"News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era"
WorseThanYouThink * ProtectVote * FreeCamilo
14 September 2004
"One of the reasons I did not refuse the war from the beginning was
that I was afraid of losing my freedom. Today, as I sit behind bars
I realize that there are many types of freedom, and that in spite
of my confinement I remain free in many important ways."
– Camilo Mejia
August 8, 2004
U.S. Army Conscientious Objector
1) Newsweek: "It's Worse Than You Think"
- - The Real Reason We're In Iraq
- - Bush Team 'Knew of Abuse' at Guantánamo
- - US troops face new torture claims
- - House Republicans and Democrats Unite in Linking Iraq with 9/11
- - Democracy Now!- Headlines for September 13, 20042) Protect the Vote - 1-866-OUR VOTE
3) Prisoner of Conscience – Camilo Mejia
This active hurricane season could be likely generated from higher sea temperatures. Yet common sense can be debated, as we have discovered by the flag-waving fear-toting elements of the Bush administration. Their strategies in many polls seem to be working quite well on those willing to be controlled by tactics of fear and threats. We need to keep tirelessly working to convince those in denial about the truth of which administration will lead to greater harm and terror. Item 1 covers this issue that is in our face based on the weapons of deception. "It's Worse Than You Think." Item 2 is on a hotline for reporting unfair actions to stop anyone from voting. Item 3 provides an update on Camilo Meija, someone serving his country of choice right now as a U.S. Army Conscientious Objector.
Please note that updated at FlybyNews.com are links on events coming up this Saturday in Cummington, MA, "One World Fair," which features speakers such as Amy Goodman and Carol Mosely Braun, and a lot more. And on the following weekend, September 25 and 26th, the World Unity Festival, held at Inwood Hill Park in New York City. This festival will highlight various styles of music, visual arts, appropriate technology, social organizations, and workshops. This summit will also host a spectrum of Indigenous & religious leaders, educators and political activists. I was invited to table and speak at this event, but with schedule conflicts, will have to bail out and send FN flyers and address hand-outs for resource links since the Cassini-Earth flyby. NASA not only inspired the genesis of "news fit to transmit in the post Cassini flyby era," but the Earth-flyby plutonium radiation risk also surfaced a man with the most intriguing story of the millenniums. Make sure you check from FlybyNews.com - Exclusive reports on Bart Jordan, evidence of technologically advanced ancient civilizations.
and then hold on to your seats for an update on his work, coming soon, perhaps revealing more on Bart's open-ended question: "How many coincidences make a fact?"
1) Newsweek: "It's Worse Than You Think"
- - The Real Reason We're In Iraq
- - Bush Team 'Knew of Abuse' at Guantánamo
- - US troops face new torture claims
- - House Republicans and Democrats Unite in Linking Iraq with 9/11
- - Democracy Now!- Headlines for September 13, 2004- - It's Worse Than You Think
By Scott Johnson and Babak Dehghanpisheh
Newsweek - Monday September 20 2004 Issue
As Americans debate Vietnam, the U.S. death toll tops 1,000 in Iraq.
And the insurgents are still getting stronger.
Iraqis don't shock easily these days, but eyewitnesses could only blink in disbelief as they recounted last Tuesday's broad-daylight kidnappings in central Baghdad. At about 5 in the afternoon, on a quiet side street outside the Ibn Haitham hospital, a gang armed with pistols, AK-47s and pump-action shotguns raided a small house used by three Italian aid groups. The gunmen, none of them wearing masks, took orders from a smooth-shaven man in a gray suit; they called him "sir." When they drove off, the gunmen had four hostages: two local NGO employees - one of them a woman who was dragged out of the house by her headscarf - and two 29-year-old Italians, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, both members of the antiwar group A Bridge to Baghdad. The whole job took less than 10 minutes. Not a shot was fired. About 15 minutes afterward, an American Humvee convoy passed hardly a block away - headed in the opposite direction.
Sixteen months after the war's supposed end, Iraq's insurgency is spreading. Each successful demand by kidnappers has spawned more hostage-takings - to make Philippine troops go home, to stop Turkish truckers from hauling supplies into Iraq, to extort fat ransom payments from Kuwaitis. The few relief groups that remain in Iraq are talking seriously about leaving. U.S. forces have effectively ceded entire cities to the insurgents, and much of the country elsewhere is a battleground. Last week the total number of U.S. war dead in Iraq passed the 1,000 mark, reaching 1,007 by the end of Saturday.
