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Posts Tagged ‘occupation

The Inauguration Antidote

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Pentagon clears itself of propaganda violations

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conveniently positioned to be slurped down the weekend memory hole

WASHINGTON (AFP) — An internal investigation has cleared the Pentagon of violating a ban on domestic propaganda by using retired military officers to comment positively about the war in Iraq in the US media.

In a report posted on its website Friday, the Pentagon’s inspector general said “we found the evidence insufficient to conclude that RMA (retired military analysts) outreach activities were improper.”

The report said the controversy, which erupted in April following an expose in the New York Times, warranted no further investigation.

The Times found that the Pentagon laid on special briefings and conference calls for the retired officers, many of whom then repeated the talking points as military experts on television news shows.

It also found that many of the media analysts also worked as consultants or served on the boards of defense contracting companies, but that those ties often went undisclosed to the public.

US law bars government agencies from using funds for domestic propaganda, but the inspector general’s report said the definition of propaganda is unclear.

The report said historically it has been interpreted to mean publicity for the sake of self aggrandizement, partisanship, or covert communications, and that by those standards the evidence did not show a violation of the ban.

FDR's propaganda machine

FDR's propaganda machine


“Further, we found insufficient basis to conclude that (the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs) conceived of or undertook a disciplined effort to assemble a contingent of influential RMAs who could be depended on to comment favorably on DoD (Department of Defense) programs,” it said.

It said the Pentagon invited retired military analysts to 121 meetings, 16 Pentagon briefings, 105 conference calls and nine trips — four to Iraq and five to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“We determined that those activities were conducted in accordance with DoD policies and regulations,” it said.

It said some 70 retired military officers were involved with the program at one time of another.

One, retired general Barry McCaffrey, was not invited back after he criticized the war effort, the report said. Another was blocked from attending, possibly because of a dispute with an unnamed senior military officer, it said.

It said it found no instances where retired officers with ties to military contractors “used information obtained as a result of the … outreach program to achieve a competitive advantage for their company.”

“Of the 70 RMAs that we examined, we found that 20 (29 percent) had some type of corporate association,” it said.

Georgia leaving CIS, Russia’s “Mission Accomplished” moment

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From Russia Today;

Saakashvili made the announcment during a rally in the capital Tbilisi. In his speech he called on other countries in the union to leave the organisation:

We have decided that Georgia will leave the CIS. We urge Ukraine and other countries to also leave the Commonwealth of Independent States, which is dominated by Russia“.

The CIS includes all the former Soviet republics apart from the Baltic states.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an end to the military operation in Georgia. He said the objective – “to compel Georgia to peace” – has been achieved.

Written by mudshark

August 12, 2008 at 10:09 am

Suicide bombings at highest numbers in history since Iraq invasion

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from Raw Story

Surge: 2007 saw double number of bombings of any year ever recorded

Suicide bombings have risen to their highest levels in recorded history since the invasion of Iraq, according to a new report buried on page A18 of Friday’s Washington Post.

Of the 1840 suicide bombings since 1983, the year a suicide bomber attacked the US Embassy in Lebanon, 920 — or 50 percent — of suicide bombings have occurred since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

More than 82% of the suicide bombings last year were in Iraq. The number of bombings last year, 658, was more than twice the number of attacks at any point in the last 25 years.

The unpublished research was compiled by US government experts and leaked on condition of anonymity.

Suicide bombers engaged in 658 strikes across the globe in 2007; 542 were in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq.

Full Story and link to WaPo article here

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Written by mudshark

April 19, 2008 at 1:56 am

Reuters Cameraman, Fadel Shana, Killed by Flechette Shell from Tank

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Tank shell that sprays deadly darts killed cameraman in Gaza, say doctors

from The Independent
By Donald Macintyre in central Gaza
Friday, 18 April 2008

According to doctors who examined the body of the 23 -year-old Palestinian Reuters cameraman at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, it was controversial darts like those, flechettes, fired from an Israeli tank shell that explodes in the air, that caused his death. X-rays displayed to Reuters showed several of the flechettes embedded in the dead man’s chest and legs, and more were found in his flak jacket, clearly emblazoned, like his vehicle, with “TV” and “Press” signs.

if you watch the upper edge of the screen in the video, you will see the shell explode just before the camera goes black.

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Written by mudshark

April 18, 2008 at 5:06 am

U.S. Begins Erecting Wall in Sadr City

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from NYT
by war cheerleader, Michael R. Gordon

The construction, which began Tuesday night, is intended to turn the southern quarter of Sadr City near the international Green Zone into a protected enclave, secured by Iraqi and American forces, where the Iraqi government can undertake reconstruction efforts.

“You can’t really repair anything that is broken until you establish security,” said Lt. Col. Dan Barnett, commander of the First Squadron, Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment. “A wall that isolates those who would continue to attack the Iraqi Army and coalition forces can create security conditions that they can go in and rebuild.”

(full story)

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Written by mudshark

April 18, 2008 at 12:44 am

Michael Scheuer: U.S. Losing War in Afghanistan

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In an article on the WTOP website, former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer has some recent comments on the war/occupation of Afghanistan and the all to familiar contradiction of how things are progressing there.

“What we managed to do was what invaders of Afghanistan always do. We took the cities and declared victory, but we didn’t kill the enemy,” Scheuer tells WTOP.
“The enemy escaped, the Taliban and al Qaida, now we have a growing insurgency in Afghanistan. And, we certainly don’t very many more troops to send there.”

think that was supposed to be: [don’t have very many], but anyway…

Laura King wrote in the LATimes (via Urukunet) that things are indeed heading in that direction, as the ‘guys in black turbans” return from winter.

The first-time arrival in the south of a large force of Marines, the 24th Expeditionary Unit based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., has provided what commanders say is a much-needed infusion of firepower. The Marines have doubled the coalition’s air capacity; Harrier jump jets, lumbering cargo planes and combat helicopters line the freshly laid tarmac.

Just as crucially, commanders say, Marines’ deployment may at last give NATO-led troops the muscle and reach to choke off the flow of Taliban fighters and weaponry into neighboring Helmand province, consistently the most violence-racked in Afghanistan. It is the country’s epicenter of opium production and narco-trafficking, whose enormous profits help fuel the insurgency.

In this unforgiving environment, British troops, considered to be among the alliance’s most effective fighters, have been forced to confine their efforts largely to the province’s northern tier, making the south of Helmand, with its plethora of infiltration routes from Pakistan, a likely zone of deployment for the Marines.

Although allied commanders express satisfaction with the battlefield edge the Marines will bring, the Taliban professes unconcern.

“We have heard all about these Americans, and we are waiting — let them come,” said a Taliban field commander, reached by phone in the Panjwai district outside Kandahar. “They will learn what others before them have learned.”

someone should’ve been reading and listening to what Michael Scheuer has been doing on AntiWar.com.

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Written by mudshark

April 15, 2008 at 3:26 am