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Military Resistance 11A19
“Across The War Zone, Deaths From ‘Green-On-Blue Attacks’ Nearly Doubled In 2012”
“A Quarter Of The 16 Troops With Ties To Colorado Springs Killed Last Year Were Slain By Their Afghan Allies”
“Col. James Mingus Said Insider Attacks Aren’t Likely To End Anytime Soon”
Jan 21, 2013 By Jakob Rodgers - The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette [Excerpts]
FORT CARSON, Colo. — The entire time Lt. Alejo Thompson’s platoon ate, slept and trained Afghan soldiers at Check Point Bagram, their eyes searched for attacks from the outside the wire. But the deadliest threat came from within Bagram’s 8-foot-high walls. Two minutes after an allied Afghan soldier sprayed bullets from his M-16 rifle on May 11, Thompson lay dead. Thompson’s platoon sergeant was wounded. The Afghan soldier responsible for the attack escaped out of Bagram’s main gate — on his way to be handsomely greeted by Taliban insurgents. Insider attacks, such as the one that killed Thompson, became one of the most troubling trends of the Afghanistan war in 2012. A quarter of the 16 troops with ties to Colorado Springs killed last year were slain by their Afghan allies. Across the war zone, deaths from “green-on-blue attacks” nearly doubled in 2012, The Associated Press reported. Fresh from leading the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team through a ninemonth deployment to the country, Col. James Mingus said insider attacks aren’t likely to end anytime soon. Three soldiers in his unit died from the attacks — the same number of his troops that died from roadside bombs, the long-held weapon of choice by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It was almost a natural course of things that they (insurgents) were going to start trying to infiltrate the organization that we are affiliated with,” Mingus said. “And it was very effective.” The attack on Thompson’s platoon doesn’t appear to have been planned by the Taliban. Rather, the 22-year-old man who attacked on May 11 started out as an Afghan National Army soldier willing to fight insurgents, the New York Times reported. And he struck when Thompson was most vulnerable — moments after the officer drank chai tea with an Afghan officer, his body armor set to the side, according to an incident report obtained by The Gazette through the Freedom of Information Act. At 8:25 a.m., the Afghan fired his rifle into the air, then at the American vehicles in a “spray and pray” technique, the report said. A stray bullet hit one coalition soldier, and one person managed to fire about 10 rounds at the shooter. During the brief firefight, Thompson ran across an open area, the report said. He fell to the ground halfway, struck by a bullet.
Moments later, during a lull in the fight, the Afghan soldier stepped closer to Thompson and shot him in the head. As a few soldiers traded fire with the Afghan soldier, most other Americans checked the outpost’s perimeter for advancing insurgents — apparently unaware the threat was on the inside, the report said. Minutes after firing the first shot, the Afghan escaped. “The fundamental truth of green-on-blue attacks is there is no complete defense against a dedicated attacker willing to die,” the report said, adding that the Afghan-coalition partnership “requires a high degree of trust; unfortunately, trust can be abused.” Only after a few years in the Afghan Army did the man, known as Mahmood, turn against his Fort Carson counterparts, the newspaper reported. He became influenced by residents of Afghanistan’s Kunar province, who complained about foreigners killing Afghans, along with alleged abuses by American troops and instances where foreigners insulted the Prophet Muhammad, the newspaper reported. Instead of asking for help from the Taliban, Mahmood asked for them “not to shoot me” after he fled the upcoming attack, the newspaper said. “Even the Taliban didn’t think I would be able to do this,” Mahmood told the New York Times.
