Saturday, October 23, 2010

Daniel Ellsberg on Barack's "threats"

President Barack Obama's government handed over thousands of detainees to the Iraqi authorities, despite knowing there were hundreds of reports of alleged torture in Iraqi government facilities.
Washington was warned by the United Nations and many human rights organisations that torture was widespread in Iraqi detention centres. But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal the US's own troops informed their commanders of more than 1,300 claims of torture by Iraqi Security forces between 2005 and 2009.

The above is from Angus Stickler's "Obama administration handed over detainees despite reports of torture" (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) and what was done is a crime, a clear crime, under international law. From the report:

Human rights organisations have expressed outrage at the revelations. Professor Novak, the UN Rapporteur on Torture told the Bureau: "If the United States forces handed over detainees to Iraqi jurisdiction, despite the fact that they were at serious risk of being subjected to torture, that is a violation of Article 3C of the Convention Against Torture of which the US is a signatory."
He said there should be a full and thorough investigation to ascertain whether any of the detainees handed over to the Iraqi authorities by the US have been abused.
"The burden of proof is on the US to prove that they can categorically state that the detainees they are handing over are not at risk of torture.There should be an investigation to look into the fate of those individuals to see whether they have been abused."

Other War Crimes? Stickler also offers "US Apache guns down surrendering insurgents" on a February 22, 2007 assault when insurgents outside Baghdad attempted to surrender, a US helicopter crew radioed that attempt but was given orders to kill the insurgents because "Lawyer stated they cannot surrender to aircraft." That is a War Crime. Military officials giving the orders should be court-martialed and drummed out of the US military with no benefits. War Criminals don't get to be on the public dole for years and years to come. Not only should those officials making that call and giving that order be court-martialed, this incident is documented. All military brass who saw this report should be immediately court-martialed for their refusal to live up to the code of conduct they swear to uphold and to instead cover up for War Crimes.

Jason Ditz ( reports, "Pentagon officials are, as always, struggling to find a common ground between downplaying the crimes revealed in nearly 400,000 new classified documents released yesterday by WikiLeaks while insisting that their revelation is a grave affront." WikiLeaks held a press conference today in London. We'll note one speaker.

Daniel Ellsberg: The threat being made by the Pentagon, as we read over the last few days, of warning newsmen to stand away from this material, to refuse to receive it and, if they do receive it, to return it seems absurd on its face. We're not dealing with the 7,000 pieces of paper, top secret pieces of paper, that comprised the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon did make a demand to the New York Times that they return that pile of paper to the -- to the Pentagon. The Times refused until -- in fact, never did return it. And refused to stop the presses until a court order came down. But with cyber material, it's all over the world right now and in several papers right now, the demand seems absurd. I understand the reason for those words because they echo the words first used against me, the legal words of 18 USC 793, paragraphs D and E which for the first time used the so-called espionage act as if it were a kind of official secrets act that you have in Britain which simply criminalizes the release of any classified material to any unauthorized person. We don't have such a law. And the irony now is that President Obama in making these clear threats of applying this law to anybody who deals with this information including not only the journalists but the words apply to the people who read it and don't return it to the proper authorities actually. President Obama's threats are not entirely without credibility here because he has started as many prosecutions for leaks as all previous presidents put together. It's a small number. It's three. The last one is Bradley Manning. [C.I. note: The other two are Shamai Kedem Leibowitz of the FBI and Thomas Drake of the NSA.] That's small because we don't have an official secrets act. And prior to Bush and Obama, presidents took it for granted that any application of the espionage act was likely to be overthrown as unconstitutional in our First Amendment by the Supreme Court but we're now facing a different Supreme Court. And, after 9-11, Obama is making a new experiment on this issue which will really change the relationship of the press to sources very radically. As it is, any source, with or without this change in the law, who gave this kind of material -- 400,000 pages of documents, 800,000 pages of documents -- to WikiLeaks would have to know that they were facing a risk of being where Bradley Manning is right now, in prison, accused of these things. And we don't know, I don't know, who the source is. If the president should prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is Bradley Manning, we can give him his unreserved admiration from us and thanks for what he did. But whomever did it, in fact, acted very appropriately in the course of deadly, stalemated war and which has one characteristic, by the way, in Iraq which isn't going to come out clearly in these 400,000 pages or in the discussion. And that is that the origins of war were clearly in the form of lying to the publics of Britain and America in order to carry on a clearly illegal crime against the peace, a war of aggression. So all of these civilian casualties are killed in a war of aggression. We won't have to say also the non-civilian casualties reported here are in the role of fighting against foreign occupiers, invaders, by the standards of the world, the question is raised very much whether their death by the invader is not also to be counted among the murders?

