Tag Archive: Iraq


Victory In Scott Olsen Case

 

 

 

 

” The City of Oakland has agreed to pay Scott Olsen $4.5 million to compensate him for devastating brain injuries he suffered when an Oakland Police officer shot him in the head with a “less lethal” munition on October 25, 2011, during a demonstration in support of Occupy Oakland. The lead filled “bean bag” round, fired from a 12 gauge shotgun, shattered Mr. Olsen’s skull and permanently destroyed part of his brain. The settlement in Olsen v. City of Oakland, 3:12-cv-06333, is pending final approval by the Oakland City Council. Mr. Olsen was represented by attorneys Jim Chanin, Rachel Lederman, and Julie Houk.

  Mr. Olsen had only been at the demonstration for a matter of minutes before OPD commanders gave the order to use munitions on the assembled crowd. He was shot 18 seconds later. Lederman explained, “The commanders knew the teargas and flashbangs would cause people to panic and run, yet they elected to shoot SIM into the densely packed crowd and it is only a matter of luck that more people weren’t injured as severely as Scott Olsen or killed. If the police had done sufficient planning for the demonstration and followed their own Crowd Control Policy, the use of weapons could have entirely been avoided. After all, no other Bay Area city responded to Occupy with SIM or teargas and no other city has incurred the enormous costs that the people of Oakland have as a result.” “The cost is not only money,” added Olsen. “If people can’t speak out without fear of being shot we don’t really have democracy.” “

 

Read more at WeCopWatch.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Detonates, Kills 21 Students In Iraq

 

” Insurgents accidentally set off their own car bomb Monday at a training camp in an orchard in a Sunni area north of Baghdad, leaving 21 dead and some two dozen arrested, Iraqi officials said. 

  Authorities found seven car bombs — all without plates — several explosive belts and roadside bombs after searching two houses and a garage in the dense area, offering a rare glimpse into the workings of militants behind a resurgence in violence in the country. Bomb experts began working immediately to defuse the explosives.

  A police officer said the militants were attending a lesson on making car bombs and explosive belts when a glitch set off one of the devices.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gene pool grew a little bit stronger and “Paradise’s virgins” got a little bit busier yesterday … Good on them .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best (And Worst) War Movies Of All Time

 

” War movies have been around as long as cinema has existed. There is something about the horror, bravery, tragedy, and excitement of combat that has inspires filmmakers and put butts in the seats. By our thinking, a good war movie says something specific to the conflict it purports to represent. Historical accuracy is also a plus, but it’s easy to forgive some errors in the face of a good plot or overall effectiveness of a film. We limited our list to conflicts in which the U.S. fought, and we skipped a few, such as Kosovo or Grenada, that didn’t inspire many films. Of course, let us know what movies we’re missing.”

 

 

Worst Korean War Movie: MASH (1970)

” There are not many movies about the Korean War. So it’s annoying that perhaps the most famous one doesn’t actually focus on the conflict. MASH riffs on Vietnam while setting the battlefield hospital in Korea. The helicopter, introduced in Korea as a way to get casualties to hospitals, became an icon of the Vietnam War. The tales of cynical, world-weary doctors who misbehave, save lives, and gripe about the folly of war were comments on the war of the time, not the Korean conflict. The movie is much better than the TV show, though, and has an intriguing mix of comedy and bloody surgery. But these positives do not make MASH a great war movie or even a great antiwar movie. Its attitude and willingness to shock the establishment feel stuck in its time.”
See the best & worst movies of all US conflicts here … See how their choices stack up against yours 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UN: More Than 140,000 Iraqis Flee Anbar Violence

” A United Nations official says more than 140,000 Iraqis have fled parts of Anbar province over clashes between security forces and al-Qaida militants.”

 

” He added that more than 65,000 people fled the conflict in the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah just in the past week alone.”

Smart diplomacy … hmmm

… And Most DON’T Want The Face Covered

 

Survey: Chart shows how people from seven different countries with a majority-Muslim population believe women should dress

 

 

” The way Muslim women should dress in public has been a strongly debated topic in recent months.

  But a new study has now revealed what the citizens of different Muslim countries believe is appropriate female dress – and how widely views differ between them. 

  The survey was conducted across seven countries – Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – which all have a majority Muslim population.

