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الخميس، 30 يناير 2014

The Truth About Fallujah: U.S. War Crimes, Not Marine “Sacrifices”

This war was about conquering Iraq and restructuring the entire Middle

Iraq is being convulsed with reactionary violence. Nearly 8,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in 2013, double the number in 2012 and more than any year since 2008. As 2014 began, various Sunni forces attacked police stations and occupied the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. Iraq’s government has threatened to retake the cities by force, and the U.S. government has rushed it more arms.
How is the U.S. imperialist media dealing with the ongoing carnage in Iraq? One example was the January 10 New York Times front-page story titled, “Fallujah’s Fall Stuns Marines Who Fought There.” This article is an exposure of the bankruptcy and illegitimacy of the U.S. imperialist media. People need to reject this drumbeat to think like Americans, and see the world through the lens of the American empire, and start thinking about humanity!
The Times theme was the real tragedy here is that U.S. Marines had sacrificed so much to take control of Fallujah, a town of 350,000 in central Iraq, in November-December 2004 (the Times called it the Marines’ “biggest and most iconic fight since Vietnam”), and now the ‘bad guys’ had retaken it again, so their heroic sacrifice seemed to have been in vain: “It made me sick to my stomach to have that thrown in our face,” one Marine said, “everything we fought for so blatantly taken away.”
Well, what did you fight for?
The U.S. attack on Fallujah was aimed at crushing any opposition to America’s illegal and unjust invasion and occupation of Iraq—justified with the most absurd lies (“weapons of mass destruction”). This war was about conquering Iraq and restructuring the entire Middle East to entrench and expand an empire of global exploitation and oppression. It wasn’t about liberating anyone, just the opposite. And how did you fight?
The 1st Marine Division bombarded Fallujah with thousands of artillery rounds, hundreds of rockets, bombs, and missiles, and nearly 100,000 machine gun and cannon rounds. As many as 2,000 Iraqis labeled “insurgents” and another 800 or more civilians were killed. Sixty of the city’s 200 Mosques were destroyed.  Some 200,000 residents were forced out of the city and into internal exile. Italian television aired a documentary entitled Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre, documenting how the U.S. government indiscriminately rained white phosphorous chemical fire down on the Iraqi city and melted women and children to death. And U.S. forces used depleted uranium weapons against the people of Fallujah, leaving a legacy of birth defects to this day.
None of this is anything to identify with or to be proud of being part of, and there is nothing to uphold about those who carried out these crimes.

Continuing fighting in central Iraq leaves 140,000 forcibly displaced

This is the largest displacement Iraq has witnessed since the sectarian violence of 2006-2008.

An internally displaced woman in Anbar province collects aid.

GENEVA, January 24 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Friday reported that more than 65,000 people had over the past week fled the conflict in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in central Iraq's Anbar province. Since fighting broke out at the end of last year, more than 140,000 people have been made homeless by fighting according to Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration.
This is the largest displacement Iraq has witnessed since the sectarian violence of 2006-2008. This number comes on top of the 1.13 million people already internally displaced in Iraq and who are mostly residing in Baghdad, Diyala and Ninewa provinces.
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva that people in Anbar, including UNHCR staff, had reported that many civilians were unable to leave conflict-affected areas where food and fuel were now in short supply.
"Most of the recently displaced remain outside Fallujah city, accommodated by relatives or staying in schools, mosques and hospitals where resources are running low. Host families are having difficulties sustaining the burden of caring for the displaced," he said.
The spokesman added that UNHCR and its humanitarian aid partners had managed to distribute tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats, food, and hygiene supplies. On Thursday, UNHCR delivered 2,400 core relief kits. The Ministry of Displacement and Migration and the Iraqi parliament have also sent aid.
"Many of the displaced, nonetheless, are still in desperate need of food, medical care, and other aid. As the insecurity has spread, many families who fled several weeks ago have been displaced again," Edwards said.
The UN in Iraq has asked the government to facilitate the opening of a humanitarian corridor to reach displaced and stranded families in Anbar province. In recent weeks, several bridges leading into the conflict area and communities hosting displaced people have been destroyed, making access difficult. Currently, it is impossible to reach the area from Baghdad and relief agencies are using roads coming from northern Iraq.
Meanwhile, other areas of Iraq including Baghdad, Erbil, Kerbala, Salah-al-Din and Ninewa have witnessed the arrival of thousands of displaced people. People are reportedly without money for food and lack suitable clothing for the rainy conditions. Children are not in school and sanitary conditions, particularly for women, are inadequate.
"Establishing camps for the newly displaced is not our preferred option and may prolong displacement. But, if the government of Iraq opts to establish sites, UNHCR is ready to provide tents and core relief items as well as provide support to camp management," Edwards said in Geneva,
In northern Iraq, at the request of the Erbil government, UNHCR has refurbished the Baharka temporary site to host people arriving from Anbar. Tents, electricity and sanitation facilities have been installed and the facility is ready to accommodate up to 300 families should the government decide to open the site. In Suleymaniya, some sections of Arbat camp, originally built for Syrian refugees, have been made available to accommodate internally displaced Iraqis. There are some 300 displaced families in Suleymaniya.
Planning is under way to field additional mobile teams to strengthen capacity in Anbar and teams could also be dispatched to other provinces hosting the displaced.

السبت، 25 يناير 2014

Fallujah: US Marines – Further Allegations of War Crimes Surface

“The United States Marine Corps … its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor …” (Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997.)

A US soldier is seen with an inscription on his helmet calling for vengeance in the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah. (AFP/Mehdi Fedouach) December 5, 2004. Source