U.S. forces are working frantically to train Iraqis for the thankless job of maintaining public order. The aim is to boost Iraqi security forces from 95,000 to 200,000 by sometime next year. Then, using a mixture of force and diplomacy, the Americans plan to retake cities and install credible local forces. That's the hope, anyway. But the quality of new recruits is debatable. During recent street demonstrations in Najaf, police opened fire on crowds, killing and injuring dozens. The insurgents, meanwhile, are recruiting, too. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once referred to America's foes in Iraq as "dead-enders," then the Pentagon maintained they probably numbered 5,000, and now senior military officials talk about "dozens of regional cells" that could call upon as many as 20,000 fighters.
Yet U.S. officials publicly insist that Iraq will somehow hold national elections before the end of January. The appointed council currently acting as Iraq's government under interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is to be replaced by an elected constitutional assembly - if the vote takes place. "I presume the election will be delayed," says the Iraqi Interior Ministry's chief spokesman, Sabah Kadhim. A senior Iraqi official sees no chance of January elections: "I'm convinced that it's not going to happen. It's just not realistic. How is it going to happen?" Some Iraqis worry that America will stick to its schedule despite all obstacles. "The Americans have created a series of fictional dates and events in order to delude themselves," says Ghassan Atiyya, director of the independent Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy, who recently met with Allawi and American representatives to discuss the January agenda. "Badly prepared elections, rather than healing wounds, will open them."
America has its own Election Day to worry about. For U.S. troops in Iraq, one especially sore point is the stateside public's obsession with the candidates' decades-old military service. "Stop talking about Vietnam," says one U.S. official who has spent time in the Sunni Triangle. "People should be debating this war, not that one." His point was not that America ought to walk away from Iraq. Hardly any U.S. personnel would call that a sane suggestion. But there's widespread agreement that Washington needs to rethink its objectives, and quickly. "We're dealing with a population that hovers between bare tolerance and outright hostility," says a senior U.S. diplomat in Baghdad. "This idea of a functioning democracy here is crazy. We thought that there would be a reprieve after sovereignty, but all hell is breaking loose."
It's not only that U.S. casualty figures keep climbing. American counterinsurgency experts are noticing some disturbing trends in those statistics. The Defense Department counted 87 attacks per day on U.S. forces in August - the worst monthly average since Bush's flight-suited visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. Preliminary analysis of the July and August numbers also suggests that U.S. troops are being attacked across a wider area of Iraq than ever before. And the number of gunshot casualties apparently took a huge jump in August. Until then, explosive devices and shrapnel were the primary cause of combat injuries, typical of a "phase two" insurgency, where sudden ambushes are the rule. (Phase one is the recruitment phase, with most actions confined to sabotage. That's how things started in Iraq.) Bullet wounds would mean the insurgents are standing and fighting - a step up to phase three.
Another ominous sign is the growing number of towns that U.S. troops simply avoid. A senior Defense official objects to calling them "no-go areas." "We could go into them any time we wanted," he argues. The preferred term is "insurgent enclaves." They're spreading. Counterinsurgency experts call it the "inkblot strategy": take control of several towns or villages and expand outward until the areas merge. The first city lost to the insurgents was Fallujah, in April. Now the list includes the Sunni Triangle cities of Ar Ramadi, Baqubah and Samarra, where power shifted back and forth between the insurgents and American-backed leaders last week. "There is no security force there [in Fallujah], no local government," says a senior U.S. military official in Baghdad. "We would get attacked constantly. Forget about it."
U.S. military planners only wish they could. "What we see is a classic progression," says Andrew Krepinevich, author of the highly respected study "The Army and Vietnam." "What we also see is that the U.S. military is not trained or organized to fight insurgencies. That was the deliberate choice after Vietnam. Now we look to be paying the price." Americans aren't safe even on the outskirts of a city like Fallujah. Early last week a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into two U.S. Humvees nine miles north of town on the four-lane concrete bypass called Highway 10. Seven Americans died. It was one of the deadliest blows against U.S. forces since June, when Iraqis formally resumed control of their government.
As much as ordinary Iraqis may hate the insurgents, they blame the Americans for creating the whole mess. Three months ago Iraqi troops and U.S.-dominated "multinational forces" pulled out of Samarra, and insurgents took over the place immediately. "The day the MNF left, people celebrated in the streets," says Kadhim, the Interior spokesman. "But that same day, vans arrived in town and started shooting. They came from Fallujah and other places and they started blowing up houses." Local elders begged Allawi's government to send help. "The leaders of the tribes come to see us and they say, 'Really, we are scared, we don't like these people'," Kadhim continues. "But we just don't have the forces at the moment to help them." Last week negotiators reached a tentative peace deal, but it's not likely to survive long. The Iraqi National Guard is the only homegrown security force that people respect, and all available ING personnel are deployed elsewhere.
