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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Washington's WARS far from over

Brits Sunday Dec 18
West's attack on Iran
Continuing carnage in Middle East
This week's protests, commentary on lies
Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

U.S. in Iraq

 “Fifty-seven (57) percent of all Iraqis lived in slums,” Van Buren cites a 2009 UN report. “In the worst areas, such as Maysan and Diyala, more than 80 percent lived in slums.” 

Before the 2003 U.S. invasion, “the average number of slum dwellers in Iraq was 20 percent.”

The foreign service officer wrote, “After years of seeking a military solution, followed by years of building ineffective privies through our embedded (with military) Provisional Reconstruction Teams (abbreviated ePRTs), we [the U.S.] simply declared victory and started to pack up.

Van Buren said one of the sheiks commented that the U.S. “‘dug a deep hole in 2003 and now are walking away leaving it empty.’ America sneezed and Iraq caught the cold.”

Van Buren seems to excuse the inexcusable not only with his book title “We meant well”; but he concludes, “Hubris stalked us; we suffered from arrogance and we embraced ignorance.… [W]e lacked the courage to be responsible. It was almost as if a new word were needed, disresponsible, a step beyond irresponsible, meaning you should have been the one to take responsibility but shucked it off.”

This week as the Nobel laureate president claimed, “mission accomplished,” many reports and commentators assessed the continuing carnage.

Iraqis protest U.S. wall
Women suffer most

The President of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Yanar Mohammed, said Friday on the Democracy Now program, “Iraqi cities are now much more destroyed than they were” before the U.S. invasion and years of foreign occupation. “All the major buildings are still destroyed. If you drive in the streets of the capital, your car cannot survive more than one month, because all the streets are still broken. There was no reconstruction for the buildings, for the cities.”

Because of the policies that were imposed in Iraq, Yanar Mohammed said, “we have turned into a society of 99 percent poor and 1 percent rich.… Destruction is everywhere. Poverty is for all the people except the 1 percent who live inside the Green Zone.”

More than one million women have been widowed, some reports give higher figures. “These widows try to survive on a salary of $150” but, because of internal displacement, most widows “cannot get this salary.” Yet the 1 percent of Iraqis living in the Green Zone — where there was a loss $40 billion from the annual budget — “drowns in a sea of money.” After nine years, she said, “we have the most corrupt government in the world and nobody is accountable for it.

“We are divided into a society of Shias, who are ruling, and Sunnis, who want to get divided from the country of Iraq. We are now on the verge of the division of country according to religions and ethnicities; it has already happened.

The biggest losers are the women. “Poverty and discrimination against women has become the norm.” Under the new constitution “are articles referring to the Islamic Sharīah according to which “women are worth half a man legally and one-quarter of a man socially in a marriage.”

Her organization, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, she says, meets women daily “who are vulnerable to being bought and sold in the flesh market.”

Iraqis, she said, “are living in a huge military camp in which a million Iraqi men are recruited into the army.” In addition, there are “almost 50,000 militia members.”

Irrevocable Malevolence

UNHCR image
In an article republished at Press TV, Chris Floyd (author of Empire Burlesque) observes much more forcefully that the U.S. president, in claiming an end to the war on Iraq, uttered not a single word “about the thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of Iraqis killed by this ‘fulfilled mission,’ this ‘extraordinary achievement,’ this ‘success.’

“These human beings — these sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, kinfolk, lovers, friends — cannot be acknowledged; they cannot be perceived. It must be as if they had never existed. It must be as if they are not dead now.

U.S. in Iraq
“This divorce from reality is beyond description. It is the all-pervasiveness of the disassociation that obscures its utter, its obvious insanity. There is something intensely primitive and infantile in the reductive, navel-gazing, self-blinding monomania of the U.S. psyche today.…

“The Iraq War has not ended. Not for the dead, not for their survivors, not for the displaced, the maimed, the lost, the suffering, not for all of us who live in the degraded, destabilized, impoverished world it has spawned, and not for the future generations who will live with the ever-widening, ever-deepening consequences of this irrevocable malevolence.”

Carnage over there, simultaneously over here

Local U.S. municipalities bankrupt
Federal shutdown 3
School closings

Institute for Policy Studies vice chair Saul Landau spoke in interview this week about U.S. breakdown and Americans’ denial.

