Created on Monday, 25 August 2008 07:19
Written by Tom Engelhardt
The Past Destroyed: Five Years Later
by Chalmers Johnson
n April 11, 12, 13, and 14, 2003, the United States Army and United States Marine Corps disgraced themselves and the country they represent in Baghdad, Iraq's capital city.
image by mykeru
Having invaded Iraq and accepted the status of a military occupying power, they sat in their tanks and Humvees, watching as unarmed civilians looted the Iraqi National Museum and burned down the Iraqi National Library and Archives as well as the Library of Korans of the Ministry of Religious Endowments. Their behavior was in violation of their orders, international law, and the civilized values of the United States. Far from apologizing for these atrocities or attempting to make amends, the United States government has in the past five years added insult to injury.
Donald Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense and the official responsible for the actions of the troops, repeatedly attempted to trivialize what had occurred with inane public statements like "democracy is messy" and "stuff happens."
On December 2, 2004, President Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, to General Tommy Franks, the overall military commander in Iraq at that time, for his meritorious service to the country. (He gave the same award to L. Paul Bremer III, the highest ranking civilian official in Iraq, and to George Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, which had provided false information about Saddam Hussein and Iraq to Congress and the people.)
In the five years since the initial looting and pillaging of the Iraqi capital, thieves have stolen at least 32,000 items from some 12,000 archaeological sites across Iraq with no interference whatsoever from the occupying power. No funds have been appropriated by the American or Iraqi governments to protect the most valuable and vulnerable historical sites on Earth, even though experience has shown that just a daily helicopter overflight usually scares off looters. In 2006, the World Monuments Fund took the unprecedented step of putting the entire country of Iraq on its list of the most endangered sites. All of this occurred on George W. Bush's watch and impugned any moral authority he might have claimed.
The United States government seems never to have understood that, when it began the occupation of Iraq on March 19, 2003, it became legally responsible for what happened to the country's cultural inheritance. After all, the only legal justification for its presence in Iraq is U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483 of May 22, 2003. Both the United States and the United Kingdom voted for this resolution in which they formally acknowledged their status and obligations as occupying powers in Iraq.
Among those obligations, specified in the Preamble to the resolution, was: "The need for respect for the archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious heritage of Iraq, and for the continued protection of archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious sites, museums, libraries, and monuments." Every politically sentient observer on Earth is aware of the Bush administration's contempt for international law and its routine scofflaw behavior since it came to power, but this clause remains an ironclad obligation that will stand up in an international or a domestic U.S. court. On this issue, the United States is an outlaw, waiting to be brought to justice.
In 1258 AD the Mongols descended on Baghdad and pillaged its magnificent libraries. A well-known adage states that the Tigris River ran black from the ink of the countless texts the Mongols trashed, while the streets ran red with the blood of the city's slaughtered inhabitants. The world has never forgotten that medieval act of barbarism, just as it will never forget what the U.S. military unleashed on the defenseless city in 2003 and in subsequent years. There is simply no excuse for what has happened in Baghdad at the hands of the Americans.
Read more: After the Ruin: Five Years Later
- Chalmers Johnson, August, 2008
Created on Sunday, 24 August 2008 02:42
Written by The Real News
For the Pentagon, It's all About Long Term Bases
by The Real News
Senator Barack Obama's Middle East/Central Asia leg of his whirlwind
world tour was as smooth as the three-pointer he shot in front of US
troops. Military historian Gareth Porter explains what's left unsaid
behind the triumphal profusion of meetings and photo opportunities.
Gareth Porter is a historian and investigative journalist on US foreign
and military policy analyst. He writes regularly for Inter Press
Service on US policy towards Iraq and Iran. Author of four books, the
latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road
to War in Vietnam.
Read more: Obama Abroad: It's All About Bases
Created on Sunday, 24 August 2008 02:37
Written by Ingmar Lee
Greenwashment of Coulson's Continued Ruination of Clayoquot's Forests
by Ingmar Lee
i all, Adriane Carr has ostensibly run afoul of FORESTETHICS message-management leadership for the greenwashment of Coulson's continued ruination of Clayoquot's forests.
By apologizing for said research error Adriane and Maryjka have squandered essential INTERFOR-bashing mileage which should have accrued here.
Actual photos of Coulson's Clayoquot devastations are easily available which should have been produced to continue milking this story.
It wasn't the mistaken photo which was the problem here, -the problem is that they have now lost control of its framing by their apology.
Created on Sunday, 24 August 2008 01:39
Written by The Real News
US and Iraq Set Pullout Date
by The Real News
Iraq and US negotiators set troop pullout for end of 2011 but many Iraqis opposed to late date.
Read more: Iraq: "Pullout" Horizon Accomplished - Maybe
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraq's foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Thursday that a broad document setting out the nature of any future US troop presence and of Washington-Baghdad relations is close to fruition, but not yet complete. A key part of the draft agreement envisions the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq by December, 2011, a date further in the future than the Iraqis initially wanted.
Created on Saturday, 23 August 2008 21:25
Written by Press Release
Statement to the Press from the Free Gaza Movement
orty-six international human rights workers are now sailing to Gaza through international waters with one overriding goal: to break the Israeli siege that Israel has imposed on the civilian population of Gaza.
Any action designed to harm civilians constitutes collective punishment (in the Palestiniansâ€™ case, for voting the â€œwrongâ€ way) and is both illegal under international law and profoundly immoral.
Our mission is to expose the illegality of Israelâ€™s actions, and to break through the siege in order to express our solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza (and of the occupied Palestinian territory as a whole) and to create a free and regular channel between Gaza and the outside world.
Read more: Statement to the Press from the Free Gaza Movement
Created on Saturday, 23 August 2008 03:38
Written by Jim Miles
Deconstructing Brzezinski's Russia
by Jim Miles
he warrior ethic of the American Imperial elite, embodied in its fullest measure by Zbigniew Brzezinski, has been rejuvenated momentarily by Russiaâ€™s attack on Georgia.
Read more: Deconstructing Brzezinski
Reading Brzezinskiâ€™s words leaves one choking on their overt hypocrisy or laughing insanely at the obvious absurdity of them. His writing technique is flawless, based on the big lie technique â€“ tell it straight up, tell it often enough, and ignorant masses will tend to believe it.
Created on Friday, 22 August 2008 10:32
Written by Ramzy Baroud
The Saakashvili Experiment
by Ramzy Baroud
ust as the world's attention was focussed on China's Beijing Olympics, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, on 7 August, invaded the tiny breakaway province of South Ossetia. The initial attack on the South Ossetian capital, Tskninvali, soon extended to an all out war, which eventually invited Russia's wrath, and the death of thousands of innocent civilians on both sides.
Prior to Saakashvili's war, little was known about the political specifics of that area and the brewing decades-long territorial disputes which date back to the early 20th century, highlighted during an intense civil war that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union and its satellite states. Georgia's successful secession from the Soviet grip, understandably, inspired independence fervour in ethnic regions within Georgia.
Read more: The Saakashvili Experiment