I met Dahr Jamail fifteen years ago in Anchorage, Alaska...he was then a guide on Denali (Mt. McKinley to the dominant culture) and I know him to be a human being of rigorous honesty and profound compassion.
His new book, "Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From An Unembedded Journalist In Occupied Iraq" is easily the most important book I have read in the past five years.
I urge you to visit his website, join his email list, and purchase his book. What I have feared most about this illegal and inhumane war of economic adventure is made plain in his dispatches.
I hope there is a Nuremburg-style International War Crimes Trial for the architects and leading supporters of this holocaust, as well as a Marshall Plan-style program of recompense, reconciliation, and reconstruction for the beleagered Iraqi nation. I pray for the survival of the Iraqi people and victory in their fight for freedom from foreign oppression.
Stop deportation of Robin Long from Canada US Iraq War resister in Canada arrested and taken to Vancouver for expedited deportation. Supporters on both sides of border taking action now. Contact Prime Minister Harper today!
Army moving against Lt. Watada Despite US Constitution and protections against double jeopardy, Army appears ready to retry First Lt. Ehren Watada a week from now—Tuesday, October 9—at Fort Lewis. Supporters encouraged to take action.
Sgt. James Circello, AWOL, protests war Army Airborne Infantryman went AWOL in April due to opposition to military intervention in the Middle East, now traveling country protesting and speaking out.
Message from Elliot D S Adams National President, Veterans for Peace: "Courage to Resist gives our young soldiers the help and support so they can stand up to the military and do what is right, moral and lawful." Donate
Stop the deportation of Robin Long from Canada!
US Iraq War resister Robin Long
By Courage to Resist October 2, 2007
Yesterday, October 1, U.S. Iraq War resister Robin Long was arrested in Nelson, British Colombia—a small city about 50 miles north of where Washington State and Idaho intersect with Canada. He was taken to the police station and detained. Today, Tuesday, he was flown to Vancouver, where the authorities intend to possibly bring him to the border and hand him over to U.S. military authorities. Supporters on both sides of the border are taking emergency action: “Stop the deportation of U.S. war resister Robin Long!” E-mail, call, fax, and/or write Canadian officials today:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper Fax: 613-941-6900 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa K1A 0A2, CANADA
The Honourable Diane Finley, PC, MP Phone: 613-954-1064 | Email: email@example.com Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1, CANADA
Robin, a native of Boise, Idaho hitchhiked to Canada in June 2005 seeking sanctuary after leaving his Fort Knox, Kentucky based tanker unit in order to resist deployment to Iraq.
Emergency rally Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 4:30 pm at the Dundas Street West and University Avenue in Toronto, Canada organized by the War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada)
Despite Constitution, Army moving against Lt. Watada
"Puppetistas" put war on trial 2/5/07 outside Ft. Lewis. Photo: Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist
By Courage to Resist October 2, 2007
The Army appears ready to retry First Lt. Ehren Watada a week from now—Tuesday, October 9—at Fort Lewis, Washington. As scheduled, the retrial will be heard by the same military judge that orchestrated the February mistrial in order to give the prosecution a “do-over” after they rested their case against the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Supporters of Lt. Watada and GI resisters are being urged to take action to highlight double jeopardy outrage!
Michael Wong, a member of the Watada Support Committee and Veterans for Peace, is working hard to mount a public response.
Mike Wong states:
This is in gross violation of law and the Constitution, because his lawyers have appealed against a second trial on the basis of double jeopardy. For quite some time, Ehren's lawyers were proceeding on the assumption that since the appeal is in progress in the court system, the Army would cancel or postpone the October 9th court martial. But now it is only a week away, and nothing has been canceled or postponed. The trial is looking very much like it is on.
Friends and allies around the country are being encouraged to hold teach-ins, demonstrations, press conferences (if you have lawyers who can address the double jeopardy issue, please have them speak), write letters to the editors, anything you can do, on the weekend prior to October 9 and/or on the day of.