Will Iraq's troubles get even worse? "The insurgency can certainly sustain what it's doing for a while," says a senior U.S. military official. Many educated Iraqis aren't waiting to find out. Applicants mobbed the courtyard of the Baghdad passport office last week, desperate for a chance to escape. Police fired shots in the air, trying to control the crowd. "Every day there is shooting, gunfire, people killed, headaches for lack of sleep," said Huda Hussein, 34, a Ph.D. in computer science who has spent the past year and a half looking for work. "I want to go to a calm place for a while." It's too bad for Iraq - and for America - that the insurgents don't share that wish.
For original article, see:www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5973272/site/newsweek
also posted at: www.truthout.org/docs_04/091404V.shtml
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =- - The Real Reason We're In Iraq
by Harley Sorensen
September 13, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
The Real Reason We're In Iraq
by Harley Sorensen
We should get out of Iraq immediately. Let me explain ...
But, first, bear in mind why we're in Iraq. It has nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, and it has nothing to do with the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
It has a lot to do with ambition.
For the complete article, see:www.commondreams.org/views04/0913-03.htm
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = - - Bush Team 'Knew of Abuse' at Guantánamo
by Oliver Burkeman
Published, September 13, 2004 by the Guardian/UK
WASHINGTON - Evidence of prisoner abuse and possible war crimes at Guantánamo Bay reached the highest levels of the Bush administration as early as autumn 2002, but Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, chose to do nothing about it, according to a new investigation published exclusively in the Guardian today.
The investigation, by the veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, quotes one former marine at the camp recalling sessions in which guards would "fuck with [detainees] as much as we could" by inflicting pain on them.
The Bush administration repeatedly assured critics that inmates were granted recreation periods, but one Pentagon adviser told Hersh how, for some prisoners, they consisted of being left in straitjackets in intense sunlight with hoods over their heads.
Hersh provides details of how President George Bush signed off on the establishment of a secret unit that was given advance approval to kill or capture and interrogate "high-value" suspects - considered by many to be in defiance of international law - an officially "unacknowledged" programme that was eventually transferred wholesale from Guantánamo to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Hersh, who broke the story of the My Lai massacre in the Vietnam war, makes his revelations in a new book, Chain of Command, which leaves senior figures in the Bush administration far more seriously implicated in the torture scandal than had been previously apparent.
A CIA analyst visited Guantánamo in summer 2002 and returned "convinced that we were committing war crimes" and that "more than half the people there didn't belong there. He found people lying in their own faeces," a CIA source told Hersh.
The analyst submitted a report to General John Gordon, an aide to Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush's national security adviser.
Gen Gordon was troubled, and, one former administration official told Hersh "that if the actions at Guantánamo ever became public, it'd be damaging to the president".
Ms Rice saw the document by autumn of the same year, and called a high-level meeting at which she asked Mr Rumsfeld, to deal with the problem.
But after he vowed to act, "the Pentagon went into a full-court stall", a former White House official is quoted as saying. "Why didn't Condi do more? She made the same mistake I made. She got the secretary of defence to say he's going to take care of it."
The investigation further suggests that CIA and FBI staff had already witnessed incidents at Guantánamo just as extreme as those that would subsequently be alleged by freed inmates.
A senior intelligence official told Hersh: "I was told [by FBI agents] that the military guards were slapping prisoners, stripping them, pouring cold water over them and making them stand until they got hypothermia."
The secret "special access programme" facilitating much of the mistreatment of prisoners, widely held to have contravened the Geneva convention, was established following a direct order from the president.
Hersh reports that a secret document signed by Mr Bush in February 2002 stated: "I determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al-Qaida in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world."
Hersh's book reports that an army officer communicated concerns over abuses at Abu Ghraib both to General John Abizaid, the US central command (Centcom) chief at the time, and his deputy, General Lance Smith.
The officer told Hersh: "I said there are systematic abuses going on in the prisons. Abizaid didn't say a thing. He looked at me - beyond me, as if to say, 'Move on. I don't want to touch this.'" Centcom has disputed the allegation.
In an interview with the Guardian, Hersh provided evidence that the administration sought to evade the issue: he said codenames of some programmes were changed within hours of his original story appearing, presumably to maintain their secrecy.
