Collateral Murder

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own “Rules of Engagement”.

Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.

WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.

SPECIAL WIKILEAKS PROJECT HERE

Cindy Sheehan on her arrest: this never happened to me when Bush was president.

On the 7th commemoration of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, there was a rally and march in DC sponsored by the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition that was attended by about eight thousand people.

For quite awhile, I have been having problems with marches on Saturday, anyway. It seems like we march past empty buildings and shake our fists at them and promise that if those empty buildings don’t change their ways, we will be back next year to do the same thing. The arrests are symbolic and don’t shut down anything, except in the case of large arrests, where the police stations are busy for a few hours.

As far as I know, there were no large civil disobediences scheduled for last Saturday’s rally, but some coffins were built on the sidewalk in front of the White House and four protesters decided to lie down near them and not move. Two of these protesters were good friends of mine: Elaine Brower of Military Families Speak Out and Matthis Chiroux of Iraq Vets Against the War. When I went over to check the action out, the four were begging the hundreds of others surrounding the protest to join them. The four were cordoned off with barriers and crime scene tape.

I began to plan a way to join Matthis and Elaine when I went to the front of the barrier and saw my dear friends, who have always been there for me, lying on the sidewalk by themselves. Just as I was figuring out how to get over the barriers, the section I was at collapsed onto the sidewalk and I took the opportunity to step over hoping that dozens, if not hundreds, would follow.

READ THE REST

US may try Sheehan for anti-war campaign

US authorities have arrested a number of anti-war protesters, including high-profile activist Cindy Sheehan, during a demonstration in Washington DC.

Eight peace activists were detained after laying coffins near a fence outside the White House during a Saturday rally in which thousands of anti-war protesters gathered at a park in the area to mark the seventh anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq .

They were demanding the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The protesters directed their anger at US President Barack Obama and demanded action against former President George W. Bush and his Vice- President Dick Cheney.

Sheehan, arrested at the end of the march, had earlier said, “We did lose some momentum when Obama came into office, but now we have younger people that are very energetic. They know we can change the world.”

Sheehan, who has been and anti-war campaigner since she lost a son in the Iraq war, may stand trial, reports indicate.

She gained repute as a peace activist in 2005 for protesting outside of Bush’s Texas ranch.

ORIGINAL STORY HERE

Just what the hell are they going to charge Sheehan WITH?  Exercising here first amendment rights?  Still being right about the war?  Pointing out Obama’s hypocrisy?

Medicating the military

At least one in six service members is on some form of psychiatric drug.

And many troops are taking more than one kind, mixing several pills in daily “cocktails” — for example, an antidepressant with an antipsychotic to prevent nightmares, plus an anti-epileptic to reduce headaches — despite minimal clinical research testing such combinations.

The drugs come with serious side effects: They can impair motor skills, reduce reaction times and generally make a war fighter less effective. Some double the risk for suicide, prompting doctors — and Congress — to question whether these drugs are connected to the rising rate of military suicides.

“It’s really a large-scale experiment. We are experimenting with changing people’s cognition and behavior,” said Dr. Grace Jackson, a former Navy psychiatrist.

READ THE REST

Pentagon Sees a Threat From Online Muckrakers

To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added WikiLeaks.org, a tiny online source of information and documents that governments and corporations around the world would prefer to keep secret.

The Pentagon assessed the danger WikiLeaks.org posed to the Army in a report marked “unauthorized disclosure subject to criminal sanctions.” It concluded that “WikiLeaks.org represents a potential force protection, counterintelligence, OPSEC and INFOSEC threat to the U.S. Army” — or, in plain English, a threat to Army operations and information.

WikiLeaks, true to its mission to publish materials that expose secrets of all kinds, published the 2008 Pentagon report about itself on Monday.

READ THE REST

This is just plain funny

The Untouchable Budget

President Obama called his $3.8-trillion budget a big step in restoring America’s economic health. Last year he promoted TARP, the Troubled Assets Relief Program to bail out the financial sector at a mere $700 billion. Anyone – even billionaire bankers — can make mistakes that wreak ruin on the rest of us!

Obama also declared as “untouchable” the Pentagon budget of $1.5 trillion (including hidden costs in other government branches), which dwarfs the rescue package for the financial oligarchs. Both payouts, however, used the same logic: Congress taking from the have-nots and giving it to the have-mores. Indeed, the economic, political and military potentates depend on the federal budget to transfer taxpayer resources to them.

This evolving military-industrial complex, a partnership of interlocking government and corporate networks, has used public wealth to enrich itself.  The manufacturing part of this complex rarely produces anything people live in, wear, or eat.

READ THE REST

Canadian troops told to ignore child rape by Afghan allies.

The stated goal of the US-led War in Afghanistan, according to the Obama Administration, is to defeat the Taliban and establish a stable democratic government over the entire country. Critical to that goal is establishing a professional Afghan army and police force that is not corrupt, and that has the respect of the Afghan people.

But reports out of Canada suggest that far from creating such a military and police force, the so-called International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) is turning a blind eye to the thuggish criminality of those organizations, both to avoid growing opposition in ISAF member countries, and to avoid offending those organizations in Afghanistan.

The issue in question is routine rape and sodomy of children by Afghan soldiers and police operating on Canadian-run bases in the Kandahar region.

As reported last fall in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, Canadian military chaplins and some soldiers have been complaining as far back as 2006 that Afghan security forces have been sodomizing young boys on their base. These military whistle-blowers charge that the military brass has been ignoring or burying their complaints, fearing the bad publicity they could generate.

The paper reports that Canadian military police have also complained, as reported by Brig.-Gen. J.C. Collin, commander of Land Force Central Area, that they were being told “not to interfere in incidents in which Afghan forces were having sex with children.”

According to the paper, the Canadian military command has argued that, even though sex with children is against the law in Afghanistan, the practice is culturally accepted and that the Canadian forces “should not get involved in what should be seen as a “cultural’ issue.”

READ THE REST

US refuses Iran 1 gram of isotopes worth $75K; prefers war

The yearly need of Iran for life-saving medical isotopes is less than one gram and costs Iran $75,000 to refine the fuel. Iran has stated they would prefer to buy the isotopes rather than produce them. The US could resolve the threat of war with Iran if President Obama made a speech today saying the US will allow Iran to produce it themselves under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a legal right guaranteed by treaty among nations including the US and Iran, or by the US selling Iran the isotopes.

READ THE REST

Impending Explosion: U.S. Intensifies Threats To Russia And Iran by Rick Rozoff

The war drums are being pounded anew and the world may be headed for a catastrophe far worse than those in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

READ THE REST

This is a pretty thorough account of the massive military build-up started under Bush and being accelerated now under Obama all around Russia.  We, along with our NATO allies, are now on a war-footing like no other time in history.