  And the research from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that most residents in these countries prefer women to cover their hair with a traditional hijab, al-Amira or head scarf rather than cover their entire face with a full burqa or niqab. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From The Latest Commentary Magazine

 

 

 

” The situation in Iraq’s restive Western province of al-Anbar continues to deteriorate as al-Qaeda-affiliated radicals have now seized Fallujah and threaten to take more cities. Some analysts have been tempted to blame everyone from Prime Minister Maliki in Baghdad to President Obama in the White House—and certainly there is blame to go around—but ultimately that political blame should not cover the fact that sometimes the solution to terrorism rooted in ideology is not counterinsurgency strategy or winning hearts and minds, but rather killing those who embrace terror.”

 

 

Killed terrorists can’t kill . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al-Qaeda-Linked Force Captures Fallujah Amid Rise In Violence In Iraq

 

 

All for nothing …

” A rejuvenated al-Qaeda-affiliated force asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago.

  The capture of Fallujah came amid an explosion of violence across the western desert province of Anbar in which local tribes, Iraqi security forces and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have been fighting one another for days in a confusingly chaotic three-way war.”

 

Source: WashPost

 

 

 

 

AMERICANS KILLED BY COPS NOW OUTNUMBER AMERICANS KILLED IN IRAQ WAR

 

 

” Cops have killed well over 5,000 Americans since 9/11. Many of these killings have occurred during no-knock raids, which have risen by 4000%.

  Iraqi insurgents have killed around 3,500 Americans in Iraq since 9/11 in Operation Iraqi “Freedom.”

  Afghan insurgents have killed around 2,000 Americans in Afghanistan since 9/11 in Operation Enduring “Freedom.”

 

 

 

 

”  The police are getting paid with our money to go on shooting sprees and they are killing more of us than the terrorists from whom they “protect” us. In fact, you are eight times more likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist.

  Domestic violence is two-four times more common among police families than American families in general.”

 

 

 

   This is the most disturbing domestic trend in the US and is a direct result of Federal policies on the “War on Drugs” and the subsidization of military hardware for domestic law enforcement . Innocent people are being killed by our police every week . Radley Balko has chronicled the rise of the militarization of the police in his book :  “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces” and it is required reading . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama Approval Rating Lower Than Bush’s At The Same Point In Presidency

 

 

 

” If you recall George W Bush’s 5th year in the presidency, Iraq was still going badly (the surge hadn’t worked yet), the news networks still had a daily count of the dead they featured and we were told that America was tired of war, and especially a war of choice.  And then there was Katrina. We were also told that President Bush was suffering horrendous disapproval numbers, numbers so bad that they would be hard to beat in modern history.

Until today:

When President Obama first ran for the White House in 2008, it was with the promise to turn the page on the presidency of George W. Bush. But for all their political differences, it turns out the American public pretty much view the two men in the same light, according to new polling data.

“By the same light” it seems obvious that the majority of the American people disapproved of both presidents at the same point in their presidency.  But other than that the disapproval comes via different routes.  President Bush was fighting not only an unpopular war, but a negative press and the Democratic party that continually went negative about he and his administration (something they seem to have forgotten since President Obama has taken office).

Obama, on the other hand, has pretty much gotten a free pass on Afghanistan and has had a supportive, almost adoring press that has mostly worked to blunt any criticism of he and his administration, to include any criticism by Republicans.

But despite that, his approval rating is in the toilet.  Why?”

 

Illustration by William Warren

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll Finds People Think The U.S. Has No Obligation To Punish Countries For WMD Use

 

 

” Americans are far more worried that military strikes against Syria will drag the nation further into that country’s civil war than the possibility that staying away will embolden despots in other nations to deploy weapons of mass destruction.

That’s the finding of the latest United Technologies/National JournalCongressional Connection Poll, which also found that fewer than two in five Americans believe the United States has an obligation to punish foreign governments that deploy weapons of mass destruction to kill civilians.

Taken together, the results show a nation wary of further entanglements 12 years removed from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and after the prolonged military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The survey also shows that Republicans, long the nation’s more hawkish party, are now among those most skittish of further interventions abroad.