You can view portions of the press conference at World Can't Wait and Press TV's YouTube channel. And you can stream it in full at CSpan. At the press conference, Public Interest Lawyers' Phil Shiner states the documents indicate that US and UK forces looked the other way on torture which is a violation of international law and that the two had "a very clear legal responsibility". UN Special Rappoteur called on Barack to launch an investigation into whether or not the Us was complicit in torture. Tara Kelly (Time magazine) reports on the press conference here.

Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) reports her impressions of the documents in an analysis:

The reports read like nightmares. In January 2005, a human head was thrown from an Opel Omega into the Mufrek traffic circle in the city of Baquba. The next month, 47 workers from a brick factory were found murdered north of Baghdad. One report noted that a discovery of six bodies at a sewage treatment plant in Baghdad was the third such episode at the same plant in recent weeks. Later during that month, there were also two more similar discoveries there. All the bodies had gunshot wounds to the head. Read the Document »

The Pentagon was slow to acknowledge what had become abundantly clear on the ground -- that Iraq had sunk into sectarian war. The military began to release partial civilian casualty figures in 2005 under pressure from Congress. The word "sect" appears only 12 times in the archive in 2005, the year that systematic cleansing began. Corpses that were surfacing in garbage dumps, rivers and empty lots were blandly categorized as a "criminal event" and seem to have been given about as much importance as traffic accidents. Read the Document »

For many of the years that the documents cover, Tavernise was stationed in Baghdad. Her arrival in Iraq coincides with better coverage from the paper and, no, that wasn't a coincidence. She's one of the unsung heroes of the coverage, someone who broke from the Times' Go-Go Boy coverage of never speak to an Iraqi woman and never trust an Iraqi source to instead actually begin to put a human face on the millions of Iraqis.

In other words, she didn't spend a week in Paris eating every meal at McDonalds.

She's long finished covering Iraq (more recently she covered Afghanistan) so we'll note her accomplishments in bring the humanity into the Times' coverage. Another Times' journalist who has moved on from Iraq is Joao Silva. His photographs have illustrated (and often saved) many a Times' article filed in Iraq -- for example, in the Let's-Meet-The-Awakenings nonsense of 2007, it was Silva's photographs that told the larger truths. Today, the New York Times reports at their blog, Silva -- who has been covering Afghanistan -- was injured after stepping on a land mine.

Chris Floyd (via World Can't Wait) offers
his analysis which includes:

It should also be ntoed that many of the Iraqi "interrogation techniques" noted above have also featured systematically in the American gulag during the Bush-Obama years. In fact, we know that there is a trove of photographic evidence of rapes and tortures that have been seen by top American elected officials, including members of Congress, who talked openly of how sickening these documented atrocities were. Yet this evidence is still being withheld from the American people -- at the express order of Barack Obama, and the connivance of his fellow militarists in Congress.
Speaking of the Peace Laureate, the Wikileaks document show that these countenanced and/or winked-at atrocities by the American-installed structure in Iraq are still going on today. They are not just relics of the bad old Bush years:
And it does continue. With no effective constraint, the logs show, the use of violence has remained embedded in the everyday practice of Iraqi security, with recurrent incidents up to last December. Most often, the abuse is a standard operating procedure in search of a confession, whether true or false. One of the leaked logs has a detainee being beaten with chains, cables and fists and then confessing to involvement in killing six people because "the torture was too much for him to handle".

Al Jazeera offers this video report:

Le Monde (with AFP) reports that the release has led Geoff Morrell (Pentagon flack) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to grumble dire warnings (they're both making asses of themselves and should cease and desist) with Geoff Morrell demanding the "return of the stolen documents" and that they be "withdrawn[n]" from websites. Le Monde notes that the puppets in Iraq rushed to back up the US repeating the party line of nothing of "any surprise" -- but while Nouri's spokesperson couldn't shut up about 'everyone already knows' about American abuses, he refused to answer any questions about the abuses and torture carried out by Iraqi forces and officials put forward in the documents.

Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf and McClatchy Newspapers' Mohammed al Dulaimy team up (link goes to Miami Herald) to report:

In a statement Saturday, al-Maliki's office said the timing of the leaks was questionable, implying that it was motivated by his political enemies. The Shiite prime minister has struggled for the past seven months to keep his job, demanding a recount of votes that left him two seats behind his nearest rival and now trying to patch together a coalition government.
The statement said the documentation of killings by private U.S. security contractors such as Blackwater, accused of a shooting spree that killed 17 civilians in 2007 in an incident that became a symbol of American brutality, could be used in court cases against the company, now called Xe Service.

