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Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock and Army Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes

Paper Publishes Photos Of U.S. Soldiers Posing With Dead Afghan Civilian

TPMuckraker

Eric Lach | March 21, 2011, 11:46AM

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel has published two photographs of U.S. Army soldiers posing with the corpse of an Afghan civilian, The Washington Post reports. The photographs are included in the print issue of Der Spiegel being distributed today, but advance copies of the images were sent to subscribers in an email over the weekend.

The Washington Post reports that the photographs depict a moment shortly after the civilian was killed in an incident the Army has classified as a murder.

The photos are among several hundred the Army has sought to keep under wraps as it prosecutes five members of the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, for the alleged murders of three unarmed Afghan civilians last year. The photographs published by Der Spiegel were among those covered by a judicial protective order issued by a military judge, prohibiting their public release.

The Post, which reviewed the photographs, says one depicts Spec. Jeremy N. Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska, smiling and crouching next to the corpse of Gul Mudin, who was killed Jan. 15, 2010. The other photograph shows Pfc. Andrew H. Holmes of Boise, Idaho next to Mudin’s body. Morlock and Holmes have both been charged with murder in Mudin’s case, and Morlock, who has pleaded guilty to a total of three charges of murder, is scheduled to be sentenced at a court-martial on Wednesday.

One of Morlock’s attorneys said the photographs do not have a time or date stamp, and called the setting and identity of the corpse “mere speculation.” But one of Holmes’ attorneys confirmed the authenticity of the photo showing his client, while adding that Holmes had been ordered to be in the picture by his superiors.

A third photograph published by Der Spiegel today allegedly depicts two dead, handcuffed Afghan civilians.

In response to the release of the photographs, the U.S. Army issued a statement, calling the photographs “repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States Army.”

“We apologize for the distress these photos cause,” the Army statement said, according to the Post. “The actions portrayed in these photographs remain under investigation and are now the subject of ongoing U.S. court-martial proceedings, in which the accused are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

The UK paper The Guardian reports that military commanders in Afghanistan “are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered” by the release of the photographs. On Sunday night, The Guardian says, organizations employing foreign staff in Afghanistan, including the U.N., ordered their staff into “lockdown.”

The U.S. Army did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Late Update: Gawker has published copies of the photographs obtained by Der Spiegel here.

SOURCE

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Join Peace Vet-Led Protest at White House on December 16th

by Kevin Zeese, Dissident Voice,  December 9th, 2010

The White House is in the midst of a strategic review of Afghanistan. This review is coming at a time when the reality is hard to ignore: Afghanistan cannot be won, the cost is escalating at a time when the U.S. economy is in collapse and the war is undermining U.S. national security and the rule of law.  It is time to end the war-based foreign policy of the United States.

Opposition to war is growing. Sixty-one House members wrote president Obama last month calling for an end to the Afghan war. The letter was co-signed by 57 Democrats and 4 Republicans.  They wrote: “This has become the longest war in US history. The rate of casualties is at an all-time high. And we have already spent $365 billion on this unwinnable war.”  This reflects the views of Americans.  A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 50 percent of those surveyed said the United States should not be involved in Afghanistan, compared to 41 percent who opposed the war in September.

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Wikileaks recieved excellent coverage on CNN last night, including inteviews with Daniel Elsberg, Pentagon Papers, John Sloboda, the Iraq Body Count’s co-founder, and Phil Shiner of the U.K.-based Public Interest Lawyers.

John Sloboda, the Iraq Body Count’s co-founder, told reporters that the names of civilian victims are among the details included in the documents. “Almost every log tells a story, and far too often, this is a previously unknown story of human suffering and death,” he said. Sloboda said the meticulous records kept by the U.S. military and published by WikiLeaks will be a valuable tool in investigating civilian casualties in the Iraq war.

Phil Shiner of the U.K.-based Public Interest Lawyers, a firm specializing in international and human rights law, told reporters that some information in the documents would be the subject of legal action in the United Kingdom. He alleged the documents revealed details about unlawful killings of civilians, indiscriminate attacks against them and unjustified use of lethal force.
“There must now be a judicial inquiry into all these deaths,” he said.

Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, responsible for leaking the U.S. government’s top secret study on the Vietnam War in 1971, attended the press conference and praised Assange.
“I want very much to congratulate all of you who are mining this material to learn what we could have learned if it had come out earlier,” Ellsberg said.

