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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter message WAR missed

Compiled and edited with comment by Carolyn Bennett

There’s a new spirit abroad in the land.
The old days of grab and greed are on their way out.
We are beginning to think of what we owe …
Not just what we are compelled to give.
The time’s coming, Watson,
 when we shan’t be able to fill our bellies in comfort
while others go hungry or sleep in warm beds while others shiver in the cold,
when we shan’t be able to kneel before shining altars 
and thank god for blessings 
while others anywhere are kneeling in either physical or spiritual subjection.
You may be right, Holmes, I hope you are.

Casualty sites reporting April 24, 2011
(Accurate totals unknown)
Anti-war dot com Casualties in Iraq since March 19, 2003
[U.S. war dead since the Obama inauguration January 20,
2009: 222]
Wounded 33,016-100,000
U.S. veterans with brain injuries 320,000
Suicides estimated: 18 a day
Latest update on this site: April 23, 2011
Iraq Body Count
The worldwide update on civilians killed in the Iraq war and occupation
Documented civilian deaths from violence
100,479 – 109,775
Full analysis of the WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs may add 15,000 civilian deaths.  http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
ICasualties figures:
1,544 United States
2,416 Coalition
4,450 United States
4,768 Coalition

There is growing anxiety among ordinary Americans over the extended military mission that has nearly bankrupted America. Unemployment is high, the debt is rising and American cities are crumbling while the U.S. pours billions of dollars into wars that appear to have no end or any identifiable benchmarks by which to measure progress. [Sarhadi]



Five border police officers died Thursday in southern Afghanistan when a roadside bomb blew up their vehicle in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province. On the same day in the east, a NATO soldier died as did a 17-year-old former student in Peshawar, Pakistan, who had joined the fight against international forces in Wardak province.

“NATO supply trucks and oil tankers are targets of frequent attacks blamed on fighters attempting to disrupt supplies for more than 130,000 international troops fighting in Afghanistan.”

“This past winter, American troops murdered even more Afghan civilians than in previous years. True to form, they routinely claimed the attacks targeted militants and that no civilians were killed,” Zia Sarhadi wrote this week at Global Research.

“There has been a spate of such attacks in recent weeks that have soured relations between the U.S. military and the Afghan government. To their customary brutality, the Americans have now added another tactic: Following a particularly gruesome attack in Ghaziabad district of Kunar province in late February, General David Petraeus said Afghan civilians had ‘deliberately burnt’ their children’s legs and arms to make the attack look bad.”

“Amid reports of American crimes against humanity, a debate is raging in the official circles as to whether the U.S. is staying in Afghanistan or leaving. They appear to be speaking from both sides of their mouth. The purpose for which Afghanistan was invaded — to secure safe passage for a gas and oil pipeline from Central Asia and lay hands on the rich mineral deposits of Afghanistan — has not been achieved so far. …

“Their atrocious behavior in Afghanistan is turning even ordinary Afghans against them. These Afghans wish to have nothing to do with the Americans, their hi-tech weapons and their dollars. They would rather be left alone to their poverty-stricken, but safe life free from Hell-fire missiles and Apache helicopter attacks.”

On the ground in Afghanistan, a U.S. Marine officer is reported saying, “You can’t just convince them [Afghans] through projects and goodwill; you have to show up at their door with two companies of Marines and start killing people. That’s how you start convincing them.”

Brian Becker of the ANSWER Coalition writes, “The U.S. war in Afghanistan is a terrorist enterprise. By employing these tactics of terror, the Pentagon seeks to force Afghan peasants to end their resistance to foreign occupation. They are succeeding in creating oceans of suffering among people— most of whom have never heard of the World Trade Center or the September 11 attacks.

“The real goal of the operation is not to ‘protect the American people’ but rather to create a network of permanent military bases in an energy-rich and geo-strategically important region that the U.S. Empire has targeted for enduring domination. The U.S. effort can kill thousands of Afghans and destroy their villages, but it will not succeed in liquidating the resistance of the people. From Vietnam to Afghanistan — Pentagon Brass have learned nothing.

U.S. at war with PAKISTAN

Friday’s U.S. drone attack that left at least 25 people dead in Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan has ignited angry protesters in a two-day sit-in near the city of Peshawar.The “unmanned fighter jet hit a compound in Hasan Khel and was the latest in a series of drone attacks to have targeted the region.”

Pakistani media have reported that “at least 20 U.S. drone attacks” targeted the border region this year and more than “250” since August 2008. In north and South Waziristan, more than 1,500 people have died in these attacks.