“There is a level of denial in the ruling group of Americans, the political class and Congress and in the administration,” Landau said. “They are denying climate change. They are denying the extent to which the economy has tanked and really is close to going under in certain places, or indeed, has gone under; and they continue to equate the Republic, which is in terrible shape. We see empire: look at the defense budget that passed, $700 billion not counting the money that goes for various wars, for nuclear weapons, for the CIA, all of that adds up to almost a trillion dollars.”
 Military tactics

Money goes for a new fighter plane nobody wants and absolutely nobody thinks is necessary — all the while U.S. schools are closing, people have no access to health care,  the cushion people used to be able to fall back on has diminished, for the really poor it no longer exists and they are falling onto hard concrete.

“The system is collapsing,” he said, “and government officials and those running for office are not facing it. … They want to cut, but not the military — a military power greater than any in the world — because the military stands for the empire.”

Landau says, “There is a disconnect, [and] we have now found a new enemy, Iran. All of a sudden Iran is going to be the bane of the new cold war, which is totally ridiculous.”

British activists call for end to hostility, provocation against Iran

Today protesters dressed in white gather at the Bank of Ideas next to Finsbury Square, make banners, share ideas in preparation for tomorrow’s protests.

On Sunday, Britain’s peace activists will hold a peace march in protest of ‘the British Government’s aggressive, illegal, and dangerous policy toward Iran.’ The anti-war protesters will also protest against ‘the unjust war in Afghanistan, which is at its bloodiest after ten years.’

“The protesters declared that the British government’s involvement in wars around the world is ‘only in the interest of the 1 percent — a government cabinet of millionaires and their friends in the oil and arms companies.’”

Announcing protest plans was Britain’s most prominent campaigner against unjust wars, the Stop the War Coalition.

Oil Rig - Iran
From Tehran, the Director of the Iranian Armed Forces Center for Strategic Studies, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, has restated Tehran’s view of a dangerous Western hypocrisy: that “the West and the U.S. are the founders and sponsors of terrorism in the world and use terror tactics against their opponents.”

The U.S. is using the imposition of sanctions on Iranian military commanders as a means of exerting “psychological pressure and for propaganda purposes.”

Iran, Iraq
Afghanistan, Pakistan
Saudi Arabia
The officer was referring to recent sanctions imposed on Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi and Deputy Commander of the Ground Forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Abdullah Araqi.

Press TV today is reporting Shamkhani saying, “‘Given that both commander Firouzabadi and Araqi on the list of [individuals targeted by] U.S. sanctions, such a measure (imposing a ban) is questionable.’” Criticizing Western double standards regarding terrorism, he said, “‘Some Western countries, which promote terrorism and sponsor assassination, accuse other countries and their officials of terrorism.’

“As signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA,” the news article reports, “Tehran has stood by its right to develop and acquire nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes.”

Continuing to terrorize Afghanistan and Pakistan
Afghan woman's body


A pregnant Afghan woman died and four other women suffered wounds today when U.S. forces raided a house in Afghanistan’s southeastern Paktia Province.

Two sons of the director of the counter-narcotics department of Paktia Province, Hasibullah Ahmadzai, were reportedly detained during the raid.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of eradicating Taliban militants. Since the invasion countless civilians have died or been injured. The security situation remains fragile in Afghanistan despite (or because of) the presence of nearly 150,000 U.S.-led foreign forces.

bombed minibus Afghanistan
The slaughter of civilians has caused deep anger among Afghans and prompted violent demonstrations throughout the country.

Yesterday in Kabul, a police station came under attack. A bomber blew himself up at a police station in Kotai Sangi area. In a second incident, a group of armed militants broke into police headquarters and detonated an explosive.

On Thursday, at least two Afghan soldiers died and two others were wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan’s northwestern province of Badghis.

Also on Thursday at least four civilians died and eight others were injured when a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan’s western province of Farah. A minibus came upon the explosive device on a road in the Malai area of Pur Chaman district in the province.

On Wednesday a roadside bomb had killed an anti-Taliban district governor and two of his bodyguards in the southern Helmand Province.

Roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices are reportedly the most lethal weapons Taliban militants have used against foreign troops, Afghan forces, and civilians.

