Archive for the Kuwait Category

Toxic fallout from US war produces record child birth defect rates in Iraq [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, Hiroshima, Iraq, Kuwait, Nagasaki, Pentagon, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on October 20, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
13 October 2014

In a report presented at the University of Michigan last Wednesday, “The epidemic of birth defects in Iraq and the duty of public health researchers,” Dr. Muhsin Al Sabbak, a gynecologist from Basra Maternity Hospital, and Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicology researcher, reviewed the ever-growing mountain of data showing that rates of cancer, child cancer and birth defects (BD) have reached historically unprecedented levels in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities since the 2003 US invasion.

The presenters argued that the extreme levels of pathological genetic anomalies in Iraqi cities, documented by numerous studies, are being generated by a hellish mixture of nano-particularized heavy metals and other toxins generated by the US military occupation and heavy bombardment of Iraqi cities.

Levels are now much higher than those recorded among survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the presenters said, citing various studies conducted during the past decade…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/13/fall-o13.html

“We used chemical weapons in Vietnam”: Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick explain how telling the untold history can change the world for the better [The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghanistan, Bill Clinton, El Salvador, Genocide, Hiroshima, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Nagasaki, Obama, Okinawa, Pentagon, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Vietnam, World War II on May 22, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Sep. 29, 2013

Joint Interview by The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and Shukan Kinyobi, Tokyo, August 11, 2013

Satoko Oka Norimatsu and Narusawa Muneo

The Japanese weekly Shukan Kinyobi and The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus jointly interviewed Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, co-authors of The Untold History of the United States, a 10-episode documentary series (broadcast on Showtime Network, 2012-13) and a companion book of the same name (Simon and Schuster, 2012), on August 11 in Tokyo. It was the 8th day of the duo’s 12-day tour of Japan, right after they visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate in the 68th memorial of the atomic-bombing on August 6 and 9 respectively, and before they visited Okinawa, to witness the realities of the continuing US military base occupation and resistance to it. Stone and Kuznick, relaxed with a few late-afternoon drinks between two large public events in Hibiya, Tokyo, talked about the importance of learning and teaching history, the “thread of civilization” as a people’s “weapon of truth,” to defend against the power of the American empire, whose image has been molded on the continuing distortion of history and glorification of past wars. This applies to Japan and its government’s denial of aggression in its past wars, too. The interview ranges widely over their five years of collaboration on the Untold History.

Q. At the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War in 2012, Obama reflected on the war “with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor,” and initiated a 13-year program to “pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor.”[1] Why are the experiences of the Vietnam War being glorified now? Did the war not bring about disastrous outcomes, as you argue in your book?

Stone: There has certainly been a strong drift to the right both in the United States and now in Japan. The drift to the right started with Reagan, though some people would argue that it started with Nixon, and Johnson, after Kennedy was killed – you can argue that. The drift to the right accelerated under Reagan, and it was Reagan who was most aggressive in redefining the Vietnam War as, not a disgrace, but something to be proud of. He termed negativity toward the war as the “Vietnam syndrome,” which was quite strong, considering that only ten years before we had withdrawn from Vietnam and we were really lost. I think Reagan believed that he could revamp American society by giving it economic strength and historical purpose, as Abe is trying in Japan. You redefine the history, and you redefine the economy. Reagan starts it, and George H.W. Bush does it better. He is the one who suffered from the “wimp factor,” but after the Kuwait invasion in 1991 he announces that the “specter of Vietnam has been buried forever under the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula,”[2] and then this is backed by Clinton. So this is the tradition now. Obama recently made a statement on the 60th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War that “the war was no tie. Korea was a victory.”[3] He was praising the US military extravagantly.

So, this is a different kind of syndrome in the United States. No matter what history says, the military is worshipped. If you look at Obama’s statement on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, he does not really talk about the war when he says, “we reflect with solemn reverence, upon the valor of a generation that served with honor.” You can never question your soldiers’ valor. Many of the veterans who go to war want to feel that they served with honor, even if it was a losing cause or a bad cause. On the other hand, behind that is a revising of history where he is basically saying that the war in Vietnam was a noble cause. I think it was a lost cause; a bad cause. The battlefield of the future is the history. History, memory of history, and the correct memory of history is the slender thread of our civilization.

