Statement by Colleen Kelley, a founding member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows was formed around the core issue of civilian casualties: We did then and we do not now condone the killing of civilians in other lands. Our organization was founded to oppose any action that would necessitate the deaths of civilians. Worse, still, is the denial of any value of these Iraqi lives, through the concealment of their very existence.
For 9/11 families, the rough number 2,996 was rounded up to 3000 through addition. For the Iraqi people, their numbers were alluded to as a subtraction vastly different from any attempt at reality.
As people who are well aware of the suffering, we say stop killing civilians now and take responsibility for those whose lives are already lost.
by Robin Beste Feb 16, 2010, source: Glabal Research
The civilian deaths in Kandahar and Marjah are a brutal reminder of the heavy price many Afghans will pay in the months and years to come to save the face of those responsible for prosecuting a futile and unjustifiable war.
NATO’s current offensive in the Afghan town of Marjah is being portrayed as a low casualty mission in the “good war” to get rid of the Taliban.
If you were to believe the news broadcasts, it’s already a success.
Since the assault was always intended to be as much a publicity stunt as serving any military objective, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown will certainly be pleased at how the media has snapped into line and acted as stenographers for Nato press releases. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you noticed how bad it is Haiti? Maybe you have seen the news images of corpses in the street. Sometimes piled high, or even being loaded into a tractor or bed of a 18 wheel truck. Many pictures within days of the earthquake contained scenes of crushed limbs peering through the rubble, or burning bodies on the street of Port Au Prince. Nevermind it was the French, U.S. , Central Banks and others that were keeping Haiti from being developed and prepared for an event like this.
Can you believe we have been at war for almost 9 years and still not seen the kinds of pictures from Iraq or Afghanistan that we have seen from Haiti. Where has the media been? What soldier was killed today, how, where, why? What did the soldier do for a living before being deployed? Will the soldiers remains be sent to the States, is there multiple pieces of the body, or is there even anything left of what used to be a son or daughter? Do the parents care?
What of the Afghan and Iraqi people, and Pakistan, Palestine? What do we know of the horrors in those lands committed by many including our own brothers and sisters? If you look through the internet you can find some bloody war pictures, but you will not find that material on the hourly CNN reports.
When President Barack Obama took office last year, he promised to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great.” Toward that end, the president issued an executive order declaring that the extra-constitutional prison camp at Guantánamo “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” Obama has failed to fulfill his promise. Some prisoners are being charged with crimes, others released, but the date for closing the camp seems to recede steadily into the future. Furthermore, new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.
Late in the evening on June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners.
As news of the deaths emerged the following day, the camp quickly went into lockdown. The authorities ordered nearly all the reporters at Guantánamo to leave and those en route to turn back. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, then declared the deaths “suicides.” In an unusual move, he also used the announcement to attack the dead men. “I believe this was not an act of desperation,” he said, “but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” Reporters accepted the official account, and even lawyers for the prisoners appeared to believe that they had killed themselves. Only the prisoners’ families in Saudi Arabia and Yemen rejected the notion.
Britain is currently engulfed by a probing, controversial investigation into how their Government came to support the invasion of Iraq, replete with evidence that much of what was said at the time by both British and American officials was knowingly false, particularly regarding the unequivocal intention of the Bush administration to attack Iraq for months when they were pretending otherwise. Yesterday, the British Ambassador to the U.S. in 2002 and 2003, Sir Christopher Meyer (who favored the war), testified before the investigative tribunal and said this:
Meyer said attitudes towards Iraq were influenced to an extent not appreciated by him at the time by the anthrax scare in the US soon after 9/11. US senators and others were sent anthrax spores in the post, a crime that led to the death of five people, prompting policymakers to claim links to Saddam Hussein. . . .
On 9/11 Condoleezza Rice, then the US national security adviser, told Meyer she was in “no doubt: it was an al-Qaida operation” . . . It seemed that Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy, argued for retaliation to include Iraq, Meyer said. . . .
But the anthrax scare had “steamed up” policy makers in Bush’s administration and helped swing attitudes against Saddam, who the administration believed had been the last person to use anthrax.
Gordon Brown paved the way today for the announcement next Tuesday of a large US troop surge in Afghanistan by saying he had received assurances from Nato countries that they would contribute an extra 5,000 troops.
The assurances are significant because both Brown and Barack Obama have said they will not commit more of their own troops unless there are increases in other Nato troop numbers.
There was some confusion in Nato circles as to the source of Brown’s optimism that the number of troops could rise by 5,000, but the prime minister’s spokesman said his assessment came after discussions with 10 coalition partners.
LONDON — Pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline PLC said Tuesday it has advised medical staff in Canada to not use one batch of swine flu vaccines in case they trigger life-threatening allergies.
Company spokeswoman Gwenan White said that they issued the advice after reports that one batch of the swine flu vaccine might have caused more allergic reactions than normal.
“We have advised health care professionals not to use that batch while health authorities and GlaxoSmithKline investigate,” she said.
White said the batch at issue, which has been distributed across Canada, contains 172,000 doses of the vaccine. She declined to say how many doses had been administered before the advice to stop using them was given.
Reports are coming in of people dying of symptoms similar to the pneunomic plague in an Emergency Room in Bialystok in the north east of Poland.
A doctor reported treating three patients with symptoms similar to the pneumonic plague, including burned lungs. One the patients died in his arms. The doctor said that it appeared be a bacterial infection and that no antibiotics worked. He also thought it could be a more virulent strain of the swine flu. Read the rest of this entry »
By most counts, the death toll of U.S. soldiers in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stood at 5,157 in the second week of September. Add at least 1,360 private contractors working for the U.S. and the number tops 6,500.
Contractor deaths and injuries (around 30,000 so far) are rarely reported but they highlight America’s steadily growing dependence on private enterprise. It’s a dependence some say has slid into incurable addiction. Contractor ranks in Iraq and Afghanistan have swollen to just under a quarter million. They outnumber American troops in Afghanistan and they almost match uniformed soldiers in Iraq.
I wrote earlier today about Eric Holder’s decision to ”review” whether criminal prosecutions are warranted in connection with the torture of Terrorism suspects — that can be read here — but I want to write separately about the release today of the 2004 CIA’s Inspector General Report (.pdf), both because it’s extraordinary in its own right and because it underscores how unjust it would be to prosecute only low-level interrogators rather than the high-level officials who implemented the torture regime. Initially, it should be emphasized that yet again, it is not the Congress or the establishment media which is uncovering these abuses and forcing disclosure of government misconduct. Rather, it is the ACLU (with which I consult) that, along with other human rights organizations, has had to fill the void left by those failed institutions, using their own funds to pursue litigation to compel disclosure. Without their efforts, we would know vastly less than we know now about the crimes our government committed.
Before saying anything about the implications of this Report, I want to post some excerpts of what CIA interrogators did. Every American should be forced to read and learn this in order to know what was done in their names (click images to enlarge): Read the rest of this entry »
ATLANTA — The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu, thousands filed claims contending they suffered side effects from the shots. This time, the government has already taken steps to head that off.
Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, government health officials said Friday.
Since the 1980s, the government has protected vaccine makers against lawsuits over the use of childhood vaccines. Instead, a federal court handles claims and decides who will be paid from a special fund.
The document signed by Sebelius last month grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies. It allows for a compensation fund, if needed.
The government takes such steps to encourage drug companies to make vaccines, and it’s worked. Federal officials have contracted with five manufacturers to make a swine flu vaccine. First identified in April, swine flu has so far caused about 263 deaths, according to numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.