Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Flypaper, Al-Ihsan, Snipers, Gitmo, Iraq

1) Well, at least I wasn't the only one thinking this. Here's Kos's take on Thursday:
Flypaper by kos Thu Jul 7th, 2005 at 10:42:26 PDTBush's latest rationale for maintaining the course inIraq adventure has been the "flypaper strategy" --it's better to fight the terrorists over there than athome. Nevermind that the Iraqis never asked to havetheir country turned into a dangerous den ofterrorism, insurgency, violence and death. For warsupporters looking for an excuse, any excuse, tojustify the continued disastrous American presence inIraq, the flypaper rationale was as good as any.
Except that it's not working. The war isn't making theWest any safer. In fact, it's creating a whole newclass of terrorists. Today it was London. Next time itcould easily be the United States. And waging the warin Iraq, rather than make us safer, is furthermotivating Islamic terrorists to strike at the West.
Five of the London fatalities were killed by a bomb inthe Edgware Road Tube station. Elisa and I havefriends that use that stop every morning and we'reboth sick with worry. Every one of those deaths todaysickens me. Those committing these attacks, like thosecommitting any terrorist attack, need to be broughtdown.
But Bush (and Blair) took their eyes off the prize --neglected to finish the job in Afghanistan, let AlQaida off the hook to rebuild and reorganize, andhelped swell its ranks with an unecessary and ineptcampaign in Iraq.
There are consequences to the mess in Iraq. And today,we're seeing one of them. Unfortunately, it won't bethe last.

2) Here's a good rundown of UK Muslim reactions to theLondon bombings at this site. This is quite a goodblog, for getting this perspective:

3) Apropos extremist ideologies - I've shown this before, but perhaps it's useful as a reminder.
"Help real snipers get the real gear they need to keepus safe."

4) Although I feel nothing even close to the emotionsof this writer, I think it is worthwhile to present tothis readership the thoughts and emotions of at leastone individual in the wake of the London bombings, asengendered by the 2003 violent invasion and subsequentoccupation of Iraq by US and UK forces:
Sunday, July 10, 2005What do you call ..
A Letter to the British People.
From Iman as-Saadun.
I’m sending this letter to the British people and inparticular to the residents of London. For a period ofhours, you have lived through moments of desperateanxiety and horror. In those hours you lost a memberof your family or a friend, and we wish to tell you intotal honesty that we too grieve when human lives passaway. I cannot tell you how much we hurt when we seedesperation and pain on the face of another person.For we have lived through this situation – andcontinue to live through it every day – since yourcountry and the United States formed an alliance andlaid plans to attack Iraq.
The Prime Minister of your country, Tony Blair, saidthat those who carried out the explosions did so inthe name of Islam. The Secretary of State of theUnited States, Condaleezza Rice, described thebombings as an act of barbarism. The United NationsSecurity Council met and unanimously condemned theevent.
I would like to ask you, the free British people, toallow me to inquire: in whose name was our countryblockaded for 12 years? In whose name were our citiesbombed using internationally prohibited weapons? Inwhose name did the British army kill Iraqis andtorture them? Was that in your name? Or in the name ofreligion? Or humanity? Or freedom? Or democracy?
What do you call the killing of more than two millionchildren? What do you call the pollution of the soiland the water with depleted uranium and other lethalsubstances?
What do you call what happened in the prisons in Iraq– in Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca and the many other prisoncamps? What do you call the torture of men, women, andchildren? What do you call tying bombs to the bodiesof prisoners and blowing them apart? What do you callthe refinement of methods of torture for use on Iraqiprisoners – such as pulling off limbs, gouging outeyes, putting out cigarettes on their skin, and usingcigarette lighters to set fire to the hair on theirheads? Does the word “barbaric” adequately describethe behavior of your troops in Iraq?
May we ask why the Security Council did not condemnthe massacre in al-Amiriyah and what happened inal-Fallujah, Tal‘afar, Sadr City, and an-Najaf? Whydoes the world watch as our people are killed andtortured and not condemn the crimes being committedagainst us? Are you human beings and we somethingless? Do you think that only you can feel pain and wecan’t? In fact it is we who are most aware of howintense is the pain of the mother who has lost herchild, or the father who has lost his family. We knowvery well how painful it is to lose those you love.
