Friday, October 24, 2008

 

Stolen - $23 Billion

Daylight Robbery - What Happened to the $23billion? - 59 min - Jun 12, 2008

(35 Ratings) Rate:

Jane Corbin investigates claims that as much as $23bn may have been lost, stolen or not properly accounted for in Iraq. Now more than 70 whistleblower cases threaten to reveal the scandals behind billions of dollars worth of waste, theft and corruption during the war. The US justice department has imposed gagging orders which prevent the real scale of the problem emerging.«

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DAYLIGHT ROBBERY

What happened to the $23 billion?

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Iraq Debacle - video documentary

Documentary video - Iraq Debacle - 1:42



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Iraq Pact - U.S. Debacle

http://www.ourfuture.org/progressive-opinion/2008104323/final-text-iraq-pact-reveals-us-debacle

POLITICS: Final Text of Iraq Pact Reveals a U.S. Debacle
Analysis by Gareth Porter*

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (IPS) - The final draft of the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces agreement on the U.S. military presence represents an even more crushing defeat for the policy of the George W. Bush administration than previously thought, the final text reveals.

The final draft, dated Oct. 13, not only imposes unambiguous deadlines for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops by 2011 but makes it extremely unlikely that a U.S. non-combat presence will be allowed to remain in Iraq for training and support purposes beyond the 2011 deadline for withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces.

Furthermore, Shiite opposition to the pact as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty makes the prospects for passage of even this agreement by the Iraqi parliament doubtful. Pro-government Shiite parties, the top Shiite clerical body in the country, and a powerful movement led by nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that recently mobilised hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in protest against the pact, are all calling for its defeat.

At an Iraqi cabinet meeting Tuesday, ministers raised objections to the final draft, and a government spokesman said that the agreement would not submit it to the parliament in its current form. But Secretary of Defence Robert Gates told three news agencies Tuesday that the door was "pretty far closed" on further negotiations.

In the absence of an agreement approved by the Iraqi parliament, U.S. troops in Iraq will probably be confined to their bases once the United Nations mandate expires Dec. 31.

The clearest sign of the dramatically reduced U.S. negotiating power in the final draft is the willingness of the United States to give up extraterritorial jurisdiction over U.S. contractors and their employees and over U.S. troops in the case of "major and intentional crimes" that occur outside bases and while off duty. The United States has never allowed a foreign country to have jurisdiction over its troops in any previous status of forces agreement.

But even that concession is not enough to satisfy anti-occupation sentiments across all Shiite political parties. Sunni politicians hold less decisive views on the pact, and Kurds are supportive.

Bush administration policymakers did not imagine when the negotiations began formally last March that its bargaining position on the issue of the U.S. military presence could have turned out to be so weak in relation with its own "client" regime in Baghdad.

They were confident of being able to legitimise a U.S. presence in Iraq for decades after the fighting had ended, just as they did in South Korea. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates had declared in June 2007 that U.S. troops would be in Iraq "for a protracted period of time".

The secret U.S. draft handed to Iraqi officials Mar. 7 put no limit on either the number of U.S. troops in Iraq or the duration of their presence or their activities. It would have authorised U.S. forces to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain certain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security", according to an Apr. 8 article in The Guardian quoting from a leaked copy of the draft.

When Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki demanded a timetable for complete U.S. withdrawal in early July, the White House insisted that it would not accept such a timetable and that any decision on withdrawal "will be conditions based". It was even hoping to avoid a requirement for complete withdrawal in the agreement, as reflected in false claims to media Jul. 17 that Bush and Maliki had agreed on the objective of "further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq" rather than complete withdrawal.

By early August, however, Bush had already reduced its negotiating aims. The U.S. draft dated Aug. 6, which was translated and posted on the internet by Iraqi activist Raed Jarrar, demanded the inclusion of either "targeted times" or "time targets" to refer to the dates for withdrawal of U.S. forces from all cities, town and villages and for complete combat troop withdrawal from Iraq, suggesting that they were not deadlines.

When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Baghdad Aug. 21, the United States accepted for the first time a firm date of 2011 for complete withdrawal, giving up the demand for ambiguous such terms. However, the Aug. 6 draft included a provision that the U.S. could ask Iraq to "extend" the date for complete withdrawal of combat troops, based on mutual review of "progress" in achieving the withdrawal.