As the US-unleashed Grim Reaper continues to cull Iraqis in ever rising numbers, this month of the twenty third anniversary of the 1991 US led onslaught on Iraq and just weeks away from the eleventh woeful wake for the 2003 illegal invasion, yet another atrocity in a litany of those under the illegal US-UK occupation has come to light.
Fallujah, now under attack from US installed tyrant Nuri al Maliki’s sectarian militia armed with US supplied weapons, with the US also: “ … looking to provide additional shipments of Hellfire missiles to Iraq … as well as ten Scan Eagle drones and forty eight Raven drones” (Guardian, 7th January 2014) now, another previously unreported US war crime of the myriad heaped on the city in 2004, also returns to haunt them.
The Americans invaded, chillingly: “house to house, room to room”, raining death and destruction on the proud, ancient “City of Mosques.”
One correspondent wrote: “There has been nothing like the attack on Fallujah since the Nazi invasion and occupation of much of the European continent – the shelling and bombing of Warsaw in September 1939, the terror bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940.”
Further: “ …the ‘battle for Fallujah’ was entirely one-sided. US military and technical superiority over the Iraqi resistance (was) as great, if not greater, than the American army’s advantage over their Indian opponents in the 1870s and 1880s.”(1)
Seventy percent of houses and shops were reported destroyed, with those still standing damaged. Iraqi doctor, Ali Fadhil, described a city: “ … completely devastated, destruction everywhere. It looked like a city of ghosts. Falluja used to be a modern city; now there was nothing. We spent the day going through the rubble that had been the centre of the city; I didn’t see a single building that was functioning.”(City of Ghosts, The Guardian, January 11, 2005.)
Nicholas J. Davies, author of  “Blood on our Hands – the American Invasion and Destruction of  Iraq”, has written: “The Fallujah Compensation Committee reported in March 2005 that the assault destroyed 36,000 homes, 9,000 shops, 65 mosques, 60 schools, both train stations, one of the two bridges, two power stations, three water treatment plants and the city’s entire sanitation and telephone systems.”
A US Marine Sergeant had told Channel 4 News: “We’ll unleash the dogs of hell, we’ll unleash ‘em… They don’t even know what’s coming – hell is coming! If there are civilians in there, they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.” (November 8, 2004) Welcome to liberation, freedom and democracy, US style..
The horrors of 1991, 2003 and the subsequent years will haunt Iraq for decades to come, possibly, as the Mongol invasion, to which it has been compared, for all time, as the US-UK multiple atrocities ring on down the years, with further unearthing of the lies, blood, massacres and bestialities.
Those responsible for the litany of crimes against humanity appear currently on US television and give interviews in publications, talking of their trauma and sacrifice in Fallujah’s near destruction and their wholesale butchery, as the city suffers yet further.  “Most veterans are deeply disappointed that the struggles and the sacrifices they made…have seemingly been for naught”, Peter Manor, a retired US officer who served in Iraq as a brigade Commander and on the staff of Gen. David Petraeus, is quoted as saying.
“The images of al-Qaida militants surging back into cities that were secured at an enormous sacrifice has chilled Americans who fought in Iraq”, is a typical comment. Try burying you husband, wife, children in the garden or yard, pinned down by US fire, unable to even transport them to a remaining Mosque, then cemetery, to weep them farewell – or watching them eaten by stray dogs, and under US fire, unable to rescue their remains.
In context, that unnamed US Marine again: “It wasn’t a war, it was a massacre.”
As late as September 2010, American soldiers were still murdering the inhabitants of Fallujah, including an eighty five year old man and seven souls described as “youngsters.”
That same month a Report was presented to the 15th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva entitled: “Testimonies of Crimes Against Humanity in Tallulah – Towards a Fair International Criminal Trial.”
The document: “…pleads and implores”, the United Nations in : “…respect for the memory (of the) victims, to investigate the crimes and violations”, in the document, and all that: “has been inflicted upon Iraq, placing the country at the top of the world’s daily list for deaths, displaced persons, both internally and externally, the ensuing savage corruption, child molestation, rape, rampant kidnapping, contrary to the noble goals and (founding aspirations) of your Organization.” (2)
The  subsequent silence  has been – predictably – deafening.
The latest crimes in Fallujah emerged this month, when forty one photographs surfaced showing a US Marine pouring what appears to be gasoline over an Iraqi bodies and setting them alight, others are of burned, blackened human remains, of bodies on fire and a Marine crouching next to a skull, pointing his gun at it, for a souvenir photograph.
US Central command has said the photographs, obtained by TMZ, had not been previously brought to their attention. Another day, another plethora of war crimes, it would seem.
“Col. Steve Warren, Director of Press Operations for the Dept. of Defense, tells TMZ … the pictures appear to show U.S. soldiers in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice … which makes it a crime to mishandle remains.” (3)
Perhaps the Marines are unaware of that. In July 2011, in Afghanistan Marines urinated on dead alleged fighters and posed for photographs with the corpses.
There is no statute of limitations on such and other crimes, thus those responsible can still be prosecuted and jailed, but in the litany of horrors across Iraq, few have answered for their actions.
Article 16, second paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV states: “As far as military considerations allow, each Party to the conflict shall facilitate the steps taken … to protect (the killed) against … ill-treatment.”
Article 34(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: “The remains of persons who have died for reasons related to occupation or in detention resulting from occupation or hostilities … shall be respected”.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) specifies: “With reference to the war crime of outrages upon personal dignity, the 2000 ICC Elements of Crimes specifies that Article 8(2)(b)(xxi) and (c)(ii) of the 1998 ICC Statute also applies to dead persons.”
(Finalized draft text of the Elements of Crimes, adopted by the 23rd Meeting of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court, New York, 30 June 2000, Report of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court, UN Doc. PCNICC/2000/INF/3/Add.2, Addendum, 6 July 2000, as adopted by the Assembly of States Parties, First Session, 3–10 September 2002, Official Records of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, UN Doc. ICC-ASP/1/3, 25 September 2002, and ICC-ASP/1/3/Corr.1, 31 October 2002, p. 29.)
The sheer horror of lawlessness committed during the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq seems to have been lost on the majority of those responsible for such crimes against humanity.
In the context of some of the above, take former gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch on Fallujah: “There’s a lot of downtrodden people there who got a shot at a free life, at freedom”, he states: “ I’m just proud of the fact that when it came time to stand and fight for those things, those concepts of freedom, liberty, human rights … I’m glad my nation did it.” (Guardian 8th January 2014.)
Col. Warren too seems to suffer from delusion or denial, spouting that well worn, mega over used phrase:  “The actions that are depicted in these photos are not in any way representative of the honorable, professional service of the two and a half  million service members who went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade.”
General Antonio Taguba, who released his Report on the mediaeval torture  which were US war crimes at Abu Ghraib prison just six months before these further Fallujah atrocitites were allegedly committed, surely pinned the attitude of America’s troops and their leaders, when quoting another US General who told him: “The abused are only Iraqis.”

Death penalty in Iraq: The horror continues

On behalf of those far over thousand still languishing on death row in Iraq, GICJ urged the UN to do undertake immediate action and pressure the Iraqi government to comply with the international rule of law and immediately halt all executions unless a fair trial before an independent and impartial jury can be guaranteed.