That can be partly explained away by the fact that President Obama, a Democrat, is leading the current call for strikes against Syria. But it is also evidence that the libertarian, noninterventionist wing within the GOP is growing at the grassroots level. It is tension likely to play out in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Video 8.9.13

Attack on Iraqi prisons frees senior Al-Qaeda leaders

” Hundreds of prison inmates, including senior Al-Qaeda members, escaped prison after two major coordinated attacks were carried out on two separate Iraqi prisons.

  At least 56 people have been confirmed killed so far in the two deadly assaults that were launched.

  The two prisons that were attacked were the Taji prison north of Baghdad, and the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad.

  Amongst the 56 killed were 26 security members and 20 inmates.”

Syria Is Jihad Central: 6,000 Terrorists Flood New al Qaeda Training Ground

 

 

” Thousands of foreign terrorists traveled to Syria over the past several months to wage jihad, or holy war, in what U.S. officials say is fast becoming a new international terror training ground.

Most of the foreign terrorists are fighting for the al Qaeda-linked group the al-Nusra Front and are coming from around the world, mainly from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, and Tunisia, by crossing the Syrian border with Turkey. The al-Nusra Front is the most well organized and ideologically motivated armed opposition group after the secular Free Syrian Army.

“The Syrian opposition is benefiting from a steady flow of foreign fighters who seem to be joining a variety of Islamist-oriented brigades or, on a smaller scale, starting up nationality-based units,” said one U.S. official familiar with internal reports on the region.”

Dog Buries Dead Puppy In Apparent Act Of Mourning

 

 

” The New York Daily News has pointed to this sad but fascinating video of a dog meticulously burying the body of a dead puppy. Using its snout, the dog pushes sand over the lifeless body of the puppy in an apparent act of mourning.”

U.S. Marine’s Documentary Recounts The Brutal Battle Of Fallujah

 

 

 

 

” It was the most brutal campaign since the battle of Hue City, Vietnam in 1968. The invasion of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 was conducted by U.S. Marines, and it would take two major offensives to subdue the insurgent stronghold.

Garrett Anderson, a former radio operator with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, and Veteran of the second battle, turned the camera lens on his comrades to create an intimate portrait of the life they shared nearly 10 years ago.

Dubbed “The November War”, Anderson has set up a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the documentary’s production. The film’s premise revolves around 12 Marines from his unit who recount a gritty, tragic day of fighting on Nov. 22, 2004.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drone Operator Who Helped Kill 1,626 Targets Reveals Trauma Of Watching Them Die On A Computer Screen

 

 

 

 

” A former drone operator who helped kill 1,626 targets says he’s haunted by the carnage he witnessed from behind his computer screen.

Brandon Bryant, 27, served as a drone operator from 2006 to 2011 at bases in Nevada, New Mexico and Iraq. It was a desk job of sorts, but unlike any other, it involved ordering unmanned aircraft to kill faraway targets while he watched.

In an interview with NBC News‘ foreign correspondent Richard Engel, Bryant recalled one operation where his team fired two missiles from a drone at three men in Afghanistan.

He said he began feeling paranoid that he was killing innocent people, not Taliban insurgents. And he felt that it wasn’t his place to question the people giving him orders to launch the missile attacks

NBC reported Thursday that the CIA does not know the identity of a quarter of those killed in drone strikes in Pakistan.

McClatchy‘s Jonathan S. Landay has also reported that at least 265 of up to 482 people who were killed by drones during a 12-month period ending September 2011 were not senior al Qaida leaders but instead were ‘assessed’ as unknown extremists.”

 

 

 

 

 

Hacking The Drone War’s Secret History

 

 

 

” In 2008 U.S. troops in Iraq discovered that Shi’ite insurgents had figured out how to tap and record video feeds from overhead American drones. Now you too can hack Washington’s globe-spanning fleet of silent, deadly armed robots — although legally, and only in an historical sense.

Josh Begley, a 28-year-old NYU grad student, has just created an application programming interface — basically, a collection of building blocks for software development — that allows anyone with basic coding skills to organize, analyze and visualize drone-strike data from Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia dating back to 2002.

Based on information collected by the U.K. Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the API can be used to create interactive Websites (similar to this) that add depth, context and even a little humanity to the sterile news reports of the latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle strike in some far-away conflict zone.

