Coverup of Extensive War Crimes: 40th Anniversary of the My Lai Massacre

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Gary G. Kohls
Global Research, March 15, 2008
– 2008-03-14

photos: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8339

Global Research Editor’s Note

In a bitter irony, Colin Powell, who was responsible for the coverup of the My Lai massacre acceded to a “brilliant” career in the Armed Forces. In 2001 he was appointed Secretary of State in the Bush administration. Although never indicted, Powell was also deeply implicated in the Iran-Contra affair.

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BBC Coverage of Winter Soldier

Dandelion Salad

ivaw

BBC News covers Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan, IVAW’s testimony about the experiences of troops in the occupations.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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h/t: After Downing Street

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Winter Soldier: Jesse Hamilton + Fight to Survive (videos)

Winter Soldiers Testimony (videos)

Iraq war veterans accuse US military of coverups (videos)

US/IRAQ: Rules of Engagement “Thrown Out the Window” by Dahr Jamail

Winter soldier testimonials + Hart Viges (videos)

MIR: Iraq – Five More Years? (video)

Soldiers – Troops

Iraq

Silenced by the men in white socks By Robert Fisk

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Fisk
ICH
03/16/08 “The Independent

The Damascus Spring has presaged no golden summer for Syria

Shut them up. Accuse them. Imprison them. Stop them talking. Why is it that this seems to have become a symbol of the Arab – or Muslim – world? Yes I know about our Western reputation for free speech; from the Roman Empire to the Spanish inquisition, from Henry VIII to Robespierre, from Mussolini and Stalin to Hitler, even – on a pitiable scale – to Mr Anthony Blair. But it’s getting hard to avoid the Middle East.

When Egyptian women cry “Enough!”, they are sexually abused by Mubarak’s cops. When Algerians demand to know which policemen killed their relatives, they are arrested for ignoring the regime’s amnesty. When Benazir Bhutto is murdered in Rawalpindi, a cloak of silence falls over the world’s imams. Pontificating about the assassination in Pakistan, Shaikh es-Sayed, who runs one of Canada’s biggest mosques, expressed his condolences to “families of beloved brothers and sisters who died in the incident [sic]”. Asked why he didn’t mention Bhutto’s name, he replied: “Why? This is not a political arena. This is about religion. That’s politics.” Well, it certainly is in Syria. George Bush – along with M. Sarkozy – has been berating Damascus for its lack of democracy and its human rights abuses and its supposed desire to gobble up Lebanon and “Palestine” and even Cyprus. But I always feel that Syria had a raw deal these past 90 years.

First came the one-armed General Henri Gouraud, who tore Lebanon off from Syria in 1920 and gave it to the pro-French Christians. Then Paris handed the Syrian coastal city of Alexandretta to the Turks in 1939 – sending survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide into exile for a second time – in the hope that Turkey would join the Allies against Hitler. (The Turks obliged – in 1945!) Then in the Six Day War, Syria lost the Golan Heights – subsequently annexed by Israel. Far from being expansionist, Syria seems to get robbed of land every two decades.

On the death of Hafez al-Assad in 2000 – it’s extraordinary how, like Sharon now that he is comatose, we come to like these old rogues once they’ve departed – we were told there was to be a “Damascus Spring”. I always thought this a bit dodgy. I’d experienced the Lebanon Spring and read about the Ukraine Spring and I’m old enough to remember the Prague Spring, which ended in tears and tanks. And sure enough, the Damascus Spring presaged no golden summer for Syria.

Instead, we’ve gone back to the midnight knock and the clanging of the cell door. Why – oh why – must this be so? Why did the Syrian secret police have to arrest Dr Ahmed Thoma, Dr Yasser el-Aiti, Jabr al-Shufi, Fayez Sara, Ali al-Abdulla and Rashed Sattouf in December, only days after they – along with 163 other brave Syrians – had attended a meeting of the Damascus Declaration for Democratic Change? The delegates had elected Dr Fida al-Hurani head of their organisation. She, too, was arrested, and her husband, Dr Gazi Alayan, a Palestinian who had lived in Syria for 18 years, deported to Jordan.

The net spread wider, as they say in police reports. The renowned Syrian artist Talal Abu Dana was arrested up in Aleppo, his studio trashed and his paintings destroyed. Then on 18 February, Kamel al-Moyel from the lovely hill town of Zabadani, on the steam train route from Damascus, was picked up by the boys in white socks. A point of explanation here. Almost all Middle East Moukhabarat men – perhaps because a clothing emporium has won a concession for the region’s secret policemen – wear white socks. The only ones who don’t are the Israeli variety, who wear old baseball hats.

Needless to say, the Syrian prisoners were not ignored by their regime. A certain Dr Shuabi, who runs a certain Data and Strategic Studies Centre in Damascus, appeared on al-Jazeera to denounce the detainees for “dealing with foreign powers”. Dr al-Hurani suffered from angina and was briefly sent to hospital before being returned to the Duma jail. But when the prisoners were at last brought to the Palace of Justice, Ali al-Abdulla appeared to have bruises on his body. Judge Mohamed al-Saa’our – the third investigative judge in Damascus, appointed by the ministry of interior – presided over the case at which the detainees were accused of “spreading false information”, forming a secret organisation to overthrow the regime, and for inciting “sectarian and racist tendencies”. The hearing, as they say, continues.

But why? Well, back on 4 December, George Bush met at the White House – the rendezvous was initially kept secret – the former Syrian MP Mamoun al-Homsi (who currently lives, dangerously perhaps, in Beirut) with Amar Abdulhamid, a member of a think thank run by a former Israeli lobbyist, and Djengizkhan Hasso, a Kurdish opposition activist. Nine days later, an official “source” leaked the meeting to the press. Which is about the time the Syrian Moukhabarat decided to pounce. So whose idea was the meeting? Was it, perhaps, supposed – once it became public – to provoke the Syrian cops into action?

The Damascus newspaper Tichrine – the Syrian equivalent of Private Eye’s Rev Blair newsletter – demanded to know why Washington was showing such concern for human rights in Syria. Was not the American-supported blockade of one and a half million Gaza Palestinians a violation of the rights of man? Had not the Arabs seen all too clearly Washington’s concern for the rights of man in Abu Ghraib and Guanatanamo? All true. But why on earth feed America’s propaganda machine (Syria as the centre of Hamas/ Hiz-bollah/Islamic Jihad terror, etc) with weekly arrests of middle-aged academics and even, it transpires, the vice-dean of the Islamic studies faculty at Damascus University?

Of course, you won’t find Israel or the United States engaged in this kind of thing. Absolutely not. Why, just two months ago, the Canadian foreign minister, Maxime Bernier, discovered that a confidential document sent to Canadian diplomats included a list of countries in which prisoners risked being tortured – and the names of America and Israel were on the list! Merde! Fortunately for us all, M. Bernier knew how to deal with such pernicious lies. The document, he announced, “wrongly includes some of our closest allies. It doesn’t represent the opinion or the policy of the (Canadian) government”. Even though, of course, the list is correct.

But M. Bernier managed to avoid and close down the truth, just as Mr Mubarak does in Cairo and President Bouteflika does in Algiers and just as the good Shaikh es-Sayed did in Toronto. Syria, according to Haitham al-Maleh, a former Syrian judge, claims there are now almost 3,000 political prisoners in Syria. But how many, I wonder, are there in Algeria? Or in Egypt? Or in the hands – secret or otherwise – of the United States? Shut them up. Lock them up. Silence.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Three Easy Pieces: The Dollar, Paulson & Carlyle Capital By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

Digg It

By Mike Whitney
03/16/08 “ICH

The Bedraggled Greenback

So far, so bad. On Wednesday, crude-futures topped $110 for the first time, the dollar slipped to $1.55 per euro, and gold zoomed to a new high of $1,000 per ounce. Yikes. The dollar has been shoved off a cliff and no one knows where it will land. Last week, the G-7 nations announced that if “irrational” prices movements persisted, they would “collectively take suitable measures to calm the financial markets.” Their statement was taken to mean that foreign central banks will secretly intervene in the currency markets to stop the dollar from crashing. But can they do it? Only the Fed can raise interest rates and the market is betting that Bernanke will slash another 75 basis points at its next meeting. That ought to send the sinking greenback to Davey Jones Locker in a hurry.

The dollar has plunged from $.87 on the euro in 2002 to $1.55 on March 12, 2008; losing nearly half its value since Bush took office. And there’s no sign of a turnaround. Henry Paulson’s “strong dollar” policy is a load of malarkey. The Fed has been pummeling the dollar for the last six years. Why stop now? They’ve already said they want a cheap dollar to increase exports; now they’ve got it, along with $110 oil and $6 per gallon milk. Any other bright ideas? Now, living standards will fall, prices will soar, and the public wil get restless. No country ever devalued its way to prosperity, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be the first. Just look at Zimbabwe; there’s a success story, right?

The plan to debase the currency is as loony as invading Iraq and the country will pay dearly for it.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal broke down the relationship between the dollar and oil and revealed the ugly truth; that consumers are getting gouged at the pump because of Bush’s policies not Saudi greed:

“Since 2001 the dollar price of oil and gold have run almost in tandem. The price of gold has risen 240% since 2001, while the price of oil has risen 270%. That means that if the dollar had remained “as good as gold” since 2001, oil today would be selling at about $30 a barrel, not $100. Gold has traditionally been a rough proxy for the price level, so the decline of the dollar against gold and oil suggests a US monetary that is supplying too many dollars”.” (“Oil and the Dollar” Wall Street Journal)

There it is in black and white. Bush’s dollar policy has taken us where Bin Laden never could; the edge of ruin. The consumer is getting clobbered, the country is slipping into recession, and the greenback is hanging by a thread. Thanks, George.

