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Tag Archive: Iraq War


Collapse of the Industrial Civilization | Interview with Michael Ruppert

 

Published on Feb 28, 2013

Michael Ruppert let’s fly with both barrels as he speaks on Peak Oil, who the media are serving, and the truth behind Pat Tilman and Christopher Dorner. Ruppert’s candor is so strong that it is clear to see why he has been persecuted for his journalism, and he also shows why he is resilient enough to keep on speaking his truth.

GUEST BIO:
Michael Ruppert is an investigative journalist and author of two books, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil and Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World. In the 1970s, Ruppert was a narcotics officer for the LAPD. While there, he discovered evidence that the CIA was complicit in the illegal drug trade. He alerted his superiors with this information and soon found himself dismissed even though he had an honorable record. These events spurred Ruppert to begin a new career for himself as an investigative journalist. He was the publisher/editor of the From The Wilderness newsletter which, until its closure in 2006, examined government corruption and complicity in such areas as the CIA’s involvement in the war on drugs, the Pat Tillman scandal, the 2008 economic collapse and issues surrounding Peak Oil. Ruppert has lectured widely on these topics and was the subject of a documentary,Collapse, in 2009 which was based on one of his books. Currently, he hosts the radio show, The Lifeboat, on the Progressive Radio Network.

ADD’L LINKS:
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/
http://www.collapsenet.com/
http://www.thelip.tv

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:
00:01 Coming up on Media Mayhem.
00:50 Welcoming Michael Ruppert
01:44 Getting persecuted as a journalist over Pat Tilman.
04:35 Bringing down the Bush administration.
08:55 The Pat Tilman cover-up.
15:01 Getting push back from controversial stories.
23:14 Media red herrings and distractions from the Right and Left.
27:54 Collapse, peak oil and the Iraq War explained.
36:17 The cognitive dissonance swirling around Christopher Dorner.
45:04 Investigative journalism appears through the cracks.

 

Part 2

 

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Published on Mar 5, 2013

Collapse mastermind Michael Ruppert joins Media Mayhem to continue his conversation about the dirty secrets of the US government. This time he pulls out the big guns when discussing 9/11, the Bush administration, and why Dick Cheney was such an important (and nefarious) figure.
He also gives his thoughts on President Obama, and the overwhelming force that keeps the machine of US government ticking in the direction of criminality.

GUEST BIO:
Michael Ruppert is an investigative journalist and author of two books, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil andConfronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World.In the 1970s, Ruppert was a narcotics officer for the LAPD. While there, he discovered evidence that the CIA was complicit in the illegal drug trade. He alerted his superiors with this information and soon found himself dismissed even though he had an honorable record. These events spurred Ruppert to begin a new career for himself as an investigative journalist. He was the publisher/editor of the From The Wilderness newsletter which, until its closure in 2006, examined government corruption and complicity in such areas as the CIA’s involvement in the war on drugs, the Pat Tillman scandal, the 2008 economic collapse and issues surrounding Peak Oil. Ruppert has lectured widely on these topics and was the subject of a documentary, Collapse, in 2009 which was based on one of his books. Currently, he hosts the radio show, The Lifeboat, on the Progressive Radio Network.

ADD’L LINKS:
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/
http://www.collapsenet.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MediaMayhem
https://twitter.com/ahopeweiner
http://thelip.tv/

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:
00:01 Coming Up on Media Mayhem
00:41 The Collapse network of outside media.
03:34 30 years of experience in skepticism.
05:24 Osama Bin Laden and the truth.
09:44 9/11 was orchestrated by Dick Cheney.
11:24 Evidence for his case.
16:33 How Cheney consolidated power so effectively.
20:56 The excuse for the Iraq War, and the connection to Pearl Harbor.
26:12 Halliburton and the C.I.A.
31:44 Working with the LAPD and C.I.A. and coming from a background related to security.
34:34 The C.I.A. drug shipment conspiracy.
36:35 Has the LAPD changed since Rodney King?
40:14 Obama and the machine.
43:52 The balance of power and the executive.

….

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CrossTalk: Justice Deficit

RT RT

Published on Sep 30, 2013

United States Department of Justice requested that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz be granted procedural immunity in a case alleging that they planned and waged the Iraq War in violation of international law. Does this imply they did breach the law? Why does Obama want to shield the ex-President from prosecution? And why aren’t Bush & Co. held accountable for the Iraq disaster? CrossTalking with Inder Comar and Ed Krayewski.

Watch all CrossTalk shows here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (Sep 2009 – Feb 2011)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (Mar 2011 – Jul 2012)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (Jul 2012 – current)

RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air

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Why an Iraqi Single Mom Is Suing George W. Bush for War Crimes

Why an Iraqi single mom and a tech lawyer think they can prove the Iraq War was a “crime of aggression” under U.S. law.
Inder Comar and Sundus Shaker Saleh.

Sundus Shaker Saleh, pictured at right, with her lawyer, Inder Comar. Photo by Global Exchange.

George W. Bush keeps a low profile these days, making the rounds on the public speaking circuit, engaging in a bit of philanthropy here and there, occasionally sharing his dog paintings or offering an unsolicited opinion on the immigration debate or national security.

The case was filed on March 13, 2013, and the defendants have all been served notice to appear.

Given his role in the current media landscape, it may be easy to forget that just 10 years ago he led an invasion of a foreign country that many in the international community saw as criminal.

Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother of three, has not forgotten. The violence and chaos that engulfed Iraq following the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 had tragic consequences for her family and ultimately forced her to flee her homeland for an uncertain future. She has left Iraq, but she is determined to make sure the world hears her story and that someone is held accountable.

Saleh is the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit targeting six key members of the Bush Administration: George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Paul Wolfowitz. In Saleh v. Bush, she alleges that the Iraq War was not conducted in self-defense, did not have the appropriate authorization by the United Nations, and therefore constituted a “crime of aggression” under international law—a designation first set down in the Nuremberg Trials after World War II. The aim of the suit is simple: to achieve justice for Iraqis, and to show that no one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.

The case is being brought to trial by Inder Comar of Comar Law, a firm based in San Francisco. The majority of cases Comar takes involve providing legal support to private companies, primarily for the tech industry. He is measured and deliberate, perhaps not the long haired, vaguely out-of-touch wearer of hemp suits some might picture when imagining a human rights lawyer pushing for prosecution of U.S. government officials.

This summer, Saleh met with Comar at her home in Amman, Jordan, to discuss the upcoming trial.

Saleh related her story through a translator to Comar, who had traveled halfway around the world to hear her story firsthand. Saleh was a gracious host, according to Comar, pointing out the paintings she’d crafted and beaming over her children. She was warm, open, and quick to laugh. Her story, however, was rife with darkness.

Prior to the arrival of U.S. forces, Saleh said, Iraq was safe. People slept with their doors open at night. There were no militias, no checkpoints, no threats. All of that came to a halt following the U.S.-led invasion. Airstrikes damaged or destroyed vital infrastructure including highways, bridges, and wastewater treatment facilities. Diseases like typhus became commonplace. The swift collapse of a functioning government created an environment ripe for internecine warfare. Saleh’s twin brothers were both shot by militia members, and she no longer felt safe in her own home. So in 2005, Saleh fled Iraq. She was not alone. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over 2 million people left the country, and over 2.7 million were internally displaced, including up to 40 percent of the Iraqi middle class.

To seek legal redress, Comar Law is invoking the Alien Tort Statute, a law passed in 1789 that permits a non-U.S. national the ability to sue in federal court for injuries “committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” The case was filed on March 13, 2013, with the U.S. District Court in Northern Calif., and the defendants have all been served notice to appear. Just like any other legal proceeding, there will be a great deal of back and forth before the hearing, which is scheduled to take place sometime in early 2014.

A tough case to make

Paul Stephan teaches law at the University of Virginia and has served as a consultant to the Department of State on matters of international law. In his opinion, Comar’s lawsuit against Bush administration officials is unlikely to succeed.

Many judges would view the ramifications of the invasion of Iraq not as a matter of law, but of politics.

For one, Stephan says, it’s difficult to sue a U.S. employee acting under the “scope of employment.” The Westfall Act of 1988 permits the United States as an entity to substitute itself in for individuals who were acting in their “scope of employment” for the case at issue.

The Westfall Act was enacted by Congress to supersede the Supreme Court’s decision in Westfall v. Erwin, a case involving a government employee, William Erwin, who was burned by exposure to toxic soda ash at an Army depot and then sued the depot supervisors. The Court’s ruling slightly modified the interpretation of law to open up government employees to greater legal liability for their actions. Congress immediately responded with the Westfall Act, which granted “absolute immunity” to government employees for any actions taken within the scope of their employment.

Precedent suggests that Stephan may be right. The district court of the District of Columbia dismissed a case by the ACLU of Northern California against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and nine other senior military leaders in 2007 on the grounds that these employees were acting within the scope of their employment and were therefore immune from liability under the Westfall Act.

