the American people get the mushroom treatment. That is how Brave New World works.
Two men who worked for Blackwater allege in a federal lawsuit that Blackwater founder Erik Prince or his agents murdered one or more people who were planning to provide information to federal authorities about criminal conduct by the company and its operatives in Iraq. In his sworn statement, he says he observed “multiple incidents of Blackwater personnel intentionally using unnecessary, excessive and unjustified deadly force.”
has learned from a knowledgeable contractor who served in Iraq and Afghanistan that a number of large U.S. defense contractors have been involved in questionable deals to land major contracts in countries that made up the “Coalition of the Willing” that invaded and occupied Iraq.
The mainstream media accepted without question the Pentagon's claim that it was beginning the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by pulling out of the cities, but the reality is far different.
Amazingly, reports that Eric Holder is considering commencing an investigation into Bush-era torture crimes has created extreme consternation in multiple Beltway circles despite how narrow and limited those investigations would be. As I wrote last week, numerous reports indicate that Holder wants to replicate the Abu Ghraib travesty by investigating only low-level interrogators who exceeded the torture limits approved by John Yoo and George Bush, and not investigate the high-level policy makers who instituted the criminal torture regime or the DOJ lawyers who authorized it.
Perhaps the worst incident at Abu Ghraib involved a girl aged 12 or 13 who screamed for help to her brother in an upper cell while stripped naked and beaten. Iraqi journalist Suhaib Badr-Addin al-Baz, who heard the girl's screams, also witnessed an ill 15-year-old who was forced to run up and down with two heavy cans of water and beaten whenever he stopped. When he finally collapsed, guards stripped and poured cold water on him. Finally, a hooded man was brought in. When unhooded, the boy realized that the man was his father, who doubtless was being intimidated into confessing something upon sight of his brutalized son.
Eight people were killed and more than 60 wounded in a spate of bomb attacks in Baghdad and the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on Tuesday, security and medical officials said.
Hundreds of people are believed to have sold kidneys and other organs through dealers in the capital, Baghdad, over the last year. Karim Hussein made the long journey from Amara, a province in the south of Iraq, to Baghdad because he was desperate for the $3,000 he would get from the sale of a kidney there.
Zaineb Alani is an Iraqi antiwar activist living in the U.S. In this speech delivered at the July 10-12 conference of the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, she explains why the so-called "withdrawal" of U.S. forces from Iraq means anything but an end to the occupation.
Has it all come to this? The wars and invasions, the death and destruction, the exile and torture, the resistance and collapse? In a world of shrinking energy reserves, is Iraq finally fated to become what it was going to be anyway, even before the chaos and catastrophe set in: a giant gas pump for an energy-starved planet? Will it all end not with a bang, but with a gusher? The latest oil news out of that country offers at least a hint of Iraq's fate.
A deluge of timed explosive car bombs have assailed Baghdad. The deadliest was an organized orchestrated spate of bombs that targeted 8 churches (not 5 as reported in the media) - 8 houses of God, 7 in Baghdad and 1 in Mosul.
Soldier shouts abuse at Iraqi prisoners in video shown to Baha Mousa inquiry. Source: Press Association Link to this video. A British soldier screamed at hooded Iraqi prisoners, calling them "apes", and others made Iraqis cry out in an "orchestrated choir" and forced one detainee to dance "in the style of Michael Jackson", the public inquiry into the death in military custody of Baha Mousa heard today.
Iraq's U.S.-led invaders inflicted serious damage on Babylon, driving heavy machinery over sacred paths, bulldozing hilltops and digging trenches through one of the world's greatest archaeological sites, experts for UNESCO said Thursday. "The use of Babylon as a military base was a grave encroachment on this internationally known archaeological site," said a report which the U.N. cultural agency presented in Paris. UNESCO officials stressed that the damage didn't begin with the U.S. military's arrival nor fully end after it left. Archaeologists took away some of Babylon's finest treasures in the 19th century, Saddam Hussein embellished the site with his own structures, and looters returned when the Americans handed the site back to the Iraqis 21 months after the March 2003 invasion. BBC: US criticised for damage to Babylon (Video).
On Sunday he declared all troops were out of Iraq’s cities, but today top US commander in Iraq General Raymond Odierno conceded that “a small number” of US troops are still there, and “will remain in cities to train, advise, coordinate with Iraqi security forces, as well as enable them to move forward.”
Two years before the invasion of Iraq, oil executives and foreign policy advisers told the Bush administration that the United States would remain "a prisoner of its energy dilemma" as long as Saddam Hussein was in power. That April 2001 report, "Strategic Policy Challenges for the 21st Century," was prepared by the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy and the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations at the request of then-Vice President Dick Cheney. In retrospect, it appears that the report helped focus administration thinking on why it made geopolitical sense to oust Hussein, whose country sat on the world's second largest oil reserves. "Iraq remains a de-stabilizing influence to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East," the report said.
The corporate media is getting all giddy and affording blanket coverage to the story of Iraqis who are “regaining their sovereignty” as U.S. troops are pulled out from Iraqi cities. This is of course lurid and baseless propaganda - hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq stationed at the dozens of military bases that have been built across the country.
