Amerikansk veteran fra Fallujah: Vi var fjenden

Vi var angriberne, og det vi gjorde, var forkert og bygget på løgne, skriver U.S. Marine Ross Caputi i The Guardian:

It has been seven years since the end of the second siege of Fallujah – the US assault that left the city in ruins, killed thousands of civilians, and displaced hundreds of thousands more; the assault that poisoned a generation, plaguing the people who live there with cancers and their children with birth defects.

It has been seven years and the lies that justified the assault still perpetuate false beliefs about what we did.

I know, because I am one of those American veterans. In the eyes of many of the people I “served” with, the people of Fallujah remain dehumanised and their resistance fighters are still believed to be terrorists. But unlike most of my counterparts, I understand that I was the aggressor, and that the resistance fighters in Fallujah were defending their city.

It is also the seventh anniversary of the deaths of two close friends of mine, Travis Desiato and Bradley Faircloth, who were killed in the siege. Their deaths were not heroic or glorious. Their deaths were tragic, but not unjust.

How can I begrudge the resistance in Fallujah for killing my friends, when I know that I would have done the same thing if I were in their place? How can I blame them when we were the aggressors?

It could have been me instead of Travis or Brad. I carried a radio on my back that dropped the bombs that killed civilians and reduced Fallujah to rubble. If I were a Fallujan, I would have killed anyone like me. I would have had no choice. The fate of my city and my family would have depended on it. I would have killed the foreign invaders.

Travis and Brad are both victims and perpetrators. They were killed and they killed others because of a political agenda in which they were just pawns. They were the iron fist of American empire, and an expendable loss in the eyes of their leaders.

I do not see any contradiction in feeling sympathy for the dead US Marines and soldiers and at the same time feeling sympathy for the Fallujans who fell to their guns. The contradiction lies in believing that we were liberators, when in fact we oppressed the freedoms and wishes of Fallujans. The contradiction lies in believing that we were heroes, when the definition of “hero” bares no relation to our actions in Fallujah.

What we did to Fallujah cannot be undone, and I see no point in attacking the people in my former unit. What I want to attack are the lies and false beliefs. I want to destroy the prejudices that prevented us from putting ourselves in the other’s shoes and asking ourselves what we would have done if a foreign army invaded our country and laid siege to our city.

Læs endelig det hele.

Krigens blodige ansigt

The Independent har en tankevækkende artikel om de menneskelige omkostninger, som den seneste lækage har afsløret:

A detainee tortured with live electrical wires here, children shot by US troops at a checkpoint there, insurgents using children to carry out suicide bombings somewhere else; on and on, through 391,832 documents. At the Pentagon, these messages were the day-to-day commonplaces of staff inboxes; for Iraqis, they detail, in the emotionless jargon of the US military, nothing less than the hacking open of a nation’s veins.

Today, seven and a half years on from the order to invade, the largest leak in history has shown, far more than has been hitherto known, just what was unleashed by that declaration of war. The Iraqi security services tortured hundreds, and the US military watched, noted and emailed, but rarely intervened. A US helicopter gunship crew were ordered to shoot insurgents trying to surrender. A doctor sold al-Qa’ida a list of female patients with learning difficulties so they could be duped into being suicide bombers. A private US company, which made millions of dollars from the outsourcing of security duties, killed civilians. And the Americans, who have always claimed never to count civilian deaths, were in fact secretly logging them. At a conservative estimate, the new documents add at least 15,000 to the war’s death toll.

Beatings, burnings and lashings surface in hundreds of the documents, giving the impression that the use of cables, metal rods, wooden poles and live electrical wires to torture detainees was far from rare. Although some abuse cases were investigated by the Americans, most in the archive seem to have been ignored.

Early on, space for detainees was limited, and Iraqis would pack them into makeshift jails. In November 2005, American soldiers found 173 detainees with cigarette burns, sores and broken bones crammed into a police internment centre near Baghdad. The log states: “Many detainees are coughing…. Approx 95 were being held in one room and were sitting cross-legged with blindfolds, all facing the same direction. According to one of the detainees questioned on-site, 12 detainees have died of disease in recent weeks.”