The suit, Ali v. Rumsfeld, was brought on behalf of nine men subjected to torture and abuse under Rumsfeld’s command, with the ACLU arguing that the Constitution and international law prohibit torture and require commanding officers to report violations of the law. The ACLU further claimed that direct orders from Rumsfeld, as well as reports from detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, proved that Rumsfeld and the nine other defendants were well aware of and condoned the ongoing torture.

The second issue that Stephan points out is that the crimes in question didn’t take place in the United States. That makes it unlikely the courts will recognize the validity of the claim.

Thirdly, there’s the “political question.” Courts aren’t open to ruling on matters of a political nature, Stephan says. This doctrine of U.S. Constitutional law has its roots in the case of Marbury v. Madison, in which Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall drew a dividing line between matters over which the courts would have jurisdiction and matters best left to the legislative and executive branches of government. Many judges would view the ramifications of the invasion of Iraq not as a matter of law, but of politics.

“If the expectation is that a federal court will declare that the invasion, although duly authorized by Congress, violated international law and thus violates U.S. law, I would respond that we walked up and down that hill with respect to Vietnam,” Stephan said. “No federal court ever has recognized such a claim.”

Taking a deeper look

But Comar is optimistic that these hurdles can be overcome. The issue of whether or not Bush, Cheney, and the others will be found to have acted in an official capacity isn’t open and shut.

“Ms. Saleh alleges that these defendants entered into government in order to execute a pre-existing plan to overthrow the Hussein regime.”

According to Comar, part of the planning for the invasion happened within the United States, before these officials took office. Multiple letters and position papers emanating from the nonprofit think tank Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, indicate a long-term interest in regime change in Iraq. An open letter written in 1998 to then-president Clinton signed by Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld called for the removal of Saddam Hussein using military power. PNAC was also responsible for drafting and guiding the passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act in 1998, which authorized military support for opposition to Saddam Hussein.

Then, in 2000, Wolfowitz was a signatory to the 90-page report issued by PNAC titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For a New Century,” which calls for, among other things, global domination through force of arms. The document tellingly hints at the larger geopolitical justification for war with Iraq, stating that “while the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification [for U.S. military presence], the need for a substantial American force presence in the [Persian] Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”

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Those documents suggest that, in order to show that these officials were acting in capacity as government employees, the United States needs to prove that the sum of their actions took place entirely within office. Since the officials participated in these actions before they took office, Comar claims, they clearly cannot have been acting in their scope of employment.

Then there’s the political question, which Comar concedes is an often-nebulous doctrine with no clear limits. But that doesn’t mean that the crime of aggression necessarily qualifies as a political question.

Though low-ranking soldiers were prosecuted for torture in Iraq, none of the policy architects were ever held accountable.

“The legality of a war under international law was exactly the type of legal question that the Nuremberg court adjudicated,” Comar says. “We believe that aggression as a tort is actionable under the Alien Tort Statute. It is not a generic international law claim but a bedrock norm of international behavior in the same manner as slavery, genocide or torture, which are all claims that can be made under the Alien Tort Statute.”

Comar is confident that the courts will hear the case but is clear-headed about the prospects for conviction. He says that failure to achieve a multimillion-dollar settlement would not mean failure overall. A trial requires the gathering of evidence and provides a record for posterity.

Furthermore, Comar says, the judiciary is likely the last place people like Sundus Shaker Saleh can turn. It is highly unlikely that any president would ever investigate a past administration in the way sought by the suit, since the executive isn’t keen to open the gates for further scrutiny into its actions. Indeed, the Obama administration has expanded many Bush programs, including the use of drone strikes and domestic surveillance.

Since neither the legislative nor the executive branch have attempted to investigate whether the Bush Administration officials are guilty of war crimes, the last remaining branch through which to seek redress is the judiciary. Pursuing the issue here, Comar believes, will force the issue back into the public sphere.

“Our law recognizes that the actions of every person in this country—even a president—is subject to judicial review before an impartial judge,” Comar says. He continues:

This is a concept that extends back to the Magna Carta, when English barons put restraints on their king in order to protect their rights and privileges. In this case, Ms. Saleh alleges that these defendants entered into government in order to execute a pre-existing plan to overthrow the Hussein regime—a plan that has now led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and U.S. servicemen and women, untold misery for millions, and chaos that continues to plague that country to the present day. This is the very behavior that was outlawed and declared criminal by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

It is unusual in the United States for high government officials to face legal consequences for their actions. Though low-ranking soldiers were prosecuted for torture in Iraq, none of the policy architects were ever held accountable.

Regardless of the resolution of Saleh v. Bush, the case sets an important precedent toward rebuilding a system of laws that apply equally to everyone, even if their alleged crimes were committed in the Oval Office.


Corey Hill wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. He is the membership and outreach coordinator at Global Exchange. Follow Corey on Twitter at @Newschill.


YES! Magazine. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

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Activist Post

We have spoken to Nathan Fuller at Bradleymanning.org who has given us gracious permission to reprint his daily firsthand reports. Day 3 is posted below. We also will be adding commentary, as well as analyses from other sources to provide a constant update to what is happening in this essential trial for whistleblowers and their mission to reveal the truth.

At the heart of Day 3 was the inability of Bradley Manning’s supervisor, Captain Casey Fulton, to issue the same statement of authority as the U.S. government that WikiLeaks = Al Qaeda. In fact, she couldn’t mention WikiLeaks as a specific source at all, but only that social media was a known general hangout of America’s enemies. As Amy Davidson at The New Yorker, illustrates: social media, Google, Google Maps and other news outlets could easily be “aiding the enemy” in much the same way.

“The prosecution has specified Al Qaeda and one of its affiliates, as well as a third organization whose identity, also disturbingly, it classified. (Overclassification is one of the scandals of this story.) At what point could “enemy” mean anyone who doesn’t like us? Can it mean us ourselves, at moments when we think that something has gone wrong, and has to be exposed?”

The prosecutors intend to bring in a witness from the Navy Seals to testify that he found a published document from the WikiLeaks website in Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad. But just how can one news agency, or public online forum control who their readers are and how can they avoid the government’s harassment if their readers are considered the “enemy” ? (Source)

Furthermore, it appears that some of what Manning was collating and preparing for distribution were specific assignments from his superiors and not a premeditated plot. This is fundamental in the government’s central “aiding the enemy” argument. Rather, it seems that Bradley Manning had been cited often by other intelligence analysts for his extraordinary natural abilities. As Fuller states below, that means it is likely that Manning “was simply doing his job” — and excelling at it. In short, he was working for the Army, not for WikiLeaks.

Many more essential details are provided by Nathan Fuller’s excellent coverage of this trial, as it enters Day 3, and will recess until the 10th. This trial will determine whether telling the truth should be punishable by life in prison. It is a determination that is guaranteed to affect us all.

Manning supervisor undercuts aspect of aiding the enemy charge: trial report, day 3

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 5, 2013.

On day 3 of Bradley Manning’s court martial, one of his supervisors didn’t mention WikiLeaks when asked about specific websites the military warned that the enemy might visit. Bradley’s fellow soldiers relayed that Iraq War Log documents didn’t reveal source names and that an Excel spreadsheet he created was done for intelligence work, not for WikiLeaks. Read reports from day 1 and day 2.

Captain Casey Fulton testified at the end of today’s Bradley Manning trial proceedings that there were no specific websites, other than social media sites, that intelligence analysts knew that America’s enemies visited. Capt. Fulton deployed to Iraq with Bradley in November 2009 and was in charge of Bradley’s intelligence section.

The government’s aiding the enemy charge relies on the claim that Bradley knew that giving intelligence to WikiLeaks meant giving it to Al Qaeda. Prosecutors have cited several times this Army Counterintelligence Special Report, which asks,

Will the Wikileaks.org Web site be used by FISS, foreign military services, foreign insurgents, or terrorist groups to collect sensitive or classified US Army information posted to the Wikileaks.org Web site?

But when defense lawyer David Coombs asked Capt. Fulton what websites the enemy was known to visit gathering intelligence, she merely said that it was general knowledge that the enemy goes to “all sorts” of websites. Pressed to name something specific, Capt. Fulton said that they were briefed on social media sites like Facebook, where people generally post lots of personal information, and Google and Google Maps. Once more Coombs asked if there were any specific websites that she and her fellow analysts had “actual knowledge” that the enemy visited, and Capt. Fulton said no.

Intelligence work for Army, not WikiLeaks

She also provided more information on an Excel spreadsheet that Bradley created as an analyst in Baghdad, which included all of the Significant Activities (SigActs) later released in the Iraq War Logs. The government has referred to this spreadsheet as an indication that Bradley was culling information and preparing it to be sent to WikiLeaks. But Capt. Fulton said that the spreadsheet was used for an intelligence analyst assignment: she had asked him to compile all SigActs from the entire Iraq War to discern any patterns and increases or decreases in violence throughout the war. Bradley was simply doing his job.