You don’t know our martyrs, but we know them. Youdon’t remember them, but we remember them. You don’tcry over them, but we cry over them.
Have you heard the name of the little girl HannanSalih Matrud? Or of the boy Ahmad Jabir Karim? OrSa‘id Shabram?
Yes, our dead have names too. They have faces andstories and memories. There was a time when they wereamong us, laughing and playing. They had dreams, justas you have. They had a tomorrow awaiting them. Buttoday they sleep among us with no tomorrow on which towake.
We don’t hate the British people or the peoples of theworld. This war was imposed upon us, but we are nowfighting it in defense of our selves. Because we wantto live in our homeland – the free land of Iraq – andto live as we want to live, not as your government orthe American government wish.
Let the families of those killed know thatresponsibility for the Thursday morning Londonbombings lies with Tony Blair and his policies.
Stop your war against our people! Stop the dailykilling that your troops commit! End your occupationof our homeland!
A Letter to the British People, AlBasrah.net, July 9,2005

5) One word: Theresienstadt (look it up):
What I Saw at GitmoBy Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu<http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/authors.asp?ID=2535>FrontPageMagazine.comJune 27, 2005
Last week, I was privileged to be part of a Departmentof Defense trip to the Joint Task Force - GuantanamoBay, Cuba. I got to see the operations of this"controversial" facility up-close - somethingparticularly important after Sen. Richard Durbin'scomparison of its guard to Nazi stormtroopers andcalls of leftists to shut the center down. Our groupwent to GITMO to check out tales that the military wasbeing too tough on these terrorist detainees. We leftconvinced that America is being extraordinarilylenient - far too lenient.
After speaking with soldiers, sailors, and civilianswho collectively staff Gitmo, I left convinced thatabuse definitely exists at the detention facilities,and it typically fails to receive the press attentionit deserves: it's the relentless, merciless attacks onAmerican servicemen and women by these terroristthugs. Many of the orange jumpsuit-clad detaineesfight their captors at every opportunity, openlybragging of their desire to kill Americans. One haspromised that, if released, he would find MPs in theirhomes through the internet, break into their houses atnight, and "cut the throats of them and their familieslike sheep." Others claim authority and vindication tokill women, children, and other innocents who opposetheir jihadist mission authorized by the Koran (thesame one that hangs in every cell from aspecially-designed holder intended to protect it froma touching the cell floor - all provided at U.S.taxpayer expense). One detainee was heard to tellanother: "One day I will enjoy sucking American blood,although their blood is bitter, undrinkable...." Theserecalcitrant detainees are known euphemistically asbeing "non-compliant." They attack guards whenever thesoldiers enter their cells, trying to reach up underprotective facemasks to gouge eyes and tear mouths.They make weapons and try to stab the guards or graband break limbs as the guards pass them food.
We dined with the soldiers, toured several of theindividual holding camps, observed interrogations, andinspected cells. We were impressed by the universallyhigh quality of the cadre and the facilities. While itmay not be exactly "Club GITMO," as Rush Limbaugh usesto tweak the hard-Left critics who haven't a clueabout reality here, GITMO is a far cry from theharshness experienced even by maximum securityprisoners in the U.S.
Meals for detainees are ample: we lunched on whatseveral thought was an accumulated single day's rationfor detainees. "No," the contract food service managersaid with a laugh, "what you're looking at there istoday's lunch. A single meal. They get three a daylike that." The vegetables, pita bread, and otherwell-prepared food filled two of the large Styrofoamtake-home containers we see in restaurants. Severalprisoners have special meal orders like "no tomatoes"or "no peanut products" depending on taste orallergies. "One prisoner," General Hood said, "throwsback his food tray if it contains things he hasspecifically said he doesn't want." How is he punishedfor this outrageous behavior? His tray is numbered,the food he requested is put on it, and the corrected"order" is delivered to his cell.