"A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs," the magazine's Jane Mayer writes in the magazine's June 22nd issue. "Military pathologists classified the case a homicide." The date of the murder was not given.
U.S. troops prepare to conduct raids in Baghran Valley in Afghanistan (Spc. Preston Cheeks) DESPITE THE Obama administration's attempts to put a new face on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the once-forgotten "good war" now captures headlines daily as NATO forces face increased fighting and further instability in a region that has been torn apart by decades of warfare.
Tony Blair tried to stop the Iraq war inquiry being held in public as new evidence emerged suggesting that he knew Saddam Hussein may not have weapons of mass destruction. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said this morning that the former Prime Minister cannot appear behind closed doors and must speak under oath. Otherwise “people [will] feel this is just a grand cover-up for, after all, what was the biggest foreign policy mistake this country has made since Suez”. The Guardian: Tony Blair knew of secret policy on terror interrogations. After Downing Street: What Bush Told Blair Could End the Wars: The single most powerful, and yet largely ignored, document yet to emerge, might, now in 2009, finally, produce results. And, of course, it is our friends over in England who are, as always, two steps ahead of us. This document, or rather, reports of it, emerged in February 2006. We labeled it the White House Memo and began promoting awareness of it. We did not get far with the US corporate media. This is the same document that Vincent Bugliosi refers to as "the Manning Memo" in his book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder".
The latest supplemental appropriation bill to fund US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan received final passage by the House of Representatives on Tuesday and by the Senate on Thursday.
Critics said the war was all about the nation's lucrative fuel industry. Are they now being proved right? For many Iraqis, the reason the US invaded their country in 2003 was to get control of their oil.
The Senate passed by unanimous consent Wednesday a bill that would prevent the release of controversial photos of alleged U.S. abuse of prisoners and detainees. Sen. Lindsey Graham says if necessary, the White House will classify the photos to keep them out of the public eye. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, had originally been part of the war funding supplemental bill passed Tuesday by the House.
A war funding bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly yesterday, but the 91 to 5 vote came after a fractured process that included objections from Republicans and Democrats alike, and required President Obama to intervene repeatedly to lobby members of his own party for his foreign policy vision.
Colbert taped four episodes of his nightly show in Baghdad June 8-11 before an audience of American military personnel. The US-led occupation has been a human catastrophe for the Iraqi people, with as many as 1 million dead and millions forced into internal or external exile, and tens of thousands of American men and women killed or wounded as well. This infamous war, for much of the world’s population, will be eternally identified with such names as Abu Ghraib, Haditha and Fallujah—in other words, with torture, atrocity and massacre. Millions and millions of people across the globe understand what the invasion was really about: the seizure of Iraq’s vast oil supplies. The word “oil” was never once uttered by the complacent Mr. Colbert. Stephen Colbert’s trip to Iraq [is] disgraceful.
To public fury, the country is handing over control of its fields to foreign companies, the Iraqi government's controversial plan to give international oil companies a stake in its giant oilfields in a desperate effort to raise declining oil production and revenues.
Negotiators in the US House and Senate on Friday reached a tentative agreement on a $105.9 billion “emergency” war-funding bill for US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan through September. The Obama administration paved the way for the agreement by promising Senate Democrats that it would continue to suppress dozens of photographs of US military and intelligence personnel torturing Iraqi prisoners. Full approval should come this week, bringing the total Congressional allocation for the wars to more than $900 billion since 2001. After Downing Street: Stop the War Supplemental.
An Iraqi national referendum on last year’s security pact with the US is currently scheduled to take place on July 30. According to Iraqi law, if voters reject the pact, which calls for the US to remove all troops by December 31, 2011, Washington would have to remove its military 17 months sooner—by July 30 of 2010. Should the vote be held as scheduled, it is a virtual certainty that the Iraqi masses will repudiate the pact. Washington, of course, has no intention of obeying any popular referendum.
In a new book, “Media In Crisis”(Doukathsan), Baker quotes Herskowitz as telling him: “He (Bush) said he wanted to do it(invade Iraq), and the reason he wanted to do it is he had been led to understand that you could not really have a successful presidency unless you were seen as commander-in-chief, unless you were seen as waging a war.”
Cheney said in an interview on Fox News: “On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9-11, there was never any evidence to prove that,” he told the Fox host. “There was “some reporting early on … but that was never borne out… [President] George [Bush] … did say and did testify that there was an ongoing relationship between al-Qaeda and Iraq, but no proof that Iraq was involved in 9-11.” How important is Cheney's admission?
According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander in chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of “Private Security Contractors” working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which “correlates to the build up of forces” in the country. These numbers relate explicitly to DoD security contractors.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph published Wednesday, former US General Antonio Taguba said that photographs the Obama administration is seeking to suppress show images of US soldiers raping and sodomizing Iraqi prisoners.
Amid mounting violence in Iraq and preparations for a major escalation of the US war in Afghanistan, the chief of staff of the US Army said that the military is preparing to continue its interventions in the two countries for at least another decade.
Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged. At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee. Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube. Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts. at-Largely: Photos Obama won't release include images of rape...(warning, graphic) + Something I missed.
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