One more time executions in Iraq have broken all records. According to official statements given by the Iraqi Minister of Justice al-Shammari, 37 people were hanged between the 19 and 23 January 2014. Other credible sources mention at least another 12 secret executions that have additionally been carried out. This would bring the total number of prisoners put to death to 49. In his statement al-Shammari pretended that all executed had been terrorists who had been “tried and convicted and their sentences had been approved by the presidency”.
In view of a such dramatic rise and knowing about the the utter deficiency of the Iraqi judicial system GICJ continued to follow up on this pressing issue by sending information and urgent appeals to the UN bodies, including the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. In its letters, GICJ explained one more time that the Iraqi Anti-Terrorism Law No. 13, which commonly serves as legal ground for death sentences, has frequently been criticized for its provision of capital punishment for a wide range of offences that cannot be considered as “most serious crimes” and for its misuse against critics of the regime. GICJ further explained that the Iraqi judicial system largely depends on confessions, often produced by force and/ or based on the testimonies of secret informants and anonymous denunciations.
Death sentences carried out under such circumstances must be considered arbitrary, GICJ insisted, pointing out that executions in Iraq have been frequently condemned in strongest terms by the UN bodies including the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay herself. It was thus only one more slap into the face of the international community when the Iraqi Minister of Justice in his statement stretched that his ministry would “continue to carry out sentences against those who have been condemned, despite all persistent international calls for Iraq to declare a moratorium on its use of capital punishment.
What is particularly alarming about the latest executions, GICJ warned, is that even on request by the Human Rights Committee of the Iraqi House of Representatives (Parliament) no proofs were given of the alleged crimes and that most of the executed were only convicted in 2013, which one more time proves that announcements by the Iraqi government that it would continue executions at any cost are no empty rhetoric. Consistently, in a press conference given on 22 January 2014, the Iraqi Minister of Justice again reaffirmed the government’s determination continue its capital punishment policy without any compromises.
In the official data published on 21 January 2014 the names of those people executed did not appear, except for their abbreviations. It was however explicitly mentioned that “terrorist” Adel Mashhadani had been among the executed, for allegedly being “guilty of inciting uprisings in areas of conflict and sectarianism”. Mashdahani had been the local chief of a tribal militia, which had been trained and financed by the US and Iraq to battle al-Qaeda fighters. His arrest in 2009 was highly disputed . Until this day he is considered a hero by many.
In addition to the official data on the website of the Iraqi Ministry of Justice, GICJ has received the information from the ground that Amer Faris Nasrat was among the executed during the latest wave. According to the judgment, he was accused of having deposited an explosive device which injured six policemen in a car. His family however stands firm against these accusations. Here one of the latest pictures of Amer Faris Nasrat, who was Number 9 on the official list.

On behalf of those far over thousand still languishing on death row in Iraq, GICJ urged the UN to do undertake immediate action and pressure the Iraqi government to comply with the international rule of law and immediately halt all executions unless a fair trial before an independent and impartial jury can be guaranteed. GICJ further requested that an immediate, independent investigation of current and past executions carried out in Iraq must take place, and the human rights compliance of the 2005 Anti-Terrorism Law examined. Finally GICJ urged the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions to request a country visit to Iraq as soon as possible and include the topic of Iraq into his further reports.

It should be clear to see that this revolt represents all Iraqis

It should be clear to see that this revolt represents all Iraqis
by Central Media Committee for Support of Iraq on 22-01-2014
BRussells Tribunal
The terrorism that exists in Iraq today is made possible and orchestrated by the US and Iran.

January 19, 2014

The Iraqi patriotic revolt represents all Iraqis from the north to the south and as such it is against sectarianism and categorically refuses all calls for a Bremer like plan to divide the unity of Iraq into provinces.

The peaceful nature of Iraqi protests that have been going on for one year has been shattered by Maliki's violence, It started with the Hweyjah massacre that killed 60 and wounded 300 protesters. Now, Maliki, backed by Iran and the US, escalated the violence against Iraqis by shelling cities, all over Iraq, with tanks, artillery, and aircraft. This vicious attack has prompted the valiant Arab tribes to step in, in order to protect the Iraqi people. It is the members of the Iraqi tribes, and ex-officers of the old patriotic army of Iraq who are defending the Iraqi people, not what Maliki pretends to be "terrorist groups like Qaeda and ISIS". When members of Maliki militias were captured by the resistance forces they were not harmed. Instead the Arab tribes gave them safe haven, food, and returned them to their homes and families. This is because this revolt is for the Iraqis themselves , it is against Iran and its puppet ruler in Iraq, Maliki.

Hence, it should be clear to see that this revolt represents all Iraqis. It is a patriotic revolt, not as the enemies of the Arab nation, such as the US, Britain, and Russia tried to portray it to be run by Islamic terrorists.

The terrorism that exists in Iraq today is made possible and orchestrated by the US and Iran. Sure proof to this has been the backing of Maliki at the US controlled UN and the Arab league that both miss-portray what is taking place in Iraq as Maliki fighting terrorism!

This revolt is not only that of the Anbar Arab tribes. It involves all Iraqi Arab tribes from the North to the South. It is a patriotic revolt to rid Iraq of the Iranian occupation to restore it to its people with security and justice for all.

This Iraqi revolt also represents the whole Arab nation struggle, not only Iraq. As such it stands in support of the Syrian Arab popular revolt against Safawi rule, supports the Unity of Yemen, the Arab identity of Bahrain, the stability of Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, the Arab Maghreb, especially against Iranian influence, sectarian interference, and sabotage. In this regard it is an Arab revolt, not a tribal revolt.

Lastly, we assert that the General Military Council is the leader and brain of the armed revolt and supporting it is an Iraqi and Arab national duty.

Translated by Falastini Moghtareb
Iraq Committee info USA


The hidden history of the CIA�s prison in Poland

The hidden history of the CIA�s prison in Poland

By Adam Goldman

Kacper Pempel/REUTERS - A car drives past barbed-wire fence surrounding a military area in Stare Kiejkuty village in Poland.