That testimony corroborates what we heard from other witnesses today. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hondo Hack and Warrant Officer Kyle Balonek testified to Bradley’s exceptional organizational abilities and impressive work for such an inexperienced analyst.

CW3 Hack rarely saw Bradley since they had opposite work shifts, so he looked into the shared drive where analysts posted reports and files they were researching. He called Bradley’s folder perhaps the most organized he’d ever seen, providing far more detail than more experienced analysts.

That revelation came after government questioning that attempted to paint Bradley as neglectful of his duties, presenting an email from him to CW3 Hack providing the name of a high-value target several months after he started his work. Prosecutors admitted when prompted by Judge Denise Lind that they were trying to show a dereliction of duty, and Coombs recalled their effort to characterize him as working for WikiLeaks when he should have been doing his job.

But CW3 Hack told the defense that he was frustrated with the entire intelligence analyst squad, and didn’t expect Bradley, as a junior analyst, to provide “actionable” information and in fact expected more from his more senior colleagues.

War Log reports didn’t reveal source names

CW Balonek was one of those more experienced analysts, who worked in Bradley’s division. He testified about keeping classified information secret, since he witnessed Bradley’s signing of the Non-Disclosure Agreement vowing to protect sensitive documents. He told government lawyers that it wasn’t common practice for those in Iraq to look at Afghanistan SigActs or other files, but he told the defense that there wasn’t any provision that he knew of prohibiting it.

He gave more insight into what those SigActs or HUMINT (Human Intelligence) files contained. The SigActs typically provided the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why an incident occurred, documenting basic information about incidents like IED attacks. Both types of files didn’t name U.S. sources by name—HUMINT reports cited sources by number, and SigActs would protect the source from identification as well. SigActs have some names, but those are witnesses, for example, to violent incidents, and not reliable sources with exact information.

Supervisor Showman’s conversations with Bradley

Specialist Jihrleah Showman was Bradley’s team leader at Ft. Drum before he deployed to Iraq, interacting with him daily. She testified with slight but visible disdain about their personal conversations, which she said typically involved “his topic of choosing,” and that he talked about social interests including “martini parties” in the D.C. area, having friends with influence in the Pentagon, and his interest in shopping.

She also said he liked to talk about politics, and that he would often debate with others about broad U.S. policy and that she found him “very political” and on the “extreme Democratic side,” responding affirmatively to Coombs’s phrasing.

When she oversaw him at Ft. Drum, most soldiers uploaded video games, movies, and music to their computers, which weren’t explicitly authorized but which she believed her superiors knew about. Bradley was so “fluent” with computers, she said, that she asked him to install the military chat client mIRC to her computer, and that he once mentioned that military portals’ passwords “weren’t complicated” and that he could always get through them.

Because the government moved through its witnesses so quickly, court is recessed for the week and will return on Monday, June 10.

You can donate to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund Here.
______________________________________________________________________________
PREVIOUS UPDATE:

As a part of today’s update, we are also including this new trailer released that includes various celebrities and well-respected media such as Chris Hedges and Matt Taibbi. “I am Bradley Manning.”

Nathan Fuller’s new report, as well as our previous update, are available below…

Bradley Manning’s InfoSec write-up never mentioned WikiLeaks: trial report, day 2

by Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 4, 2013.

Day 2 of Bradley Manning’s court martial covered his training in information security, his chats with Adrian Lamo, and the forensic investigation of his digital media. Day 1 report here.

Witnesses in Bradley Manning’s trial today testified about the hardware retrieved from Manning’s workstation and housing unit in Iraq, the process for examining forensics of that hardware, his training on classified information, and his online chats with hacker and informant Adrian Lamo.

The proceedings moved quickly – the military’s subject matter expert told us that the government is two days ahead of schedule – because the defense continues to stipulate to expected testimony, which allows the government to simply read what a witness would have testified to without the need for cross-examination. Bradley took responsibility for releasing documents to WikiLeaks in late February 2013, so the defense doesn’t contest much of the basic forensic information for those releases.

Manning’s PowerPoint on Information Security doesn’t mention WikiLeaks

In the first pretrial hearing in December 2011, when the government claimed that Bradley Manning knew that giving documents to WikiLeaks meant giving them to Al Qaeda, it often referred to a PowerPoint presentation that Bradley created while in Army training, implying if not stating outright that in the presentation Bradley mentioned WikiLeaks specifically as a site America’s enemies use to collect information.

But today we saw that PowerPoint, while the parties questioned Troy Moul, the instructor from Bradley’s intelligence analyst training, and nowhere did it mention WikiLeaks – it merely claims that adversaries use the Internet generally to harvest information about U.S. operations.

In fact, Moul admitted, “I had never even heard of the term WikiLeaks until I was informed [Bradley] had been arrested.”

Moul testified at greater length about the instruction Bradley received at Advanced Individual Training (AIT) before he became an intelligence analyst, including the potential damage releasing Secret information could cause and the Non-Disclosure Agreement he signed, vowing to keep classified information secret. But the government has to show that he knew that passing information to WikiLeaks meant he was indirectly passing documents to Al Qaeda. This PowerPoint clearly doesn’t make that connection. In yesterday’s opening arguments, the government discussed an Army Counterintelligence Special Report, which delves into whether WikiLeaks.org is used by adversarial organizations – but as Marcy Wheeler writes,

The report itself is actually ambiguous about whether or not our adversaries were using WikiLeaked data. It both presents it as a possibility that we didn’t currently have intelligence on, then presumes it.

Adrian Lamo confirms chat log comments, Manning’s humanist values

Computer hacker and government informant Adrian Lamo testified about his instant messages with Bradley Manning from late May 2010, which he turned over to the authorities, WIRED magazine, and the Washington Post, leading to Bradley’s arrest.

Both lines of questioning tracked opening arguments. Responding to prosecutor questions, Lamo said his chats with Manning were encrypted, that no one tampered with or manipulated them before he handed them over to Army CID, and that Manning discussed disclosing classified information and communicating with Julian Assange. Lamo frequently gave maximalist and formal responses to government questions – explaining for example that Facebook is a ‘very popular social media website where lots of people connect.’

In cross-examination, defense lawyer David Coombs reviewed several lines of chats that Lamo then confirmed. He recalled that Bradley was a humanist, someone who wanted to investigate the truth, and someone who wanted to disclose information for the public good. He acknowledged that Bradley never indicated an intention to help America’s enemies or intimated any anti-American sentiment.

Lamo was then permanently excused from testifying.

Evidentiary and intelligence analyst witnesses

 

Read Full Article  and  Watch Additional Videos Here

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Jun 4, 2013 19:53

Photo Credit: ©RIA Novosti

Photo Credit: ©RIA Novosti

 

FORT MEADE, Md. (AFP) – The computer hacker who turned in Bradley Manning said Tuesday the tormented US soldier had never talked about helping al-Qaida after he leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

On the second day of Manning’s court martial, witness Adrian Lamo agreed with a defense attorney’s portrait of a tortured soul who acted out of a desire to inform the public rather than to aid US enemies.

Under cross-examination from defense lawyer David Coombs, Lamo said that a highly emotional Manning was also in the grip of a sexual identity crisis, which made him fear for his life.

Military prosecutors allege that Manning — who admitted to leaking a vast cache of classified information to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks between 2009 and 2010 — directly and knowingly aided al-Qaida through his actions.

However, Lamo said under questioning on Tuesday that the subject of helping America’s enemies had never arisen during his contacts with Manning.

Lamo engaged in online chats with Manning for six days between May 20 and May 26, 2010, shortly before the soldier was arrested.

Lamo, who answered many questions simply with a “Yes” or a “No”, told the hearing he had contacted police over his exchanges with Manning because he feared for the soldier’s life.

Asked if Manning had ever uttered “a word against the United States” or whether “he wanted to help the enemy,” Lamo replied: “Not in those words, no.”

Later Tuesday, a second witness, soldier Jose Anica, also said he had never heard Manning express anti-American sentiment.

“Did PFC Manning say anything anti-American to you?” Coombs asked Anica, who responded: “No sir.”

Lamo had earlier agreed with defense suggestions that Manning had been acting out of a sense of civic duty when he decided to leak the cache of secret files, and that Manning had been struggling with gender identity issues.

“He told you about his life, that he was struggling because of his gender identity issue? … He told you he made a huge mess?’ … He was emotionally fractured?” Coombs asked Lamo.

“He needed moral and emotional support? … He wondered if he didn’t get it he might end up killing himself? (That he was) feeling desperate?… A broken soul?… Honestly scared?”

Lamo — who was convicted in 2004 of unauthorized access to computers — said he suspected Manning contacted him because he was a known computer hacker and a supporter of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Defense League.

Lamo also confirmed Coombs’ statements that Manning had leaked the hundreds of thousands of incident reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and secret diplomatic cables out of a sincere desire to inform the public.