I know this in my heart, because if you think about it, in our own lives, previous lives, my life, your life, what do we have? Where are we right now? Every one of us has a history. We have loves, hates, affairs – we have gone through life and every single one of us has a say about history. Those people who remember history and have an awareness of themselves do better in life, generally speaking. They are able to evaluate themselves as they mature, they can change as I did, to evolve, if evolution comes from knowing who you are. So the very concept of denying your own past is lying at the greatest level. It goes to the heart of every individual and to the heart of a nation.

Kuznick: The Vietnam syndrome is very important. The attack on the Vietnam syndrome began as soon as the war ended. Gerald Ford during his presidency said, “We have to stop looking to the past; we have to look to the future.”[4] This was one week before the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the end of the Vietnam War. The process began from that point, to forget Vietnam, to wipe it from history – the causes of Vietnam, and the consequences of Vietnam. In 1980, Commentary, a leading neocon magazine, edited by Norman Podhoretz, devoted an issue to the Vietnam syndrome. Conservatives understood at that point that unless they could change the perception of the American people about the Vietnam War, they could not intervene capriciously in other countries and expand what had become an American empire. So they made a deliberate effort to change the narrative about the Vietnam War, because Vietnam had become for most Americans by that point a nightmare. Some people saw it as a mistake, as an aberration, but many of us understood it as an extremely ugly example of an interventionist American policy that had been playing out around the world for decades. So the right-wing made a systemic effort to cleanse history, because they knew that was essential to build the kind of empire that they wanted to attain, and, as Oliver says, Reagan pursued it most aggressively. But we saw it also with Carter. Carter starts his administration progressively, but by the end he had moved to the right and was talking about the nobility of the struggle in Vietnam. Reagan embraced it directly, as did Clinton who, in his student days, had actively opposed the war. If you look at what he says, it is the same as Ford, Reagan and everybody else: the nobility of the cause – the American troops were great, just because they fought and died, and you have to wave the flag for the American troops.

This was also essential for neocon proponents of “the new American century.” People behind George W. Bush again rewrote the history of Vietnam. Conservative obfuscation has been deliberate and systematic. Even in the naming. We refer to it in America as “the war in Vietnam.” We talk about “the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,” but we do not talk about the “American ‘invasion’ of Vietnam.” But that was what it was — a bloody invasion that began slowly and built up over the years, in which the United States used every kind of lethal power, except for the atomic bomb. We had free fire zones in which we were able to shoot and kill anything that moved. It was a war of atrocities. People say that the My Lai Massacre was an atrocity, but dismiss it as an aberration. But if you study the actual history, read Nick Turse’s recent book,[5] or look at Oliver’s movies, you see that Vietnam was a series of atrocities on a smaller scale. That is why the Vietnamese are surprised by the American focus on My Lai. They know that My Lais, though on a smaller scale, were occurring throughout the country with shocking regularity.

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC is powerful and moving. It has the names of all the 58,286 Americans who died in the war. The message is that the tragedy of Vietnam was the fact that 58,286 Americans died. That is indeed tragic. Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense 1961-68) came into my class and said he accepted the fact that 3.8 million Vietnamese died. The memorial does not have the names of 3.8 million Vietnamese or the hundreds of thousands of Laotians, Cambodians and others. The Okinawa war memorial tells a different story. It has the names of all the Okinawans, Japanese, Americans, and all the others who died in the Battle of Okinawa, and that makes a real statement about the horrors of war. The Vietnam memorial does not. If the 250 foot long Vietnam memorial wall contained all the names of the Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians, do you know how long it would be? Over four miles! What a statement that would make. But right now, there is a campaign to forget, and Obama participated in it when he welcomed the troops home from Iraq. Obama is the voice of the empire, and empire requires forgetting, cleansing, and wiping out the past about Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait, Salvador, and even WWII. None of these stories have been told honestly and truthfully in the United States and that is why it is so important to fight over the correct interpretation of history; otherwise U.S. leaders are going to repeat the crimes and atrocities in much the same way that they got away with them in the past…

Excerpted; full article link: http://japanfocus.org/events/view/197

Iraq: 10th anniversary of U.S. crime against humanity [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, Depleted Uranium weapons, Economic crisis & decline, El Salvador, Hiroshima, Kuwait, Libya, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, Nagasaki, NATO, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, Sanctions as weapon of war, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Torture, Turkey, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks on March 21, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Sara Flounders on March 19, 2013

The corporate media in the U.S. play a powerful role in preparation for imperialist war. They play an even more insidious role in rewriting the history of U.S. wars and obstructing the purpose of U.S. wars.

