"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Kill Team – How U.S. Soldiers In Afghanistan Murdered Innocent Civilians And Mutilated Their Corpses

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm

In a break with protocol, the soldiers also took photographs of themselves celebrating their kill. In the photos, Morlock grins and gives a thumbs-up sign as he poses with Mudin’s body. Note that the boy’s right pinky finger appears to have been severed. Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs reportedly used a pair of razor-sharp medic’s shears to cut off the finger, which he presented to Holmes as a trophy for killing his first Afghan.

Oldspeak: ” So much for Obama’s pledge to “protect innocent civilians”. Gotta do it in Libya, but Afghanis can go fuck themselves. This is why they hate us. It’s not because of our “freedom”. They hate us because we have sociopathic racist killers roaming their countries looking for old men and children to kill because they’re bored or frustrated. It’s because the supposed champions of freedom and justice, allow and encourage their soldiers to engage in war crimes and terrorist acts killing innocents. I wonder if President Obama has seen these photos. I can’t imagine he has, because they’re reason enough to initiate complete and permanent withdrawal of all U.S. personnel from this god forsaken country. OBAMA, bring ‘em home and get them sorely needed psychiatric help or prison. Or both. :-|”

By Mark Boal @ Rolling Stone:

Early last year, after six hard months soldiering in Afghanistan, a group of American infantrymen reached a momentous decision: It was finally time to kill a haji.

Among the men of Bravo Company, the notion of killing an Afghan civilian had been the subject of countless conversations, during lunchtime chats and late-night bull sessions. For weeks, they had weighed the ethics of bagging “savages” and debated the probability of getting caught. Some of them agonized over the idea; others were gung-ho from the start. But not long after the New Year, as winter descended on the arid plains of Kandahar Province, they agreed to stop talking and actually pull the trigger.

Bravo Company had been stationed in the area since summer, struggling, with little success, to root out the Taliban and establish an American presence in one of the most violent and lawless regions of the country. On the morning of January 15th, the company’s 3rd Platoon – part of the 5th Stryker Brigade, based out of Tacoma, Washington – left the mini-metropolis of tents and trailers at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in a convoy of armored Stryker troop carriers. The massive, eight-wheeled trucks surged across wide, vacant stretches of desert, until they came to La Mohammad Kalay, an isolated farming village tucked away behind a few poppy fields.

To provide perimeter security, the soldiers parked the Strykers at the outskirts of the settlement, which was nothing more than a warren of mud-and-straw compounds. Then they set out on foot. Local villagers were suspected of supporting the Taliban, providing a safe haven for strikes against U.S. troops. But as the soldiers of 3rd Platoon walked through the alleys of La Mohammad Kalay, they saw no armed fighters, no evidence of enemy positions. Instead, they were greeted by a frustratingly familiar sight: destitute Afghan farmers living without electricity or running water; bearded men with poor teeth in tattered traditional clothes; young kids eager for candy and money. It was impossible to tell which, if any, of the villagers were sympathetic to the Taliban. The insurgents, for their part, preferred to stay hidden from American troops, striking from a distance with IEDs.

While the officers of 3rd Platoon peeled off to talk to a village elder inside a compound, two soldiers walked away from the unit until they reached the far edge of the village. There, in a nearby poppy field, they began looking for someone to kill. “The general consensus was, if we are going to do something that fucking crazy, no one wanted anybody around to witness it,” one of the men later told Army investigators.

The poppy plants were still low to the ground at that time of year. The two soldiers, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock and Pfc. Andrew Holmes, saw a young farmer who was working by himself among the spiky shoots. Off in the distance, a few other soldiers stood sentry. But the farmer was the only Afghan in sight. With no one around to witness, the timing was right. And just like that, they picked him for execution.

He was a smooth-faced kid, about 15 years old. Not much younger than they were: Morlock was 21, Holmes was 19. His name, they would later learn, was Gul Mudin, a common name in Afghanistan. He was wearing a little cap and a Western-style green jacket. He held nothing in his hand that could be interpreted as a weapon, not even a shovel. The expression on his face was welcoming. “He was not a threat,” Morlock later confessed.

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Morlock and Holmes called to him in Pashto as he walked toward them, ordering him to stop. The boy did as he was told. He stood still.

The soldiers knelt down behind a mud-brick wall. Then Morlock tossed a grenade toward Mudin, using the wall as cover. As the grenade exploded, he and Holmes opened fire, shooting the boy repeatedly at close range with an M4 carbine and a machine gun.

Mudin buckled, went down face first onto the ground. His cap toppled off. A pool of blood congealed by his head.

The loud report of the guns echoed all around the sleepy farming village. The sound of such unexpected gunfire typically triggers an emergency response in other soldiers, sending them into full battle mode. Yet when the shots rang out, some soldiers didn’t seem especially alarmed, even when the radio began to squawk. It was Morlock, agitated, screaming that he had come under attack. On a nearby hill, Spc. Adam Winfield turned to his friend, Pfc. Ashton Moore, and explained that it probably wasn’t a real combat situation. It was more likely a staged killing, he said – a plan the guys had hatched to take out an unarmed Afghan without getting caught.

Back at the wall, soldiers arriving on the scene found the body and the bloodstains on the ground. Morlock and Holmes were crouched by the wall, looking excited. When a staff sergeant asked them what had happened, Morlock said the boy had been about to attack them with a grenade. “We had to shoot the guy,” he said.

It was an unlikely story: a lone Taliban fighter, armed with only a grenade, attempting to ambush a platoon in broad daylight, let alone in an area that offered no cover or concealment. Even the top officer on the scene, Capt. Patrick Mitchell, thought there was something strange about Morlock’s story. “I just thought it was weird that someone would come up and throw a grenade at us,” Mitchell later told investigators.

But Mitchell did not order his men to render aid to Mudin, whom he believed might still be alive, and possibly a threat. Instead, he ordered Staff Sgt. Kris Sprague to “make sure” the boy was dead. Sprague raised his rifle and fired twice.

As the soldiers milled around the body, a local elder who had been working in the poppy field came forward and accused Morlock and Holmes of murder. Pointing to Morlock, he said that the soldier, not the boy, had thrown the grenade. Morlock and the other soldiers ignored him.

To identify the body, the soldiers fetched the village elder who had been speaking to the officers that morning. But by tragic coincidence, the elder turned out to be the father of the slain boy. His moment of grief-stricken recognition, when he saw his son lying in a pool of blood, was later recounted in the flat prose of an official Army report. “The father was very upset,” the report noted.

The father’s grief did nothing to interrupt the pumped-up mood that had broken out among the soldiers. Following the routine Army procedure required after every battlefield death, they cut off the dead boy’s clothes and stripped him naked to check for identifying tattoos. Next they scanned his iris and fingerprints, using a portable biometric scanner.

Then, in a break with protocol, the soldiers began taking photographs of themselves celebrating their kill. Holding a cigarette rakishly in one hand, Holmes posed for the camera with Mudin’s bloody and half-naked corpse, grabbing the boy’s head by the hair as if it were a trophy deer. Morlock made sure to get a similar memento.

No one seemed more pleased by the kill than Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, the platoon’s popular and hard-charging squad leader. “It was like another day at the office for him,” one soldier recalls. Gibbs started “messing around with the kid,” moving his arms and mouth and “acting like the kid was talking.” Then, using a pair of razor-sharp medic’s shears, he reportedly sliced off the dead boy’s pinky finger and gave it to Holmes, as a trophy for killing his first Afghan.

According to his fellow soldiers, Holmes took to carrying the finger with him in a zip-lock bag. “He wanted to keep the finger forever and wanted to dry it out,” one of his friends would later report. “He was proud of his finger.”

After the killing, the soldiers involved in Mudin’s death were not disciplined or punished in any way. Emboldened, the platoon went on a shooting spree over the next four months that claimed the lives of at least three more innocent civilians. When the killings finally became public last summer, the Army moved aggressively to frame the incidents as the work of a “rogue unit” operating completely on its own, without the knowledge of its superiors. Military prosecutors swiftly charged five low-ranking soldiers with murder, and the Pentagon clamped down on any information about the killings. Soldiers in Bravo Company were barred from giving interviews, and lawyers for the accused say their clients faced harsh treatment if they spoke to the press, including solitary confinement. No officers were charged.

But a review of internal Army records and investigative files obtained by Rolling Stone, including dozens of interviews with members of Bravo Company compiled by military investigators, indicates that the dozen infantrymen being portrayed as members of a secretive “kill team” were operating out in the open, in plain view of the rest of the company. Far from being clandestine, as the Pentagon has implied, the murders of civilians were common knowledge among the unit and understood to be illegal by “pretty much the whole platoon,” according to one soldier who complained about them. Staged killings were an open topic of conversation, and at least one soldier from another battalion in the 3,800-man Stryker Brigade participated in attacks on unarmed civilians. “The platoon has a reputation,” a whistle-blower named Pfc. Justin Stoner told the Army Criminal Investigation Command. “They have had a lot of practice staging killings and getting away with it.”

From the start, the questionable nature of the killings was on the radar of senior Army leadership. Within days of the first murder, Rolling Stone has learned, Mudin’s uncle descended on the gates of FOB Ramrod, along with 20 villagers from La Mohammad Kalay, to demand an investigation. “They were sitting at our front door,” recalls Lt. Col. David Abrahams, the battalion’s second in command. During a four-hour meeting with Mudin’s uncle, Abrahams was informed that several children in the village had seen Mudin killed by soldiers from 3rd Platoon. The battalion chief ordered the soldiers to be reinterviewed, but Abrahams found “no inconsistencies in their story,” and the matter was dropped. “It was cut and dry to us at the time,” Abrahams recalls.

Other officers were also in a position to question the murders. Neither 3rd Platoon’s commander, Capt. Matthew Quiggle, nor 1st Lt. Roman Ligsay has been held accountable for their unit’s actions, despite their repeated failure to report killings that they had ample reason to regard as suspicious. In fact, supervising the murderous platoon, or even having knowledge of the crimes, seems to have been no impediment to career advancement. Ligsay has actually been promoted to captain, and a sergeant who joined the platoon in April became a team leader even though he “found out about the murders from the beginning,” according to a soldier who cooperated with the Army investigation.

Indeed, it would have been hard not to know about the murders, given that the soldiers of 3rd Platoon took scores of photographs chronicling their kills and their time in Afghanistan. The photos, obtained by Rolling Stone, portray a front-line culture among U.S. troops in which killing Afghan civilians is less a reason for concern than a cause for celebration. “Most people within the unit disliked the Afghan people, whether it was the Afghan National Police, the Afghan National Army or locals,” one soldier explained to investigators. “Everyone would say they’re savages.” One photo shows a hand missing a finger. Another depicts a severed head being maneuvered with a stick, and still more show bloody body parts, blown-apart legs, mutilated torsos. Several show dead Afghans, lying on the ground or on Stryker vehicles, with no weapons in view.