Group: Investigate reports of torture in Iraq WikiLeaks documents

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 23, 2010 10:50 p.m. EDT

London, England (CNN) — Human Rights Watch on Saturday urged the Iraqi and U.S. governments to launch investigations into reports of torture and detainee abuse after the WikiLeaks website published thousands of classified military documents detailing the war in Iraq.

The release includes evidence that Iraqi security forces tortured and killed prisoners, the group said. Human Rights Watch called on the Iraqi government to prosecute those responsible.

It also urged the U.S. government to look into whether its forces broke international law by transferring thousands of detainees to Iraqi custody despite what Human Rights Watch called “the clear risk of torture.”

“These new disclosures show torture at the hands of Iraqi security forces is rampant and goes completely unpunished,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s clear that U.S. authorities knew of systematic abuse by Iraqi troops, but they handed thousands of detainees over anyway.”

Also Saturday, anti-war activists said at a news conference that the WikiLeaks release revealed that 15,000 more Iraqi civilians died during the conflict than previously thought.

source:

CNN
Wikileaks
Democracy Now

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Obama’s Massive Power Struggle with the American War Machine

Even if Barack Obama is seriously betting on his exit strategy, the Pentagon wants infinite war.
September 24, 2010 |

As that self-appointed court stenographer Bob Woodward reveals in his latest court opus Obama’s Wars – conveniently leaked to the Washington Post and the New York Times – the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is shelling out the moolah for its own, 3,000-assassin-plus Murder Inc to roam in AfPak. These paramilitary – brigade-size – outfits, “elite and well trained”, have been branded Counter-terrorist Pursuit Teams (CPT).

Much is being made in US corporate media that this shady CPT posse is able to “cross-over” to the tribal areas in Pakistani territory and, like in that famous Heineken ad campaign, reach the parts US intelligence are not able to reach. Aware Latin Americans – with a shrug – will see this as Bad Joke redux: the “Salvador option” is back. As much as these Afghan assassins have been flown to the US for training, the infamous School of the Americas in the 1970s and 1980s trained death squads of natives to kill their compatriots from Chile to El Salvador. The CIA not exactly excels on thinking outside the box.

Old Afghan hands will also be thrilled; this is a small-scale remix of the Afghan mujahideen fighting the anti-Soviet 1980s jihad. Everyone knows what happened afterwards to those bad asses Ronald Reagan called “freedom fighters”; they turned against the US. Maybe some enterprising CIA analysts should share a kebab with their old pal on a payroll, former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin “bomb, bomb Kabul” Hekmatyar, an eternal mujahid today on Washington’s most wanted list.

MORE HERE

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down to the last trillion in red ink

By Paul Craig Roberts, VDARE.com, July 26, 2010

The White House is screaming like a stuck pig. WikiLeaks’ release of the Afghan War Documents “puts the lives of our soldiers and our coalition partners at risk.”

What nonsense. Obama’s war puts the lives of American soldiers at risk, and the craven puppet state behavior of “our partners” in serving as US mercenaries is what puts their troops at risk.

Keep in mind that it was someone in the US military that leaked the documents to WikiLeaks.  This means that there is a spark of rebellion within the Empire itself.

And rightly so.  The leaked documents show that the US has committed numerous war crimes and that the US government and military have lied through their teeth in order to cover up the failure of their policies. These are the revelations that Washington wants to keep secret.

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Rangel again calls for military draft

Via: Raw Story- By The Associated Press
Friday, July 16th, 2010 — 8:29 am

Rep. Charles Rangel is again calling for a military draft to highlight the fact that relatively few families are bearing a disproportionate burden in fighting the nation’s wars.

The New York Democrat introduced a bill Thursday to reinstate the draft, a symbolic gesture that has no chance of becoming law. Rangel previously introduced similar legislation in 2003 and 2007.

Rangel said lawmakers who support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should require “all who enjoy the benefits of our democracy to contribute to the defense of the country.”

Rangel said he supports President Barack Obama’s efforts to eventually bring troops home, but he wants it to happen faster.

Source: AP News

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Compliments of  The Comic News

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Could “Success” in Afghanistan Be Worse Than Failure?

Success means that the fifth poorest country in the world and foremost narco state is ours for years to come.