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Three Insurgents Attack Headquarters Of Kabul Traffic Police For Nine Hours
Jan 21, 2013 By Amir Shah and Patrick Quinn - The Associated Press [Excerpts] KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban bombers carried out a nine-hour attack in the Afghan capital on Monday, the second in less than a week and a sign that insurgents are determined to keep fighting despite recent overtures of peace from the U.S. and Afghan governments. The assault on the traffic police headquarters, which sent heavy black smoke rising over Kabul, was the second such attack in the heart of the snow-covered capital in six days. The pre-dawn attack began with two Taliban bombers blowing themselves up at the gates of the police headquarters. Three heavily armed militants, also wearing explosive vests, then stormed the compound, authorities said. About 90 minutes later, a car packed with explosives blew up near the gate. Such secondary explosive devices often are rigged to timers and designed to kill people responding to the attack. The three militants who entered the compound battled Afghan security forces for nine hours. Three policemen were killed, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi. Four traffic policemen and 10 civilians were wounded, he said. "This office is full of valuable documents," including vehicle registration and other records, he said. "Our forces had to make sure these documents were not destroyed." Kabul Police Chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi said two bombers died at the gate when they detonated their explosive vests, another blew himself up inside the building, and two more were shot and killed by security forces before they managed to detonate their vests. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said targeted a police training facility “run by foreign military forces.” The traffic police headquarters is not heavily guarded, though it is located on a square leading to the parliament and close to a zoo. It also is adjacent to the Afghan Border Police headquarters and a police training facility — possibly the insurgents’ primary target. The traffic police facility, usually teeming with civilians seeking driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations, was nearly empty when the attack began before the morning rush hour. The Interior Ministry said many of the civilians were injured by the powerful car bomb. Some were in their homes and hit by shattered pieces of glass. About two hours after the fighting ended, residents ventured out of their homes, and shopkeepers arrived at the scene to see if their stores had been damaged. Two photo shops where people had driver’s license pictures taken were nearly reduced to rubble.
The explosions created a crater in the cement wall of the traffic police compound. Broken glass littered the street. One man shoveled shards into a wheelbarrow outside his damaged shop. “We just stayed inside, waiting for it to end,” said Fida Mohammad, who works at the Finance Ministry and lives just a few houses from the scene. He said he was awakened by the explosions and car bombing. He and his family were not hurt, but a woman from a neighboring house was hit by a stray bullet, he said. An Associated Press reporter at the scene said that during the fight a number of large explosions could be heard inside and around the building, along with heavy gunfire. On Wednesday, six Taliban bombers attacked the gates of the Afghan intelligence service in downtown Kabul, killing one guard and wounding dozens. That operation bore several similarities to Monday’s attack, including the use of a secondary car bomb placed outside the government compound.
POLITICIANS REFUSE TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WAR
“Afghan Police And Intelligence Agents Persist In Torturing Suspected Insurgents Through Beatings, Electric Shocks And Other Means”
“Many Of Those Tortured To Extract Confessions Were Children Under The Age Of 18”
21 January 2013 AFP & by Shakeela Ahbrimkhil, TOLOnews.
Kabul: Afghan police and intelligence agents persist in torturing suspected insurgents through beatings, electric shocks and other means, despite foreign efforts to curb abuse, the United Nations says. Other forms of torture included hanging suspects by the wrists from chains for long periods and threatening them with sexual violence, the UN mission in Afghanistan said in its 139-page analysis released late on Sunday. Many of those tortured to extract confessions were children under the age of 18, it said. More than half of the 635 detainees interviewed by Unama investigators were ill-treated or tortured particularly in 34 facilities of the Afghan National Police and the NDS between October 2011 and October 2012, the report said. Furthermore, there were instances where Afghan authorities tried to hide the mistreatment from UN monitors and have refused to prosecute those suspected of torturing, the report said. Gen. John Allen, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, said that his staff had written letters to Afghan ministers requesting investigations into more than 80 separate allegations of detainee abuse in the past 18 months. "To date, Afghan officials have acted in only one instance," Allen said in the letter. That action amounted to the official in question being transferred to a different prison, not fired.
Military Police Responded To The 911 Call, But In A Manner The Sergeant And Garrett’s Wife Said Is Inconsistent With Basic Army Suicide Prevention Training:
“They Went Straight To Guns Drawn”
“James Couldn’t Get A Same-Day Appointment, And When He Dialed Referral Numbers The Hospital Gave Him, He Was Placed On Perpetual Hold Or Faced Busy Signals”
“My Husband Is Not A Violent Man. He Was Just Frustrated Because He Couldn’t Get Help”
The sergeant remembers giving Garrett the phone number to behavioral health. But according to the sergeant and Garrett’s wife, James couldn’t get a same-day appointment, and when he dialed referral numbers the hospital gave him, he was placed on perpetual hold or faced busy signals. Jan 22, 2013 By Patricia Kime - Staff writer, Army Times [Excerpts] An Army sergeant was in a Fort Riley, Kan., convenience store late Nov. 28 when he glanced at his cellphone. He had just received a chilling text from close friend and on-post neighbor James Garrett: “Sorry, buddy. Tell (my son) I loved him,” wrote Garrett, an Army veteran and spouse. The sergeant knew Garrett was having some difficulties. His wife, an active-duty soldier who asked that her name not be used, was in Afghanistan, and he had recently learned his sister had entered hospice care. “I knew he was down, but I didn’t know how bad it was,” said the sergeant, who requested that his name not be used to safeguard his career. Still, while speaking with Garrett earlier that day, the sergeant had been concerned enough to mention that mental health services are available at Irwin Army Community Hospital on post.