According to Bloomberg News the dollar has bounced back slightly from its historic lows at $1.56 per euro on the news of possible intervention by foreign banks. But what a humiliation. The dollar is like Blanche Dubois in “A Streetcar Named desire” who “Always depended on the generosity of strangers”. Pretty soon, foreign lenders will get tired of America’s reckless behavior and let the dollar shrink to the size of a peso. Why would they care? For now, Japan and the European Central Bank still think the US can be cajoled into acting like a responsible adult and put the ship of state and its currency back on course. But, they’re dreaming. There’s not an adult in the entire Bush administration. Foreign exporters will have to slow production as demand decreases. We’re headed into a defaltionary slump and there’s no longer any doubt about it. Bernanke is planning to ride interest rates into the ground just to prove that his nutty Depression-aversion theories have some merit. But, guess what? They don’t. In less than a year the greenback will be worth less than a hand-D-wipe.

According to Bloomberg News: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley said coordinated action by policy makers to stem the currency’s slide is increasingly likely. In intervention, central banks buy and sell currencies to influence exchange rates. (But) Sentiment remains overwhelmingly dollar negative, though preliminary technical factors warn that a broader period of dollar consolidation may be at hand.

So, the banksters are planning on are rigging the currency markets. What else is new? But do they ever think “outside the box”, like doing something honest for a change? Not likely. This is their system and they run it the way they like. Period. But the fate of the poor greenback is out of the Fed’s control no matter what the banks do. As the housing bust continues, the credit crisis will worsen and the US will begin a protracted recession. That means that foreign capital will seek other markets where the growth potential is stronger. Bye, bye “purple mountains majesty”. When foreign investment packs up and leaves, the dollar will follow the stock market straight into the fish-tank.

Glub, glub.

There’s another reason to believe the dollar won’t rebound, too, that is, that Fed chairman Bernanke is deliberately undercutting the dollar to stimulate the economy. Bernanke believes that we are presently in a deflationary recession, which is more serious than a normal downturn in the business cycle. If that is the case then he is probably following a strategy which he mapped out during his time as an academic.

“It’s worth noting that there have been times when exchange-rate policy has been an effective weapon against deflation,” Bernanke said, citing the 40 percent devaluation of the dollar against gold enacted in 1933 to 1934. “The devaluation and the rapid increase in money supply it permitted ended the U.S. deflation remarkably quickly. Monetary actions can have powerful effects on the economy.”

This quote suggests that Bernanke will continue to cut rates and debase the currency in an effort to shorten the looming recession. Unfortunately, there are roughly $6 trillion in US dollar-backed assets around the world which could be quickly dumped on US shores if Bernanke goofs up and foreign holders of USDs start selling their paper on the open market. That would trigger a round of Wiemar-like hyperinflation in the homeland that would terminate the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency as well as America’s role as the global superpower. Let’s hope that Professor Bernanke knows how to tip-toe his way through the mine-field or the whole economy could get a unwelcome jolt.

THE DISSEMBLING SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY

“We’ve taken a clear position on this saying a strong dollar is in our nation’s interest,” Henry Paulson

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson unveiled a number of proposals to address to question of regulation. A great deal of pressure is being put on administration officials to come up with ideas that will avoid another market meltdown like the subprime fiasco. The “President’s Working Group on Financial Markets” made a number recommendations all dealing with the basic issues of transparency, oversight, due diligence, and disclosure. On every issue, the slippery Paulson managed to avoid the idea that the Federal government actually has a role to play in regulating big business. Its funny, really. Here’s Paulson, sitting amid the ruins of the subprime/securitization meltdown that he and his carpetbagging bankster buddies engineered; and he still resists every suggestion that the markets be better policed. It’s mind-boggling.

Here’s a sample of the gibberish that Paulson used to conceal the fact that he really plans to do “nothing at all” and that the crooked sideshow they run on Wall Street will just move to its next shell-game completely unregulated:

“State and federal authorities should coordinate to enforce the rules evenly across all types of mortgage originators…” (Ed. Note: So, where was the Fed and the SEC while all this crappy paper was changing hands, Hank)

“Overseers of institutional investors (for example, the Department of Labor for private pension funds; state treasurers for public pension funds; and the SEC for money market funds) should require investors (and their asset managers) to obtain from sponsors and underwriters of securitized credits access to better information about the risk characteristics of such credits…” (ed note: More official sounding gobbledygook which means: “You probably should tell the investors that they are getting ripped off when they buy worthless subprime garbage from Wall Street hucksters like Paulson)

“Supervisors of global financial institutions should closely monitor the firms’ efforts to address risk management weaknesses, taking action if necessary to ensure that weaknesses are addressed…” (ed note: Oh, Please. The statement presumes that some of the brightest people in the country didn’t know they were wrapping up goose-poop and selling it as Beluga Caviar. The subprime scam was an obvious swindle from the get-go.)

“U.S. banking regulators and the SEC should promptly assess current guidance…and should adopt policies that provide incentives for financial institutions to hold capital and liquidity cushions commensurate with firm-wide exposure…” (Ed note: Here we go again; incentives, incentives, incentives. That’s not how one regulates a pirate’s cove like Wall Street. What’s needed is tasers, truncheons and a 25 ft post and beam gallows on the street in front of the New York Stock Exchange. That’s the only way to get the attention of the crooks who run the banking system)

None of these recommendations will fix the system or provide the oversight needed to save the financial industry from its own self-destructive impulses. The first step is campaign reform so we get the money out of the political system so the captains of industry (the foxes) like G-Sax Paulson are not put in charge of the industry (the hen-house)

POST MORTEM FOR CARLYLE

The politically-connected Carlyle Capital hedge fund was wheeled into ICU on Thursday unable to make a measly $400 million margin call. Carlyle boasted a $21.7 billion portfolio of AAA-rated residential mortgage-backed securities issued by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. So where’s the money?

The fund had leveraged its $670 million in equity to 32 times its value. Now the stock has lost over 90 per cent of its value and has defaulted on $16.6 billion of its debt. About $5.7 billion of the defaulted debt has been sold, the Carlyle Group said Thursday.

What is interesting here is the fact that “$5.7 billion of the defaulted debt has been sold” but Carlyle still couldn’t pay its paltry $400 million margin call? Why?

Is the $5.7 billion the estimated face-value of the Freddie Mac bonds? If that is the case—and I suspect it is—then we have discovered something very important, that even triple A rated mortgage-backed bonds are worthless. That’s a very scary prospect for the many banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, and retirement funds that are currently holding trillions of dollars of these toxic MBS. They could be worth zero, which means we could see a rash of defaults and bankruptcies unlike anything in history.

According to Reuters: “Carlyle Capital shook financial markets last week after it was unable to offer more collateral to protect its $21.7 billion portfolio of residential-mortgage-backed bonds. The banks that had loaned money demanded more collateral, known as a margin call, to cover the gap between the previous value of the securities and their current, lower level.”

Again, this is a very small margin call for a fund of this size that’s loaded with Triple A-rated securities. All we want to know is, what they got paid for their Fannie Mae bonds? How much? But the media is not reporting that critical bit of news.

Reuters offers this one revealing clue in a statement issued by Carlyle:

“Overall, it has become apparent to the company that the basis on which lenders are willing to provide financing against the company’s collateral has changed so substantially that a successful refinancing is not possible.”

Ah-ha! “Refinancing is not possible”. Not possible at any price regardless of the quality or the rating. That is exactly what we wanted to hear.

Guess what; the subprime meltdown just got a whole lot bigger. As the massive cycle of deleveraging continues for the over-extended hedge funds; Triple A assets will be sold for merely pennies on the dollar sending the faltering banking system into a last, lethal swan dive. Good riddance.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

“Bernankerupted”: Bear Stearns Fire-sale sends Global Markets Plunging; Dollar Routed

The Total Collapse Of The Global Economy (video)

Massive Debt Default by Mike Whitney

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.Digg It

Winter Soldiers Testimony (videos)

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

Winter Soldiers: Clifton Hicks and Steven Casey

Hicks and Casey: Indiscriminate killings in Iraq

Winter Soldier: An Iraqi perspective

More: http://therealnews.com/c.php?c=080301YT
Iraqi journalist Salam Talib describes the divide between the American and Iraqi perspective of the war

Sunday March 16th, 2008

Salam Talib is an Iraqi citizen. He worked as a translator for US journalists after the war and started reporting from Iraq himself in 2005. He recently moved to San Francisco to study computer engineering.

Winter Soldier: Steve Mortillo

Mortillo: War distorts soldiers’ humanity

Winter Soldier: Adam Kokesh

Kokesh: On rules of engagement

Winter Soldier: Captain Luis Montalvan

Captain Luis Montalvan on the media, propaganda and uncovering the whole story in Iraq

see

US/IRAQ: Rules of Engagement “Thrown Out the Window” by Dahr Jamail

Winter soldier testimonials + Hart Viges (videos)

We Own The World By Noam Chomsky

Dandelion Salad

By Noam Chomsky
ICH
03/16/08 “ZNet

Adapted from a Z Media Institute talk, June 2007

January, 01 2008

You all know, of course, there was an election — what is called “an election” in the United States — last November. There was really one issue in the election, what to do about U.S. forces in Iraq and there was, by U.S. standards, an overwhelming vote calling for a withdrawal of U.S. forces on a firm timetable.

As few people know, a couple of months earlier there were extensive polls in Iraq, U.S.-run polls, with interesting results. They were not secret here. If you really looked you could find references to them, so it’s not that they were concealed. This poll found that two-thirds of the people in Baghdad wanted the U.S. troops out immediately; the rest of the country — a large majority — wanted a firm timetable for withdrawal, most of them within a year or less.

