Politics

Submitted by tnjp on October 26, 2010 - 6:10pm.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange on Iraq War Logs, "Tabloid Journalism" and Why WikiLeaks Is "Under Siege"

In an extended interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the release of nearly 400,000 classified US military records on the war in Iraq, the biggest intelligence leak in US history. The disclosure provides a trove of new evidence on the number of civilian casualties, violence, torture and suffering that has befallen Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion...

Submitted by tnjp on October 26, 2010 - 12:03am.

WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs Expose US-Backed Iraqi Torture, 15,000 More Civilian Deaths, and Contractors Run Amok

Iraq War-logs
The online whistleblower WikiLeaks has released some 390,000 classified US documents on the Iraq war—the largest intelligence leak in US history and the greatest internal account of any war on public record. The disclosure provides a trove of new evidence on the violence, torture and suffering that has befallen Iraq since the 2003 US invasion. Despite US government claims to the contrary, the war logs show the Pentagon kept tallies of civilian deaths in Iraq. The group Iraq Body Count says the files contain evidence of an additional 15,000 previously unknown Iraqi civilian casualties. The number is likely far higher as the war logs omit many instances where US forces killed Iraqi civilians, including the US assault on Fallujah in 2004. The war logs also show the US imposed a formal policy to ignore human rights abuses committed by the Iraqi military. Under an order known as "Frago 242" issued in June 2004, coalition troops were barred from investigating any violations committed by Iraqi troops against other Iraqis...

Submitted by tnjp on October 25, 2010 - 2:01pm.

The Loaded Chamber: Secret Money (VIDEO)
Friday 22 October 2010
by: Harry Hanbury | GRITtv | Video Report
"The chamber’s increasingly aggressive role — including record spending in the midterm elections that supports Republicans more than 90 percent of the time — has made it a target of critics, including a few local chamber affiliates who fear it has become too partisan and hard-nosed in its fund-raising."

So reports a headline story in the New York Times Thursday about the Chamber of Commerce's increasingly secretive and partisan fundraising and lobbying efforts. The Chamber, once an institution that supported small and family businesses, increasingly does the bidding of a few large corporations, and in the first part of our GRITtv Digs investigation, Harry Hanbury starts to open up the Chamber's secrets for you....

Submitted by tnjp on October 24, 2010 - 12:23pm.

Watch the hour long Al Jazeera English's special report - The Secret Iraq Files
After the biggest leak of military secrets ever this special programme reveals the truth about the war in Iraq.

It is the biggest leak of military secrets ever. Al Jazeera has obtained access to almost 400,000 classified American documents. Torture, claims of murder at the checkpoint - revelations that make a mockery of the rules of combat...

Submitted by tnjp on October 22, 2010 - 7:54pm.

from CodePink -
Christine O’Donnell might not be a witch, but Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is a vampire. Under his leadership, the Chamber is sucking the life out of our electoral system. With Halloween coming up, give Mr. Donohue a call and tell him stop playing tricks by treating right-wing candidates to millions of dollars of vicious and misleading attack ads.

Call 202-659-6000 today and tell the US Chamber of Commerce to get their fangs out of our electoral throat!

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post and Glenn Greenwald at Salon both have incisive looks at the secret money funding the onslaught of attack ads mounted by Donohue’s Chamber and other groups, such as American Crossroads founded by his fellow bloodsucker, Karl Rove. We can practically hear Donohue and Rove cackling maniacally over the misinformation and falsehoods in the ads they’ve spawned—distortions that could help the Republicans (with the Tea Party) regain control of Congress. Bwaahahhaahhaa!....

Submitted by tnjp on October 22, 2010 - 7:51pm.

Watch Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow discuss the latest WikiLeaks release of 400,000 Iraq War logs with Daniel Ellsberg... EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks Prepares Largest Intel Leak in US History with Release of 400,000 Iraq War Docs

The whistleblowing group WikiLeaks is preparing to release up to 400,000 US intelligence reports on the Iraq War. The disclosure would comprise the biggest leak in US history, far more than the 91,000 Afghanistan war logs WikiLeaks released this summer. We speak to the nation’s most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971, just before he heads to London to participate in the WikiLeak press conference...

