Submitted by tnjp on April 7, 2013 - 7:36pm.

A Pledge to Iraq Veteran Tomas Young
By John Bruhns

I never met Tomas Young. However, I strongly identify with his story as he and I joined the military for the same reason -- to fight those responsible for 9/11 . However, I was far luckier than Tomas Young as I never had to endure the crippling, and ultimately fatal wounds, he received in Sadr City in 2004. There is no real way for me to put myself in such a situation as it would be surreal to anyone who will never face such hardships. Tomas Young has now reached a point where his pain is too unbearable to continue living. Before he goes, we should all show him a bit of recognition. It is crucial that we let him know that his voice was heard and his message will echo on for long after he is gone.

From what I have read, Tomas Young is a patriotic man who loves the United States. His outrage with the 9/11 attacks motivated him to join the military to pursue the real culprits.

After all, it was our generation's Pearl Harbor. After the attacks, many brave Americans were standing in military recruiting lines ready and eager to seek retribution for their fellow citizens who died on that fateful day. Tomas Young was one of them.

I enlisted for active duty in the U.S. Army in an effort to deploy to Afghanistan and fight those who actually attacked us on 9/11. Like Tomas Young, I found my patriotism used for an unrelated and unnecessary military conflict -- the Iraq War.

In a recent letter written to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Iraq veteran Young clarifies the misuse of his patriotism.

Young writes:

"I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love."

When I returned home from Iraq, I spoke out strongly against the war. I was able to do so without any handicaps or bodily limitations. Tomas Young fought the same fight while being confined to a wheelchair. Even with his extreme physical limitations, Tomas Young was able to convey the true, harsh realities of the Iraq war to the American people.

The power of his message came from his experience, vision, and, sadly, his crippling and now mortal injuries. His testimony is unimpeachable, as he gave his body to a needless agenda-driven war that left most of us concluding 10 years later that the Iraq war was a mistake...

Submitted by tnjp on March 30, 2013 - 2:59pm.

The war danger in Korea
Pentagon’s false propaganda conceals truth about crisis
March 29, 2013

By Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition national coordinator

The American war propaganda machine does a thorough job in misleading the public about the high-stakes struggle the Pentagon is waging against North Korea.

On March 28, the Obama administration ordered and the Pentagon executed a mock bombing attack on North Korea by U.S. B-2 stealth bombers equipped to drop nuclear bombs—the most advanced nuclear-capable plane in the U.S. Air Force. In recent months, the U.S. has also used nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to simulate the bombing of North Korea.

The B-2s, each of which costs taxpayers more than $3 billion, dropped inert bombs near North Korea.

It is not necessary to speculate how the United States would react if North Korea sent nuclear-capable bombers close to U.S. territory and dropped inert bombs as part of a “war game.” By itself, this B-2 mock bombing of North Korea cost approximately $5.5 million, according to Foreign Policy magazine. The B-2 flights by some estimates cost $135,000 per hour—almost double that of any other military airplane, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity...

Submitted by tnjp on March 20, 2013 - 11:25pm.

10 Years Later and I’m Still Protesting War
Posted on Mar 19, 2013
By Col. Ann Wright

Ten years ago, I resigned my post in opposition to President George W. Bush’s war on Iraq. I had worked in the U.S. government for most of my life, first in the Army and Army Reserves, retiring as a colonel, and then as a diplomat. I served in U.S. embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone and Micronesia. I helped reopen the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, in December 2001.

Yet after serving in eight presidential administrations, beginning under Lyndon Johnson during the war on Vietnam, I ended my career in the U.S. government in opposition to another conflict—the war on Iraq.

A decade after I stepped down as the deputy ambassador in the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia, the war in Iraq is over for Americans, but continues for Iraqis. The whirlwind of sectarian violence brought on by the U.S. invasion and occupation continues to blow there.

