Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

MP3 player holding U.S. military data found

January 27, 2009

By GottaLaff

https://i1.wp.com/www.iforum.umontreal.ca/Forum/2006-2007/20060918/images/20060918_Ipod.jpg

Butterfingers:

A New Zealand man who bought an MP3 player from a thrift shop in Oklahoma found 60 U.S. military files, including names and phone numbers for soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, TV One News reported today.

Chris Ogle said he found the files when he linked the device to his computer. Details of equipment at bases in Afghanistan and a mission briefing were found too, the report said.

In 2006, the Los Angeles Times found stolen flash drives containing secret military data for sale at Afghan shops.

Some Iraqis already skeptical of democracy

January 26, 2009

By GottaLaff

Wasn’t “democracy” the reason one of the kazillion reasons that Bush illegally invaded a sovereign country that hadn’t attacked us first? Why yes. Yes it was:

Some are so soured on the government’s ability to get things done, they’ve already turned apathetic in Iraq’s early days of democracy.

I won’t participate in the upcoming elections,” said Nahar Fakhri Sadoon, 58, of the southern city of Basra. […]

But Iraqis said it is difficult for them to have faith in government when they don’t see it working for them. In the nearly six years since the U.S. invaded Iraq, the government has been unable to fix major infrastructure problems, leaving the majority of Iraqis without reliable running water and continuous electricity. […]

And unemployment remains high, with Iraqis seeing little or no improvement in their personal economic situations, the report states.

In a nationwide survey, only 16% of Iraqis reported being “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with the amount of electricity they were receiving.

On the bright side, 16% is higher than Cheney’s final approval rating.

Abu Abdullah, 52, a mechanical engineer:

“These are things in touch with your everyday life. . . . At least what I want to see in the future is that we return to the same level of infrastructure as before 2003.” […]

Many Iraqis also cited corruption as an ongoing problem in Iraq. Leaders rise to positions they don’t deserve and relatives are awarded lucrative contracts, several said.

Khazraji Ali, 35, who runs a clinic in the southern city of Diwaniya and teaches at a medical school said…

…most of the people he knows plan on voting for a friend or relative who can benefit them once in office.

Just like BushCo and their Bestest Big Biz Buds! See what a swell model Bush’s America is for Iraq? Democracy in action.

Iraq to re-open Abu Ghraib prison

January 25, 2009

By GottaLaff

Mission accomplished:

The AP reports that next month, Iraq will re-open the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, site of the egregious torture and human rights abuses conducted during the Bush administration. The new prison will hold up to 15,000 inmates and will be called �Baghdad�s Central Prison� because the name Abu Ghraib left a �bitter feeling inside Iraqis� hearts,� deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim said yesterday.

We’re makin’ progress.

Black Iraqis inspired by Barack Obama

January 19, 2009

By GottaLaff

Georgie Bush thinks he’s made a difference in Iraq. He’s right: It’s been bombed to smithereens; it has only sporadic access to electricity, clean water, decent sewage systems; there’s been ethnic cleansing; there has been a mass exodus of most of its doctors, engineers… need I go on?

Here’s how President Obama made a difference, Georgie, and without the use of violence:

Their faces and darker skins make them look different. They are routinely called “slave” by the majority, whatever their profession. But Iraq’s black population hopes that Barack Obama’s rise to the White House will mark a turning point for minorities not just in the United States, but also in their country.

Jalal Thiyab Thijeel, general secretary of the “Movement of Free Iraqis,” followed every detail of Obama’s election campaign. “Inspiring,” he calls it. Inspiring politically, and personally. Like Obama, Thijeel has family roots in Africa.

“We told our people, Inshalla, God willing, Obama is going to win, and if he wins, it will be a victory for all black people in the world,” he recalls. “We’re going to make him a model to follow. Even our old women were praying for him to win.” […]

Now we, the dark-skinned people, feel even closer to the American people because Obama is one of us.”[…]

There’s a change in international politics,” he tells me. “Obama won, and not that long ago, in his country, black people were marginalized, so this event has shattered all barriers.”

Can you imagine anyone in Iraq saying, “We feel closer to the American people because Bush is one of us”? I didn’t think so.

This Did Not Have To Happen

January 19, 2009


And for the first time in a very long time, it feels as if things will change soon.

