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Sunday, July 3, 2011

U.S. celebrates freedom its wars deny

Compiled and edited, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

Independence Day USA

Casualty sites reporting July 3, 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2009: 241] Information out of date
Wounded 33,082-100,000
U.S. veterans with brain injuries 320,000
Suicides estimated: 18 a day
Latest update on this site: July 2, 2011
Iraq Body Count
The worldwide update on civilians killed in the Iraq war and occupation
Documented civilian deaths from violence
101, 584 – 110,991
Full analysis of the WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs may add 15,000 civilian deaths.  http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
ICasualties figures:
1,649 United States
2,564 Coalition
IRAQ: 4,469 United States
4,787 Coalition

What is a life worth? 
Whose life is of worth? 
Does it matter and to whom does it matter?

YEMEN — U.S. allied with Saleh
 Forty percent of Yemenis live on 2 or fewer than two U.S. dollars a day. One third of the people Yemen “wrestle with chronic hunger.”

U.S.-allied President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen has been in office for nearly 33 years and opposition groups say the president’s promises of “political and economic reforms have never materialized.” Since January, demonstrators have protested in Yemen’s major cities, demanding Saleh’s ouster and calling for an end to corruption and unemployment. They have also called for Saleh to “stand trial for murdering hundreds of Yemenis during the regime’s crackdown on protests.”

Today, according to Press TV, tens of thousands of Yemenis are attempting to force the hands of the Saudis and the Americans. They are on the streets of the capital, Sana’a, and the other major western city, Taizz, “protesting the meddling of Saudi Arabia and the U.S. in the country’s internal affairs.”

IRAQ — U.S.-occupied, at war
More than a million Iraqis have died since the start of the 2001 U.S. invasion [Figures released by the California-based media research group Project Censored]

Since that invasion, people have lacked security — “armed attacks and roadside bombs have become part of the daily life in Iraq.”

Today five Iraqi police died when drive-by shooters opened fire with automatic weapons, their apparent target, guards stationed at a checkpoint in western Iraq. Thursday in the southern Baghdad district of Dura, one civilian died and seven people suffered wounds when a roadside bomb hit a police patrol.

The number of Iraqi civilians killed in attacks rose to 155 last month, according to newly released figures. This is “the highest monthly level since January.” Fourteen U.S. soldiers died in June 2011, making it the deadliest month for these troops in three years. The current number of U.S. troops in Iraq is “close to 50,000.”

U.S. Fifth Fleet-occupied, allied

On March 14, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed troops to the kingdom to help the Bahraini forces suppress the nationwide protests. On June 17, the International Coalition against Impunity filed a complaint with the ICC [International Criminal Court at The Hague] against the Bahraini and UK governments. The charges were “committing ‘crimes against humanity, genocide, aggression and war crimes.’”

Subsequent to that, Press TV conducted a survey, which “found that 67.25 percent of respondents believe that the UN and the ICC will refuse to investigate the case and hold trials.”

However, the Beirut, Lebanon-based International Coalition against Impunity expects to present to the court graphical images, video footage and victims’ in-person accounts showing clear evidence of the “crimes of Bahraini government.” The group’s Chief Representative, May el-Khansa, told Press TV she expects the court to be responsive to that evidence.   


U.S. bullies, lectures, threatens

However, one Syrian citizen is quoted saying, “Foreign governments want any reason to take down the Syrian government but we are happy [with] what we are. We do not need Americans to [interfere]. Look what they did in Libya. They only make problems worse.”

In her recent visit to Lithuania, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had “‘boasted that the clock was ticking for Syria [and directed] Damascus to ‘begin a genuine transition to democracy’ or face increasingly organized resistance.”

Press TV reports Clinton’s remarks coming amid Washington’s publicity campaign [again] to drum up support for a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution against Syria.

“Russia has repeatedly said it will not support a UN resolution against Syria and stresses that the Syrians should resolve their differences without any outside interference.

“Some analysts cast doubt on Clinton’s advocacy of ‘democracy’ in Syria” and insist that the rhetoric “is part of a U.S. effort to impose its hegemony over Syria.”

“Some 1.5 million people in Gaza have been denied their basic rights. This includes, since June 2007 after Hamas took control of Gaza, the denial of freedom of movement and the right to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.