The war on Afghanistan is now in its 13th year and as the anniversary of my resignation day approaches, I find myself outside the gates of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, protesting war and, in particular, President Obama’s killer drone programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Although Obama’s kill list, the CIA drone attacks in the undeclared war on Pakistan and the assassination of three American citizens by drone in Yemen receive most of the media and congressional attention, the incredibly large number of drone strikes in Afghanistan has gotten scant coverage—and that is why I am at Creech...

Submitted by tnjp on March 20, 2013 - 12:52pm.

The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a Dying Veteran

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

From: Tomas Young

“I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of [those who bear those wounds. I am one of those.] I am one of the gravely injured. I [am] paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

“I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost parents, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have [done, witnessed, endured] in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

Exclusive: Tomas Young Reads in Full His Letter to Bush & Cheney, "A Message From a Dying Veteran" | Democracy Now!

“Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, [and your privilege and power] cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage...

Submitted by tnjp on March 17, 2013 - 8:18pm.

This week marks ten years since Bush/Cheney lied America into invading and occupying Iraq. No one from the Bush mis-administration has been indicted for war crimes or any other criminal acts, Gitmo is still open, and the Patriot Act(among other Acts) still enslaves us.

Here's a few conclusions of fact to remind of the devastation done in our name - care of the Costs of War project of The Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.


  • The Iraq War will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.

  • The total of U.S. service members killed in Iraq is 4,488. At least 3,400 U.S. contractors have died as well, a number often under-reported.

  • Th $2.2 trillion figure includes care for veterans who were injured in the war in Iraq, which will cost the United States almost $500 billion through 2053.

  • The $60 billion spent on reconstruction for Iraq has not gone to rebuilding infrastructure such as roads, health care, and water treatment systems, but primarily to the military and police. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has found massive fraud, waste, and abuse of reconstruction funds.

  • Our tally of all of the war's dead - including soldiers, militants, police, contractors, journalists, humanitarian workers and civilians - shows that at least 330,000 people have died due to direct war violence.

  • A 2011 survey conservatively estimated that between 800,000 and a million Iraqi children have lost one or both parents

  • Approximately 2.8 million people are still displaced from their homes
Submitted by tnjp on March 16, 2013 - 10:12pm.

Take Action - Sign the letter to Sec. Hagel

Dear Secretary Hagel,

Congratulations on your confirmation to the office of Secretary of Defense. As you take the reins of this new position, Veterans For Peace would like to express to you some ideas about what we would like to see from this office. Veterans For Peace (VFP) has been around since 1985 and was formed by a Viet Nam veteran with the intention of creating a bridge between the peace movement and veterans. VFP members believe that our collective experience as veterans allows us to speak about the true costs and consequences of war and militarism with a voice of credibility and true standing. We feel a responsibility to speak out against war and militarism, particularly when it is manifested in illegal and immoral wars of choice and aggression. We appreciate very much that President Obama has chosen you--someone who has seen first-hand the horrors of combat--to fill the position of Secretary of Defense. Like the members of VFP, your voice will carry an extraordinary credibility, because you understand war in a way that a civilian cannot. It will not be easy to dismiss your words when you caution against military force, or speak in favor of abiding by the Geneva Conventions. We hope that you will become a force for reshaping the Department of Defense, by consideration of the following:

1. Refuse to put troops into harm’s way as part of an illegal, immoral war of aggression. The 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), signed as a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 has been used, first by the Bush administration, and now by the Obama administration, as a blank check for perpetual war. As the Secretary of Defense, you should refuse to deploy any combat troops until Congress provides a legally binding authorization to do so. As a combat veteran, you truly understand that no one should be asked to kill or be killed for a war of choice, particularly one that has not even been legally authorized. Demand adherence to the War Powers Act.

2. Take responsibility for the deaths, damage and harm done by the U.S. The “Collateral Murder” video leaked to Wikileaks showed the world just one instance of war crimes conducted by U.S. forces. For the United States to have any moral credibility whatsoever, we must take responsibility for our actions.

3. State unequivocally that the U.S. will abide by the Geneva Conventions and will not torture, or participate in the extraordinary rendition of prisoners.