The U.S. government has portrayed the leaks as an act of betrayal that put lives at risk, while Manning’s supporters present him as a whistle-blower who gave the public a rare glimpse at the front lines of U.S. wars and inside the halls of powers where U.S. foreign policy is made and carried out.

Lamo also indicated that Manning had no interest in trying to sell information to countries such as Russia or China, but instead believed the information belonged in the public domain.

Lamo said Manning had admitted having contacts with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who condemned the court martial on Tuesday as a “show trial.”

Assange — who is holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations — described the hearing as “a show of wasteful vengeance; a theatrical warning to people of conscience.”

“This is not justice; never could this be justice. The verdict was ordained long ago,” he wrote on the WikiLeaks site.

Rights activists meanwhile said the case hinged on the prosecution claim that Manning “aided” the enemy by releasing information to WikiLeaks.

“This trial is not about whether Manning leaked the documents to WikiLeaks; he’s already admitted that he did,” said Ben Wizner, of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“What’s really being tested is the government’s dangerous theory that leaking information to the press is equivalent to delivering it to the ‘enemy.'”

Manning’s trial at a military base outside Washington is expected to last 12 weeks. Some evidence will be given behind closed doors for national security reasons.

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The Total Iraq and Afghanistan Price tag: Over $4 Trillion

March 28, 2013

U.S. Marines and Afghan police in Afghanistan. A new study estimates the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost $4 to $6 trillion.U.S. Marines and Afghan police in Afghanistan. A new study estimates the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost $4 to $6 trillion.

The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been declared officially over, but America has barely begun to pay the bill, says a new study. That could make defending the nation and paying the government’s bills even tougher to do in the future.

[PHOTOS: The 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War]

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars will together cost $4 to $6 trillion, according a new study from Harvard University’s Kennedy School. A large share of those bills has yet to be paid: the study finds that the U.S. has spent around $2 trillion thus far on the two controversial wars, and that growing commitments to spending on military personnel and veterans will drive much of the spending in the decades to come. The study notes that the Veterans’ Affairs budget has tripled since the start of the wars.

“Assuming this pattern continues, there will be a much smaller amount of an already-shrinking defense budget available for core military functions,” writes Linda Bilmes, senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard and the study’s author.

Bilmes has been studying the costs of the two wars for years, and she says that the estimates of the total cost continue to climb as the cost of continuing care for veterans mounts.

“What has happened is the number of injuries and the number of claims and the complexity of claims…in these conflicts has been much higher than in previous wars,” she says. She notes that after Vietnam, veterans averaged around two and a half to three conditions per claim, whereas veterans now have over eight conditions per claim.

[PRESS PAST: The Underestimated Costs, and Price Tag, of the Iraq War]

Of the nearly 1.6 million troops that have been discharged from the wars, over half have received Veterans’ Affairs medical treatment and will also receive benefits for the rest of their lives. Those costs will stack up as more troops are discharged and need benefits. The study finds that providing medical and disability benefits to vets will eventually cost over $836 billion.

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Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan wars will keep mounting

Together they’ll be the most expensive in U.S. history, costing as much as $6 trillion over time, a new analysis says. Veterans’ care will probably be the biggest future expense.

Downtown BaghdadA view of downtown Baghdad with the Dome of the 17 Ramadan Mosque in the foreground. The U.S. government has already spent $134 billion on medical care and disability benefits for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. (Ali Arkady / Metrography/Getty Images / March 28, 2013)

By Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles TimesMarch 29, 2013

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will ultimately cost between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, with medical care and disability benefits weighing heavily for decades to come, according to a new analysis.

The bill to taxpayers so far has been $2 trillion, plus $260 billion in interest on the resulting debt. By comparison, the current federal budget is $3.8 trillion.

The costs of the wars will continue to mount, said the study’s author, Linda Bilmes, a public policy expert at Harvard University.

The largest future expenses will be medical care and disability benefits for veterans, Bilmes predicted. “The big, big cost comes 30 or 40 years out,” she said.

The wars, taken together, will be the most expensive in U.S. history — and not just because of their duration. The government has greatly expanded the services available to veterans and military personnel over the last decade. Compared with past conflicts, a far greater proportion of returning service members are seeking medical care and benefits.

Of the 1.56 million troops that have been discharged, more than half have received treatment at Veterans Affairs facilities and filed claims for lifetime disability payments, the study found.

Read Full Article Here

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Ex-CNN Reporter: I Received Orders to Manipulate News to Demonize Syria and Iran  

Mar 30, 2013

 

PRAGUE, (SANA)- Ex-CNN reporter Amber Lyon revealed that during her work for the channel she received orders to send false news and exclude some others which the US administration did not favor with the aim to create a public opinion in favor of launching an aggression on Iran and Syria.

Lyon was quoted by the Slovak main news website as saying that the mainstream US media outlets intentionally work to create a propaganda against Iran to garner public opinion’s support for a military invasion against it.

She revealed that the scenario used before launching the war on Iraq is being prepared to be repeated where Iran and Syria are now being subject to constant ‘demonization’.

The former reporter clarified that the CNN channel manipulates and fabricates news and follows selectiveness when broadcasting news, stressing that the Channel receives money from the U.S. government and other countries’ governments in exchange for news content.

H. Said

Cheney Admits that He Lied about 9/11

Created on Friday, 08 March 2013 18:45

 

What Else Did He Lie About?

The New York Times

In a documentary soon to appear on Showtime, “The World According to Dick Cheney,” [Cheney said]  “I got on the telephone with the president, who was in Florida, and told him not to be at one location where we could both be taken out.” Mr. Cheney kept W. flying aimlessly in the air on 9/11 while he and Lynn left on a helicopter for a secure undisclosed location, leaving Washington in a bleak, scared silence, with no one reassuring the nation in those first terrifying hours.

“I gave the instructions that we’d authorize our pilots to take it out,” he says, referring to the jet headed to Washington that crashed in a Pennsylvania field. He adds: “After I’d given the order, it was pretty quiet. Everybody had heard it, and it was obviously a significant moment.”

When they testified together before the 9/11 Commission, W. and Mr. Cheney kept up a pretense that in a previous call, the president had authorized the vice president to give a shoot-down order if needed. But the commission found “no documentary evidence for this call.”

In other words, Cheney pretended that Bush had authorized a shoot-down order, but Cheney now admits that he never did … and Cheney acted as if he was the president on 9/11.

Cheney lied about numerous other facts related to 9/11 as well.  For example, Cheney:

  • Falsely linked Iraq with 9/11 (indeed, the entire torture program was aimed at establishing such a false linkage; and Cheney is the guy who pushed for torture, pressured the Justice Department lawyers to write memos saying torture was legal, and made the pitch to Congress justifying torture. the former director of the CIA said Cheney of overseeing American torture policies)
  • Falsely claimed that spying on Americans, torture, the Patriot Act, the Afghanistan war, the Iraq war and the “war on terror” were all necessitated by 9/11 … when none of it was true
  • Falsely stated that an attack such as 9/11 was unforeseeable, when Al Qaeda flying planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon was something which American military and intelligence services – and our allies – knew could happen
  • Falsely pretended that he was out of the loop during the 9/11 attacks
  • Falsely blamed others for 9/11,  when Cheney was in charge of all of America’s counter-terrorism exercises, activities and responses on 9/11. See this Department of State announcement and this CNN article …
  • … And when Cheney was apparently responsible for letting the Pentagon get hit by an airplane(confirmed here and here)

And was instrumental in squashing a real investigation into 9/11

 The New York Times

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Maureen Dowd / Repent, Dick Cheney

Vice comes clean: He was the real president, and he stands by all of his mistakes
March 7, 2013 12:24 am

 

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By Maureen Dowd

Dick Cheney certainly gives certainty a black eye.

In a documentary soon to appear on Showtime, “The World According to Dick Cheney,” America’s most powerful and destructive vice president woos history by growling yet again that he was right and everyone else was wrong.

R.J. Cutler, who has done documentaries on the Clinton campaign war room and Anna Wintour’s Vogue war paint room, now chronicles Mr. Cheney’s war boom.

“If I had to do it over again,” the 72-year-old says chillingly of his reign of error, “I’d do it over in a minute.”

Mr. Cheney, who came from a family of Wyoming Democrats, says his conservative bent was strengthened watching the anti-Vietnam War protests at the University of Wisconsin, where he was pursuing a doctorate and dodging the draft.

“I can remember the mime troupe meeting there and the guys that ran around in white sheets with the entrails of pigs, dripping blood,” he said. Maybe if he’d paid more attention to the actual war, conducted with a phony casus belli in a country where we did not understand the culture, he wouldn’t have propelled America into two more Vietnams.

The documentary doesn’t get to the dark heart of the matter about the man with the new heart.

Did he change, after the shock to his body of so many heart procedures and the shock to his mind of 9/11? Or was he the same person, patiently playing the courtier, once code-named “Backseat” by the Secret Service, until he found the perfect oblivious frontman who would allow him to unleash his harebrained, dictatorial impulses?