Opposition parties in Pakistan reportedly will start blocking border roads “to make sure that no NATO supplies get through — until the Americans categorically state that they will not violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. The demand is said to come also from “a large number of people in Pakistan.” The drone killings of civilians together with CIA contractor Raymond Davis’s killing of two Pakistanis in Lahore in January have strained relations between Pakistan and the United States.

Four members of the Salarzai tribe peace committee died Saturday in the town of Salarzai, in Bajaur, when a suicide bomb attack targeted a convoy of Pakistani soldiers and committee elders. In the same area, in another incident a security officer died when an improvised explosive device exploded. In Shahukhel village, in Hangu district, on Saturday, a nine-year-old child died and a teenager suffered wounds when a bomb exploded outside the house of an anti-Taliban elder. The children were just passing by.

Under orders from a village council in 2002, a Pakistani woman was gang raped by five men. The gang rape was said to have been “punishment because the woman’s brother — who was 12 years old at the time — had been judged to have offended the ‘honor’ of a powerful clan by allegedly having an affair with one of its women.”

On Thursday, the Pakistani Supreme Court acquitted five and gave a life sentence to one of the men who had gang raped the woman. Ali Dayan Hasan, a South Asia researcher with Human Rights Watch, said, HRW is particularly concerned for the woman’s safety and has called on the Pakistani government to ensure her protection.

The act of the court, he said, is a setback for the woman and “for the broader struggle to end violence against women and the cause of an independent, rights-respecting judiciary in Pakistan.”

U. S. at war with LIBYA

Seven civilians died when NATO aircraft bombarded southwestern parts of Tripoli, the Libyan capital. To the south, four civilians died in another NATO attack on the town of Bir al-Ghanam. 

Libyan TV said “attacks of the ‘crusader aggressors’ were aimed at civilian and military targets and destroyed several houses in Tripoli.” In other attacks, Al-Jazeera reported on Thursday morning that “NATO aircraft struck the crucial oil-production city of Ajdabiya in the west of the country.”

Since its beginning on March 19, the foreign military operation in Libya has come under heavy criticism for “having brought the situation in Libya to a stalemate and caused even more civilian deaths.”

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that his country was unhappy with plans to put grounds troops in Libya and warned that putting international troops on the ground there is “extremely risky and could have unpredictable consequences.” There have been cases in history [think Afghanistan], he said, “when it all started with sending in military advisors and then it dragged out for years and resulted in hundreds and thousands dead on both sides.”

NATO allies have announced plans to send military advisers to the [anti-Qaddafi] headquarters to help the opposition break the stalemate with pro-government forces.

The foreign minister urged “everyone to respect the UN resolution in solving this conflict.”

In Misurata, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday, 25 people died and at least 71 suffered critical injuries during the continuing war between pro- and anti-government/Qaddafi forces. The U.S. Predator drone on Saturday, according to NATO sources, “destroyed a multiple rocket launcher in the Misurata area that was being used against civilians. U.S. drones began attacking Libya on Thursday.

U.S. (fifth fleet) at war with BAHRAIN

Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) said on Friday that the Bahraini government has turned hospitals into “‘places to be feared.’” The Paris-based group said, “‘Wounds are used to identify demonstrators. Restricted access to health care is being used to deter people from protesting and those who dare to seek treatment in health facilities are being arrested.’”

Al Jazeera reports, “Shias in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran have expressed anger over the movement of forces from Sunni Arab states into Bahrain to help its Sunni royal family squash pro-democracy rallies by majority Shias.” 

On Saturday, hundreds of Iraqi Shias rallied in Baghdad to demand the immediate withdrawal of Saudi troops from Bahrain. Some banners said, “‘Saudi occupation should end’ and ‘Why is there Arab silence towards the massacres committed in Bahrain?’” Protesters chanted, ‘No to al-Saud.’”

Amnesty International based in London urged the international community to step in to stop the crackdown or risk the accusation of having “‘double standards.’” The group’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, Malcolm Smart, said, “‘North American and European governments — so vocal recently in espousing the cause of human rights in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt — need also to speak out loudly about what is going on in Bahrain.’”

Bahraini police have been arresting opposition activists at checkpoints set up in villages and across the country’s capital, Manama. The government reportedly has used live ammunition against protesters and has flogged prisoners belonging to the political opposition. Among hundreds, many placed under arrest are opposition activists and politicians. In the government’s continuing crackdown, police earlier this month arrested prominent Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja with two of his sons-in-law. His trial began on Thursday.

Though not yet solidly confirmed, a member of Bahrain’s leading Shia Muslim opposition group, Wefaq, has died in police custody. Officials in the Arab Gulf kingdom made no comment on the reported death of Bahraini business executive Kareem Fakhrawi.

The United States and other countries have muted any criticism of the government.