Submitted by tnjp on October 21, 2010 - 8:24pm.


from IVAW as part of their ongoing Operation Recovery -

The Link Between PTSD and Suicide
Every 36 hours, a military member commits suicide

The occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan are continuing by the use of exhausted troops who are sent to war over and over again on multiple deployments. Common sense as well as the Pentagon's own study tells us that increased exposure to traumatic events increases the likelihood of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A dangerous symptom of PTSD is suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

Last week, in an effort to de-stigmatize the issue of mental health within the military, the American Psychiatric Association initiated a call to reverse the policy of the President not sending condolence letters to families who have lost a service member due to suicide. This is one step in addressing an overall military culture that stigmatizes those who seek help for mental or emotional distress, but there is a lot more work to do.

Veteran death rate is 300% higher than rate of those killed in combat
A recent study of veteran deaths in California reveals startling figures - between 2005 and 2008, three times more veterans died at home than died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same period. The results of the study, described in a recent NY Times article by Aaron Glantz, counted the deaths of veterans by suicide, drug overdoses, motorcycle accidents, and other risky behaviors linked to PTSD...

Submitted by tnjp on October 20, 2010 - 2:18pm.

October 18, 2010
Officials Push to Bolster Law on Wiretapping
By CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say.

The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that caused technical problems for surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.

An Obama administration task force that includes officials from the Justice and Commerce Departments, the F.B.I. and other agencies recently began working on draft legislation to strengthen and expand the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, a 1994 law that says telephone and broadband companies must design their services so that they can begin conducting surveillance of a target immediately after being presented with a court order...

Submitted by tnjp on October 19, 2010 - 10:10pm.

Phony Marine, 'Airport Spitter' Victim "Darling" of Right Wing Groups
October 11, 2010 posted by Gordon Duff

“COLONEL” MIKE HAMILTON CHARGED WITH BENEFITS FRAUD AND MORE, MUCH MORE…
“How many stories were there of returning veterans killing “hippies” in Airports? “None” you say? This means, of course, that Vietnam veterans were all cowards, “candyass” whiners who, when confronted, ran and cried. That’s not how I remember it, though I do remember Sylvester Stallone telling it that way in a movie. I can see poor “John Rambo” crying his little pink eyes out. Worse than that, for 40 years I have heard dozens of “veterans” telling me about having to flee airports, gangs of hippies chasing them, saliva flowing everywhere.

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Mike Hamilton of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was convicted recently of violating the “Stolen Valor Act.” Hamilton’s Marine uniform sported 2 Navy Crosses, 4 Silver stars along with 74 other medals and ribbons. When the Supreme Court overturned the “Stolen Valor Act” as unconstitutional, a violation of “freedom of speech,” Hamilton’s conviction was overturned. He currently faces charges for other violations, perhaps even more curious ones, but Hamilton himself isn’t the problem. There are some serious questions as to whether “Colonel” Hamilton is competent to stand trial. Today, veterans groups are swooping around Mike Hamilton like vultures, looking for a meal. A few short months ago, he was the darling of the “rubber chicken” circuit, spouting the myths they wanted to hear, waving the flag and cheering on the horse manure of that is so popular to the American “right.”

We don’t know much about Hamilton. He claims to be a former judge and police officer. We are told those things aren’t true. He claims to be a Vietnam veteran and former Marine. Though he is accused of, perhaps the most grandiose “resume enhancement” in history, we really don’t know his military record. It is assumed he never served. Frankly, we aren’t sure, nobody ever checked...

Submitted by tnjp on October 17, 2010 - 8:46pm.

DemocracyNow trancript/audio/video

After Service, Veteran Deaths Surge
October 16, 2010
By AARON GLANTZ

In the six years after Reuben Paul Santos returned to Daly City from a combat tour in Iraq, he battled depression with poetry, violent video games and, finally, psychiatric treatment. His struggle ended last October, when he hung himself from a stairwell. He was 27.

The high suicide rate among veterans has already emerged as a major issue for the military and the families and loved ones of military personnel. But Mr. Santos’s death is part of a larger trend that has remained hidden: a surge in the number of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have died not just as a result of suicide, but also because of vehicle accidents, motorcycle crashes, drug overdoses or other causes after being discharged from the military.

An analysis of official death certificates on file at the State Department of Public Health reveals that more than 1,000 California veterans under 35 died between 2005 and 2008. That figure is three times higher than the number of California service members who were killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts over the same period...

Submitted by tnjp on October 16, 2010 - 1:29pm.