They are totally intertwined with U.S. military, oil and banking corporations. In every war, this enormously powerful institution known as the ‘fourth estate’ attempts, as the public relations arm of corporate dominance, to justify imperialist plunder and overwhelm all dissent.

The corporate media’s reminiscences and evaluations this week of the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, which began March 19, 2003, are a stark reminder of their criminal complicity in the war.

In the many articles there is barely any mention of the hundreds of news stories that totally saturated the media for months leading to the Pentagon onslaught. The news coverage in 2003 was wholly unsubstantiated, with wild fabrications of Iraqi secret ”weapons of mass destruction,” ominous nuclear threats, germ warfare programs, purchases of yellow cake uranium, nerve gas labs and the racist demonization of Saddam Hussein as the greatest threat to humanity. All of this is now glossed over and forgotten.

No weapons were ever found in Iraq, but no U.S. official was ever charged with fraud. Heroes such as Private B. Manning, however, face life in prison for releasing documents exposing the extent of some these premeditated crimes.

Today, in the popular histories, the barest mention is made of the real reason for the war: the determination to impose regime change on Iraq in order to secure U.S. corporate control and domination of the vast oil and gas resources of the region. Iraq was to be an example to every country attempting independent development that the only choice was complete submission or total destruction.

Now it is no longer even a political debate that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq were a howling disaster and major imperialist blunder for U.S. strategic interests. Despite every determination to occupy Iraq with 14 permanent military bases, the U.S. army of occupation was forced to withdraw in the face of fierce Iraqi national resistance.

Bush stood on the deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Lincoln on May Day 2003, with a “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him, to declare the war over. But what the U.S., puffed up by its imperialist arrogance, did not foresee was that the resistance had just begun.

U.S. strategists, so full of conceit about their powerful weapons, ignored the message displayed on signs, billboards and headlines of every Iraqi newspaper. It was even the headline of an English-language newspaper there, when this reporter was in Iraq with a solidarity delegation just a few weeks before the U.S. “shock and awe” onslaught.

The oft-repeated slogan was: “What the jungles of Vietnam were to their resistance, the cities of Iraq will be for us.”

The Iraqi government opened the warehouses and distributed six months of food rations to the population in advance of the war. Each package bore the sign: “Remember to feed a resistance fighter.” Small arms, explosives and simple instructions for making improvised explosive devices were publicly distributed.

Ultimately U.S. corporate power was defeated in Iraq due to its inability to be a force for human progress on any level. It was incapable of reconstruction.

The overpowering force of U.S. weaponry was able to destroy the proudest accomplishments of past decades of Iraqi sovereignty and inflame old sectarian wounds. But it was unable to defeat the Iraqi resistance or even gain a vote on a status of forces agreement in an Iraqi Parliament that the U.S. planners created.

– U.S. media non-coverage –

In covering the 10th anniversary, the same media that sold the war 24/7 recount the criminal decision to invade and occupy Iraq as just mistaken intelligence or wrong information. At the same time that they wring their hands over lost opportunities and lack of foresight, they give a passing salute to the 4,448 U.S. soldiers who died and the 32,221 wounded. At least 3,400 U.S. contractors died as well, a number barely mentioned or underreported.

More than 1.1 million U.S. soldiers served in Iraq. The National Council on Disabilities says up to 40 percent of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was the most widely and closely reported war in military history. Yet the enormity of the crime committed against the Iraqi people, the hundreds of thousands of silent deaths from lack of medical infrastructure, the millions of refugees, the environmental catastrophe, the radioactive and chemical waste left behind were ignored in coverage then, and today are barely noted.

At the start of the war in March 2003, 775 reporters and photographers were registered and traveling as embedded journalists. The number grew to thousands. These reporters signed contracts with the military that limited what they were allowed to report on.

So it should come as no surprise that what is completely missing from coverage is any responsibility for the calculated destruction of Iraq, the massive corruption and systematic looting, or the conscious policy of inflaming sectarian hatred and violence as a tactic to demoralize the resistance.

Statistics cannot convey the human loss. One out of every four Iraqi children under 18 lost one or both parents. In 2007, there were 5 million Iraqi orphans, according to official government statistics. By 2008, only 50 percent of primary-school-age children were attending classes. Iraq was reduced from having the lowest rate of illiteracy in the region to having the highest. Women suffered the greatest losses in education, professions, childcare, nutrition and their own safety in the brutal occupation.