U.S. at war, occupying IRAQ

Protesters in Baghdad, Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit took to the streets in February intent on reform focused on ending corruption and the chronic shortages of food, water, electricity and jobs — but not toppling the government of prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Now Maliki is turning on protesters and the press. “As revolts swept across the Middle East and North Africa, they spread to Iraqi cities and towns, but took on a very different cast,” Nick Turse opines at Al Jazeera. At 2 o’clock one morning in late February, “20 armed men clad in distinctive uniforms topped by red berets or helmets bearing a skull and cross-bones, burst into the Baghdad offices of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom group. For more than an hour,” according to a detailed report by Human Rights Watch, “they tore apart the facility and confiscated computers, external hard drives, cameras, cell phones and documents.” On a ‘Day of Rage,’ 48 hours after the February 23 incident, “Iraqi security forces detained 300 leading journalists, lawyers, artists and intellectuals who took part in or covered the protests over domestic issues and government accountability.”

Government forces have prevented many journalists from covering protests or have curtailed their reporting in response to brutality, “raising the specter of a return to the days of Saddam Hussein’s regime when press freedom was a fiction.… Maliki’s U.S. allies have ignored the violence and repression — with the top spokesperson for the U.S. military in Iraq praising them and ignoring outrages attributed to the same Iraqi units that eyewitnesses identify as key players in the crackdown.… The U.S. military continues to advise and train Iraqi security forces and bolster their potential to suppress free speech.”


Reports claim the Department of State of the United States “has given at least $6 million for anti-government programs in Syria.” The Movement for Justice and Development, a Syrian opposition group based in London, and the Reformist satellite channel Barada TV are alleged to have been recipients of the U.S. funding. WikiLeaks’ Cables have revealed the U.S. has been financing a Syrian opposition group.   

In Syria “20,000 demonstrators gathered in Homs to demand that Bashar al-Assad step down” and troops loyal to al-Assad opened fire on them. The government said the move by demonstrators amounts to “‘armed insurrection.’”

Seventy-five (75) people have died in the government’s crackdown, says a report on Friday by London-based Amnesty International. Al Jazeera says it received on the same day “a list from Syrian activists naming 103 people from across the country who had been killed by security forces”

World powers called on Syria to end the violence.  “Syria responded angrily to the U.S. president's comments, saying they lacked objectivity.”

One person died Sunday and four suffered injuries when a Palestinian police officer opened fire at a group of Israelis who had come to pray without authorization at a Jewish holy site in the West Bank. The last attack against Israelis in the West Bank occurred in the same area on March 11, when attackers infiltrated a Jewish settlement near Nablus. Five members of a family, including parents and children aged 11, 4 and 3 months died.

Early this month Israeli troops have stormed Awarta village in the northern West Bank and arrested more than 100 women. They were apparently looking for killers of an Israeli family from the illegal settlement of Itamar. Hundreds of troops entered the Awarta village shortly after midnight. They imposed a curfew then began rounding up women, many of whom were elderly. In the hunt, the military also used bulldozers to destroy Palestinian houses in a northern farming village east of Tubas, in an area under Israeli control.

The troops took the women to a military camp for fingerprinting and DNA samples. Some were released, 20 women remained in custody, increasing the total arrests in the Itamar incident to 75. The April 8 raid marked the first arrests of women in this case. The Israeli army has been conducting frequent raids on the Awarta village for the past four weeks, arresting scores of villagers.

Itamar was one of dozens of settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory deemed illegal under international law. “On Sunday, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees said Israel demolished 76 Palestinian homes in the West Bank in March — compared with 29 in January and 70 in February.”

U.S. at war with YEMEN

Though the ruling party of Yemen President  Ali Abdullah Saleh accepted a Gulf state-brokered plan for him to quit in 30 days, protesters in that country are pushing for the president’s immediate resignation. Demonstrators on Sunday expressed concern that the plan could be a maneuver between the president and official opposition parties to share power.

The president in recent years has allied himself with the United States against al Qaeda, while also battling Shia rebels in the north and separatists in the south of his country but “after years of backing Saleh, the United States had begun pressing him to negotiate a hand over of power.”

With a population of 23 million people, Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. Demonstrators accuse President Ali Abdullah Saleh of corruption and mismanagement during his decades in power.

“Across the land, the image of an ‘outside enemy’ is instilled in the consciousness of Americans. Al Qaeda is threatening America and the world. The repeal of democracy under the Patriot legislation … is a means to providing ‘domestic security’ and upholding civil liberties.

