Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Videos- Vets

Check out the VideoVets page to see all the VideoVets interviews, plus extras with Oliver Stone and Ron Kovic:
1. The Situation Room, CNN, Thursday May 3, 2007




U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq at 3,333

Updated: 6:54 p.m. CT April 24, 2007

As of Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at least 3,333 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,706 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is eight higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT.

The British military has reported 144 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 20; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, six; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia, three; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania, one death each


The latest deaths reported by the military:

_ A Marine was killed Monday during combat in Anbar province.


The latest identifications reported by the military:

_ Army Cpl. Ray M. Bevel, 22, Andrews, Texas; died Saturday in Yusifiyah of wounds suffered from an explosive; assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

_ Army Pfc. Jeffrey A. Avery, 19, Colorado Springs, Colo.; died Monday in Muqudadiyah from wounds suffered from an explosive; assigned to the 571st Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash.


On the Net:

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.



Lies, Plots, Control of America and the World


Bush is completely sure of the rightness of his "cause" and will not be dissuaded by any one nor by common sense evaluations of the facts. A person who believes that he is charged by God to do a certain task or bring about certain conditions is dangerous, for he sees only his "holy anointing" and his reality is not the reality of other people. Who is to say that a person's assertion that "God told me" is in fact a true spiritual experience or the fanatical imaginings of a disordered mind?

Because Bush's handlers and aides pander to him or allow him free rein in order that he bring their own goals to fruition, it isn't likely that he will waver in his aim to attack Iran. It seems that he truly believes that the Iraq debacle has been a success. It is essential to the goal of controlling the world's oil resources in order to become the Imperial Power of the world; Big Oil, the Industrial Complex and other financial world powers profit greatly from war.

Control of the Middle East and other oil rich nations is imperative as they see it. Already Bush makes preparation to unleash the dogs of war on Venezulela, starting the anti-Chavez propaganda, setting war ships patrolling the coast and sending troops to the Dominican Republic, in readiness. It is obvious who is planned to be next in line or soon after the war planned with Iran.

Congress is the only entity that could have reined Bush in but they yielded so much power to him that now they are virtually impotent. Many writers and journalists believe that we shall have another "9/11", probably of a lesser degree, in order to frighten the citizens into backing Bush on the war with Iran. But even if they do not, it isn't likely that he will be deterred.

Some of these same writers and others fear that some sort of emergency, manufactured or serendipitous, will come about to give Bush an excuse to declare martial law and cancel the presidential election in 2008, thus leaving him as president and an excuse to controll the citizens. Not all systems for control are yet fully in place but under martial law they could be forcibly implemented.

People knowledgeable about WWII, Hitler, Nazism and Fascism ask why and how the German people allowed a psycho like Hitler to seize so much power. Well, Folks, now we know - we've done the same thing, as Bush has followed Hitler's blueprint to seize control of the US. Despots have used much the same tactics for hundreds of years; if it works, use it.

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Al-Qaeda - Bin Laden - Ho Hum!

So the American people are getting too fiesty in their anti-war sentiments. It's time to trot out the old bug-a-bear, Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden, after all the propaganda about "can't find Bin Laden", "Bin Laden is dead", etc.. and that al-Qaeda has had it's fangs pulled. Bush wants and needs his nuclear attack on Iran - or an attack of some sort, preferably nuclear and preferably by Israel "defending" itself.

Al-Qaeda? Bin Laden? Well. maybe so but after all the lies and contradictions, one scarcely knows what to believe.

Al-Qaeda: Note relevant links
IRAQ WRAPUP 8-Al Qaeda claims killing of 9 U.S. troops in Iraq

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Updated: 5:51 p.m CT
BAGHDAD - A group led by Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility on Tuesday for two suicide truck bomb that killed nine U.S. soldiers and wounded 20 in one of the worst attacks on U.S. ground forces since the invasion in 2003.
"Two knights from the Islamic State in Iraq ... driving two booby-trapped trucks hit the heart of the Crusader American headquarters in the region of Diyala," a statement from the Sunni group of the Islamic State in Iraq said in a Web posting.
In an interview to an Egyptian television station broadcast in Iraq on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (Bush's puppet) said Iraq had become the "most prominent arena in the fight against al Qaeda".