Talking to Mr. Cutler in his deep headmaster’s monotone, Mr. Cheney dispenses with the fig leaf of “we.” He no longer feigns deference to W., whom he now disdains for favoring Condi over him in the second term and for not pardoning “Cheney’s Cheney,” Scooter Libby.

“I had a job to do,” he said.

Continuing: “I got on the telephone with the president, who was in Florida, and told him not to be at one location where we could both be taken out.” Mr. Cheney kept W. flying aimlessly in the air on 9/11 while he and Lynn left on a helicopter for a secure undisclosed location, leaving Washington in a bleak, scared silence, with no one reassuring the nation in those first terrifying hours.

“I gave the instructions that we’d authorize our pilots to take it out,” he says, referring to the jet headed to Washington that crashed in a Pennsylvania field. He adds: “After I’d given the order, it was pretty quiet. Everybody had heard it, and it was obviously a significant moment.”

This guy makes Al Haig look like a shrinking violet.

When they testified together before the 9/11 Commission, W. and Mr. Cheney kept up a pretense that in a previous call, the president had authorized the vice president to give a shoot-down order if needed. But the commission found “no documentary evidence for this call.”

In his memoir, W. described feeling “blindsided” again and again. In this film, the blindsider is the eminence grise who was supposed to shore up the untested president. The documentary reveals the Iago lengths that Mr. Cheney went to in order to manipulate the unprepared Junior Bush. Vice had learned turf fighting from a maniacal master of the art, his mentor Donald Rumsfeld.

When he was supposed to be vetting vice presidential candidates, Mr. Cheney was actually demanding so much material from them that there was always something to pick on. He filled W.’s head with stories about conflicts between presidents and vice presidents sparked by the vice president’s ambition, while protesting that he himself did not want the job.

In an unorthodox move, he ran the transition, hiring all his people, including Bush Senior’s nemesis, Rummy, and sloughing off the Friends of George; then he gave himself an all-access pass.

He was always goosing up W.’s insecurities so he could take advantage of them. To make his crazy and appallingly costly detour from Osama to Saddam by cherry-picking his fake case for invading Iraq, he played on W.’s fear of being lampooned as a wimp, as his father had been.

But after Vice kept W. out of the loop on the Justice Department’s rebellion against Mr. Cheney’s illegal warrantless domestic spying program, the relationship was ruptured. It was too late to rein in the feverish vice president, except to tell him he couldn’t bomb a nuclear plant in the Syrian desert.

“Condi was on the wrong side of all those issues,” Mr. Cheney rumbled to Cutler.

Mr. Cheney still hearts waterboarding. “Are you going to trade the lives of a number of people because you want to preserve your honor?” he asked, his voice dripping with contempt.

“I don’t lie awake at night thinking, gee, what are they going to say about me?” he sums up.

They’re going to say you were a misguided powermonger who, in a paranoid spasm, led this nation into an unthinkable calamity. Sleep on that.

Maureen Dowd is a syndicated columnist for The New York Times.
First Published March 7, 2013 12:00 am

How the US exported its ‘dirty war’ policy to Iraq – with fatal consequences

Iraqi police arrest two suspects in Baghdad on Friday

Iraqi police with two suspects in Baghdad, 2010. Photograph: Loay Hameed/AP

In one of the fiery oratories for which he was well-known, the late Hugo Chávez once stated his belief that “the American empire is the greatest menace to our planet.” While his detractors have often sought to paint his rhetorical flourishes as a manifestation of unprovoked and unpopular extremism, to his death Chávez remained extremely popular with the majority of the Venezuelan people.

Indeed, far from being an outlier, Chávez fit well within the spectrum of both Central and Latin American popular opinion. While his style may have been his own, his beliefs and worldview regarding US interventionism were reflected in other leaders throughout the region. Looking at the history of US engagement in Latin America, it becomes evident why such a situation exists. From overthrowing democratically elected leaders, operating death squads, and torturing civilians, the history of US involvement in the region has understandably helped create a widespread popular backlash that persists to this day.

The primary theatre of war has since switched from Latin America to the Middle East, but many of the same tactics of that period – which caused so much devastation and engendered so much visceral anger – seem to have been redeployed on the other side of the world. As reported this week by the Guardian, recent investigations have suggested that Pentagon officials at the highest levels oversaw torture facilities during the war in Iraq. The allegations are decidedly gruesome: rooms used for interrogating detainees stained with blood; children tied into extreme stress positions with their bodies beaten to discoloration.

Most chillingly, a veteran of the United States’ “dirty war” in El Salvador was reported to have been brought in to personally oversee the interrogation facilities. As described by Iraqi officials this program was condoned at the highest levels of the US military and utilized “all means of torture to make the detainee confess … using electricity, hanging him upside down, pulling out their nails”. The alleged involvement of a senior participant of the American intervention in El Salvador is, indeed, particularly odious given the legacy of institutionalized torture and murder which characterized US military involvement in that country.

At the now infamous School of the Americas, thousands of Latin American “special forces” were explicitly trained in torture techniques by US handlers. Many of those SOA graduates took their new training home to El Salvador, where they waged a war that killed an estimated 80,000 Salvadoran civilians. Similar “trainees” were sent out in the thousands to kill and maim on behalf of US interests in wars from Honduras to Guatemala. In the latter alone, US-supported death squads murdered over 50,000 civilians suspected of holding sympathies with leftist rebels. The creation and patronage of locally trained militias to wreak havoc among subject populations in pursuit of American military objectives is a tactic that seems to have been adapted to the present day with great effect – most notably in Iraq.

On a summer night 2008, armed paramilitaries broke into Hassan Mahsan’s home in Baghdad’s Sadr City district and put a gun to his young daughter’s head. Demanding he reveal the location of a suspected insurgent, the men threatened to kill his daughter in front of the family before dragging Mahsan off for interrogation and telling his wife “he is finished”. The paramilitaries were members of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF), an elite counterterrorism force referred to as “the dirty brigade”. Believed to be trained and guided by US military advisers at every level of its organizational hierarchy, the ISOF has been structured so as to place it outside the confines of normal oversight for such organizations. Operating today essentially as a private paramilitary force for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the ISOF has also been described as a “local ally” of the United States in the country – a euphemism for an asset utilized for covert special operations.

 

Read Full Article Here

Nafeez Ahmed was the original Muslim 9/11 truth scholar. His book The War on Freedom – the earliest work of its kind – made a 9/11 truther of Gore Vidal. He is also a star contributor to the book I edited, 9/11 and American Empire v.2.

Nafeez’s controlled demolition of the war-criminal BBC, reproduced below, nicely complements Tony Rooke’s moral victory over the BBC in Monday’s court case.

-KB


 

Seven Myths About the Iraq War: How BBC Newsnight failed journalism on the 10 year anniversary of the invasion

 

by Nafeez Ahmed

Veterans Today

As a participant in BBC Newsnight special, “Iraq – 10 Years On“, I found myself feeling slightly miffed at the lack of real debate on the crucial issues.

On the one hand, Newsnight presented a number of narratives of the war and its aftermath as ‘fact’, which are deeply questionable. On the other, there were no serious, factually-grounded criticisms of the war, despite a diverse panel which included people who did not support it.

As author of a major book on the war and its historical context, Behind the War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq, as well as co-author of a new report, Executive Decisions: How British Intelligence was Hijacked for the Iraq War, I consider myself to be reasonably informed. Yet BBC Newsnight failed almost entirely to bring any of these issues to light.

What follows is my Newsnight-inspired Iraq War Myth-Busting exercise, based on what was, and wasn’t, discussed on the show.

MYTH 1. Sectarian violence has increased in postwar Iraq because sectarianism has always existed in Iraq, and the removal of Saddam allowed it to erupt

One of the first Newsnight bloopers started with a short introductory clip from John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor. Amongst other things, Simpson talked about the rise of sectarian Sunni-Shi’a violence in postwar Iraq, and argued that while Saddam’s regime had clamped down on sectarian divisions, regime change effectively unleashed those previously suppressed divisions and allowed them to worsen.

This was the first of many oversimplifications about the escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq. The reality, as pointed out on the show by my colleague in the audience, anthropologist Professor Nadje al-Ali, is that prior to the war, generic sectarian antagonism was unheard of in Iraqi society. Although Saddam’s regime was unequivocally sectarian in its own violence against Shi’as and Kurds, as a mechanism of shoring up the Ba’athist regime, Iraqis did not largely identify in sectarian terms. As one Iraqi blogger living in Baghdad noted:

“I always hear the Iraqi pro-war crowd interviewed on television from foreign capitals (they can only appear on television from the safety of foreign capitals because I defy anyone to be publicly pro-war in Iraq)… They go on and on about Iraq’s history and how Sunnis and Shia were always in conflict and I hate that. I hate that a handful of expats who haven’t been to the country in decades pretend to know more about it than people actually living there. I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn’t know what our neighbors were- we didn’t care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.”