Because it had not yet been removed from the text, U.S. officials continued to claim to reporters that the date was "conditions-based", as Karen DeYoung reported in the Washington Post Aug. 22.

The administration also continued to hope for approval of a residual force. U.S. officials told DeYoung the deal would leave "tens of thousands of U.S. troops inside Iraq in supporting roles...for an unspecified time". That hope was based on a paragraph of the Aug. 6 draft providing that the Iraqi government could request such a force, with the joint committee for operations and coordination determining the "tasks and level of the troops..."

But the Oct. 13 final draft, a translation of which was posted by Raed Jarrar on his website Oct. 20, reveals that the Bush administration has been forced to give up its aims of softening the deadline for withdrawal and of a residual non-combat force in the country. Unlike the Aug. 6 draft, the final text treats any extension of that date as a modification of the agreement, which could be done only "in accordance to constitutional procedures in both countries".

That is an obvious reference to approval by the Iraqi parliament.

Given the present level of opposition to the agreement within the Shiite community, that provision offers scant hope of a residual U.S. non-combat force in Iraq after 2011.

Another signal of Iraqi intentions is a provision of the final draft limiting the duration of the agreement to three years -- a date coinciding with the deadline for complete withdrawal from Iraq. The date can be extended only by a decision made by the "constitutional procedures in both countries".

The final draft confirms the language of the Aug. 6 draft requiring that all U.S. military operations be subject to the approval of the Iraqi government and coordinated with Iraqi authorities through a joint U.S.-Iraqi committee.

The negotiating text had already established by Aug. 6 that U.S. troops could not detain anyone in the country without a "warrant issued by the specialised Iraqi authorities in accordance with Iraqi law" and required that the detainees be turned over to Iraqi authorities within 24 hours. The Oct. 13 "final draft" goes even further, requiring that any detention by the United States, apart from its own personnel, must be "based on an Iraqi decision".

The collapse of the Bush administration's ambitious plan for a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq highlights the degree of unreality that has prevailed among top U.S. officials in both Washington and Baghdad on Iraqi politics. They continued to see the Maliki regime as a client which would cooperate with U.S. aims even after it was clear that Maliki's agenda was sharply at odds with that of the United States.

They also refused to take seriously the opposition to such a presence even among the Shiite clerics who had tolerated it in order to obtain Shiite control over state power.

*Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in 2006.

(END/2008)

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

 

Iraq - Slide Show

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Iraq/ss/events/ts/082701iraqplane;_ylt=Am48VFouzNZbL5mmYIDEEoRsaMYA#photoViewer=/081023/ids_photos_wl/r1094747738.jpg

A girl holds a feeding bottle while waiting with her family ...
Reuters
Thu Oct 23, 4:47 PM ET
548 of 572

A girl holds a feeding bottle while waiting with her family to receive humanitarian supplies from the Red Crescent, in a church in Baghdad October 23, 2008. About 45 Christian families who fled from Mosul city due recent attacks received humanitarian aid from Red Crescent on Thursday, Red Crescent officials said.

REUTERS/Saad Shalash (IRAQ)

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Friday, October 17, 2008

 

Torture Victim Near Insanity

AP Exclusive: Documents say detainee near insanity - Yahoo! News

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081008/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/detainee_treatment

AP Exclusive: Documents say detainee near insanity


In this image obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to The AP – In this image obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to The Associated Press, one …

WASHINGTON – A U.S. military officer warned Pentagon officials that an American detainee was being driven nearly insane by months of punishing isolation and sensory deprivation in a U.S. military brig, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

While the treatment of prisoners at detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan and Iraq have long been the subject of human rights complaints and court scrutiny, the documents shed new light on how two American citizens and a legal U.S. resident were treated in military jails inside the United States.

The Bush administration ordered the men to be held in military jails as "enemy combatants" for years of interrogations without criminal charges, which would not have been allowed in civilian jails.

The men were interrogated by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency, repeatedly denied access to attorneys and mail from home and contact with anyone other than guards and their interrogators. They were deprived of natural light for months and for years were forbidden even minor distractions such as a soccer ball or a dictionary.

"I will continue to do what I can to help this individual maintain his sanity, but in my opinion we're working with borrowed time," an unidentified Navy brig official wrote of prisoner Yaser Esam Hamdi in 2002. "I would like to have some form of an incentive program in place to reward him for his continued good behavior, but more so, to keep him from whacking out on me."

