Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
Anybody surprised? I didn't think so.
I can't quote the whole article but I can encourage you to read it!
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Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
Anybody surprised? I didn't think so.
I can't quote the whole article but I can encourage you to read it!
In Iraq, the month of May saw the largest number of Iraqi civilian deaths since the war began 3 years ago. The Baghdad morgue reported over 1400 dead in May. Over 400 of the dead Iraqis could not be identified. Some journalists, like veteran reporter Robert Fisk, claim that the officials are under-reporting the actual number of deaths. In addition, many more bodies can never be counted because explosions and road side bombs often leave little evidence of human remains.
What's clear is that the violence in Iraq is increasing at a pivotal time for the fledgling Iraqi government. Even the shell-shocked Iraqis are stunned by the new level of violence. For example, over a two day period, 18 severed heads wrapped in plastic have been discovered. The likely cause are the escalating sectarian revenge killings.
In this video, an Iraqi woman cries,
Where is Bush who occupied our country?
Why did they kill us?
ADDENDUM FROM BRAD: Good timing for David Edward's post here. I was about to do one of my own, pointing out this report that 6,000 Iraqi corpses have been discovered in the last 5 months. Given Iraq's population of appx. 25 million, compared with the US's population of 300 million. The equivalent of 6000 deaths in Iraq over the past five months would be some 72,000 in America. If we had 72,000 murders via "sectarian violence" in America in just five months, would that be considered a civil war? Or would we criticize the media for not reporting all the "good news" in our country?
Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha appeared on CNN America Morning where he expressed outraged at the military's handling of the massacre of innocent Iraqis by Marines in Haditha, Iraq. It's been over 6 months since the incident occurred, yet the investigation is still not complete. The Pentagon refused to drop their cover story until Time Magazine published an article in February of this year. If it were not for that article, the military would have never publicly recognized the atrocities in Haditha.
Murtha said that, even now, the Military was trying to spin the report by telling the press that the incident happened during a combat situation. According to Murtha:
The stories keep getting worse and worse. Then they try to cover it up by saying they were killed by an IED to confuse the message. They're still trying to confuse the message.
Today, I was talking to Charlie Johnson, ABC News, and he says "the military says this, the military says that." Look, this happened 6 months ago, this happened Nov. 19th. They knew the day after what had happened. They keep spinning it to make it look like it was something that happened during [combat] action.
official ass-kisser correspondent reviewed the timeline of events originally compiled by Time Magazine. After a roadside bomb killed one soldier, the Marines killed four teenagers in a taxi. The taxi driver was also killed. In the first house, Marines killed 7 people, including women and children. In the next house, 8 were killed, including 6 women. The third house was spared. In the fourth house, however, 4 were killed.
Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA, formerly OpTruth) sends The BRAD BLOG a few exclusive passages, as read by the author, from his new book Chasing Ghosts --- documenting his extraordinary experiences in Iraq.
Paul was kind enough to send to us a copy of the book recently which we hope to be able to read in full some time this summer, if the gods ever lend us a few quiet hours.
The title of the first chapter alone, however --- "George Bush Had Better Be Fucking Right" --- should highly recommend this book to anyone.
Here's Paul reading a few passages from the book, which we're honored to run on Memorial Day, as just part of our thanks to those American troops fighting on our behalf...whether many of them like it or not. We particularly appreciate those like Reickhoff, and all of the tremendous folks at IAVA, who have had the courage to speak out about where this Administration and this Congress is letting them down and where they are abysmally failing to adequately support our troops.
Our thanks to Paul for all of the above. Please enjoy the audio clip, and please consider buying the book. The Chasting Ghosts website is right here...
ADDENDUM... Rieckhoff recently appeared as a guest on Steven Colbert's show, just days after Colbert's infamous appearance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. He talked about the book, and otherwise held up under Colbert's "nailing" as well as I've ever seen anybody. Check out the video of Rieckhoff's appearance on Colbert if you didn't catch it when it aired.
UPDATE: Broken links in this item now corrected. Sorry about that!
We first met Karen Meredith in Crawford, Texas last Summer where she was one of many Gold Star family members standing with Cindy Sheehan who'd also lost her only son in Iraq. We interviewed Karen live [mp3] from Camp Casey on The BRAD SHOW about her son, Kenneth Michael Ballard, and her courageous stand against this war. We continue to both wear and cherish the duplicate dog tag of Ken's that she gave us while we were there, and think of both of them often.
On September 9, 2005, nearly a year and a half after she learned of the death of Ken in Najaf, the Army informed her that her son's death was an accident. They had known for a year, but failed to tell her. We blogged about that here.
What follows, is a letter Karen shared with us, as written to mark the occasion of yet another Memorial Day spent without her son. We're pleased to share it with you on yet another Memorial Day as our troops continue to fight and die by the thousands in this continuing, senseless war...
On Memorial Day, we raise our flags; we want to show our patriotism. We have a holiday from work and we have BBQ's with our friends and families. For some, it is a day to save some money at the mall- 15% off- Memorial Day sale! When we celebrate those events, we ignore the origins of Memorial Day. Memorial Day is the day that we, as a country pay our respects and remember those soldiers who were killed or who died in service to America. For politicians it is a day to participate in civic activities and to visit cemeteries. Politicians articulate our sorrow as a nation.