In August 2006, a US sergeant in Ramadi heard whipping noises in a military police station and walked in on an Iraqi lieutenant using an electrical cable to slash the bottom of a detainee’s feet. He later found the same Iraqi officer whipping a detainee’s back. The American provided sworn statements and photographs of “circular whip marks [and] bleeding on back.” No investigation was initiated.

But some of the worst examples came later in the war. In one case last December, 12 Iraqi soldiers, including an intelligence officer, were caught on video in Tal Afar shooting to death a prisoner whose hands were tied. In another, US forces found a detainee with two black eyes, a bruised neck and “scabbing on his left ankle”. The detainee said he was electrocuted by Iraqi soldiers in Mosul in order to obtain a confession. Iraqi officials stated he was injured after attempting to escape.

Hvornår får vi den rigsretssag mod Anders Fogh og hans medskyldige Per Stig Møller og Søren Gade (m.fl.) i anledning af Danmarks deltagelse og medskyld i disse krigsforbrydelser?

Go read.

Collateral murder – amerikanske soldater dræber irakiske civile og griner af dem bagefter

På en video lækket takket være Wikileaks.

Xeni Jardin skriver på Boing Boing:


Wikileaks claims to have obtained and decrypted video that shows US occupying forces in an Apache helicopter intentionally firing on a dozen civilians in Baghdad, including journalists working for the Reuters news organization: 22-year-old Reuters photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.

The video is accompanied by audio of the pilots’ radio dialogue. No Pentagon response yet. (Update: A senior U.S. official is confirming authenticity of this video. See this subsequent Boing Boing post for additional background materials related to the attack.) Reuters has been attempting to obtain the video under Freedom of Information Act requests since the incident occurred in July, 2007, but the Pentagon blocked all requests. Reuters news editor-in-chief David Schlesinger says the video is “graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result”. Wikileaks director Julian Assange said Wikileaks had to break military encryption on the file to view it, and will not reveal how or from whom the file was obtained. The transcript (and audio) seem to show the air crew lying about encountering a firefight. When they finish shooting, they laugh at the dead.


Hvis det anede os i forvejen, at den slags foregik, så kan selv de mest indædte tilhængere af den forbrydelse, som Irak-krigen er endt med at være, ikke benægte det længere. Læs selv opfølgningen på
Politiken skriver også om sagen.

Anhold Tony Blair er en ny engelsk hjemmeside og kampagne, som er oprettet med det formål at få gennemført en civil anholdelse af tidligere premierminister Tony Blair, så han kan stå til regnskab for sine forbrydelser, herunder ikke mindst hans medvirken til invasionen af Irak i 2003, der var baseret på løgn og latin og som indtil videre har kostet langt over hundrede tusind mennesker livet.

Kampagnen udlover en dusør til den, der anholder Blair, og hvis du er den heldige, der kommer først, står du netop nu til at modtage lige over 10.000 britiske pund – dette beløb kan dog ventes at vokse dag for dag.

Hjemmesiden skriver selv om formålet med kampagnen:

Money donated to this site will be used for no other purpose than to pay bounties for attempts to arrest Tony Blair. All administration and other costs, apart from any charges added to your donations by Paypal, will be paid by the site’s founder.

The intention is to encourage repeated attempts to arrest the former prime minister. We have four purposes:

– To remind people that justice has not yet been done.

– To show Mr Blair that, despite his requests for people to “move on” from Iraq, the mass murder he committed will not be forgotten.

– To put pressure on the authorities of the United Kingdom and the countries he travels through to prosecute him for a crime against peace, or to deliver him for prosecution to the International Criminal Court.

– To discourage other people from repeating his crime.

