AP president: US arrests journalist in Iraq to ‘control’ information
03/19/2008 @ 7:39 am
Filed by David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Associated Press president Tom Curley says his news organization does not buy the government’s argument that one of its photographers arrested in Iraq was working on behalf of the enemy, and he alleged the US is rounding up journalists in an attempt to control information.
“The problem that we face in Iraq is that policymakers in leadership
have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don’t abide by the rule
of law, we don’t respect international treaties, so when that
atmosphere exists it lends itself to criminal activity,” argues former
U.S. Army Sergeant Logan Laituri, who served a tour in Iraq from
2004 to 2005 before being discharged as a conscientious objector.
Vets Break Silence on Iraq War Crimes
By Aaron Glantz, IPS News
Posted on March 7, 2008, Printed on March 11, 2008
U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are planning to descend on Washington from Mar. 13-16 to testify about war crimes they committed or personally witnessed in those countries.
“The war in Iraq is not covered to its potential because of how dangerous it is for reporters to cover it,” said Liam Madden, a former Marine and member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War. “That’s left a lot of misconceptions in the minds of the American public about what the true nature of military occupation looks like.”
Iraq Veterans Against the War argues that well-publicized incidents of U.S. brutality like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha are not the isolated incidents perpetrated by “a few bad apples,” as many politicians and military leaders have claimed. They are part of a pattern, the group says, of “an increasingly bloody occupation.”
“The problem that we face in Iraq is that policymakers in leadership have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don’t abide by the rule of law, we don’t respect international treaties, so when that atmosphere exists it lends itself to criminal activity,” argues former U.S. Army Sergeant Logan Laituri, who served a tour in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 before being discharged as a conscientious objector.
Laituri told IPS that precedent of lawlessness makes itself felt in the rules of engagement handed down by commanders to soldiers on the front lines. When he was stationed in Samarra, for example, he said one of his fellow soldiers shot an unarmed man while he walked down the street.
“The problem is that that soldier was not committing a crime as you might call it because the rules of engagement were very clear that no one was supposed to be walking down the street,” he said. “But I have a problem with that. You can’t tell a family to leave everything they know so you can bomb the shit out of their house or their city. So while he definitely has protection under the law, I don’t think that legitimates that type of violence.”
Iraq Veterans Against the War is calling the gathering “Winter Soldier,” after a quote from the U.S. revolutionary Thomas Paine, who wrote in 1776: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
Organizers say video and photographic evidence will also be presented, and the testimony and panels will be broadcast live on Satellite TV and streaming video on ivaw.org.
Winter Soldier is modeled on a similar event held by Vietnam Veterans 37 years ago.
In 1971, over 100 members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with fellow citizens. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions.
“Initially even the My Lai massacre was denied,” notes Gerald Nicosia, whose book “Home to War” provides the most exhaustive history of the Vietnam veterans’ movement.
“The U.S. military has traditionally denied these accusations based on the fact that ‘this is a crazy soldier’ or ‘this is a malcontent’ — that you can’t trust this person. And that is the reason that Vietnam Veterans Against the War did this unified presentation in Detroit in 1971.”
“They brought together their bona fides and wore their medals and showed it was more than one or two or three malcontents. It was medal-winning, honored soldiers — veterans in a group verifying what each other said to try to convince people that these charges cannot be denied. That people are doing these things as a matter of policy.”
Nicosia says the 1971 Winter Soldier was roundly ignored by the mainstream media, but that it made an indelible imprint on those who were there.
Among those in attendance was 27-year-old Navy Lieutenant John Kerry, who had served on a Swift Boat in Vietnam. Three months after the hearings, Nicosia notes, Kerry took his case to Congress and spoke before a jammed Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Television cameras lined the walls, and veterans packed the seats.
“Many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia,” Kerry told the committee, describing the events of the Winter Soldier gathering.
“It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit — the emotions in the room, and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.”
In one of the most famous antiwar speeches of the era, Kerry concluded: “Someone has to die so that President Nixon won’t be — and these are his words — ‘the first president to lose a war.’ We are asking Americans to think about that, because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
Nicosia says U.S. citizens and veterans find themselves in a similar situation today.