The detainees are similarly catered to medically.Almost every one arrived at GITMO with some sort ofbattlefield trauma. After all, the majority werecaptured in combat. Today they are healthy, immunized,and well cared for. At a visit to the modern hospitalfacility - dedicated solely to the detainees andcomparable to a well-equipped and staffed small-townhospital with operating, dental, routine facilities -the doctor in charge confirmed that the caloric countfor the detainees was so high that while "mostdetainees arrived undernourished," medics now watchfor issues stemming from high cholesterol and beingoverweight. Each of approximately 520 terroristscurrently held in confinement averages about fourmedical visits monthly, something one would expectfrom only a dedicated American hypochondriac. Welcometo the rigors of detention under American supervision.
Of the estimated 70,000 battlefield captures that weremade in Afghanistan, only a tiny percentage, somethingon the order of 800-plus, were eventually evacuated toGITMO. These were the worst of the worst. More than200 have been released back to their home country - ifthe U.S. is assured that the detainees would not betortured by local authorities upon return. These menwere freed because they were deemed by ongoingofficial military review processes to no longer pose athreat, or to possess no useful intelligence. And thisprocess has proven too generous at times: more than 10released GITMO detainees have been killed orrecaptured fighting Americans or have been identifiedas resuming terrorist activities. Still, the processis up and running for review of cases, and if aWashington DC circuit court approves a governmentappeal, the system for military tribunals will getstarted. All mechanisms are in place and ready to goas soon as DoD gets a green light.
There is a good reason these unlawful combatants arebeing confined. They are evil and dangerousindividuals. Yet these thugs are treated with anamazing degree of compassion: They are given ice creamtreats and recreational time. They live in cleanfacilities, and receive a full Muslim religiouspackage of Koran, prayer rug, beads, and prayer oils.An arrow in every cell points to Mecca. The call toprayer is played five times daily. They are notabused, hanged, tortured, beheaded, raped, mutilated,or in any way treated the way that they once treatedtheir own captives - or now treat their guards.
Some questioned whether it were wise to give theseradical Islamic fundamentalists the religious suppliesthat ended up landing them in Gitmo in the firstplace. "Giving them the Koran is simply something thatwe think we ought to do as a humane gesture," saidsecond-in-command Brigadier General Gong. "We'reAmericans. That's how we operate."
When we challenged military authorities about theseemingly plush environs these would-be murderersreceive, the commanding officers stated this was themost productive course. JTF-GITMO commanding officerBrigadier General Jay Hood radiated confidence anddetermination when fielding challenges from our groupabout his overly lenient treatment. "It works," hesays simply. "We do not allow torture or mistreatment,period." How to they guarantee this? By rigorous,on-going training and constant oversight up and downthe supervisory chain. As proof that "establishingrapport" with the detainees is far more effective thancoercive techniques, General Hood refers skeptics tothe massive amount of usable intelligence informationJTF-GITMO continues to produce even three years intothe program.
You are right to worry about inhumane treatment takingplace at GITMO. But your concern should be for thededicated, well-trained, highly professional Americanmen and women who are subjected to a daily barrage offeces, urine, semen, and spit hurled at them alongwith vile invective as they implement a humane,enlightened system of confinement on men who wantnothing more than to kill Americans. These quietprofessional Americans, who live under the motto"Honor Bound for Defense of Freedom," deserve ourutmost respect and concern. Shame on anyone whoslanders or disrespects them for short-term andshort-sighted political advantage.________________________________
Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu <http://www.colonelgordon.com> has been an Army Green Beret lieutenant colonel, aswell as a writer, popular speaker, business executiveand farmer. His most recent book is Separated at Birth<http://www.colonelgordon.com/booksummary.shtml> ,about North and South Korea.