The U.S. military said on Tuesday night that two suicide trucks were involved in Monday's strike on a military outpost at Diyala, north of Baghdad, scene of fierce fighting between U.S. troops and Sunni Arab insurgents and al Qaeda militants.
It said in a statement one of the trucks exploded along an outer barrier, while the other blew up 30 metres from the base building. "The explosive blast from the second truck ruptured the wall of the patrol base building, collapsing the second floor and causing the majority of the soldier casualties".
It said nine soldiers were killed and 20 wounded. Most of the wounded later returned to duty.
Witnesses said the outpost was located in an old school in the village of al-Mukhisa.
"The building collapsed ... There was a huge fire," said one witness, who declined to be identified, describing the aftermath of the second truck bomb.
Near the city of Ramadi in western Anbar province, a suicide truck bomb killed 25 people and wounded 44, police said. They said the attack targeted police and civilians.
While frontal assaults by insurgents against heavily fortified U.S. bases in Iraq are rare, a two-month-old security plan that places troops in less protected garrisons in Baghdad and neighbouring regions has exposed them to greater risk.
The bombing of the outpost came as a showdown between President George W. Bush and Congress deepened over Democrat efforts to set a timetable for the withdrawal of nearly 160,000 troops.
Congress will vote this week on a funding bill that sets March 31, 2008, as the goal for pulling out most troops, but Bush repeated on Tuesday his vow to use his presidential veto.
Diyala, scene of Monday's attack, is a religiously mixed area where U.S. commanders last month sent a Stryker armoured force and 1,000 extra troops.
There has been a sharp upsurge in violence in the volatile province since the launch of a U.S.-Iraqi crackdown in Baghdad in February that forced Sunni Arab insurgents to regroup in areas outside the capital.
In the previous worst ground attack against U.S. forces in Iraq, 10 U.S. Marines were killed near Falluja, west of Baghdad, in a bombing on Dec. 1, 2005.
The U.S. military also reported the deaths of two other U.S. soldiers on Monday.
At least 87 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq this month, making April the deadliest since December, when 112 were killed.
At least 3,334 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
On Tuesday, gunmen wearing uniforms of the Iraqi army raided a neighbourhood in Baquba, killing six people, wounding 15 and burning several homes, police said. A suicide car bomber on Monday killed 10 Iraqi policemen during a gathering of senior police officials in Baquba, including the city's police chief.
(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan in Washington)
(c) Reuters 2007.

Bin Laden:

Did bin Laden plan Afghan bomb near Cheney?

Taliban commander says he did, calls deadly February attack a success

Slide show
In this photograph dated 08 August 2006,
Now: Life in Afghanistan
View images chronicling the state of the country today, five years after the U.S.-led war.

Torn by conflict
Afghanistan's tumultuous history

CAIRO, Egypt - A top Taliban commander has claimed that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was behind the February attack outside a U.S. base in Afghanistan during U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's visit, according to an interview aired Wednesday on Al-Jazeera.

Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's top military commander, told Al-Jazeera that bin Laden planned and supervised the attack that killed 23 people outside the big U.S. base at Bagram during Cheney's visit.

"You may remember the martyr operation inside the Bagram base, which targeted a senior U.S. official. ... That operation was the result of his wise planning. He (bin Laden) planned that operation and guided us through it. The operation was a success," Dadullah told Al-Jazeera. He did not say how he knew that bin Laden planned the attack.

Dadullah, who has had close associations with al-Qaida, also insisted that bin Laden was alive and well, according to the interview.

"Thank God he is alive. We get updated information about him. Thank God he planned operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan," he told Al-Jazeera, according to the English translation of the interview provided by the station.

Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino said it was “an interesting claim but ... I haven’t seen any intelligence that would support that.”

The bombing killed about 20 Afghan civilians, a U.S. soldier, a U.S. contractor and a South Korean soldier outside Bagram while Cheney was meeting with officials inside the base. The Taliban claimed the attack was aimed at Cheney, but officials have said it posed no real threat to the vice president.

Bombing was outside base
The attacker never tried to penetrate even the first of several U.S.-manned security checkpoints at Bagram, instead detonating himself among a group of Afghan workers outside the base.

The bearded Dadullah, wearing a black turban and a gray traditional Afghani robe, was interviewed by Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Afghanistan. In the interview, the Taliban commander was seen sitting on the ground in the middle of a field with some trees.

In the video, a man covering his head and face with a white scarf and wearing an ammunition belt can be seen in the background.

Parts of the interview were broadcast on Al-Jazeera's English and Arabic satellite TV channels and were posted the stations' Web sites.