Initiativtageren er den kendte britiske skribent og aktivist George Monbiot, som i dagens Guardian forklarer sin beslutning ud fra sin frustration over magtens indspisthed og vilkårlighed og retssystemets dybe ikke-uafhængighed af regeringen:

The forensic failure of the Chilcot inquiry illustrates what we learnt from the banking scandals: self-regulation doesn’t work. The independence of the inquiry is as stark a lie as any of the claims made by its star witness. In truth this panel of pussycats is a quango appointed and instructed by the prime minister, who will himself appear as a witness. If ever you needed more evidence that the power of the prime minister’s office is insufficiently defined in the United Kingdom, here it is.

So you can mock our feeble attempts to hold Tony Blair to account, but only if you propose an alternative. Last Friday’s hearings show that there will be no justice, no reckoning from the organs of the state. Encouraging citizen’s arrests of Tony Blair for the crime of aggression is perhaps the only remaining option we have, and the astonishing response to the campaign I launched last week shows that many people understand this. In 30 hours, before Paypal blocked the account without notice, the bounty fund at, which rewards people trying to arrest the former prime minister for crimes against peace, cleared £9,000.

Already the campaign has borne fruit. Outside the Chilcot inquiry a woman called Grace McCann, inspired by the website, tried to apprehend Mr Blair, before she was restrained and removed by the police. She qualifies for the first bounty: one quarter of the total pot at the time of her attempt. She has pledged to give the money to relevant charities. The fund will remain open until Blair is officially prosecuted, and we will keep paying out to those who follow Grace’s example.

Det nye initiativ ønskes held i sprøjten, og må det snart lykkes at få Tony bag tremmer efter en forhåbentlig grundig retssag, der kan få alle sagens aspekter frem i lyset. Bagefter mangler vi bare en tilsvarende kampagne her i Danmark for at få anholdt Løkke og Fogh over deres medskyld i krigsforbrydelserne i Irak og Afghanistan de sidste 7-9 år.

Link: Arrest Blair

Det går rigtig godt i Irak

Eller, det er i hvert fald, hvad man hører i medierne, og hvad krigens oprindelige støtter går og siger til sig selv og hinanden: Nu har vi haft the surge og taget et fast greb om ondets rod, så nu må der snart være fredeligt og roligt og rart at være – eller hvad?

Den uafhængige journalist Dahr Jamail er netop vendt tilbage fra et ophold i Bagdad og tegner et lidt mindre opmuntrende billede:

Nearly every day of the month I spent there saw a car bomb attack somewhere in the capital city. Nearly every day the so-called Green Zone was mortared. Every day there were kidnappings. On good days there were four hours of electricity on the national grid, in a country now into its seventh year of being occupied by the U.S. military, and where there are now over 200,000 private contractors.

There ‘s no normal life in Baghdad. While it’s accurate and technically correct to say there is less violence compared to 2006, when between 100 and 300 Iraqis were slaughtered on a daily basis, Iraq resembles a police state more than ever. U.S. patrols consisting of huge, lumbering mine-resistant vehicles rumble down streets congested with traffic. It’s impossible to travel longer than five minutes without encountering an Iraqi military or police patrol – usually comprised of pickup trucks full of armed men, horns and/or sirens blaring. Begging women and children wander between cars at every intersection. U.S. military helicopters often rumble overhead, and the roar of fighter jets or transport planes is common. There’s no talk of reparations for Iraqis for the death, destruction and chaos caused by the occupation.

Neighborhoods, segregated between Sunni and Shia largely as a result of the so-called “surge” strategy, provide a blatant view of the balkanization of Iraq. Neighborhoods of 300,000 people are completely surrounded by 10-foot high concrete blast walls, rendering normal life impossible. The fear of a resurgence of violence weighs heavy on Iraqis, as the current so-called lull in violence feels tenuous, unstable, and possibly fleeting. Nobody there can predict the future, and to hope for a sustained improvement in any aspect of life feels naive, even dangerous.

Link: Iraq in fragments

NATO: Velkommen til den næste generalsekretær

Protestplakat i Strasbourg

I Strasbourg har politiet anholdt 300 mennesker efter voldsomme uroligheder i protest mod NATOs tilstedeværelse i Frankrig og organisationens 60 års fødselsdag, skriver The Independent:

French police detained at least 300 demonstrators after riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets to quell violent clashes ahead of a two-day summit marking Nato’s 60th anniversary.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have descended on the eastern French city of Strasbourg and two southwestern German towns to protest the cross-border Nato summit.