Salam Faraj (Brisbane Times) gets to heart of the matter:

Al-Jazeera television said the leaked papers included US Army reports about Maliki "and allegations of his association with death squads".
Maliki, who is fighting to form a new government and remain in power for a second term after inconclusive elections in March, said security forces had always acted on the orders of the judiciary, not his office.
After coming to power in 2006, he created security units loyal to him that Iraqis referred to as "dirty forces" for their heavy-handed treatment of suspects and detainees.
The Maliki statement acknowledged that the premier was the overall commander of all security forces, but that they acted on orders from the judiciary.
"We confirm that the prime minister is the general commander of all security forces, who carry out their duties to arrest or punish when ordered by the judiciary, and not on a sectarian or partisan basis as some factions are trying to say."

The revelations do not help Nouri. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and sixteen days and still counting.

As Nouri continues his fight to remain prime minister, the documents underscore the mini-tyrant the US puppet has been. Jack Healy and John Leland (New York Times) report:

Much of the attention focused on a report from October 2006, shortly after Mr. Maliki took office, that describes the arrest of 17 men wearing Iraqi Army uniforms in the Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad on suspicion of committing robberies. According to the report, the men claimed they were Iraqi special forces "working for the prime minister's office."

Mr. Maliki's political opponents said the report supported their claims that the prime minister had used state forces for nefarious ends.

"For years we have been talking about the armed groups that are working under the name of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense that have direct connections with some leaders in the government," said Maysoon al-Damluji, a spokeswoman for Iraqiya, the secular political bloc that finished first in Iraq's March 7 elections, slightly ahead of Mr. Maliki's State of Law bloc.

Violence continues in Iraq. Reuters notes a Baghdad sticky bombing injured one person, an Abu Ghraib roadside bombing injured seven people (six Iraqi soldiers, one officer) and an assault on a Baghdad police checkpoint injured three people (two were police officers).

Propaganda continues at The Nation magazine. I'm not in the damn mood. 3 Americans ended up in Iranian custody. From the start, we've noted that there was a very good chance they were in Iraq when they were captured and not in Iran. That is a strong possibility and we've always treated it as such. Instead of addressing anything really important in the WikiLeaks documents, anything to do with the many Iraqis who have suffered, The Nation wants to whore. I'm sick of it. 'Babak Sarfaz' plays readers for fools. First off, the article fails to note that there is no "Babak Sarfaz." That's the name an Iranian writes under. You can trust him or not (it's been revealed he's a he). But you should be informed that it's not a real name. Second, he wants you to know the documents says that the hikers were in Iraq!

In Iraq! Not Iran!

And he goes on to LIE that the report establishes this. It does no such thing. American military was not present for the kidnapping. But the US military does offer an opinion and it's an opinion that The Nation magazine ignores:

S2 ASSESSMENT: The lack of coordination on the part of these hikers, particularly after being forewarned, indicates an intent to agitate and create publicity regarding international policies on Iran. The leadership in Iran benefits as it focuses the Iranian population on a perceived external threat rather than internal dissension. Kurdish leaders remain concerned about international perceptions regarding security as they seek to increase investment in the KRG. Expect KRG leadership to intervene to return the 3 individuals and the Iranian government to accuse them of being spies. Additionally, KRG leadership may impose additional restrictions on private activities near the Iranian border.

They were warned (apparently by the US military) and deliberately disregarded the warning so the military saw them as having the "intent to agitate and create publicity regarding international polices on Iran." The report is below:

2/1 07:112

Initial report:

WHO: Tourists/Reporters

WHAT: Arrest, Effective, Confirmed (CF)

WHERE: –– ––––– –––––, Sulaymaniyah / Halabjah

WHEN: 311600JUL09

HOW: MND-N G2 reported a kidnapping of 3 Americans who were being taken to the Iranian border. The Americans were hiking near the Iranian border when taken. A fourth tourist did not go hiking with them and reported that a kidnapped female called him saying that they were being surrounded by armed men.

UPDATE 311630JUL09: the following grid is where the kidnapping incident occurred: 38SNE 267 395.

UPDATE 311631JUL09: DIV reported an updated grid of the kidnappers: 38SNE 969 068.

UPDATE 311632JUL09: JPRC (Corps Personnel Recovery) is reporting that the victims were tourists who came to Iraq to go rock climbing.

UPDATE 311633JUL09: Kirkuk PJCC made contact with Suly JCC. Suly JCC will establish checkpoints throughout Suly.