…  When people across the U.S. and around the World find out that Al Qaeda is not an outside enemy but a creation of U.S. foreign policy and the CIA, the legitimacy of the bipartisan war agenda will tumble like a deck of cards.” Chossudovsky

This play of potential and promise, fact and truth, the unconscionable irony of it all is the message missed by WAR.

Sources and notes

 “Roadside bomb kills Afghan border police [officers] — Five killed in blast in the south, while NATO soldier dies in the east and NATO supply convoy is attacked in the north, April 22, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/04/2011422142819623718.html
U.S. atrocities reach all time high in Afghanistan (by Zia Sarhadi), Global Research, excerpt, April 23, 2011, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24460
“Military Surge in Afghanistan Launches Reign of Terror— U.S. officer: ‘You have to show up at their door … and start killing people’ (by Brian Becker), April 21, 2011, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24444
Brian Becker is National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition

“Deadly drone raid sparks Pakistan protest — Hundreds gather in Peshawar to stage sit-in after drone attack kills at least 25 people in Hasan Khel,” April 23, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/04/201142311178240290.html
 “Several dead in Pakistan attacks — Security officer and four men from tribal peace group killed in two attacks in Bajaur, while child is killed in Hangu,” April 23, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/04/20114231786750488.html
“Pakistani court upholds gang-rape acquittals — All but one of six suspects freed in case of … who was gang-raped in the name of ‘honor.’” April 21, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/04/201142110545244100.html

“NATO Warplanes Bomb Libyan Capital, Kill Seven Civilians (Global Research) April 21, 2011, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24452
“NATO may send military advisers to Libyan rebels,” http://rt.com/news/send-military-forces-city/
“NATO Military Advisers in Libya: ‘Clear Launch of Ground Conflict’” (Global Research), April 22, 2011, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24454
“Heavy fighting grips battle-ravaged Misurata — At least 25 dead and dozens wounded in latest fighting despite Libyan government claims that army has halted operations,” April 24, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/04/201142323183785101.html

“Rights groups slam Bahraini crackdown — Bahrain denies claims by international NGOs that it has been targeting medical facilities and torturing activists,” April 23, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/04/201142374851328825.html
“Bahraini rights activist on trial  — Prominent activist put before military court, with family barred from attending,” April 21, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/04/201142194199946.html
“Bahrain opposition figure ‘dies in custody’ — Officials yet to confirm Kareem Fakhrawi’s reported death - the fourth such case in recent days in the Arab Gulf state,” April 13, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/04/201141220154357546.html

“Stop the presses, literally in Iraq  — The U.S. military praises Iraqi security forces as they crack down on press freedom,” (opinion: Nick Turse) April 23, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/04/2011415181326266737.html
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
Nick Turse is an historian, essayist, investigative journalist and associate editor of TomDispatch.com. He is author of The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan and The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives.


“U.S. funding Syrian opposition? — New report suggests outside intervention in the country” (Inside Story, with presenter Dareen Abughaida, discusses with guests: Nadim Shehade,  from the Middle East Programme at Chatham House; and Malik al-Abdeh, a memeber of the Syrian Movement for Justice and Development, also editor-in-chief of Barada TV, episode aired Tuesday, April 19, 2011), April 20, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/insidestory/2011/04/201142075133794563.html
“Syrian forces raid homes to quell protests  — Two MPs resign over deadly crackdown on protesters as human rights monitors report dozens arrested in overnight swoop,” April 24, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/04/20114231492375311.html
 “Israeli civilian killed in West Bank — Israeli military investigates the shooting of four civilians, who entered Nablus without authorization, April 24, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/04/20114245826904494.html
“Israel arrests scores of women in West Bank  — More than 100 women from a village near Nablus were held by Israeli troops searching for killers of settler family,” April 8, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/04/201147213052467175.html

“Israeli air strikes draw Gaza rocket fire — Projectiles fired at Israel from Gaza Strip in apparent reprisal to air raids on the Palestinian enclave,” March 24, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011324145153377198.html

“Protesters concerned that Gulf-brokered deal’s 30-day period until Saleh quits, allows him time to ‘change his mind,’” April 24, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/04/201142494657612665.html

[“Why Does America Go to War? America’s ‘War on Terrorism’” (Professor Michel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6014]



Syria (officially Syrian Arab Republic, capital Damascus) is located on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea on the southwestern fringe of the Asian continent. It has an area of approximately 71,500 square miles (185,180 square kilometres) — including territory in the Golan Heights that has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Syria is bounded by Turkey to the north, by Iraq to the east and southeast, by Jordan to the south, and by Lebanon and Israel to the southwest.


Palestine is an area of the eastern Mediterranean region, comprising parts of modern Israel and the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip (along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea) and the West Bank (the area west of the Jordan River).


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