4. Stop the illegal use of combat drones that are responsible the extrajudicial assassinations of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

5. Call for the closure of all U.S. military bases in foreign countries. The U.S. currently has military troops stationed in more than 150 countries around the world. Bringing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and around the world back to the U.S. will send a strong message to the international community that the U.S. is not interested in hegemony, or in being the world’s policeman.

6. Call for the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons, and immediately take nuclear weapons off of naval vessels. There can never be a justified use of a nuclear weapon and if the U.S. is going to demand that other countries refrain from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities, then it needs to lead the way in disarmament.

7. Stop the use of Depleted Uranium weapons. “DU” weapons violate the Geneva Conventions. Once exploded, DU particulates enter ground water, travel on air currents, and are inhaled by innocent civilians. DU weapons are responsible for a huge spike in deformities, birth defects and other ailments in Iraq where they were widely used.

8. End foreign military sales to countries who violate international laws and basic human rights, and who have child soldiers.

9. Push to become a signatory to the Land Mine treaty. The international community recognizes land mines and cluster bombs as weapons that kill a high number of civilians, often long after the “official” conflict is over.

10. Slash the Pentagon budget. The U.S. spends more on the military and war than the rest of the world combined.

Submitted by tnjp on March 15, 2013 - 8:51pm.

Read the transcript HERE...

Freedom of the Press Foundation Publishes Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s Statement
March 11, 2013
By Trevor Timm Follow @TrevorTimm Rainey Reitman Follow @RaineyReitman

Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court.

While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.

Bradley Manning's Full Statement

Download

full_statement.mp3 (63M)

full_statement.ogg (37M)

See Help Spread Bradley Manning's Words Across the Internet to embed the full audio, as well as excerpts from the audio, on your website.

Read the transcript HERE...

He explains to the military court in his own cadence and words how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs, and the State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks. Manning explains his motives, noting how he believed the documents showed deep wrongdoing by the government and how he hoped that the release would "spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan." In conjunction with the statement, Private First Class Manning also pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him.

Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to supporting journalism that combats overreaching government secrecy. We have been disturbed that Manning’s pre-trial hearings have been hampered by the kind of extreme government secrecy that his releases to WikiLeaks were intended to protest. While reporters are allowed in the courtroom, no audio or visual recordings are permitted by the judge, no transcripts of the proceedings or any motions by the prosecution have been released, and lengthy court orders read on the stand by the judge have not been published for public review...

Submitted by tnjp on March 12, 2013 - 5:13pm.


St. Pete for Peace 10 year anniversary video, edited by Tyler Pridemore.

We've participated in hundreds of actions (rallies, marches, demonstrations, protests, cornerings, banner drops, etc.) surrounding these topics:

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Haiti, Egypt, Quran burning, BP oil spill, bailouts, homeless issues (tent city, Food Not Bombs feedings), gay rights, immigrant rights, police killings, torture photos, weapon manufacturers, Wikileaks, and of course free speech.

We've also shown over 300 free-of-charge socially conscious movies, hosted concerts (David Rovics and Evan Greer), guest speakers (Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan), and hosted a musical radio show on WMNF.

St. Pete for Peace publishes and maintains an array of fact sheets, one of which was published in a college text book. We've also developed and maintained the www.OccupyArrests.com and www.USinAfrica.com websites.

It's because of the efforts of a wide range of people including you, who fight the good fight for others, that we can celebrate 10 years of resistance!!...

Submitted by tnjp on March 10, 2013 - 4:46pm.

A Low, Dishonest Decade: New Details for the Iraq War Crime Mosaic

Written by Chris Floyd
Thursday, 07 March 2013

The truth-telling of the imprisoned Bradley Manning continues to bear rich fruit, even as he faces a lifetime in prison for acting on principle to save innocent lives and prevent his country from staining itself further with war crimes. This week, the Guardian released a special investigation into the hideous regime of torture that the United States imposed and empowered during its years-long rape of Iraq.