The sergeant remembers giving Garrett the phone number to behavioral health. But according to the sergeant and Garrett’s wife, James couldn’t get a same-day appointment, and when he dialed referral numbers the hospital gave him, he was placed on perpetual hold or faced busy signals. By 9 p.m., a despondent Garrett reached for a Taurus 1911 semi-automatic pistol, one of 18 guns he had in his home. He did not die that night. Still, what happened next can’t be considered a successful mental health crisis intervention — particularly since Garrett has been in jail ever since, without any of the mental health care his wife and friends say he needs. After receiving the text message from Garrett, the sergeant dashed to his friend’s house to talk to him. During a break in the conversation, the sergeant asked his own wife to get help. Military police responded to the 911 call, but in a manner the sergeant and Garrett’s wife said is inconsistent with basic Army suicide prevention training. “In my professional opinion, there was no crisis intervention. They went straight to guns drawn,” the sergeant said. “They started screaming at him to put the gun down. (His son) came down the stairs to find out what was going on, and they pointed a gun at him. “I was in the kitchen pleading for them to calm down and they told me to get the fuck out of the house.” To battle what’s been called an epidemic, police nationwide have been pushing to train at least a quarter of their forces to respond to mental health crises. But at the military police level, Army MPs do not get intensive crisis intervention training. At the MP school at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., they learn communication skills and techniques to deal with domestic disturbances and are taught to recognize warnings of suicide. They also are instructed to call a behavioral specialist and transport a suspect to a hospital if a mental health crisis is suspected. A signed police affidavit indicates officers in Garrett’s case drew their weapons as they left their squad car. They took up positions at the door frame and “observed Garrett sitting on the couch with a handgun.” They commanded him to drop his weapon “nine or 10” times; they said he disobeyed and pointed it toward them.
The sergeant, in the kitchen at the time, remembers differently. “They busted in the house and were inside the house before they even identified themselves. Then they saw the gun and retreated back through the door.” Eventually, Garrett dropped the magazine and cleared the weapon. He was arrested. He spent nine hours at the on-post hospital under psychological observation and went to jail, signing a statement that he pointed his gun at officers and intimated that he wanted them to kill him. Since his arrest, Garrett was in military custody at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., until he was recently moved to Butner Federal Corrections Facility, N.C., for another psychological evaluation. He faces charges that he “forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded” or intimidated MPs. As far as his wife is aware, he is getting no mental health treatment and is facing up to 20 years in prison, she said in an interview. Garrett’s wife said she thinks he needs to be in a hospital, not jail. “I understand my husband should have handled things differently, but if this is how the military treats our families and soldiers, it’s no wonder there are so many suicides in the Army,” she said. Garrett’s wife has requested an inspector general inquiry into her husband’s treatment at the Fort Riley hospital, charging that the facility told her husband it could not take him because he was not on active duty. She also wants to know why he was held for nine hours when a 72-hour hold is commonplace for suicide attempts. A judge has ordered Garrett, who his wife said had never before run afoul of the law, to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine if he’s fit to stand trial. His wife said she wants his story known because she doesn’t want anyone else to experience the same heartbreak — or worse, lose their spouse. “My husband is not a violent man. He was just frustrated because he couldn’t get help,” she said.
“Possible Exposure Of More Than 700 Veterans To Potentially Fatal Viruses Such As Hepatitis C And HIV That Occurred At The Buffalo, N.Y., VA Medical Center”
“The Wrongful Use Of Single-Person Insulin Pens On Multiple Patients”
Jan 22, 2013 By Patricia Kime - Staff writer, Army Times [Excerpts] The possible exposure of more than 700 veterans to potentially fatal viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV that occurred at the Buffalo, N.Y., VA Medical Center from 2010 to 2012 is the subject of an official internal investigation. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., announced Tuesday that VA’s inspector general will review the wrongful use of single-person insulin pens on multiple patients at the facility to determine how it happened. At least two lawmakers — Higgins and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. — had called for the inquiry after learning from VA that it plans to test more than 500 patients for infection after insulin pen cartridges meant for a single patient were used on others. Of the 716 veterans who likely received insulin shots during the time frame, 146 have since died. No links have been determined between the deaths and reuse of the insulin pens. All 716 were inpatients when they received the insulin shots. “It is critical that we get to the bottom of this so we can work urgently to correct the flaws in the system that led to this situation,” Higgins said. In May 2011, the Government Accountability Office warned VA that its oversight of disposable medical items and reusable equipment was not strong enough to ensure patient safety. Since 2004, almost 13,000 patients have been exposed to infectious diseases at VA medical facilities from contaminated or improperly prepared equipment.