Protest organizers have called for peaceful demonstrations to highlight their complaints, including anti-war, anti-globalization, anti-capitalist and disarmament platforms.

Og hvis Anders Fogh Rasmussen får jobbet som leder af denne populære organisation, er det værd at huske på, at det er “for tro tjeneste” – ikke mindst for statsministerens ubetingede opbakning bag Irak-krigen, “krigen mod terror” og torturpolitikken på Guantanamo.

Men hvordan er det lige, det går med de mennesker, han så blindt fulgte dengang?

John Pilger skriver på ZNet:

In 1998, Spain, supported by France, Switzerland and Belgium, indicted the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, client and executioner of the West, and sought his extradition from Britain, where he happened to be at the time. Had he been sent for trial he almost certainly would have implicated at least one British prime minister and two US presidents in crimes against humanity. Home Secretary Jack Straw let him escape back to Chile.

The Pinochet case was the ignition. On 19 January last, the George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley compared the status of George W. Bush with that of Pinochet. “Outside [the United States] there is not the ambiguity about what to do about a war crime,” he said. “So if you try to travel, most people abroad are going to view you not as ‘former President George Bush’ [but] as a current war criminal.” For this reason, Bush’s former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who demanded an invasion of Iraq in 2001 and personally approved torture techniques in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, no longer travels. Rumsfeld has twice been indicted for war crimes in Germany. On 26 January, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, said, “We have clear evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but nevertheless he ordered torture.”

(…) Like them, Tony Blair may soon be a fugitive.  The International Criminal Court, to which Britain is a signatory, has received a record number of petitions related to Blair’s wars. Spain’s celebrated Judge Baltasar Garzon, who indicted Pinochet and the leaders of the Argentinian military junta, has called for George W. Bush, Blair and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar to be prosecuted for the invasion of Iraq — “one of the most sordid and unjustifiable episodes in recent human history: a devastating attack on the rule of law” that had left the UN “in tatters”. He said, “There is enough of an argument in 650,000 deaths for this investigation to start without delay.”

Og Anders Fogh? Fuldt ud så medskyldig, naturligvis, i “terrorkrigens” forbrydelser som Blair og Rumsfeld nogensinde har været. Så måske han er den næste forhenværende statsleder, der må lide den tort at se sit eget navn på en international arrestordre, udstedt af en domstol i Frankrig,  Spanien eller Belgien?

Det er i hvert fald lidt pinligt for Danmark og danskerne, hvis vores snart forhenværende statsminister ophøjes til international ære og værdighed for sådanne “tjenester”, som en konstant påmindelse om omfanget af vores eget medløberi de sidste otte år. Håber, det glipper for ham.

Billede: Anti-NATO-plakat i Strasbourg, af Flickr-brugeren ctrungnoc.

Israelske soldater: Vi dræbte ubevæbnede civile i Gaza

To israelske aviser kunne i går bringe en række øjenvidneberetninger fra soldater om årsskiftets aktion mod Gaza, hvor de fortæller om, hvordan de igen og igen og med fuldt overlæg dræbte ubevæbnede og uskadelige civile – ofte på direkte ordre fra deres officerer.

The Guardian fortæller:

One soldier described how an Israeli sniper shot dead a Palestinian mother and her children, adding that troops believed Palestinian lives were “very, very, less important than the lives of our soldiers”.

The accounts, published in two Israeli newspapers yesterday, gives rare insight into how the soldiers acted. It reinforces Palestinian accounts of disproportionate Israeli force and contradicts the Israeli military’s official version of events.

The accounts come from unnamed soldiers who were graduates of a pre-military course at Oranim Academic college, in Tivon, near Haifa. Their testimony was given in mid-February, and the transcript of the session was published this week.