The figures are higher for Arab Iraq in the areas where troops were actually deployed. A very large majority felt that the presence of U.S. forces increased the level of violence and a remarkable 60 percent for all of Iraq, meaning higher in the areas where the troops are deployed, felt that U.S. forces were legitimate targets of attack. So there was a considerable consensus between Iraqis and Americans on what should be done in Iraq, namely troops should be withdrawn either immediately or with a firm timetable.

Well, the reaction in the post-election U.S. government to that consensus was to violate public opinion and increase the troop presence by maybe 30,000 to 50,000. Predictably, there was a pretext announced. It was pretty obvious what it was going to be. “There is outside interference in Iraq, which we have to defend the Iraqis against. The Iranians are interfering in Iraq.” Then came the alleged evidence about finding IEDs, roadside bombs with Iranian markings, as well as Iranian forces in Iraq. “What can we do? We have to escalate to defend Iraq from the outside intervention.”

Then came the “debate.” We are a free and open society, after all, so we have “lively” debates. On the one side were the hawks who said, “The Iranians are interfering, we have to bomb them.” On the other side were the doves who said, “We cannot be sure the evidence is correct, maybe you misread the serial numbers or maybe it is just the revolutionary guards and not the government.”

So we had the usual kind of debate going on, which illustrates a very important and pervasive distinction between several types of propaganda systems. To take the ideal types, exaggerating a little: totalitarian states’ propaganda is that you better accept it, or else. And “or else” can be of various consequences, depending on the nature of the state. People can actually believe whatever they want as long as they obey. Democratic societies use a different method: they don’t articulate the party line. That’s a mistake. What they do is presuppose it, then encourage vigorous debate within the framework of the party line. This serves two purposes. For one thing it gives the impression of a free and open society because, after all, we have lively debate. It also instills a propaganda line that becomes something you presuppose, like the air you breathe.

That was the case here. This is a classic illustration. The whole debate about the Iranian “interference” in Iraq makes sense only on one assumption, namely, that “we own the world.” If we own the world, then the only question that can arise is that someone else is interfering in a country we have invaded and occupied.

So if you look over the debate that took place and is still taking place about Iranian interference, no one points out this is insane. How can Iran be interfering in a country that we invaded and occupied? It’s only appropriate on the presupposition that we own the world. Once you have that established in your head, the discussion is perfectly sensible.

You read a lot of comparisons now about Vietnam and Iraq. For the most part they are totally incomparable; the nature and purpose of the war, almost everything is totally different except in one respect: how they are perceived in the United States. In both cases there is what is now sometimes called the “Q” word, quagmire. Is it a quagmire? In Vietnam it is now recognized that it was a quagmire. There is a debate of whether Iraq, too, is a quagmire. In other words, is it costing us too much? That is the question you can debate.

So in the case of Vietnam, there was a debate. Not at the beginning — in fact, there was so little discussion in the beginning that nobody even remembers when the war began — 1962, if you’re interested. That’s when the U.S. attacked Vietnam. But there was no discussion, no debate, nothing.

By the mid-1960s, mainstream debate began. And it was the usual range of opinions between the hawks and the doves. The hawks said if we send more troops, we can win. The doves, well, Arthur Schlesinger, famous historian, Kennedy’s advisor, in his book in 1966 said that we all pray that the hawks will be right and that the current escalation of troops, which by then was approaching half a million, will work and bring us victory. If it does, we will all be praising the wisdom and statesmanship of the American government for winning victory — in a land that we’re reducing to ruin and wreck.

You can translate that word by word to the doves today. We all pray that the surge will work. If it does, contrary to our expectations, we will be praising the wisdom and statesmanship of the Bush administration in a country, which, if we’re honest, is a total ruin, one of the worst disasters in military history for the population.

If you get way to the left end of mainstream discussion, you get somebody like Anthony Lewis who, at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, wrote in retrospect that the war began with benign intensions to do good; that is true by definition, because it’s us, after all. So it began with benign intentions, but by 1969, he said, it was clear that the war was a mistake. For us to win a victory would be too costly — for us — so it was a mistake and we should withdraw. That was the most extreme criticism.

Very much like today. We could withdraw from Vietnam because the U.S. had already essentially obtained its objective by then. Iraq we can’t because we haven’t obtained our objectives.

And for those of you who are old enough to remember — or have read about it — you will note that the peace movement pretty much bought that line. Just like the mainstream discussion, the opposition of the war, including the peace movement, was mostly focused on the bombing of the North. When the U.S. started bombing the North regularly in February 1965, it also escalated the bombing of the South to triple the scale — and the South had already been attacked for three years by then. A couple of hundred thousand South Vietnamese were killed and thousands, if not tens of the thousands, had been driven into concentration camps. The U.S. had been carrying out chemical warfare to destroy food crops and ground cover. By 1965 South Vietnam was already a total wreck.

Bombing the South was costless for the United States because the South had no defense. Bombing the North was costly — you bomb the North, you bomb the harbor, you might hit Russian ships, which begins to become dangerous. You’re bombing an internal Chinese railroad — the Chinese railroads from southeast to southwest China happen to go through North Vietnam — who knows what they might do.

In fact, the Chinese were accused, correctly, of sending Chinese forces into Vietnam, namely to rebuild the railroad that we were bombing. So that was “interference” with our divine right to bomb North Vietnam. So most of the focus was on the bombing of the North. The peace movement slogan, “Stop the bombing” meant the bombing of the North.

In 1967 the leading specialist on Vietnam, Bernard Fall, a military historian and the only specialist on Vietnam respected by the U.S. government — who was a hawk, incidentally, but who cared about the Vietnamese — wrote that it’s a question of whether Vietnam will survive as a cultural and historical entity under the most severe bombing that has ever been applied to a country this size. He was talking about the South. He kept emphasizing it was the South that was being attacked. But that didn’t matter because it was costless, therefore it’s fine to continue. That is the range of debate, which only makes sense on the assumption that we own the world.

If you read, say, the Pentagon Papers, it turns out there was extensive planning about the bombing of the North — very detailed, meticulous planning on just how far it can go, what happens if we go a little too far, and so on. There is no discussion at all about the bombing of the South, virtually none. Just an occasional announcement, okay, we will triple the bombing, or something like that.

If you read Robert McNamara’s memoirs of the war — by that time he was considered a leading dove — he reviews the meticulous planning about the bombing of the North, but does not even mention his decision to sharply escalate the bombing of the South at the same time that the bombing of the North was begun.

I should say, incidentally, that with regard to Vietnam what I have been discussing is articulate opinion, including the leading part of the peace movement. There is also public opinion, which it turns out is radically different, and that is of some significance. By 1969 around 70 percent of the public felt that the war was not a mistake, but that it was fundamentally wrong and immoral. That was the wording of the polls and that figure remains fairly constant up until the most recent polls just a few years ago. The figures are pretty remarkable because people who say that in a poll almost certainly think, I must be the only person in the world that thinks this. They certainly did not read it anywhere, they did not hear it anywhere. But that was popular opinion.

The same is true with regard to many other issues. But for articulate opinion it’s pretty much the way I’ve described — largely vigorous debate between the hawks and the doves, all on the unexpressed assumption that we own the world. So the only thing that matters is how much is it costing us, or maybe for some more humane types, are we harming too many of them?

Getting back to the election, there was a lot of disappointment among anti-war people — the majority of the population — that Congress did not pass any withdrawal legislation. There was a Democratic resolution that was vetoed, but if you look at the resolution closely it was not a withdrawal resolution. There was a good analysis of it by General Kevin Ryan, who was a fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard. He went through it and he said it really should be called a re-missioning proposal. It leaves about the same number of American troops, but they have a slightly different mission.

He said, first of all it allows for a national security exception. If the president says there is a national security issue, he can do whatever he wants — end of resolution. The second gap is it allows for anti-terrorist activities. Okay, that is whatever you like. Third, it allows for training Iraqi forces. Again, anything you like.

Next it says troops have to remain for protection of U.S. forces and facilities. What are U.S. forces? Well, U.S. forces are those embedded in Iraqi armed units where 60 percent of their fellow soldiers think that they — U.S. troops, that is — are legitimate targets of attack. Incidentally, those figures keep going up, so they are probably higher by now. Well, okay, that is plenty of force protection. What facilities need protection was not explained in the Democratic resolution, but facilities include what is called “the embassy.” The U.S. embassy in Iraq is nothing like any embassy that has ever existed in history. It’s a city inside the green zone, the protected region of Iraq, that the U.S. runs. It’s got everything from missiles to McDonalds, anything you want. They didn’t build that huge facility because they intend to leave.

That is one facility, but there are others. There are “semi-permanent military bases,” which are being built around the country. “Semi-permanent” means permanent, as long as we want.

General Ryan omitted a lot of things. He omitted the fact that the U.S. is maintaining control of logistics and logistics is the core of a modern Army. Right now about 80 percent of the supply is coming in though the south, from Kuwait, and it’s going through guerilla territory, easily subject to attack, which means you have to have plenty of troops to maintain that supply line. Plus, of course, it keeps control over the Iraqi Army.

The Democratic resolution excludes the Air Force. The Air Force does whatever it wants. It is bombing pretty regularly and it can bomb more intensively. The resolution also excludes mercenaries, which is no small number — sources such as the Wall Street Journal estimate the number of mercenaries at about 130,000, approximately the same as the number of troops, which makes some sense. The traditional way to fight a colonial war is with mercenaries, not with your own soldiers — that is the French Foreign Legion, the British Ghurkas, or the Hessians in the Revolutionary War. That is part of the main reason the draft was dropped — so you get professional soldiers, not people you pick off the streets.

