Hope2012


Evil, profit-motivated criminals are killing US troops and innocents abroad

US troops asked if they would shoot American citizens – PrisonPlanet 2/4/08

Worthwhile reading, and 2 frightening embedded videos. 

 

Corporate Profiteering Against Iraq Vets – Salon 11/20/07

 

US unable to manage contractors in war – Washington Post 1/24/08

 

US helmet maker quickly settles suit over helmets’ quality – Int’l Herald Tribune 2/6/08

EXCERPT: “A North Dakota manufacturer has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a suit alleging that it had repeatedly shortchanged the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including helmets for the first troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. Twelve days before the settlement with the Justice Department was announced, the company, Sioux Manufacturing of Fort Totten, was given a new contract of up to $74 million to make more armor for helmets to replace the old ones, which were made from the late 1980s to last year.”

 

Report: Guard, Reserves using hardware their grandfathers used – Raw Story 2/7/08

EXCERPT: “The final report of the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, released last week, warned that the United States is unprepared for natural disasters or terrorist attacks because the Guard and Reserves lack adequate training and equipment. According to 13 News in Hampton Roads, VA, “The Commission on the Guard and Reserve says soldiers use hardware their grandfathers used, and that so much gear is in Iraq, nine out of ten units do not have what they need to do their jobs, so they cannot defend against a major attack here at home.”

 

War Profiteers: Business is booming! The economy’s great! – Washington Post 2/10/08

 

When Mercenary Armies Go Crazy – BitOfNews 11/4/07

 

Inside the World of War Profiteers – Chicago Tribune 2/21/08

EXCERPT: “Hundreds of pages of recently unsealed court records detail how kickbacks shaped the war’s largest troop support contract months before the first wave of U.S. soldiers plunged their boots into Iraqi sand. The graft continued well beyond the 2004 congressional hearings that first called attention to it. And the massive fraud endangered the health of American soldiers even as it lined contractors’ pockets, records show.”

 

US soldier refuses to serve in illegal Iraq war – AFP/Raw Story 5/16/08

 

Iraq Vets Testify to War Atrocities, Vow to Fight and Resist Bush Policy – Alternet 5/20/08

 

Uranium Bonfire: Air Force incinerates radioactive waste – Salt Lake Tribune 4/21/08

 

Soldiers of the War On Terror Speak Out – Alternet 4/18/08
Theodore Roosevelt: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

 

KBR workers in Iraq stole weapons, gold, antiquities – Houston Chronicle 4/28/08

EXCERPTS: “Warren leveled her allegations in early 2004 after being reprimanded by a supervisor for giving water to Iraqi workers laboring in a sweltering laundry building when their own water supply was undrinkable. Warren said the supervisor reminded her she had signed a confidentiality agreement and then threatened her by suggesting an American woman “wouldn’t last very long on the streets of Baghdad.” That evening, with company managers present, she called KBR’s ethics hot line in Houston to report her allegations. She eventually was escorted out of Baghdad by company security after KBR officials intercepted a threatening e-mail, Warren said. Frank Cassaday, a former KBR ice plant operator, told lawmakers that a KBR foreman tried to take military equipment, including two rocket launchers, detonators and ammunition. When he confronted the foreman, Cassaday said, “he told me to mind my own business.”

 

DynCorp Manager Used Armored Car To Transport Hookers in Iraq – Muckraked 4/28/08

EXCERPT: “”DynCorp’s site manager was involved in bringing prostitutes into hotels operated by DynCorp. A co-worker unrelated to the ring was killed when he was travelling in an unsecure car and shot performing a high-risk mission. I believe that my co-worker could have survived if he had been riding in an armored car. At the time, the armored car that he would otherwise have been riding in was being used by the contractor’s manager to transport prostitutes from Kuwait to Baghdad.”