“The majority of the American people are very dissatisfied with the Iraq war now and would be happy to get out of it. But Americans are bred deep into their psyches to think of America as a good country and, I think, much harder than just the hurdle of getting troops out of Iraq is to get Americans to realize the terrible things we do in the name of the United States.”
© 2008 IPS News All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/78352/
FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including ‘Shoot to Kill’
By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive
Blackwater and me: A love story it ain’t
By Robert Bateman
October 12, 2007
I know something about Blackwater USA. This opinion is both intellectually driven as well as moderately emotional. You see, during my own yearlong tour in Iraq, the bad boys of Blackwater twice came closer to killing me than did any of the insurgents or Al Qaeda types. That sort of thing sticks with you. One story will suffice to make my point.
By the way, if you have AT & T and Verizon phone and service, get rid of it please. There are other options. Go to www.alternet.org and check out their ideas. Or, keep feeding Satan. Up to you.
http://business.verizon.net/News/default.aspx?id=7657419 Go see who runs Verizon. And, of course, you know that there are more Mormons in the CIA and FBI than you care to know about. And while I’m at it, you realize Bush doesn’t give a crap about the environment. He chose former Utah Gov, Mike Leavitt to head the EPA.
Now for the post:
Bush Issues Signing Statement on Defense Act, Waiving Ban on Permanent Iraq Bases
Posted by Amanda Terkel, Think Progress on January 29, 2008 at 2:07 PM.
President Bush yesterday signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act after initially rejecting Congress’s first version because it would have allegedly opened the Iraqi government to “expensive lawsuits.”
Even though he forced Congress to change its original bill, Bush’s signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law “could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations.” CQ reports on the provisions Bush plans to disregard:
One such provision sets up a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another expands protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors. A third requires that U.S. intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents. And a fourth bars funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq’s oil money.
In his “Memorandum of Justification” for the waiver, Bush cited his Nov. 26 “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship” between Iraq and the United States. This agreement has been aggressively opposed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress as not only unprecedented, but also potentially unconstitutional because it was enacted without the agreement of the legislation branch.
Today on CNN, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) voiced concern that this declaration may indefinitely commit U.S. troops to fighting Iraq’s civil wars:
The New Republican Litmus Test
Jan 29, 2008
“It doesn’t matter if you’ll seize our freedom and money like a foaming-at-the-mouth fascist…as long as you’ll stay the course in Iraq. That is the message the Republican party of 2008 has sent to its possible presidential nominees this primary election season, and we’ve all heard it loud and clear.”
Military Service Records, prominent Republicans
MITT ROMNEY DID NOT SERVE. NOR DID HIS SONS SERVE.
- Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
- Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
- Tom Delay: did not serve.
- Roy Blunt: did not serve.
- Bill Frist: did not serve.
- Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
- Rick Santorum: did not serve.
- Trent Lott: did not serve.
- John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
- Jeb Bush: did not serve.
- Karl Rove: did not serve.
- Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. “Bad knee.” The man who attacked Max Cleland’s patriotism.
- Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
- Vin Weber: did not serve.
- Richard Perle: did not serve.
- Douglas Feith: did not serve.
- Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
- Richard Shelby: did not serve.
- John Kyl: did not serve.
- Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
- Christopher Cox: did not serve.
- Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
- Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
- George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
- Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
- B-1 Bob Dornan: Enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
- Phil Gramm: did not serve.
- John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
- Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
- John M. McHugh: did not serve.
- JC Watts: did not serve.
- Jack Kemp: did not serve. “Knee problem,” although continued in NFL for 8 years.
- Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
- Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
- George Pataki: did not serve.
- Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
- John Engler: did not serve.
- Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
Pundits & Preachers
- Sean Hannity: did not serve.
- Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a ‘pilonidal cyst.’)
- Bill O’Reilly: did not serve.
- Michael Savage: did not serve.
- George Will: did not serve.
- Chris Matthews: did not serve.
- Paul Gigot: did not serve.
- Bill Bennett: did not serve.
- Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
- John Wayne: did not serve.
- Bill Kristol: did not serve.
- Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
- Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
- Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
- Ralph Reed: did not serve.
- Michael Medved: did not serve.
- Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
- Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don’t shoot back.)