In many of the photos it is unclear whether the bodies are civilians or Taliban, and it is possible that the unidentified deaths involved no illegal acts by U.S. soldiers. But it is a violation of Army standards to take such photos of the dead, let alone share them with others. Among the soldiers, the collection was treated like a war memento. It was passed from man to man on thumb drives and hard drives, the gruesome images of corpses and war atrocities filed alongside clips of TV shows, UFC fights and films such as Iron Man 2. One soldier kept a complete set, which he made available to anyone who asked.

The collection also includes several videos shot by U.S. troops. In a jumpy, 30-minute clip titled “Motorcycle Kill,” soldiers believed to be with another battalion in the Stryker Brigade gun down two Afghans on a motorcycle who may have been armed. One of the most chilling files shows two Afghans suspected of planting an IED being blown up in an airstrike. Shot through thermal imaging, the grainy footage has been edited into a music video, complete with a rock soundtrack and a title card that reads ‘death zone.’

Even before the war crimes became public, the Pentagon went to extraordinary measures to suppress the photos – an effort that reached the highest levels of both governments. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and President Hamid Karzai were reportedly briefed on the photos as early as May, and the military launched a massive effort to find every file and pull the pictures out of circulation before they could touch off a scandal on the scale of Abu Ghraib. Investigators in Afghanistan searched the hard drives and confiscated the computers of more than a dozen soldiers, ordering them to delete any provocative images. The Army Criminal Investigation Command also sent agents fanning out across America to the homes of soldiers and their relatives, gathering up every copy of the files they could find. The message was clear: What happens in Afghanistan stays in Afghanistan.

By suppressing the photos, however, the Army may also have been trying to keep secret evidence that the killings of civilians went beyond a few men in 3rd Platoon. In one image, two dead Afghans have been tied together, their hands bound, and placed alongside a road. A sign – handwritten on cardboard from a discarded box of rations – hangs around their necks. It reads “Taliban are Dead.” The Pentagon says it is investigating the photos, but insists that there is little more investigators can do to identify the men. “It’s a mystery,” says a Pentagon spokesman. “To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure they know where to take it next. All we have is two apparently dead Afghans handcuffed to each other against a mile marker. We don’t know much beyond that. For all we know, those two guys may have been killed by the Taliban for being sympathizers.”

But such statements suggest that the Pentagon isn’t following every lead. A Stryker vehicle in the photos, for example, bears identifying marks that are clearly visible in the image. And according to a source in Bravo Company, who spoke to Rolling Stone on the condition of anonymity, the two unarmed men in the photos were killed by soldiers from another platoon, which has not yet been implicated in the scandal.

“Those were some innocent farmers that got killed,” the source says. “Their standard operating procedure after killing dudes was to drag them up to the side of the highway.”

Army prosecutors insist that blame for the killings rests with a soldier near the bottom of the Stryker Brigade’s totem pole: Calvin Gibbs, a three-tour veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who served as a squad leader in 3rd Platoon. Morlock and five soldiers charged with lesser crimes have pleaded guilty in exchange for testifying against Gibbs, who faces life in prison for three counts of premeditated murder.

The 26-year-old staff sergeant has been widely portrayed as a sociopath of Mansonesque proportions, a crazed killer with a “pure hatred for all Afghans” who was detested and feared by those around him. But the portrait omits evidence that the Army’s own investigators gathered from soldiers in Bravo Company. “Gibbs is very well-liked in the platoon by his seniors, peers and subordinates alike,” Spc. Adam Kelly reported, adding that Gibbs was “one of the best NCOs I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with in my military career. I believe that because of his experience, more people came back alive and uninjured than would have without him having been part of the platoon.” Another soldier described Gibbs as an “upbeat guy, very funny. He was one of those guys you could talk to about anything and he would make you feel better about the situation.”

At six-feet-four and 220 pounds, Gibbs could certainly intimidate those around him. Growing up in a devout Mormon family in Billings, Montana, he had dropped out of high school to get an equivalency degree and enlist in the Army. He plunged into soldiering, accumulating a slew of medals in Iraq, where the line between legitimate self-defense and civilian deaths was often blurry at best. In 2004, Gibbs and other soldiers allegedly fired on an unarmed Iraqi family near Kirkuk, killing two adults and a child. The incident, which was not prosecuted at the time, is now under investigation by the Army.

Before he joined Bravo Company in November 2009, Gibbs worked on the personal security detail for one of the top commanders in Afghanistan, a controversial, outspoken colonel named Harry Tunnell. Tunnell, who at the time was the commander of 5th Stryker Brigade, openly mocked the military’s approach to counterinsurgency – which emphasizes the need to win the support of local civilians – as better suited to a “social scientist.” “Political correctness dictates that we cannot talk about the oppressive measures employed during successful counterinsurgency campaigns,” he wrote. Tunnell also pushed his men to go after “guerrilla hunter killers,” insisting that the enemy “must be attacked relentlessly.”

When Gibbs left Tunnell’s detail and arrived at the front, he quickly became an extreme version of a relentless attacker. After he took command, Gibbs put a pirate flag on his tent. “Hey, brother,” he told a friend. “Come down to the line and we’ll find someone to kill.” A tattoo on his left shin featured a pair of crossed rifles offset by six skulls. Three of the skulls, colored in red, represented his kills in Iraq. The others, in blue, were from Afghanistan.

By the time Gibbs arrived, morale in the Stryker Brigade had hit rock bottom. Only four months earlier, the unit had been deployed to Afghanistan amid a chorus of optimism about its eight-wheeled armored vehicles, a technological advancement that was supposed to move infantry to the battlefield more quickly and securely, enabling U.S. troops to better strike against the Taliban. By December, however, those hopes had dissolved. The Taliban had forced the Strykers off the roads simply by increasing the size and explosive force of their IEDs, and the brigade had suffered terrible casualties; one battalion had lost more soldiers in action than any since the start of the war. Gibbs, in fact, had been brought in after a squad leader had his legs blown off by an IED.

The soldiers were bored and shellshocked and angry. They had been sent to Afghanistan as part of a new advance guard on a mission to track down the Taliban, but the enemy was nowhere to be found. “To be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference between local nationals and combatants,” one soldier later confessed. During the unit’s first six months in Afghanistan, the Taliban evaded almost every patrol that 3rd Platoon sent out. Frustrations ran so high that when the unit came across the body of an insurgent killed by a helicopter gunship in November 2009, one soldier took out a hunting knife and stabbed the corpse. According to another soldier, Gibbs began playing with a pair of scissors near the dead man’s hands. “I wonder if these can cut off a finger?” Gibbs asked.

The Pentagon’s top command, rather than addressing the morale problems, actually held up the brigade as a media-worthy example of progress in the war. The month after the helicopter incident – only four weeks before the killings began – the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, paid a heavily publicized visit to the area. The military’s strategy of counterinsurgency, he reminded members of 5th Stryker Brigade, required them to win hearts and minds by protecting the population. “If we’re killing local civilians,” he cautioned, “we’re going to strategically lose.”

Gibbs had a different idea about how to breathe new life into 3rd Platoon. Not long after he arrived, he explained to his fellow soldiers that they didn’t have to wait passively to be attacked by the enemy’s IEDs. They could strike back by hitting people in towns known to be sympathetic to the Taliban. “Gibbs told everyone about this scenario by pitching it – by saying that all these Afghans were savages, and we had just lost one of our squad leaders because his legs got blown off by an IED,” Morlock recalled. Killing an Afghan – any Afghan – became a way to avenge the loss.

The members of Bravo Company began to talk incessantly about killing Afghans as they went about their daily chores, got stoned or relaxed over a game of Warhammer. One idea, proposed half in jest, was to throw candy out of a Stryker vehicle as they drove through a village and shoot the children who came running to pick up the sweets. According to one soldier, they also talked about a second scenario in which they “would throw candy out in front and in the rear of the Stryker; the Stryker would then run the children over.” Another elaborate plan involved waiting for an IED attack, then using the explosion as an excuse to kill civilians. That way, the soldiers reasoned, “you could shoot anyone in the general area and get away with it.”

“We were operating in such bad places and not being able to do anything about it,” Morlock said in a phone interview from the jail at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. “I guess that’s why we started taking things into our own hands.”

After killing the Afghan boy at La Mohammad Kalay, members of 3rd Platoon were jubilant. “They were high-fiving each other about having killed the guy,” one soldier recalled. They put the corpse in a black body bag and stowed it on top of their Stryker for the ride back to FOB Ramrod. No sooner had they arrived at the base than they were recounting the tale to soldiers they barely knew.

A few hours after the shooting, during a routine checkup at the base’s clinic, Holmes and Morlock bragged about having killed an insurgent to Alyssa Reilly, a fair-skinned, blond medic who was popular among the men in the unit. Reilly later paid the soldiers a social visit, and they all sat around playing spades. When it came time for their wager, Morlock and Holmes said they would bet a finger. Then they tossed the finger that Gibbs had sliced from Mudin’s body on the card pile. “I thought it was gross,” Reilly told investigators.

Morlock was particularly eager to volunteer the truth to his fellow soldiers, evidently unconcerned about how they would react to his having murdered an unarmed Afghan. The same evening he shot Mudin, several members of Bravo Company convened in the privacy of a Stryker vehicle for a nightcap of hashish, a common activity among the unit. Hash supplied by Afghan translators was a major part of the daily lives of many soldiers; they smoked up constantly, getting high in their vehicles, their housing units, even porta-potties. Now, in the tanklike interior of the Stryker, surrounded by its mesh of wires and periscopes and thermal-imaging computers, Morlock passed the hash and recounted the killing in detail, even explaining how he had been careful not to leave the grenade’s spoon and pin on the ground, where they might have been used as evidence that a U.S. weapon had been involved in the attack. For the same reason, he’d also been careful to brush away traces of white explosive powder around Mudin’s body.

Before the military found itself short of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, Morlock was the kind of bad-news kid whom the Army might have passed on. He grew up not far from Sarah Palin in Wasilla, Alaska; his sister hung out with Bristol, and Morlock played hockey against Track. In those days, he was constantly in trouble: getting drunk and into fights, driving without a license, leaving the scene of a serious car accident. Even after he joined the Army, Morlock continued to get into trouble. In 2009, a month before he deployed to Afghanistan, he was charged with disorderly conduct after burning his wife with a cigarette. After he arrived in Afghanistan, he did any drug he could get his hands on: opium, hash, Ambien, amitriptyline, flexeril, phenergan, codeine, trazodone.

As Morlock bragged about the killing, word of the murder spread back home to families and friends. Soldiers e-mailed photos to their buddies and talked about the killing during visits home. On February 14th, three months before the Army launched its investigation, Spc. Adam Winfield sent a Facebook message to his father, Chris, back in Cape Coral, Florida. A skinny, bookish 21-year-old, Winfield was pissed off at being disciplined by Gibbs. “There are people in my platoon that have gotten away with murder,” he told his father. “Everyone pretty much knows it was staged. . . . They all don’t care.” Winfield added that the victim was “some innocent guy about my age, just farming.”