According to figures of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, there are now 2.7 million internally displaced Iraqis and 2.2 million refugees, mostly in neighboring states. More than one-fourth of Iraq’s population is dead, disabled or dislocated refugees due to the years of U.S. occupation. This is hardly liberation.

Missing in the many 10th anniversary evaluations is the essential historical context. The 2003 war was a continuation of the 1991 war to destroy Iraq as a sovereign nation in control of its own resources. There is barely a mention of the targeted destruction in 1991 of drinking water, sanitation, sewage, irrigation, communications and pharmaceutical industry facilities, as well as the civilian electric grid and basic food supply. Erased today is all mention of 13 years of U.S./U.N. starvation sanctions imposed on Iraq from 1990 to 2003, which caused the deaths, through hunger and disease, of more than 1 million Iraqis, more than half of them children.

Despite the horrendous toll, the failure of U.S./U.N.-imposed sanctions to create a total collapse in Iraq compelled U.S. corporate power to opt for a military invasion to impose regime change.

– Second anniversary of wars in Libya, Syria –

Also missing from evaluations of the U.S. war on Iraq is any mention that this is a week of two other war anniversaries.

March 19 is the second anniversary of the U.S./NATO war on Libya — the seven months of bombing that destroyed the modern, beautiful cities, schools, hospitals and cultural centers built with nationalized oil and gas of Libya. The NATO operation assassinated the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and laid waste to the whole country. But it has not yet secured a stable source of U.S. profits.

March 15 is the second anniversary of the continuing U.S./NATO effort to destabilize and utterly destroy modern, secular Syria.

Despite U.S./NATO backing and funding from the corrupt feudal monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, diplomatic support, the arming of death squads and mercenaries, and the setting up of safe havens and bases in Turkey, the Syrian government has mobilized the population and resisted another U.S.-orchestrated regime change. The conflict is at a stalemate. The death toll has passed 70,000.

– The Salvador option: mass terror –

The clearest expose that the years of sectarian violence in Iraq following the U.S. invasion, death squad assassinations, mass terror campaigns and the harrowing use of torture by trained commando units were deliberate acts sanctioned and developed at the highest level of U.S. political and military command was published the week of March 18 in the London Guardian, with an accompanying BBC documentary film. The expose was based on 18 months of research.

The expose names Col. James Steele, a retired Special Forces veteran, who was sent to Iraq by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to organize paramilitaries to crush the Iraqi insurgency. Another special adviser, retired Col. James Coffman, worked alongside Steele and reported directly to General Petraeus.

This U.S. policy of counterinsurgency was called the “Salvador option” — a terrorist model of mass killings by U.S.-sponsored death squads. It was first applied in El Salvador in the 1980s’ heyday of resistance against a military dictatorship, resulting in an estimated 75,000 deaths. One million out of a population of 6 million became refugees.

The Salvador option is the central tenet of General David Petraeus’ often-praised counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Guardian researchers analyzed a number of documents from Wikileaks and assembled a huge number of reports of torture carried out by militias trained and supported by the U.S. under this program. The BBC and The Guardian report that their requests for comment to key members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, which could investigate the allegations, were declined or ignored.

But in Samarra, an Iraqi city where Iraqis were tortured in a library and that the BBC documentary focuses on, residents held mass demonstrations against the government and planned to set up big screens in the central square to show the whole film.

– ‘Shock and awe’ = terror –

From the very beginning of war preparation, U.S. plans were calculated to use the most extreme forms of terror on the Iraqi people to force submission to U.S. domination. “Shock and awe” is terrorism by another name.

“Shock and awe” is technically known as rapid dominance. By its very definition, it’s a military doctrine that uses overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze and destroy the will to fight. Written by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade in 1996, the doctrine is a product of the U.S. National Defense University, developed to exploit the “superior technology, precision engagement, and information dominance” of the United States.

This well-known military strategy requires the capability to disrupt “means of communication, transportation, food production, water supply, and other aspects of infrastructure.” According to these criminal military strategists, the aim is to achieve a level of national shock akin to the effect of dropping nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

– War profiteers –

The looting and pillage of Iraq on a grand scale were also planned from the very beginning. It was hardly an accident, a mistaken policy or the fog of war.

