Tag Archives: war on terror

‘The News that Didn’t Make the News’

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009

#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
# 2 Security and Prosperity Partnership: Militarized NAFTA
# 3 InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business
# 4 ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?
# 5 Seizing War Protesters’ Assets
# 6 The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
# 7 Guest Workers Inc.: Fraud and Human Trafficking
# 8 Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly
#9 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify
# 10 APA Complicit in CIA Torture
# 11 El Salvador’s Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror
# 12 Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
# 13 Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq
# 14 Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste
# 15 Worldwide Slavery
# 16 Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights
# 17 UN’s Empty Declaration of Indigenous Rights
# 18 Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers
# 19 Indigenous Herders and Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction
# 20 Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
# 21 NATO Considers “First Strike” Nuclear Option
# 22 CARE Rejects US Food Aid
# 23 FDA Complicit in Pushing Pharmaceutical Drugs
# 24 Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror
# 25 Bush’s Real Problem with Eliot Spitzer

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See Also Top 25 Censored Stories for 2008

Just Another War President

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Obama to spend $200b on war in 2009

According to the US defense officials, Obama needs USD 75.5 billion for 2009 to cover the cost of the additional troops deployed in to Afghanistan this year and an another USD 130 billion for the rest of fiscal 2009.

Meanwhile, the sources added that the 2010 War spending will be part of the president’s overall defense funding request to be announced on Thursday.

The war spending request will be in addition to USD 534 billion for the US Defense Department’s other expenditures.

The US Congress had already approved USD 65.9 billion in emergency wartime spending for fiscal 2009.

This is while late December, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) reported that the direct cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could reach as high as USD 1.7 trillion by 2018 even with fewer troops in Iraq.

The CSBA report found that the war in Iraq alone has already cost more in inflation-adjusted dollars than every other US war except World War II.

The cost of sending a single soldier to fight for a year in Afghanistan or Iraq is about USD 775,000 – three times more than in other recent wars, the report said. The report concluded that the nearly USD 1 trillion already spent is only a down payment on the war’s long-term costs.

US defence costs come under scrutiny

Obama, Osama and Medvedev

For those who harbored any doubts, the Barack Obama administration’s adoption of the George W Bush framework of the “war on terror” – it does feel like a back-to-the-future “continuity” – here are two key facts on the ground.

Obama has officially started his much-touted Afghanistan surge, authorizing the deployment of 17,000 US troops (8,000 marines, 4,000 army and 5,000 support) mostly to the Pashtun-dominated, southern Helmand province. Justification: “The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan demands urgent attention.” The marines start arriving in Afghanistan in May. Their mission is as hazy as it is hazardous: eradication of the poppy culture, the source of heroin (which accounts for almost 40% of Afghanistan’sgross domestic product). There are already 38,000 US troops in Afghanistan, plus 18,000 as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 50,000 contingent.

Obama administration nominees, in confirmation testimony that seemed to have disappeared in a black hole, stressed they are in favor of continuing the Central Intelligence Agency’s extraordinary rendition practices and detaining – ad infinitum – “terror” suspects without trial, even if they were captured far, far away from a war zone. (Considering the Pentagon’s elastic definition of an “arc of instability”, this means anywhere from Somalia to Xinjiang.) That has prompted New York Times writers to come up with a delightful headline: “Obama’s War on Terror May resemble Bush’s in some Areas.”

When in doubt, bomb ’em

Basically, the Obama administration’s strategy – for now – boils down to turbo-charging a war against Pashtun farmers and peasants. Poppy cultivation has been part of Afghan culture for centuries. A high-tech aerial war on destitute peasants will have only one certified result: more of them increasing their support for, or outright migration to, the multi-faceted fight against foreign occupation which the Pentagon insists on defining as an “insurgency”.

Full Story

Related Story: Is Afghanistan going to be Obama’s Iraq?

Day Two in Office: Bombing Pakistan

Where in the world did the liberal Obama supporters get the idea that he was pro-Peace, anti-War? As Ralph Nader said, we will never win a war against the tribal peoples of Afghanistan or Pakistan. It will only bring more death and destruction.