July 12, 2011, Washington, D.C. — In triumphant testimony before a joint committee of Congress in which he was greeted on both sides of the aisle as a conquering hero, Gen. David Petraeus announced the withdrawal this month of the first 1,000 American troops from Afghanistan.  “This is the beginning of the pledge the president made to the American people to draw down the surge troops sent in since 2009,” he said, adding, “and yet let me emphasize, as I did when I took this job, that our commitment to the Afghan government and people is an enduring one.”

Last July, when Gen. Petraeus replaced the discredited Gen. Stanley McChrystal as Afghan war commander, he was hailed as an “American hero” by Senator John McCain, as “the most talented officer of his generation” by the New Yorker’s George Packer, and as “the nation’s premier warrior-diplomat” by Karen DeYoung and Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post — typical of the comments of both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives at the time. Petraeus then promised that the United States was in Afghanistan “to win.”

In the year since, the Taliban insurgency has been blunted and “a tipping point has been reached,” says a senior U.S. military official with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, who could speak only on the condition of anonymity, in keeping with the policy of his organization.  By every available measure — IEDs or roadside bombs, suicide attacks, Taliban assassinations of local officials, allied casualties, and Afghan civilian casualties — the intensity of the insurgency has weakened significantly.  The Afghan military and police, though not capable of taking the lead in the fighting in their own country, have been noticeably strengthened by American and NATO training missions.  President Hamid Karzai’s government, still considered weak and corrupt, has succeeded in putting an Afghan face on the war.

Democratic critics of Gen. Petraeus, and of President Obama’s surge strategy, were notably quiet this week as the general toured the capital’s power hotspots from John Podesta’s Center for American Progress to the American Enterprise Institute, while being feted as the hero of the moment and a potential presidential candidate in 2016.  As in 2007, when he was appointed to oversee George W. Bush’s surge in Iraq after the critics said it couldn’t be done, the impressive charts the general brought to his congressional testimony once again vividly indicated otherwise.  The situation in Afghanistan has undergone an Iraq-like change since the nadir of July 2010 when critics and proponents alike agreed that the nine-year-old war was foundering, the counterinsurgency strategy failing, and polling in the U.S. highlighted the war’s increasing unpopularity.

MORE HERE

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Obama Insists His Focus Is on Winning the War

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com,  June 27, 2010

Speaking today in the wake of the G20 Summit, President Barack Obama criticized what he called “a lot of obsession” about ending the war in Afghanistan and withdrawing some 100,000 American troops from the nation.

Obama insisted that instead of considering if and how the war will ever come to some sort of end, his “focus right now is how do we make sure that what we’re doing there is successful, given the incredible sacrifices.”

The US initially invaded Afghanistan in late 2001. The number of troops in the nation has rising precipitously since President Obama took office in 2009, inheriting a war with 30,000 troops and turning it into a war with 100,000 troops.

Obama’s comments reflect those he made earlier this week, disavowing his pledge to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July of 2011. Now President Obama says that date is just the “beginning of a transition phase” and there is no particular timeline for leaving Afghanistan.

With the war increasingly unpopular, the president presented the 2011 drawdown date as a way to make his most recent escalation more palatable. With the surge troops now deployed, the date appears to have been discarded, and those still clamoring for some sort of end to the nearly decade-long war condemned for losing sight of some ill-defined victory.


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Panetta: “Not much choice’ but to use Blackwater

RAW STORY- By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
Sunday, June 27th, 2010 — 12:33 pm

CIA director says ‘at most’ 50 to 100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan

How can a company allegedly responsible for killing 17 unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007 continue to get State Department and CIA contracts? CIA Director Leon Panetta says there is “not much choice” because few companies have the capabilities of Blackwater.

“Since I have become director, I have asked our agency to review every contract we have had with Blackwater and whatever their new name is now — Xe — to ensure first and foremost that we have no contract in which they are engaged in any CIA operations. We’re doing our own operations. That’s important that we not contract that out to anybody,” Panetta told ABC’s Jake Tapper Sunday.

“But at the same time I have to tell you that in the war zone, we continue to have needs for security. You’ve got a lot of forward bases. You’ve got a lot of attacks on some of those bases. We’ve got to have security. Unfortunately, there are few companies that provide that kind of security,” Panetta continued.

“State Department relies on them. We rely on them to a certain extent. So, we’ve bid out some of those contracts. They provided a bid that underbid everyone else by about $26 million and a panel that we had said that they can do the job, that they’ve shaped up their act,” he said.

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