During Facebook chats, Winfield continued to keep his father in the loop. “Adam told me that he heard the group was planning on another murder involving an innocent Afghanistan man,” Chris Winfield, himself a veteran, later told investigators. “They were going to kill him and drop an AK-47 on him to make it look like he was the bad guy.” Alarmed, the elder Winfield called the command center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and told the sergeant on duty what was going on. But according to Winfield, the sergeant simply shrugged it off, telling him that “stuff like that happens” and that “it would be sorted out when Adam got home.” Tragically, commanders at the base did nothing to follow up on the report.

Back in Afghanistan, Winfield was having second thoughts about reporting the incident. He believed the killings were wrong, but he had finally earned a place in the “circle of trust” erected by Gibbs, who had started off thinking of him as too “weak” to belong to the kill team. Reversing course, he begged his father to stop contacting the Army, saying that he feared for his life. Winfield said Gibbs had warned him that if he told anyone about the murder, he would “go home in a body bag.” His father agreed to keep the matter quiet.

Given the lack of response from their superiors, the soldiers of 3rd Platoon now believed they could kill with impunity – provided they planted “drop weapons” at the scene to frame their victims as enemy combatants. The presence of a weapon virtually guaranteed that a shooting would be considered a legitimate kill, even under the stricter rules of engagement the military had implemented as a key element of counterinsurgency. A drop weapon was the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. And in the chaotic war zone, they were easy to find.

The military keeps close track of the weapons and ammunition it issues to soldiers, carefully documenting every grenade exploded, every magazine expended. So Gibbs made it his business to gather “off the books” weapons through a variety of channels. He got friendly with guys in the Afghan National Police and tried to trade them porn magazines in exchange for rocket-propelled grenades; he cajoled other units to give him munitions; he scrounged for broken and discarded UXO – unexploded ordnance – until he had collected a motley arsenal of random weaponry, old frag grenades, bent RPG tails, duct-taped claymore mines, C-4, mortar rounds. His best find was a working AK-47 with a folding butt stock and two magazines, which he pulled from the wreckage of an Afghan National Police vehicle that had been blown up near the base’s gate. Gibbs placed the AK-47 and the magazines in a metal box in one of the Strykers. Later, a corporal named Emmitt Quintal discovered the gun and wondered what it was doing there. As he recalled, Staff Sgt. David Bram “sat me down and explained to me that it was basically to cover our ass if anything happened.”

Two weeks after the murder of Gul Mudin, something did.

It was the night of January 27th and the platoon was driving along the highway near their forward operating base. Suddenly, through their thermal imaging, they spotted a human heat signature on the side of the road – a potentially suspicious sign, since the Taliban often operate at night, using the cover of darkness to plant IEDs.

The patrol stopped 100 yards away from the man, and a handful of soldiers and an interpreter got out of their vehicles. They could see that the man was crouched down, or curled up like a ball close to the ground. As they approached, the man stood up and held his arms in front of his chest. To the soldiers, the motion was either an indication that he was cold, or that he was hiding a suicide-bomb vest.

Shouting to the man in Pashto, the soldiers illuminated him with intense, high-power spotlights and ordered him to lift up his shirt. But the man began to pace back and forth in the blinding white light, ignoring their calls. “He was acting strange,” recalls a soldier. For several minutes the man shuffled around as the soldiers fired warning shots at him. The bullets skipped around him.

Then – ignoring the warnings – the man began walking toward the troops. “Fire!” someone yelled. Gibbs opened fire, followed by at least five other soldiers. In the course of a few seconds, they expended approximately 40 rounds.

The man’s body lay on the ground. He turned out to be completely unarmed. According to official statements made by several soldiers, he also appears to have been deaf or mentally disabled. Above his beard, a large portion of his skull was missing, blown away by the hail of bullets. Spc. Michael Wagnon collected a piece of the skull and kept it as a trophy.

It was the team’s second killing of an unarmed man in as many weeks, and the second time they violated a body. But rather than investigate the shooting, the platoon’s officers concentrated on trying to justify it. When 1st Lt. Roman Ligsay radioed Capt. Matthew Quiggle, the platoon’s commanding officer, and informed him that the same unit had shot an unarmed Afghan male, the captain was furious. “He strongly believed that we had illegitimately killed a local national,” recalls Quintal.

Quiggle ordered Ligsay to search until they found a weapon. “Lt. Ligsay was pretty freaked out,” Quintal recalls. “He was positive he was going to lose his job.” For the next hour the platoon swept the area with their flashlights looking for weapons, but they couldn’t find anything.

Then Staff Sgt. Bram ordered Quintal to hand him the AK-47 magazine that Gibbs had stowed in the metal box in the Stryker. A private named Justin Stoner passed it down. A few minutes later, a voice called out in the darkness. “Sir!” Bram yelled. “I think I found something.”

Lt. Ligsay walked up and saw the black magazine lying on the ground. He called it in, and the platoon breathed a sigh of relief. The members of the kill team knew it was a drop magazine, but it turned the shooting into a legitimate kill.

“The incident was staged to look like he may have had a weapon,” Stoner told investigators. “Basically, what we did was a desperate search to justify killing this guy. But in reality he was just some old, deaf, retarded guy. We basically executed this man.”

Under the rules of engagement, however, the U.S. military still considers the man responsible for his own death. Because he ignored the platoon’s warnings and moved in their direction, no one has been charged in his killing – even though the Army now knows he was gunned down by soldiers intent on shooting unarmed civilians for sport.

Within a month, according to the Army, Gibbs executed another civilian and planted a weapon on the body. It was during Operation Kodak Moment, a routine mission to photograph and compile a database of the male residents of a village called Kari Kheyl. On February 22nd, the day of the mission, Gibbs hid the AK-47 he had stolen from the Afghan National Police in a black assault pack. As the platoon made its way through the village, he went to the hut of Marach Agha, a man he suspected of belonging to the Taliban, and ordered him outside.

First Gibbs fired the AK-47 into a nearby wall and dropped the weapon at Agha’s feet. Then he shot the man at close range with his M4 rifle. Morlock and Wagnon followed up with a few rounds of their own. With the scene staged to his satisfaction, Gibbs called in a report.

Staff Sgt. Sprague was one of the first to respond. Gibbs claimed that he had turned a corner and spotted the man, who had fired at him with the AK-47, only to have the rifle jam. But when Sprague picked up the Kalashnikov, it seemed to be in perfect operating condition. A short time later, as he walked down a dusty alley in the village, Sprague himself came under attack from small-arms fire. He responded instinctively by squeezing the trigger on the AK-47 – and the gun fired “with no problems at all.”

Sprague reported the discrepancy to Lt. Ligsay. When the body was identified, relatives also reported that Agha was a deeply religious man who would never have taken up arms. He “did not know how to use an AK-47,” they told Ligsay. Once again, however, no action was taken, nor was Gibbs disciplined.

With their commanding officers repeatedly failing to investigate, the kill team was starting to feel invulnerable. To encourage soldiers in other units to target unarmed civilians, Gibbs had given one of the “off the books” grenades he had scrounged to a friend from another battalion, Staff Sgt. Robert Stevens. “It showed up in a box on my desk,” recalled Stevens, a senior medic. “When I opened the box, I saw a grenade canister, which had a grenade in it and a dirty green sock.” Figuring the sock was some kind of joke, Stevens threw it away. Later, when he saw Gibbs, he mentioned getting the grenade.

“Did you get the other thing?” Gibbs asked.

“What, the sock?” Stevens said.

“No, what was in the sock,” Gibbs replied.

Inside the sock, Gibbs had placed a severed human finger.

Stevens got the message. On March 10th, as his convoy was driving down Highway 1, the central road connecting Kandahar to the north, Stevens stuck his head out of his Stryker’s open hatch and tossed the grenade. It detonated a few seconds later than he had anticipated, and when it blew, it thudded into the vehicle. Stevens immediately began firing at a nearby compound of huts, yelling at another platoon member to do the same. “Get the fuck up, Morgan!” he screamed. “Let’s go, shoot!”

No casualties were reported from the incident, but it earned Stevens an Army Commendation Medal and a Combat Medical Badge. Stevens later admitted that he had concocted the ambush not only because he wanted to get rid of the illegal grenade but because he “wanted to hook up the guys in the company” with their Combat Infantryman Badges, 14 of which were awarded in the aftermath of the shooting. All of the awards were revoked when the Army learned the attack had been faked.

The assault staged by Stevens suggested a new way to target Afghan civilians. In addition to approaching targets on foot, Gibbs decided to use his Stryker as a shooting platform, affording greater mobility with the protection of armor. In a perverse twist, the vehicle that had proved ineffective at combating the Taliban was about to be turned on the very people it was supposed to defend.

On March 18th, during a maintenance run to Kandahar Airfield, the unit drove past a populated area of the city. According to one soldier, Gibbs opened the hatch of the moving Stryker and tossed out a grenade. As it exploded with a loud bang, shrapnel hit the Stryker. “RPG!” Gibbs shouted. “RPG!” Sgt. Darren Jones, who had discussed faking attacks with Gibbs, opened fire indiscriminately on the local residents, who frantically scrambled to avoid the incoming rounds. Gibbs raised his M4 and laid down fire as well.

There is no way to know how many, if any, casualties resulted from the fusillade. Lt. Ligsay, who was in the same Stryker with Gibbs and Jones, maintains that he mistakenly believed the attack to be genuine and ordered the convoy to keep moving. The platoon did not return to the area to conduct a battle damage assessment, and no charges were ever filed in the incident.

A few weeks later, sometime in late March or early April, members of 3rd Platoon fired on unarmed civilians twice on the same day, indicating a growing sense of their own invincibility. Five soldiers were part of a patrol in a grape field in the Zhari District when they spotted three unarmed men. According to Stevens, Gibbs ordered the soldiers to open fire, even though the men were standing erect and posed no threat. All five soldiers fired their weapons at the men, but they managed to escape unscathed. Gibbs was not pleased. “He mentioned that we needed to work on our accuracy,” Stevens recalled, “because it did not appear that anyone was hurt.”

That same evening, while manning a guard tower overlooking a field in the Zhari District, soldiers from 3rd Platoon were directly told not to shoot at an elderly farmer who had been granted permission to work his land nearby. Despite the warning, two soldiers reportedly shot at the farmer as if he were an armed combatant. They once again failed to hit their target, but the officer in charge was furious. “This farmer has never been a problem,” he later told investigators. “He’s 60 to 70 years old.”

One morning that spring, Gibbs approached Morlock flashing what looked like a small metal pineapple. “Hey, man, I’ve got this Russian grenade,” he said. Gibbs added that the weapon would be the perfect tool to fake another attack, since the Taliban were known to carry Russian explosives. Morlock liked the idea. The night before, talking with a bunch of soldiers outside their bunk rooms, he had announced that he was looking to kill another haji, a pejorative term that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan use for Muslims. One soldier who took part in the conversation dismissed it as idle talk. “I didn’t really think anything of it,” he told investigators, “because soldiers say stuff like that all the time.”