Al-Jazeera, which is based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, said it planned to show the entire interview later Wednesday. The station declined to provide any more details about the interview.

Al-Jazeera's interview was not the first time in recent months that Dadullah has said bin Laden was alive. On March 1, London television Channel 4 aired an interview with Dadullah who said the al-Qaida leader was alive and in contact with Taliban officers. The station did not say when the tape was made.

Assumption that bin Laden is alive
U.S. officials have said they assume bin Laden is alive but do not have proof one way or the other. U.S.-led forces drove the head of the terror network from his Afghanistan haven in late 2001 by overthrowing the Taliban's militia government after al-Qaida was blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Bin Laden is assumed to be living now in a rugged area of neighboring Pakistan, where remnants of the Taliban are living and attacking coalition forces in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Afghan officials claimed their forces trapped up to 200 Taliban in a southern village, possibly including Dadullah. But the Taliban later denied that claim. Dadullah is a close aide to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and a commander with a reputation for ruthlessness.



Wednesday, April 18, 2007



Just An Ordinary Day In Iraq—In Virginia

First, there’s shock, depression, identification with the victims and outrage that such a thing could happen here. Then comes the inevitable search for meaning, and the debate over gun laws, video games, values and more. All accomplished with a stunning lack of perspective.
For one thing, the Virginia Tech incident was not even remotely that nation’s worst mass shooting, as some media are claiming…unless, of course, you don’t consider Native Americans or African Americans to be real people. Try to recall the Indian massacres at Marias, Sand Creek, Wounded Knee and now-forgotten locales. And the death toll of black people in Tulsa in 1921 probably topped 300. Of course, soldiers are human, too, so the 3,600 or so dead at the Battle of Antietam also top the 33 dead yesterday in Blacksburg.
But let’s widen our view to the present and include the American-led war in Iraq, and then narrow it to Baghdad alone. In July 2006, 1,417 bodies wound up at the city morgue, many shot to death at point-blank range, other blown apart in a less personal manner. All dead. That’s 46 people a day murdered, day after day after day. All had families; all had immortal souls, if you believe that; all were human. While the death rate in Baghdad seems to have slacked somewhat, as Iraq Body Count blogger Lily Hamourtziadou’s weekly report concludes, “Violence in Iraq is rising at an ‘unbelievably rapid pace’, according to the Pentagon’s latest assessment of the security situation.”
None of this is supposed to belittle the horror of Blacksburg in the least. It can’t. Murder is murder, whether conducted by a deranged gunman or under the protective cover of war. Try, just try to identify with the victims at Virginia Tech and extend that to America’s minorities, America’s battered and murdered women, and to Iraq.
What is happening in Iraq is wrong. And the first response of a rational person who finds him or herself doing wrong is to stop doing it. We can’t stop everyone in the world from murdering their neighbors, but we can stop doing it ourselves.
And as for the historical murders of blacks and Native Americans, the effect of those acts is still very much with us. The victims and even the perpetrators live with collective memories of unatoned-for massacres, and for all the other thousands of deaths whose toll does not reach into double or triple digits but are not wholly forgotten. Those killings come back to haunt us in a thousand different ways, ranging from the persistence of white supremacy to the shame of America’s Indian reservations.
Blacksburg was not ordinary, but at the same time it was. While we’re searching our national souls over this, let’s search a little deeper and more broadly. Not to add to our guilt, which doesn’t much help, but to make us better people.--Alec Dubro Tuesday, April 17, 2007 11:17 AM


Sunday, April 08, 2007


True Story of Free Speech in America

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The True Story of Free Speech in America
By Robert Fisk04/07/07
"The Independent" -- -- Laila al-Arian was wearing her headscarf at her desk at Nation Books, one of my New York publishers. No, she told me, it would be difficult to telephone her father. At the medical facility of his North Carolina prison, he can only make a few calls - monitored, of course - and he was growing steadily weaker.

Sami al-Arian is 49 but he stayed on hunger strike for 60 days to protest the government outrage committed against him, a burlesque of justice which has, of course, largely failed to rouse the sleeping dogs of American journalism in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

All praise, then, to the journalist John Sugg from Tampa, Florida, who has been cataloging al-Arian’s little Golgotha for months, along with Alexander Cockburn of Counter Punch.The story so far: Sami al-Arian, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian, was a respected computer professor at the University of South Florida who tried, however vainly, to communicate the real tragedy of Palestinian Arabs to the US government. But according to Sugg, Israel’s lobbyists were enraged by his lessons - al-Arian’s family was driven from Palestine in 1948 - and in 2003, at the instigation of Attorney General Ashcroft, he was arrested and charged with conspiring “to murder and maim” outside the United States and with raising money for Islamic Jihad in “Palestine”. He was held for two and a half years in solitary confinement, hobbling half a mile, his hands and feet shackled, merely to talk to his lawyers.