 

Despite alert, flawed wiring still kills GIs – NYTimes 5/4/08

EXCERPT: “In October 2004, the United States Army issued an urgent bulletin to commanders across Iraq, warning them of a deadly new threat to American soldiers. Because of flawed electrical work by contractors, the bulletin stated, soldiers at American bases in Iraq had received severe electrical shocks, and some had even been electrocuted. The bulletin, with the headline “The Unexpected Killer,” was issued after the horrific deaths of two soldiers who were caught in water — one in a shower, the other in a swimming pool — that was suddenly electrified after poorly grounded wiring short-circuited…In all, at least a dozen American military personnel have been electrocuted in Iraq…One electrician warned his KBR bosses in his 2005 letter of resignation that unsafe electrical work was “a disaster waiting to happen.” Another said he witnessed an American soldier in Afghanistan receiving a potentially lethal shock. A third provided e-mail messages and other documents showing that he had complained to KBR and the government that logs were created to make it appear that nonexistent electrical safety systems were properly functioning. KBR itself told the Pentagon in early 2007 about unsafe electrical wiring at a base near the Baghdad airport, but no repairs were made. Less than a year later, a soldier was electrocuted in a shower there.”

Thanks, KBR/Halliburton/Cheney! Let’s be clear, KBR employees are forced to sub-contract to Iraqi and Afghan civilians, so that KBR can keep th emillions the US has given them. The American KBR employees repeatedly point out the severe problems, and are ignored or reprimanded by KBR management. Then, when soldiers die in the shower, rather than on the front lines – we blame the US government? I think there’s plenty of blame to go around here…

 

America’s Chemically Modified 21st Century Soldiers – Alternet 5/3/08

 

More Cannon Fodder! – AP/Houston Chronicle 4/4/08

“The United States intends to send many more combat forces to Afghanistan next year, regardless of whether troop levels in Iraq are cut further this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today.  It is the first time the Bush administration has made such a commitment for 2009.”

 

Dept of Defense delayed brain scans for vets over two years – USA Today 3/17/08

EXCERPTS: “For more than two years, the Pentagon delayed screening troops returning from Iraq for mild brain injuries because officials feared veterans would blame vague ailments on the little-understood wound caused by exposure to bomb blasts, says the military’s director of medical assessments….An Army mental health report last month indicated that 11% of 2,195 soldiers surveyed in Iraq and Afghanistan show signs of mild brain injury, but fewer than half were identified and evaluated in the field. That’s more proof of the need to screen troops as they leave Iraq, says Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Jaffee, a neurologist who heads the brain injury center. Screening includes a series of questions about a soldier’s experience and symptoms relating to head injury, such as balance or memory.”

 

Corner Shot takes the guesswork out of urban warfare – CNet 12/20/07

 

The Vietnam Syndrome: Photo Expose on the Effects of Agent Orange – Vanity Fair 8/06

 

VA Watchdog: Keeping an Eye on the VA Because Someone Has To

 

Veterans for Common Sense

“Veterans for Common Sense – VCS was formed in August 2002 as a nonprofit 501- c3 organization by war veterans who believe that we, the people of the United States of America, are most secure when our country is free, strong, and responsibly engaged with the world. Our mission, based on the pragmatic ideals of the American patriot Thomas Paine, is to raise the unique and powerful voices of veterans so that our military, veterans, freedom, and national security are protected and enhanced, for ourselves and for future generations.”

 

Exposed to military, chemical and biological warfare tests, they walk among us – CNet 3/2/08

 

Troops in Iraq are getting sick from drinking water KBR was paid to clean and didn’t – AP/Yahoo 3/9/08

 

Court gags ex-SAS man who made torture claims – Guardian, UK 2/29/08

EXCERPT: “Ben Griffin could be jailed if he makes further disclosures about how people seized by special forces were allegedly mistreated and ended up in secret prisons in breach of the Geneva conventions and international law. Griffin, 29, left the British army in 2005 after three months in Baghdad, saying he disagreed with the “illegal” tactics of US troops.  He told a press conference hosted by the Stop the War Coalition this week that individuals detained by SAS troops in a joint UK-US special forces taskforce had ended up in interrogation centres in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Guantánamo Bay. He had not witnessed torture himself but added: “I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured.”
 
“Referring to the government’s admission that two US rendition flights containing terror suspects had landed at the British territory of Diego Garcia, Griffin said the use of British territory and airspace “pales into insignificance in light of the fact that it has been British soldiers detaining the victims of extraordinary rendition in the first place”.