Ha’aretz newspaper printed one infantry squad leader’s description of the shooting of unarmed civilians: “There was a house with a family inside … We put them in a room … a few days after there was an order to release [them]. There was a sniper position on the roof. The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn’t understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go and it was OK, and he should hold his fire and he … he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders.

“The sharpshooter saw a woman and children approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them … In any case, what happened is that in the end he killed them.”

Link: Israeli troops describe shooting Gaza civilians

Jødisk parlamentsmedlem sammenligner Israel med Nazityskland: “They are not simply war criminals, they are fools”

Sir Gerald Kaufman er medlem af det britiske parlament. Han er også ortodoks jøde og zionist, og dertil ikke den mindste smule tilfreds med Israels fremfærd i de besatte områder. Man svigter de idealer, staten blev grundlagt på, mener han:

“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

He said the claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants “was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

He accused the Israeli government of seeking “conquest” and added: ”

They are not simply war criminals, they are fools.”

Via Khobbeizeh.

Forstå situationen i Gaza – en amerikansk analogi

Professor og aktivist Randall Kuhn tager sig tid til at forklare, hvad Israels besættelse og invasion af Gaza egentlig betyder, sådan oversat til amerikansk. Om man efter endt læsning vil forsvare den heroiske israelske indsats med de resulterende drab af mere end 1000 mænd, kvinder og børn, må enhver jo selv dømme.
Fra Washington Times:

In the wake of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak made this analogy: “Think about what would happen if for seven years rockets had been fired at San Diego, California from Tijuana, Mexico.”


Think about what would happen if San Diego expelled most of its Hispanic, African American, Asian American, and Native American population, about 48 percent of the total, and forcibly relocated them to Tijuana? Not just immigrants, but even those who have lived in this country for many generations. Not just the unemployed or the criminals or the America haters, but the school teachers, the small business owners, the soldiers, even the baseball players.

What if we established government and faith-based agencies to help move white people into their former homes? And what if we razed hundreds of their homes in rural areas and, with the aid of charitable donations from people in the United States and abroad, planted forests on their former towns, creating nature preserves for whites to enjoy? Sounds pretty awful, huh? I may be called anti-Semitic for speaking this truth. Well, I’m Jewish and the scenario above is what many prominent Israeli scholars say happened when Israel expelled Palestinians from southern Israel and forced them into Gaza. But this analogy is just getting started.

What if the United Nations kept San Diego’s discarded minorities in crowded, festering camps in Tijuana for 19 years? Then, the United States invaded Mexico, occupied Tijuana and began to build large housing developments in Tijuana where only whites could live.

And what if the United States built a network of highways connecting American citizens of Tijuana to the United States? And checkpoints, not just between Mexico and the United States but also around every neighborhood of Tijuana? What if we required every Tijuana resident, refugee or native, to show an ID card to the U.S. military on demand? What if thousands of Tijuana residents lost their homes, their jobs, their businesses, their children, their sense of self worth to this occupation? Would you be surprised to hear of a protest movement in Tijuana that sometimes became violent and hateful? Okay, now for the unbelievable part.

Think about what would happen if, after expelling all of the minorities from San Diego to Tijuana and subjecting them to 40 years of brutal military occupation, we just left Tijuana, removing all the white settlers and the soldiers? Only instead of giving them their freedom, we built a 20-foot tall electrified wall around Tijuana? Not just on the sides bordering San Diego, but on all the Mexico crossings as well. What if we set up 50-foot high watchtowers with machine gun batteries, and told them that if they stood within 100 yards of this wall we would shoot them dead on sight? And four out of every five days we kept every single one of those border crossings closed, not even allowing food, clothing, or medicine to arrive. And we patrolled their air space with our state-of-the-art fighter jets but didn’t allow them so much as a crop duster. And we patrolled their waters with destroyers and submarines, but didn’t even allow them to fish.

Would you be at all surprised to hear that these resistance groups in Tijuana, even after having been “freed” from their occupation but starved half to death, kept on firing rockets at the United States? Probably not. But you may be surprised to learn that the majority of people in Tijuana never picked up a rocket, or a gun, or a weapon of any kind.

Via Akram’s Razor.