Twelve Myths in Bush’s “War on Terror”

Twelve Myths in Bush’s “War on Terror”

Michael Haas

There are many misconceptions about the “war on terror” now being promoted by President George W. Bush in interviews and “talking points” to his minions. At least twelve need to be cleared up before he leaves office and they become accepted truth:

1. The only way to remove Saddam Hussein from power was by invading Iraq. Prior to the invasion in 2003, there had been several attempted coups in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein’s air force was able to foil those which were most serious. In 1999, the top Saudi Arabia intelligence officer urged the United States to have the Security Council authorize the expansion of the no-fly zones over the north and south to cover the entire country. The idea was rejected by both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

2. The invasion of Iraq was premised on the high probability that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that could be launched at the United States. In May 1999, presidential candidate Bush intimated — without mentioning WMDs — that he would launch a war on Iraq if elected. Throughout their investigation, United Nations inspectors reported finding no hard evidence that there was anything suspicious at the many locations that American military intelligence identified as possible secret WMD sites in Iraq before the invasion. However, former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill saw a secret document dated March 5, 2001, entitled “Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq and Foreign Suitors of Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.”

3. Prisoners at Guantánamo were the “worst of the worst” among those detained in Afghanistan in 2001. Of the 774 prisoners detained at Guantánamo, approximately 500 have been released already, at least 70 are eligible for release today, and about 100 are in limbo. Only 60 have been identified as likely to be convicted of an offense. The initial commandant at Guantánamo, General Rick Baccus, flew to Afghanistan to try to stop receiving “Mickey Mouse” prisoners. He was unsuccessful.

4. A special tribunal was needed to try al-Qaeda operatives at Guantánamo. When Bush decided that al-Qaeda terrorists could not be tried under criminal or military law, he tried to set up something new by executive order. After the Supreme Court faulted his new tribunal for violating the constitution, Congress set up a separate tribunal in the Military Commissions Act of 2006. But the violations cited in the first two trials at Guantánamo were found in American criminal statutes, thus negating the rationale for separate tribunals.

5. The legal proceedings at Guantánamo are “war crimes trials.” In the first trial, Salim Ahmed Hamdan was convicted of violating a criminal law, not a war crime. Ali Harnza Ahmad Suliman al-Bahlul, the second person on trial, was convicted of aiding others who committed war crimes principally because he drove them in vehicles. In other words, he did not commit a war crime. Some prisoners at Guantánamo may indeed be tried in court for war crimes, but no such proceeding has yet gone beyond preliminary motions.

6. There is no evidence that George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are war criminals. In 2006, the Supreme Court in Hamdan v Rumsfeld ruled that the judicial system at Guantánamo violated Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1947. A violation of the Geneva Conventions is a war crime. If there is a crime, there must be a criminal, though the Supreme Court ruled on procedures, not guilt. The judicial arrangements at Guantánamo violating the Geneva Conventions were set up under Bush’s executive order and implemented by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

7. Valuable intelligence was only extracted from terrorists when torture was employed. The FBI obtained useful intelligence from several prisoners through normal interrogation. When the CIA pushed aside the FBI to employ torture, cooperation ceased and phony confessions emerged.

8. Harsh treatment of suspected terrorists and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have crippled al-Qaeda. The National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 states just the opposite — that al-Qaeda has “regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capabilities.” According to a White House press release about that estimate, al-Qaeda’s “intent to attack the U.S. is undiminished, and they continue to adapt and improve their capabilities.”

9. Torture is the worst abuse committed by the Bush Administration in the “war on terror.” Most of those subjected to torture are still alive, though several died. Dr. Steven Miles and others have identified 45 prisoners who were murdered by their American captors from 2002 to 2007. Some others have died through neglect of their medical conditions. Murder is arguably worse than torture.

10. The Geneva Conventions were never applied to prisoners captured in the “war on terror.” General Baccus posted signs informing the first groups of incoming prisoners at Guantánamo that they were only required, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, to disclose their name, rank, and serial number. When the invasion of Afghanistan began, General Tommy Franks ordered that all prisoners should be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. A few months later, the White House issued countermanding orders to both commanders.

11. Aside from murder and torture, the Bush administration has committed few war crimes. In George W. Bush, War Criminal?, with a Foreword by Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, 269 war crimes are identified in four categories — 175 that deal with mistreatment of prisoners, 52 with the occupation of Iraq, 36 with the misconduct of war, and 6 with the launching of unjustified aggression. The number would be astronomic if based on the number of perpetrators, victims, and repetitions of the same types of crimes.

12. A presidential pardon would confer impunity on the war criminals of the Bush administration. Presidential pardons are conditional on admission of guilt. Indeed, the main sticking point in Nixon’s acceptance of his pardon by President Gerald Ford was the requirement that he admit guilt for his criminality. A president cannot pardon himself.

As time goes on, Bush will continue to rewrite history. Thus far, journalists have mostly avoided referring to his actions as “war crimes.” In so doing, the journalists are participants in a cover-up.