January 22, 2014
On a cold day in early 2003, two senior CIA officers arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to pick up a pair of large cardboard boxes. Inside were bundles of cash totaling $15 million that had been flown from Germany via diplomatic pouch.
The men put the boxes in a van and weaved through the Polish capital until coming to the headquarters of Polish intelligence. They were met by Col. Andrzej Derlatka, deputy chief of the intelligence service, and two of his associates.
The Americans and Poles formalized an agreement that over the previous weeks had allowed the CIA the use of a secret prison � a remote villa in the Polish lake district � to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects. The Polish intelligence service had some more funds, and the agency had a solid location for its newest covert operation, according to former CIA officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the interrogation program, including previously unreported details about the creation of the agency�s black sites.
The CIA prison in Poland was arguably the most important of all the black sites created by the agency in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was the first of a trio in Europe that housed the initial wave of accused Sept. 11 conspirators, and it was where Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the attacks, was waterboarded 183 times after his capture.
Much about the creation and operation of the CIA�s prison at a base in one of the young democracies of Central Europe remains cloaked in mystery, matters that are classified as state secrets by the U.S. government. But what happened in Poland more than a decade ago continues to reverberate, and the bitter debate about the CIA�s interrogation program is about to be revisited.
The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is preparing to release at least portions of an exhaustive 6,00o-page report on the CIA interrogation program, its value in eliciting critical intelligence, and whether Congress was misled about aspects of what the agency was doing.
The treatment of detainees also continues to be a legal issue in the military trials of Mohammed and others at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
And in December, the European Court of Human Rights heard arguments that Poland violated international law and participated in torture by accommodating its American ally; a decision is expected this year.
"In the face of Polish and United States efforts to draw a veil over these abuses, the European Court of Human Rights now has an opportunity to break this conspiracy of silence and uphold the rule of law," said Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative that petitioned the court on behalf of a detainee who was held there.
Wanted: A better location
The story of a Polish villa that became the site one of the most infamous prisons in American history began in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad with the capture of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, better known as Abu Zubaida, in March 2002. The CIA needed a place to stash its first "high-value" detainee, a man who was thought to be closely tied to the al-Qaeda leadership and might know of follow-on plots.
Cambodia and Thailand offered to help the CIA. Cambodia turned out to be the less desirable of the two. Agency officers told superiors that a proposed site was infested with snakes. So the agency flew Abu Zubaida to Thailand, housing him at a remote location at least an hour�s drive from Bangkok.
The CIA declined to comment, as did Polish authorities through Poland�s embassy in Washington. Derlatka, the Polish intelligence officer, did not return messages seeking comment.
Several months after the detention of Abu Zubaida, the CIA caught Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, another wanted operative who had been tied to an al-Qaeda attack on a U.S. warship in Yemen. He, too, was taken to the Thai site.
With the prospect of holding more and more captives, the CIA required a better location. "It was just a chicken coop we remodeled," a former senior CIA official said of the facility in Thailand.
The agency reached out to its liaison partners. The CIA station chief in Warsaw reported back with good news. The Polish intelligence service, known as Agencja Wywiadu, had a training base with a villa that the CIA could use in Stare Kiejkuty, a three-hour drive north of Warsaw.
Polish officials asked whether the CIA could make some improvements to the facility. The CIA obliged, paying nearly $300,000 to outfit it with security cameras.
The accommodations were not spacious. The two-story villa could hold only up to a handful of detainees. A large shed behind the house was also converted into a cell.
"It was pretty spartan," the agency official recalled.
There was also a room where detainees, if they cooperated, could ride a stationary bike or use a treadmill.
On Dec. 5, 2002, Nashiri and Abu Zubaida were flown to Poland and taken to the site, which was code-named "Quartz."
Five days later, an e-mail went out to agency employees that the interrogation program was up and running, and under the supervision of the Special Missions Department of the Counterterrorism Center (CTC).
Officials then began shutting down the prison in Thailand, eliminating all traces that the CIA had been there.
Harsh interrogations
Agency executives tapped Mike Sealy, a senior intelligence officer, to run the Polish black site, according to former CIA officials. He was called a "program manager" and was briefed on an escalating series of "enhanced interrogation techniques" that were formulated at the CIA and approved by Justice Department lawyers. These included slapping, sleep deprivation and waterboarding, a technique that involved pouring water over the shrouded face of the detainee and creating the sensation of drowning.
"I do believe that it is torture," President Obama said of waterboarding in 2009.
In Poland, Sealy oversaw about a half-dozen or so special protective officers the CIA had sent to provide security. The number of analysts and officers varied. Polish officials could visit a common area where lunch was served, but they didn�t have access to the detainees.
There would soon be problems in implementation of the interrogation protocols.
Agency officers clashed over the importance of Nashiri�s role in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000; the attack killed 17 U.S. servicemen.
"He was an idiot," said the former CIA official, who supported the program. "He couldn�t read or comprehend a comic book."
Other Counterterrorism Center officials believed that Nashiri was a key al-Qaeda figure and was withholding information. After a tense meeting in December 2002, top CIA officials decided they needed to get tougher with him, two former U.S. intelligence officials recounted.
A decision was also made to dispatch a CIA linguist who had once worked for the FBI in New York. Albert El Gamil was of Egyptian descent and spoke Arabic fluently, but he was not a trained interrogator.
El Gamil flew to Poland, where he subjected Nashiri to a mock execution and put a drill to the head of the blindfolded man, according to several former CIA officials. The CIA inspector general also reported on those events.
Top CIA officials learned about the incidents in January 2003 after a security guard at the facility sounded the alarm. Sealy and El Gamil were pulled out of Poland and dismissed from the program, according to several former agency officials. They left the CIA a short time later.
Both Sealy and El Gamil declined to comment.
'Dramatic positive results�
In March 2003, Khalid Sheik Mohammed was captured in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi and brought to Poland. He proved difficult to break, even when waterboarded, according to several former CIA officials. Mohammed would count off the seconds, between 20 and 40, knowing the simulated drowning always ended within a certain period.
An agency official said that one time, Mohammed fell asleep on the waterboard between sessions. But agency officials have said he finally crumbled after extended sleep deprivation.
CIA officials assert that while in Poland, Mohammed, who had a sizable ego, began talking. He liked to lecture the CIA officers, who would then steer the conversations in ways that benefited them. He also liked to joust with his inquisitors. Once a female officer, who was later killed in Afghanistan, questioned Mohammed in Poland. She told him that she knew everything about him and that he shouldn�t lie to her, two CIA former officials said.
Mohammed leaned back in his chair and said, "Then why are you here?"
Abu Zubaida also provided important information to his interrogators, officials said. He identified people in photographs and provided what one official called "hundreds of data points."
Officials said Abu Zubaida was even willing to help get new detainees to talk. "Allah knows I am only human and knows that I will be forgiven," a former official recalled him saying.
Former agency officials directly involved in the program, such as the CIA�s former deputy director of operations, Jose Rodriguez, have said the harsh techniques produced "dramatic positive results."
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence intends to challenge such assertions when its report is made public. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee chairman, said her investigation "will provide a detailed, factual description of how interrogation techniques were used, the conditions under which detainees were held, and the intelligence that was � or wasn�t � gained from the program."
Eventually, the CIA had to leave Poland, fearing that maintaining one location for too long risked exposure.
In September 2003, the Polish site was emptied. The CIA scattered detainees to Romania, Morocco and, later, Lithuania. Looking for a long-term solution, the CIA paid the Moroccans $20 million to build a prison it never used that was code-named "Bombay."
In 2005, The Washington Post reported that the CIA had operated secret prisons in Eastern Europe. Locations in Poland and Romania were soon identified by Human Rights Watch, and their presence has since been confirmed by multiple European officials and news accounts.
Before Porter J. Goss stepped down as CIA director in May 2006, the facilities in Romania and Lithuania were closed. Some of the detainees were sent to a Moroccan jail that been previously used and others to a new CIA prison in Kabul called "Fernando," which had replaced one known as "the Salt Pit."
From those locations, 14 high-value detainees were shipped to the Guantanamo Bay military detention center in September 2006. Obama ended the interrogation program in 2009.
The previous year, Polish prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into what happened at the training base. They also quietly issued arrest warrants for CIA officials who had visited the black site.
It is not clear whether the warrants are still in effect.

Julie Tate contributed to this report.