AWOL Sgt. James Circello (left) and Iraq War resister Mark Wilkerson (right) under St. Louis Arch 8/19/07. Photo Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist
By James Circello Jr. and Courage to Resist. October 2, 2007
Sergeant James Circello Jr. is an Army Airborne Infantryman who went AWOL in April 2007 because of his opposition to U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.
James enlisted in the Army in 2001 following the attack on the World Trade Center. He spent a year in the Kirkuk area of northern Iraq with the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade from March 2003 to March 2004.
After much soul-searching, James left his base in Vicenza, Italy (Caserma Ederle) on April 10, 2007. Recently he has attended the Veterans for Peace National Convention in St. Louis this August, the mass anti-war march on Washington DC last month, and is currently working with Iraq Veterans Against the War and Courage to Resist.
James plans to turn himself over to military authorities soon and will undoubtedly need our support.
I saw kids turn into animals By James Circello, AWOL Army Sgt.
I enlisted in September 2001 and reported to my unit in Italy in June of 2002. I was an alright Private— got along with everyone, did my job the best I could, trained and jumped from airplanes....
I saw kids turn into animals. Members of my own unit, who I will never speak negatively about, doing things that one day I know will haunt them.
I saw soldiers mistreating detained Iraqis. Detained on nothing more than pure suspicion in some cases. But why not, it was the Old West, anything goes and anything did go. Honestly.
Questionable shootings. Questionable decisions by superior commanders. Nothing ever questioned by your superiors. You as the Soldier were always in the right.
One platoon in particular killed so many people, some legally, some others maybe not so legally. They were investigated. Nothing ever came from it. Everyone always knew nothing would come from it. In the military you watch each other's back, against the "bad guys"— including the investigators.
I did see a side of Iraq I didn't know existed. A courageous group of people, fighting for their own survival, compassionate and friendly. It was always so easy to make friends with an Iraqi— whether he was Kurdish, Arabic or Turkish— it never made a difference.
I left the country feeling awful.
It was so hard to speak to anyone in America about it, because they had no idea.
Every service person is charged with the responsibility to disobeying an illegal order. Orders that violate the treaties of the United States like the Geneva Conventions are illegal. Courage to Resist gives our young soldiers the help and support so they can stand up to the military and do what is right, moral and lawful.
It should come as no surprise that the Bush administration’s newest military-man-of-substance-turned- political lapdog, General Petraeus, maintains that the situation in Iraq is not only salvageable, but actually improving, due to the "surge" of U.S. combat troops into Iraq over the past year. All the president and his collection of GI Joe hand-puppets ask for is more time, more money and more troops.
There is no reason to believe that the compliant war facilitators who comprise the "anti-war" Democratic majority in Congress will do anything other than give the president what he is asking for. No one seems to want to debate, in any meaningful fashion, what is really going on in Iraq.
Why would they? The Democrats, like their Republican counterparts, have invested too much political capital into fictionalizing the problem with slogans like "support the troops," "we’re fighting the enemy there so we don’t have to fight them here," and my all-time favorite, "leaving Iraq would hand victory to al-Qaida."
There simply is no incentive to put fact on the table and formulate policy that actually seeks a solution to a properly defined problem. Like the Republicans before them, the Democrats today seek not to govern with the best interests of the people in mind, but rather to game the system in order to consolidate political power. Political sloganeering has so trumped reality that any political backlash that is generated from the so-called "Petraeus Report" will be limited to how the Democrats could better sustain a conflict that kills American troops, since no mainstream Democratic leader has expressed a true "get out of Iraq now" policy.
Nearly 4 1/2 years after President Bush’s ill-fated (and illegal) decision to invade and occupy Iraq, few people in a position to influence policy formulation and implementation in America have actually grasped the horrible truth about what has transpired, and what is transpiring, in Mesopotamia today. As the United States places the finishing touches on Fortress America, the new half-billion-dollar Embassy complex in the heart of the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad, and more troops pour into mega-bases throughout Iraq, the reality (and futility) of permanent occupation has yet to sink in. What could be going through the minds of those members of Congress who keep signing blank checks for the president? Is there no oversight of how and why this money is spent? How can someone fund permanent infrastructure one day, then speak of the need to get out of Iraq the next?
