Monday, July 18, 2011

US military announces another death in Iraq

The Associated Press reports that the US military announced this morning the death of another US soldier in Iraq with no details other than the soldier died yesterday. This brings the death toll for this month to 5 and the death toll for June and July combined to 20.

Two of the five this month were Nathan Beyers and Nicholas Newby. KPVI reports (link is text and features a slide show) the Pocatello, Idaho National Guard Armory last night was the scene of a rememberance for the two fallen as approximately 50 people paid their respects in a candel light ceremony. Lucas Elliott was killed Friday while serving in Iraq. WTVD notes, "On Monday, Lucas Elliott would have celebrated his 22nd birthday."

Signature wounds of the current wars are TBI and PTSD. When the US military brass testifies before Congress they like to emphasize TBI and bury PTSD. That may be changing, not because the military brass really wants to address PTSD but because TBI may have even more risks than have been previously known. Albertina Torsoli (Bloomberg News) reports that a new study, to be presented in Paris today at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, TBI "may more than double the risk of dementia in military veterans." AP adds, "The veterans study was led by Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a University of California professor and director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. The Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health paid for the work."

New wounds (or newly named ones) like PTSD and TBI do not mean that the historical wounds of war have gone away. Nancy Shute (NPR's Morning Edition) reports on tinnitus (ringing of the ears) and notes, "Tinnitus is now the most common service-related disability, with 744,000 vets receiving compensation for tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, an advocacy group." Erica Goode (New York Times) reports on Iraq War veteran Brad Eifert's struggle with PTSD:

Staff Sgt. Brad Eifert circled through the woods behind his house here, holding a .45-caliber pistol. The police were out there somewhere and, one way or the other, he was ready to die.
He raised the gun to his head and then lowered it. Then he fired nine rounds.
"They're going to take me down, they're going to finish me off, so," he remembers thinking, "finish me off."
Leaving his weapon, he ran into the driveway, shouting, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me!”

Law and Disorder Radio begins airing this morning WBAI at 9:00 am and all around the country throughout the week. Attorneys and hosts Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) discuss secret sites, the passing of Heidi's neighbor Monica Shay, Human Rights Watch's call for a torture investigation, and more at the top of the show and then speak with Albert Ruben about his new book dcoumenting the history of the Center for Constituional Rights, The People's Lawyer: The Center for Constitutional Rights and the Fight for Social Justice, From Civil Rights to Guantanamo and they also speak with Adam Hochschild about his new book To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion 1914-1918. Bonnie notes that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "War Whore" went up last night.

Information Clearing House has done a great service and reprinted Carl Bernstein's ground breaking 1977 Rolling Stone cover story "How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up." Excerpt:

DESPITE THE EVIDENCE OF WIDESPREAD CIA USE OF journalists, the Senate Intelligence Committee and its staff decided against questioning any of the reporters, editors, publishers or broadcast executives whose relationships with the Agency are detailed in CIA files.

According to sources in the Senate and the Agency, the use of journalists was one of two areas of inquiry which the CIA went to extraordinary lengths to curtail. The other was the Agency’s continuing and extensive use of academics for recruitment and information gathering purposes.

In both instances, the sources said, former directors Colby and Bush and CIA special counsel Mitchell Rogovin were able to convince key members of the committee that full inquiry or even limited public disclosure of the dimensions of the activities would do irreparable damage to the nation’s intelligence‑gathering apparatus, as well as to the reputations of hundreds of individuals. Colby was reported to have been especially persuasive in arguing that disclosure would bring on a latter‑day “witch hunt” in which the victims would be reporters, publishers and editors.

Walter Elder, deputy to former CIA director McCone and the principal Agency liaison to the Church committee, argued that the committee lacked jurisdiction because there had been no misuse of journalists by the CIA; the relationships had been voluntary. Elder cited as an example the case of the Louisville Courier‑Journal. “Church and other people on the committee were on the chandelier about the Courier‑Journal,” one Agency official said, “until we pointed out that we had gone to the editor to arrange cover, and that the editor had said, ‘Fine.’”

Some members of the Church committee and staff feared that Agency officials had gained control of the inquiry and that they were being hoodwinked. “The Agency was extremely clever about it and the committee played right into its hands,” said one congressional source familiar with all aspects of the inquiry. “Church and some of the other members were much more interested in making headlines than in doing serious, tough investigating. The Agency pretended to be giving up a lot whenever it was asked about the flashy stuff—assassinations and secret weapons and James Bond operations. Then, when it came to things that they didn’t want to give away, that were much more important to the Agency, Colby in particular called in his chits. And the committee bought it.”

The Senate committee’s investigation into the use of journalists was supervised by William B. Bader, a former CIA intelligence officer who returned briefly to the Agency this year as deputy to CIA director Stansfield Turner and is now a high‑level intelligence official at the Defense Department. Bader was assisted by David Aaron, who now serves as the deputy to Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security adviser.

According to colleagues on the staff of the Senate inquiry, both Bader and Aaron were disturbed by the information contained in CIA files about journalists; they urged that further investigation he undertaken by the Senate’s new permanent CIA oversight committee. That committee, however, has spent its first year of existence writing a new charter for the CIA, and members say there has been little interest in delving further into the CIA’s use of the press.

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