October 15, 2010 at 10:10:16
Pentagon Hides Iraq War Deaths Tally
By Rory O'Connor

In July, the United States military issued its largest release of raw data ever on deaths during the Iraq war. The Pentagon's tally of the number of Iraqis killed in that country between January 2004 and August 2008 amounts to almost 77,000 people both civilians and security forces who died in the carnage.

As the Associated Press reported, the information went unnoticed for months after being "quietly posted on the Web site of the United States Central Command without explanation." It was only recently discovered by the AP "during a routine check" for civilian and military casualty numbers," which the news agency had first requested in 2005 through the Freedom of Information Act. As AP noted , "The military has repeatedly resisted sharing its numbers, which it uses to determine security trends." (One exception: U.S. military officials in Baghdad released their July 2010 Iraqi casualty tally in order to refute the Iraqi government's much higher monthly figures, a decision made just weeks before U.S. forces withdrew all but 50,000 troops from Iraq "in an attempt to wind down the war and tout the nation's improved security.")

According to the AP, "a spokesman at Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., could not answer basic questions about the information." Iraqi Health Ministry officials were equally reticent and refused to discuss the American figures, which fall thousands of deaths short of those the Iraqis have compiled using actual death certificates...

Submitted by tnjp on October 15, 2010 - 8:41pm.

Antiwar Activism Marks 10th Year of War - UFPJ report

Antiwar activists across the US marked the war anniversary with protests last week. Mock drone attacks dramatized the human cost of war in Madison, WI [ www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRuNVp8Vrvs ] and Boston [ www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovCbTqHC2lE ], and in Washington, DC [ www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLqJ3eDX6Xk ] at the Capitol, Union Station, and Dupont Circle (video). There was a die-in in Springfield, Oregon, and check out the great op-ed by Dan Goldrich in the Register Guard. On Long Island, Veterans for Peace and other peace activists demonstrated for an end to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiXIVL7L-9E ] (video). And in San Francisco, Daniel Ellsberg joined a panel on "Anti-War Perspectives from the Left and Right", which brought together antiwar voices from a range of political perspectives...

Submitted by tnjp on October 12, 2010 - 8:56pm.

For now, antiwar activists will not be forced to testify
By JAMES WALSH, Star Tribune
October 12, 2010
Thistle Parker-Hartog originally was supposed to testify before a grand jury in Chicago Tuesday. She didn't go. Mick Kelly was scheduled to make the same trip next week. Don't bet on it. In all, 14 antiwar activists and several organizations from the Twin Cities and Chicago who are being investigated for alleged support of terror groups received subpoenas to appear before the grand jury this month. All -- including five who were to appear last week -- have told the U.S. Department of Justice that they are not going.

Instead, several were among about 60 people gathered in front of the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday to protest what they consider harassment and intimidation because they oppose U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. So far, it seems, the Justice Department has acquiesced. All the subpoenas have been canceled, according to a Chicago attorney working on the case. Instead of being encouraged by the inaction, they are left wondering when the other shoe is going to fall for a growing number of people under investigation...

Submitted by tnjp on October 12, 2010 - 8:54pm.

Despite Army Efforts, Soldier Suicides Continue
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
US | October 11, 2010

Nearly 20 months after the Army began strengthening its suicide prevention program, the suicide rate among active service members shows little sign of improvement.

FORT HOOD, Tex. - At 3:30 a.m. on a Saturday in August, Specialist Armando G. Aguilar Jr. found himself at the end of his short life. He was standing, drunk and weepy, in the parking lot of a Valero station outside Waco, Tex.

He had jumped out of his moving pickup. There was a police officer talking to him in frantic tones.

Specialist Aguilar held a pistol pointed at his head. This moment had been a long time coming, his family said. He had twice tried to commit suicide with pills since returning from a tough tour in Iraq a year earlier, where his job was to drive an armored vehicle to search for bombs.

Army doctors had put him on medications for depression, insomnia, nightmares and panic attacks. Specialist Aguilar was seeing an Army therapist every week.

But he had been getting worse in the days before his death, his parents said, seeing shadowy figures that were not there, hallucinating that he heard loud noises outside his trailer home. "He wanted help - he was out there asking for help," said his father, Armando Aguilar Sr. "He just snapped. He couldn't control what he was doing no more." Specialist Aguilar was one of 20 soldiers connected to Fort Hood who are believed to have committed suicide this year...

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