The morning of May 2nd, the platoon was on a routine patrol in a village called Qualaday, a few miles from base. Following standard procedure, the unit’s leaders entered a house to talk with a man who had previously been arrested for having an IED. That inadvertently left the rest of the platoon free to roam the village looking for targets, without having to worry about an officer’s supervision.

Outside the house, Morlock was overheard instructing Winfield in how a grenade explodes, cautioning him to remain on the ground during the blast. Then the two soldiers moved off with Gibbs. Nearby, in a compound filled with children, they picked out a man with a white beard and escorted him outside. “He seemed friendly,” Winfield recalled. “He didn’t seem to have any sort of animosity toward us.”

Gibbs turned to his men. “You guys want to wax this guy or what?” he asked. Morlock and Winfield agreed that the man seemed perfect.

Gibbs walked the Afghan to a nearby ditch and forced him to his knees, ordering him to stay that way. Then he positioned Morlock and Winfield in a prone position behind a small berm no more than 10 feet away. “To be honest,” Morlock later told investigators, “me and Winfield thought we were going to frag ourselves, ’cause we were so fucking close.”

With everyone in position, Gibbs took cover behind a low wall and chucked a grenade toward the Afghan. “All right, dude, wax this guy!” he shouted. “Kill this guy, kill this guy!”

As the grenade went off, Morlock and Winfield opened fire. Morlock got off several rounds with his M4. Winfield, who was armed with the more powerful SAW machine gun, squeezed off a burst that lasted for three to five seconds.

Gibbs shouted for Morlock to proceed with the next stage of the plan. “Get up there and plant that fucking grenade!”

The man lay where he had fallen. One of his feet had been blown off by the blast; his other leg was missing below the knee. Morlock ran up and dropped the Russian pineapple grenade near the dead man’s hand. Gibbs walked up to the body, stood directly over it, and fired twice into the man’s head, shattering the jaw.

Later, when the scene had calmed down – after soldiers had pushed away the dead man’s wife and children, who were screaming, hysterical with grief, and Morlock had spun the story to the higher-ups – Gibbs took out a pair of medical shears and cut off the corpse’s left pinky finger, which he kept for himself. Then, wearing a surgical glove, he reached into the dead man’s mouth, pulled out a tooth and handed it to Winfield.

Winfield held the tooth for a while. Then he tossed it aside, leaving it behind on the ground at Qualaday.

This time, though, the villagers refused to be placated. The dead man, it turned out, was a peaceful cleric named Mullah Allah Dad. Two days later, the murder provoked an uproar at a districtwide council attended by Capt. Quiggle, the unit’s commanding officer. The district leader launched into a blistering attack of the platoon. “He pretty much told us that we planted the grenade in order to shoot the guy,” recalled 1st Lt. Stefan Moye, who escorted Quiggle to the meeting.

But the next day, instead of launching an inquiry into the platoon’s behavior, Quiggle dispatched Moye to the scene of the shooting to do damage control. With Gibbs hovering nearby, the lieutenant found two elderly villagers who claimed to have seen Mullah Allah Dad with a grenade. Relieved, Moye urged them to spread the word. “This is the type of stuff that the Taliban likes to use against us and try to recruit people to fight against us,” he said.

His mission accomplished, Moye left the village feeling that the platoon could return to its usual rhythms. “After that,” he said, “everything was normal.”

Things might have remained “normal,” and the killings might have continued, if it hadn’t been for what began as a trivial spat between bunkmates. Around midnight, the same evening that Moye returned from pacifying village elders, Pfc. Stoner walked into the company’s tactical operations center to register a complaint. Stoner, who had helped plant the AK-47 magazine on the civilian murdered by the highway, said he was sick and tired of other soldiers in the unit using his room as “a smoke shack for hash.” Worried that the lingering odor would get him busted, he had asked them to find another place to get stoned. They had refused, pausing only to remove the battery from the room’s smoke detector.

“They baked the room many times until it stank constantly,” Stoner said. “I was worried for my own job.” Emphasizing that he wasn’t a snitch, Stoner told the sergeant on duty that he didn’t want to get his fellow soldiers in trouble. Then, growing emotional, he mentioned that “he and a bunch of other guys had executed a local national out on Highway 1.” The sergeant didn’t take the story seriously enough to report it up the chain of command. “I thought he was just upset and needed to talk to someone about the incident,” he later recalled. Instead of alerting his superiors about the murder allegation, the sergeant simply assured Stoner that the matter of hash smoking in his room would be handled quietly, and that his identity would be kept confidential.

But discretion wasn’t exactly the unit’s strong suit. By the next day, everyone knew that Stoner had ratted them out. “Everyone began to panic,” Quintal recalls. Gibbs, who didn’t care for hashish, gathered members of the kill team in his room. “We need to address the situation with Stoner,” he reportedly said. “Snitches get stitches.”

On May 6th, Gibbs and six other soldiers descended on Stoner’s room, locking the door behind them, and attacked Stoner while he was sitting on his bed. Grabbing him by the throat, they dragged him to the floor and piled on, striking him hard but taking care to avoid blows to the face that might leave visible bruises. “I’ve been in the Army four years,” Morlock said as he pummeled Stoner in the stomach. “How could you do this to me?” Before leaving, they struck Stoner in the crotch and spit in his face.

A few hours later, Gibbs and Morlock returned to Stoner’s room. As Stoner sat on his bed, still dazed from the assault, Morlock explained that the beating would not happen again, so long as Stoner kept his mouth shut “from fucking now on.” If Stoner were disloyal again, Gibbs warned, he would be killed the next time he went out on patrol. “It’s too easy,” he added, explaining that he could hide Stoner’s body in a Hesco barrier, one of the temporary structures used to fortify U.S. positions.

Then Gibbs reached into his pocket and took out a bit of cloth. Unfolding it, he tossed two severed fingers on the floor, with bits of skin still hanging off the bone. If Stoner didn’t want to end up like “that guy,” Morlock said, he better “shut the hell up.” After all, he added, he “already had enough practice” at killing people.

Stoner had no doubt that Morlock would follow through on the threat. “Basically, I do believe that Morlock would kill me if he had the chance,” he said later.

But the beating proved to be the kill team’s undoing. When a physician’s assistant examined Stoner the next day, she saw the angry red welts covering his body. She also saw the large tattoo across Stoner’s back. In gothic type, beneath a grinning red skull flanked by two grim reapers, it read:

what if im not the hero

what if im the bad guy

Stoner was sent to talk to Army investigators. In the course of recounting the assault, he described how Gibbs had thrown the severed fingers on the floor. The investigators pressed him about how Gibbs came by the fingers. Stoner told them it was because the platoon had killed a lot of innocent people.

At that point, the investigators asked Stoner to start from the beginning. When had the platoon killed innocent people? Bit by bit, Stoner laid out the whole history, naming names and places and times.

As other members of the platoon were called in and interviewed, many confirmed Stoner’s account and described the shootings for investigators. Morlock, who proved particularly gregarious, agreed to speak on videotape. Relaxed and unconcerned in front of the camera, he nonchalantly described the kills in detail.

Morlock’s confession kicked off an intense search for evidence. When the Army’s investigators were dispatched to FOB Ramrod, they went straight to the top of a Hesco barrier near Gibbs’ housing unit. Right where Morlock said it would be, they found the bottom of a plastic water bottle containing two pieces of cloth. Inside each piece of cloth was a severed human finger. But then a strange thing happened. When investigators compared prints of the two fingers to those in the company’s database, the prints didn’t match up. Either the records were screwed up, which was quite possible, or there were more dead guys out there who were unaccounted for.

Last week, on March 23rd, Morlock was sentenced to 24 years in prison after agreeing to testify against Gibbs. “The Army wants Gibbs,” says one defense lawyer. “They want to throw him in jail and move on.” Gibbs insists that all three killings he took part in were “legitimate combat engagements.” Three other low-level soldiers facing murder charges – Winfield, Holmes and Wagnon – also maintain their innocence. As for the other men in Bravo Company, five have already been convicted of lesser crimes, including drug use, stabbing a corpse and beating up Stoner, and two more face related charges. In December, Staff Sgt. Stevens was sentenced to nine months in prison after agreeing to testify against Gibbs. He was stripped to the lowest service rank – private E-1 – but over the protests of military prosecutors, he was allowed to remain in the Army.

So far, though, no officers or senior officials have been charged in either the murders or the cover-up. Last October, the Army quietly launched a separate investigation, guided by Brig. Gen. Stephen Twitty, into the critical question of officer accountability. But the findings of that inquiry, which was concluded last month, have been kept secret – and the Army refuses to say whether it has disciplined or demoted any of the commanders responsible for 3rd Platoon. Even if the commanding officers were not co-conspirators or accomplices in the crimes, they repeatedly ignored clear warning signs and allowed a lethally racist attitude to pervade their unit. Indeed, the resentment of Afghans was so commonplace among soldiers in the platoon that when Morlock found himself being questioned by Army investigators, he expressed no pity or remorse about the murders.

Toward the end of Morlock’s interview, the conversation turned to the mindset that had allowed the killings to occur. “None of us in the platoon – the platoon leader, the platoon sergeant – no one gives a fuck about these people,” Morlock said.

Then he leaned back in his chair and yawned, summing up the way his superiors viewed the people of Afghanistan. “Some shit goes down,” he said, “you’re gonna get a pat on the back from your platoon sergeant: Good job. Fuck ‘em.”

Radiation Detected In Massachusetts Rainwater As Fukushima Crisis Worsens

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Oldspeak:” You can bet dollars to doughnuts, Massachusetts isn’t the only place irradiated rain has fallen in the U.S. The same script was used in the BP disaster. Underreporting, withholding of vital facts by authorities and minimizing of the threat. We still don’t know the actual repercussions from that disaster, and likely won’t for years to come. This disaster is an exponentially greater threat and the damage can’t be hidden in the ocean.  This environmental damage will last for 1,000s of years, and it’s far from “localized” to Japan. And the repercussions will be felt for countless generations to come in ways that aren’t yet apparent.”

By Mike Adams @ Natural News:

The Fukushima crisis continues to worsen by the day, with nuclear experts around the world finally realizing and admitting we’ve all been lied to. “I think maybe the situation is much more serious than we were led to believe,” said Najmedin Meshkati of the University of Southern California, in a Reuters report (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011…). That same article revealed that recent radiation readings at Fukushima show “contamination 100,000 times normal in water at reactor No. 2 and 1,850 times normal in the nearby sea.”

Massachusetts rainwater has also been found to be contaminated with low levels of radiation from Fukushima, indicating just how widespread the radioactive fallout has become. It’s not just the West Coast of North America that’s vulnerable, in other words: even the East Coast could receive dangerous levels of fallout if Fukushima suffers a larger release of radioactive material into the air.