6) WTI news coverage. I've had one journalist here in Istanbul defend the coverage of this event quite strongly, saying that it got coverage, and it didn't merit more than it got because it was only a conference after all...:
"The best relationship with our viewers is no longerone of parent-child but of consenting adults trying to piece together the best picture of theworld." (Roger Mosey, head of BBC TV news)
"A good case can be made that propaganda is a moreimportant means of social control in open societies like the United States than in closedsocieties like the late Soviet Union... This system of
thought control is not centrally managed... Itoperates mainly by individual and market choices, with the frequent collective service to the nationalinterest arising from common interests and internalised beliefs." (Edward Herman)
World Tribunal? What World Tribunal?
Media Lens has detected a recent shift in mediareporting. It is hard to quantify, but there is a palpable uneasiness amongst media professionals at theincreasing rise of the 'blogosphere' and internet-based 'alternative' media sites. Joe and JoPublic are increasingly aware that the news and commentary distributed by the BBC, ITN, Channel 4 newsand the liberal broadsheets, are protecting major war criminals in London and Washington.
A blanket of almost total media silence covers Bushand Blair's crimes in Iraq, and their support for relentless corporate exploitation around theglobe. These war criminals continue to be presented as world-straddling father figures who could"solve" poverty in Africa and so become the beloved figureheads of a "great generation".
Consider that virtually the entire British mediaignored the deliberations of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul from June 24-27. Modelled onBertrand Russell's tribunal on the US invasion of Vietnam, the tribunal consisted of hearings intonumerous aspects of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. A jury of conscience from ten differentcountries listened to the testimony of 54 advocates. This jury declared the war one of the mostunjust in history:
"The Bush and Blair administrations blatantly ignoredthe massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarkedupon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history. The Anglo-Americanoccupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led tothe destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state andsociety. Law and order have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of humansecurity; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care delivery system is a mess; theeducation system has ceased to function; there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and,the cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated." (World Tribunalon Iraq, 'Press Release about Jury Statement,' June 27, 2005,http://www.worldtribunal.org/main/?b=93)
The jury presented 13 findings against the US and UKgovernments that included:
* Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime ofa war of aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles.
* Targeting the civilian population of Iraq andcivilian infrastructure.
* Using disproportionate force and indiscriminateweapon systems.
* Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians duringmilitary activities and during the occupation period thereafter.
* Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors.
The jury also levelled charges against the securitycouncil of the United Nations for "failing to stop war crimes amongst other crimes". It also charged"private corporations for profiting from the war" and accused the corporate media of"disseminating deliberate falsehoods and failing to report atrocities". (ibid.)
Veteran activist Walden Bello, reporting fromIstanbul, pointed in particular to the "combination of eyewitness accounts that made clear beyond a shadowof doubt that the siege of Fallujah in November 2004 was a case of collective punishment".(Bello, 'The Perfect Storm: the World Tribunal,' June 28, 2005;http://www.focusweb.org/main/html/Article631.html)
Bello noted, too, that the tribunal clearly showed theextent of "the western media's participation in the manipulation of public opinion".
At a press conference after the tribunal, jurychairperson Arundathi Roy said: "If there is one thing that has come out clearly in the last few days,it is not that the corporate media supports the global corporate project; it +is+ the globalcorporate project."
This is a perfect summation indicating why corporatecrimes rarely surface in the corporate media. A newspaper database search on July 5 revealed thatonly one newspaper - the small-circulation Morning Star - had reported on the Tribunal. There wasnothing in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent, the Independent on Sunday, the FinancialTimes, the Times or any of the other 'watchdogs of democracy'. There were also zero mentions at BBCnews online. Although Media Lens is unable to monitor all television and radio news bulletins, weare not aware of any broadcast reports of the tribunal.
The level of professional media discipline required tofail to report such an important event is truly remarkable. But then, as we have frequentlynoted, this is standard practice when 'our' crimes are under scrutiny, rather than the crimes ofofficial 'enemies'.