So, yes, it is re-missioning, but the resolution was vetoed because it was too strong, so we don’t even have that. And, yes, that did disappoint a lot of people. However, it would be too strong to say that no high official in Washington called for immediate withdrawal. There were some. The strongest one I know of — when asked what is the solution to the problem in Iraq — said it’s quite obvious, “Withdraw all foreign forces and withdraw all foreign arms.” That official was Condoleeza Rice and she was not referring to U.S. forces, she was referring to Iranian forces and Iranian arms. And that makes sense, too, on the assumption that we own the world because, since we own the world U.S. forces cannot be foreign forces anywhere. So if we invade Iraq or Canada, say, we are the indigenous forces. It’s the Iranians that are foreign forces.

I waited for a while to see if anyone, at least in the press or journals, would point out that there was something funny about this. I could not find a word. I think everyone regarded that as a perfectly sensible comment. But I could not see a word from anyone who said, wait a second, there are foreign forces there, 150,000 American troops, plenty of American arms.

So it is reasonable that when British sailors were captured in the Gulf by Iranian forces, there was debate, “Were they in Iranian borders or in Iraqi borders? Actually there is no answer to this because there is no territorial boundary, and that was pointed out. It was taken for granted that if the British sailors were in Iraqi waters, then Iran was guilty of a crime by intervening in foreign territory. But Britain is not guilty of a crime by being in Iraqi territory, because Britain is a U.S. client state, and we own the world, so they are there by right.

What about the possible next war, Iran? There have been very credible threats by the U.S. and Israel — essentially a U.S. client — to attack Iran. There happens to be something called the UN Charter which says that — in Article 2 — the threat or use of force in international affairs is a crime. “Threat or use of force.”

Does anybody care? No, because we’re an outlaw state by definition, or to be more precise, our threats and use of force are not foreign, they’re indigenous because we own the world. Therefore, it’s fine. So there are threats to bomb Iran — maybe we will and maybe we won’t. That is the debate that goes on. Is it legitimate if we decide to do it? People might argue it’s a mistake. But does anyone say it would be illegitimate? For example, the Democrats in Congress refuse to put in an amendment that would require the Executive to inform Congress if it intends to bomb Iran — to consult, inform. Even that was not accepted.

The whole world is aghast at this possibility. It would be monstrous. A leading British military historian, Correlli Barnett, wrote recently that if the U.S. does attack, or Israel does attack, it would be World War III. The attack on Iraq has been horrendous enough. Apart from devastating Iraq, the UN High Commission on Refugees reviewed the number of displaced people — they estimate 4.2 million, over 2 million fled the country, another 2 million fleeing within the country. That is in addition to the numbers killed, which if you extrapolate from the last studies, are probably approaching a million.

It was anticipated by U.S. intelligence and other intelligence agencies and independent experts that an attack on Iraq would probably increase the threat of terror and nuclear proliferation. But that went way beyond what anyone expected. Well known terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank estimated — using mostly government statistics — that what they call “the Iraq effect” increased terror by a factor of seven, and that is pretty serious. And that gives you an indication of the ranking of protection of the population in the priority list of leaders. It’s very low.

So what would the Iran effect be? Well, that is incalculable. It could be World War III. Very likely a massive increase in terror, who knows what else. Even in the states right around Iraq, which don’t like Iran — Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — even there the large majority would prefer to see a nuclear armed Iran to any U.S. military action, and they are right, military action could be devastating. It doesn’t mean we won’t do it. There is very little discussion here of the illegitimacy of doing it, again on the assumption that anything we do is legitimate, it just might cost too much.

Is there a possible solution to the U.S./Iran crisis? Well, there are some plausible solutions. One possibility would be an agreement that allows Iran to have nuclear energy, like every signer of the non-proliferation treaty, but not to have nuclear weapons. In addition, it would call for a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. That would include Iran, Israel, which has hundreds of nuclear weapons, and any U.S. or British forces deployed in the region. A third element of a solution would be for the United States and other nuclear states to obey their legal obligation, by unanimous agreement of the World Court, to make good-faith moves to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely.

Is this feasible? Well, it’s feasible on one assumption, that the United States and Iran become functioning democratic societies, because what I have just quoted happens to be the opinion of the overwhelming majority of the populations in Iran and the United States. On everything that I mentioned there is an overwhelming majority. So, yes, there would be a very feasible solution if these two countries were functioning democratic societies, meaning societies in which public opinion has some kind of effect on policy. The problem in the United States is the inability of organizers to do something in a population that overwhelmingly agrees with them and to make that current policy. Of course, it can be done. Peasants in Bolivia can do it, we can obviously do it here.

Can we do anything to make Iran a more democratic society? Not directly, but indirectly we can. We can pay attention to the dissidents and the reformists in Iran who are struggling courageously to turn Iran into a more democratic society. And we know exactly what they are saying, they are very outspoken about it. They are pleading with the United States to withdraw the threats against Iran. The more we threaten Iran, the more we give a gift to the reactionary, religious fanatics in the government. You make threats, you strengthen them. That is exactly what is happening. The threats have lead to repression, predictably.

Now the Americans claim they are outraged by the repression, which we should protest, but we should recognize that the repression is the direct and predictable consequence of the actions that the U.S. government is taking. So if you take actions, and then they have predictable consequences, condemning the consequences is total hypocrisy.

Incidentally, in the case of Cuba about two-thirds of Americans think we ought to end the embargo and all threats and enter into diplomatic relations. And that has been true ever since polls have been taken — for about 30 years. The figure varies, but it’s roughly there. Zero effect on policy, in Iran, Cuba, and elsewhere.

So there is a problem and that problem is that the United States is just not a functioning democracy. Public opinion does not matter and among articulate and elite opinion that is a principle — it shouldn’t matter. The only principle that matters is we own the world and the rest of you shut up, you know, whether you’re abroad or at home.

So, yes, there is a potential solution to the very dangerous problem, it’s essentially the same solution: do something to turn our own country into a functioning democracy. But that is in radical opposition to the fundamental presupposition of all elite discussions, mainly that we own the world and that these questions don’t arise and the public should have no opinion on foreign policy, or any policy.

Once, when I was driving to work, I was listening to NPR. NPR is supposed to be the kind of extreme radical end of the spectrum. I read a statement somewhere, I don’t know if it’s true, but it was a quote from Obama, who is the hope of the liberal doves, in which he allegedly said that the spectrum of discussion in the United States extends between two crazy extremes, Rush Limbaugh and NPR. The truth, he said, is in the middle and that is where he is going to be, in the middle, between the crazies.

NPR then had a discussion — it was like being at the Harvard faculty club — serious people, educated, no grammatical errors, who know what they’re talking about, usually polite. The discussion was about the so-called missile defense system that the U.S. is trying to place in Czechoslovakia and Poland — and the Russian reaction. The main issue was, “What is going on with the Russians? Why are they acting so hostile and irrational? Are they trying to start a new Cold War? There is something wrong with those guys. Can we calm them down and make them less paranoid?”

The main specialist they called in, I think from the Pentagon or somewhere, pointed out, accurately, that a missile defense system is essentially a first-strike weapon. That is well known by strategic analysts on all sides. If you think about it for a minute, it’s obvious why. A missile defense system is never going to stop a first strike, but it could, in principle, if it ever worked, stop a retaliatory strike. If you attack some country with a first strike, and practically wipe it out, if you have a missile defense system, and prevent them from retaliating, then you would be protected, or partially protected. If a country has a functioning missile defense system it will have more options for carrying out a first strike. Okay, obvious, and not a secret. It’s known to every strategic analyst. I can explain it to my grandchildren in two minutes and they understand it.

So on NPR it is agreed that a missile defense system is a first-strike weapon. But then comes the second part of the discussion. Well, say the pundits, the Russians should not be worried about this. For one thing because it’s not enough of a system to stop their retaliation, so therefore it’s not yet a first-strike weapon against them. Then they said it is kind of irrelevant anyway because it is directed against Iran, not against Russia.

Okay, that was the end of the discussion. So, point one, missile defense is a first-strike weapon; second, it’s directed against Iran. Now, you can carry out a small exercise in logic. Does anything follow from those two assumptions? Yes, what follows is it’s a first-strike weapon against Iran. Since the U.S. owns the world what could be wrong with having a first-strike weapon against Iran. So the conclusion is not mentioned. It is not necessary. It follows from the fact that we own the world.

Maybe a year ago or so, Germany sold advanced submarines to Israel, which were equipped to carry missiles with nuclear weapons. Why does Israel need submarines with nuclear armed missiles? Well, there is only one imaginable reason and everyone in Germany with a brain must have understood that — certainly their military system does — it’s a first-strike weapon against Iran. Israel can use German subs to illustrate to Iranians that if they respond to an Israeli attack they will be vaporized.

The fundamental premises of Western imperialism are extremely deep. The West owns the world and now the U.S. runs the West, so, of course, they go along. The fact that they are providing a first-strike weapon for attacking Iran probably, I’m guessing now, raised no comment because why should it?

You can forget about history, it does not matter, it’s kind of “old fashioned,” boring stuff we don’t need to know about. But most countries pay attention to history. So, for example, for the United States there is no discussion of the history of U.S./Iranian relations. Well, for the U.S. there is only one event in Iranian history — in 1979 Iranians overthrew the tyrant that the U.S. was backing and took some hostages for over a year. That happened and they had to be punished for that.