Missing from the BBC Newsnight discussion was the fact that the Bush administration planned from the outset to dominate Iraq by pursuing the de facto ethnic partition of the country into three autonomous cantons. The private US intelligence firm, Stratfor, reported that the US was “working on a plan to merge Iraq and Jordan into a unitary kingdom to be ruled by the Hashemite dynasty headed by King Abdullah of Jordan.” The plan was “authored by US Vice President Dick Cheney” as well as “Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz”, and was first discussed at “an unusual meeting between Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan and pro-US Iraqi Sunni opposition members in London in July” 2002.

Under this plan, the central and largest part of Iraq populated largely by Sunnis would be joined with Jordan, and would include Baghdad, which would no longer be the capital. The Kurdish region of northern and northwestern Iraq, including Mosul and the vast Kirkuk oilfields, would become its own autonomous state. The Shi’a region in southwestern Iraq, including Basra, would make up the third canton, or more likely it would be joined with Kuwait.

Ultimately, of course, the specific detail of this plan did not come to fruition – but the ‘divide-and-rule’ imperial thinking behind the plan was implemented. As one US Joint Special Operations University report documented, “US elite forces in Iraq turned to fostering infighting among their Iraqi adversaries on the tactical and operational level.” This included disseminating and propagating al-Qaeda jihadi activities by “US psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists” to fuel “factional fighting” and “to set insurgents battling insurgents.”

Pakistani defence sources thus reported in early 2005 that the Pentagon had  ”resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population,” consisting of “former members of the Ba’ath Party” – linked up with al-Qaeda insurgents – to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement.” Almost simultaneously, the Pentagon began preparing its ‘Salvador option’ to sponsor Shi’ite death squads to “target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers” – a policy developed under the interim government of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Ironically, the same Allawi also made an appearance on Newsnight via Baghdad, rightly criticising the current government for failing to incorporate an inclusive, non-sectarian political process. But Newsnight didn’t bother to ask him about his role in engendering the very sectarian violence he now criticises by sponsoring death squads.

MYTH 2. We went to war in Iraq based on a legitimate parliamentary process, even if lots of people demonstrated against it – most Brits approved the war according to polls

When an audience member asked why the British government still went to war despite the millions of people who protested against it, Independent columnist John Rentoul argued that the war was in fact an example of proper democratic process – because ultimately the MPs voted for it. He pointed out that we don’t run democracies based on “mob rule” – i.e. just because people protesting in the street  don’t want something – but on the basis of consensual parliamentary procedures. To this, host Kirsty Wark added that 54% supported the war according to opinion polls at the time.

Really?

In mid-March, before the war, “just 26% of the public was saying in mid-March that they approved of British involvement without a ‘smoking gun’ and a second UN vote, while 63% disapproved.” It was only once the bombs began to drop that public opinion drifted slightly in favour of the war. Where did Kirsty Wark’s 54% figure come from?

Disingenuously, it comes from an ICM poll which “found a persistent majority against the war, reaching a low point of 29% support (and 52% oppose) in February. Support then rose to 38% in the final pre-invasion poll (14-16 March, the same weekend as MORI’s) and jumped to 54% just a week later, with the war only a few days old.

Kirsty’s 54% claim applies after the war – before the war, the majority of the British public was overwhelmingly opposed to the invasion, a fact which was not reflected in the parliamentary process.

And of course, since then, opposition to the war continued to grow dramatically.

MYTH 3: The Iraq War was, at worst, a colossal cock-up, simply because we didn’t have good intel on the ground about WMDs etc. So we didn’t really go to war on the basis of a lie, we went to war because our intel was wrong.

As I tried to point out in my brief intervention on the show, this whole debate about whether the public approved the war or not to some extent misses the point – which is that the Iraq War was ignited on the basis of false claims about Saddam’s WMD. Those false claims were promulgated by senior American and British officials precisely to manipulate public opinion, and pressurise the political system into a pre-made decision to go to war, irrespective of the UN, irrespective of international law, and irrespective of whether WMD really existed.

It’s this fact which ultimately brings to light the extent to which our political system, certainly when it comes to foreign policy decisions, is broken, and has yet to be repaired. The historical record confirms that all the intelligence available to British and American security services, including information passed on through the UN weapons inspections process throughout the 1990s, confirmed unequivocally that Saddam had no functioning WMDs of any kind.

Amongst the intelligence available to the allies was the testimony of defector General Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law and head of Iraq’s WMD programmes. He provided crates of documents to UN weapons inspectors, as well as authoritative testimony on the precise nature of the WMD programmes that Saddam had embarked on in preceding years. He was even cited by senior officials as the key witness on the threat posed by Saddam’s WMD’s. What these same officials conveniently omitted to mention is that Gen. Kamel had also confirmed to UN inspectors in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and banned missiles, in 1991, shortly before the Gulf War – exactly as Saddam had claimed. Yet such intelligence was ignored and suppressed.

MYTH 4: The decision to go to war was based on a legitimate parliamentary process, legal advice from the Attorney General, as well as consultations with the UN.

In reality, the decision to go to war was made jointly by senior American and British officials prior to any democratic process, behind closed doors, and irrespective of evidence or international law. This is confirmed by a range of declassified official documents.

A leaked policy options paper drafted by officials in the Cabinet Office’s Overseas and Defence Secretariat (8th March 2002), records that:

 

Read Full Article here

Ben Bernake

Trea-son [tree-zuhn]: The betrayal of one’s own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies. Source

Daisy Luther, Contributor
Activist Post

If Patriots had a “most wanted” list, these people would be at the top of it.

The alleged crimes of this Dirty Dozen? Betraying the American people from within by wantonly dismantling the Constitution, collapsing the economy, and creating an encroaching police state that rewards the few and restricts the many. Each and every person on this list could rightfully be investigated for Treason against the United States of America.

This Gallery of Dishonor is by no means inclusive. It contains, in alphabetical order, some of the most despicable but certainly not all.

Meet the Patriot’s Most Wanted:

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke, collapsing the economy since 2006. He became the Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Bush and has maintained his appointment under Obama (unusual in that a Republican appointment continued to serve under a Democrat president). Mr. QE-to-Infinity has recently received a license to print money indefinitely to institute the most recent round of Quantitative Easing, which Senator Ron Paul referred to as a “full-time counterfeiting operation”. Unfortunately the only ones eased by this are the members of the Big Banking Cartel –everyday folks need not apply. Under Bernanke’s leadership, the “too-big-to-fail” banks were financially bailed out, while the average American was left to flounder as housing values plummeted, mortgages were defaulted on and personal bankruptcies skyrocketed.

Michael Bloomberg

New York City’s very own soda pop Nazi, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made a career out of micromanaging the lives of the citizens of the city. Bloomberg has decided that he must take control of the health of New York City residents and has done so by disallowing the sale of sugary beverages over 16 ounces. He also had NYC hospitals lock up baby formula and track when formula is dispensed in an effort to coerce new mothers to exclusively breastfeed. And speaking of new mothers, there have been numerous quiet sexual harassment lawsuits filed against Bloomberg by women under his employ, dating back to 1997, when a female employ described telling Bloomberg of an unplanned pregnancy, to which he allegedly responded “Kill it!” and “Great, number 16!” (Not treason, but saying that type of thing would certainly be indicative of a man’s character.) Back to treason, last summer, Bloomberg stated the NYPD officers should go on strike until the citizens voluntarily disarmed themselves. Under his “leadership” New York City has the strictest gun laws in the state, requiring permits, licensing and registration. This left the citizenry largely disarmed and unable to protect themselves in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Never one to let a good crisis go to waste, Bloomberg rounded up celebrities to put together a propaganda video calling out for even more gun control just days after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

George W. Bush

It was under the watch of erstwhile President Bush that the largest terrorist act in American history took place in our own airspace on September 11, 2001. This inside job was rapidly followed by the “Patriot Act” – in truth the most unpatriotic legislation that had existed up to that point and the first serious blow suffered by the Constitution. The Patriot Act was rolled out to save America from terrorists, allowing surveillance and invasions of privacy without the hassle of pesky little inconveniences like probable cause and search warrants. Bush and 7 of his cohorts (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo) were find guilty in absentia last year in Malaysia, convicted of war crimes, including torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hillary Clinton

Long-suffering wife of former President Bill Clinton, former Senator from New York and current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has had a varied political career. Recently on the hook for the Benghazi massacre, in which 4 Americans lost their lives due to negligence, she has been in the hotseat numerous other times. A noted warmonger, she has been accused of lying to Congress about the Iraq War and Saddam Hussein, she has consistently expressed her belief that Iran is a nuclear threat to the United States and has been fingered by Wikileaks for ordering spying on UN Officials. Other possible lapses in integrity include allegations of lying to the FEC about contributions, the hiring of unsavory advisor Sandy Berger (a convicted felon) and substantial financial involvement with pharmaceutical companies, whose causes she champions.