The official who had total authority in Iraq immediately following “shock and awe” destruction, the chief of the occupation authority in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, enacted 100 orders which turned Iraq overnight into a giant U.S.-dominated capitalist free market. The 100 orders guaranteed 100 percent foreign investor ownership of Iraqi assets, the right to expropriate all profits, unrestricted imports, and long-term 30- to 40-year deals and leases. In the official turnover to Iraqi sovereignty, these colonial orders were to stay in place.

Billions were stolen outright from Iraq. According to Dirk Adriaensens of the BRussells Tribunal, U.S. administrators, as the occupation “authority,” seized all Iraqi assets and funds all over the world — totaling U.S. $13 billion. They confiscated all Iraqi funds in the U.S. (U.S. $3 billion). They enforced transfers of funds from the Iraqi UBS account (Swiss bank) to the U.S. forces. They demanded and received from the U.N. the accumulated oil-for-food program funds up to March 2003 (about U.S. $21 billion).

In the first weeks of the occupation, U.S. troops got hold of about U.S. $6 billion as well as U.S. $4 billion from the Central Bank and other Iraqi banks. They collected this money in special government buildings in Baghdad.

Where did all these funds go? Instead of setting up an account in the Iraqi Central Bank for depositing these funds, as well as the oil export funds, the occupation authorities set up the “Development Fund for Iraq” account in the American Central Bank, New York Branch, where all financial operations are carried out in top secrecy. Around $40 billion is “missing” from a post-Gulf War fund.

According to the BBC, in June 10, 2008, another $23 billion in Western aid funds to Iraq were lost, stolen or “not properly accounted for.” Tales abounded of millions of dollars in $100 bills that went missing from skids at airports and of deliveries of pizza boxes and duffle bags full of cash.

According to BusinessPundit.com’s list of the 25 most vicious war profiteers, these stolen funds were just the beginning of the theft. Major U.S. corporations reported record profits. In the years 2003 to 2006, profits and earnings doubled for Exxon/Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco.

Halliburton’s KBR, Inc. division, which was directly connected to Vice President Cheney, bilked government agencies to the tune of $17.2 billion in Iraq war-related revenue from 2003 to 2006 alone.

– The cost of war –

Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz calculated the cost of the Iraq war, including the many hidden costs, in his 2008 book, “The Three Trillion Dollar War.” He concluded: “There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no such thing as a free war. The Iraq adventure has seriously weakened the U.S. economy, whose woes now go far beyond loose mortgage lending. You can’t spend $3 trillion — yes, $3 trillion — on a failed war abroad and not feel the pain at home.”

Stiglitz lists what even one of these trillions could have paid for: 8 million housing units, or 15 million public school teachers, or health care for 530 million children for a year, or scholarships to universities for 43 million students. Three trillion could have fixed America’s so-called Social Security problem for half a century.

According to a Christian Science Monitor report, when ongoing medical treatment, replacement vehicles and other costs are included, the total cost of the Iraq war is projected to cost $4 trillion. (Oct. 25, 2012)

– Peoples resistance & the anti-war movement –

The corporate media play another important role in rewriting history. Their aim is always to do everything possible to marginalize and disparage the awareness of millions of people in their own power.

While the “shock and awe” attack of March 19, 2003, is still described today, it is rare in the major media to see any reference to the truly massive demonstrations of opposition to the impending war that drew millions of people into the streets. it is projected that before the war, more than 36 million people in more than 3,000 demonstrations mobilized internationally to oppose it — in the two coldest winter months. This was unprecedented.

In Iraq, despite the overwhelming force of “shock and awe,” the planned use of sectarian war and mass use of death squads — despite the destruction of every accomplishment built by past generations, along with the destruction of schools and the confiscation of resources — the U.S. war failed on every count. Despite horrendous conditions, the Iraqi resistance drove the occupation out of Iraq. This is an accomplishment of great significance to people all around the world.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/03/19/iraq-10th-anniversary-of-u-s-crime-against-humanity/

Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Manning testifies of torture conditions in tiny cell [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, George W. Bush, Julian Assange, Kuwait, Obama, Pentagon, State Department, Torture, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on December 13, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Chris Fry

December 9, 2012

Pfc. B. Manning testified in a military court pre-trial hearing on Nov. 29 and 30 at Fort Meade, Md., about the horrendous prison conditions this whistle-blower had to endure, particularly in Kuwait and at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia. Pfc. Manning’s court-martial trial is scheduled to begin next February. Manning could face life in a military prison if convicted.

More than two and a half years ago, Manning was arrested in Afghanistan, accused of sending Pentagon and State Department documents to WikiLeaks, and transferred to Kuwait to spend two months locked in a tiny 6 foot by 8 foot cage. Manning testified: “I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die.’ I thought I was going to die in a cage.”