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“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Frederick Douglass, 1852
I say that when troops cannot be counted on to follow orders because they see the futility and immorality of them THAT is the real key to ending a war. -- Al Jaccoma, Veterans For Peace
“In Fourteen Recent School Shoots, The Acts Were Committed
By Persons Taking Or Withdrawing From Psychiatric Drugs, Resulting In Over 100 Wounded And 58 Killed”‘
“In Other School Shootings, Information About The Shooter’s Prescription Drug Use And Other Medical History Were Kept From Public Records”
“This Last Point Is Very Important—The Involvement Of Psychiatric Drugs In Many Mass Shootings Is Being Withheld From The Public”
Jan 17, 2013 by Jim Gottstein, Law Project for Psychiatric Rights; http://psychrights.org/index.htm [Excerpts] Last week, I let you know about PsychRights’ Letter to the President’s Task Force on Gun Violence, which pointed out (1) that a mental illness diagnosis is essentially useless as a predictor of violence and (2) the gun violence discussion needs to include the role of psychiatric drugs in causing violence. PsychRights was not the only one making these points. However in the rush to pretend to do something, but in the absence of the political will to do anything meaningful about gun violence, a mob mentality has developed to further restrict the rights of people diagnosed with mental illness and force them to endure harmful, counterproductive, psychiatric interventions. In other words, the only thing that all of the players at the table can agree to is, in effect, "Psychiatric Profiling."
New York rushed through a law that expands state and federal criminal databases of people labeled as mentally ill, unconnected to any actual crime or act of violence, and expanded outpatient commitment (forced drugging in the community). In the wake of the unimaginable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there has been an understandable assumption that increased use of mental health services and a mental registry is part of the solution. Understandable, but wrong. This reaction is wrong because of two basic facts: (1) there is no reliable way to predict who will commit such a terrible act, and (2) the pervasive use of psychiatric drugs, which is the mainstay of mental health treatment, increases rather than decreases extreme violence. With respect to the propensity of psychiatric drugs to cause violence, attached is the Statement on the Connection Between Psychotropic Drugs and Mass Murder [see below for excerpts] recently issued by the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP), demonstrating the clear link between psychiatric drugs and violence. As the ISEPP Statement points out: Christopher Pittman was on antidepressants when he killed his grandparents. Eric Harris, one of the gunmen in the Columbine school shooting, was taking Luvox and Dylan Klebold, his partner, had taken Zoloft and Paxil. Doug Williams, who killed five and wounded nine of his fellow Lockheed Martin employees, was on Zoloft and Celexa. Michael McDermott was on three antidepressants when he fired off 37 rounds and killed seven of his fellow employees in the Massachusetts Wakefield massacre. Kip Kinkel was on Prozac when he killed his parents and then killed 2 children and wounded 25 at a nearby school. In fourteen recent school shoots, the acts were committed by persons taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, resulting in over 100 wounded and 58 killed. In other school shootings, information about the shooter’s prescription drug use and other medical history were kept from public records. This last point is very important—the involvement of psychiatric drugs in many mass shootings is being withheld from the public. It is essential that the involvement of psychiatric drugs in these tragedies be investigated and reported to the public.
What is clear, is that the involvement of the mental health system and mental health professionals does not prevent these horrors and being diagnosed with a mental illness is not a reliable predictor of violence. The bottom line is that while focusing on people diagnosed with mental illness might give one the feeling that something is being done to address the problem, the fact is that it will not. Frankly, it would just be scapegoating.