More than 2,400 dead as Obama�s drone campaign marks five year

More than 2,400 dead as Obama�s drone campaign marks five years

by Jack Serle

Obama has launched over 390 covert drone strikes in his first five years in office (Pete Souza/White House).

January 23, 2014
Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan�s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama�s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief�s first covert drone strike.
Initial reports said up to ten militants were killed, including foreign fighters and possibly a 'high-value target� � a successful first hit for the fledgling administration.
But reports of civilian casualties began to emerge. As later reports revealed, the strike was far from a success. At least nine civilians died, most of them from one family. There was one survivor, 14-year-old Fahim Qureshi, but with horrific injuries including shrapnel wounds in his stomach, a fractured skull and a lost eye, he was as much a victim as his dead relatives.
Ob1 - Fahim Qureshi - Vocativ GrabLater that day, the CIA attacked again � and levelled another house. It proved another mistake, this time one that killed between five and ten people, all civilians.
Obama was briefed on the civilian casualties almost immediately and was 'understandably disturbed�, Newsweek reporter Daniel Klaidman later wrote. Three days earlier, in his inauguration address, Obama had told the world 'that America is a friend of each nation, and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.�
Fahim Qureshi, injured in the first Obama strike

The Pakistani government also knew civilians had been killed in the strikes. A record of the strikes made by the local political administration and published by the Bureau last year listed nine civilians among the dead. But the government said nothing about this loss of life.
Yet despite this disastrous start the Obama administration markedly stepped up the use of drones. Since Obama�s inauguration in 2009, the CIA has launched 330 strikes on Pakistan � his predecessor, President George Bush, conducted 51 strikes in four years. And in Yemen, Obama has opened a new front in the secret drone war.
Lethal strikes
Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack that injured Qureshi � eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians.
Although drone strikes under Obama�s presidency have killed nearly six times as many people as were killed under Bush, the casualty rate � the number of people killed on average in each strike � has dropped from eight to six under Obama. The civilian casualty rate has fallen too. Strikes during the Bush years killed nearly more than three civilians in each strike on average. This has halved under Obama (1.43 civilians per strike on average). In fact reported civilian casualties in Pakistan have fallen sharply since 2010, with no confirmed reports of civilian casualties in 2013.
The decline in civilian casualties could be because of reported improvements in drone and missile technology, rising tensions between Pakistan and the US over the drone campaign, and greater scrutiny of the covert drone campaign both at home and abroad.
Presidents Pakistan
Obama has sharply escalated the drone campaign in Pakistan.
The apparent change in targeting  is well demonstrated by comparing a strike carried out by the Bush administration in 2006 and one seven years later under Obama. On October 30 2006 at least 68 children were killed when CIA drones destroyed a madrassa � a religious school � in the Bajaur area of Pakistan�s tribal belt. The attack was reportedly targeting then-al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri. He escaped. On November 21 last year, drones again targeted a madrassa, this time in Hangu, outside the tribal regions. As many as 80 students were sleeping in the building. But the strike destroyed a specific portion of the building � just one or two rooms � and killed between six and nine people.
In Yemen, however, civilians continue to die in US drone strikes. Last year saw the highest civilian casualty rate since Obama first hit the country in 2009.
Drones were not the first weapon the administration turned to when it started to attack the country. On December 17 2009 a US Navy submarine launched a cluster bomb-laden cruise missile at a suspected militant camp in al Majala, southern Yemen.
The missile slammed into a hamlet hitting one of the poorest tribes in Yemen. Shrapnel and fire left at least 41 civilians dead, including at least 21 children and 12 women � five of them were pregnant. A week earlier President Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He used his acceptance speech to defend the use of force at times as 'not only necessary but morally justified�. He warned that 'negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda�s leaders to lay down their arms�.
Strikes in Pakistan are carried out by the CIA. But in Yemen the CIA and the US military�s special forces unit, Joint Special Operations Command, have used various weapons including drones and conventional jets as well as cruise missiles to target al Qaeda militants.
However in recent years drones have come to dominate Obama�s war in Yemen as much as in Pakistan. President Bush ordered a single drone strike in Yemen, killing six people in 2002. Under Obama, the CIA and the Pentagon have launched at least 58 drone strikes on the country killing more than 281 people, including at least 24 reported civilians.
Opaque operations
The escalation in the drone war has happened with almost no official transparency from the White House. It took Obama three years to publicly mention his use of drones. In January 2012 he said 'actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties�. He added: 'For the most part they have been very precise, precision strikes against al Qaeda and affiliates.�
In this period Bureau records show drones reportedly killed at least 236 civilians � including 61 children. And according to a leaked CIA record of drone strikes, seen by the McClatchy news agency, the US often did not know who it was killing. In the year after September 2010 at least 265 of up to 482 people were recorded as the documents as killed by drones 'were "assessed" as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists�.
A letter written by Attorney General Eric Holder and leaked to NBC confirmed drones had killed four US citizens living abroad. US citizen Anwar al Awlaki died in a missile strike in Yemen on September 30 2011. His 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, who was born in Detroit, was killed in a separate strike two weeks later.
In April 2013 a leaked Department of Justice memo outlined the administration�s legal justification for such killings: the US has the right to kill US citizens if they pose an imminent threat, it said. It added that determining a citizen poses an imminent threat 'does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future�. Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union described the memo as a 'chilling document�.
The following month President Obama made a major policy speech in which he codified the rules his administration must follow as it selects targets for drone strikes and special forces teams.
The rules are meant to constrain the use of drones. Obama said the US only carries out such attacks against individuals who pose 'a continuing and imminent threat� to US citizens, not 'to punish individuals�. Obama acknowledged drone strikes had killed civilians, saying: 'For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live.� And he added: 'Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured � the highest standard we can set�.
However Bureau analysis shows more people were killed in Pakistan and Yemen in the six months after the speech than the six months before. And the casualty rate also rose over the same period.
In 2013, there were no confirmed civilian casualties in Pakistan � the first year of the drone campaign that this was the case. But in Yemen, the year ended with mass civilian casualties. On December 12, JSOC drones attacked a convoy taking a bride to her wedding. The attack destroyed several vehicles and flying shrapnel killed up to 15 civilians. It was the biggest single loss of civilian life from a US strike for more than a year. The Yemeni government initially claimed al Qaeda militants were killed. But the Yemeni government quickly negotiated reparations with the families of the victims, sending them $140,000 and 100 rifles. The US has not commented on the strike, but in an unprecedented move Washington is carrying out an investigation.
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Libya: Activist Imprisoned Under Al-Gaddafi Facing Jail for Televised Remarks About Politicians

Libya: Activist Imprisoned Under Al-Gaddafi Facing Jail for Televised Remarks About Politicians

Amnesty International

January 23, 2014
A writer and political commentator who was a prisoner of conscience under Mu�ammar al-Gaddafi�s rule, has now fallen foul of Libya�s transitional authorities after making statements deemed offensive to prominent political figures during a television appearance, said Amnesty International.