Then the Army transferred Manning to the brig at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, where the outrageous treatment continued for nine months. Manning testified about often being stripped naked, and kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

The brig commanders testified that all of this was a necessary “suicide watch,” even though military psychiatrists who examined Manning at Quantico testified that they told the commanders that this “watch” was not necessary. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has called Manning’s treatment “cruel and unusual” and amounting to torture.

A reporter from the progressive website “Democracy Now” spoke with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has obtained sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Assange said:

“There’s a question about who authorized that treatment. Why was that treatment placed on him for so long, when so many people — independent psychiatrists, military psychiatrists — complained about what was going on in extremely strong terms? His lawyer and support team say that he was being treated in that manner, in part, in order to coerce some kind of statement or false confession from him that would implicate WikiLeaks as an organization and me personally.”

Manning’s defense team asserts that this horrendous treatment constitutes such a travesty of justice that Manning should be released immediately.

Manning’s lawyers also presented motions to modify and eliminate many of the charges against him. The military judge will rule on these motions.

Of course, Manning and the defense team are completely justified in using any legal maneuver they deem necessary. But it must be clear to all progressives that Private Manning’s so-called “crime” was to refuse to silently obey illegal orders. U.S Army Field Manual 27-10 incorporates the Nuremberg Principles into military law, among them Principle IV: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to an order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

Since the Obama administration took office in 2009, it has refused to even investigate, let alone prosecute, the false imprisonment, torture and other war crimes committed by the George W. Bush administration, and has continued the occupation and war in Afghanistan to this day.

To prosecute and torture Private Manning for allegedly disclosing secrets of the U.S. government about its culpability in acts of torture and wars and other U.S. human rights violations does indeed itself constitute a war crime. It must be stopped! Free Private Manning now!

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Workers World article link: http://www.workers.org/2012/12/09/manning-testifies-of-torture-conditions-in-tiny-cell/

***

See also: “‘Turning Their Back on Bradley Manning’: Whistleblower speaks–but press doesn’t listen” [FAIR] On the near-total censorship by mainstream media of Manning trial
FAIR article link — http://fair.org/take-action/media-advisories/turning-their-back-on-bradley-manning/

IRAQ – U.S. occupation ‘ends,’ amid turmoil and misery [Workers World]

Posted in Iraq, Kuwait, Mercenaries / "contractors", Obama, Pentagon, State Department, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks on January 2, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Gene Clancy
Published Dec 23, 2011 8:18 PM

As Washington was announcing the end of its occupation, Iraqis burned U.S. flags, brandished banners and thronged the streets of Falluja to celebrate the U.S. troops’ withdrawal from the former resistance stronghold and site of some of the Iraq War’s fiercest battles.

Some 3,000 people flooded the city carrying Iraqi flags and banners that said, “Falluja: the City of Resistance.” Many carried photographs of city residents who had been killed by U.S. forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

“Celebrations mark a historical day for the city of Falluja, and we should remember in pride the martyrs who sacrificed their blood for the sake of this city,” said Dhabi al-Arsan, deputy governor of Anbar province, to the crowd. (Reuters, Dec. 15)

Falluja, a main city in the western desert province of Anbar, served as a base for Iraqi fighters after the invasion. It was the site of two major conflicts in 2004. U.S. troops used overwhelming force — tanks, fighter jets and helicopter gunships — to crush insurgents there. Hundreds of Iraqis were killed in the fighting and thousands were forced to flee their homes.

Despite this and other so-called “victories,” nearly nine years after the invasion that drove the Ba’ath party and former President Saddam Hussein from power, Washington says it is ending its military presence and pulling out the remaining 5,500 U.S. troops before Dec. 31.

* No reason to be proud *

President Barack Obama all but declared victory as he announced that most U.S. troops would be home “before the holidays.” He praised the soldiers for their efforts in Iraq. But there is nothing to be proud of.

The war cost the United States 4,483 military deaths and tens of thousands wounded, many disabled for life. But the costs to the Iraqis were much higher. The Opinion Research Business Survey counted more than 1 million civilian Iraqi deaths as a result of the conflict. This does not count the thousands who died because of the systematic destruction of most of Iraq’s infrastructure, including the water and electricity supply, and what was once the best medical organization in the region.