Jon Corzine

Neck deep in government and banking, Jon Corzine was accused of using 1.6 billion dollars of customer money to cover his company’s shortfalls. Yes, 1.6 BILLION. Shortly thereafter, the company, MF Global filed for bankruptcy and that money has completely vaporized. A House Congressional hearing found the former New Jersey senator and governor at fault for the failure of the company, but he has managed to evade criminal charges. (Could that be related to the fact that Eric Holder’s former law firm represented Corzine’s now-defunct company?)


 

Read Full Article Here

Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

Community  :  The Human Mind – Therapy – Costs of War

Scores of recent Texas war veterans have died of overdoses, suicide and vehicle crashes, investigation finds

Uncounted Casualties: Part I
Jay Janner
Kimberly Mitchell weeps at the grave of her husband, Chad Mitchell, at the Houston National Cemetery. Chad, an Iraq War veteran, was one of hundreds of former service members from Texas who have died not in a war zone but after returning home. He died of an accidental overdose in 2010. SPECIAL REPORT

Related

How 266 Texas veterans died photo
Robert Calzada
Sources: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Texas Department of State Health Services, analysis by Statesman Investigative Team

By American-Statesman Investigative Team

They survived the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. But they did not survive the homecoming.

A six-month American-Statesman investigation, which paints the most complete picture yet of what happened to Texas’ Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who died after leaving the military, reveals that an alarmingly high percentage died from prescription drug overdoses, toxic drug combinations, suicide and single-vehicle crashes — a largely unseen pattern of early deaths that federal authorities are failing to adequately track and have been slow to respond to.

The Statesman obtained autopsy results, toxicology reports, inquests and accident reports from more than 50 agencies throughout the state to analyze the causes of death for 266  Texas veterans who served in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and were receiving Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits when they died.

The Statesman investigation, which relied on 345 fragmentary death records provided by the VA — as well as obituaries and interviews with veterans’ families — reveals a phenomenon that has mostly been hidden from public view.

The investigation found that:

  • More than 1 in 3  died from a drug overdose, a fatal combination of drugs or suicide. Their median age at death was 28 .
  • Nearly 1 in 5  died in a motor vehicle crash.
  • Of those with a primary diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, the numbers are even more disturbing: 80  percent died of overdose, suicide or a single-vehicle crash. Only two of the 46  Texas veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan operations who had a PTSD diagnosis died of disease or illness, according to the newspaper’s analysis.
  • The 345 Texas veterans identified by the VA as having died since coming home is equal to nearly two-thirds of the state’s casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that only includes veterans who have sought VA benefits, meaning the total number of deaths is likely much larger.

The investigation highlights the problem of prescription drug overdose among veterans, which has received scant attention compared to suicides: Nearly as many  Texas veterans died after taking prescription medicine as committed suicide. VA prescriptions for powerful narcotics have skyrocketed over the past decade  even as evidence mounted that such painkillers and PTSD make a dangerous combination. In effect, experts say, the military and VA exposed an especially vulnerable population to a flood of powerful drugs.

Although the VA has conducted limited studies into how Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are dying, it has not detailed their individual causes of death, a shortcoming critics say prevents it from understanding the full scope of the problems facing those who fought over the past decade.

“This is the data we’ve been looking for,” said state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who chairs the Senate’s Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee. “We know very well the numbers of active-duty (deaths), but what we don’t know is what happens once they separate from the military.

“Unless we know the extent of the problem, people don’t tend to act on things,” Van de Putte said. “I’m hoping people will be appalled … and feel compelled to take action.”

The deaths represent a fraction of the nearly 53,000 Texas veterans of the conflicts who had applied for disability benefits as of 2011, and veterans groups say most former combatants re-integrate into the civilian world without major trauma. Yet the autopsy reports and investigation narratives obtained by the Statesman paint a mosaic of pain, desperation and hopelessness among a significant number of Texas veterans.

Among them were:

  • Chad Mitchell, 40,  a veteran of seven  overseas deployments who had settled in Austin after leaving the Navy. He died in September 2010  with a half-dozen prescription drugs in his system, including anti-anxiety medication and powerful painkillers oxycodone and methadone prescribed by physicians in a private pain clinic and VA doctors. Mitchell suffered from PTSD, chest pain from an earlier operation and nerve pain from a shoulder injury in Iraq.
  • Justin Languis, a 31-year-old  veteran of Iraq who shot and killed himself in January 2011 at the Fort Hood memorial wall commemorating fallen soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division. Languis had deployed with the division twice, serving as a combat medic during the battles of Fallujah and Najaf and surviving an improvised explosive device blast that left him injured. Several soldiers from his units were killed during the deployments, their names etched in the wall where Languis committed suicide.
  • Paul Norris, a 24-year-old Army veteran, who died when he lost control of his Honda Civic and slammed into a rock wall along an El Paso street. Police said Norris was speeding; his father said his son was usually a cautious driver and believes his son was experiencing a flashback to his time in Iraq when he lost control of his car.

Meaningful results

The newspaper’s findings show that deaths from suicide and overdose were far higher among the veterans receiving VA benefits than for the overall state population: The percentage of suicides was nearly five times  higher, while the percentage of deaths from overdose and toxic drug combinations was 5.3  times as high. Controlling for age and gender, the differences remained: Among males under 35, for example, the percentage of veterans who died from overdoses was 2.6 times  the general population percentage, while the percentage of suicides was 1.6 times higher.

Former State of Texas  epidemiologist Dennis Perrotta said that although differences between the groups — mostly male war veterans with medical ailments, versus a much more diverse overall population — account for some of the discrepancies, the results are nevertheless meaningful. The newspaper’s findings also are echoed by broad data compiled by the Texas Department of State Health Services that indicate elevated levels  of suicide and overdose among veterans under the age of 35.

VA officials said that because they don’t have access to all individual causes of death, they couldn’t verify the newspaper’s numbers or determine if they mirror causes of death for young veterans nationally.

“These are important conclusions, but I would caution against applying them nationwide or VA-wide,” said spokesman Mark Ballesteros, adding that the VA is working to address gaps in its data collection and is planning a mortality study based on 2010 death records.

VA officials say it’s difficult to obtain individual causes of death because local authorities aren’t required to give the VA that information. The agency can get causes of death from a federal database called the National Death Index, but that data is hampered by a two-year lag. In 2008, the department ran its list of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans in the VA system through the index in order to study suicides, but it has not publicly released a comprehensive breakdown of causes of death.

“We don’t do a very good job of tracking these folks,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Waco, who sits on the House Committee on Veterans’  Affairs .  “I would like to see a little more action and less talking.”

In many of the cases reviewed by the Statesman, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan died in relative anonymity. Unlike those who die during active duty, the veterans’ deaths often aren’t noted in press releases. Some did not even get an obituary in their local newspaper, including about one-third of those who committed suicide.

In Austin, a 44-year-old veteran  who left the Navy in 2007 was buried in Travis County’s pauper’s cemetery after dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in October 2007 . (The Statesman is not identifying veterans who died of overdose or suicide whose families could not be reached.) His body wasn’t discovered until neighbors noticed fliers piling up by the door to his North Austin apartment.

Inside, police found a mostly empty bottle of rum and a .380 handgun under his hand. In the closet, they found a bag of medical records that revealed a lengthy battle with psychological problems.

Colleen Rivas  of New Braunfels, whose husband, Ray, took his life in 2009, said her husband and his comrades who have died since returning home deserve to have the circumstances of their deaths investigated, in hopes of finding ways to reduce the death toll among veterans.

“They had a life; they had a story,” she said. “They were soldiers, and they mattered. And they all left behind someone who loved them.”

Data difficulties

Eleven years after the first troops entered Afghanistan  and two years after combat operations ended in Iraq, the nation still does not know how its fighting men and women are dying after they come home. No governmental entity follows the fates of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who aren’t enrolled with the VA  — nearly  half of all recent veterans.

Part of the problem stems from data limitations: Many studies on veteran deaths rely on the National Death Index, a database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  using state death records. But death certificates, including those in Texas, only reveal whether the deceased has ever served in the armed forces — which means active-duty service members are mixed in with veterans. Death certificates also can underreport suicides and drug overdoses, experts say.

Although the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System  can identify veterans who die from suicide or other violent causes, only 18  states make reports to the system. The CDC estimates that expanding to all 50 states would cost $25 million, which Congress has not yet appropriated.

But critics say the VA, too,  lacks the will to produce a comprehensive view of veteran mortality, which researchers say could conceivably be achieved by matching the names of veterans receiving VA care against the National Death Index.

“If VA looked into veterans’ deaths, then VA would find answers,” said Paul Sullivan, veteran outreach manager for the Bergmann & Moore law firm and former head of Veterans for Common Sense . “Then VA and Congress would be forced to act.”