18-Jan-2009
US NAME NOT RELEASED YET

16-Jan-2009
US NAME NOT RELEASED YET

11-Jan-2009
US Sergeant Marquis R. Porter
US Private Sean P. McCune

Latest incidents Latest identified
Jan 08: Body of 14-15-year old boy found beheaded 1in south Kirkuk Details Mohammed Qassim 25; Male Details
Recent events

Sunday 18 January: 3 dead

Ninewa
Albu Ali
: suicide bomber kills NDF Deputy Leader and 2 family members.

Statistics via ICasualties and Iraq Body Count

MLK – Beyond "I Have A Dream"

January 19, 2009


This is an update to my annual MLK remembrance. I really wanted to post “A Knock At Midnight”… the greatest of all the MLK sermons/speeches in my opinion. But I have not been able to convert this sermon from my analog tape to digital. Unfortunately I don’t have a Cassette-CD converter.

But there is still plenty of material here to read/watch/and listen to.

NPR has a story about a project by Jazz Bassist Christian McBribe showing his appreciation for Dr. King.

There is also a two hour special from American Routes, celebrating King and the Civil Rights Era through music…and pointing out the role of music during the height of the movement. Definitely a program that you should not miss. Listen while you can… I don’t know how long the audio will be available.

Hear Hour 1

Hear Hour 2

I have also added “I’ve Been To the Mountaintop” in its entirety.

This is definitely an historic year (already…just a few weeks into 2009). Barack Obama… the first non-white U.S. President…or first U.S. President of Color will be sworn in the day after Kings birthday is officially observed. If that’s not enough, Obama- the product of the Union of a Kenyan Father and White mother from Kansas- will take the oath of office at the U.S. Capitol built largely with African Slave labor. He will then enter the White House for the first time as President… a House built by African Slaves. They don’t even attempt to make movies with pendulums that swing this far… because it just seems too unreal. A journey like this has only been the purview of Comedy writers, and the SNL skits… because it just couldn’t happen in real life. It was only a couple of years ago that there was a TV drama and a movie depicting a Black President in a serious role.

I just hope Obama understands Kings’ message in The Drum Major Instinct, and Kings’ passion for international peace, and his feelings toward growing U.S. militarism & imperialist tendencies…. a passion which was just as strong as his passion for Civil Rights, if not stronger. I can already conclude that Hillary Clinton does not get it…and has probably never gotten it, and never will. This is a woman who has been quoted threatening Iran…. saying that she would destroy obliterate Iran (with U.S. nukes) if she were President. But, as Secretary of State, I am hoping that she will reflect the policy and vision of the President. That’s really the only hope we have for any sort of Progressive, peaceful international policy over the next 4 years; because left to her own devices, Hillary Clinton would go in a much more Neo-Conservative direction. Under these circumstances, I am hoping that Obama really has an understanding of what King stood for. Obama’s policy choices… especially on the economic and foreign policy fronts, will show if Dr. King is really part of his conscience in any serious way, or if he is simply paying lip service when he speaks of his admiration for King.

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NOTE:

And while we remember the true essence of King, I can’t help but mention what some of the Traditional “Black Leaders” & Black “Luminaries” will be up to on this day… apparently they will be at another Corporate event… (surprise surprise) using the King Holiday & the Obama inauguration to help Pepsi Co. with branding and relaunching their products under a new image, with the motto of “Refreshing the World”. Are they kidding me? I thought this was a joke at first glance… but it’s apparently true. There is something disturbing about the whole idea. Maybe it’s just me. And i’m a little disappointed to see Dr. West participating in such an event.

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There was much more to Dr. King than I Have A Dream. Americans will be bombarded today (and in February) with loops of the famous I Have A Dream speech being played 10,000 times. But you won’t see or hear the speech here. The U.S. uses that speech as a way to disarm Kings message. It has been ironic to watch the U.S. government “honor” King over the last few years, particularly while the U.S. has been at war, yet they avoid mentioning anything about his well known moral and political position on War….and the War in Vietnam in particular. Just take out the word Vietnam and replace it with Iraq, and it sounds like King is talking in the present.

It’s a shame that his Holiday is not truly celebrated in this country. Most people see it as just another day. Most White Americans barely recognize the day. It’s a shame and very ironic that a man who spoke against segregation has a national Holiday that is segregated in terms of how people recognize it.

Below, I have included 5 great speeches from Dr King, some of them dealing with his feelings about war.

What Would MLK Say About The World Today?