“There Have Been 22 International Drug Regulatory Warnings About The Impact Of Psychotropic Drugs On Suicidal And Homicidal Ideation, Mania, Violence And Hostility”
“Violence And Other Potentially Criminal Behavior Caused By Prescription Drugs Are Medicine’s Best Kept Secret”
“Never Before In The Fields Of Medicine And Law Have There Been So Many Events With So Much Concealed Data And So Little Focused Expertise”
“In Spite Of The Evidence Of This Connection Between Psychotropic Drugs And Mass Murder, The Mainstream Media Has Failed To Write About It Or Investigate It”
Statement on the Connection Between Psychotropic Drugs and Mass Murder: International Society For Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry [Excerpts] The Board of Directors and membership of the International Society For Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry send condolences to the people of Newtown, Connecticut on their horrific losses. Our hearts go out to the parents of the children who were killed and to the families and friends of the adults who were killed. We are calling for an inquiry into the connection between these acts of mass murder and the use of psychotropic drugs. Although the media have cited family members and acquaintances saying Adam Lanza was taking prescription drugs to treat “a neurological development disorder”, we do not know if he was on psychotropic drugs. But we do know that James Holmes, the Colorado batman shooter, had taken 100 milligrams of Vicodin immediately before he shot up the movie theatre. This connection between psychotropic drugs and mass murder is not coincidental. There is enough evidence that antidepressants cause increased risk of suicide and violence for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its Canadian counterpart to require that drug companies include a “black box” warning to that effect on their packages. More recent studies have corroborated this association between antidepressants and homicide/suicide. Antidepressants, specifically Paxil, appear to more than double the risk of hostility events in adult and pediatric placebo-controlled trials. All of the classes of psychiatric drugs can cause violent, irrational, and/or manic behavior. Among other effects, these drugs cause a neurological condition called “akathesia,” which means that persons who take them can’t sit still and feel like they are jumping out of their skin. They behave in an agitated manner which they cannot control and experience unbearable rage, delusions, and disassociation. For a detailed explanation of the neurology, chemistry, and physiology of akathesia, see Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide to Informed Consent by Dr. Grace Jackson.
Psychotropic drugs – antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers – impair the ability of people to accurately and effectively process emotions. They take away caring. They dull conscience. In his book Listening to Prozac, psychiatrist Peter Kramer reported that his patients on Prozac didn’t care as much. They lost some of their conscience. This made it easier for them to do things that were hurtful to other people. In his book Medication Madness, psychiatrist Peter Breggin presents evidence of how psychotropic drugs cause people to lose awareness of how they are behaving and to lose control over their behavior. Such people are at greatly increased risk of committing acts of crime and violence. The psychiatric drugs that we give to our children and adults in the United States have significant “side effects” including apathy, abnormal dreams, acute respiratory distress, akathesia, agitation, aggression, agoraphobia, paranoia, assorted blood pressure and heart problems, breast enlargement in young boys, measurable brain damage, cerebral atrophy, disinhibition, hostility, homicidal and suicidal ideation, convulsions, diabetes, Parkinsons symptoms, tardive dyskinesia, tremors, convulsions, psychosis, cerebral vascular accident, inability to express emotion, lethargy, increased chronicity of motional problems, early dementia and early death. We understand that many factors are involved in acts of mass murder. We are not suggesting that psychotropic drugs are the only or the major factor. But we do know there have been 22 international drug regulatory warnings about the impact of psychotropic drugs on suicidal and homicidal ideation, mania, violence and hostility. We do believe that there is enough evidence of the association between psychotropic drugs and mass murder to warrant an inquiry. And we believe that psychological autopsy and complete review of all medical records should be standard operating procedure in the investigations of these tragedies. In spite of the evidence of this connection between psychotropic drugs and mass murder, the mainstream media has failed to write about it or investigate it. Psychiatrist David Healy says: “Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best kept secret. Never before in the fields of medicine and law have there been so many events with so much concealed data and so little focused expertise”.
“One Of The Problems That Happens When You Become A Psychiatric Patient Is That Everything That You Do Or Say Can Be Labeled As A Psychiatric Symptom”
“If The Police Knock Down Your Door And Haul You Off And You Get Upset, You Get Labeled As ‘Hostile’ And ‘Labile’”
“If You Decide That You’re Not Going To React To These Provocations, You Get Labeled As Having ‘A Flat Affect’”
January 03, 2013 By David Brown, The Washington Post [Excerpts] After every act of incomprehensible violence, the world asks whether the killer could have been identified ahead of time. It’s as automatic as the call for more gun control and better mental health services. The task of identifying violence-prone individuals is even trickier with young people, who have shorter histories and whose normal development often includes a period of antisocial behavior. The prospect that the most recent massacre, or the next one, could lead to efforts to find young men contemplating the killing of strangers worries many people. Among those expressing concern are some psychologists and former patients forcibly swept into the mental health system and treated against their will. “I think people are going toward wanting all their kids to be screened in high school for mental illness and violence risk — and that’s a bad idea,” said Gina M. Vincent, a forensic psychologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “That’s my biggest fear of what’s going to come out of this.”