 

Statement from Ben Griffin on StopTheWar Coalition website – 2/25/08

 

US Military Breaks Ranks Pt 1: A Salvo at the White House – AsiaTimes 1/23/08

 

US Military Index: Survey of range of military service members – Center for New American Security

 

Video: A History of Evil – YouTube via BoingBoing 2/27/08

 

Confessions of a Gitmo Guard: A Nightmare World of Torture and Prison Guard Suicides – CounterPunch 2/26/08

EXCERPTS: “Dr. John R. Smith, 75, is a Oklahoma City psychiatrist who has done worked at military posts during the past few years. He is also a consultant for the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services, and is affiliated with the Veteran’s Affairs Administration Hospital in Oklahoma City. The court-appointed psychiatric examination of Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Murrah Federal Building in 1995, was conducted by Smith. A few years ago, he became a contract physician, treating active duty members of the US military in need of psychotherapy. Smith spoke on February 22, 2008, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, held in Washington DC. His presentation dealt with the psychological impact on guards of working at Guantánamo . He focused on a chilling case history, of a patient he called “Mr. H.”
 
“Smith said his presentation at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting was the first time he’d ever spoken publicly about his Guantánamo patients. He decided to talk, he said, because he is concerned that veterans are generally ineligible for PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder disability benefits if the condition is not caused by combat. He considers the guards of Guantánamo “an overlooked group of victims.” But in making that case, Smith stepped into a unique role. Heretofore, almost all accounts of torture at Guantánamo have come from non-governmental human rights groups or detainees and their defense lawyers. The FBI accounts in 2004 were contradictory. Smith, a prestigious physician, relayed accounts from inside the military.”

 

 



Who ordered the execution of Pat Tillman?, More on the Baghdad Diarist, and other crimes against our troops

 

The New Republic’s statement on Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the Baghdad Diarist (TNR via MParent blog)

EXCERPTS: “All of Beauchamp’s essays were fact-checked before publication… After questions were raised about the veracity of his essay, TNR extensively re-reported Beauchamp’s account.”

“In this process, TNR contacted dozens of people. Editors and staffers spoke numerous times with Beauchamp. We also spoke with current and former soldiers, forensic experts, and other journalists who have covered the war extensively. And we sought assistance from Army Public Affairs officers. Most important, we spoke with five other members of Beauchamp’s company, and all corroborated Beauchamp’s anecdotes, which they witnessed or, in the case of one solider, heard about contemporaneously. (All of the soldiers we interviewed who had first-hand knowledge of the episodes requested anonymity.)”

“…late last week, the Army began its own investigation, short-circuiting our efforts. Beauchamp had his cell-phone and computer taken away and is currently unable to speak to even his family. His fellow soldiers no longer feel comfortable communicating with reporters.

Weekly Standard uses Marine Reservist, gay porn actor and male escort Matt Sanchez as source to discredit TNR’s “Baghdad Diarist” Scott Thomas Beauchamp (Media Matters)

Who ordered the execution of Pat Tillman? (Wonkette)

 

Testimony and letters from the Tillman Fratricide : What the Leadership of the Defense Department Knew meeting by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

 

Soldier recalls Tillman’s final tense moments (Houston Chronicle)

Vote Vets founder sums up Pat Tillman cover up perfectly on MSNBC’s Hardball (PrisonPlanet)

 

Just a day after approving a medal claiming former NFL player Pat Tillman had been cut down by “devastating enemy fire” in Afghanistan, a high-ranking general tried to warn President Bush that the story might not be true, according to testimony obtained by The Associated Press (via Yahoo)

White House invokes executive privilege to hold up Tillman documents (Raw Story)

 

Pentagon announces plan to rotate 20,000 troops into Iraq (Raw Story)

 

Dept of Veterans Affairs Suicide Hotline begins operations (VA)

Pentagon to implant microchips in soldiers brains (PressEsc)

The DoD has awarded a $1.6 Million contract to develop the ‘biochip’. They estimate its’ 5 years from human trials (which of course means its’ happening now)

 

FBI Report: Gangs in the military a threat to national security (CBS via MParent blog)

The third U.S. servicewoman to die in Iraq, Alyssa Peterson, 27, died on September 15, 2003. New information on her death is still coming to light thanks to a FOIA request. (CommonDreams)

Very little information is available – did she commit suicide, or were her objections to U.S. methods treated the same way Pat Tillman’s were?