What Would Dr. King Think About What Was Going On In The World Today?

He basically told us 4 decades ago…. we were just a little late arriving to the show.
If we would just listen to these Prophets when they are here sounding the alarm, maybe we could avoid more disasters. Many of the things that King spoke of 4 decades ago, we see today. It is a combination of things not changing, and King being way ahead of his time, foretelling issues and threats decades ago that we are now seeing develop today in our lifetimes.

Listen to the speech The Drum Major Instinct, given in February of 1968. This is one of my favorite speeches, and one that never gets old. It is so relevant for today. It’s also one of Kings great messages. However, his greatest & most powerful speech, in my opinion, has to be a speech titled “A Knock At Midnight”. Scary speech. Unfortunately I don�t have A Knock At Midnight in a digital format. But Drum Major Instinct is also one of his great messages�.one of my top 3 favorites.

I Have a Dream is a great speech but it is not his greatest work. But America often uses I Have a Dream to try to sanitize King, and box him into being a Civil Rights/Racial Equality leader. The fact is, between 1965 & 1968, King was the leading anti-war voice and leading voice for economic equality in the country. I think that is part of the reason that he was gunned down. This is the part of Kings history that is hardly ever told. It’s the part of his history that America tries to smother every year when the nation goes through its so called “remembrance”. If they really wanted to honor King they would rewrite the school books to tell the true story about his efforts. He was not just a civil rights leader. If they wanted to honor him, they would try to live up to his vision….a vision that went beyond race and civil rights. Peace was at the heart of his struggle. He was just as passionate as an anti-war advocate as he was as a civil rights advocate….and perhaps maybe even more so as a Peace advocate.

Other Great Speeches

Sticking Together

Beyond Vietnam (Speaking Out Against The Vietnam War in front of a national group of Clergy in New York, April 4, 1967; exactly one year before he died. )

See Text of Beyond Vietnam Speech

Related Article

Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam RIGHT CLICK AND SAVE FOR EASIER PLAYBACK (similar speech given in front of his own congregation at the Ebenezer Baptist Church)

But If Not

I’ve Been To The Mountain Top – His Final Speech, April 3, 1968, given in Memphis Tennessee. Under an unusually high number of death threats, and feeling ill, King went to speak anyway, braving the assassins and the bad weather.

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Rev. Lowery

See a video interview with Rev. Joseph Lowery from a couple of years ago. Link To Webpage.

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Democracy Now Covers MLK

Great Story About Kings Last Hours In Memphis Helping the Sanitation Workers

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Great Article

Reclaiming King: Beyond �I Have A Dream� Read Here.

Bush’s Capital Crimes in his own words

June 23, 2008

‘George W. Bush has gotten away with murder’

June 11, 2008

The Brutal, ‘Iraqi’ Education That Awaits John McCain

June 6, 2008

McCain was and remains on the wrong side of the unwinnable war against Iraq. He will and deserves to lose a race against any opposition and, most certainly, that of Barack Obama. McCain, typically, states a false dilemma –not unusual for the GOP, a party that has made its ‘living’ spreading lies, fallacies and propaganda.

In the wake of Scott McClellan’s scathing indictment of the Bush regime’s sprint to war, some administration pundits argue that to continue to debate why and how our country went to war some five years ago is a distraction from the more crucial issues at hand. The details and minutia of the complex decision to invade Iraq is better left to the historians to untangle. Rather, we should concentrate our efforts and attention on how best to capitalize upon the more recent “successes” of the “new” military strategy in Iraq.

Even were such optimism regarding the surge warranted, however, what these pundits fail to realize, is that military success and improved strategy does not of itself afford a moral and legal basis for continuing the occupation. Understanding how and why we invaded Iraq is relevant not only to ensure the accuracy of the historical record but, more importantly, to decide whether to continue the occupation in the hope or achieving a yet to be defined “victory,” or in the words of John McCain, to “surrender,” accept defeat and withdraw.

Whether to Achieve Victory in Iraq or “Surrender”

The war is already lost and the GOP would not recognize victory if they saw it. They most certainly cannot define it.

There is NO ‘victory’ to be had when wars are waged upon lies and deceptions. Will ‘lies’ suddenly become true? Not a war but a crime, Iraq, like Viet Nam, was characterized by the lack of battlefields or fronts. It will be forever associated with quagmire and a ‘resistance’ that simply refused to line up and be shot like little tin soldiers. Apparently –nothing was learned in Viet Nam. The endless repetition of failed strategies is typical of both idiocy and insanity.