The compliant mainstream media, of course, is no help. The war in Iraq has become a major generator of advertising revenue for these corporations, so there is no incentive to actually report the truth, but rather manipulate the fiction. Iraq has become a prestige destination for every aspiring journalist or struggling anchor, determined to get "the big story." The most recent manifestation of this syndrome is CBS News anchor Katie Couric, who earlier this week traveled to Iraq because she was (in her own words), "Curious about very basic questions regarding living conditions, about how much fear there is in the street, about how the soldiers really are doing." That the situation in Iraq has been boiled down to these three big, burning issues (living conditions, fear in the streets, and how the troops are really doing), and that CBS is sending their multi-million-dollar investment to investigate, speaks volumes about the truly degenerate state of American journalism today.
The real big three she should be addressing are "Why do Americans keep dying?" "Who is killing them?" and "Why?" Of course, answering these questions would undermine the very fantasy world Couric is being sent to cover, one where Americans are doing good deeds in the name of peace and justice for downtrodden Iraqis. Couric’s jaunt is fraud on a massive scale. Ironically, she herself acknowledged this when she admitted that her upbeat reports from Iraq were reflective of what the U.S. military wanted her to see, and not honest "reporting" on her part.
If Couric and her ilk won’t answer these questions, I will. "Why do Americans keep dying?" Simple: Because we are in Iraq. We don’t belong there. Our presence is derived from our own violation of law, not someone else’s, and as such any effort to sustain our presence is tainted by this same foundation of illegitimacy. In short, Americans will keep dying in Iraq as long as we remain in Iraq. If Katie wanted to really get to the bottom of this story, she could venture out on her own to any one of the villages and towns where Americans have been killed recently. Of course, she would probably end up dead herself, which would defeat the purpose of trying to report the story.
"Who is killing them?" Another easy answer: Iraqis. We are occupying their homeland. We are violating their sovereignty. We are butchering, abusing and torturing their citizens. Our continued presence is an affront to the socioeconomic-political fabric that is (or was) Iraqi society. If someone occupied my hometown in the same manner Americans occupy Iraq, I’d be killing them any way I could. And I would be called a hero by my own people, not a terrorist. The Bush administration, in an effort to deflect public attention away from this reality, has created the fiction of a massive al-Qaida presence in Iraq, working in parallel with a similarly large Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command presence, which apparently is responsible for the majority of anti-American violence and dead U.S. troops.
Rhetoric aside, however, American officials who make these claims have been unable to back them up with hard facts and figures. There is an al-Qaida presence in Iraq. However, the majority of what is known as "al-Qaida in Iraq" is composed of Iraqis, not foreigners. The whole phenomenon is a direct result of the American occupation of Iraq, and would dissipate the moment America left the country. Likewise, the accusation of direct Iranian involvement in anti-American violence is questionable. Iranian political support of Iraqi Shiite groups who violently oppose the American occupation of Iraq is real, but then again we know this: We invited the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq to join us in toppling Saddam. Based out of Iran, functioning as a de facto arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command, SCIRI did as we asked. Why, then, are we shocked when SCIRI maintains ties with the very entity that created and nurtured it? It is Iraqi Shiites who are killing Americans, not Iranians. And they would kill us with or without the support of Iran.
Now we come to the third and perhaps most difficult question: "Why?" In some odd way, Katie Couric’s jaunt to Iraq answers that question: Because Americans truly don’t care. Oh, we care about vague softball issues, such as "conditions in the street," "fear," and of course, "how the American troops are really doing," especially when they are fed to us in 30-second sound bites or three-minute "in-depth" stories. Little feel good segments planted in between commercials, designed not to infringe on our intellectual curiosity for more than 30 minutes so we don’t loose our focus watching the latest "reality" show or made-for-television drama.
The fact is, Couric’s made-for-television news is to what is really happening in Iraq as "CSI: Las Vegas" is to what is really happening on the streets of Sin City. CBS knows that, which is why they are packaging Katie in this fashion. The shame is that for most Americans watching, they think they’re getting the real deal. They are not, but will continue to wallow in their ignorant indifference. Katie will struggle to tell us that our kids keep dying in Iraq to "improve the quality of life" and "reduce the level of fear" on the streets of Baghdad. She solemnly informs us that "our boys and girls" are suffering, but they know it is in support of a just and noble cause. Katie will continue to report the story in Iraq from the perspective of an American political dynamic, not Iraqi reality.