Army’s ‘debt of service’ leaves vets perplexed (WBCStv)

EXCERPT: “A 2006 government report found more than 1,000 soldiers being billed a total of $1.5 million. And while fighting overseas put their lives on the line, this battle on paper could cost them their future by ruining their credit. Rodriguez will be reported to credit agencies next month.”

These are non-itemized bills sent to soldiers years after they’ve been discharged, billing them for things they were ordered to blow up!

 

Pentagon looking for a PR facelift for more positive ‘branding’ of the war (WashingtonPost)

Contractors in Iraq often pay high price (Int’l Herald Tribune)

There’s as many contractors as troops in Iraq, probably more, and none of them get soldier’s benefits. KBR/Halliburton dismissed this woman, once she was useless to them, and she now receives just over $800/month in disability payments. Shameful!

An Air Force veteran who told Tripler Army Medical Center personnel that he intended to jump to his death from a top floor of the hospital and then did so days later would still be alive if Tripler heeded his pleas to be admitted for severe depression, his widow believes. (Honolulu Advertiser)


Without a Country : Iraq War Vet gets Deportation Papers (MParent blog)



Our government won’t support and respect the troops; how can we do it?

Private contractors outnumber U.S. troops (WakeUpFromYourSlumber)

Military families fighting to have individual funeral services for their loved ones (NYTimes)

US veterans sue government (BBC)

“The class-action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans claims they have been denied disability pay and mental health treatment.”

We’re running out of troops” (Guardian, UK)

Help lags for homeless female veterans (Yahoo)

Ron Paul is the US military’s #1 choice (Students for Paul)

Why the military loves Ron Paul (The Nation via MParent blog)

Pentagon balked at pleas from officers in field for safer vehicles (USA Today)

Bush ‘strongly opposed’ to increasing troops pay (Military.com)

Injured Iraq war vets to sue Veterans Affairs Department (Guardian, UK)

Waiting To Die: Blue Water Veterans seek help (NWA Online)

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs won’t compensate Navy Vietnam veterans, saying they weren’t exposed to Agent Orange.”

US Ambassador to Iraq: “We are buying time at a cost of the lives of our soldiers (ABC)

Mocking deformed I.E.D. victims, killing dogs for fun, and desecrating the graves of children. Welcome to today’s U.S. Army. (MParent blog)

An appeals court chastised the Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday and ordered the agency to pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and contracted a form of leukemia. “The Department of Veterans Affairs has contributed substantially to our sense of national shame,” the opinion from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals read. It was not immediately known how much the department would have to pay under the order or how many veterans would be affected. (Yahoo)

Pentagon rethinks troop cuts in Europe (Yahoo)

Accustomed to their own atrocities in Iraq, U.S. soldiers have become murderers (Alternet)

New details on Pat Tillman’s death (Yahoo)

After four years of service an Iraqi translator is abandoned by Army (Alternet)



What does “support the troops” mean to you?

 

“Supporting the troops” means withdrawing them – General William Odom (Nieman Watchdog)

One Soldier’s Story (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

EXCERPTS: “An elderly reader named Barbara called up this month…”I don’t mean to bother you,” the Seattle resident began. “I don’t want people to forget.” Between the chronicles of Paris Hilton and the singing of Blake Lewis, she didn’t want anyone to forget the men and women who are scared to death, risking their necks in Iraq everyday. Meanwhile, back here at home, people are at the mall shopping or engrossed in reality TV shows that deflect attention from the reality of war. I don’t know what you can do, Barbara asked me — maybe remind people or something? How about telling a soldier’s story?”

“Staff Sgt. Darrell Griffin Jr. hails from Southern California. He joined the military and eventually was assigned to Fort Lewis. One reason Griffin, an Army staff sergeant, caught my eye is he defies the stereotype of soldiers as unthinking automatons with guns. The book he was reading when the Iraq war got in the way was about Søren Kierkegaard — the 19th-century Danish philosopher whose thoughts touch on the nature of faith, ethics and the feelings that individuals experience in the face of life choices. Heady stuff.

