Thursday, December 27, 2007
By Scott Ritter
The Truthdig columnist (and WMD expert) warns that war with Iran could be inevitable, despite the National Intelligence Estimate report that says Iran dismantled its nuclear program in 2003. Bush, Ritter argues, doesn’t let facts get in the way of what he wants.
Listen (podcast) to this interview. or read the transcript from the link above.
I had a brief exchange with Scott Ritter when he was in Gainesville and was very impressed in his honesty and integrity. He is a conservative and served in Vietnam as a military intelligence Office in The Marines. Our conversation was about war with Iran and how it would affect anyone in range if nuclear weapons were used. We agreed that thousands of US troops would die from radiation poisoning along with tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and that any type of attack on Iran by the US or Israel would result in major casualties for US forces in Iraq.
Mary Bahr (Served as an Air Force Intelligence officer in Vietnam)
Saturday, December 22, 2007
"BAGHDAD — More than four years after the United States invaded Iraq, the country's children continue to face a litany of problems from disrupted educations to unsafe drinking water, detentions and violence, UNICEF reported Friday."
Among the preliminary report's findings:
- Twenty-eight percent of Iraq's 17-year-olds took final exams this summer; 40 percent in south and central Iraq passed.
- Eighty percent of children outside Baghdad don't have working sewers in their communities, limiting access to safe water.
- An average of 25,000 children per month were displaced within Iraq by violence or intimidation.
- An estimated 760,000 children were out of primary school in 2006, and 220,000 more displaced children had their educations interrupted in 2007.
- By the end of 2007, about 75,000 children were living in camps or temporary shelter.
- About 1,350 children were detained by military and police, "many for alleged security violations."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Cliff Hicks, Gainesville Iraq Vets Against the War (IVAW)
a Boondocks Chapter Christmas at Fort Bragg
By Jason Hurd
On the morning of December 17, 2007, Steve Casey and I awoke bright and early at the Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Steve and I had driven nearly three hundred miles from our home-base in Asheville, North Carolina to distribute holiday gift bags to the wonderful servicewomen and men stationed at our nation's busiest military post--Fort Bragg. Our friends and supporters in Asheville stuffed nearly three hundred small lunch bags full of holiday cards, chocolates, cookies and home-made brownies. The gift bags had a humble feel to them: brown paper lunch sacks with the tops folded down, green and red ribbons, a copy of our newsletter Sit-Rep stapled to the outside and a small sticker that said, "To: A Warrior, From: IVAW." Our mission was to ensure that these bags--each made with love and kindness--got into the hands of our deserving soldiers.
With gift bags in hand, Steve and I drove to Fort Bragg's Mini Mall and set up a small collapsible table to distribute the bags from. We taped two large poster boards to the front of the table; one said, "Happy Holidays From Your Fellow Veterans," and the other proclaimed, "We Love Our Service Women and Men." Immediately, Steve and I began handing the packages to soldiers as they exited the Mini Mall. I greeted each soldier by saying, "Hello. My friend and I are veterans and we are giving holiday gift bags to our soldiers to show our appreciation for your service. Thank you and happy holidays." Nearly every soldier I spoke with replied with a large smile, "Thank you very much. I'm glad there are people like you doing this. Happy holidays to you too!" Within an hour, Steve and I had given out nearly one hundred and fifty bags. In that time, only one soldier reacted negatively toward us; every one else seemed extremely pleased.
Around one o'clock in the afternoon, a female manager who worked for the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AFFES) came out of the Mini Mall and said, "Hey guys I'm glad your giving out packages to soldiers, but you can't do this on Fort Bragg without a permit." I replied, "Great! Where do we get a permit?" The manager explained where we needed to go, and we began packing up shop to go get our permit. That's when the Military Police showed up. Three MP's--SSG Netwig, PFC Murray and PVT Garren--approached us and began questioning us about our gift bags. SSG Netwig glared at a copy of Sit-Rep and said, "I'm going to keep my personal opinion out of this, but you are disrupting the order and discipline of my post." I explained that we were on our way to get a permit for our bags and we had no intentions of disrupting the order and discipline of Fort Bragg. SSG Netwig replied that we had offended a lot of people with our bags (which was news to Steve and I) and that he would not allow us to continue distributing them.
At that moment, a Special Forces Captain (apparently one of the people we had offended) approached SSG Netwig and spoke with him privately. Immediately, SSG Netwig said that we were going to the Provost Marshall's office to answer questions.
"Are we being arrested?" I said.
"No. But you are being detained," SSG Netwig replied.