Jamal al-Hajji was convicted of defamation on 31 December 2013 and sentenced to eight months in prison and a fine of 400,000 Libyan Dinar [approximately 318,650 USD].

During an interview in February 2013 on al-Wataniya, a local Libyan television channel, he accused the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Abulaziz and five other politicians and public figures of conspiring against Libya and the "17 February Revolution". Four of them lodged a complaint against Jamal al-Hajji. His appeal hearing is scheduled for Thursday 23 January.

"No one should be sent to prison for expressing their views. Free expression is one of the rights Libyans took to the streets to reclaim during the 2011 uprising against Muammar al-Gaddafi," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

"This case is the result of a failure of the transitional authority to repeal laws that stifle free expression and are contrary to international law. His conviction should be overturned, doing so would prove that the authorities have truly made a clean break from the repressive tactics of the past."

Jamal al-Hajji was convicted of defamation under Article 439 of the Libyan Penal Code which carries a punishment of up to two years in prison as well as a fine.

Several other articles of the Libyan Penal Code prescribe prison terms for activities which merely amount to the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and association, such as Articles 178, 195, 206 and 207.

Sentences are particularly harsh in cases involving criticism of public officials or state institutions, and some carry the death penalty.

Amnesty International believes that defamation should not be a criminal offence. No one should be sent to prison merely for voicing his or her opinion however objectionable it may seem. In addition, politicians and public figures should be prepared to tolerate more criticism and scrutiny than private individuals.

"Using defamation laws to silence criticism or public debate is a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression. Defamation, libel and other expression-related offences should be removed from the Libyan Penal Code," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

"Those who believe they have been defamed should have civil � not criminal � means of pursuing their claims."

Amnesty International also fears that Jamal al-Hajji may have been denied a fair trial. The defence has claimed that they were denied the right to cross-examine witnesses. The court also failed to notify Jamal al-Hajji of changes to the date of his latest hearing, violating his right to be present at his trial. A verdict was issued in his absence.

Jamal al-Hajji was arrested a number of times during Muammar al-Gaddafi�s rule. In 2007, he was arrested for organizing a peaceful protest. He was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International after he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment in 2008 after an unfair trial. He was released in March 2009 but then arrested again later that year on charges of insulting the judicial authorities. He was also arrested again in 2011 after calling for peaceful protests.


The Secret War in Libya

The Secret War in Libya

Eric Draitser

January 23, 2014
The battles currently raging in the South of Libya are no mere tribal clashes.  Instead, they represent a possible burgeoning alliance between black Libyan ethnic groups and pro-Gaddafi forces intent upon liberating their country of a neocolonial NATO-installed government.
On Saturday January 18th, a group of heavily armed fighters stormed an air force base outside the city of Sabha in southern Libya, expelling forces loyal to the "government" of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, and occupying the base.  At the same time, reports from inside the country began to trickle in that the green flag of the Great Socialist People�s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was flying over a number of cities throughout the country.  Despite the dearth of verifiable information � the government in Tripoli has provided only vague details and corroboration � one thing is certain: the war for Libya continues.
On the Ground
Libya�s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan called an emergency session of the General National Congress to declare a state of alert for the country after news of the storming of the air base broke.  The Prime Minister announced that he had ordered troops south to quell the rebellion, telling reporters that, "This confrontation is continuing but in a few hours it will be solved."  A spokesman for the Defense Ministry later claimed that the central government had reclaimed control of the air base, stating that "A force was readied, then aircraft moved and took off and dealt with the targets�The situation in the south opened a chance for some criminals�loyal to the Gaddafi regime to exploit this and to attack the Tamahind air force base�We will protect the revolution and the Libyan people."
In addition to the assault on the airbase, there have been other attacks on individual members of the government in Tripoli.  The highest profile incident was the recent assassination of the Deputy Industry Minister Hassan al-Droui in the city of Sirte.  Although it is still unclear whether he was killed by Islamist forces or Green resistance fighters, the unmistakable fact is that the central government is under assault and is unable to exercise true authority or provide security in the country.  Many have begun speculating that his killing, rather than being an isolated, targeted assassination, is part of a growing trend of resistance in which pro-Gaddafi Green fighters figure prominently.
The rise of the Green resistance forces in Sabha and elsewhere is merely one part of larger and more complex political and military calculus in the South where a number of tribes and various ethnic groups have risen against what they correctly perceive to be their political, economic, and social marginalization.  Groups such as the Tawergha and Tobou ethnic minorities, both of which are black African groups, have endured vicious attacks at the hands of Arab militias with no support from the central government.  Not only have these and other groups been the victims of ethnic cleansing, but they have been systematically shut out of participation in Libyan political and economic life.
The tensions came to a head earlier this month when a rebel chief from the Arab Awled Sleiman tribe was killed.  Rather than an official investigation or legal process, the Awled tribesmen attacked their black Toubou neighbors, accusing them of involvement in the murder.  The resulting clashes have since killed dozens, once again demonstrating that the dominant Arab groups still view their dark skinned neighbors as something other than countrymen.  Undoubtedly, this has led to a reorganization of the alliances in the region, with the Toubou, Tuareg and other black minority groups that inhabit southern Libya, northern Chad and Niger moving closer to the pro-Gaddafi forces.  Whether or not these alliances are formal or not still remains unclear, however it is apparent that many groups in Libya have come to the realization that the government installed by NATO has not lived up to its promises, and that something must be done.
The Politics of Race in Libya
Despite the high-minded rhetoric from Western interventionists regarding "democracy" and "freedom" in Libya, the reality is far from it, especially for dark skinned Libyans who have seen their socioeconomic and political status diminished with the end of the Jamahiriya government of Muammar Gaddafi.  While these peoples enjoyed a large measure of political equality and protection under the law in Gaddafi�s Libya, the post-Gaddafi era has seen their rights all but stripped from them.  Rather than being integrated into a new democratic state, the black Libyan groups have been systematically excluded.
In fact, even Human Rights Watch � an organization which in no small measure helped to justify the NATO war by falsely claiming that Gaddafi forces used rape as a weapon and were preparing "imminent genocide" � has reported that, "A crime against humanity of mass forced displacement continues unabated, as militias mainly from Misrata prevented 40,000 people from the town of Tawergha from returning to their homes from where they had been expelled in 2011."  This fact, coupled with the horrific stories and images of lynchings, rapes, and other crimes against humanity, paints a very bleak picture of life in Libya for these groups.
In its 2011 report, Amnesty International documented a number of flagrant war crimes carried out by the so called "freedom fighters" of Libya who, despite being hailed in the Western media as "liberators", used the opportunity of the war to carry out mass executions of black Libyans as well as rival clans and ethnic groups.  This is of course in stark contrast to the treatment of black Libyans under the Jamahiriya government of Gaddafi which was praised up and down by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in their 2011 report which noted that Gaddafi had gone to great lengths to ensure economic and social development, as well as specifically providing economic opportunities and political protections to black Libyans and migrant workers from neighboring African countries.  With this in mind, is it any wonder that Al Jazeera quoted a pro-Gaddafi Tuareg fighter in September 2011 as saying, "fighting for Gaddafi is like a son fighting for his father�[We will be] ready to fight for him until the last drop of blood."
As the Toubou and other black ethnic groups clash with Arab militias, their struggle should be understood in the context of a continued struggle for peace and equality.  Moreover, the fact that they must engage in this form of armed struggle again illustrates the point that many international observers made from the very beginning of the war: NATO�s aggression was never about protecting civilians or human rights, but rather regime change for economic and geopolitical interests.  That the majority of the population, including black ethnic minorities, is worse off today than they ever were under Gaddafi is a fact that is actively suppressed.