Rolling blackouts are now continuing throughout Japan due to the drop in power production from Fukushima diminishing Japan’s electricity generating capacity (http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/20…). The only reason Japan isn’t experiencing widespread power blackouts right now is because so many factories were damaged or swept away from the tsunami itself. Once a serious rebuilding effort gets underway, Japan is going to find itself critically short of electrical power.

The radiation leaking from Reactor No. 2 is now measured at 1,000 millisieverts an hour– more than enough to cause someone’s hair to fall out from a single exposure event. Radiation sickness can begin at just 100 millisieverts. The extremely high levels of radiation are, in fact, making it nearly impossible for workers to continue working at the reactor. “You’d have a lot of difficulty putting anyone in there,” said Richard Wakeford, a radiation epidemiology expert at the Dalton Nuclear Institute in Manchester. “They’re finding quite high levels of radiation fields, which is impeding their progress dealing with the situation.” (http://www.businessweek.com/news/20…)

Taiwan Looking To Ditch Nuclear power?

The worsening Fukushima situation is also starting to spook nearby nations such as Taiwan, which also depends on nuclear power. The DPP opposition party there announced today that it wanted to see nuclear power phased out by 2025. Taiwan is a relatively small island nation, and a Fukushima-like catastrophe would leave most of the island residents with nowhere to go. And like Japan, Taiwan is also vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis (as well as hurricanes).

In Germany, massive demonstrations (200,000 people in four large cities) have brought the nuclear safety issue to the forefront, contributing heavily to the defeat of Merkel and the rise to power of the Green Party in southwestern Germany (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/w…). Germans tend to have very strong opposition to nuclear power, in much the same way that most Europeans despise genetically modified foods.

The Nuclear Power industry Turns Out To Be Just As Corrupt As Big Pharma

The truth is that many nations are rethinking nuclear power right now, thanks to the corruption, cover-ups and outright deceptions that we’re now finding out were behind the Fukushima power plant catastrophe. The nuclear industry, it turns out, is one big profit incest fest where the regulators are deeply in bed with the very industry they’re supposed to regulate (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100…).

Then again, what rich, powerful industry isn’t in bed with its regulators? It’s true with Big Pharma and the FDA just as much as it is with the nuclear power industry and its corrupt regulators.Every government-run regulator eventually becomes a marketing extension of the industry it was supposed to regulate.

That’s why Big Government never really works: Most of the regulators who are supposed to protect the people inevitably end up operating as industry whores. This entire Fukushima incident is a direct result of that deep-rooted corruption coming back to haunt humanity.

Watch for more reporting on this incident here at NaturalNews.com, and subscribe to our daily email alerts to be kept up to date on the situation:http://www.naturalnews.com/ReaderRe…

The Fukushima situation is nowhere near over. Now regulators are saying this might take not just weeks or months to sort out, but even years to fully rectify.

The half life of plutonium, it turns out, is a whole lot longer than the entire history of human civilization (24,000 years) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium). We would be wise to remember what we’re playing with when we attempt to harness the power of fission

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/031871_radiation_rainwater.html#ixzz1HvnF1LPs

Libyan Rebels Worked For The CIA In Securing Oil Installations Ahead Of US Invasion

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Oldspeak: “Afghanistan 1979: Redux. Since this is the latest and greatest diversion, lets make clear, the real motivation for pissing more billions sorely needed at home down the toilet in Libya. OIL. It’s not averting slaughter of innocents, these “rebels” were  recruited, financed and armed by the U.S. This action is the latest in a long line of  CIA dirty tricks employed to expand empire. Read it and weep.”

From PressCore:

How did the Libyan rebels get formed and armed so quickly? The answer is the same as every previous rebel versus government war – by the CIA. The Libyan rebels have been recruited, financed and armed by the United States through the CIA. The CIA orders are to secure the Libyan oil installations before a US lead invasion, The Libyan rebels work for the US. Democracy isn’t the agenda in Libya, control of the oil is and the US is backing the rebels to covertly steal the financial future of the Libyan people.

One only has to refer to the CIA’s own website to find proof that this civil war is no different than any other civil war in a country that the United States has a corporate interest in.

CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment.

So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: “We’ll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us.” The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be “communists,” but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious “School of the Americas.” (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the “School of the Dictators” and “School of the Assassins.” Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an “American Holocaust.”

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. Today the CIA justifies their atrocities as part of the United States “War on Terror”.  But most coups do not involve a communist threat nor a terrorist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates.

The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington’s will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator’s control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this “boomerang effect” include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega, Hamid Karzai,Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, and Muammar Gaddafi. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.

The following time line should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished.

1945 Operation PAPERCLIP – While other American agencies are hunting down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s master spy who had built up an intelligence network in the Soviet Union. With full U.S. blessing, he creates the “Gehlen Organization,” a band of refugee Nazi spies who reactivate their networks in Russia. These include SS intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the “Butcher of Lyon”), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend of Hitler’s). The Gehlen Organization supplies the U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA. However, much of the “intelligence” the former Nazis provide is bogus. Gehlen inflates Soviet military capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a fictitious “missile gap.” To make matters worse, the Russians have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was supposed to protect.

1947 Greece — President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.

CIA created — President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC — there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to “perform such other functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.” This loophole opens the door to covert action and dirty tricks.

1948 Covert-action wing created — The CIA recreates a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities include “propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”

Italy — The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It works — the communists are defeated.

1949 Radio Free Europe — The CIA creates its first major propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S.

Late 40s Operation MOCKINGBIRD — The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player. Eventually, the CIA’s media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service, CNN and more. By the CIA’s own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.

1953 Iran – The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.

Operation MK-ULTRA — Inspired by North Korea’s brainwashing program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control. The most notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against their will, causing several to commit suicide. However, the operation involves far more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.

1954 Guatemala — CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a military coup. Arbenz has threatened to nationalize the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.

1954-1958 North Vietnam — CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA’s continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.

1956 Hungary — Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khruschev’s Secret Speech, in which he denounced Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians fight. This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion. The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.

1957-1973 Laos — The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an “Armee Clandestine” of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao. After the CIA’s army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves.

1959 Haiti — The U.S. military helps “Papa Doc” Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the “Tonton Macoutes,” who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.

1961 The Bay of Pigs — The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba. But “Operation Mongoose” fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -– which never happens. Kennedy refuses to provide air support.  This is the CIA’s first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.  This CIA failure and the firing of Dulles as CIA director gave the CIA motive to assassinate the president of thew United States on November 22, 1963.

Dominican Republic — The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo’s business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.

Ecuador — The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.

Congo (Zaire) — The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba’s politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.

1963 Dominican Republic — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a repressive, right-wing junta.

Ecuador — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human rights.

United States –  The CIA with the financial backing of th Federal Reserve Bankers assassinate John F Kennedy.   CIA puppet Johnson becomes president.

1964 Brazil — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. The junta that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will create Latin America’s first death squads, or bands of secret police who hunt down “communists” for torture, interrogation and murder. Often these “communists” are no more than Branco’s political opponents. Later it is revealed that the CIA trains the death squads.

1965 Indonesia — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno with a military coup. The CIA has been trying to eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians accused of being “communist.” The CIA supplies the names of countless suspects.

Dominican Republic — A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country’s elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.

Greece — With the CIA’s backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.

Congo (Zaire) — A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his desperately poor country for billions.

1966 The Ramparts Affair — The radical magazine Ramparts begins a series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles. Among their scoops: the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars to hire “professors” to train South Vietnamese students in covert police methods. MIT and other universities have received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the National Students’ Association is a CIA front. Students are sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including draft deferments.

1967 Greece — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government two days before the elections. The favorite to win was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next six years, the “reign of the colonels” — backed by the CIA — will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against political opponents. When a Greek ambassador objects to President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cypress, Johnson tells him: “F**k your parliament and your constitution.”

Operation PHEONIX — The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional report, this operation killed about 20,000 “Viet Cong.”

1968 Operation CHAOS — The CIA has been illegally spying on American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS, President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort. CIA agents go undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.

Bolivia — A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to prevent worldwide calls for clemency.

1969 Uruguay — The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort, Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread practice. “The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect,” is his motto. The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads rival the Nazis’. He eventually becomes so feared that revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.

1970 Cambodia — The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately throws Cambodian troops into battle. This unpopular move strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge, which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own people.

1971 Bolivia — After half a decade of CIA-inspired political turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, then tortured, raped and executed.

Haiti — “Papa Doc” Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son “Baby Doc” Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his bloody reign with full support of the CIA.

1972 The Case-Zablocki Act — Congress passes an act requiring congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only marginally effective.

Cambodia — Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret war in Cambodia.

Wagergate Break-in — President Nixon sends in a team of burglars to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars. They work for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions. CREEP’s activities are funded and organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.

1973 Chile — The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist leader. The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup (reportedly refused). The CIA replaces Allende with General Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political left.

CIA begins internal investigations — William Colby, the Deputy Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any and all illegal activities they know about. This information is later reported to Congress.

Watergate Scandal — The CIA’s main collaborating newspaper in America, The Washington Post, reports Nixon’s crimes long before any other newspaper takes up the subject. The two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA’s many fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House, and knows many important intelligence figures, including General Alexander Haig. His main source, “Deep Throat,” is probably one of those.

CIA Director Helms Fired — President Nixon fires CIA Director Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open to CIA reform.

1974 CHAOS exposed — Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.

Angleton fired — Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s chief of counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result in his dismissal from the CIA.

House clears CIA in Watergate — The House of Representatives clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon’s Watergate break-in.

The Hughes Ryan Act — Congress passes an amendment requiring the president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.

1975 Australia — The CIA helps topple the democratically elected, left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam. The CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General, John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.

Angola — Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger’s assertions, Angola is a country of little strategic importance and not seriously threatened by communism. The CIA backs the brutal leader of UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is legalized again. This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000 Angolans.

“The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence” — Victor Marchetti and John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence official in the State Department.

“Inside the Company” — Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life inside the CIA. Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took part.

Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing — Public outrage compels Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church heads the Senate investigation (“The Church Committee”), and Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation.  The investigations lead to a number of reforms intended to increase the CIA’s accountability to Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control, deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.

The Rockefeller Commission — In an attempt to reduce the damage done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the “Rockefeller Commission” to whitewash CIA history and propose toothless reforms. The commission’s namesake, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure. Five of the commission’s eight members are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.

1979 Iran — The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA’s backing of SAVAK, the Shah’s bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Afghanistan — The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.

El Salvador — An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to “normal” — the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.

Nicaragua — Anastasios Samoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.

1980 El Salvador — The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter “Christian to Christian” to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government. The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.

1981 Iran/Contra Begins — The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be “pressured” until “they say ‘uncle.’” The CIA’s Freedom Fighter’s Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.

1983 Honduras — The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras’ notorious “Battalion 316? then uses these techniques, with the CIA’s full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.