In a statement, the Pentagon said Hersh's investigation "apparently contains many of the numerous unsubstantiated allegations and inaccuracies which he has made in the past based upon unnamed sources ... Thus far ... investigations have determined that no responsible official of the Department of Defence approved any programme that could conceivably have authorised or condoned the abuses seen at Abu Ghraib. If any of Mr Hersh's anonymous sources wish to come forward and offer evidence to the contrary, the department welcomes them to do so."
Pressure has been building on the Pentagon over its detention policies after it emerged at a Congressional hearing last week that the administration is being accused of concealing up to 100 "ghost detainees" from the Red Cross, which must be granted access to prisoners of war and other detainees under the Geneva convention.
Mr Rumsfeld told reporters on Friday he had approved the use of harsh interrogation measures, but that they had only been meant for Guantánamo. He said the measures ought to be contrasted with those of terrorists. "Does it rank up there with chopping someone's head off on television?" he asked. "It doesn't."
© Guardian Newspapers Limitedwww.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1303064,00.html
also posted www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0913-21.htm
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =- - US troops face new torture claims
by Richard Norton-Taylor
Tuesday September 14, 2004
Allegations that American soldiers routinely tortured and maltreated detainees have emerged from a third Iraqi city, renewing fears that abuse similar to that inflicted in Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad has been systematic and widespread.
American soldiers in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul beat and stripped detainees, threatened sexual abuse and forced them to listen to loud western music, according to statements seen by the Guardian.
Lawyers investigating the claims have sent details to the Pentagon and the British Ministry of Defence and have demanded an inquiry.
Though the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail and in Basra has been well-documented, this is the first time claims of abuse have been made from the north of the country.
Two statements have been taken from Iraqis detained in Mosul and more are expected.
In one, an Iraqi lawyer says he was hooded and stripped naked in a building known as the "disco".
Yasir Rubaii Saeed al-Qutaji describes how loud western music was played and cold water poured over his body; he said he was also threatened with sexual abuse.
"For the next 15 hours they tried to break me down by taking me frequently inside and repeating the stripping, cold water and loud music sequence," he says.
"Due to the very loud music," he adds, "they would talk to me via a loudspeaker that was placed next to my ears."
The beatings did not leave a mark on his body because his attackers wore special gloves, he says.
Mr al-Qutaji says he was a founder member of the Islamic Organisation for Human Rights. He claims that other prisoners were treated even worse. "Some were burnt with fire, others [had] bandaged broken arms."
In a separate statement, Haitham Saeed al-Mallah, a Mosul-born engineering graduate, says his house was raided by seven American soldiers in January. "I was handcuffed and hooded and was then taken to an unknown place which they call 'the disco', where they played very loud music as one of their means of torture."
He adds: "They left me standing for hours, handcuffed and hooded, which made me quite disorientated. Then I was kicked very hard on my stomach, which was fol lowed by continuous beating with a stick and with their boots until I fell unconscious. I only woke up after they poured over my head very cold water, which caused me great suffering."
Mr al-Mallah says he was taken to a room where there was a "group torture".
He adds: "I heard nothing but screaming and suffering of detained Iraqis. The usage of cold water along with beating seemed to be a standard procedure. We were then asked to perform exhausting exercises of squatting while they were playing extremely loud (and dirty) music.
"Whoever fell to the ground out of exhaustion would receive painful beating and cold water. We were prevented from going to the toilets despite our pleas, which made many of us soil ourselves."
He says detainees were allowed to sleep for about two hours, after which the cycle of torture continued.
"The new thing this time was ordering us to shout, 'Long live the United States'. We were also made to shout obscenities (sentences that had the word 'fuck' in them)."
Mr al-Mallah says the next day, he saw "a young man of 14 years of age bleeding from his anus and lying on the floor.
"He was Kurdish and his name was Hama. I heard the soldiers talking to each other about this guy, they mentioned that the reason for this bleeding was inserting a metal object in his anus."
Mr al-Qutaji, who was detained in March, says he and other Iraqi lawyers have been unable to stop abuses because US forces have been given immunity from prosecution.
He says Paul Bremer, former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, dismissed 120 of Iraq's senior judges, 45 of them in Mosul, on the grounds that they were supporters of Saddam's regime.
Phil Shiner, of the Birmingham-based law firm Public Interest Lawyers, is trying to get the cases raised in the British courts. He is working with American lawyers to get them raised there.
"The British public needs to know the full implications of the decision to get into this war," he said.
A US army spokesman in Baghdad said yesterday that he was surprised by the allegations, which would be investigated.