Violent And Barbaric US Soldiers
BBC news director Helen Boaden was pressed by severalMedia Lens readers - acting of their own volition, an uncomfortable thought for some in themedia - just why the BBC had ignored all the evidence of Bush and Blair's war crimes presented atthe World Tribunal on Iraq. She replied:
"We've covered the issues discussed many times andwill continue do so, though we did not cover this - not least for logistical reasons." (Email toMedia Lens reader, June 29, 2005)
Readers may well be scratching their heads, wonderinghow they managed to miss all of these BBC reports covering the G8 leaders' culpability for warcrimes. You may also be wondering why the BBC, one of the world's most lavishly-funded newscorporations, could not manage even one short item from Istanbul on any of its flagship news programmes.
Regular readers may recall that Boaden has alreadydeclared publicly that: "you can be certain that if we had proof of [US war crimes], it would beleading every bulletin." (Email to Media Lens, May 19, 2005)
But despite the copious evidence presented at theWorld Tribunal in Istanbul, the BBC maintains a stoic refusal to report US/UK atrocities and warcrimes.
However, the BBC can no longer maintain, for example,that there is no evidence of napalm use by US forces in Iraq. It is now on the official recordthat the US +has+ deployed an updated form of napalm - and that US officials even lied about it toBritain (See: Colin Brown, 'US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war,' The Independent, June17, 2005; Andrew Sparrow, 'Parliament misled over firebomb use,' Daily Telegraph, June 20,2005; Richard Norton-Taylor, 'US misled UK over Iraq fire bombs,' The Guardian, July 1, 2005).
We have seen no BBC bulletin leading with - or evenmentioning - the appalling issue of napalm use by "coalition" forces in Iraq.
Nor have we seen any mention of the urgenthumanitarian crisis in the western Iraqi cities of Haditha and Al-Qa'im, an area that is home to 300,000people, where hospitals have been attacked and damaged by US forces. Eyewitnesses, including medicalpersonnel, claim that US soldiers violated the Geneva Convention and international law bypreventing civilians from accessing healthcare. US forces also prevented food and medication reachingHaditha and Al-Qa'im and targeted the cities' two main hospitals, medical staff and ambulances.According to Dr. Salam Ismael, general secretary of the Doctors for Iraq Society:
"Eyewitnesses reported at least one patient being shotdead in his bed on a hospital ward. Doctors were prevented from assisting patients and civiliansin need. A number of doctors and medical personnel were killed in the attack and others werearrested by US forces in the hospital. They were later released, along with the hospital manager whowas detained for two days.
"The huge military operations in the area have causedwidespread damage and an unknown number of civilians were killed and injured during the attack.
"Video footage shot by doctors shows a badly damagemedical store in the Haditha hospital and damaged surgical theatres. The medical store containedmedicine and equipment for all hospitals and medical centres in the west of Iraq. Staff andpatients say the damage was carried out by 'by violent and barbaric US soldiers.'" (Ismael, 'Iraqihospitals attacked and damaged by US forces,' July 2, 2005;http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ISM20050702&articleId=624)
Reports of brutal "coalition" attacks on Iraqihospitals, however, are deemed unsuitable for British audiences of mainstream media, including the'impartial' BBC.
The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality,compassion and respect for others. When writing emails to journalists, we strongly urge readers tomaintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.
Write to Helen Boaden, director of BBC news,Email:helenboaden.complaints@bbc.co.uk
And Roger Mosey, head of BBC television news:Email:roger.mosey@bbc.co.uk
And Mark Byford, deputy director-generalEmail:mark.byford@bbc.co.uk
Ask why the BBC is failing to cover the many reportsof alleged US war crimes in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq. Why did the main BBC newsprogrammes ignore the recent World Tribunal on Iraq?When has the BBC ever reported on Bush and Blair'sculpability for war crimes?