Demanding end to assassination drones, breach of sovereignty

On Thursday at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Pakistani officials reportedly made a presentation about the November 26 NATO cross border attacks that left Pakistani officers dead. 

Senior Pakistani officials showed relevant material that they said could prove what happened in NATO’s deadly assault on a pair of Pakistan’s army border outposts at the Afghan border was no mistake.

“The evidence presented to international journalists also showed that the shooting by helicopter gunships continued for an hour after NATO forces told Pakistani officials at the posts that it would stop.”

Acting Pakistani envoy Iffat Imran Gardezi said, “‘We want to offer our view of the incident as we see it.’”

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Islamabad will continue blocking of NATO convoys.

Meeting on Friday with the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said that the United States had to guarantee that it would commit no more breaches of the country’s borders in the future.

The United States, Gilani said, “must respect Pakistan’s red lines as well as the Central Asian nation’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Pakistan has closed the border crossings the Western military alliance uses to send fuel and other supplies to the U.S.-led forces in landlocked Afghanistan. Around 40 percent of the non-lethal supplies travel across the Pakistani soil.

On Thursday in the eastern city of Lahore, hundreds of Pakistanis took to the streets to voice their anger over the NATO cross-border airstrikes that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in that late November attack. NATO helicopters and fighter jets on November 26 attacked two military border posts in northwest Pakistan and killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Protesters continued their chants of anti-U.S. slogans. They burned NATO in effigy and lit candles to mourn for Pakistani soldiers who died in the attack.

Britain interrogated on collusion

In the face of many reports indicating that UK intelligence has assisted U.S. CIA with providing  locations of alleged militants later targeted by U.S. drones, law firm Leigh Day and Co, acting on behalf of Noor Khan, have called on British Foreign Secretary William Hague “to clarify the role of the British intelligence in CIA drone attacks.… Reveal how British intelligence has assisted America’s ‘targeted killing’ campaign in Pakistan.”

Together with the killing of hundreds of Pakistani civilians, among the dead was Noor Kahn’s father. He was a victim of U.S. drone strikes in northwest Pakistan.

 “‘Unless it is categorically denied that the UK continues to pass such information to the U.S. government forces,’” said the  head of the law firm’s human rights department, “‘we require a clear policy statement of the arrangements which are in place and circumstances in which the UK considers it to be lawful to do so.’”

Libya- War crime?

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, says there are serious suspicions that the death of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi may be a war crime.

On October 20, eight months into the revolution that put an end to his 42-year-long rule, “Revolutionary fighters found Muammar Qaddafi hiding inside a concrete sewage pipe in his hometown of Sirte.” Videos taken at the time show the Libyan leader injured but alive and surrounded by a frenzied crowd. “He is hustled through revolutionaries and beaten to the ground on several occasions.” Qaddafi “then disappears in the crush and the crackle of gunfire.”

On October 25, Qaddafi and his slain son, Mu’tassim, are buried in a secret location in the North African country.

Somalia hospital
Displaced people
Hardest hit in worst drought in the Horn of Africa in six decades.

This week in a 12-hour period, 50 children died in refugee camps between Mogadishu and Afgoye. Cholera and malaria had broken out in the camps of this famine-stricken country where there are insufficient medicines to help those stricken with diseases. Close to 580 children went to hospitals.

Drought and famine have affected millions of people across Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. United Nations reports say a quarter of Somalia’s 9.9 million people are either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees.

Reports have shown that the Somali people have also come under attack by U. S. drones.

Cairo October 
Protests against army persist

Yesterday in Cairo two people died in Egyptian army rulers’ crack down on protesters who are demanding an end to military rule in the country. Close to a hundred people were injured.

Los Angeles immigrants
Activists told reporters that the clashes originally erupted on Thursday evening after the police beat up a young man participating in a sit-in protest outside the cabinet building.

Egyptian protesters accuse the military junta of carrying on with practices used by the former ruler, Hosni Mubarak. They are calling for his successor, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, to hand over power to a civilian government.

Protests and military-style crackdowns also continued this week in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and in the United States. 

Persistent casualties of persistent war

“Despite the conventions of modern warfare that forbid armies to target civilians,” Ann Jones writes of the unhealthiness of war, it is civilians who die in far greater numbers than soldiers.