Last year, after the San Francisco-based Bay Citizen reported that since 2007, more service members have died after returning home than in combat, VA officials told the news organization they had no interest in determining causes of death for every veteran, insisting the agency already had a handle on the problems.

The Bay Citizen used information from a little-known VA database that compiles information on the deaths of veterans receiving disability benefits. The database, however, does not track causes of death.

Through a Freedom of Information Request to the VA based on that death database, the Statesman received basic information on 345 Texas veterans who had served during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, had received VA benefits and had died between January 2003 and  October 2011.

Using publicly available information from genealogy websites, obituaries and other sources, the newspaper was able to identify more than 300 of the veterans, then turned to local sources such as medical examiners and police reports to determine the causes of death of 266  of the veterans.

Military personnel records obtained by the Statesman indicate the list included a small number of veterans who didn’t deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, but they are still considered participants in the conflicts by the VA.

The analysis revealed:

  • 47 veterans died from drug overdoses or a toxic combinations of drugs — 40  of them after taking prescription medications. Five  overdosed on heroin or cocaine and had no prescription drugs in their systems. One  died after huffing aerosol refrigerant and another after ingesting the illegal stimulant Ecstasy.
  • All but seven  of the veterans who died from drugs were under age 35. The first to die was a 23-year-old Army veteran from the Houston area who overdosed on cocaine, hydrocodone and alprazolam, most commonly known as Xanax, two years after he deployed as one of the first soldiers into Iraq .
  • Another 45 veterans committed suicide; 32 of them were under 35. The first suicide victim was also a veteran of a 2003 deployment to Iraq, a 26-year-old Army veteran from North Texas who killed himself in 2005. Researchers said the true number of suicides might be higher because medical examiners and justices of the peace are often reluctant to declare overdoses a suicide without definitive proof, such as a note.
  • And 50 veterans, or 18 percent of the total, died in motor vehicle crashes, 35 of which were single-vehicle crashes. About half of those involved speed or alcohol, according to accident reports from the Texas Department of Transportation. Veterans groups and experts  say that although vehicle accidents are also common among young civilian men, reckless behavior and vehicle crashes are a recognized phenomenon among returning service members.

The deaths also included four veterans who died after returning to Iraq or Afghanistan as civilian contractors. Among them were victims of a helicopter crash and a suicide bombing.

And despite revolutionary advances in battlefield medicine that have increased the survival rate for wounded service members, at least four  of the Texas veterans on the newspaper’s list died of war wounds years after leaving the battlefield. They include Merlin German, a 22-year-old San Antonio Marine who survived a 2005 bomb blast in Iraq that left him with burns over 97 percent of his body. German endured more than 100 surgeries and was dubbed the “Miracle Marine” before he died following a skin graft operation in 2008.

Researchers said the analysis gives what might be an unprecedented look at veterans’ mortality.

“The VA really doesn’t know” the full picture of how veterans are dying, said B. Christopher Frueh, a PTSD expert at the Menninger Clinic in Houston who previously worked as a researcher at the VA for 14 years. “I don’t know anyone who has really (tracked individual causes of death) for a large cohort of veterans.”

VA officials say they are hopeful that better cooperation with the Department of Defense and individual states will help them better study the fates of the nation’s veterans. The VA is pushing all 50 states to improve reporting of veterans’ deaths, although death certificate limitations will continue to bedevil researchers.

And perhaps most importantly,  the Department of Defense will soon merge computer databases with the VA, which VA officials say will give them the capability to track veterans outside of its system as well.

Those who work closely with veterans say that, given the many struggles they see among returning soldiers, the Statesman’s numbers look familiar.

“I am not shocked or surprised in any shape or form by that,” said Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Still, Tarantino  said the federal government has failed to plan for the needs of returning service members.

“We basically ignored the fact that we had people coming home from war to an antiquated health system not set up for this,” he said. “It was a health care support system designed for peace.”

Mental health woes

The VA says it has responded to the extraordinary needs of returning soldiers as best it can. It has added new treatment programs, adjusted drug prescription protocols and conducted leading-edge research into pain control, PTSD and other issues confronting veterans of the recent conflicts. The agency spends about $70 million a year on suicide prevention alone, with plans to increase funding each year through 2014. The VA’s overall mental health budget has grown 39 percent since 2009 to about $6 billion.

Yet there also is compelling evidence the agency did not anticipate the magnitude of mental health problems among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

In 2011, the VA said that, in more than 9 out of 10 cases, it gave first-time veteran patients a full mental health evaluation within 14 days, as required by policy. Yet an April 2012 audit by the Office of Inspector General  found the claim was dramatically inflated and the VA actually evaluated fewer than half of its clients in a timely manner. The Inspector General calculated the average wait time for a full mental health evaluation was twice as long as it should be.

The report cited insufficient medical personnel as a major reason for the long waits — a common refrain. Although the VA increased its mental health staff 46 percent between 2005 and 2010, a recent survey found 71 percent of VA clinicians still felt short-staffed. Psychiatrists, especially, were in low supply.

Some family members contacted by the newspaper said medical delays were a frequent frustration for veterans before they died.

In 2010, 22-year-old Clint Dickey drove from College Station to Waco to try to see a VA doctor for back pain caused by an injury he suffered in Afghanistan. They gave him an appointment for four to six weeks later. He died of an accidental prescription drug overdose a few days later.

His widow, Samantha, suspects her husband’s pain became so bad that he obtained oxycodone without a prescription.

“If he hadn’t been ignored, he would have never gotten to this point,” she said. “I think the checks and balances on our soldiers after they get back is absolutely disgraceful.”

This summer, the VA in effect conceded it was falling short and announced that it would hire 1,600 new clinicians to meet the soaring demand for mental health services.

Last month, President Barack Obama issued an executive order requiring the VA to come up with a plan to address another long-standing problem: getting crucial mental health services to veterans in sparsely populated rural areas, where patients can face a choice between traveling long distances for treatment or going without in-person counseling.

In Franklin County, a rural area between Dallas and Texarkana where a 31-year-old Marine veteran killed himself in 2008, veterans service officer Steve Austin  said the county’s veterans are about an hour’s drive  from the nearest VA-sponsored mental health counseling. “We’re in a void here,” he said.

Treatment risks

The VA also has struggled with balancing the benefits of strong prescription drugs with their risks. Mirroring trends among civilian physicians, VA doctors over the past decade wrote dramatically more prescriptions for powerful painkillers — hydrocodone use  among veterans jumped more than sixfold  between 2001 and 2011, according to records the Statesman obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Yet recent research has demonstrated that what doctors once thought they knew about the addictiveness of the powerful prescription painkillers was wrong.

“The research shows they’re highly addictive, especially using them in young adults,” said Andrew Kolodny, chairman of the psychiatry department at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

The VA said it has responded by changing its prescribing protocols, reducing use of the drugs and bolstering education efforts. In 2010, however, nearly a quarter of VA patients still received an opioid prescription, according to a VA study.

Complicating the prescription drug problem has been the presence of PTSD. Recent reports show more than a quarter of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been diagnosed with the disorder.

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that soldiers with PTSD were both more likely to be prescribed narcotic painkillers and to misuse them.

“Treating PTSD is complicated,” said Catherine Coppolillo, a staff psychologist at Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee. Responding to so many different symptoms “is like trying to build a house during an earthquake.”

Dickey’s family and friends said he had a solid foundation for a new life. Dickey had started classes at Texas A&M University, and he and Samantha had gotten married and gone on a tropical honeymoon. Samantha said her new husband, although in physical pain and battling PTSD, talked about it being one of the happiest chapters in his life.

“We were having a spectacular time,” she said.

At Dickey mother’s house in Waco, pictures of her youngest of four children line the walls. Beverly Dickey says that when her son arrived home from war, she figured he was safe. His death, she said, has altered every part of her life, down to the prayers she says for the troops.“I ask that the Lord protect them while they’re over there, bring them home safely — and cast out their demons when they’re home.”


BY THE NUMBERS

266

The number of Texas veterans that the American-Statesman was able to determine causes of death for by using local sources such as medical examiners and police reports

47

The number of veterans on the Statesman’s list of deceased veterans who died from drug overdoses or a toxic combination of drugs, including three suicides.

  • 40 of those veterans died after taking prescription medications.
  • 6 veterans died from illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
  • 1 veteran died after huffing aerosol refrigerant.

45

The number of veterans on the Statesman’s list of deceased veterans who committed suicide.

  • 32 of those veterans died were 35 or younger.
  • Researchers said the true number of suicides might be higher because medical examiners and justices of the peace are often reluctant to label overdoses a suicide without definitive proof, such as a note.

50

The number of veterans on the Statesman’s list of deceased veterans who died in motor vehicle crashes.

3.8 million

The number of prescriptions for narcotic pain pills that military doctors prescribed in 2009.

420,000

The number of veterans out of 5 million from all wars receiving treatment from the VA identified as having substance abuse issues in 2010.