Friday, April 29, 2011

Gitmo: Tangled Web of Tortuous Lies

Seven Shocking Gitmo

Revelations from WikiLeaks

By Kase Wickman
Beaver County Peace Links via Raw Story

April 25, 2011 - A massive leak of more than 700 military documents, attributed to infamous transparency group WikiLeaks, was released Sunday night. Much of the new information deals with detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, records that begin immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks and range to 2009, including documents relating to 172 prisoners still held at the controversial detention facility.

Here are seven shocking revelations about Guantanamo Bay and the practices there.

One hundred twenty-seven "high risk" prisoners remain at Guantanamo Bay, but almost as many "high risk" prisoners have been released to other countries or freed, despite being described as "likely to pose a threat." Of the 600 detainees known to have been transferred out of the prison since 2002, 160 fell under the "high risk" categorization, according to NPR. At least two dozen transferred "high risk" prisoners have been linked to terrorist activity since their Gitmo exit, including two Saudis who became leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Progressive Democrats Want a Peace Candidate, Not Three Long Wars

Obama's Decisions on Afghanistan, Iraq,

Pakistan Will Determine Re-Election Chances

By Tom Hayden
Progressive America Rising via The Nation

April 26, 2011 - The president is on the cusp of a decision which will define his presidency and re-election chances in 2012: whether to risk multiple military quagmires or campaign on a decisive pledge to pull American troops out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and drones out of Pakistan and Libya.?

Centrist that he is, President Obama may gamble on a promise to “stay the course.” Sound familiar? All that is known is that the decisions will come quickly.

On Afghanistan, Obama told the Associated Press last Friday that his coming July announcement of troop withdrawals would be “significant…not a token gesture.”

Though the president offered no specific numbers, the phrasing was an important signal, delivered in White House–speak.  According to Bob Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars, the internal debate between the White House and Pentagon over Afghanistan has been intense. When the president announced in a December 2009 West Point speech that he was sending 30-33,000 more American troops in a military surge to Afghanistan, it appeared that the Pentagon and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had won the argument. But Obama slipped a hedge into the West Point speech pledging that he would “begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July 2011.”

What did it mean to “begin” a transfer? When would it end? …

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Romney: War is Peace

Down the Memory Hole ‘Peacetime’ Line

Presumes Ignorance is Strength in 2012

By Jon Walker

Beaver County Peace Links via FireDogLake

April 25 - In an op-ed for the New Hampshire Union Leader, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney attacked President Obama for a “peacetime spending binge,” as pointed out by Greg Sargent. From the Op-ed:

“Barack Obama is facing a financial emergency on a grander scale. Yet his approach has been to engage in one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history. With its failed stimulus package, its grandiose new social programs, its fervor for more taxes and government regulations, and its hostility toward business, the administration has made the debt problem worse, hindered economic recovery and needlessly cost American workers countless jobs.”

This is a frightening level disconnection from reality from the guy that is supposed to be the most sensible of the Republican candidates.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Values in Iraq: Exporting ‘Democracy’ Without Rights


Stop the Presses, Literally in Iraq

The US military praises Iraqi security forces as they crack down on press freedom.

The US has remained largely silent following Iraq's recent crackdown on press freedom [GALLO/GETTY]

By Nick Turse

Beaver County Peace Links via al-Jazeera

The first months of this year have been grim for free speech in Iraq.

As revolts swept across the Middle East and North Africa, they spread to Iraqi cities and towns, but took on a very different cast.

In February, in places like Baghdad, Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit, protesters took to the streets, intent on reform - focused on ending corruption and the chronic shortages of food, water, electricity and jobs - but not toppling the government of prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The response by government security forces, who have arrested, beaten, and shot protesters, leaving hundreds dead or wounded, however, was similar to that of other autocratic rulers around the region.

Attacks by Iraqi forces on freedom of the press, in the form of harassment, detention, and assaults on individual journalists, raids of radio stations, the offices of newspapers and press freedom groups have also shown the dark side of Maliki's regime.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Note to Obama: Get Out Now!

Here’s More Than You Probably

Wanted to Know About Afghanistan

Beaver County Peace Links via UFPJ’s Afghan War Weekly
Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy
By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times [April 10, 2011]
---- "We have 18 pax [passengers] dismounted and spreading out at this time," an Air Force pilot said from a cramped control room at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, 7,000 miles away. He was flying a Predator drone remotely using a joystick, watching its live video transmissions from the Afghan sky and radioing his crew and the unit on the ground. None of those Afghans was an insurgent. They were men, women and children going about their business, unaware that a unit of U.S. soldiers was just a few miles away, and that teams of U.S. military pilots, camera operators and video screeners had taken them for a group of Taliban fighters. The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe.,0,2818134,full.story
Brandon Barrett's War
The Army didn't tell anyone about a disturbed AWOL soldier until it was too late.
By Rick Anderson, Seattle Weekly [April 13 2011]
---- Brandon Barrett, who killed at least two enemy fighters during his yearlong tour, didn't seem to fare badly, however. During a post-deployment health screening last summer, he told doctors only that he was a bit nervous, could be startled from time to time, and had seen lots of dead people. Otherwise, he was fine, he added, and certainly not suicidal. But doctors, according to a 200-page Army report on Barrett's case obtained exclusively by Seattle Weekly, worried he was keeping his real feelings to himself.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Libya: A Deal in the Works? Or Will NATO Veto It?