The MoD in London said it had not yet been made aware of the allegations.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1304042,00.html
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = - - House Republicans and Democrats Unite in Linking Iraq with 9/11
by Stephen Zunes
September 13, 2004
Published by CommonDreams.org
On the eve of the third anniversary of 9/11, the U.S. House of Representatives – by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 406-16 – passed a resolution linking Iraq to the Al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This comes despite conclusions reached by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and the consensus of independent strategic analysis familiar with the region that no such links ever existed.
For the complete article, see:www.commondreams.org/views04/0913-14.htm
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =- - Democracy Now!- Headlines for September 13, 2004
- "I'm a journalist. I'm dying, I'm dying": Arab Reporter Killed in U.S. Attack
- Fate of Four Aid Workers Kidnapped in Iraq Remains Unclear
- US Soldier Sentenced for Abu Ghraib Torture
- Rumsfeld Confuses Saddam and Bin Laden Twice in Speech
- 9/11 Pollution 'Could Cause More Deaths Than Attack'
- Assault Weapons Ban Ends Today: AK-47s, Uzis, TEC-9s Legal.
Monday, September 13th, 2004
..One of the most terrifying incidents of the weekend came Sunday when a US helicopter opened fire on a crowd milling around an abandoned Bradley armored vehicle that the Pentagon says had been attacked. At least 13 people were killed in the US helicopter attack on the crowd and children are among the dead. The US strikes also killed a journalist from the Arab TV network al Arabiya. The network broadcast harrowing footage of its correspondent, Mazen al-Tumeisi, reporting from the scene when he is hit by shrapnel. He doubles over and his blood splatters on the camera lens as he screams, "I'm a journalist. I'm dying, I'm dying."
For the complete transcript, see:
Headlines for September 13, 2004www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/09/13/1428225
2) Protect the Vote - 1-866-OUR VOTE
Protect the Vote
By Bob Herbert
The New York Times
Monday 13 September 2004
..The attempt to prevent blacks from voting has been a staple of America's political history, like long-winded speeches and balloons. I wrote three columns last month about a situation in Orlando, Fla., in which armed state police officers went into the homes of elderly black voters to question them as part of a so-called criminal investigation involving absentee ballots. This tactic sent a definite chill through voters who were old enough to remember the torment inflicted on Southern blacks who tried to vote in the 1950's and 60's.
A new study by the People for the American Way Foundation and the N.A.A.C.P. describes many recent examples of voter harassment and intimidation - the latest entries in the long and sordid history of disenfranchisement in the U.S. The study, called "The Long Shadow of Jim Crow," noted:
"Voter intimidation and suppression efforts have not been limited to a single party, but have in fact shifted over time as voting allegiances have shifted. In recent decades, African-American voters have largely been loyal to the Democratic Party, resulting in the prevalence of Republican efforts to suppress minority turnout."
In Texas, students at the predominantly black Prairie View A&M University were threatened with arrest by the local district attorney, a Republican, who suggested they were not eligible to vote in the county in which the school was located. This was nonsense. Students can vote in their college towns if they designate the campus as their home address. The whole point, of course, was intimidation. The threat of arrest is an excellent way of deterring someone from voting.
There are endless stories of attempts to discourage blacks from voting. Few get substantial publicity, so this is not seen as a big national problem. It deserves a brighter spotlight. When duly registered blacks are improperly challenged at the polls, or Florida tries to use a patently discriminatory voter felons list, or black votes are criminally tampered with or simply not counted at all - something should be done.
The number to call is 1-866-OUR VOTE. www.truthout.org/docs_04/091404I.shtml
or the original was posted:www.nytimes.com/2004/09/13/opinion/13herbert.html
3) Prisoner of Conscience – Camilo Mejia"Behind these bars I sit a free man
because I listened to a higher power,
the voice of my conscience".
On May 21, 2004, 28-year-old Sgt. Camilo Mejia was sentenced to one year in prison for refusing to return to fight in Iraq. Camilo spent six months in combat in Iraq, then returned for a 2-week furlough to the US. There he reflected on what he had seen, including the abuse of prisoners and the killing of civilians. He concluded that the war was illegal and immoral, and decided that he would not return. In March 2004 he turned himself in to the US military and filed an application for conscientious objector status.
A great resource on Camilo Mejia, and suggestions for how you can support his efforts for nonviolence and conscience, see: freecamilo.org
Latest News - Monday, Sept. 13, 2004 - Camilo has been given the Courageous Resister Award.
Read his moving statement here. This is his first statement written from prison:freecamilo.org/words.htm
For how you can support and contact Camilo, see: freecamilo.org/support.htm
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