At that moment, the MP's shoved Steve and I against their patrol car, searched us, handcuffed us and placed us in the patrol car like criminals. They drove us away leaving a box of gift bags on the trunk of Steve's car. In the back of the patrol car, I looked at Steve and said, "Don't worry, this is a good thing--trust me." "OK," Steve said. SSG netwig drove us to the Provost Marshall's office where, after being searched a second time, we spent the next four hours as detainees. One investigator told Steve that Fort Bragg is a conservative post and that anti-war views were in the minority. The officers separated Steve and I and began questioning us. I asked four times to make a phone call so that I could consult with an attorney; the officers denied my right each time. A criminal investigator entered my room.
"Are you affiliated with any other groups besides IVAW?" he asked.
"No, I am not, " I replied.
"How did you and this Steve guy meet?"
"Look," I said, "I'm not going to continue answering questions without consulting an attorney."
"But you aren't under arrest. You're merely detained and we are trying to have a friendly conversation with you," the investigator said.
"I feel like like it is in my best interests to consult with an attorney before continuing," I replied.
Then the investigator and officers walked out leaving me alone in the room. Against my captor's wishes, I began text messaging the Quaker House and IVAW members to let them know what was happening (the officers had mistakenly left my phone). Immediately, the investigators began receiving calls from every peace activist from North Carolina to Philadelphia urging them to release Steve and I. The MP's knew they had a situation on their hands.
Before we knew it, an investigator apologized to Steve and I for the inconvenience and released us. The investigator informed us that we just needed to get a permit for future activities of this nature. Two young MP's escorted Steve and I back to our car and we talked about Iraq on the way. One of the young MP's said, "Yeah, fuck Iraq. I hate that place. I had friends die there. I don't ever want to go back."
We pulled up to Steve's car and rubbing the cuts on our wrists from the handcuffs, we saw the perfect ending to our day.
The box of gift bags was still sitting atop Steve's trunk and some passerby had written on it the following:
"Hi, I heard what happened. Listen up cops, politicians, and OVER EGOTISTIC DRAMA QUEEN SENIOR NCO'S AND OFFICERS! Many friends in my platoon DIED BRUTALLY for the First Amendment. We have the right to peaceful protest, damn you! Why did you arrest these guys? To all ya'll who don't believe in: freedom of speech, press, council, religion, assembly, and petition...GO TO HELL!! Sincerely, A concerned passerby and witness to the arrest of protesters."
So much for being the minority.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
December 3, 2008
"I do not know how often Vice President Dick Cheney visited CIA Headquarters during the gestation period, but I am told he voiced his displeasure as soon as he saw the first sonogram/draft very early this year, and is so displeased with what issued that he has refused to be the godfather.
This time Cheney and his neo-con colleagues were unable to abort the process. And after delivery to the press, this child is going to be very hard to explain—the more so since it is legitimate.
The main points of the NIE:
“We judge that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program...
“We assess with moderate confidence Tehran has not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007.
“We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely...
“We judge with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame.
“We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.”
Having reached these conclusions, it is not surprising that the NIE’s authors make a point of saying up front (in bold type) “This NIE does not (italics in original) assume that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons.”
This, of course, pulls out the rug from under Cheney’s claim of a “fairly robust new nuclear program” in Iran, and President Bush’s inaccurate assertion that Iranian leaders have even admitted they are developing nuclear weapons."
This report would have been supported with more intelligence on Iran nukes if Valerie Plame and her network in Iran, which focused on intelligence concerning nuclear weapons there, had not been outed by the Cheny gang. Maybe there was method in his criminality since finding the truth is not in his best interest.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
a story about how our soldiers are being treated when they break under the nightmare strains of the battlefield. This campaign by the DOD to avoid the obligations - and expense- of treating traumatized vets includes a plague of false "personality discharges" which punishes veterans who need help and denies them their benefits including the medical benefits that would treat their condition.
Here is a related announcement:
Iif you've been denied veterans or ssd benefits based on psychological testing from the MMPI2 fake bad scale wherein the government claims you are exaggerating or malingering please email attorney dorothy sims at firstname.lastname@example.org. She has a national newspaper interested in finding individuals hurt by this scale.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
US War Vets to Speak Publicly About War Crimes - CommonDreams.org
This public investigation will be called the Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. Winter Soldiers, according to founding father Thomas Paine, are the people who stand up for the soul of their country, even in its darkest hours. The lives of millions of people depend on American's having informed opinions and acting in accordance to their principles. The lives of thousand service members and civilians depend on you being a Winter Soldier. It follows in the footsteps of the Winter Soldier testimony by Vietnam vets including our own local VFP coordinator Scott Camil.