An international flotilla of ten ships is attempting to bring aid to the people of Gaza and nuclear powers are preventing this nonviolent mission. Joe Catron of the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza told Press TV, “Israel is ‘bent’ on stopping the flotilla because ‘it is the act of solidarity with struggle for freedom and equality in [Gaza] by Palestinians who have been oppressed by the Zionists.’…

“Israel has ordered its navy to use all possible means to prevent the incoming international aid flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip.”

Greek authorities on Saturday arrested the captain of the U.S.-flagged ship planning to sail to the Gaza Strip to attempt to break Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory. The Associated Press quoted the Greek Coast Guard saying, “the captain of The Audacity of Hope, 60-year-old John Klusmire, had been detained for attempting to cast off without permission.” The captain is scheduled to appear Tuesday before a Greek court.

Meanwhile, the U.S. activists held up in Greece en route to Gaza “have held a vigil outside the U.S. embassy in Athens, protesting what one peace activist called the U.S. government’s “green light to Israeli attacks on aid-for-Gaza activists.”


AFGHANISTAN U.S-occupied, at war
The U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan took place with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the country. More than nine years later, Afghanistan remains unstable and civilians are paying a high price for this long war.

“Militancy has been on the rise in Afghanistan over the past years” and a recent UN report says Afghan civilian deaths rose to record highs in 2010 and the number of child victims is increasing.

Today in northern Afghanistan 17 schoolchildren suffered wounds when a hand grenade exploded at the main gate of their school in Maimana, the main city in Faryab Province. Also today, in Afghanistan’s western Herat Province, six NATO oil tankers were destroyed.

UN says U.S.-operated drone strikes in Pakistan pose a growing challenge to the international rule of law.

Drone attacks are imprecise and usually result in civilian casualties. Pakistani authorities have said that drone strikes kill 50 civilians for every militant they target. There have been numerous demonstrations across Pakistan against the U.S. drone attacks.

However, the drones keep coming and increasingly so. Rick Rozoff, Manager of Stop NATO Organization in Chicago, told Press TV that under General David Petraeus, compared with his predecessor, Stanley McChrystal, there has been an intensification of drone attacks. A reduction in strikes came under McChrystal, an increase under Petraeus.


In June, war correspondent Patrick Cockburn wrote “Lies, damn lies, and reports of battlefield atrocities.”

“In war,” Cockburn wrote, “people motivated by fear, self-interest or a simple desire to make sense of a confusing and terrifying situation make things up…

“In the first Persian Gulf Conflict of 1990-91, two notorious pieces of propaganda and misinformation greatly helped to rally support for the war by seeming to demonstrate the savagery and duplicity of the Iraqi government.

“The first was the appearance of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl before a U.S. congressional committee to testify how, as a volunteer hospital nurse, she had seen Iraqi soldiers tip babies out of incubators and leave them to die on the floor. Her account was greeted with outrage until — some time later — it was revealed that the girl was the well-coached daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador in Washington who had never left the U.S. during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

“The second story took place a few months later during the bombing and missile strikes on Baghdad. CNN's Peter Arnett reported that the U.S. had destroyed a baby milk factory on the western outskirts of Baghdad, while the Pentagon furiously maintained the facility was making biological weapons. I visited the ruins of the plant on the same day as Arnett and I remember reading through letters about the baby milk business I found in smashed up desks in the factory office. Many were about abortive efforts to save the factory from bankruptcy, convincing evidence that the Iraqi authorities could scarcely have concocted overnight.

“Governments have not become any more truthful in the 20 years between the war in Iraq in 1991 and in Libya in 2011.”


Cockburn links twenty years of Western governments and media’s propaganda this time against Libya’s head of state. “The story that most compellingly illustrates the evil nature of Muammar [Qaddafi] today,” he writes, “is the allegation that he [Qaddafi] ordered his troops to rape women who oppose him and his acquisition of Viagra-type medicines to encourage them to do so. This tale had been around for some time, but gained credibility when the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said he had evidence that the Libyan leader had personally ordered mass rape.

“The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said she was ‘deeply concerned’ by reports [Qaddafi]’s troops were engaged in widespread rape as a weapon of war.