UPDATE 311633JUL09: CF/CF en route to ––––– –– to make link up with " Meckfessel", ––––– –––––– ––––– –––– –– ––– –––– –– –– – –––– –––– –– –––– ––––– –– –– –––––.

UPDATE 311633JUL09: JPRC reports: victims were hiking the "Ahmad al Waha (variant Waaha, Waah, etc.) Rock face outside of Sulaymaniyah. (––––– ––––– –––––)

UPDATE 311645JUL09: AWT and Pathfinder team are en route to Warrior for refuel. Once complete they will remain on standby at FOB Warrior.

UPDATE 311715JUL09: last known location of vehicle new grid ND898 931.

UPDATE 311718 JUL09: Colonel Latif of the 10th Pesh Murga brigade reports Iranians detained 3x AMCIT for being too close to the border

UPDATE 311724 JUL09: CJ3 reports that President Barzani has been notified and has offered support

UPDATE 311728JUL09: Pathfinder landed, AWT are 5 min out

UPDATE 311733JUL09: F16s on station

–––– ––––: ––––– –––––

-–– –– –– ––––– (–––––– –– –/– –––)

-–– ––––– –––––: –– ––––– (–––––– –– –––-–)

-–– –––– – –––– –– – –––– –– –– –––––

-–– –– ––––– –– ––––– –– –– –––– –– –––– ––––––.

-–– –– –– ––––– –– –– –––––

-–– –––––– –––– –– ––––– –– –– –––––

UPDATE 311744JUL09: OSINT: Iranians report picking up three civilians

UPDATE 311750JUL09: link up with Meckfessel confirmed

UPDATE 311804JUL09: MND-N has confirmed that they will C2 the recovery operations.

–––– –––––––: –– –– –– ––––– ––--–––– –––– –– –––– ––––––, – – –– ––––– –– ––––, –– –––– –––– –––––– –– – –––– ––––, –– –––– –––– – ––––– –––– –––– –– –– ––––––

UPDATE 311826JUL09: CJSOTF will pick up Meckfessel and take him to PB Andrea. Pathfinders will return him to Warrior where a C12 will transport him to Baghdad.

UPDATE 311920JUL09: CPT ––––– and SFC ––––– will escort Meckfessel to Baghdad.

–––– –––––––: ––-––– –– –––– –––– –– –– –––– –– –– ––––, –-–– ––––– –––––––

–––– –––– –––––: ––-––– –– –––– –– –– –– –––– –– –– ––––– –– –– –––––

–––– –––––––: ––––– –––– –––– –––– –– –––– –– –– –––––

–––– –––––––: ––-––– –– –– ––––– ––––– –––– –– –– –––––

UPDATE 312014JUL09: C-12 will arrive at 2040

UPDATE 312036 JUL09: C-12 has landed

UPDATE 312040 JUL09: C-12 departed warrior en route to Baghdad

UPDATE 312145 JUL09: Escorts report landing at BIAP.

UPDATE 312330JUL09: Escorts transfer Meckfessel to Embassy personnel.

UPDATE 010015AUG09: Escorts will fly fixed wing at 1100 hrs on 1 AUG09 to FOB Warrior

BDA: 3x AMCIT Detained by Iranians

PAO ASSESSMENT: All queries referred to the US embassy in Baghdad.

IO ASSESSMENT: IQATF will monitor for atmospherics on this SIGACT.

S2 ASSESSMENT: The lack of coordination on the part of these hikers, particularly after being forewarned, indicates an intent to agitate and create publicity regarding international policies on Iran. The leadership in Iran benefits as it focuses the Iranian population on a perceived external threat rather than internal dissension. Kurdish leaders remain concerned about international perceptions regarding security as they seek to increase investment in the KRG. Expect KRG leadership to intervene to return the 3 individuals and the Iranian government to accuse them of being spies. Additionally, KRG leadership may impose additional restrictions on private activities near the Iranian border.



That's it? That's how The Nation whores. As a general rule, when The Nation can't get off a 'kidnapped' American, that American is CIA. That's accepted around the world. Is The Nation trying to say that the two Americans are CIA? It doesn't matter now. By running that article, the magazine has asserted to intelligence agencies around the world that the two are CIA. It's a shame they couldn't have spent the time highlighting what the report means for Iraqs, actual victims. And it's too damn bad for the two Americans. Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher and editor of The Nation (and whose father was the original CIA bagman) wants to brag, "This Week at Republicans Gone Wild. Plus: Stalin's forgotten victims." Already they have ignored Obama's pissing on equality and now they ignore WikiLeaks but they can whore for two men who will now be seen as CIA agents and they can whore for the Democratic Party.

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