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Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

By Anthony Fenton

VANCOUVER, Canada, Feb 19, 2010 (IPS) – Critics are concerned that private military contractors are positioning themselves at the centre of an emerging “shock doctrine” for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Next month, a prominent umbrella organisation for private military and logistic corporations, the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), is co-organising a “Haiti summit” which aims to bring together “leading officials” for “private consultations with attending contractors and investors” in Miami, Florida.

HAITI: Private Contractors ‘Like Vultures Coming to Grab the Loot’ – IPS ipsnews.net

Posted using ShareThis

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Our country really takes care of its soldiers (tongue-in-cheek). There have been other and similar stories like this – this one just caught my eye this evening and I’m tired of seeing them. So many “mysterious” deaths. Drug mix-ups, overdoses/overmedication, lack of proper care and attention, transmission of infectious diseases, such as AIDS, due to improper sterilization techniques… The place is a dive and a disgrace. Why anyone would want to serve in the U.S. military these days baffles me…

From San Antonio Express-News Online Edition

Web Posted: 06/10/2009 7:35 CDT

Injured soldier found dead on post

By Scott Huddleston – Express-News

BAMC200Another soldier recovering from war injuries died this week in his barracks at Fort Sam Houston, the Army said today.

Spc. Franklin D. Barnett Jr., 29, was found dead in his room Sunday afternoon, according to a release from Brooke Army Medical Center. Barnett, who was hurt in Afghanistan, had been assigned to C Company of the Warrior Transition Battalion since Oct. 15.

Barnett’s death, at least the third in less than three months involving members of the battalion, is under investigation.

Barnett, a native of Covington, Kent., served as a combat engineer and was assigned to the Louisiana National Guard’s 927th Engineering Company, officials said. He received a Purple Heart on Oct. 10.

A casualty affairs officer at Fort Polk, La. said Barnett’s parents live in Deville, La. Barnett also had a wife, he said.

Earlier this year, Spc. Craig Reginald Hamilton and Warrant Officer 1 Judson Erick Mount, also members of the warrior transition battalion, died on post. Army officials have not released details in either death, citing ongoing investigations.

Hamilton, 35, of Milford, N.H., had been injured at Fort Sill, Okla. He died at Fort Sam on March 27.

Mount, a 37-year-old former San Antonian, was badly wounded in a car bomb blast near a market in Iraq. He died April 7.

At least one of the 11 reported deaths that have occurred in Fort Sam’s warrior transition unit, created in late 2007, was linked to overmedication. The Jan. 22, 2008 death of Sgt. Robert Nichols, 31, of San Antonio, was ruled a result of an accidental “mixed-drug intoxication.”

Toxicology tests revealed at least 11 different drugs in Nichols’ system that he’d been prescribed for post-traumatic stress and brain injury. In response to the case, medical officials raised concerns about mixing painkillers, sleep-inducing drugs and antidepressants while treating war wounds.

The Army has initiated new measures to better control the distribution of drugs to injured troops.

11/6/09 Recent related story: After Fort Hood: Count All the Dead

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Speeches And Statements


Statement on H Res 1194, “Reaffirming the support of the House of Representatives for the legitimate, democratically-elected Government of Lebanon under Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.”

May 20, 2008

March to War in Lebanon?

Madam Speaker I rise in opposition to H. Res. 1194 because it is dangerously interventionist and will likely lead to more rather than less violence in the Middle East.

I have noticed that this legislation reads eerily similar to a key clause in the 2002 Iraq war bill, H J Res 114, which authorized the use of force.

The key resolved clause in H. Res. 1194 before us today reads:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives

(6) urges–

(A) the United States Government and the international community to immediately take all appropriate actions to support and strengthen the legitimate Government of Lebanon under Prime Minister Fouad Siniora;

The Iraq war authorization language from 2002 is strikingly similar, as you can see here:

(a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to–

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq ;

I am concerned that this kind of similarity is intentional and will inevitably result in US military action in Lebanon , or against Syria or Iran .

I am also concerned over the process of bringing this resolution to the Floor for a vote. I find it outrageous that H. Res. 1194, which calls for more risky US interventionism in the Middle East , is judged sufficiently “non-controversial” to be placed on the suspension calendar for consideration on the House Floor outside of normal order. Have we reached the point where it is no longer controversial to urge the president to use “all appropriate actions” — with the unmistakable implication that force may be used — to intervene in the domestic affairs of a foreign country?

Mr. Speaker, the Arab League has been mediating the conflict between rival political factions in Lebanon and has had some success in halting the recent violence. Currently, negotiations are taking place in Qatar between the Lebanese factions and some slow but encouraging progress is being made. Regional actors – who do have an interest in the conflict – have stepped up in attempt to diffuse the crisis and reach a peaceful solution, and press reports today suggest that a deal between the rival factions may have been reached. Yet at this delicate stage of negotiations the US House is preparing to pass a very confrontational resolution pledging strong support for one side and condemning competing factions. US threats in this resolution to use “all appropriate actions” to support one faction are in fact a strong disincentive for factions to continue peaceful negotiations and could undermine the successes thus far under Arab League moderation.