[S]ome people warn that a more aggressive mental health system would pose its own dangers. James B. Gottstein, a lawyer in Anchorage and head of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, has won four cases in his state’s Supreme Court supporting patients’ rights to refuse to take psychiatric medicines, limiting conditions for involuntary commitment and other issues. He learned firsthand what it’s like to be forcibly drugged and stigmatized by psychiatric treatment. In June 1982, he had a manic episode that he attributes to sleep deprivation. He was working hard, suffering from jet lag after returning from Europe and living in a place where the sun didn’t set at night. He was taken by the police to a mental hospital, where he spent a month. “One of the problems that happens when you become a psychiatric patient is that everything that you do or say can be labeled as a psychiatric symptom,” said Gottstein, 59, a graduate of Harvard Law School. “If the police knock down your door and haul you off and you get upset, you get labeled as ‘hostile’ and ‘labile.’ If you decide that you’re not going to react to these provocations, you get labeled as having ‘a flat affect.’ If you think something is funny and you laugh to yourself, then they write down ‘responding to internal stimuli,’ ” he said. It’s not that people don’t want help, Gottstein said, but that “the system basically forces things on them that they don’t want.” He thinks it is “entirely possible to create a system where things are voluntary.” Essential are peer counselors — people once similarly diagnosed who might be able to connect with the mentally ill when the professionals can’t. But he’s quite sure that’s not what people calling for “greater access to mental health services” these days are talking about. And that worries him.
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Obama Begins Inauguration Festivities With Ceremonial Drone Flyover
Jan 21, 2013 The Onion WASHINGTON—Taking the oath of office for his second term today, President Barack Obama joined thousands of supporters in the nation’s capital for traditional inauguration festivities that included a prayer invocation, a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, and a ceremonial flyover of three combat drones. “When Obama was being sworn in on the Capitol steps, we could hear the drones screeching by overhead and everyone got really excited,” spectator Andrew Meyers, 34, said as he eagerly trained his eyes on the unmanned aerial vehicles that have taken out several hundred innocent civilians during presidentially authorized strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. “They go by super fast, but luckily there are Jumbotrons all over the National Mall, so nobody missed out. Wait, they’re coming back!” At press time, sources confirmed that inaugural celebrants were enjoying the Jumbotron’s live closed-circuit feed of the still-open prison facility at Guantánamo Bay
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Garrison Sergeant Major Swears He Really Wants to Deploy
20 January 2013 by Shane, The Duffle Blog FORT MEADE, MD – Sergeant Major Billie Fulbright, a 28-year veteran of the United States Army, assures personnel at the base that he “really want(s) to deploy” in the near future. Despite serving in the military during a time that saw combat operations in Panama, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the SGM has yet to find the opportunity to deploy into a combat zone. “The timing has really never worked out,” SGM Fulbright told The Duffel Blog. “I was in the 82nd (Airborne Division) during Operation Just Cause, but I never got the chance to go to Panama because I had gout and was non-deployable. That effing (sic) killed me. “There’s nothing an 11 Bravo (infantryman) wants more than to face the enemy in closequarters combat and triumph in battle for the sake of American interests abroad.” “The Persian Gulf War was another shitty deal,” Fulbright continued. “I was going through the pre-deployment screening and it turned out I had a pre-existing thyroid condition that needed treatment.
“It’s rough for a squad leader to send his soldiers down-range and not be able to go with them, but my men received three bronze stars and two purple hearts, so my training in garrison must have done them some good.” “I was in Korea during that whole thing in Somalia,” Fulbright added, “but I told my company commander that I really wanted to go where the fight was. “There were positions available in Bosnia for staff sergeants at the time, but I’m not into that POG shit; I wanted to go to the big show. Unfortunately, the opportunity never presented itself.” Regarding the current Global War on Terror, SGM Fulbright has especially choice words for Army leadership. “Once shit popped off in Afghanistan and Iraq, I really wanted to do my part in the fight. On September 11th, I was in a TDA unit and not in the pool of deployable soldiers. “No matter what I tried to do to deploy, they kept rejecting me. Yeah, I’m great at training soldiers to find, fix, and destroy the enemy, but I would appreciate the opportunity to do it myself in a real-world setting. “I guess I’m more valuable to the ‘top brass’ in a training position rather than a leadership position in an MTOE unit. That’s the only reason I can think of that I was stuck as an (initial entry training) first sergeant and sergeant major for almost eight years.” Fellow soldiers at Fort Meade understand SGM Fulbright’s difficulties. LTC John Ambrose, the garrison executive officer, told TDB via e-mail, “This is seriously some bullshit. “I’ve been trying to deploy for eight or nine years, but kept getting denied the opportunity because I was a recruiting company commander for two years, then I did training with industry for a year, then I got my master’s degree, then I was a congressional aide. “Why doesn’t the Army figure out a way for us to broaden our horizons and still kill the Taliban without it adversely affecting our career?”