But for Iranians their history is that for over 50 years, literally without a break, the U.S. has been torturing Iranians. In 1953 the U.S. overthrew the parliamentary government and installed a brutal tyrant, the Shah, and kept supporting him while he compiled one of the worst human rights records in the world — torture, assassination, anything you like. In fact, President Carter, when he visited Iran in December 1978, praised the Shah because of the love shown to him by his people, and so on and so forth, which probably accelerated the overthrow. Of course, Iranians have this odd way of remembering what happened to them and who was behind it. When the Shah was overthrown, the Carter administration immediately tried to instigate a military coup by sending arms to Iran through Israel to try to support military force to overthrow the government. We immediately turned to supporting Iraq, that is Saddam Hussein, and his invasion of Iran. Saddam was executed for crimes he committed in 1982, by his standards not very serious crimes — complicity in killing 150 people. Well, there was something missing in that account — 1982 is a very important year in U.S./Iraqi relations. That is the year in which Ronald Reagan removed Iraq from the list of states supporting terrorism so that the U.S. could start supplying Iraq with weapons for its invasion of Iran, including the means to develop weapons of mass destruction, chemical and nuclear weapons. That is 1982. A year later Donald Rumsfeld was sent to firm up the deal. Well, Iranians may very well remember that this led to a war in which hundreds of thousands of them were slaughtered with U.S. aid going to Iraq. They may well remember that the year after the war was over, in 1989, the U.S. government invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to come to the United States for advanced training in developing nuclear weapons.

What about the Russians? They have a history too. One part of the history is that in the last century Russia was invaded and practically destroyed three times through Eastern Europe. You can look back and ask, when was the last time that the U.S. was invaded and practically destroyed through Canada or Mexico? That doesn’t happen. We crush others and we are always safe. But the Russians don’t have that luxury. Now, in 1990 a remarkable event took place. I was kind of shocked, frankly. Gorbachev agreed to let Germany be unified, meaning join the West and be militarized within a hostile military alliance. This is Germany, which twice in that century practically destroyed Russia. That’s a pretty remarkable agreement.

There was a quid pro quo. Then-president George Bush I agreed that NATO would not expand to the East. The Russians also demanded, but did not receive, an agreement for a nuclear-free zone from the Artic to the Baltic, which would give them a little protection from nuclear attack. That was the agreement in 1990. Then Bill Clinton came into office, the so-called liberal. One of the first things he did was to rescind the agreement, unilaterally, and expand NATO to the East.

For the Russians that’s pretty serious, if you remember the history. They lost 25 million people in the last World War and over 3 million in World War I. But since the U.S. owns the world, if we want to threaten Russia, that is fine. It is all for freedom and justice, after all, and if they make unpleasant noises about it we wonder why they are so paranoid. Why is Putin screaming as if we’re somehow threatening them, since we can’t be threatening anyone, owning the world.

One of the other big issues on the front pages now is Chinese “aggressiveness.” There is a lot of concern about the fact that the Chinese are building up their missile forces. Is China planning to conquer the world? Big debates about it. Well, what is really going on? For years China has been in the lead in trying to prevent the militarization of space. If you look at the debates and the Disarmament Commission of the UN General Assembly, the votes are 160 to 1 or 2. The U.S. insists on the militarization of space. It will not permit the outer space treaty to explicitly bar military relations in space.

Clinton’s position was that the U.S. should control space for military purposes. The Bush administration is more extreme. Their position is the U.S. should own space, their words, We have to own space for military purposes. So that is the spectrum of discussion here. The Chinese have been trying to block it and that is well understood. You read the most respectable journal in the world, I suppose, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and you find leading strategic analysts, John Steinbrunner and Nancy Gallagher, a couple of years ago, warning that the Bush administration’s aggressive militarization is leading to what they call “ultimate doom.” Of course, there is going to be a reaction to it. You threaten people with destruction, they are going to react. These analysts call on peace-loving nations to counter Bush’s aggressive militarism. They hope that China will lead peace-loving nations to counter U.S. aggressiveness. It’s a pretty remarkable comment on the impossibility of achieving democracy in the United States. Again, the logic is pretty elementary. Steinbrunner and Gallagher are assuming that the United States cannot be a democratic society; it’s not one of the options, so therefore we hope that maybe China will do something.

Well, China finally did something. It signaled to the United States that they noticed that we were trying to use space for military purposes, so China shot down one of their satellites. Everyone understands why — the mili- tarization and weaponization of space depends on satellites. While missiles are very difficult or maybe impossible to stop, satellites are very easy to shoot down. You know where they are. So China is saying, “Okay, we understand you are militarizing space. We’re going to counter it not by militarizing space, we can’t compete with you that way, but by shooting down your satellites.” That is what was behind the satellite shooting. Every military analyst certainly understood it and every lay person can understand it. But take a look at the debate. The discussion was about, “Is China trying it conquer the world by shooting down one of its own satellites?”

About a year ago there was a new rash of articles and headlines on the front page about the “Chinese military build-up.” The Pentagon claimed that China had increased its offensive military capacity — with 400 missiles, which could be nuclear armed. Then we had a debate about whether that proves China is trying to conquer the world or the numbers are wrong, or something.

Just a little footnote. How many offensive nuclear armed missiles does the United States have? Well, it turns out to be 10,000. China may now have maybe 400, if you believe the hawks. That proves that they are trying to conquer the world.

It turns out, if you read the international press closely, that the reason China is building up its military capacity is not only because of U.S. aggressiveness all over the place, but the fact that the United States has improved its targeting capacities so it can now destroy missile sites in a much more sophisticated fashion wherever they are, even if they are mobile. So who is trying to conquer the world? Well, obviously the Chinese because since we own it, they are trying to conquer it.

It’s all too easy to continue with this indefinitely. Just pick your topic. It’s a good exercise to try. This simple principle, “we own the world,” is sufficient to explain a lot of the discussion about foreign affairs.

I will just finish with a word from George Orwell. In the introduction to Animal Farm he said, England is a free society, but it’s not very different from the totalitarian monster I have been describing. He says in England unpopular ideas can be suppressed without the use of force. Then he goes on to give some dubious examples. At the end he turns to a very brief explanation, actually two sentences, but they are to the point. He says, one reason is the press is owned by wealthy men who have every reason not to want certain ideas to be expressed. And the second reason — and I think a more important one — is a good education. If you have gone to the best schools and graduated from Oxford and Cambridge, and so on, you have instilled in you the understanding that there are certain things it would not do to say; actually, it would not do to think. That is the primary way to prevent unpopular ideas from being expressed.

The ideas of the overwhelming majority of the population, who don’t attend Harvard, Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge, enable them to react like human beings, as they often do. There is a lesson there for activists.

Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author, most recently, of Hegemony or Survival Americas Quest for Global Dominance.

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US/IRAQ: Rules of Engagement “Thrown Out the Window” by Dahr Jamail

Dandelion Salad

by Dahr Jamail
Global Research, March 16, 2008
Inter Press Service

SILVER SPRING, Maryland, Mar 15 (IPS) – Garret Reppenhagen received integral training about the Geneva Conventions and the Rules of Engagement during his deployment in Kosovo. But in Iraq, “Much of this was thrown out the window,” he says.

“The men I served with are professionals,” Reppenhagen told the audience at a panel of U.S. veterans speaking of their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, “They went to Iraq to defend the U.S. But we found rapidly we were killing Iraqis in horrible ways. But we had to in order to remain safe ourselves. The war is the atrocity.”

The event, which has drawn international media attention, was organised by Iraq Veterans Against the War. It aims to show that their stories of wrongdoing in both countries were not isolated incidents limited to a few “bad apples”, as the Pentagon claims, but were everyday occurrences.

The panel on the “Rules of Engagement” (ROE) during the first full day of the gathering, named “Winter Soldier” to honour a similar gathering 30 years ago of veterans of the Vietnam War, was held in front of a visibly moved audience of several hundred, including veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Winter soldiers, according to U.S. founding father Thomas Paine, are the people who stand up for the soul of their country, even in its darkest hours

Reppenhagen served in Iraq from February 2004-2005 in the city of Baquba, 40 kms northeast of Baghdad. He said his first experience in Iraq was being on a patrol that killed two Iraqi farmers as they worked in their field at night.

“I was told they were out in the fields farming because their pumps only operated with electricity, which meant they had to go out in the dark when there was electricity,” he explained, “I asked the sergeant, if he knew this, why did he fire on the men. He told me because the men were out after curfew. I was never given another ROE during my time in Iraq.”

Another veteran of the occupation of Iraq on the panel was Vincent Emmanuel. He served in the Marines near the northern Iraqi city of Al-Qaim during 2004-2005. Emmanuel explained that “taking potshots at cars that drove by” happened all the time and “these were not isolated incidents”.

Emmanuel continued: “We took fire while trying to blow up a bridge. Many of the attackers were part of the general population. This led to our squad shooting at everything and anything in order to push through the town. I remember myself emptying magazines into the town, never identifying a target.”

As other panelists nodded in agreement, Emmanuel spoke of abusing prisoners who he knew were innocent, adding, “We took it upon ourselves to harass them, and took them to the desert to throw them out of our Humvees, while kicking and punching them when we threw them out.”

Two other soldiers testified about planting weapons or shovels on civilians they had accidentally shot, to justify the killings by implying the dead were fighters or people attempting to plant roadside bombs.

Jason Washburn was a corporal in the marines, and served three tours in Iraq, his last in Haditha from 2005-2006.

“We were encouraged to bring ‘drop weapons’ or shovels, in case we accidentally shot a civilian, we could drop the weapon on the body and pretend they were an insurgent,” he said, “By the third tour, if they were carrying a shovel or bag, we could shoot them. So we carried these tools and weapons in our vehicles, so we could toss them on civilians when we shot them. This was commonly encouraged.”

Washburn explained that his ROE changed “a lot”.