This legislation strongly condemns Iranian and Syrian support to one faction in Lebanon while pledging to involve the United States on the other side. Wouldn’t it be better to be involved on neither side and instead encourage the negotiations that have already begun to resolve the conflict?

Afghanistan continues to sink toward chaos with no end in sight. The war in Iraq, launched on lies and deceptions, has cost nearly a trillion dollars and more than 4,000 lives with no end in sight. Saber rattling toward Iran and Syria increases daily, including this very legislation. Yet we are committing ourselves to intervene in a domestic political dispute that has nothing to do with the United States.

This resolution leads us closer to a wider war in the Middle East . It involves the United States unnecessarily in an internal conflict between competing Lebanese political factions and will increase rather than decrease the chance for an increase in violence. The Lebanese should work out political disputes on their own or with the assistance of regional organizations like the Arab League. I urge my colleagues to reject this march to war and to reject H. Res. 1194.

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Last weekend, March 13-16, hundreds of U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan met in Silver Springs, Maryland to testify about and against the wars being fought. The four day event was organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War and the event was patterned after the 1971 Winter Soldier hearings organized by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Sadly, mainstream media (MSM) did little to publicize the event to the public – the usual and expected fare these days. To the soldiers this was not surprising news, as when the 1971 Winter Solider hearings were held MSM was no where to be found than either.

The veterans spoke openly about the lawless nature of the “wars” (really occupations).

Former U.S. Army Sergeant Logan Laituri stated that the problem in Iraq was that “policymakers in leadership have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don’t abide by the rule of law, we don’t respect international treaties. So when that atmosphere exists it lends itself to criminal activity.”

More speak openly at face-to-face meetings and on the Internet in forums like Veterans for Peace Chapter 78 blogspot.

At the Chapter 78 blogspot one veteran states, “While on tank patrol through the narrow streets of Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad, Pfc. Clifton Hicks was given an order. Abu Ghraib had become a “free-fire zone,” Hicks was told, and no “friendlies” or civilians remained in the area. “Game on. All weapons free,” his captain said. Upon that command, Hicks’s unit opened a furious fusillade, firing wildly into cars, at people scurrying for cover, at anything that moved. Sent in to survey the damage, Hicks found the area littered with human and animal corpses, including women and children, but he saw no military gear or weapons of any kind near the bodies. In the aftermath of the massacre, Hicks was told that his unit had killed 700-800 “enemy combatants.” But he knew the dead were not terrorists or insurgents; they were innocent Iraqis. “I will agree to swear to that till the day I die,” he said. “I didn’t see one enemy on that operation.”

The feelings are the same whether spoken directly at the hearing or on the Internet. Multiple tours have wrecked havoc on their sanity making many feel that they are looked at more as just a statistical number than a human being.

Regardless, these veterans came together in a show of solidarity in Maryland and, upon conclusion of the hearings, the vets will continue to carry their message(s) to the people back in their towns, cities and states with the goal of garnering peaceful resistance within the United States against the government and its current militaristic practices.

Peaceful resistance by the American people is needed to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and to keep the U.S. government from further invading and occupying other countries such as Iran.

So although there may not have been much information available through MSM, which aggravated and frustrated Sharon Frigiola to no end (I understand and feel her pain),  there is some information available through Democracy Now and DC Indymedia. Maybe not a lot of information but it is to be expected these days…

And as good as a summary as any comes from a posting (emphasis mine) at Democracy.com:

Americans have heard from the generals, they’ve heard from the politicians, they’ve heard from the media – but they haven’t heard the truth. Americans must understand the reality of the wars our government is spearheading in order for our democracy to truly function.

Like 9/11, demand the truth. No more lies!

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From Crimes and Corruption of the New World Order News

Friday, March 14, 2008

Amnesty International today revealed in a new report further details of the cruelty and illegality of the CIA programme of secret detentions and enforced disappearances – a program re-authorized by President Bush in June 2007.

The details come in the form of interviews given exclusively to Amnesty International by 31-year-old Yemeni national Khaled Abdu Ahmed Saleh al-Maqtari, one of the men most recently released from secret detention. Initially a “ghost detainee” at Abu Ghraib, he was transferred to CIA custody in Afghanistan, then held in unknown locations and in complete isolation for over two and a half years, without charge or trial or access to any form of due process. His statements include numerous allegations of torture and other ill-treatment.