Yale Law School's Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic received the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by two attorneys Jonathan Freiman and Tahlia Townsend, representing another detainee, Jose Padilla. The Lowenstein group and the American Civil Liberties Union said the papers were evidence that the Bush administration violated the 5th Amendment's protections against cruel treatment. The U.S. military was ordered to treat the American prisoners the same way prisoners at Guantanamo were treated, according to the documents.

However, the Guantanamo jail was created by the Bush administration specifically to avoid allowing detainees any constitutional rights. Administration lawyers contended the Constitution did not apply outside the country.

"These documents are the first clear confirmation of what we've suspected all along, that the brig was run as a prison beyond the law. There was an effort to create a Gitmo inside the United States," Jonathan Hafetz of the ACLU's National Security Project in New York said, using the slang word for the U.S. naval facility in Cuba.

The 91 pages of e-mails and documents produced by U.S. Fleet Forces Command, which runs the military brigs in Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C., detail daily decisions made about the treatment of Hamdi and Padilla, then both American citizens, and Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a legal resident. All were designated as by the White House as "illegal enemy combatants."

The paperwork show uniformed officials at the military brigs growing increasingly uncomfortable and then alarmed that they were being directed to handle their prisoners under the rules that governed Guantanamo.

The authors and recipients of the e-mails are censored from the documents. They appear to be going to either military or Pentagon legal counsel and policy offices.

The documents show that some officials at the Charleston brig were deeply skeptical about the mandate that Guantanamo rules should apply in the United States, a decision made by the defense secretary's office, according to the documents.

"You have every right to question the 'lash-up' between GTMO and Charleston — it was the first thing I ask (sic) about a year ago when I checked on board," wrote one official to another in 2006. "In a nutshell, they gave the Charleston detainee mission to (Joint Forces Command) who promptly gave it to (Fleet Forces Command) with a 'lots of luck' and nothing else."

An officer was still raising alarms about Hamdi's mental state after 14 months of jail with no contact with lawyers, his family or even other prisoners.

"I told him the last thing that I wanted to have happen was to send him anywhere from here as a 'basket case,' of use to no one, to include himself," the officer wrote in an e-mail to undisclosed government officials in June 2003. "I fear the rubber band is nearing its breaking point here and not totally confident I can keep his head in the game much longer."

The frustrated officer wrote that he had "to have the ability to exercise some discretion when I believe it best for the health and welfare of those assigned to my facility ... Know ... we are to remain consistent with the procedures that were/are in place at Camp X-Ray" a reference to the Guantanamo jail. He pointed out that imposing those conditions in the brig had a far harsher effect on his prisoners because they had no contact with any other detainees, which was allowed at Guantanamo.

Scores of pages of once-secret legal opinions regarding detainee rights and treatment have been released under the Freedom of Information Act. At least two apparently crucial memos about enemy combatant treatment inside the U.S. have yet to be made public.

Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan in 2001, shipped to Guantanamo and then moved to the U.S. after his citizenship was discovered. He was held and interrogated for three years without charges. The Supreme Court in 2004 rejected the government's attempt to hold him indefinitely without charge. He was released to Saudi Arabia on the condition he give up his U.S. citizenship.

Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was a legal resident studying for a master's degree in Illinois when he was arrested in December 2001 by the FBI as a material witness to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was charged with credit card fraud in 2002. A month before his trial in 2003, President Bush declared him an enemy combatant and al-Marri was transferred to the consolidated naval brig in Charleston. There he was held in isolation for 16 months, denied shoes and socks for two years, and was not allowed any contact with his family for five years. He remains in the military brig but is appealing his detention to the Supreme Court.

Padilla was arrested in 2002 under suspicion he was collaborating with al-Qaida to build a radioactive or "dirty" bomb. He was held as an enemy combatant for more than three years. He was held totally incommunicado for 21 months. His mother was only allowed to see Padilla after she agreed not to alert the media to the visit, according to the documents.

The government dropped the dirty bomb charges and Padilla's case was moved to civilian court where in 2007 he was convicted of supporting terrorism in Kosovo, Bosnia and Chechny.