“The higher the threat level, the more viciously we were told to respond. We had towns that were deemed ‘free fire zones’. One time there was a mayor of a town near Haditha that got shot up. We were shown this as an example because there was a nice tight shot group on the windshield, and told that was a good job, that was what Marines were supposed to do. And that was the mayor of the town.”

Jason Wayne Lemue is a Marine who served three tours in Iraq.

“My commander told me, ‘Kill those who need to be killed, and save those who need to be saved’, that was our mission on our first tour,” he said of his first deployment during the invasion nearly five years ago.

Lemue continued, “After that the ROE changed, and carrying a shovel, or standing on a rooftop talking on a cell phone, or being out after curfew [meant the people] were to be killed. I can’t tell you how many people died because of this. By my third tour, we were told to just shoot people, and the officers would take care of us.”

John Michael Turner served two tours in the Marines as a machine gunner in Iraq. Visibly upset, he told the audience, “I was taught as a Marine to eat the apple to the core.” Turner then pulled his military metals off his shirt and threw them on the ground.

“Apr. 18, 2006 was the date of my first confirmed kill,” he said sombrely. “He was innocent, I called him the fat man. He was walking back to his house and I killed him in front of his father and friend. My first shot made him scream and look into my eyes, so I looked at my friend and said, ‘Well, I can’t let that happen’, and shot him again. After my first kill I was congratulated.”

Turner explained one reason why establishment media reporting about the occupation in the U.S. has been largely sanitised. “Anytime we had embedded reporters, our actions changed drastically,” he explained. “We did everything by the books, and were very low key.”

To conclude, an emotional Turner said, “I want to say I’m sorry for the hate and destruction that I and others have inflicted on innocent people. It is not okay, and this is happening, and until people hear what is going on this is going to continue. I am no longer the monster that I once was.”

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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© Copyright Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8354

see

Winter soldier testimonials + Hart Viges (videos)

Latin America rejects Bush doctrine by Federico Fuentes

Dandelion Salad

by Federico Fuentes
Global Research, March 16, 2008

Reeling from the blow that it received in the aftermath of the Colombian military’s illegal incursion on March 1 into Ecuador — which resulted in the brutal massacre of a number of civilians and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), including its chief negotiator Raul Reyes — US imperialism has once again raised the ante in its struggle to undermine the growing process of Latin American integration.

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, led by President Hugo Chavez whose government is spearheading the push to unite Latin American nations to counter US domination, is being specifically targeted.

“The region is facing an increasingly stark choice: to quietly accept the vision of the terrorists and the demagogues, or to actively support democratic leaders”, US President George Bush stated on March 12. Bush said his government was studying whether or not Venezuela should be added to its list of countries that “sponsor terrorism”.

In Washington’s Orwellian world view — where war is peace and elected leaders are dictators — his comments were aimed at Venezuela’s democratically-elected government that is offering its services to assist with a negotiated peaceful solution to Colombia’s more than four decade-long civil war.

Venezuela’s representative in the Organization of American States (OAS), Jorge Valero, hit back that same day, calling the US government “the terrorist government par excellence”.

Valero argued it was “an absolutely stupid thing to say from the government of Mr Bush … that practices state terrorism, that has invaded Iraq and Afghanistan without respect for international law, that commits genocidal practices in various parts of the world, that has invaded Latin American and Caribbean countries …”

Having viewed Latin America as its own backyard for decades, Washington is becoming increasingly concerned about developments south of its border. Its biggest headache is Venezuela, whose government has been making important headway in bring together governments of Latin America, as well as undermining capitalism inside Venezuela.

Washington has waged a constant public campaign (similar to its campaign against Iraq before the invasion) attempting to link Venezuela with narcotrafficking, terrorism, promoting an arms race, money laundering and threats to regional security.

US-Venezuelan lawyer Eva Golinger argued on the Venezuelan TV show La Hojilla that this campaign is aimed at containing Chavez’s influence and undermining Latin American integration — a process aided by the election of a number of governments that, to varying degrees, have proven willing to exercise independence from Washington and pursue closer regional collaboration.

For Dario Azzellini, author of several books about US military intervention into the region, Colombia’s illegal cross-border attack (publicly supported by the US government, which funds and arms the Colombian military) was the first step in carrying out more serious military infractions across its border in order to provoke a response from Venezuela and lay the blame for the subsequent conflict at their feet.

“Their aim is to create massive destabilisation in a region where Colombia would play a similar role to that of Israel in the Middle East”, Azzellini told Green Left Weekly.

“The Colombian government said that they had the coordinates of Reyes whereabouts for month, during which we can suppose that he moved between Colombian, Venezuelan and Ecuadorian territory as part of the current negotiations by the FARC in releasing prisoners. So the question is why did they choose to carry it out in Ecuador?

“It was a test, they wanted to do it in Ecuadorian territory and not in Venezuela to see what the international reaction would be.”

Luis Bilbao, director of Latin American magazine America XXI, told GLW US imperialism had two aims in mind with Colombia’s attack (which was clearly coordinated with the US) — put a halt to the hopes for humanitarian accord with the FARC, who only days before had released four prisoners unilaterally, and sabotage the growing South American convergence.

Finding a political solution to Colombia’s current conflict is a danger to Washington, which has used it as justification to build up their military presence in Colombia. This is why the issue of peace in Colombia is so closely intertwined with the process of Latin American integration.

Colombia’s attack came just days before global protests in favour of a peaceful solution to Colombia’s civil war and against state and paramilitary violence, which targets political activists, with more trade unionists killed in Colombia every year than any other country. On March 6, hundreds of thousands marched across Colombia, defying threats of reprisals from paramilitaries.

Associated Press reported on March 14 that six organisers of the march had been murdered, and two dozen more received death threats from the Black Eagles death squad.

Moreover, Bilbao pointed out that in the immediate aftermath of this event, it seemed unthinkable that the meeting of the South American Community of Nations (Unasur, formed in April 2002 with the aim of creating a European Union-style body across South America) that had been scheduled to take place in Colombia at the end of the month could have gone ahead.

Such a turn of events would suit Washington, as the development of Unasur threatens the ability of the US to exert its control over the region on behalf of US corporate interests.

Bilbao argued that the action was nonetheless a big mistake on the part of Colombia. Bilbao argued that “they didn’t attack Venezuela”, as Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolas Maduro had stated Venezuela expected, “because of the firm stance that Venezuela has taken and instead attacked Ecuador expecting a timid response … setting a precedent for further repeat actions in Ecuador and to extend this to Venezuela”.

However the firm stance by both Ecuador and Venezuela — both of whose governments broke diplomatic ties and moved troops to their Colombian borders — put Colombia on the back foot.

In fact, rather than reverse the trend towards integration, the response to Colombia’s attack could mark an important regional realignment — assisting the process of regional integration.

The most significant event was the summit of the Group of Rio held on March 6 and 7. Televised live across the whole continent, representatives of all Latin American governments debated the issue without the presence of the US government.

After a fiery debate, the meeting came to a unanimous decision to reject the actions of the Colombian government and any further violation of the sovereignty of another country. Crucially, the vote was a rejection of the doctrine of “preventive war” that the US has pushed since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Ecuador and Colombia are pushing for the March 17 meeting of the OAS (of which the US is a member) to ratify the Group of Rio’s motion. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has stated bluntly that if the OAS meeting did not condemn the aggression, that it should be thrown “in the dustbin of history”.

Arguing that it would be “difficult for the US government to oppose such a resolution”, Valero asserted that “I don’t believe the United States has sufficient strength to crush the will of the Rio Group countries”.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Federico Fuentes, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8359

see

FARC-EP: The Cost of Unilateral Humanitarian Initiatives by Prof. James Petras

FARC-EP: The Cost of Unilateral Humanitarian Initiatives by Prof. James Petras

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. James Petras
Global Research, March 16, 2008

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army (FARC-EP): The Cost of Unilateral Humanitarian Initiatives 

President Uribe’s troop and missile assault, violating Ecuadorian sovereignty came very close to precipitating a regional war with Ecuador and Venezuela. During an interview I had with President Chavez, at the time of this bellicose act, he confirmed to me the gravity of Uribe’s doctrine of ‘preventive war’ and ‘extra-territorial intervention’, calling the Colombian regime the ‘Israel of Latin America’. Earlier, during his Sunday radio program ‘Alo Presidente’, in which I was an invited guest, he followed up with an announcement that he was sending ground, air and sea forces to the Venezuelan frontier with Colombia.

Uribe’s cross-border attack was meant to probe the political ‘will’ of Ecuador and Venezuela to respond to military aggression, as well as to test the performance of US-coordinated remote, satellite directed missile attack. There is no doubt also that Uribe aimed to scuttle the imminent humanitarian release of FARC prisoner, Ingrid Betancourt, being negotiated by the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, Ecuador’s Interior Minister Larrea, the Colombian Red Cross and especially Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Kouchner, Larrea and Chavez were in direct contact with FARC’s leader, Raul Reyes who, along with 22 others, including non-combatants of various nationalities, were assassinated in Ecuador by Uribe’s American-coordinated missile and ground attack. Uribe’s military intervention was in part directed at denying the important diplomatic role, which Chavez was playing in the release FARC-held prisoners, in contrast to the failure of Uribe’s military efforts to ‘free the prisoners’.

Raul Reyes was recognized as the legitimate interlocutor in these negotiations by both European and Latin American governments, as well as the Red Cross; if the negotiations succeeded in the prisoner release it was likely that the same governments and humanitarian bodies would pressure Uribe to open comprehensive prisoner exchange and peace negotiations with the FARC, which was contrary to Bush and Uribes’ policy of unrelenting warfare, political assassinations and scorched earth policies.

What was at stake in Uribe’s violating Ecuadorian sovereignty and murdering 22 FARC guerrillas and Mexican visitors was nothing less than the entire military counter-insurgency strategy, which has been pursued by Uribe since coming to office in 2002.