The drone API, which is actually Begley’s master’s thesis, is not his first foray into capturing robot-attack data. His @dronestream Twitter feed, which documents all reported UAV attacks. Last year Begley created an iPhone app that tracks drone strikes, but Apple rejected it. Other developers have jumped on the bandwagon, too. London-based artist James Bridle runs a Tumblr blog that matches overhead satellite imagery to reports of drone attacks.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Currently Fighting 74 Different Wars … That It Will Publicly Admit

 

 

 

 

 

” Linda J. Bilmes and Michael D. Intriligator, ask in a recent paper, “How many wars is the US fighting today?”

Citing a page at US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) website, they highlight the “areas of responsibility” publicly listed:

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) is active in 20 countries across the Middle Eastern region, and is actively ramping-up military training, counterterrorism programs, logistical support, and funding to the military in various nations. At this point, the US has some kind of military presence in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E., Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM), according to the paper, “supports military-to-military relationships with 54 African nations.”

[Gosztola points out that the U.S. military is also conducting operations of one kind or another in Syrian, Jordan, South Sudan, Kosovo, Libya, Yemen, the Congo, Uganda, Mali, Niger and other countries.]

Altogether, that makes 74 nations where the US is fighting or “helping” some force in some proxy struggle that has been deemed beneficial by the nation’s masters of war.

***

A Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides an accounting of all the publicly acknowledged deployments of US military forces

But those are just the public operations. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iraqi MP: “Obama Has Handed Iraq Over To Iran And Said ‘Do What You Like.”

 

 

 

” “Obama has handed Iraq over to Iran and said ‘do what you like’,” Alusi, a former Iraqi member of parliament who hails from the tribal Sunni province of al-Anbar in western Iraq, told the Times of Israel in a telephone interview from his home in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

“The current regime is dictatorial, uninterested in the law, the constitution, or human rights,” he charged. “Saddam Hussein was a professional murderer and a professional liar. The current regime simply belongs to Iran. Members of the ruling party openly admit working for Iranian intelligence and brag about it.”

“America is making a big mistake. Its policy will lead our region into war,” he added. “This region must be liberated from corrupt regimes like those in Syria and Iran, but also in [US-allied states] like Bahrain.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Killed In Fierce Iraq Sectarian Violence

 

 

 

” At least 100 people were reported killed in three days of Iraq violence after government troops stormed a Sunni protest camp, igniting fierce sectarian clashes.

The fighting, which included soldiers from the Shiite-dominated government firing from helicopters on hiding Sunni gunmen, resulted in more than 50 deaths across the country’s northern provinces Wednesday and about the same number in a Sunni northern town Tuesday, authorities said.

Tuesday’s deaths were concentrated at a protest camp in Hawija, a town near Kirkuk, 100 miles north of Baghdad, where Sunni Muslims have protested for months against what they see as their marginalization under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marathon Bombing Suspect Charged

 

 

” Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged Monday with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

A federal court spokesman said Tsarnaev, 19, made his first court appearance on the charges stemming from last week’s finish line bombing from his hospital bed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“Approximately 30 seconds before the first explosion, he lifts his phone to his ear as if he is speaking on his cell phone, and keeps it there for approximately 18 seconds. A few seconds after he finishes the call, the large crowd of people around him can be seen reacting to the first explosion,” the document said.

“Virtually every head turns to the east [towards the finish line] and stares in that direction in apparent bewilderment and alarm. Bomber Two, virtually alone among the individuals in front of the restaurant, appears calm. He glances to the east and then calmly but rapidly begins moving west, away from the direction of the finish line.” 

 

 

     This must mean that Bush was right all along . If the Boston pressure cooker bombs are weapons of mass destruction then  Saddam’s Iraq was a veritable weapons of mass destruction Super-Mart .

   This looks like a serious case of defining destruction down , to paraphrase the late Sen Moynihan . Could the Feds be doing this with an eye towards the future ? This precedent could come in handy when they decide that the Constitutionalists , Sovereign Citizens , Fundamentalists and Tea Partiers are getting a bit too uppity . Think about it . With this kind of liberal definition of WMD most of us have the makings of said weapons on the shelves of our garages .