The war has wreaked enormous havoc on Iraq’s social structure. There are now nearly 5 million Iraqi refugees. Two million of them were forced to flee the country.

Nor did all U.S. troops behave “magnificently.” Today, Pfc. Bradley Manning is in solitary confinement, facing a life sentence on charges of allegedly leaking internal Pentagon documents, including evidence of U.S. war crimes.

Someone released to WikiLeaks a Pentagon video showing a U.S. helicopter gunship massacre of nearly a dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians and the wounding of two children. Whatever soldier released that truth should be considered a hero, say Manning’s defenders.

Once the initial invasion and occupation failed to establish a stable puppet Iraqi regime, Washington purposely seized on and exacerbated divisions among ethnic and religious groups in Iraq. The U.S. separated the Kurdish region and set quotas for Sunni and Shiite groups in the government, using a “divide and conquer” strategy. Despite Pentagon assurances to the contrary, there is still much violence. In one day, six people were killed and 44 wounded in apparent political and ethnic violence across the country.

In addition, that day, as U.S. troops crossed the border into Kuwait, more than half the Iraqi Parliament withdrew to protest the policies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has initiated a crackdown on his political and ethnic enemies.

Iraq’s parliamentary committee on education says that their country, which once had one of the highest literacy rates in the Middle East, now has one of the worst. ”While Iraq boasted a record low illiteracy rate for the Middle East in the 1980s, illiteracy jumped to at least 20 percent in 2010. Moreover, illiteracy among women in Iraq, at 24 percent, is more than double that of men (11 percent). “ (Iraq Solidaridad, July 21)

* No real end to occupation *

The U.S. still maintains a sizable military presence in Iraq and will for some time to come. The largest U.S. embassy in the world is remaining, and the State Department has openly stated that it will take over most of the functions formerly carried out by regular troops. They will rely primarily on nearly 20,000 private “contractors,” i.e., mercenaries, who earned a fearsome reputation during the war for their rapacious and murderous policies toward civilians.

The U.S. claims that it is there to provide “stability” and train Iraqis to protect themselves from “foreign enemies” are patently false and absurd. Today, nearly all of the 700,000-strong Iraqi puppet army is positioned throughout the country to repress the population. U.S. forces will be across the border in Kuwait, kept there just in case Iraq’s puppet government deviates from the pursuit of U.S. interests.

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2011/world/iraq_1229/

“Britain’s U-turn over web-monitoring” – Cameron’s hypocrisy on “Internet freedom” exposed [Xinhua]

Posted in Africa, Cameron, China, Kuwait, U.K. on September 13, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — Following days of violent riots in Britain, speculation has grown as to why and how the trouble spread so rapidly.

Apparently the rioters used social media, like Twitter, Facebook and the Blackberry messenger system and Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he’s looking at banning potential troublemakers from using the online services.

The British government, once an ardent advocate of absolute Internet freedom, has thus made a U-turn over its stance towards web-monitoring.

Communications tools such as Facebook and cellphones also played a delicate role in the massive social upheaval earlier this year in north Africa and neighboring west Asian countries, whose governments then imposed targeted censorship over message flows on the Internet.

In a speech delivered in Kuwait in February, the British prime minister, however, argued that freedom of expression should be respected “in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square.”

Learning a hard lesson from bitter experience, the British government eventually recognized that a balance needs to be struck between freedom and the monitoring of social media tools.

Cameron himself admitted that the “free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.”

“And when people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them,” he told lawmakers Thursday.

We may wonder why western leaders, on the one hand, tend to indiscriminately accuse other nations of monitoring, but on the other take for granted their steps to monitor and control the Internet.

They are not interested in learning what content those nations are monitoring, let alone their varied national conditions or their different development stages.

Laying undue emphasis on Internet freedom, the western leaders become prejudiced against those “other than us,” stand ready to put them in the dock and attempt to stir up their internal conflicts.

With no previous practice, the world is still exploring effective solutions to Internet monitoring.

“Technology has no morality,” observed Emma Duncan, deputy editor of The Economist.