“No doubt, individual rapes have occurred… but despite the ICC [International Criminal Court at The Hague] allegations — so far Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have not found evidence of such mass government-ordered rape despite extensive investigations.…

“Another story from Libya, universally believed by the ‘rebels,’ is that many of the fighters in the pro-Qaddafi units are mercenaries from central or West Africa.… [Again] Amnesty has found no evidence for this.…

“… In war, people motivated by fear, self-interest or a simple desire to make sense of a confusing and terrifying situation make things up; and in the midst of a fast-moving conflict, it is more than usually difficult to prove them wrong.…

“As in Iraq, journalists have been over-credulous and Western governments self-serving in pumping out atrocity stories about the Libyan government regardless of whether or not there is any evidence for them.

“Verification of atrocities matters so much because if people are to try to have them stopped — they must be sure that what they are told is true and not propaganda…”


U.S. dictator friend became enemy

Since U.S.-led forces started aerial bombings and sea attacks on this North African land and its people, scores of civilians have died. Since a revolt began against President Muammar Qaddafi in mid-February, Libyan troops also have killed civilians. Anti-government factions have sought to end decades-long rule of their president.  

On Friday, African Union leaders at the summit in Guinea offered to host with opposing sides a ceasefire and transition process towards a ‘democratic’ state. “However, the 53-nation union left open the question of the Libyan president’s future role in the country.” Qaddafi forces reportedly have not responded publicly to the proposition but Libyan anti-government factions have welcomed the African Union’s offer “saying it will ease the departure of Muammar Qaddafi and his regime.”


An estimated 1.4 million Somalis are displaced (IDPs) within their country. Another 680,000 Somalis live as refugees in neighboring countries [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)].

On Saturday, at least 16 people died and close to 30 suffered injuries in heavy fighting between Somali government troops backed by African Union forces and al-Shabab fighters in Mogadishu.

Trusted sources reliably report that the United States of America, on its Independence Day, is at war or occupying, threatening and or otherwise interfering with these and more countries, through its foreign policy and practices. All the while, government officials and mass media are lying about (spinning?) what the government is doing and why. 

The freedom the people of United States celebrate (or take for granted while obliviously under the influence of drink or shopping), through their wars, they deny to others in its most basic forms.

Whose life is of value?

Whose crimes are crimes adjudicated rigorously under law and whose are acts of impunity suffered by some, excused and ignored by others?

Sources and notes

“Yemenis blast meddlesome KSA, US,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187418.html

“Gunmen kill five policemen in Iraq,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187361.html
“Iraq civilian deaths highest since Jan,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187123.html

“ICC will toss Bahrain, UK case: Poll,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187358.html

“U.S. threatens Syria with more unrest,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187296.html

“Greece arrests Freedom Flotilla captain, July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187268.html
“‘Israel manipulating Greece over Gaza,’” July 2, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187193.html
“Vigil held against US anti Gaza-aid bid,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187283.html

“NATO tankers torched in Afghanistan,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187355.html
“Attack on school wounds 17 Afghan kids,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187406.html

“‘Petraeus upped airstrikes in Pakistan,’” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187397.html

“Lies, damn lies, and reports of battlefield atrocities — World View: Qaddafi is feeding his troops Viagra and ordering them to rape the womenfolk of the rebels ... well, maybe. Or is truth, as usual, the first casualty in this war?” (Independent.co.uk, Patrick Cockburn) June 19, 2011,

Also of note
On CounterSpin: “Patrick Cockburn on Libya, Jordan Flaherty on New Orleans trial” CounterSpin (7/1/11-7/7/11), “Patrick Cockburn of the Independent has been investigating the stories of mass rapes and mercenary fighters that paved the way to war, and he tell us what he’s found, http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4327

Patrick Cockburn is Iraq correspondent for the Independent in London. He has received the Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting, the James Cameron Award, and the Orwell Prize for Journalism. He is the author of Muqtada, about war and rebellion in Iraq; The Occupation (shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2007); The Broken Boy, a memoir; and with Andrew Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein. http://authors.simonandschuster.ca/Patrick-Cockburn/44687419/biography

“Libyan opposition welcome AU plan,” July 2, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187252.html

“16 die in battle for Mogadishu,” July 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/187271.html


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