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Protests Against The Corrupt Government In Baghdad Continue For The 21st Successive Day:
“Maliki’s Regime Has Military Support From The US, And Thus The Protesters Consider It The ‘Second Face’ Of The Occupation”
“Maliki Also Receives Considerable Political Support From Iran”
Anti-government demonstrations in Iraq have gained energy and focus in recent weeks. Photograph: STR/EPA 17 January 2013 by Ross Caputi, Guardian News and Media Limited [Excerpts] The indomitable Iraqi spirit is on display yet again, as protests against the corrupt government in Baghdad continue for the 21st successive day. This outburst of civil disobedience comes after a year in which westerners have heard relatively little about Iraq. While the US has moved on, choosing to ignore the nightmare it created with war and occupation, Iraqis have gone to the streets, taking destiny in their own hands. But this
should come as no surprise to those who know Iraq’s history, where foreign domination has always been resisted. Iraqis rose up to end the British mandate of their country in 1921, and after years of struggle, they overthrew the British-imposed monarchy in 1958. They carried on through yet more political turmoil when the prime minister, General Abdel-Karim Qasim, was assassinated in 1963, and succeeded by the military coup that ushered in Ba’athism. The Iraqi people endured repression from Saddam Hussein, who rose to power with help from the CIA. War with Iran lasted for most of the 1980s; the first Gulf war claimed an estimated 158,000 lives (32,195 of which were children) in 1991, and the resulting sanctions claimed an additional 1m lives. The situation worsened still, after the turn of the century. The 2003 US-led invasion and occupation officially ended in 2011, with another estimated 1m lives lost, a public health crisis, and the social fabric of the country torn apart in a civil war, which was instigated by the occupying powers. For a century, there has not been a single generation of Iraqis unfamiliar with struggle. Yet, this last decade has undoubtedly been the worst Iraq has ever experienced. No one in Iraq has not suffered loss. The widows, orphans, and survivors carry on through grief and trauma. During these bleak days, it would be understandable if Iraqis chose to give up, accept the inadequate government that has been imposed on them, and focus on getting through the day. It would be understandable of any people who have suffered as they have. Instead, Iraqis have chosen to fight for better days. This choice, to commit such energy, day after day, for 21 days, to put their bodies on the line in protest against injustices, after they have experienced so much loss, grief, and trauma is, well, inspiring. There have been sporadic protests throughout Iraq ever since the Arab spring began in 2010. But Iraqi government forces, trained and armed by the US, have violently suppressed them, sometimes firing into unarmed crowds. Thus, large-scale protests, like those we saw in Egypt and Tunisia, never got off the ground in Iraq. These recent protests, however, are unique in their size and character. They focus on the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, accusing him of corruption, brutal repression, and sectarianism. Maliki’s regime has military support from the US, and thus the protesters consider it the "second face" of the occupation. Maliki also receives considerable political support from Iran, whose influence in the country, along with that of other countries, angers the protesters further.