Another reason Griffin comes to mind is the introspective e-mails he wrote to his family and to journalists he met on the battlefield. Here’s one excerpt from his encounter with a young Iraqi mother: “I noticed the mother attempting to breast feed her little baby and yet the baby continued to cry. (The interpreter) … told me that the mother, because she was very frightened by our presence, was not able to breast feed her baby because the glands in the breast close up due to sympathetic responses to fear and stressful situations.” “My heart finally broke for the Iraqi people. I wanted to just sit down and cry while saying I’m so, so sorry for what we had done. I had the acute sense that we had failed these people.”

Pentagon underestimates war casualties, says veterans group (PoliticalAffairs.net)

Reservist fighting his fifth tour of duty; about to lose home, job (Miami Herald)

Kill anyone still alive”: American Special Ops in Somalia (Atlantic Free Press)

The War Inside (Washington Post)

The plight of veterans who aren’t receiving adequate mental health care, including one of the soldiers who captured Saddam Hussein.

U.S. use of Agent Orange in Vietnam 40 years ago still echo today, and continued use of biological warfare agents continues, and will affect generations to come (Slate)

Sifting the Sands of Time (LA Times)

This volunteer has excavated the remains of 20,000 people, most of them Germans and Russians, killed in fighting as Berlin collapsed toward defeat in the final days of April 1945…”In these bones you see what war is like. I know war now. I’ll tell you what it is. War is young men killing other young men they do not know on the orders of old men who know one another too well.”

Sprint cancels soldier’s cell phones (BetaNews)



The War on Our Troops

 

Before and After

Army tours of duty have already been extended from 12 to 15 months, and they may be extended again

Gulf War vets’ children have higher birth defect rates (USA Today)

EXCERPT “The researchers said they did not have enough information to link the birth defects to possible exposures to poisonous gases, pesticides and other toxic substances, which many Gulf War veterans suspect are culprits of their mysterious illnesses and their children’s health problems. They also did not have access to parents’ family histories and job exposures.” See also, Depleted Uranium (youtube)

Government struggles to care for wounded GI’s (AP via Raw Story)

EXCERPT: “More than 800 of them have lost an arm, a leg, fingers or toes. More than 100 are blind. Dozens need tubes and machines to keep them alive. Hundreds are disfigured by burns, and thousands have brain injuries and mangled minds. These are America’s war wounded, a toll that has received less attention than the 3,500 troops killed in Iraq. Depending on how you count them, they number between 35,000 and 53,000.”

UK pilots asked to consider kamikaze scenario (Khaleej Times, Dubai, UAE)

Nature of the Beast: Interview with a US contractor in Iraq (MParent blog)

Lt. Commander with 19 years of military service jailed for upholding the Geneva Conventions in Guantanamo Bay (CourageToResist.org)

American security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians (Common Dreams)

Pentagon cheats Iraq vets out of medical care (Scoop, New Zealand)

Sourcewatch’s excellent wiki entry on “PMC’s” – Private Military Corporations



Who is supporting the troops?

2 Army brigades being deployed to Iraq and forced to skip training for desert combat(MSNBC)

Pressures on National Guard concern Governors (Washington Post)

Soldier forced to leave dying mother and return to Iraq (PrisonPlanet.com)

Mental health system ill equipped to handle vets with post-traumatic stress disorder (MSNBC)

Some Gulf War vets suffer structural brain changes (CBS)

Lt. Eva Crouch lost custody of her daughter after being mobilized with the Kentucky National Guard. (MSNBC)

Memorial honoring fallen soldiers runs out of room (Fort Wayne News-Sentinel)

EXCERPT: “In the current format, there is space for about 130 more names, but 506 Americans have died since mid-November. In April, 104 Americans were killed in the war’s sixth-deadliest month.”

Thwarted Warrior: Depleted Uranium and the Mystery of Sick and Dying Gulf War Vets (via Smirking Chimp)

Military deaths are occurring so quickly that there will be no more individual services at Fort Lewis, among others. (KOIN TV)