This ‘war’ was lost before it was begun. Secondly, there is simply no yardstick or standard now or ever by which victory is determined or even recognized. Does victory consist of killing every Iraqi who disagrees with the naked aggression against his country? Does victory consist of brainwashing Iraqis into believing the same pack of lies that were, until recently, believed by brainwashed Americans? Does victory consist of Halliburton getting all the oil it wants, raising the price of oil to every American still dependent upon fossil fuel vehicles? Does victory consist of a ‘peace’ (read: occupation) that an American presence is required for 100, perhaps, as McCain has suggested, 10,000 years? I don’t think so, McCain!

If McCain should think so, then I suggest he get his ass to Iraq now. He has a very, very long education of some 10,000 years ahead of him.

Victory in Iraq? Forget about it! There is not now nor will there ever be victory in Iraq short of a decree by God himself that what Bush did in Iraq was right! As long as anyone lives to denounce the crimes and genocide and murder perpetrated by one George W. Bush, that war is lost to the US and lost forever to history.

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‘Genocide by design?’ Bush Administration Plans to ‘Stay’ in Iraq for the Oil

June 5, 2008

Just as Bush’s attack and invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with WMD, the Iragi resistance has nothing to do with ‘terrorism’. The original code name —Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) –gave the game away and was changed. Never called ‘resistance’, the Orwellian linguists inside the Bush White House called the resistance ‘insurgents’. a term which implies an opposition to a ‘legitimate’ authority. But there is nothing legitimate about the US occupation, in fact, a theft of Iraq’s most valuable natural resource. The US presence is, in fact, a war crime. Those resisting the US occupation are, therefore, not terrorists nor are they ‘insurgents’

The Bush regime is responsible –legally and morally –for the deaths of some 1.2 million Iraqis and some 15,000 who die each month. [See: Michael Schwartz, Is the United States Killing 10,000 Iraqis Every Month? Or Is It More?]. The US, under Bush, is a terrorist nation and outlaw. Iraqi resistance, by contrast, is that of ‘patriots’ defending a ‘homeland’ against the crimes of mass murder, terrorism, and grand larceny.

The opposition by Iraqis is therefore legal and justified under international conventions. Even before the US attack and invasion, the Bush administration was laying the groundwork for one of his most pernicious lies: that the US is opposed in Iraq by terrorists. There is simply no reason whatsoever to believe that any part of that statement is true. The opposition to the US ‘occupation’ is, in fact, legitimate. It is the right of every people to defend a homeland against an aggressor and that is precisely what the Iraqi people have done in Iraq. As William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, put it when his mother England was at ‘war’ with rebellious colonies on the American continent:

If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms — never! never! Never!�

–William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, Speech in Parliament on the Excise Bill

It is stupid of the Bush administration to expect the Iraqi people to abandon their country to Halliburton or Exxon-Mobil. But that appears to have been forced upon them.

Thursday, 5 June 2008, Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

–Patrick Cockburn, Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

It is a recognized principle of international law that citizens have a right to take up arms against forces of aggression and occupation. Even America’s delusional right wing must know that.

The Americans had not brought what they�d promised: a new order. The war wasn�t over, Iraq had no government, the liberators had become occupiers, and the occupation was slapdash, improvised, and inadequate�at best, a disappointment, and more often an insult.

So, in the fever heat, month after month of a hundred and ten and a hundred and twenty degrees, alienation set in. Frustration gave way to hostility, hostility gave way to violence, and by summer�s end the violence against Americans was increasingly organized. It was demoralizing. Every Iraqi might be the enemy.

What was the point of being there, unwanted? Nobody from the 372nd was killed in Al Hillah, but on patrols there was shooting, in the night there were explosions, and Sabrina had her nightmare. At least the picnic tables had seemed to her fanciful, the random furniture of dreamscapes�until she got to Abu Ghraib, and there they were.

Exposure, Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris, New Yorker

War crimes –wars of naked aggression –may be as unfair to the military forces required to fight them as to the victims of the aggression. Still –it is the Iraqi people’s whose homeland was attacked and invaded who have the moral high ground. We have every right to judge Bush by his record of war crimes and lies. We have every right to suspect that Bush is lying now to begin yet another ‘resource’ war against the people of Iran. Bush could never had gotten away with it, if he had not been assisted by a cancerous growth upon the body politic: the ‘mainstream media’.