How America Lost Its Four Great Generals

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                                             

 

 

” The quasi-official ideology of the U.S. armed forces holds that generals are virtually interchangeable, that individual personalities don’t matter much, that ordinary grunts are in any case more important than their leaders, and that what really counts are larger systems that make a complex bureaucracy function. There is some truth to all of this. But for all of the bureaucratic heft of the services and the heroism of ordinary soldiers, it is hard to imagine the Civil War having been won without Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan—or World War II without Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Arnold, LeMay, Nimitz, Halsey, and all the other senior generals and admirals.

Likewise it is hard to imagine the War on Terror having been waged without four-star commanders such as David Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal, John Allen, and James Mattis. They are among the most illustrious generals produced by the last decade of fighting. They are the stars of their generation. From Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond, they emerged from anonymity to orchestrate campaigns that, after initial setbacks, have given the United States a chance to salvage a decent outcome from protracted counterinsurgencies; they have also literally rewritten the book on how to wage modern war successfully. Yet aside from the similarities in the challenges they faced and the skills they displayed in rising to the task, these men share another, more troubling resemblance: They are either gone from the military or (in the case of Mattis) about to go as of this writing. And for the most part they are leaving under unhappy circumstances. A strong case can be made that all were shabbily treated to one extent or another. Petraeus was hounded out of the CIA and McChrystal out of high command in Afghanistan under a cloud of scandal; Allen saw his reputation unfairly marred by scandal before deciding to call it quits; and Mattis is said to have been pushed out early after clashes with the White House. Certainly none of them was afforded the respect and honors that successful officers at the pinnacle of their career ought to expect—in part to drive younger officers to follow their example and seize the day when their time comes. The treatment of these four remarkable generals at the hands of President Obama and his aides, whatever the merits of each individual case, is likely to rankle within the armed forces and leave those forces less prepared for future challenges.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mark Steyn: Iraq Less Unwon Than Other Wars

 

 

 

” Ten years ago, along with three-quarters of the American people, including the men just appointed as President Obama’s secretaries of state and defense, I supported the invasion of Iraq. A decade on, unlike most of the American people, including John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, I’ll stand by that original judgment.

Three weeks after Operation Shock and Awe began, the early bird naysayers were already warning of massive humanitarian devastation and civil war. Neither happened. Over-compensating somewhat for all the doom-mongering, I wrote in Britain’s Daily Telegraph that “a year from now Basra will have a lower crime rate than most London boroughs.” Close enough. Major-General Andy Salmon, the British commander in southern Iraq, eventually declared of Basra that “on a per capita basis, if you look at the violence statistics, it is less dangerous than Manchester.”

Ten years ago, expert opinion was that Iraq was a phony-baloney entity imposed on the map by distant colonial powers. Joe Biden, you’ll recall, advocated dividing the country into three separate states, which for the Democrats held out the enticing prospect of having three separate quagmires to blame on Bush, but for the Iraqis had little appeal. “As long as you respect its inherently confederal nature,” I argued, “it’ll work fine.” As for the supposedly secessionist Kurds, “they’ll settle for being Scotland or Quebec.” And so it turned out. The Times of London, last week: “Ten Years After Saddam, Iraqi Kurds Have Never Had It So Good.” In Kurdistan as in Quebec, there is a pervasive unsavory tribal cronyism, but on the other hand, unlike Quebec City, Erbil is booming.”

 

 

 

 

Obama’s Middle East Policy In Tatters

 

 

 

 

 

 

” President Obama’s first journey to Israel as president comes amid earth-shattering change in Middle East, much of it for the worse. The Arab Spring, which once raised hopes of freedom and dignity, has diverged onto the dark path of Islamist authoritarian rule. In Syria, tens of thousands of people have died in a bitter civil war that might have recently seen its first use of chemical weapons. And Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons capability, heedless of international condemnation. Obama’s effort to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis is in tatters.

That’s why the White House has been lowering expectations for Obama’s trip to Israel all this week. He will announce no new peace plan, grand design or major foreign policy initiative. His advisers are calling the trip a “listening tour.” That is what you call a state visit when you have little to say.

According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, confidence in Obama in Muslim countries dropped from 33% to 24% in his first term. Approval of Obama’s policies declined even further, from 34% to 15%. And support for the United States in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan is lower today than it was in 2008 in the closing year of George W. Bush’s administration. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

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