And the Internet is also a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. For the benefit of the general public, proper web-monitoring is legitimate and necessary.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2011-08/12/c_131046237.htm

LIBYA – Behind the phony ICC ‘rape’ charges [Int’l Action Center]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Black propaganda, France, Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Media smear campaign, Serbia, Torture, U.K., US drone strikes, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks, Yugoslavia - former FRY on June 17, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“…now we have the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, telling us that Gaddafi’s forces are increasingly engaging in sexual violence and that they have been issued the impotency drug Viagra, presumably to enhance their ability to rape. Remarkable. Who would have believed that the Libyan Army had so many men in their 60s and 70s?…” — William Blum, The Anti-Empire Report, May 2nd, 2011, http://www.killinghope.org

June 10, 2011

by Sara Flounders

International Action Center

Without presenting a shred of reliable evidence, NATO and International Criminal Court conspirators are charging the Libyan government with conspiracy to rape — not only rape as the “collateral damage” of war, but rape as a political weapon.

This charge of an orchestrated future campaign of rapes was made at a major press conference called by the lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on June 8, 2011. The even wilder unsubstantiated ICC charge that Libya plans to mass distribute Viagra to its troops confirms this as the most tawdry and threadbare form of war propaganda. [In an obvious contradiction, Susan Rice’s aforementioned claim predates Libya’s alleged “plans” by over a month. See Blum’s reference to Reuters news agency, April 29, 2011, linked at http://www.killinghope.org — Zuo Shou]

It is important to understand that NATO countries with the full complicity of the corporate media and the ICC are spreading this Big Lie in order to win support for and close down all opposition to a ground assault of Libya, something that would otherwise be unpopular both in Europe and the United States. This wild charge adds to the evidence of a massive escalation in bombing urban targets in Libya, the use of British and French helicopters that give close support to ground troops and the positioning in the Mediterranean off Libya of U.S. warships that can quickly land troops. The NATO alliance is desperate to put Libya beyond all discussion or defense and raise the NATO war to the level of a Holy Crusade to defend women.

The charge of rape as a political weapon was spread — without evidence — against Serb forces to justify U.S. plans for the first NATO bombing campaign in the history of the military alliance in 1994 in Bosnia and was used again in 1999 in Serbia in the first NATO occupation. The rape charge was used to soften up the U.S. and European population for the criminal war against Yugoslavia. Now a similar plan is in the works for Libya.

All too often widely fabricated lies are spread to justify imperialist wars. In 1991 the first war against Iraq was justified by outrageous charges that the Iraqi army had grabbed Kuwaiti babies from incubators and smashed the babies to the floor. This was presented as reliable “testimony” to in the U.S. Congress and in the UN. Months later it was confirmed as a total fabrication. But the lie had served its purpose. In 2001 the corporate media and U.S. politicians claimed that they had to bomb and then massively occupy Afghanistan to win rights for women that the Taliban taken away. The situation for women in Afghanistan and for the entire population has deteriorated further under U.S. / NATO occupation.

Despite video and photo evidence that the entire world has seen through WikiLeaks, the International Criminal Court has never considered for a moment filing criminal charges against U.S. British, French or German troops.

The pictures, videos and reports in major newspapers of sexual torture and humiliation at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by U.S. soldiers, the testimony by the U.S. soldiers involved in rapes, tortures, mutilations and executions in Iraq and Afghanistan confirms the brutal reality of U.S. wars. These wars have never been to ‘save’ women.

As an African country, Libya can hardly expect a fair hearing or any form of justice from the ICC. The International Criminal Court created with high hopes of international justice in 2002 has been used against 7 countries – all in Africa. Meanwhile, the ICC has never examined U.S. drone attacks on defenseless civilians in at least 8 African, Arab and South Asian countries. Nor has it even touched U.S. invasions and occupations. Israeli bombing of the Palestinian people is “off limits”.

This is an essential time to remind all people concerned about the rights of women that U.S. intervention or any imperialist intervention has never protected women. Even women serving within the U.S. military machine are not “safe”. According to a study published by the Journal of Military Medicine, 71 per cent of women soldiers have been sexually assaulted or raped while serving in the U.S. military. Women who have been assaulted consistently report poor medical treatment, lack of counseling, incomplete criminal investigations and threats of punishment for reporting the assaults. In 2009 the Pentagon admitted that approximately 80 per cent of rapes are never reported – making it the most under-documented crime in the military. In addition U.S. military bases are all too often surrounded by an entire sex industry of abused women forced by hunger, dislocation and lost families into work in bars and clubs.

Rape in every society has little connection to sexuality and desire. It has always been about imposing power and domination.

The “political rape” charge in this case makes no sense and has no basis beyond the U.S.-NATO desire to justify expanding the war against Libya.

Stop U.S.-NATO intervention in Libya.

Article link: http://www.iacenter.org/africa/lybia-rape-charges061011/