1984 The Boland Amendment — The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to “hand off” the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA’s informal, secret, and self-financing network. This includes “humanitarian aid” donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.

1986 Eugene Hasenfus — Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan’s claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.

Iran/Contra Scandal — Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media’s attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.

Haiti — Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that “Baby Doc” Duvalier will remain “President for Life” only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement. The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.

1989 Panama — The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA’s payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA’s knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega’s growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.

1990 Haiti — Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats. As popular opinion calls for Aristide’s return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.

1991 The Gulf War — The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA. With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein’s forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. This cemented Hussein’s power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas – supplied by the United States through special envoy Donald Rumsfeld to Iraq. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism — in Kuwait, for example.

The Fall of the Soviet Union — The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn’t been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information. The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community’s budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.

1992 Economic Espionage — In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones. Given the CIA’s clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.

1993 Haiti — The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton orders the removal of the US backed Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, and threatens a U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti’s military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements. Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country’s ruling class.

2001 – United States — The CIA begins planning for attacks on US soil after the Afghanistan ruling party, the Taliban, give the Trans-Afghan Natural Gas pipeline project to Argentina oil company Bridas Corporation.  US Unicolpetitioned the US government to use the US military to expedite a regime change and install a US friendly leader.  September 11, 2001 CIA aircraft, repainted to look like US commercial airlines are flown by remote control in the World Trade Center Towers and a CIA owned unmanned aerial drone into the Pentagon.  Not one but 3 World Trade Center Towers are “demolished using shape charges and small underground tactical nuke explosions.   Immediately the US government takes control of all media reporting to cover up the CIA crimes against the United States.   The CIA gave the US government an excuse to launch the first of many pre-emptive wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

2011 – Libya — CIA backed rebels attempt to overthrow US backed Gaddafi.  As with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars the motive is to take control of US oil interests.  CIA military transport planes use Saudi airfields to launch airlifts to drop mercenaries and weaponry to CIA controlled rebels.  US warships with thousands of Marines on board wait offshore until the CIA backed rebels (mostly made up of foreign mercenaries) have complete control over the Libyan oil installations.

Libyan Rebels Take Key Oil Town Westward Push Aided By International Air Strikes

Libyan rebels take back oil town in westward push

By Ryan Lucas @ The Associated Press:

Libyan rebels took back a key oil town and pushed westward Sunday toward the capital, seizing momentum from the international airstrikes that tipped the balance away from Moammar Gadhafi’s military.

Brega, a main oil export terminal in eastern Libya, fell after a skirmish late Saturday and rebel forces moved swiftly west, seizing the tiny desert town of Al-Egila _ a collection of houses and a gas station _ on their way to the massive oil refining complex of Ras Lanouf.

“There was no resistance. Gadhafi’s forces just melted away,” said Suleiman Ibrahim, a 31-year-old volunteer, sitting in the back of a pickup truck. “This couldn’t have happened without NATO. They gave us big support.” He said that rebels had already reached Ras Lanouf.

Ras Lanouf and Brega combined would be responsible for a large chunk of Libya’s 1.5 million barrels of daily exports, which have all but stopped since the uprising that began Feb. 15 and was inspired by the toppling of governments in Tunisia and Egypt.

“As they move round the coast, of course, the rebels will increasingly control the exit points of Libya’s oil,” British Defense Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC. “That will produce a very dynamic and a very different equilibrium inside Libya. How that will play out in terms of public opinion and the Gadhafi regime remains to be seen.”

The Gadhafi regime on Saturday acknowledged the airstrikes had forced its troops to retreat and accused international forces of choosing sides.

“This is the objective of the coalition now, it is not to protect civilians because now they are directly fighting against the armed forces,” Khaled Kaim, the deputy foreign minister, said in the capital, Tripoli. “They are trying to push the country to the brink of a civil war.”

Fox denied that the international force hoped to oust Gadhafi: “Losing Gadhafi is an aspiration, it is not part of the U.N. resolution.”

The U.N. Security Council authorized the operation to protect Libyan civilians after Gadhafi launched attacks against anti-government protesters who demanded that he step down after 42 years in power. The airstrikes have crippled Gadhafi’s forces, but rebel advances have also foundered, and the two sides have been at stalemate in key cities.

The rebel turnaround is a boost for President Barack Obama, who has faced complaints from lawmakers from both parties that he has not sought their input about the U.S. role in the conflict or explained with enough clarity about the American goals and exit strategy. Obama was expected to give a speech to the nation Monday.

“We’re succeeding in our mission,” Obama said in a radio and Internet address on Saturday. “So make no mistake, because we acted quickly, a humanitarian catastrophe has been avoided and the lives of countless civilians _ innocent men, women and children _ have been saved.”

Pentagon officials say that forces loyal to Gadhafi are a potent threat to civilians. And they are looking at plans to expand the firepower and airborne surveillance systems in the military campaign, including using the Air Force’s AC-130 gunship armed with cannons that shoot from the side doors, as well as helicopters and drones.

Fox, the British foreign minister, ruled out supplying arms to the rebels. “We are not arming the rebels, we are not planning to arm the rebels,” he said.

NATO’s top decision-making body meets Sunday to expand its enforcement of the no-fly zone to include airstrikes against Libyan ground targets. Washington has been eager to hand off responsibility to NATO, which is expected to take command Sunday of the no-fly zone mission.

Just Keep Going, You Got Nothing To Lose (Video)

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Oldspeak: Wow, it’s  a sad state of affairs in our society when simply choosing to talk to someone and learn something about them is a revolutionary act. Watch this thought provoking, powerful, revealing, sobering, inspiring video by Luke Rudkowski on happiness, freedom, government, humanity, and life in the words of train passengers. It really is amazing to see what random people think. Most don’t trust the government has their best interest at heart, just as many are motivated by fear as by love. As a New Yorker, who’s ridden the train his whole life, it never occurred to me why it is that people don’t talk to each other, they don’t make eye contact, they’re loathe to interact with each other. People look at you as if you’re insane if you do any of these things. I’ve been socialized to  just accept it as the way it is. Why? Could it be to prevent us from realizing how alike we are, how connected, how powerful we can be to affect universally beneficial change? I’ve recently started looking at people, smiling at people, acknowledging people’s presence, it’s striking to  observe how few people do this. You should try it as well, you make feel better and make someone else feel better as well. Within us is the change we seek. “

HAARP Magnetometer Data Shows Japan Earthquake Was Induced

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Oldspeak: WOW. Understand, the technology to do this does exist, it’s not the first time it’s been used, and in the past the U.S. Defense Secretary has obliquely referred to its use by “others”. USGS data shows the epicenter of the quake was on solid ground, 100 miles from the nearest fault line. ‘HAARP was broadcasting the 2.5 Hz frequency (coincidentally, the signature frequency of an earthquake) from just before midnight on March 8, 2011 and continued to broadcast the frequency for the entire days of March 9, 2011 and March 10, 2011. The 2.5 Hz frequency continued to be broadcasted and recorded by the magnetometer for another 10 hours the day of the Japan 9.0 magnitude earthquake.’ At this point I don’t put anything past the U.S. Gov’t/Military, but my question is WHY?! This guy may be on to something. You may ask yourself, why would the military have the evidence out there for anyone to see? Well did you know what HAARP was before today? It’s hidden in plain sight, masquerading as an “atmospheric research project”.

By PressCore:

The United States Air Force and Navy has provided a visual insight into what caused the 9.0 magnitude off of Japan on March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC.  The image above was downloaded from the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) website.  It is a time-frequency spectrogram, which shows the frequency content of signals recorded by the HAARP Induction Magnetometer. This instrument, provided by the University of Tokyo, measures temporal variations in the geomagnetic field (Earth’s magnetosphere) in the ULF (ultra-low frequency) range of 0-5 Hz.  Notions have been added to the image to show you what was happening the day the Japan earthquake and tsunami struck.

By looking at the accompanying HAARP spectrum chart above you can see when the 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck – red line drawn vertically – and what was happening before and after the earthquake.  What you can also see is a constant ULF frequency of 2.5 Hz being recorded by the magnetometer.  The ULF 2.5 Hz frequency is evidence of an induced earthquake.  The chart recorded this constant before, during and after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck.  On March 11, 2011 the 2.5 Hz ULF frequency was being emitted and recorded from 0:00 hours to about 10:00 hours – or for 10 hours.  We know for a fact that the Japan earthquake lasted only a few minutes so why was the earthquake signature frequency (2.5 Hz) being recorded for 10 hours on the morning of March 11, 2011?  Because a HAARP phased array antenna system was broadcasting (transmitting) the 2.5Hz ULF frequency and it triggered the Japan earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

If you go to HAARP’s official website you can see for yourself that the 2.5 Hz ULF frequency wasn’t only being broadcated for 10 hours, it was constantly being broadcasted for 2 days prior to the earthquake.  Broadcasting began on March 8, 2011, just before midnight as you can see on HAARP’s website page –http://maestro.haarp.alaska.edu/cgi-bin/scmag/disp-scmag.cgi?20110308.  Click on the Next Day link to see that the earthquake inducing 2.5 Hz ULF frequency was being broadcasted for the entire days of March 9, 2011 and March 10, 2011.  Even though the signature frequency of an earthquake was shown throughout March 9 and March 10 there were no constant earthquakes occurring off the east coast of Japan.

What is the significance of a 2.5 Hz ULF broadcast?  The natural resonance of an earthquake is 2.5 Hz.  Scientists working for the United States military discovered this using the phased array antennas at the HAARP facility in Alaska.  HAARP’s own charts suggests that earthquakes occurred constantly for 3 days.  We know for a fact that they haven’t.

The HAARP magnetometer data provides proof that the Japan earthquake was not a naturally occurring quake – it was triggered.  This data shows us that a HAARP military installation was broadcasting the known earthquake signature frequency in order to trigger a major earthquake.  The broadcast was most likely being transmitted from a floating HAARP system like the floating Sea-Based X-Band Radar platform that can be moved anywhere in the Pacific or Atlantic ocean under the protection of a carrier strike group – like the USS Ronald Regan.  Where was the USS Ronald Reagan on the morning of March 11, 2011?  According to a Stars & Stripes March 9, 2011 report – Reagan carrier group steams toward South Korea to join exercise.

Evidence or Conspiracy theory?

Is this evidence or just a bunch of nonsense attached to a baseless conspiracy theory and recklessly made public by a crackpot?  The above image is of the HAARP Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) platform which does exist – not a conspiracy theory.  The preceding link is to the United States Navy website.  What is sitting on top of the deck of the SBX is a phased array antenna – a key component of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) GMD system – clearly not a conspiracy theory.