Black, Green, and the Struggle for Libya
It would be presumptuous to assume that the military victories made by the pro-Gaddafi Green resistance in recent days will be long-lasting, or that they represent an irreversible shift in the political and military landscape of the country.  Though decidedly unstable, the neocolonial puppet government in Tripoli is supported economically and militarily by some of the most powerful interests in the world, making it difficult to simply overthrow it with minor victories.  However, these developments do signal an interesting shift in the calculus on the ground.  Undoubtedly there is a confluence between the black ethnic minorities and the Green fighters as both recognize their enemy as being the tribal militias who participated in the overthrow of Gaddafi as well as the central government in Tripoli.  Whether a formal alliance emerges from this remains to be seen.
Were such an alliance to develop however, it would be a watershed moment in the continued war for Libya.  As Green resistance fighters have shown in Sabha, they are able to organize themselves in the south of the country where they enjoy a large degree of popular support.  One could imagine an alliance in the south that would be able to hold territory and possibly consolidate power throughout the southern part of Libya, creating a de facto independent state.  Naturally, the cry from NATO and its apologists would be that this is anti-democratic and counter-revolution.   This would be understandable as their goal of a unified Libya subservient to international finance capital and oil interests would become unattainable.
One should be careful not to make too many assumptions about the situation in Libya today, as reliable details are hard to come by.  More to the point, Western media has attempted to completely suppress the fact that the Green resistance even exists, let alone is active and winning victories.  All this simply further illustrates that the war for Libya rages on, whether the world wants to admit it or not.
Eric Draitser is the founder of  He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City.  You can reach him at


The USA v. China in South Sudan

The USA v. China in South Sudan


January 23, 2014

If one asks the question "who benefits from the South Sudanese civil war?" the answer is clear. The USA is presently the ONLY beneficiary of the ongoing horrors in South Sudan for this latest round of conflict has once again shut down the Chinese run oil fields in the country.

The USA has determined that its in its "national interests" to deprive China of access to Africa�s oil fields and has succeeded in its goal of again shutting down Chinese oil production in Sudan, the only majority Chinese owned oil field in Africa.

What other evidence links the USA to the South Sudanese civil war? Thanks to Wikileaks we know that the USA via the CIA has been paying the salaries of the South Sudanese Army (SPLA) since 2009. In other words, both the soldiers ("rebels") supporting Riek Machar and the soldier supporting President Salva Kiir are being paid by the USA, paid to kill each other? Don�t take my word for it, go check Wikileaks.

Another question NOT being asked by the international media is how is Riek Machar funding his army? Where is he getting the funds to pay for his soldiers ammunition, the fuel to run their trucks and equipment, to pay for their food? Where is this money coming from in a country complete destroyed by the ongoing fighting? If its coming from funds stolen by Riek Machar while he was Vice President of South Sudan, where are the funds deposited and how is he accessing them?

The USA prefers proxies to do its dirty work so as to keep its self insulated from charges of foreign interference and to keep its "hands clean" so to speak. The fact that "rebels" supporting Riek Machar have been receiving weapons from Ethiopia is a matter of public record with reports from the past year exposing what is just the tip of the iceberg in the matter.

What is Ethiopia�s interest in this, isn�t the Ethiopian regime a "neutral party" hosting "peace talks"?

The fact that Ethiopia has some 10,000 soldiers/peacekeepers on the Sudan/South Sudanese border this past year including the oil fields is another matter being ignored by the media. Again, thanks to Wikileaks, we know that Ethiopia has an ongoing fuel crisis and spends up to 75% of its foreign currency earnings on fuel imports. The Sudanese oil fields are the only immediately available supply for Ethiopia�s problem and with Brazil promising to build a $1 billion railway from the South Sudanese border to Addis Ababa this would be the quickest solution to Ethiopia�s major headache.

I for one am really, really sick of Africans being portrayed as tribalistic animals murdering each other in never ending slaughters when the only real beneficiary of such are foreign powers, mainly the USA and its western vassals. If one does just a little research into these holocausts one begins to see who really benefits and when it comes to the civil war in South Sudan the only party presently benefiting from these crimes is the USA.

How this will play out will be an omen of things to come for the USA and China are certain to be at odds in the future when it comes to exploiting Africa�s oil fields which today supply half of the USA�s oil imports.

Thomas C. Mountain is a life long revolutionary activist, educator and cultural historian, living and writing from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_gmail_dot_com


الجمعة، 17 يناير 2014

General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries

General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries


January 15, 2014

Communiqu� No. (1)

After days of battles that have been fought by the Sons of the Tribes and revolutionaries, who have now joined the Military Council, and after the spread of the battles to other numerous Iraqi provinces with the revolutionaries in those Provinces instituting Military Councils, and after what the revolutionaries carried out in those provinces in executing the greatest heroic epics while they stood up to Maliki�s militias� and military security forces� aggression, we announce the good news to the great Iraqi People that your sons in these Councils have started communicating and coordinating amongst each other from the very instant the blessed revolution broke out that these contacts and communications between the Councils have been crowned by the agreement to form a Unified Military Council called ( The General Military Council for Iraqi revolutionaries ) that includes all the Military Councils in Al Anbar, Falluja, Mosul, Sallahudeen, Ta�ameem, Baghdad, Abi Ghraib, and Diyala, Dhuluiya, and from this podium The General Military Council calls upon all the revolutionaries in the other Iraqi provinces to join with it and coordinate for the sake of failing and putting an end to the plan of destroying the Iraqi People that Maliki and all those who are allied with him are carrying out.

The General Military Council also calls upon the unity of all Iraqis in all the Iraqi provinces in order to become a unified front in opposing this brutal aggression that Maliki�s forces and militias are committing; they further call upon the Iraqi People to cooperate in ridding Iraq of the evil and corrupt symbols that have brought only ruin and destruction to our country. It calls upon you to work hand in hand to build this country and to return pride and dignity to its sons as well as to reestablish security, safety and prosperity.