Uribe was clearly willing to risk what eventually happened – the censure and sanction of the Organization of American States and the (temporary) break in relations with Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua. He did so because he could count on Washington’s backing, which covertly (and illegally) participated in and immediately applauded the attack. That was more important than jeopardizing cooperation with Latin American nations and France. Colombia remains Washington’s military forward shield in Latin America and, in particular, it is the most important politico-military instrument to destabilize and overthrow the anti-imperialist Chavez government. Clinton and Bush have invested over $6 billion dollars in military aid to Colombia over the past 7 years, including sending 1500 military advisers and Special Forces, dozens of Israeli commandos and ‘trainers’, funding over 2000 mercenary fighters and over 10,000 paramilitary forces working closely with the 200,000-man strong Colombian Armed Forces.

Notwithstanding these and other international considerations, influencing Uribe’s extra-territorial ‘act of war’, I would argue that the main consideration in this attack on the FARC campsite in Ecuador was to decapitate, weaken and isolate the most powerful guerrilla movement in Latin America and the most uncompromising opponent to Washington and Bogotá’s repressive neo-liberal policies. International politicians, including progressive leaders like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa, who have called for the end of armed struggle, seem to overlook the recent experiences of FARC efforts to de-militarize the struggle, including three peace initiatives (1984-1990), (1999-2001) and (2007-2008) and the heavy costs to the FARC in terms of the killing of key leaders, activists and sympathizers. During the mid-1980’s many leaders of the FARC joined the electoral process, formed a political party – the Patriotic Union. The scores of successfully elected local and national officeholders and…5,000 of their members, leaders, congress-people and three presidential candidates were slaughtered. The FARC returned to the countryside and guerrilla struggle. Ten years later, the FARC agreed to negotiate with then President Pastrana in a demilitarized zone. The FARC held public forums, discussed policy alternatives for social and political reforms to democratize the state and debated private versus public ownership of strategic economic sectors with diverse sectors in ‘civil society’. President Pastrana, under pressure from US President Clinton and later Bush, abruptly broke off negotiations and sent the armed forces in to capture the FARC’s high level negotiating teams. The US-funded and advised Colombian military failed to capture the FARC leaders but set the stage for the scorched earth policies pursued by paramilitary President Uribe.

In 2007-2008, the FARC offered to negotiate the mutual release of political prisoners in a secure demilitarized zone in Colombia. Uribe refused. President Chavez entered into negotiations as a mediator. The French government and others challenged Chavez to ask for ‘evidence’ that the FARC prisoners were alive. The FARC complied with Chavez request. It sent three emissaries who were intercepted and are being detained by the Colombian military under brutal conditions. Still the FARC continued with Chavez request and attempted to relocate the first set of prisoners to be turned over to the Red Cross and Venezuelan officials – but they came under aerial attack by Uribe’s armed forces thus aborting the release. Still later, under increased risk, they were able to release the first batch of captives. The French Foreign Minister Kouchner and Chavez made new requests for the release of Ingrid Betancourt, a dual French-Colombian national and former presidential candidate. This was sabotaged when Uribe, with high-level US technical assistance, launched a major military offensive throughout the country, including a comprehensive monitoring program, tracing communications between Reyes, Chavez, Kouchner, Larrea and the Red Cross.

It was this high-risk role played by Reyes as the highest level FARC official involved in the negotiations and coordination for captive release that led to his assassination. Outside pressures for a unilateral release of prisoners caused the FARC to lower their security. The result was the loss of leaders, negotiators, sympathizers and militants – without securing the release of any of their 500 comrades held in Colombian prisons. The entire emphasis of Sarkozy, Chavez, Correa and others demanded unilateral concessions from the FARC – as if their own tortured and dying comrades in Uribe’s jails were not part of any humanitarian consideration.

The subsequent summit in the Dominican Republic during the weekend of March 8-9 led to a condemnation of Colombia’s violation of Ecuador’s territorial sovereignty, but the Uribe government, responsible for the invasion, was not actually named or officially sanctioned. Moreover, no mention was made (let alone respect shown) for the treacherously assassinated leader, Raul Reyes, whose life was lost in pursuit of a humanitarian exchange. If the meeting itself was a disappointing response to a tragedy, the aftermath was a farce: a smiling Uribe, walked across the meeting hall and offered a hand shake and perfunctory apology to Correa and Chavez, while Nicaraguan President Ortega embraced the murderous leader of Colombia. By that vile and cynical gesture, Uribe turned the entire military mobilization and weeklong denunciations by Chavez and Correa into a comic opera. The post-meeting ‘reconciliation’ gave the appearance that their opposition to a cross-border attack and the cold-blooded murder of Reyes was merely political theater – a bad omen for the future if, as is likely, Uribe repeats his cross border attacks on an even larger scale. Will the people of Venezuela or Ecuador and the armed forces take serious another call for mobilization and readiness?

Less than a week after the Santa Domingo ‘reconciliation’ meeting, Chavez and Uribe renewed an earlier military agreement to cooperate against ‘violent groups whatever their origins’. Clearly Chavez hopes that by dissociating Venezuela from any suspicion of providing moral support to the FARC, Uribe will stop the large-scale flow of paramilitary infiltrators from entering Venezuela and destabilizing the country. In other words, ‘reasons of state’ take precedence over solidarity with the FARC. What should be clear to Chavez however is the fact that Uribe will not abide by his side of the agreement because of his ties to Washington, and the latter’s insistence that the Chavez government be destabilized by any or all means, including the continued infiltration by Colombian paramilitary forces into Venezuela.

Uribe could apologize to Correa and Chavez because the real purpose of his military attack was to destroy the FARC leadership, any way, any place, any time and under any circumstance – even in the midst of international negotiations. Washington placed a $5 million dollar bounty on each and every member of the FARC secretariat, long before Chavez or Correa came to power, Washington’s top priority – as witnessed by its military aid programs ($6 billion dollars in 7 years), size and scope of its military advisory mission (1500 US specialists) and the length of its involvement in counter-insurgency activities within Colombia (45 years) – was to destroy the FARC.

Washington and its Colombian surrogates were willing to incur the predictable displeasure of Correa, Chavez and the slap on the wrist by the OAS if they could succeed in killing the Number Two commander of the FARC. The reason is clear: it is the FARC and not the neighboring leaders, who influence a third of Colombia’s countryside; it is the FARC’s military-political power which ties down a third of Colombia’s armed forces and prevents Colombia from engaging in any major military intervention against Chavez at the behest of Washington. Uribe and Washington have pressured Correa into cutting most of the FARC’s logistical supply lines and many security camps on the Ecuadorian-Colombian border. Correa claims to have destroyed 11 FARC campsites and arrested 11 guerrillas. The Venezuelan National Guard has turned a blind eye to Colombian cross border military pursuit of FARC activists and sympathizers among the Colombian refugee-peasantry camped along the Venezuelan-Colombian border. Uribe and Washington’s pressure has forced Chavez to publicly disclaim any support for the FARC, its methods and strategy. The FARC is internationally isolated – the Cuban Foreign Ministry proclaimed the phony ‘reconciliation’ at Santo Domingo to be a ‘great victory’ for peace. The FARC is diplomatically isolated, even as it retains substantial domestic support in the provinces and countryside of Colombia.

With the ‘neutralization’ of outside support, or sympathy for the FARC, the Uribe regime – before, during and immediately after the Santo Domingo meeting – launched a series of bloody murders and threats against all progressive and leftist organizations. In the run-up to a March 6, 2008 200,000-strong ‘march against state terror’, hundreds of organizers and activists were threatened, abused, followed, interrogated and accused by Uribe of ‘supporting the FARC’, a government label, which was followed up by the death squad killings of the leader of the march and four other human rights spokespeople. Immediately following the mass demonstration, the principle Colombian trade union, the CUT (the Confederation of Colombian Workers) reported several assassinations and assaults including the head of the banking employees union, a leader of the teachers union, the head of the education section of the CUT and a researcher at a pedagogical institute.

All told, over 5,000 trade unionists have been killed, 2 million peasants and farmers have been forcibly removed and their land seized by pro-Uribe paramilitary forces and landlords. Former self-confessed death squad leaders publicly have admitted to funding and controlling over one-third of the elected members of Congress backing Uribe. Currently 30 congress-people are on trial for ‘association’ with the paramilitary death squads. Several of Uribe’s most intimate cabinet collaborators were exposed as having family ties with the death squads and two were forced to resign.

Despite international disrepute, especially in Latin America, with powerful support from Washington, Uribe has built up a murderous killing machine of 200,000 military, 30,000 police, several thousand death squad killers and over a million fanatical middle and upper class Colombians in favor of ‘wiping out the FARC’ – meaning eliminating independent popular organizations of civil society. More than any other past Colombian oligarchic rulers, Uribe is the closest to a fascist dictator combining state terror with mass mobilization.

The opposition political and social movements in Colombia are massive, committed and vulnerable. They are subject to daily intimidation and gangland-style murder. Through terror and mass propaganda, Uribe has so far been able to impose his rule over the working class opposition and attract mass middle class support. But he has utterly failed to defeat, destroy or disarticulate the FARC – his most consequential opposition. Each year since he has come to power, Uribe has pledged massive, all-out military sweeps of entire regions of the country, which would finally put an end to the ‘terrorists’. Tens of thousands of peasants in FARC-influenced regions have been tortured, raped, murdered and driven from their homes. Each of Uribe’s military offensives has failed. Yet he absolutely and totally fails to recognize what some generals and even US officials observe: the FARC cannot be militarily annihilated and at some point the government must negotiate.