After years of occupation by foreign powers, what Iraqis want more than anything else is an independent and sovereign Iraq. Outside analysts tend to perceive all the happenings in Iraq through the prism of sectarianism. Because the protests have been centered in the predominantly Sunni al-Anbar province, some commentators have dubbed them "Sunni" protests, which articulate only Sunni concerns. But protests have taken place in cities all across the country, and several cities have even sent delegations to Ramadi, where the protests are centered. There have even been Kurdish delegations sent to protests in Mosul, and some Shia religious leaders have announced their support for the demonstrations. Collectively, the protesters have articulated what they want, formulating a list of demands: 1. The immediate release of detained protesters and political dissidents 2. A stop to the death penalty 3. The approval of an amnesty law for innocent detainees 4. The abolition of anti-terrorism laws (especially Clause 4 used to target them) 5. The repeal of unfair rulings against dissidents 6. Fair opportunities for work based on professionalism 7. The end of the use of military command based on geographic areas 8. The provision of essential services to all areas in Iraq neglected by the state 9. The holding of all members of government official, army or security units who have committed crimes against dissidents accountable, especially those who have violated the honor of women in prisons 10. A UN-sponsored population count 11. An end to marginalization, and a stop to agitating divisions between ethnic and religious groups, and a stop to house raids based on information from secret informers and without legal warrants 12. A stop to financial, administrative, and legal corruption 13. The combating of sectarianism in all its forms by returning religious buildings and all religious properties to their rightful owners These protests are a hopeful sign that the wounds and divisions inflicted on Iraq by the occupation are healing, and that Iraqis will soon see better days.
Throughout history, Iraq has been attacked and defended, conquered and liberated, occupied and abandoned. Now, amid these protests, Iraqis are responding to the challenges they’ve received as a people blessed and cursed with a land so rich. Hopefully, this cycle will not continue until the end of days, but it is at least certain that Iraqis will not stop fighting for what is theirs.
CLASS WAR REPORTS
“U.S. Citizens Suffer From Poorer Health Than Nearly All Other Industrialized Countries”
“U.S. Citizens Have For Decades Been Dying At Younger Ages Than Those In Nearly All Other Industrialized Countries”
January 9, 2013 by Carey L. Biron, IPS-Inter Press Service [Excerpts]
U.S. citizens suffer from poorer health than nearly all other industrialized countries, according to the first comprehensive government analysis on the subject, released Wednesday. Of 17 high-income countries looked at by a committee of experts sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the United States is at or near the bottom in at least nine indicators. These include infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, and adolescent pregnancies, as well as more systemic issues such as injuries, homicides, and rates of disability. Together, such issues place U.S. males at the very bottom of the list, among those countries, for life expectancy; on average, a U.S. male can be expected to live almost four fewer years than those in the top-ranked country, Switzerland. U.S. females fare little better, ranked 16th out of the 17 high-income countries under review. Although the new findings offer a uniquely comprehensive view of the problem, the fact is that U.S. citizens have for decades been dying at younger ages than those in nearly all other industrialized countries. The committee looked at data going back to the 1970s to note that such a trend has been worsening at least since then, with women particularly affected. “A particular concern with these findings was about adolescents, about whom we document very serious issues that, again, stand out starkly from other counties,” Woolf says. “Not only do they risk being killed in greater numbers, but they are also experiencing illness, and a variety of mental health concerns, at far higher rates than similar cohorts in other countries. These include significant implications for tomorrow’s adults.”
“The $240 Billion Net Income Of The World’s 100 Richest Billionaires Would Have Ended Poverty Four Times Over”
“The World’s Richest One Percent Have Seen Their Income Increase By 60 Percent In The Last 20 Years”
“It’s Gotten So Out Of Control Between Rich And Poor That One Of The Obstacles To Solving Extreme Poverty Is Now Extreme Wealth”
20 Jan 2013 Al Jazeera and agencies The world’s 100 richest people earned enough money last year to end world extreme poverty four times over, according to a new report released by international rights group and charity Oxfam. The $240 billion net income of the world’s 100 richest billionaires would have ended poverty four times over, according to the London-based group’s report released on Saturday. The group says that the world’s richest one percent have seen their income increase by 60 percent in the last 20 years, with the latest world financial crisis only serving to hasten, rather than hinder, the process. "We sometimes talk about the ‘have-nots’ and the ‘haves’ - well, we’re talking about the ‘have-lots’. (...) We’re anti-poverty agency. We focus on poverty, we work with the poorest people around the world. You don’t normally hear us talking about wealth. But it’s gotten so out of control between rich and poor that one of the obstacles to solving extreme poverty is now extreme wealth," Ben Phillips, a campaign director at Oxfam, told Al Jazeera. "We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true," said Jeremy Hobbs, an executive director at Oxfam. "Concentration of resources in the hands of the top one per cent depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder. "In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what’s left."
Closing tax havens, the group said, could yield an additional $189bn in additional tax revenues. According to Oxfam’s figures, as much as $32 trillion is currently stored in tax havens. In a statement, Oxfam warned that "extreme wealth and income is not only unethical it is also economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive."
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