The Council also strongly urges the Tribal Leaders in all Iraq�s provinces, especially in the South, to call upon their sons� withdrawal from Maliki�s army and return to their homes safely so that they do not cause themselves to be the fuel for a battle that Maliki wants to save his position and to protect his corrupt allies and followers.

The Council Leadership takes this opportunity to warn any party of taking advantage of the General Military Council�s name or that of the "branch councils" for achieving individual gains or for speaking on the General Military Council�s behalf without due authorization from the Council. It also asks media outlets not to report any news about the General Military Council unless it emanates from its official Press outlets.

Lastly, we remind the Iraqi People that victory comes with patience and that it will only be a few days God willing, that a new dawn will come and Iraq will be cleansed from all the intruders who have abused the Iraqi People and their history.

God will grant his victory to whomsoever he pleases.

General Military Council for Iraqi revolutionaries

TMZ Reveals Photos of U.S. Troops Burning Dead Bodies in Fallujah

TMZ Reveals Photos of U.S. Troops Burning Dead Bodies in Fallujah

By Joe Coscarelli

Janaury 15, 2014
With Fallujah back under the control of Sunni insurgents, the nightmare of Iraq in 2004 is alive again. Today, TMZ published eight horrifying images, allegedly taken nearly a decade ago in Fallujah, which appear to show U.S. Marines posing next to dead bodies, soaking them in gasoline, and lighting them on fire. The gossip site claims to have published just a few of the 41 photos it obtained � "Many are just too gruesome" � and the military has opened an investigation.
"The actions depicted in these photos are not what we expect from our service members, nor do they represent the honorable and professional service of the more than 2.5 million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Commander Bill Speaks, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, in a statement. "The Marine Corps is currently investigating the veracity of these photos, circumstances involved, and if possible, the identities of the service members involved. The findings from this investigation will determine whether we are able to move forward with any investigation into possible wrongdoing."
There is no statute of limitations on violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The upsetting pictures are not the first of their kind and track with known abuses in the region by U.S. forces at the time. According to a 2005 report from Human Rights Watch, "The torture of detainees reportedly was so widespread and accepted that it became a means of stress relief for soldiers."
The recent fall of Fallujah has brought that time to the surface again for some troops. "It's just like, wow, thanks for dragging up all these memories I tried to forget that were controlling my life," one soldier told the New York Times recently, calling photos of the recent developments "nauseating." "For a while I lived out of a bottle trying to shut the memories off," he said.


The United States� bloody messes in Yemen

The United States� bloody messes in Yemen

By Hooria Mashhour

January 15, 2014

Hooria Mashhour is Yemen�s minister for human rights.

Hooria Mashhour is Yemen�s minister for human rights.
December 12 was supposed to be a day of celebration for the al-Ameri family. A young bride traveled to her wedding with her relatives in Bayda province, Yemen. But in a few dark seconds their celebrations were eviscerated. A U.S. drone fired at the wedding procession, destroying five vehicles and most of their occupants. Not even the bride�s car, ornately decorated in flowers for the occasion, was spared from the carnage. Senior Yemeni officials later admitted that the strike was a "mistake".
Some mistake: Though the bride survived, the strike is said to have killed at least 14 civilians and injured 22 others, over a third of them seriously. This marks the largest death toll by a drone strike in Yemen since the drone war�s inception. It is also the largest death toll by U.S. strike since December 2009, when a U.S. cruise missile killed 41 civilians in al-Majala, including 14 women and 21 children.
In the wake of the killing, a wave of outrage has swept the country. The Yemeni government rushed to meet community elders, seeking to negotiate a quiet settlement for the killing of the bride�s loved ones. But the bereaved villagers rejected the overtures and instead demanded that Yemen�s president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, stop U.S. drones before they would sit at any negotiating table.
On its side, rather than forthrightly address its role in these grim events, the U.S. government has issued no admission of responsibility, nor any apology. It has left the Yemeni government to clean up another bloody mess.
Only recently,we had cause to hope for better. In November, Yemeni civil engineer Faisal bin Ali Jaber traveled over 7,000 miles to the U.S. in search of answers. He met congressmen, senators, and even some White House officials to tell them how U.S. missiles incinerated his nephew and brother-in-law at his son�s wedding last year. In that strike,the U.S. killed two potential allies � one an imam who regularly preached against al-Qaeda; the other one of the town�s few policemen. Jaber received heartfelt condolences from many lawmakers. Yet no official was prepared to explain why his relatives were killed, or why the U.S. administration would not acknowledge its mistake.
This is not the first time a U.S. drone has killed civilians in Bayda. On Sept. 2, 2012, a U.S. plane hit a village shuttle near Radda. The vehicle was full of villagers carrying their day�s shopping. As usual, the initial press coverage labelled the dead as "al-Qaeda militants," but when the relatives threatened to deliver the bodies to the president�s gates, the Yemeni government was forced to concede that all 12 of those people killed were civilians. Among the victims, a pregnant woman and three children were laid to rest.
The use of drones in Yemen might appear a simple, quick-fix option for President Obama. But as Nabeel Khoury, former U.S. deputy chief of mission to Yemen, recently wrote, "Drone strikes take out a few bad guys to be sure, but they also kill a large number of innocent civilians. Given Yemen�s tribal structure, the U.S. generates roughly forty to sixty new enemies for every AQAP [al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] operative killed by drones."
Let me be clear: I, like the vast majority of my countrymen, reject terrorism. All of us were repulsed by recent footage of a gruesome attack on a Yemeni defense ministry hospital. We agree that our fight against extremist groups cannot be won without a variety of efforts, including robust law enforcement. But more often than not, U.S. drone strikes leave families bereaved and villages terrified. Drones tear at the fabric of Yemeni society. Wronged and angry men are just the sort extreme groups like AQAP find easiest to recruit.
Our president may reassure the United States of his support for drone strikes but the reality is that no leader can legitimately approve the extrajudicial killing of his own citizens. Moreover, he does so in the face of Yemeni consensus. This August, Yemen�s National Dialogue Conference � which President Obama has praiseddecided by a 90 percent majority that the use of drones in Yemen should be criminalised.
Yemeni legislators are aware that the drone war is deeply unpopular. Since the Dec,. 12 strike, our parliament has unanimously voted to ban drone flights in Yemeni airspace, declaring them a "grave breach" of the country�s sovereignty. For a country so often divided, this unanimity from Yemen�s most representative bodies testifies to the strength of opinion against drones. But their calls have thus far met only with more bombings from the skies. How can the people of Yemen build trust in their fledgling democracy when our collective will is ignored by democracy�s greatest exponent?