Uribe’s failures and the enduring presence of the FARC have become a psychotic obsession: All territorial, legal, international constraints are thrown overboard. Alternating between euphoria and hysteria, faced with internal opposition to his mono-maniac strategy of terror, he screams ‘FARC supporters’ at any and all overseas and Colombian critics. To Ecuador and Venezuela, he promises ‘not to invade their territory again’ unless ‘circumstances warrant it.’ So much for ‘reconciliation.’

The period of humanitarian exchange is dead; the FARC cannot and will not accommodate the requests of well-intentioned friends, especially when it puts in risk the entire FARC organization and leadership. Let us concede that Chavez intentions were well meant. His pleas for a mutual release of prisoners might have made sense if he had been dealing with a rational bourgeois politician responsive to international leaders and organizations and eager to create a favorable image before world public opinion. But it was naïve for Chavez to believe that a psychotic politician with a history of annihilating his opposition would suddenly discover the virtues of negotiations and humanitarian exchanges. Without question, the FARC understands better than its Andean and Caribbean friends through hard experience and bitter lessons, that armed struggle may not be the desired method but it is the only realistic way to confront a brutal fascist regime.

Uribe’s killing of Raul Reyes was not about Chavez initiatives or Ecuador’s sovereignty or Ingrid Betancourt’s captivity, it was about Raul Reyes, a consequential and life-long revolutionary and leader of the FARC. The war-scare is over, differences have been papered over, the leaders have returned to their palaces, but Raul Reyes has not been forgotten – at least not in the countryside of Colombia or in the hearts of its peasants.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright James Petras, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8356

Despite US Efforts at Concealment, More Torture Stories Leaking Out by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, March 16, 2008

“A guard held a shotgun to my head. ‘You are a terrorist!’ he screamed. ‘What kind of dumb stuff did you write about your treatment here?’ My hands and feet were bound, and someone kicked me from behind.“

That’s just a sliver of the testimony of Murat Kurnaz, a 19-year-old Muslim from Bremen, Germany, abducted while traveling in Pakistan in the company of missionaries a few months after 9/11. Kurnaz was sold as a terror suspect to the U.S. military for $3,000, imprisoned and tortured over a five-year period.

While jailed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a Red Cross official wrote a letter home for Kurnaz and it was the “dumb stuff” in the letter that infuriated the Americans, according to the cover story in the Spring issue of “Amnesty International” (AI)magazine. The guards’ response illustrates the pains the Bush regime is taking to conceal from the world its horrific crimes against Muslim prisoners in dungeons around the world. There have been numerous other cases now where the Red Cross has not been informed of the existence of “ghost prisoners”, such as in the CIA prison in Kabul, or even told of the existence of a prison itself. Not surprisingly, the Red Cross has found U.S. methods are, at the least, “tantamount to torture.”

In another example, on March 14th, attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez of the non-profit Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), an advocacy organization of New York City, testified before a Congressional committee that she could not reveal what her client, CIA prisoner Majid Khan, told her about his treatment because “the government has declared prisoners’ statements to be classified,” The New York Times reported. As in the Kurnaz case, there is no such thing as free speech for prisoners of the Pentagon. Prisoners who talk to the Red Cross get roughed up. And the CCR is being muzzled as effectively as if they were dealing with Stalinist or Nazi jailers.

Still, stories leak out. At Kandahar, Kurnaz told Germany’s “Stern” magazine, (as reprinted by AI), he was made to pour cold water over his head every day. Then, “They prepared me for interrogations by putting electric shocks through my feet. For hours on end they would hang me up by my hands, which were bound behind my back in different positions—and then a break, and then you would be hung up again. A doctor looked in to see if you were still alive. The interrogator came at midday every day, and then you would be taken down for a short while.” (Yet another example of medical doctors cooperating in torture?)

Kurnaz was then flown to Guantanamo where he and other prisoners were beaten en route to the infamous Camp X-Ray, which he described as follows: “You were exposed to everything: sun, rain, snakes, scorpions. I once saw with my own eyes one of the prisoners being stung on the finger by a scorpion. Fat rats walked all over your arms and legs.” (Shades of Winston Smith in Room 101 in George Orwell’s novel 1984.)

“We were beaten a lot, tormented,” Kurnaz continued. “And then came the incident with the Quran. A military policeman who was searching a cell threw the book on the floor. The prisoners screamed. When I looked he was also kicking the Quran with his foot. Everybody began kicking against the doors and spitting at the guards. Then the Rapid Reaction Force came in.” After that, most prisoners refused to eat for four days. (Later, there was a second incident of Quran desecration, Kurnaz said.)

In Spring, 2002, Kurnaz was moved to Camp Delta, where he said conditions were “even worse” than at X-Ray. The camp consisted of container blocks, each with 48 cells “and the cages were made of chicken wire with a bed, toilet and washbasin at knee height. We had even less room to move around. The air was stifling. In the heat, it stank of paint and of 48 people being housed in the tiniest of rooms in great humidity. The neon light was always on, even at night, and the generators droned.”

Later that year, Kurnaz over a seven-week period was relocated every two hours so that he could not sleep, to which the guards gave the cutesy name of “Operation Sandman.” “As soon as they saw that you were asleep, they shook the cell doors,” Kurnaz said. “On top of that came interrogations that lasted for more than 50 hours. I hardly ate anything at this point either and lost about 60 kilos.” He added, “You are close to blacking out and you move around in a semiconscious state.”

About that time, Kurnaz said, guards attempted to hang a young Saudi from a sheet and label it a “suicide” attempt but the man survived in a brain-damaged state after three months in a coma.

At length, Kurnaz came to understand he was arrested as “the Taliban from Bremen” when, in fact, he had no idea what the Taliban was and had been employed in Germany as a nightclub bouncer. It wasn’t until August 24, 2006, that Kurnaz was released after a personal plea by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to President Bush. Kurnaz was flown home to Germany where he was reunited with his family. He said, “My father was very thin and had white hair. I embraced my mother. She was crying, and I embraced her until she stopped. Everybody cried. I did not. I do not know if I can still cry. Perhaps I forgot how to cry in Cuba.”

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based journalist who covers military and political topics. He worked as a reporter on the Chicago Daily News and for major wire services and is founding editor of the Antiwar News Service. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8358

Iran’s Conservatives Take Lead in Election, End Nuclear Negotiations By Liam Bailey

Liam

By Liam Bailey
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Bailey Mail
March 16, 2008

2008-03-15

Iran’s hardliners led by Ahmadinejad have taken a massive early lead according to the count thus far. With results from 190 of the 290 seats revealed, Iran’s hardliners had taken 60 seats and the reformists only 33.

Iran’s hardliners celebrated taking a massive early lead in the country’s parliamentary elections by announcing that talks with the west over their nuclear program are over. This is a huge blow to anyone who still hoped this crisis could be resolved peacefully, and takes us one massive step closer to a US military attack on Iran.

It is unsurprising that the conservatives have taken such a lead in the provincial seats, because more than half of the reformists were banned from standing by the un-elected Guardian council of religious clerics, on the grounds that they lacked loyalty to the Islamic system.

One shimmer of light of the election, is that, according to so far unconfirmed reports, Ali Larijani has been elected in the parliamentary elections for the seat of Qom, an important religious city in Iran. Larijani is the former Iranian chief negotiator in the nuclear crisis, and advocate of a peaceful agreement with the West.

Larijani was a conservative and a supporter of Ahmadinejad, but their difference over the handling of the nuclear row led to Larijani and others breaking away and forming a political group now known as revisionists. Basically they don’t want the sweeping changes to the political system that the reformists do, but they hate the way Ahmadinejad has allowed the economy to collapse, the main reason for which being UN resolutions targeting the economy, because of his failure to peacefully resolve the nuclear row. The reformists have taken 48 seats of the results so far revealed.

Last week’s resignation of long-standing Naval Officer and central commander in the Middle East, General Fallon was widely regarded as a sign that war with Iran may be just around the corner. Another sign is Israel’s preparations to go to war with Hezbollah, an Iranian backed terror group in Lebanon who would attack Israel in retaliation for any US strike on Iran. Iran’s conservatives winning the provincial elections, and calling of negotiations over the nuclear row, I’m afraid to say, takes us far too close to war with Iran for my liking.

see

Threat of Iran War More Real: End the World for What? By Liam Bailey

The resignation of Admiral Fallon will provoke renewed fighting in Iraq

Disagreements by Top Military Brass regarding Bush-Cheney War Plans by Michel Chossudovsky

Bailey-Liam

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The Total Collapse Of The Global Economy (video)

Dandelion Salad

THEYLIVE2012

http://www.myspace.com/totalreality2012

There’s good news and bad news…

Good news is thanks to the massive wealth of information
the internet provides, we can now have a glimpse into the near future, so those of us with perception, can adequately prepare for the bad news.

and the bad news is…there is absolutely no avoiding this unprecedented economic downturn.
I hope people will heed these warnings.

History shows it’s those who giggled and snickered that ended up a statistic.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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MIR: Iraq – Five More Years? (video)

Dandelion Salad

linktv

Five years since the toppling of Saddam Hussein, and Bush’s photo-op on the USS Lincoln, the War in Iraq continues. Has the “mission been accomplished”? Or will it take another five years?

Answers to these questions and more on Link TV’s Mosaic Intelligence Report, presented by Jamal Dajani.

For more info, visit http://www.linktv.org

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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Iraq war veterans accuse US military of coverups (videos)

Dandelion Salad

AlJazeeraEnglish

As we approach the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, hundreds of US veterans of the war say the American military has been covering up widespread civilian killings in that country.

And Al Jazeera’s Tom Ackerman reports their sentiments aren’t necessarily getting a warm reception.

Continue reading