Al-Arian’s $50m (£25m) Tampa trial lasted six months; the government called 80 witnesses (21 from Israel) and used 400 intercepted phone calls along with evidence of a conversation that a co-defendant had with al-Arian in - wait for it - a dream. The local judge, a certain James Moody, vetoed any remarks about Israeli military occupation or about UN Security Council Resolution 242, on the grounds that they would endanger the impartiality of the jurors.

In December, 2005, al-Arian was acquitted on the most serious charges and on those remaining; the jurors voted 10 to two for acquittal. Because the FBI wanted to make further charges, al-Arian’s lawyers told him to make a plea that would end any further prosecution. Arriving for his sentence, however, al-Arian - who assumed time served would be his punishment, followed by deportation - found Moody talking about “blood” on the defendant’s hands and ensured he would have to spend another 11 months in jail. Then prosecutor Gordon Kromberg insisted that the Palestinian prisoner should testify against an Islamic think tank. Al-Arian believed his plea bargain had been dishonored and refused to testify. He was held in contempt. And continues to languish in prison.

Not so, of course, most of America’s torturers in Iraq. One of them turns out to rejoice in the name of Ric Fair, a “contract interrogator”, who has bared his soul in the Washington Post - all praise, here, by the way to the Post - about his escapades in the Fallujah interrogation “facility” of the 82nd Airborne Division. Fair has been having nightmares about an Iraqi whom he deprived of sleep during questioning “by forcing him to stand in a corner and stripping him of his clothes”. Now it is Fair who is deprived of sleep. “A man with no face stares at me … pleads for help, but I’m afraid to move. He begins to cry. It s a pitiful sound, and it sickens me. He screams, but as I awaken, I realize the screams are mine.”

Thank God, Fair didn’t write a play about his experiences and offer it to Channel 4 whose executives got cold feet about The Mark of Cain, the drama about British army abuse in Basra. They quickly bought into the line that transmission of Tony Marchant’s play might affect the now happy outcome of the far less riveting Iranian prison production of the Famous 15 “Servicepersons” - by angering the Muslim world with tales of how our boys in Basra beat up on the local Iraqis. As the reporter who first revealed the death of hotel worker Baha Mousa in British custody in Basra - I suppose we must always refer to his demise as “death” now that the soldiers present at his savage beating have been acquitted of murder - I can attest that Arab Muslims know all too well how gentle and refined our boys are during interrogation. It is we, the British at home, who are not supposed to believe in torture. The Iraqis know all about it - and who knew all about Mousa’s fate long before I reported it for The Independent on Sunday.

Because it’s really all about shutting the reality of the Middle East off from us. It’s to prevent the British and American people from questioning the immoral and cruel and internationally illegal occupation of Muslim lands. And in the Land of the Free, this systematic censorship of Middle East reality continues even in the country’s schools.

Now the principal of a Connecticut high school has banned a play by pupils, based on the letters and words of US soldiers serving in Iraq. Entitled Voices in Conflict, Natalie Kropf, Seth Koproski, James Presson and their fellow pupils at Wilton High School compiled the reflections of soldiers and others - including a 19-year-old Wilton High graduate killed in Iraq - to create their own play. To no avail. The drama might hurt those “who had lost loved ones or who had individuals serving as we speak”, proclaimed Timothy Canty, Wilton High’s principal. And - my favorite line - Canty believed there was not enough rehearsal time to ensure the play would provide “a legitimate instructional experience for our students”.

And of course, I can quite see Mr Canty’s point. Students who have produced Arthur Miller’s The Crucible were told by Mr Canty - whose own war experiences, if any, have gone unrecorded - that it wasn’t their place to tell audiences what soldiers were thinking. The pupils of Wilton High are now being inundated with offers to perform at other venues. Personally, I think Mr Canty may have a point. He would do much better to encourage his students to perform Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, a drama of massive violence, torture, rape, mutilation and honor killing. It would make Iraq perfectly explicable to the good people of Connecticut. A “legitimate instructional experience” if ever there was one.

© 2007 Independent News and Media Limited
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