On this week's NOW with David Brancaccio (PBS, beings airing in most markets tonight):
Choosing to go to war is both a government's decision and one made by individual enlistees. But changing your mind once you're in the army is a risky decision with serious consequences. On Friday, August 24 (checkyour local listings), we talk to two soldiers who went AWOL and eventually left the Army, but who took very different paths. NOW captures the moment when one man turns himself in, and when another applies for refugee status in Canada, becoming one of the 20,000 soldiers who have deserted the army since the War in Iraq began. Each describes what drove him to follow his conscience over his call to duty, and what penalties and criticism were endured as a result.
"I see things differently having lived through the experience," former army medic Agustin Aguayo tells NOW. "When I returned from Iraq, after much reflection I knew deep within me I could never go back."The NOW website at www.pbs.org/now will offer more insight into the case made by conscientious objectors, as well as more stories of desertion in the ranks.
In addition a preview of the show is posted at YouTube.
Also today, the US military announced: "One Task Force Lightning Soldier died Aug. 24 as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion earlier in the day while conducting operations in Salah ad Din Province. Four Soldiers were also wounded and transported to a Coalition medical facility for treatment." The current numbers at ICCC are 3725 US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 67 for the month thus far.
Today, the US military also announced the death of another prisoner in US custody:
A security detainee died at the Theater Internment Facility at Camp Cropper, Iraq Aug. 23.
Preliminary medical tests indicate the cause of death was from acute renal failure.
The detainee was pronounced dead at 3:31 p.m. by an attending physician at Camp Cropper’s medical facility.
The body will be transported to mortuary affairs and the family will receive the remains upon completion of the investigation, in accordance with standard procedure.
Death by retinal failure? From the July 10th snapshot:
Today, the US military announced a death that took place Saturday: "A security detainee died at the Theater Internment Facility at Camp Cropper, Iraq July 7 from injuries sustained after apparently being assaulted by other detainees. The detainne was pronounced dead at 2:10 a.m. by an attending physician at Camp Cropper's medical facility. The incident is currently under investigation. The family will receive the remains upon completion of the investigation, in accordance with standar procedure." Isn't it great to know the US military has a "standard procedure" when dealing with the deaths of prisoners in American custudy? Did you catch the time? Two in the morning. Two in the morning, Saturday morning, and the US learns of it on a Tuseday.
So the detainee died from injuries sustained after apparently being assualted by other detainees"? And it's under investigation. Anyone thinking of October 30, 2006? That's when the US military announced: "A security detainee died Oct. 29 at Camp Cropper, Iraq, from apparent injuries sustained after being assaulted by other detainees. The incident is under investigation" and what were the results? Camp Cropper sure seems to have a lot of deaths. December 1, 2006, the US military announced: "A security detainee died Nov. 30 at Camp Cropper, Iraq, from what appears to be natural causes." There to they had the "investigation is pending" tossed in. December 6, 2006, the US military announced: "A security detainee died Dec. 2 at Camp Cropper, Iraq, from natural causes." April 6, 2007, the US military announced: "A security detainee died April 4 at Camp Cropper, Iraq." May 28, 2007, the US military announced: "A security detainee died May 26 at Camps Cropper, Iraq." So today's announcement means 6 deaths in less than 1 year. A reported record in the US would probably lead to cries for a prison investigation.
It's now 7 deaths in leass than a year.
Author and activist Grace Paley has died. Democracy Now! will note the passing today:
Grace Paley 1922-2007: We remember the acclaimed writer and poet byreplaying an interview with her from 2003 talking about the peacemovement and the role of poets in a time of war
Marcia passed on that. February 11, 2004, Democracy Now! noted:
Iraq Governing Council to Pay Ex-Iraqi President
The US-installed regime in Iraq said last night it would pay a monthly pension to a former president overthrown more than 35 years ago in a coup that brought Saddam Hussein's Baath party to power. The Iraqi Governing Council says it will pay Abdel-Rahman Aref $1,000 a month and allocate $5,000 to cover his medical bills in Jordan. Aref rose to prominence in 1963 when he was appointed army chief of staff by his elder brother, then President Abdel-Salam Aref. He was overthrown in July of 1968 in a coup that was aided by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA also gave the Baath Party the names of some 5,000 Iraqi Communists who were then hunted down and killed or imprisoned. Following the coup, Baath party leader Ahmed Hasan al-Bakr became president, with Saddam as his right hand man.
Note the CIA involvement. Abdel-Salam Aref has died in Jordan and you can search the AP write up in vain for any mention of CIA involvement:
Three years later, the brother died in a plane crash and Iraqi army officers, said to have been supported by Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser, chose the younger Aref to become Iraq's third president. The plane crash was believed to be a sabotage.
Aref was president until 1968, when he was toppled in a bloodless coup by the Baath Party, led at the time by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr who became Iraq's next president. But Saddam was believed to have held behind-the-scenes power in the coup and later, until formally taking over the government in 1979.
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