“The more high-tech the army, the more sophisticated its weaponry, the safer the soldiers; but that shield does not extend to civilians.

“In fact, in many conflicts today, ruthless leaders use an effective strategy to destroy the civil society and culture of the enemy: a deliberate but unacknowledged war against women.”

Sources and notes


We meant well: How I helped lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people
Peter Van Buren. New York: Metropolitan Books Henry Holt and Company, 2011, pp. 253-254

“Iraqi Women’s Activist Rebuffs U.S. Claims of a Freer Iraq: ‘This is not a Democratic Country,’” December 16, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/16/iraqi_womens_activist_rebuffs_us_claims

Sharīah (also spelled sharia): the fundamental religious concept of Islam, namely its law, systematized during the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Muslim era (8th–9th centuries AD).

“The Costs of War: Tens of Thousands Dead, Billions Spent, and a Country Torn Apart,” December 16, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/16/iraqi_womens_activist_rebuffs_us_claims

“War without end, amen: the reality of America’s aggression against Iraq” (Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque, December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/216254.html

Further excerpt from Chris Floyd’s article

“In March 2003, the United States of America launched an entirely unprovoked act of military aggression against a nation that had not attacked it and posed no threat to it.

“This act led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It drove millions more from their homes, and plunged the entire conquered nation into suffering, fear, hatred and deprivation.

“This is the reality of what actually happened in Iraq: aggression, slaughter, atrocity, ruin. It is the only reality; there is no other. Moreover, it was done deliberately, knowingly, willingly.

“Indeed, the bipartisan American power structure spent more than $1 trillion to make it happen. It is a record of unspeakable savagery, an abomination, an outpouring of the most profound and filthy moral evil.

 “Line up the bodies of the children, the thousands of children — the infants, the toddlers, the school kids — whose bodies were torn to pieces, burned alive or riddled with bullets during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Line them up in the desert sand, walk past them, mile after mile, all those twisted corpses, those scraps of torn flesh and seeping viscera, those blank faces, those staring eyes fixed forever on nothingness.

“This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; there is no other reality. …You cannot make it otherwise. It has already happened. It always will have happened. You can of course ignore it. This is the path chosen by the overwhelming majority of Americans, and by the entirety of the bipartisan elite. This involves a pathological degree of disassociation from reality.”


Chris Floyd is an U.S. journalist whose work has appeared in print and online in sources including The Nation, Counterpunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium; and co-founder and editor of the ‘Empire Burlesque’ political blog.

“War Without End, Amen: The Reality of America’s Aggression Against Iraq” (Chris Floyd), Friday, December 16, 2011, http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/frontpage

“Divide widening between US rich, poor — The ‘incredibly unequal top-down distribution of wealth’ in the U.S. has formed an elite group who controls most aspects of the country’s affluence, according to analysts,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216090.html

Saul Landau is an internationally known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker on foreign and domestic policy issues. In 2008, the Chilean government presented him with the Bernardo O’Higgins Award for his human rights work. Landau has written fourteen books. He is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Pomona and a senior Fellow at and Vice Chair of the Institute for Policy Studies, http://saullandau.com/

“UK protesters urge policy shift on Iran,” December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216215.html
“‘U.S. uses sanctions as psywar tactic,’” December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216244.html

“U.S. forces kill pregnant Afghan woman, December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216210.html
“Police station bombed in Afghan capital,” December 16, 2011,  http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216066.html
“Bomb blast kills 2 Afghan soldiers,” December 15, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215858.html
“Roadside bomb kills 4 Afghan civilians,” December 15, 2011,  http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215850.html

“Pakistan: NATO raids were deliberate” (citing Christian Science Monitor reporting), December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215958.html
“Pakistan: U.S. must heed our red lines,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216099.html
“Pakistanis protest deadly NATO attacks,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215973.html

“Britain questioned over CIA drone strike” [“‘CIA drone strikes are killing hundreds - if not thousands - of civilians and destabilizing Pakistan’”], December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216274.html


“Qaddafi killing could be war crime: ICC,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215990.html

“Diseases kill 50 more Somali children,” December 15, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215815.html

“Two protesters killed in Cairo violence,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216089.html

Jones, Ann
War is not over when it’s over: women speak out from the ruins of war, Ann Jones, New York: Metropolitan books, 2010, p. 7


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