The Guardian report draws on the trove of documents that Manning gave to Wikileaks (and the now diplomatically "sequestered" Julian Assange) to provide new details on the direct links of America's highest officials -- including the bipartisanly adored and now much mourned retired apparatchik David Petraeus -- to the torture of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

In many ways, of course, it's hardly a revelation that American forces were deeply involved in torture during the "extraordinary achievement" (B. Obama) in Iraq. Some cranks have been writing about it since the earliest days of the invasion -- as in this piece, from August 2003:

Here's a headline you don't see every day: "War Criminals Hire War Criminals to Hunt Down War Criminals."

Perhaps that's not the precise wording used by the Washington Post this week, but it is the absolute essence of its story about the Bush Regime's new campaign to put Saddam's murderous security forces on America's payroll.

Yes, the sahibs in Bush's Iraqi Raj are now doling out American tax dollars to hire the murderers of the infamous Mukhabarat and other agents of the Baathist Gestapo – perhaps hundreds of them. The logic, if that's the word, seems to be that these bloodstained "insiders" will lead their new imperial masters to other bloodstained "insiders" responsible for bombing the UN headquarters in Baghdad – and killing another dozen American soldiers while Little George was playing with his putts during his month-long Texas siesta.

Naturally, the Iraqi people – even the Bush-appointed leaders of the Potemkin "Governing Council" – aren't exactly overjoyed at seeing Saddam's goons return, flush with American money and firepower. And they're certainly not reassured by the fact that the Bushists have also re-opened Saddam's most notorious prison, the dread Abu Ghraib, and are now, Mukhabarat-like, filling it with Iraqis – men, women and children as young as 11 – seized from their homes or plucked off the street to be held incommunicado, indefinitely, without due process, just like the old days. As The Times reports, weeping relatives who dare approach the gleaming American razor-wire in search of their "disappeared" loved ones are referred to a crude, hand-written sign pinned to a spike: "No visits are allowed, no information will be given and you must leave." Perhaps an Iraqi Akhmatova will do justice to these scenes one day.

Submitted by tnjp on March 3, 2013 - 6:37pm.

Pfc. Bradley E. Manning's Statement for the Providence Inquiry
By Alexa O'Brien on February 28, 2013 11:59 AM

For more information on the lack of public and press access to United States v. Pfc. Manning, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed a petition requesting the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) "to order the Judge to grant the public and press access to the government's motion papers, the court's own orders, and transcripts of proceedings, none of which have been made public to date."

The statement below was read by Private First Class Bradley E. Manning at the providence inquiry for his formal plea of guilty to one specification as charged and nine specifications for lesser included offenses. He pled not guilty to 12 other specifications. This transcript was taken by journalist Alexa O'Brien at the Article 39(a) session of United States v. Pfc. Bradley Manning on February 28, 2013 at Fort Meade, MD, USA.

Manning said the most alarming aspect of the Collateral Murder video was the "seemingly delightful bloodlust" of helicopter crew.

Judge Lind: Pfc. Manning you may read your statement.

Pfc. Bradley Manning: Yes, your Honor. I wrote this statement in the confinement facility. The following facts are provided in support of the providence inquiry for my court martial, United States v. Pfc. Bradley E. Manning.....

Submitted by tnjp on January 16, 2013 - 2:11pm.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 by ProPublica
Revealed: America’s Arms Sales To Bahrain Amid Bloody Crackdown
by Justin Elliott, ProPublica

Despite Bahrain's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, the U.S. has continued to provide weapons and maintenance to the small Mideast nation.

Following the crackdown on protests in Manama, protesters displayed tear gas canisters and pellets they said were made in the US. (Photo: Al Jazeera English) Defense Department documents released to ProPublica give the fullest picture yet of the arms sales: The list includes ammunition, combat vehicle parts, communications equipment, Blackhawk helicopters, and an unidentified missile system. (Read the documents.)

