Sunday, July 26, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

It was October 2007. A fellow soldier, Kenneth Eastridge, 24, watched it all from the passenger seat.
At that moment, he said, it was clear that however messed up some of the soldiers in the unit had been after their first Iraq deployment, it was about to get much worse.
"I have no problem with killing," said Eastridge, a two-tour infantryman with almost 80 confirmed kills. "But I won’t just murder someone for no reason. He had gone crazy."
Hear the prison interviews with Kenneth Eastridge.
All three soldiers belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, part of Fort Carson’s 4th Brigade Combat Team. The 500-soldier infantry battalion nicknamed itself the "Lethal Warriors."
They fought in the deadliest places in the war twice -- first in the Sunni Triangle, then in downtown Baghdad. Since their return late in 2007, eight infantry soldiers have been arrested and accused of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter. Another two soldiers from the brigade were arrested and accused of murder and attempted murder after the first tour. Others have committed other violent crimes. Others have committed suicide.
Many of the soldiers behind bars and their family members say the violence at home is a consequence of the violence in Iraq. They came home angry, confused, paranoid and depressed. They had trouble getting effective mental heath care. Most buried their symptoms in drugs and alcohol until they exploded.

The above is from Dave Phillips' "Lethal warriors day 2" (Colorado Springs Gazette) and it's part of a package following an investigation by the Gazette, part one is Phillips' "The hell of war comes home" and there's also Tom Roeder's "Fort Carson report: Combat stress contributed to soldiers' crimes back home" and "EDITOR'S NOTE: A note of caution about the Lethal Warriors package." The series addresses what happened after they returned to the US and what happened while serving in Iraq where Iraqi drivers were randomly shot at, where those who didn't stop would be run "over with the Bradley," where Iraqis post-interrogation were dumped from bridges and more. Returning home? No concerns from the command except go-away, left to fend for themselves, some afraid to get help, some targeted for trying. Parents who attempted to get help for the children? Commanding officers mocked the soldiers whose parents called, ridiculed them. It's a complete breakdown in policies and procedures and the Gazette did a wonderful investigation but what's needed is a Congressional one.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4327 and tonight? 4328. Violence continued in Iraq today.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a bomber killed himself Khaldiyah and claimed the lives of 2 police officers while wounding thirteen bystanders. Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing which injured one police officer and a Mosul grenade attack which wounded one police officer. Reuters also notes a bomber just outside Falluja who took their own life and the lives of 4 other people while injuing nine. As noted yesterday, "BBC (link has text and video) reports on the bombing of the party offices of Iraq's Sunni vice president Tareq Hashemi in Falluja which resulted in multiple deaths and wounded. Citing the Interior Ministry, Reuters counts 5 dead and twenty-one injured." KUNA reports that as a result of Saturday's bombing, a curfew was put in place.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 people shot dead outside Baquba. Reuters notes a Baghdad attack in which 3 police officers and 1 bystander were shot dead, a Baghdad attack "on a money exchange office" in which 3 police officers were killed and five more injured and 1 Christian shot dead in Mosul.

Turning to the KRG where elections ended yesterday. No results are known. No surprise, the US-backed "Change" party is claiming they won and that there is cheating. Yes, it is the CIA-Iran operation all over again. Maybe hopeless saps can take to Twitter? Egged on by the actions of CIA agents, assets and dupes. And let's wonder which a certain reporter is? A Socialist from a family of Socialists and Communitsts. Working for an English language European daily, he's been doing the CIA work for them a lot lately, hasn't he? Long before the "Change" party. But he's back on the "Change" beat and he's telling you they had a "suprisingly strong showing". He knows that because? Votes haven't been counted. Real reporters (Liz Sly, Adam Ashton, etc.) were able to tell you how difficult it was to get Kurds to tell you how they planned to vote. But Euro Trash just knows "Change" did well. Oh look, the CIA-backed Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Euro Trash is quoting them as well. And failing to alert his readers about the organization's backing. And look, there's Euro Trash speaking to the 'founder' (frontman) for "Change, Nawshirwan Mustafa. He quotes Mustafa stating that most exist "on government salaries.' Mustafa does. His big 'media empire' in Kurdistan? Euro Trash forgets to tell the world that the US government funded it -- a detail even the Committee for the Protection of Journalists has covered. But Euro Trash missed it?

At some point Euro Trash no longer comes off stupid -- it's impossible to be that stupid -- and comes off more like a CIA asset. Well it wouldn't be the first time the Agency's recruited form a cess pool.

Let's talk Mustafa. Mustafa worked with the US (and was a favorite of Dick Cheney's) post-invasion. He was supposed to be representing the Kurds and their interests in Baghdad as a new post-war government was assembled. And he certainly made a lot of fiery, strong statements to the press. But while working with the US CPA, he didn't talk that way. In fact, as the lead-figure on the negotiations, it needs to be noted that he sold out Kurdish intrests and, despite his public criticism, he pushed the selling out of Kurdish interests. But he played along with the Americans and, as a result, he got funding for his radio station which is another US propaganda outlet, another Voice of America (telling called "Voice of Change"), despite the fact that it's presented as something else by the press -- "independent" and, goodness how brave, it critizes the two dominant Kurdish parties.

People need to wonder why Euro Trash can't cover that and they need to wonder tomorrow morning when Euro Trash's garbage pops up at his brother's American outlet -- they need to wonder just how far the ties to the CIA go?

Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) covers the allegations of voter fraud during Saturday's elections and she's actually reporting. Al Jazeera reports that despite the claims of "Change" winning Sulaimaniya, "[t]he ballots are still being counted" and that while "Change" is crying fraud,
"[e]lection officials in the region hailed the vote as transparent". Hey Euro Trash forgets the Socialist Party and there are estimates that it did rather well. But, when you're churning out CIA talking points passed off as reporting, when you're attempting to help secure an American foothold in an oil and gas rich region, you probably don't have time to remember the Socialist Party that everyone would expect you to note? Iran's Press TV notes, "The official vote counting is due to take place in Baghdad and final results will be known in three days." Tim Cocks, Shamal Aqrawi, Muhanad Mohammed and Mohammed Abbas (Reuters) report:

Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said it would investigate officially submitted complaints of election violations, but told reporters late on Saturday the vote had been largely violation-free.
However, it did say Barzani had broken a campaign deadline rule by speaking to reporters after voting.
"This is not important, it was a very simple matter and has no effect on the elections," said IHEC's Qasim al-Sachet.

We'll note Anthony Shadid (Washington Post) tomorrow, it's late and his article runs in Monday's paper. (It's reporting, not propaganda.) We will note right now that while some insist "Change" is the reason for the huge turnout, that's not only impossible to back up, it also fails to note -- because the bulk of them ignored Kurdistan in the lead up to the elections -- the fact that Kirkuk's status became a very big part of the KRG elections. Not just on election day with Barzani's remarks. Not just last Sunday with a very public speech. For weeks, it has been the driving force behind the elections with candidates from all parties attempting to make the most convincing argument that they would bring Kirkuk under the Kurdistan umbrella. Do not mistakenly think that this campaign talk did not impact voter turnout. The Kurds have long seen Kirkuk as their property and have a historical grievance over the region since Saddam Hussein ran them out of the area. It would be the same as political groups campaigning for Palestinian votes with the assertion that they would regain Palestinian lands. That talk was very important to this election and it resonated with voters. Much more so than the airy "change" slogans that Kurds who did go on record during the lead up -- with various outlets -- repeatedly questioned and mocked.

We'll note this from Karen DeYoung's "Iraqi Officer Was 'Out of Line,' Maliki Says" (Washington Post):

An Iraqi officer who ordered the detention of U.S. soldiers last week after they killed three Iraqis while pursuing insurgents acted in error and was "out of line," Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday.
The officer "did not understand the agreement" governing U.S. military activities since American combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities last month, Maliki said in an interview, adding that it "clearly states that American forces have the right to defend themselves, and that's what they did." Four Iraqis, including two children, also were wounded when U.S. forces returned fire and raided nearby houses after insurgents attacked their convoy.
Maliki, at the end of a week-long U.S. visit, said he had telephoned Baghdad and "made clear that they understand that this demand of handing over the people who killed the Iraqis was wrong."

For more on that Tuesday incident, you can see Saturday's report from Ernesto Londono (Washington Post). New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
A note to our readers
Editorial: Repackaging the illegal war
TV: Goody Liar
Bought and paid for by the US military
Talking with Ann of Ann's Mega Dub
Jim's World
The drama of Queen Al Giordano
More foolishness from Liz Smith
Groups Oppose US Training of Indoensia's Kopassus
Impunity at the Freeport Gold & Copper Mine

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes Tom Walker's "Vestas occupation is part of struggle for the future" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Workers at the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight have joined the fight against ordinary people being made to suffer for the recession.
They occupied their factory, which faces closure, on Monday evening. Around 30 workers were inside the plant as Socialist Worker went to press, while supporters picketed outside.
Ian, one of the occupying workers, spoke to Socialist Worker from the management offices, where the occupation is based. He said, “We’re standing up for the future. I think it’s essential not to close places like this down.”
There are few jobs available on the Isle of Wight, with 60 applicants for every vacancy.
Ian said, “We would all struggle to get another job on the island. The recession’s hit everyone, but here we’ve had hundreds apply for one bar job.”
Workers are angry that management promised to expand the factory, only to announce that they were going to close it.
“We’ve worked like dogs and we’re getting nothing,” he said. “I’ve worked here for two years but I’m only getting three weeks’ pay for my redundancy.
“And we’re not just fighting for ourselves. This is a fight for everyone. The environment should be everyone’s concern. We need the government to start investing in wind farms and keep us open.”
The workers are organising inside the factory. “We’re having regular meetings,” said Ian. “Everyone’s playing their part.”
After the site was occupied, managers locked down the
factory and turned away workers who were coming in to do their last few days. Many of them joined the support rally outside.
Luke, another occupying worker, said, “There are a lot of people outside the factory. They’ve been cheering us on, keeping our spirits high.
“When I first heard about the closure I was in shock. But when we got organised I saw hope.
“I’m here for the long haul.”
Police in riot gear blockaded the doors in an attempt to stop supporters from getting food to those in the occupation.
“There are police at every door,” added Ian. “But we’ve brought the factory to a standstill. Support us in our fight to save Vestas. We’re standing up and saying—if the government can nationalise the banks it can nationalise Vestas.”
The workers need a hurricane of solidarity from trade unionists and campaigners to back up their fight for jobs and the planet.
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Vestas workers occupy: 'A fight for jobs and the planet'» Profits come first for bosses» Ford-Visteon workers back the fight for justice» Workers’ action can save the planet» How you can help the Vestas occupation» Don't let them starve Vestas occupiers out» Supporters of Vestas workers get food to the occupation» Solidarity and the siege of Vestas» Protest at the Department of Energy and Climate Change» Vestas occupation still going strong» Photos of Vestas occupation» Support grows for Vestas occupation» Workers occupying Vestas face court on Wednesday 29 July
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liz sly
the los angeles times

ernesto londono
mcclatchy newspapers