And when discussing media consolidation, someone might tumble to the fact that NBC is owned by General Electric, one of the world’s largestarmaments manufacturers in 2006 and among the six largest media conglomerates. GE makes and maintains engines for the F-16 Fighter jet, Abrams tank, Apache helicopter, U2 bomber, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), A-10 aircraft and numerous other military equipment, including planes, helicopters, tanks and more.

Is it reasonable to expect NBC to report critically on the status and duration of the Iraq occupation? Or is it predictable that NBC’s occupation coverage will tell us that the “surge” is working, that US troop deaths are down, that the Iraqi puppet regime is gaining traction and, if we can hang on for another decade, things should turn out hunky-dory.

Well, it’s certain that extending the US presence in Iraq by a decade will have a very positive impact on GE’s profit and loss statements. It’s probably going to be somewhat less beneficial for the people who actually have to fight this insane proxy war on behalf of GE’s bottom line.

But that’s okay, since war is the optimum business condition for many industries — banks, weapons makers, raw materials suppliers, machine tool makers and so on — GE looks to sell many billions of dollars more of its killing machinery, all the while telling Americans via NBC how peace is just 10 or so years down the road.

And GE is just one of the main offenders. We’ll leave for another day a discussion on how thoroughly Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has polluted the national discourse. Or how the acquisitive tentacles of Viacom, CBS, TimeWarner and Disney have managed to take a relatively engaged population and, in 30 short years, turn it into a nation of compliant, ill-informed, politically illiterate chowder heads content to consume their quota of goods, services and ideologies with an equally uncritical eye.

American mass media lost the thread of the story decades ago and are now only qualified to dish pop culture infotainment masquerading as news; report breathlessly on the latest D-class celebrity screw-up; and act as stenographers and cheerleaders for the latest batch of official Bush administration lies.

Among other insults, this explains why John Stossel is a network star while Bill Moyers is on PBS.

–Warren Pease, The Internet must die, Online Journal Contributing Writer

There is every reason to believe that Bush and the oil consortium that supports him intends to maintain a military presence, perhaps, forever. As John McCain said –for ‘10,000 years’.

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors. A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilized Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

–Patrick Cockburn, Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control, THE INDEPENDENT

It would seem that Bush, the GOP, neocons, and the Military/Industrial Complex studied Orwell –not as a cautionary tale, but a ‘textbook’, a ‘how to’ re-invent the language such that their lies become ‘true’ and black is white.

Although they did not know it at the time, the lack of experience and training in handling prisoners in wartime made the soldiers of the 372nd ideally suited to Abu Ghraib, where almost nothing was run according to military doctrine. Since May, 2003, America�s war in Iraq had been waged as a chapter in the war on terror, and the military�s long-standing rules for running prisons in wartime had largely been ignored. By midsummer, the great majority of prisoners of war who were seized during the invasion had been released. Those who remained in captivity�along with all new prisoners seized by the military�were designated �security detainees,� a label that had gained currency in the war on terror, to describe �unlawful combatants� and other prisoners who had been denied POW status and could be held indefinitely, in isolation and secrecy, without judicial recourse.

Exposure, Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris, New Yorker

But these ‘categories’ were entirely made up by the Bush regime and the Department of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. There are no exceptions to the codes of military conduct. There are no exceptions for a ‘war’ that is not a ‘war’. There are no exceptions to the rights accorded ‘prisoners of war’, taken into custody during what was called a ‘war’ on terrorism –a war that is a war when it is convenient for Bush to be at war but not a war when being at war requires of Bush standards mandated by the treaties and conventions to which the US has agreed and is bound by treaty and US Codes. Why are crimes against Americans punishable by death and the same crimes perpetrated against Iraqis are not? In fact, under law, Bush is culpable and must be ‘brought to book’!

Pitt also said: “Where law ends, tyranny begins”. I often wonder if Pitt were truly prescient to have foreseen the Bush administration, certainly the most lawless administration in America history, and, perhaps the world.

The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storms may enter, the rain may enter,�but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!

–William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, Speech in Parliament on the Excise Bill

Pitt would not have liked George Bush who represents everything that Pitt detested –state arrogance, arbitrary rule, state subversions of the rule of law, lies, hypocrisy, mass murder and stupidity!

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