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Thursday, October 09, 2008

 

GI PTSD - Used as Guinea Pigs

PTSD GIs used as guinea pigs

Investigative Unit: G.I.s Used as Guinea Pigs -quit smoking drug Chantix - causes suicidal tendencies. Click on url to open video.
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=5182533

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Varenicline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Varenicline (trade name Chantix in the USA and Champix in Europe and other ... "Important Information about Chantix". Retrieved on 2008-05. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varenicline -

Excerpts:

Side Effects

Nausea occurs commonly in people taking varenicline. Other less common side effects include headache, difficulty sleeping, and abnormal dreams. Rare side effects reported by people taking varenicline compared to placebo include change in taste, vomiting, abdominal pain, flatulence, and constipation.[5] In May 2008, Pfizer updated the safety information associated with Chantix, noting that "some patients have reported changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions." [6]

In November 2007, the FDA announced it had received post-marketing reports that patients using Chantix for smoking cessation had experienced several serious symptoms, including suicidal ideation and occasional suicidal behavior, erratic behavior, and drowsiness. On February 1, 2008 the FDA issued an Alert to further clarify its findings, noting that "it appears increasingly likely that there is an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms." It is unknown whether the psychiatric symptoms are related to the drug or to nicotine withdrawal symptoms, although not all patients had stopped smoking. The FDA is aware of the highly-publicized case of Carter Albrecht who, in an apparent state of delirium, was shot to death by his neighbour after hitting his girlfriend and then trying to forcibly enter the neighbor's house.[7] Although in this case the delirium appeared to be caused by taking varenicline with a high dose of alcohol, the FDA asked Pfizer for additional cases that might be similar. It also recommended that health care professionals and patients watch for behavioral and mood changes.[8]

Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) conducted an analysis of post-marketing adverse effects reports received by the FDA. According to this analysis, in the fourth quarter of 2007 varenicline accounted for more reports of serious side effects than any other drug. Suicidal acts and ideation, psychosis, and hostility or aggression, including homicidal ideation, were the most prominent psychiatric side effects. Multiple reports suggested that varenicline may be related to the loss of glycemic control and new onset of diabetes, heart rhythm disturbances, skin reactions, vision disturbances, seizures, abnormal muscle spasms and other movement disorders. ISMP noted that the reports do not establish causality and only identify potential causes, and concluded that further research and a priority review of the data by the FDA is necessary. [9]

On Thursday, May 22, 2008, The New York Times reported that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) had announced the day before a ban on the use of Chantix (varenicline tartrate) for both pilots and air traffic controllers, due to concerns with possible adverse neuropsychiatric effects which could be detrimental to public safety.[10]

On Sunday, May 25, 2008, The Los Angeles Times reported that over 2 dozen traffic accidents had been linked to Chantix and reported to the FDA. Warnings had previously been issued by Pfizer regarding the risks of Chantix while driving, however these warnings have largely been ignored by doctors and patients.[11]

On Tuesday, June 17, 2008, The Washington Times reported on its Front Page that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs was testing Chantix on war veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder without properly warning them of the side effects, and that in one case a veteran was almost killed when he had a psychotic episode and threatened police officers.[12]

On October 23, 2008, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices issued an analysis of prescription drug-related injuries reported to the FDA during the first quarter of 2008. According to the report, varenicline had more reported incidents than any other drug, with 1001 new cases of adverse effects and 50 more deaths reported (Heparin, the drug with the second highest number of injury reports, had 779 new cases, most of which were connected to a contaminate inadvertently introduced into the drug in early 2008). In comparison, the ISMP reported that in the first quarter of 2008 there were 17 serious injury reports for nicotine-replacement products, and 44 reports for bupropion (sold as Zyban as a smoking cessation medication). Varenicline did not rank in the ten drugs with the most related deaths, but did rank first in reports of suicide or self-injury, with 228 reports citing these effects. The ISMP noted that the high number of varenicline-related injury reports may be related to the publicity surrounding the medication's potential side effects. [13]


WA: Yet the VA claims it is safe - for veterans who already suffer psycholgical injuries.

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The Other War - Afghanistan

The Other War - Afghanistan Click on urls to open videos

In the Line of Fire
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=5776593

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The Other War - Afghanistan - on patrol

On Patrol With Soldiers in Afghanistan
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=5775258

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Friday, October 03, 2008

 

assorted videos

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