I want to tell you about one soldier that will be remembered this Memorial Day. 1Lt Kenneth Michael Ballard of Mountain View, California was 26 years old when he was killed in a fierce battle in Najaf, Iraq on 5.30.04. His gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery is plain. That headstone in Section 60, Site 8006 tells when he was born and when he died. It describes his valor and heroism with his medals, his 3 Bronze Stars, 2 with valor and his Purple Heart.
But you need to know more than that about Ken. You need to know this because you sent my only child to his untimely death. You are keeping our members of the military in harm's way in Iraq and you have the power to bring them home and to stop this senseless killing...
One of our favorite tunes to come out of Camp Casey in Crawford, TX last summer was Jesse Dyen's "Sons & Daughters". We interviewed Jesse [MP3], who sang it for us live on air when we were there for our special "Project Noble Cause" broadcasts of The BRAD SHOW. The moment Jesse began singing, a mighty wind blew through the big tent, perhaps on the leading edge of Katrina, on one of our last days there, on August 29, 2005. As ever, the mighty denizens of Camp Casey swung into action during the live broadcast with trashcan lids and cardboard and bodies to protect Jesse, and the live microphone, from the sudden gust during his song. Yet another memorable moment.
Anyway...Jesse recently let us know about a video of the song that's just been released on the Internet, using footage taken at Camp Casey by videographer Chun Pan.
We never tire of the song and, of course, the footage brought back memories for us. Memorial Day Weekend seems an apropos time to share the link with you. Please give it a look, a listen, and enjoy...
During a Wednesday press confernce, Representative Jack Murtha (D-PA), a former marine, revealed that an ongoing military investigation will show that Marines killed innocent women and children "in cold blood". The incident happened in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005.
While the Pentagon's investigation has not been completed, Murtha reported:
At the time of the incident, a Marine spokesman said that 15 innocent civilians had been killed in a roadside bomb explosion and 8 insurgents were killed by U.S. Marines in a related gun battle.
Outraged locals reported a very different version of events. The Marines forcefully entered a home and murdered 15 unarmed civialians. There had been no explosion from a roadside bomb. There were no insurgents in the area. The Pentagon flatly denied the Iraqi's version of events.
We first reported on this incident on March 22, 2006 with video evidence (see our flash video or wmv video) that the Pentagon's version of events were largely a fabrication. The Haditha video evidence, shot by an Iraqi film student, showed the aftermath of the murders in Haditha. Unarmed bodies of women children were seen slain in praying positions. The walls were covered with blood and bullet holes.
A 9 year old girl survived the Haditha massacre and was able to provide an eyewitness account of the crimes. In the video at the beginning of this article (pictured at left), the 9 year old girl describes what she witnessed, "The American's came into my room where my father was praying. They went to my grandmother and killed her too. I heard an explosion. They threw a grenade under my grandfather's bed."
The Haditha video evidence was eventually obtained by Time Magazine and broadcast on Arab television. The Pentagon gave way to public pressure and opened an investigation into the killings at Haditha. We can't help but wonder how many other atrocities have been ignored or covered-up due to a lack of public evidence and public pressure?
This video contains yesterday's report from the UK's Channel 4 News. Then, in an interview on MSNBC, Rep. Jack Murtha can barely contain his frustration with Bush Administration's Iraq "policy" which he blames for creating overwhelming stress on American soldiers. The playing time is about 8 minutes.
The number of Iraqis forced from their homes due to organized campaigns of ethnic cleansing has increased from 30,000 to 100,000 in the month of April.
Only a month ago, we posted a video from ABC News which reported that 30,000 Iraqi had been forced from their homes due to sectarian threats. Some have described the situation that has created thousands of Iraq refugees as an organized effort of ethnic cleansing.
Just 20 days after our initial report, the Iraqi Red Crescent estimates that over 100,000 Iraqis have become refugees in their own country. Some suggest that the number of displaced people might be much higher but the current security situation in Iraq prevents even a cursory audit of more than 1000 refugee camps.
This video combines a report from BBC with an Arab news report from Baghdad. The BBC's James Reynolds reports from one of the 'tent cities'. Reynolds is told by the Iraqi Red Crescent that "somebody is behind this war. It is highly organized."...
Ex-CIA Analyst Ray McGovern smackdowned of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld during an event in Atlanta yesterday. During a Q&A period, McGovern demanded answers for a few of Rumsfeld's more specious claims.
Almost certainly, you have already seen or heard highlights of this clip. This version from MSNBC's Countdown contains the full 4 minute exchange between Rumsfeld and McGovern as well various other protesters being roughly handled and removed from the venue. Richard Wolffe of Newsweek provides analysis of the political fallout for Rumsfeld and the Bush Administration.
UPDATE: Text transcript here...