The documents, which were provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and cover a yearlong period ending in February 2012, still leave many questions unanswered. It's not clear whether in each case the arms listed have been delivered. And some entries that only cite the names of weapons may in fact refer to maintenance or spare parts.

Defense Department spokesman Paul Ebner declined to offer any more detail. "We won't get into specifics in any of these because of the security of Bahrain," said Ebner.

While the U.S. has maintained it is selling Bahrain arms only for external defense, human rights advocates say the documents raise questions about items that could be used against civilian protesters.

"The U.S. government should not be providing additional military equipment that could make matters worse," said Sunjeev Bery, Middle East advocacy director for Amnesty International USA....

Submitted by tnjp on December 14, 2012 - 9:35pm.

Round-up of latest US/CIA/UK torture reports.... makes u wannu puke!

It's WAY PAST TIME to gather up ALL the various psychopathic torturing bastages to have them sent to the International Criminal Court to be tried for crimes against humanity. It'd go a long way towards re-establishing the rule of law, dammit...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/dec/13/cia-tortured-sodomised-terror-...

CIA 'tortured and sodomised' terror suspect, human rights court rules

Landmark European court of human rights judgment says CIA tortured wrongly detained German citizen
Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, Thursday 13 December 2012 13.54 EST

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.

In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.

Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA "rendition team" at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.

It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.

"The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

He described the judgment as "an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror". It should be a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts, he told the Guardian. For them to continue to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities was "simply unacceptable", he said............

Submitted by tnjp on November 27, 2012 - 8:45pm.

Mr. President: How Do You Define Precise?
Sunday, 25 November 2012
By Robert Greenwald, War Costs

"I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties…. For the most part, they have been very precise, precision strikes against al- Qaeda and their affiliates. And we are very careful in terms of how it's been applied."
President Obama, January 2012

I have interviewed many people over the years of doing documentaries.  Currently in Pakistan filming with victims of drone attacks (ahead of the film, follow my trip at warcosts.comFacebook and Twitter), I have never had a more haunting and harrowing experience than looking into the eyes of person after person, children and adults, and hearing them talk about their homes, villages and families destroyed by drone attacks. The pain is palpable, their fear still radiates. And even a question about the CIA sets off terror alerts in peoples' eyes....

Submitted by tnjp on October 8, 2012 - 4:18pm.

Afghan 11th Anniversary demo on Oct. 7th, 2012. A beautiful sunny day in front of the old Florida Capitol. All in all a decent sized showing, as far as these things have gone the past several years. Old friends met again and some new faces joined in as well.

Surprise of the day was a spirited environmental protest march and rally of about 100 or so young activists that converged on the steps of the Capitol organized by the Energy Action Coalition and the Southern Energy Network with the help of the FAMU Green Coalition.

They had marched from the Southeast Student Renewable Energy Conference (SSREC) on FAMU's campus.

More pics and video on the flip...

Submitted by tnjp on September 2, 2012 - 2:28pm.

WikiLeaks and Free Speech
By MICHAEL MOORE and OLIVER STONE
Published: August 20, 2012

WE have spent our careers as filmmakers making the case that the news media in the United States often fail to inform Americans about the uglier actions of our own government. We therefore have been deeply grateful for the accomplishments of WikiLeaks, and applaud Ecuador’s decision to grant diplomatic asylum to its founder, Julian Assange, who is now living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Ecuador has acted in accordance with important principles of international human rights. Indeed, nothing could demonstrate the appropriateness of Ecuador’s action more than the British government’s threat to violate a sacrosanct principle of diplomatic relations and invade the embassy to arrest Mr. Assange.

Since WikiLeaks’ founding, it has revealed the “Collateral Murder” footage that shows the seemingly indiscriminate killing of Baghdad civilians by a United States Apache attack helicopter; further fine-grained detail about the true face of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; United States collusion with Yemen’s dictatorship to conceal our responsibility for bombing strikes there; the Obama administration’s pressure on other nations not to prosecute Bush-era officials for torture; and much more...