Please copy your emails to the following:
Pete Clifton, BBC news online editorEmail:pete.clifton@bbc.co.uk
Mark Thompson, BBC director generalEmail:mark.thompson@bbc.co.uk
Michael Grade, BBC chairmanEmail:michael.grade@bbc.co.uk
Ask the following newspaper editors why they ignoredthe recent World Tribunal on Iraq:
Martin Newland, editor of the Daily Telegraph:Email:Martin.Newland@telegraph.co.uk
Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of the Independent andIndependent on Sunday,:Email: s.kelner@independent.co.uk
Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger:Email:alan.rusbridger@guardian.co.uk
Observer editor, Roger Alton:Email:roger.alton@observer.co.uk
Financial Times editor, Andrew Gowers:Email:andrew.gowers@ft.com
Please send copies of all emails to us at:editor@medialens.org
This is a free service. However, financial support isvital. Please consider giving less to the corporate media and donating more to Media Lens:http://www.medialens.org/donate.html A printer-friendly version of this alert can be foundhere for approximately one week after the date at thetop: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/index.phpand then,thereafter, in our archive at: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/archive.php

7) LA Times - Daniel Ellsberg: Iraq - "I Wrote Bush's War Words .....in 1965.":
The Los Angeles Times - latimes.comJuly 3, 2005
IRAQI Wrote Bush's War Words -- in 1965
By Daniel Ellsberg
(Daniel Ellsberg worked in the State and Defensedepartments under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson andNixon. He released the Pentagon Papers to the press in1971.)
President Bush's explanation Tuesday night for stayingthe course in Iraq evoked in me a sense offamiliarity, but not nostalgia. I had heard virtuallyall of his themes before, almost word for word, inspeeches delivered by three presidents I worked for:John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M.Nixon. Not with pride, I recognized that I hadproposed some of those very words myself.
Drafting a speech on the Vietnam War for DefenseSecretary Robert S. McNamara in July 1965, I had thesame task as Bush's speechwriters in June 2005: how torationalize and motivate continued public support fora hopelessly stalemated, unnecessary war our presidenthad lied us into.
Looking back on my draft, I find I used the word"terrorist" about our adversaries to the same effectBush did.
Like Bush's advisors, I felt the need for a globalthreat to explain the scale of effort we faced. Forthat role, I felt China was better suited as our"real" adversary than North Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh,just as Bush prefers to focus on Al Qaeda rather thanIraqi nationalists. "They are trying to shake our willin Iraq — just as they [sic] tried to shake our willon Sept. 11, 2001," he said.
My draft was approved by McNamara, national securityadvisor McGeorge Bundy and Secretary of State DeanRusk, but it was not delivered because it was aclarion call for mobilizing the Reserves to support anopen-ended escalation of troops, as Johnson's militarycommanders had urged.
LBJ preferred instead to lie at a news conferenceabout the number of troops they had requested forimmediate deployment (twice the level he announced),and to conceal the total number they believednecessary for success, which was at least 500,000. (Itake with a grain of salt Bush's claim that "ourcommanders tell me they have the number of troops theyneed to do their job.")
A note particularly reminiscent in Bush's speech washis reference to "a time of testing." "We have morework to do, and there will be tough moments that testAmerica's resolve," he said.
This theme recalled a passage in my 1965 draft that,for reasons that will be evident, I have never chosento reproduce before. I ended by painting a picture ofcommunist China as "an opponent that viewsinternational politics as a whole as a vast guerrillastruggle … intimidating, ambushing, demoralizing andweakening those who would uphold an alternative worldorder."
"We are being tested," I wrote. "Have we the guts, thegrit, the determination to stick with a frustrating,bloody, difficult course as long as it takes to see itthrough….? The Asian communists are sure that we havenot." Tuesday, Bush said: Our adversaries "believethat free societies are essentially corrupt anddecadent, and with a few hard blows they can force usto retreat."
His speechwriters, like me, then faced this questionfrom the other side. To meet the enemy's test ofresolve, how long must the American public supporttroops as they kill and die in a foreign land? Theiranswer came in the same workmanlike evasions thatserved Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon: "as long as we areneeded (and not a day longer) … until the fight iswon."
I can scarcely bear to reread my own proposed responsein 1965 to that question, which drew on a famousriposte by the late U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevensonduring the Cuban missile crisis:
"There is only one answer for us to give. It was made… by an American statesman … in the midst of anothercrisis that tested our resolution. Till hell freezesover."
It doesn't feel any better to hear similar words fromanother president 40 years on, nor will they read anybetter to his speechwriters years from now. But thehuman pain they foretell will not be mainly theirs.
Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times

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