The military vessel includes power plant, a bridge, control rooms, living quarters, storage areas and the infrastructure necessary to support the massive X-band radar. The SBX radar is the most sophisticated phased array, electro-mechanically steered X-band radar in the world – according to Boeing claims. The phased array antenna consists of thousands of antennas driven bytransmit/receive modules.  The radar is designed and built by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems for Boeing, the prime contractor on the project for the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA).  Boeing, Raytheon and MDA exists – also not a conspiracy theory.

HAARP does exists.  The HAARP program is no secret.  Their own website states that: The HAARP program is committed to developing a world class ionospheric research facility consisting of:  The Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), a high power transmitter facility operating in the High Frequency (HF) range. The IRI will be used to temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere for scientific study. Even World renowned Stanford University knows about and publishes reports on the activities at the HAARP installations – Experiments with the HAARP Ionospheric Heater – http://vlf.stanford.edu/research/experiments-haarp-ionospheric-heater.  According to Stanford -

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility is located in Gakona, Alaska at 62.39º N, 145.15º W, near mile 11 of the Tok Cutoff Highway. The facility houses many diagnostic instruments for studying the ionosphere, but the highlight is the HF transmitter array. This array consists of 15×12 crossed dipole antennas, which together can transmit a total of 3600kW of RF power at frequencies from 2.8 – 10 MHz (HF, high frequency range). This power is partially absorbed by the ionosphere, and though only a tiny fraction of the power it naturally receives from the sun, can still produce subtle changes that can be detected with sensitive instruments.

The VLF group focuses on using HAARP to generate ELF and VLF waves through a process called modulated heating. Such experiments have been conducted since 1999.

HAARP EARTHQUAKES

A magnetometer can be used to predict as well as give evidence of a HAARP created earthquake.  A magnetometer measures disturbances in the magnetic field in Earth’s upper atmosphere.  It is not a seismometer which measure motions of the ground.  The magnetometer doesn’t measure seismic activity it measures and records electromagnetic frequencies in the Earth’s atmosphere.

HAARP’s phased array antennas beam radio wave frequencies into the atmosphere.  A radio wave is essentially an electromagnetic frequency, as is solar radiation.  The scientists at the HAARP institute found that a 2.5 Hz radio frequency is the signature frequency of an earthquake.  HAARP beams that earthquake frequency into the ionosphere and the ionosphere reflects it back to Earth – penetrating as deeply as several kilometers into the ground, depending on the geological makeup and subsurface water conditions in a targeted area..  By beaming the frequency at a specific trajectory HAARP can trigger an earthquake any place on Earth.  A short burst isn’t enough to disturb solid matter (the Earth crust) so they keep beaming the 2.5 Hz earthquake frequency for hours or days – until the desired effect is achieved.

HAARP was broadcasting the 2.5 Hz frequency from just before midnight on March 8, 2011 and continued to broadcast the frequency for the entire days of March 9, 2011 and March 10, 2011. The 2.5 Hz frequency continued to be broadcasted and recorded by the magnetometer for another 10 hours the day of the Japan 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

You will notice on the USGS website that the Japan earthquake didn’t occur on the Ring of Fire Fault line.  The epicenter was some 100 km west of the fault.  The earthquake epicenter occurred on solid ground.


The West Goes To War For Oil And Power In Libya

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Oldspeak:”30 years ago, President Reagan referred to Qaddafi as the “mad dog of the Middle East” and launched his own war on Libya. 10 years ago President G.W. Bush saw Qaddafi as an ally in the ‘War On Terror”  Today, “The same Western leaders who happily armed and did oil business with the Qaddafi regime until a fortnight ago have now slapped sanctions on the discarded autocrat and blithely referred him to the international criminal court the United States won’t recognize.”-Seamus Milne, The Guardian. This war isn’t about protecting innocents. Innocents are being killed in Bahrain by a U.S. backed dictator. Innocents are being killed in Pakistan by U.S. Drones. Innocents are being killed in Palestine. Innocent children are being killed in Afghanistan by “Coalition Forces”. Children dissidents, and journalists are being killed and detained in Syria. You hear very little about this corporate media. Make no mistake, this war is about oil. CIA/U.S. Special Forces trained and backed Libyan rebels, have given the west the pretext for this war.  This latest war of aggression is the latest example of politically and oil motivated hypocrisy by the U.S. and it’s allies.”

By Tom Arabia & Alan Maass @ The Socialist Worker:

U.S. and European forces began a war on Libya on last week with warplane and missile strikes hitting weapons and defense systems controlled by Muammar el-Qaddafi and his regime.

The Western assault will be portrayed as a “humanitarian” mission to stop Qaddafi from carrying out an offensive targeting the mass rebellion against his regime. But the long record of “humanitarian” intervention shows that the bombs and guns of the U.S. and its allies are never used to save lives or bring justice, but to serve Western interests–and Libya is no different.

Anyone who has been inspired by the wave of revolts against dictators in North Africa and the Middle East–including the one in Libya–must oppose this new attempt by the U.S. and its allies to reassert their domination in the region, because it will be used to try to stifle the struggle for democracy.

The attack by a coalition of countries, with the support of several Arab nations–but with the U.S. acting as the “leading edge,” according to American military officials–is described as the first phase of an operation called “Odyssey Dawn” to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, passed on Thursday. Targets were hit across north Libya, from airports near the capital of Tripoli to military positions on the outskirts of the city of Benghazi, which has been a stronghold of the rebellion against Qaddafi.

The aim, according to the governments carrying out the attack, is to destroy the regime’s ability to resist enforcement of a no-fly zone. But the Security Council resolution lays the basis for a much broader war, and operations are expected to escalate to a “no-drive zone” and possibly the use of ground forces, in parts of Libya or the whole country.

The attack came as Qaddafi’s forces began an offensive against Benghazi, after a scorched-earth campaign that has pounded rebel forces in the past week. Within days of its beginnings in mid-February, the uprising against Qaddafi seemed on the verge of toppling one of the longest-running dictatorships in the world, but the regime has used its overwhelming military advantage over the rebellion to win back most of the northwest of the country around the capital of Tripoli, as well as a string of port cities leading toward Benghazi.

Libya’s government claimed to have implemented a cease-fire on Saturday and invited UN fact-finding missions to verify it, but numerous reports from both Western and other media sources described a stepped-up campaign against Benghazi, with opposition fighters coming under constant mortar and artillery fire.

With attacks from the air, the U.S.-led assault on Libya might prevent some of Qaddafi’s forces from entering rebel-controlled and civilian-populated areas like Benghazi, but as the U.S. intelligences consulting firm Stratfor wrote [1], “it cannot force the withdrawal of those forces from within the city without risking significant civilian casualties…The application of airpower entails civilian casualties, and it remains unclear if that application can be translated into the achievement of political objectives in Libya.”

That raises the potential of large-scale bloodshed among the very people who have rebelled against Qaddafi–and a war that will have to escalate beyond limited missile strikes and air patrols to accomplish the stated objectives of Western governments. D.B. Grady, a former paratrooper with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and veteran of the Afghanistan war, explained the dynamic in an interview on National Public Radio [2]:

I’m unaware of any no-fly zone that’s been imposed by the United States that didn’t ultimately end up with military intervention that actually put soldiers on the ground. Bosnia and Herzegovina started out as Operation Deny Flight…If you look at Iraq, we established the no-fly zone in 1991. The no-fly zone ended in 2003 with Operation Iraqi Freedom.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

IN CHEERLEADING the U.S.-led assault to “stop a massacre,” the American media never stopped for a moment to question Washington’s selective concern about violence and repression.

Even as the Security Council was passing a resolution that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice insisted was “to protect innocent civilians,” the Washington-allied monarchy in the Gulf state of Bahrain was shooting down anti-government demonstrators. The most that U.S. diplomats could manage in this case was calls for “restraint” and “talks.”

Also the very same day as the UN resolution was passed, U.S. military forces were directly responsible for 40 deaths in Pakistan [3], when missiles fired from American drone planes hit a community assembly or jirga, in the Nevi Adda Shega area of North Waziristan. These deaths come a few weeks after a NATO air attack killed nine Afghan boys in early March [4], and in the wake of at least 29 people killed in protests in U.S.-occupied Iraq in late February [5].

The other element missing from media coverage of the Libya attack is a three-letter word familiar from past U.S.-led wars in the Middle East: oil.

Libya exports about 1.5 million barrels of oil a day and possesses one of the largest oil reserves of any country in Africa. Western oil companies have done a booming business with the dictator Qaddafi over the past decade, devoting huge investments to the country.

That was only possible because of the rehabilitation of the regime as an ally. Qaddafi has been the villain before for U.S. politicians–during the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan called him the “mad dog of the Middle East” and launched his own war on Libya. But in between, the one-time villain became a friend. As Todd Chretien described in an article for SocialistWorker.org [6]:

While the Cold War was still on, the U.S. considered Libya an enemy, and Ronald Reagan targeted the country in the 1980s, including an attempt to assassinate Qaddafi by bombing one of his residences (which killed his 15-month-old daughter).

But in the late 1990s, Qaddafi began to make peace with his former adversaries. And after 9/11, Qaddafi offered Libyan support for the U.S. government’s “war on terror” under George W. Bush. The regime restored diplomatic relations with the U.S., leading ExxonMobil, Chevron and other American corporations to rush into lucrative exploration and production deals.

Before the threat of military intervention escalated, Guardian columnist Seamus Milne commented: “The same Western leaders who happily armed and did business with the Qaddafi regime until a fortnight ago have now slapped sanctions on the discarded autocrat and blithely referred him to the international criminal court the United States won’t recognize.”

Given this record of hypocrisy, neither the U.S. government nor its European allies–and not the Arab states like Qatar that are going along with the war on Libya either–can be trusted to have decent motives. The real reasons for the assault on Libya have nothing to do with saving the Libyan people from Qaddafi. They are about oil profits on the one hand–and reestablishing U.S. and European influence in a part of the world that has experienced two revolutions–in Egypt and Tunisia–since the start of the year.

This war won’t bring justice. It has to be opposed.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

Material on this Web site is licensed by SocialistWorker.org, under a Creative Commons (by-nc-nd 3.0) [7] license, except for articles that are republished with permission. Readers are welcome to share and use material belonging to this site for non-commercial purposes, as long as they are attributed to the author and SocialistWorker.org.

  1. [1] http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20110319-red-alert-libyan-forces-benghazi
  2. [2] http://www.npr.org/2011/03/13/134516032/Understanding-No-Fly-Zones-And-Their-Implications
  3. [3] http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/18/rare-condemnation-by-pm-army-chief-40-civilians-killed-in-drone-attack.html
  4. [4] http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/03/2011391229382651.html
  5. [5] http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/02/27/At-least-29-dead-in-Iraq-protests/UPI-56511298812676/
  6. [6] http://socialistworker.org/2011/02/28/taking-sides-about-libya
  7. [7] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0

Houston Company Accepts Responsibility For Oil Spill Off Louisiana

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Fresh oil hits the Louisiana coast, March 21, 2011

Oldspeak: ” The destruction of the Gulf of Mexico continues. A massive slick is currently washing ashore in Louisiana, courtesy of Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners. No one is even talking about the BP oil that is still there.  It’s all along the floor of the gulf, coated with ultra toxic deodorized kerosene a.k.a. “corexit” dispersant, it’s floating in columns miles wide on and below the surface… An entire ecosystem irrevocably damaged, contaminated indefinitely. And folk are more concerned about what Charlie Sheen is doing. :-|”

By David Hammer @ NOLA:

A Houston-based oil company has accepted responsibility for a mysterious spill near Grand Isle, although it says it remains “surprised” that what it thought was a minor discharge from a long dormant well could have produced miles-long slicks.

map-oil-032311.jpgSevveral hours after The Times-Picayune broke the story that state agents had traced the oil back to a well operated by Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners, the Houston-based company put out a statement late Tuesday night.