FURTHER UPDATE: Brad conducted an hourlong interview McGovern on The BRAD SHOW in June of 2005 just prior to his congressional testimony on the Downing Street Memos. It was a fascinating interview, if we may say so ourselves. Audio archive [MP3] or text transcript of the interview.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright appeared on CNN's American Morning to announce her new book, "The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs." The new book critiques U.S. foreign policy and imperialist notions of manifest destiny. She is particularly critical of the way that George W. Bush has invoked God in the name of advancing narrow political and foreign policy goals.
In her new book, Madam Secretary Albright writes that the invasion of Iraq may be "the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history." CNN's Miles O'Brien asked Albright to explain her statement (transcript)...
ALBRIGHT: I am very troubled by it, because there are so many immediate consequences and then the unintended consequences. First of all, I never believed that there was a connection between Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. But clearly now Iraq has become a major recruiting ground for everybody who hates us. Then there is the real question about what this has done to America's authority --- our moral authority as a result of what happened in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and it has damaged us in terms of what we can do in other parts of the world.
Then I think the biggest unintended consequence is that all of a sudden, Iran is the one that has gained incredible influence in the region. And finally, it has put real question about American power. How do we use it? What are the messages that we're sending with it? So I think Iraq is a mess. That's a diplomatic term of art. And I am very worried about the intended and unintended consequences.
Madeleine Albright explains the damage caused by aligning the "Global War on Terror" or any policy with the idea that God is on America's "side". If you oppose Bush, the War in Iraq, or the way that American power is being used then you are "picking a fight with God.", Albright says. The unbridled use of religion in foreign policy narrows our supporters throughout the world and leads to continued conflict.
Here are two recent news broadcasts from the Middle East. The first is from the city of Al-Basra in Southern Iraq and the other from Israel. Both clips are evidence that the threat of war with Iran has already become a reality for those who are living on its' battlefield.
VIDEO - Iraqi Officials Pledge Suicide Bombers to Stop Attack on Iran
Al-Basra City is located in the southern part of Iraq. The city has a seaport that is crucial for the export of Iraq's oil. Basra's location on Iran's southern border makes the city valuable strategically for the launch of a ground attack against Iran (map).
The City Council of Al-Basra has vowed that it will "do everything in their power" to prevent U.S. forces from launching an attack on Iran from Southern Iraq. The Council said that it wanted to maintain a good relationship with neighboring countries. The Council believes that Iran has a right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
The head of Basra's City Council stressed their resolve to stop any attack by saying, "I assure you when we talked about martyring that it wasn't a slip of the tongue. Iraqis are known for their willingness to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of their principals."
Iran claims that coalition forces are already conducting operations along the southern Iraq/Iran border.
VIDEO - Israeli Propaganda TV: Iranian Threat Worse Than Nazi Germany
The Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) recently aired this segment of a new film, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West."
The film compares the threat of Radical Islam to the threat of Nazism. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler.
Background music builds tension and suspense. Pictures of radical Islamists overlay film of soldiers marching in Nazi Germany. Hitler's followers cheer as he promises death to all Jews. Thousands of Iranians chant "Death to America". Writers and Historians speak with authoritative voices of dire warnings and predictions that this terrible history is repeating itself.
The film evokes feelings of helplessness along with the psychological terror of an impending nuclear Holocaust. It's emotional manipulation worthy of the most vile Bush/Cheney campaign advertisement.
Earlier this week, a European Parliament committee released a report saying that the CIA had illegally detained people and used secret 'rendition' flights to transport them to other countries or secret CIA prisons where they were expected to be tortured.
Several members of European Parliament met in Macedonia today to investigate the story of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen, who was abducted by the CIA. After being kidnapped, he was then 'rendered' to a U.S. prison in Afghanistan and held for 5 months.
Today the U.S. government released its 2005 report on worldwide terrorism. It reveals that, compared to the 2004 figures, the number of terrorist attacks more than tripled and the number of people killed in those attacks more than doubled. The hard data: last year saw 14,602 killed in 11,111 attacks.
Those are startling increases. Earlier this year, I reported on a different data set, compiled by the RAND Corporation, which showed much lower, but still substantial, increases of 36% in the number of deaths and 51% in the number of attacks.
Why the big differences? Essentially, what the Bush administration has been doing, ever since terrorism numbers started to shoot up after the invasion of Iraq, is try to obfuscate and spin the numbers in order to disguise the increases.
Ex-CIA Analyst, Ray McGovern, is part of the group "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity" which has been critical of the Bush Administration for the political use of National Security intelligence. McGovern also happens to be a friend of Mary McCarthy. McCarthy was recently fired by the CIA for allegedly leaking classified information to reporters.
The opinion of the intelligence community is unanimous. In general, leaking of classified information is a firing offense, possible criminal and can pose a danger to America's national interests. Ray McGovern agrees that leaks are dangerous and should not be condoned but he says that actions by the Bush Administration have created an "exceptional situation" where leaking may be the only choice for exposing illegal activities.
Ray McGovern says that the "war of aggression" on Iraq, the secret "black" prisons, torture, rendition and other activities are "war crimes". The American people deserve to know when crimes are being committed by their government. McGovern says:
But my point is: This is not American. This is not the country that we serve. And when we see this happening, somebody has to speak out.
This video contains about 10 minutes of clips from the interview with Ray McGovern. See PBS Newshour for an entire transcript.
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