Libya: Gaddafi government accepts truce plan, says South Africa’s Zuma

BBC Report, April 11, 2011

South African President Jacob Zuma says the Libyan government has accepted an African Union peace proposal to end the eight-week-old conflict.

Mr Zuma's AU delegation met Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli on Sunday. An AU team is going to the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

But rebel spokesmen said there could be no truce unless Col Gaddafi stepped down and his forces withdrew.

In Ajdabiya, pro-Gaddafi forces have pushed back rebels in fierce fighting.

Nato says its planes destroyed 25 government tanks on Sunday alone.

The alliance said it had "taken note" of the AU initiative and welcomed efforts to save Libyan civilians.

The AU deal's main points are:

  • An immediate ceasefire
  • The unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid
  • Protection of foreign nationals
  • A dialogue between the government and rebels on a political settlement
  • The suspension of Nato airstrikes

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chomsky on Libya: The Issue is Control

Rebel guarding oil field in Eastern Libya

Libya and the World of Oil

By Noam Chomsky
Beaver County Peace Links via

April 5, 2011 - Last month, at the international tribunal on crimes during the civil war in Sierra Leone, the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor came to an end.

The chief prosecutor, U.S. law professor David Crane, informed The Times of London that the case was incomplete: The prosecutors intended to charge Moammar Gadhafi, who, Crane said, “was ultimately responsible for the mutilation, maiming and/or murder of 1.2 million people.”

But the charge was not to be. The U.S., U.K. and others intervened to block it. Asked why, Crane said, “Welcome to the world of oil.”

Another recent Gadhafi casualty was Sir Howard Davies, the director of the London School of Economics, who resigned after revelations of the school’s links to the Libyan dictator.

In Cambridge, Mass., the Monitor Group, a consultancy firm founded by Harvard professors, was well paid for such services as a book to bring Gadhafi’s immortal words to the public “in conversation with renowned international experts,” along with other efforts “to enhance international appreciation of (Gadhafi’s) Libya.”

The world of oil is rarely far in the background in affairs concerning this region.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Libya: Obama's Tangled Web Is Unraveling

The CIA, the Libyan Rebellion, and the President

By David Bromwich
Beaver county Peace Links via Huffington Post -03/31/11
One of Barack Obama's first acts as president was to say that Guantanamo must go. It did not go. Soon after, he said that the Israeli settlements must go. They expanded. Obama made his peace in the end with Guantanamo and the Israeli settlements. He restarted the military tribunals at Guantanamo -- a feature of the Bush-Cheney constitution which he once had explicitly deplored -- and recently went out of his way to defend the Guantanamo-like abuse (compulsory nakedness and sleep deprivation) inflicted on an American prisoner, Bradley Manning, in the Marine Corps brig at Quantico.
One had come to think of "X must go" assertions by Obama as speculative prefaces to a non-existent work. His words, in his mind, are actions. When he speaks them once or twice, he has done what he was put here to do. If the existing powers defy his wishes, he embraces the powers and continues on his way.
The Egyptian protest of January and February saw a new siege of wishful commandments and reversals by the president. He told Mubarak to go. Then he told him to stay a while. Mubarak said he would stay, but after a time, he went; and in the mind of Obama, it appears, there was a relation of cause and effect between his initial request and the final result. He was consequently emboldened.
He said that Muammar Gaddafi must go. Gaddafi stayed. When the protest that gathered against Gaddafi would not disperse, the dictator shot at the protesters; and when some of them turned to armed rebellion, he went to war against the rebels. Obama for his part seemed ready to retire from an unpromising scene. His dryly prudent secretary of defense encouraged him to do so.
Then other forces intervened.

Libya Bombing: The Rotten Deal Under the Perfumed Package

Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal


By Pepe Escobar
via Asia Times Online: April 2, 2011

You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a "yes" vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya - the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.

The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said, "This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner."

As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to "seduce" three other members to get the vote.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Many Americans Unhappy with Attacks on Libya

How Many Should Die To Send Qaddafi to the Hague?

By Robert Naiman

Beaver County Peace Links via DailyKOS

Here is a question I would like pollsters to ask American voters about the Libya War:

Is sending Qaddafi to the International Criminal Court a military objective worth having American troops "fight and possibly die" for?

I haven't seen any pollster ask this question. Indeed, the fact that sending Qaddafi to the Hague is a de facto military goal of the United States in Libya isn't even being clearly acknowledged yet in the U.S. media.

However, we can make an educated guess what he response might be, because a Quinnipiac University poll recently asked some questions that are closely related.

Voters say 61 - 30 percent that removing Qaddafi from power is not worth having American troops "fight and possibly die" for, the poll reports.