“Khaled al-Maqtari’s account sheds more light on the US’s unlawful conduct in the ‘war on terror’,” said Anne FitzGerald, Senior Advisor at Amnesty International, who interviewed Khaled al-Maqtari. “He describes being subjected to international crimes such as enforced disappearance and torture, yet these allegations have never been investigated. The secrecy surrounding the program goes hand in hand with a complete absence of accountability.”

Khaled al-Maqtari was detained when US army soldiers raided a suspected arms market in Fallujah, Iraq, in January 2004, arresting at least 60 people. He was transferred to the infamous Abu Ghraib prison as an unregistered “ghost detainee”. He has recounted a regime of beatings, sleep deprivation, suspension upside-down in painful positions, intimidation by dogs, induced hypothermia and other forms of torture.

He said that on one occasion, after being beaten by three men in a small room, he was forced to stand naked on a chair in front of a powerful air conditioner, holding up a full case of bottled water. He was periodically drenched in cold water, which made him shiver so hard he could barely remain standing. Khaled al-Maqtari said he was also suspended by his feet, with his arms still cuffed behind his back, while a pulley was used to lower him up and down over the water crate.

After nine days of interrogation in Abu Ghraib, Khaled al-Maqtari was taken by plane to a secret CIA detention facility in Afghanistan, were he was held for a further three months. Flight records obtained by Amnesty International corroborated that a jet operated by a CIA front company left Baghdad International Airport nine days after al-Maqtari’s arrest, heading for Khwaja Rawash airport in Kabul.

While in Afghanistan, he said, he was subjected to further torture and ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement, the use of stress positions, sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of hot and cold, prolonged shackling, sensory deprivation and disruption with bright lighting and loud music or sound effects constantly channeled into his cell.

As he told Amnesty International: “It was not really music but noise to scare you, like from one of those scary movies… I was scared, there were no dogs but there was noise there. Whenever you try to sleep, they bang on the door loudly and violently.”

Khaled al-Maqtari also told Amnesty International that during the lapses in the music or sound effects he began to speak to other detainees, and figured out there were about 20 others being held in the cells around him, including Majid Khan, one of the “high value” detainees transferred from secret CIA custody to military detention in Guantánamo Bay in September 2006.

In late April 2004, Khaled al-Maqtari and a number of his fellow detainees were transferred to another CIA “black site”, possibly in Eastern Europe. He was held there for a further 28 months, before being sent to Yemen where he was detained until May 2007.

“At no point during his 32-month confinement was Khaled al-Maqtari told where he was or why. He did not have access to lawyers, relatives, the International Committee of the Red Cross or any person other than his interrogators and the personnel involved in his detention and transfer. This clearly violates the US’s international obligations. The US government has a case to answer,” said Anne FitzGerald.

Khaled al-Maqtari is now back in Yemen, living with the effects of prolonged psychological and physical torture. He has not received any reparation from US authorities, who have yet to acknowledge his detention. The abuses that have affected him most, he said, were the years of endless isolation, his total uncertainty about his future, the constant monitoring by cameras, and his segregation from the outside world, particularly the lack of contact with his family.

Amnesty International calls on the US authorities to end the use of secret detention; hold accountable those responsible for abuses carried out under the program; make known the names, fate and whereabouts of all individuals held in the context of the so-called “war on terror”; and charge any of them who are still held with recognizable criminal offences and bring them to trial in independent courts or release them.

The report “USA: A case to answer – From Abu Ghraib to secret CIA custody: The case of Khaled al-Maqtari” will be available from 14 March at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/013/2008/en

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G.W. Bush is the guy you love to hate because he’s an idiot and he occupies the highest office in the United States of America. And Bush continually goes about saying stupid things. I think his brain is ate up by drugs and alcohol…

Bush stated in a satellite teleconference held with U.S. military and civilian personnel on the ground in Afghanistan on Thursday,

“I must say, I’m a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed.

It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks.”

War romantic? Where were YOU, G. W. Bush, during Vietnam when you were younger and not employed “here”? Stop the bullshit and fantasy game, no one’s buying it. We aren’t the idiots – you are. ‘Nuff said.

Oh and before I go:

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Interesting video. I imagine that traffic is not the only thing these little ‘dazzlers’ can be used for…

From Wired

Video: Army Lasers Zap Bikers in Afghanistan

By Sharon Weinberger

March 14, 2008 | 12:45:00 PM

Laser “dazzlers” are becoming increasingly popular as nonlethal devices. This is one of the first videos I’ve seen of the lasers actually being used. It shows a military convoy in Afghanistan zapping bicyclists and motorists as a way to clear traffic.

There’s something peculiarly video game-esque about the video, particularly when they give the score at the end.

Dazzlers are becoming big business: there are several laser manufacturers competing to sell the devices to the military. The lasers used in the video are produced by B.E. Meyers, which has fast become the main supplier to the military. Laser manufacturer L.E. Systems has been involved in a long-fought battle to demonstrate that their laser is safer and more effective than those produced by B.E. Meyers.

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