She won’t go visit one of the American mercenary units in Iraq, the private military contractors who challenge the American military for numerical supremacy. She won’t burrow into the never-never land of legal ambiguity that allows these mercenaries to commit murder at will, to treat Iraq (and Iraqis) as second-class citizens in their own nation, and whose continued abuse of Iraq results in a deep and undying hatred for all things American. Katie may catch a movie in a hardened underground theater on one of the Pentagon’s mega-bases, or go shopping in a PX inside the "Green Zone" to get a "feel" of life for our troops, but she won’t venture up north, into Kurdistan, where other secure outposts of foreign occupation sit, out of sight and mind. If Couric would visit the Iraqi Oil Ministry, she might be shocked to witness the legal maneuvering and exploitation carried out by foreign oil companies (including, directly or indirectly, American oil companies).
Working with local Kurdish officials, small oil exploration and drilling camps are sprouting up all over northern Iraq, where they siphon off the wealth of the Iraqi people. Shipped out of Iraq via Turkey and (surprisingly) Iran, using long-established smuggling routes, these illegal ventures are generating billions of dollars in income for oil companies, and because these ventures aren’t supposed to exist, this income goes unreported. You can’t miss these sites. Any review of Google-Earth imagery would show these facilities springing up like mushrooms over the last few years. The U.S. military knows about them, and yet does nothing. Note to Richard Kaplan (Katie Couric’s producer): If you want to investigate this story, I’ll provide you with the geographic coordinates. Drive up and try to talk your way into the security perimeter. Position Katie well for the camera shot and demand answers. Just look out for the Canadian, South African or American mercenaries who are charged by "Big Oil" to keep this dirty little secret "secret."
Instead of going to Iraq to report on why Americans keep dying, Katie could just stay here, in America. There are any number of corporations whose boardrooms she could visit. Or she could smooth-talk her way into a number of country clubs, to interview the human face of the "military industrial complex" that President Eisenhower warned us about a half-century ago. She might take a look at congressional campaign financing, where the profits from these corporations fund the campaigns of the politicians who continue to do nothing about Iraq. Then, and just then, would Katie come close to answering the question of "Why?"
But she won’t. Or should I say, she can’t. CBS is owned by General Electric. GE is working hard to get favorable trading status with any number of foreign trading partners. The U.S. trade representative is working hard on GE’s behalf. Hard-nosed "reporting" by the likes of Couric would not go over well in the bowels of the White House, where instructions to the U.S. trade representative are issued. "I’m Katie Couric," her broadcast could begin. "Tonight I am declaring independence from corporate control over how I report (i.e., read) the news." Answering the "why" of Iraq requires confronting the layers of corruption and corporate domination of America on so many levels that even if Katie wanted to, she couldn’t—at least not from her perch as anchor of the CBS Evening News.
In a way, Iraq is a manifestation of all that ails America today. A complete breakdown of fundamental societal checks and balances brought on by greed and hubris. From General Petraeus who will give it, to the mindless corporate-owned minions who populate much of Congress who will receive it, to the entertainment-as-news media which will report on it, and to the American people who will consume it with no foundation upon which to evaluate it, the "Petraeus Report" will have little relevance to what is really going on in Iraq. Once again, Americans will be searching for a solution to a problem they have yet to properly define.
:: Article nr. 36058 sent on 07-sep-2007 20:47 ECT
FINALLY! A noted author and columnist says aloud what in my heart I have felt for years now. I had begun to think that my thoughts might be seditious to speak, but Mr. Pitt courageously and forthrightly speaks to the heart of the matter.
It is time a judicial proceeding on the order of the Nuremberg War Trials be instituted and the traitors, hoodlums, and scumbags be brought to international justice. Mere impeachment is too good for these greedwads.
Please pass this link along to everyone you know...it may already be too late to salvage any sort of international trust.
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