It acknowledged that it was informed by the Coast Guard that it may be responsible for the spill, which has sent emulsified oil onto Louisiana shores yet again.

Anglo-Suisse also accepted responsibility for cleanup, even though the statement also said company officials were surprised by the Coast Guard’s “suggestion” because the well is “non-producing and has been monitored closely for the last six months.”

The well is one the company was plugging for permanent abandonment, in the West Delta Block 117 west-southwest of Southwest Pass.

In three reports to the Coast Guard since Friday, the company had reported that less than 5 gallons of crude had escaped. But state Wildlife and Fisheries agents traced the oil to the Anglo-Suisse well at its Platform E facility on Monday afternoon and found a crew on a boat trying to close in the well with a remotely operated submarine.

The company said it had reconnected the wellhead structure Tuesday morning and fully shut it in by 8:30 p.m.

The company said it was the 12th well it owned in the area to undergo plugging and abandonment operations. All of those wells were shut in after Hurricane Katrina caused damage to platforms and haven’t produced any oil since, the company said. Crews have been monitoring the site since September and didn’t report any oil discharge until the end of last week, the statement said.


What Does Proposed AT&T And T-Mobile Merger Mean?

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Oldspeak:“Corporate consolidation yields reduced choice, anti-democratic monopolistic practices, higher rates, worker elimination/job loss & price gouging. In an industry “regulated” by an agency (FCC)  it has captured, one has to wonder how closely this proposed deal will be scrutinized. If the recent ComcastNBC merger provides any indication, the answer appears to be not very closely atal. :-|”

By Eric K. Arnold @ The Media Consortium:

Welcome to the Wavelength, your bi-weekly field guide to the world of media policy. Over the next four months, we’ll be compiling great content, connecting the dots, building context, and reporting how media policy impacts the lives of everyday people. From the ongoing battle over Net Neutrality to the wild world of Internet regulation, from partisan crusades to media accountability, the Wavelength is here to keep you in the know.

This week, we’re focusing on major mergers, holding telecom giants accountable, and the revolving door at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

So, without further ado, let’s take a spin through the media zone.

AT&T to Absorb T-Mobile?

On Sunday, AT&T announced it had reached an agreement with T-Mobile to buy the mobile phone service provider for $39 billion. As reported in the New York Times,  the deal would “create the largest wireless carrier in the nation and promised to reshape the industry.”

The immediate upshot is that the number of nationwide wireless carriers would drop from four to three, with Sprint Nextel running a distant third behind AT&T/T-Mobile and Verizon. Another impact could be higher rates for current T-Mobile customers. Advocates of the deal suggest it could improve AT&T’s oft-criticized service, resulting in fewer dropped calls. However, critics note that the roughly $3 billion in projected annual cost savings will likely come at the expense of workers at the hundreds of retail outlets expected to close, if the deal goes through.

Both the Justice Department and the FCC have to sign off on the merger before it can be approved, a process that could take up to a year.

House adds insult to NPR’s injury

On St. Patrick’s Day, the Republican-controlled House voted 228-192 to end federal funding for NPR. The move came on the heels of a secretly recorded video from conservative activist James O’Keefe that purportedly showed NPR fundraiser Ronald Schiller expressing support for Islamic fundamentalism and disavowing the Tea Party as “racist” — leading Schiller and NPR CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation) to resign. The video was later revealed to be excerpted and heavily edited from a longer video which places Schiller’s remarks in context.

At TAPPED, Lindsay Beyerstein watched the entire two hour video, and notes that:

O’Keefe’s provocateurs didn’t get what they were looking for. They were ostensibly offering $5 million to NPR. Their goal is clearly to get Schiller and his colleague Betsy Liley to agree to slant coverage for cash. Again and again, they refuse, saying that NPR just wants to report the facts and be a nonpartisan voice of reason.

As reported in the Washington Times, the Democratic-controlled Senate is unlikely to pass the bill, making NPR’s federal funding safe—for now. However, the timing of the vote suggests that House Republicans are essentially endorsing O’Keefe’s questionable tactics, showing that their dislike of the so-called liberal media is of greater concern.

Telecoms add ramming to their list of illegal practices

A recent AlterNet story by David Rosen and Bruce Kushnick details sneaky, unethical, and possibly illegal telecom tactics, the most recent of which is “ramming.”

“Ramming” happens “when a phone company‘s customer is put on a service plan or package s/he did not need or want or cannot even use.” According to the article, “An estimated 80 percent of phone company customers have been overcharged or are on plans they did not need or even order. These and other scams can cost residential customers $20 or more a month extra and small business customers up to thousands of dollars a month.”

These practices are insidious because modern telephone bills are so cryptic that it’s not easy for even the most astute customer to figure out they’ve been duped.

Powell’s next move

Last Tuesday, former FCC chair Michael Powell announced that he has taken over as president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. Leading media advocacy organization Free Press snarkily congratulated Powell via a statement from Managing Director Craig Aaron:

If you wonder why common sense, public interest policies never see the light of day in Washington, look no further than the furiously spinning revolving door between industry and the FCC.

Former Chairman Michael Powell is the natural choice to lead the nation’s most powerful cable lobby, having looked out for the interests of companies like Comcast and Time Warner during his tenure at the Commission and having already served as a figurehead for the industry front group Broadband for America.

AT&T imposes monthly usage caps

Finally, we’ve got more bad news for those unlucky enough to have AT&T as their Internet and cable service provider. As Truthout’s Nadia Prupis recently reported, AT&T customers who use the company’s U-Verse cable TV service and DSL hi-speed Internet services in the United States can expect a bump in their monthly bills if they exceed a new usage cap – 50GB for DSL customers and 250 GB for U-Verse users. Those who exceed the storage fee will be charged $10 extra for every 50GB over the limit.

Surprisingly, the telecom behemoth continues to insist their price-gouging moves are in the consumer’s best interests. According to an AT&T press release: “Our new plan addresses another concern: customers strongly believe that only those who use the most bandwidth should pay more than those who don’t use as much.”

Personally, I don’t spend too much time thinking about how much bandwidth other people are using, as long as I’m getting the download speeds I’m paying for.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about media policy and media-related matters by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint and repost. To read more of The Wavelength, click here. For the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The AuditThe MulchThe Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets, and is produced with the support of the Media Democracy Fund.

Nobel Committee Asked To Strip Obama of Peace Prize

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Oldspeak:” It was a very bad joke when he got it, and since; 4 wars and no peace?  ‘A message has been widely retweeted on Twitter today: “Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined.’ Sounds about right. Nuff Said.”

By Joseph E. Lovell @ Digital Journal:

 

The Bolivian President and a Russian political leader have launched a campaign to revoke Obama’s honour after the US attacked Libya.
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader and Vice-Chairman of the State Duma Vladimir Zhirinovsky released a statement today calling for the Nobel Prize Committee to take back the honour bestowed on US President Barack Obama in 2009.Zhirinovsky said the attacks were “another outrageous act of aggression by NATO forces and, in particular, the United States,” and that the attacks demonstrated a “colonial policy” with “one goal: to establish control over Libyan oil and the Libyan regime.” He said the prize was now hypocritical as a result.Bolivian President Evo Morales echoed the call: “How is it possible that a Nobel Peace Prize winner leads a gang to attack and invade? This is not a defence of human rights or self-determination.”Morales won the Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights in 2006.He is amongst a number of left-leaning Latin American leaders who have denounced the attacks against Libya. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Cristina Fernandez of Argentina have all criticised western media coverage of the Libyan crisis.

Morales and Chavez repeated calls for peace talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.” The Committee praised the “change in the international climate” affected by Obama’s presidency.In his Nobel Lecture, he discussed the “hard truth” of the inevitability of war, saying: “There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”A message has been widely retweeted on Twitter today: “Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined.”

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/print/article/304909#ixzz1HMOv2qvJ

 

Nuclear Cover-Up In Canada: Radioactive Leak Into Lake Ontario

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Oldspeak:”And the hits just keep onnnnn commin….Drinking water for millions of people contaminated with radiation, not a peep about it from corporate media. The evidence continues to mount for elimination of nuclear energy. Will Obama heed the signs? “

By Brandon Turbeville @ Activist Post:

With all the focus placed on the Japanese radiation leak as well as the toxic plume of radioactive particles (possibly containing uranium and plutonium)
heading for the United States, another potential disaster is receiving virtually no attention.
Of course, attention should be paid to the Japanese situation. Especially since the mainstream media is doing everything it can to cover up the scale of the disaster. Nevertheless, it seems the continent of North America is being hit from two sides in terms of radiation danger.
On March 16, a report was released by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) stating that Canada’s Ontario Power Generation has released radioactive water into Lake Ontario via a leak in the Pickering A nuclear generating station.
As a result of what appears to be a pump seal failure, tens of thousands of litres of radioactive water escaped the generating station on Monday and ended up in Lake Ontario. This is troubling for a number of reasons, but it is especially so considering the fact that Lake Ontario is the main source of drinking water for millions of people.
Typically, the Canadian government isclaiming that the water contamination is of little concern and that the citizenry should not be alarmed. In an official statement, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission claimed, “The radiological risk to the environment and people’s health is negligible.”
Likewise, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Canadian government have been preferring to use the term “demineralized” water instead of “radioactive” water when discussing the leak. No doubt this is an attempt to hush concern over another radioactive accident amid anxiety over the “demineralized” catastrophe in Japan.
John Luxat, an “expert” on radiation from McMaster University claims the water that found its way into Lake Ontario Monday is actually not radioactive at all. In an interview with the CTV News Channel, Luxat stated, “It is not radioactive; it is not going through the reactors. It is actually just going through steam generators to produce steam to drive the turbines. It is used to remove heat from the heavy water going into the generators, but it doesn’t at any time go into the reactor.”
That sounds reassuring enough. However, it conflicts with a report (that was meant to be reassuring) from OPG itself. Also in the same interview with CTV News Channel, Ted Gruetzner of OPG said, “People are concerned about nuclear power, but this particular incident is normal waterwith a bit of radiation. It is well below our regulatory and other limits.”
Apparently, the nuclear industry was unable to get its story straight this time around. According to Mr. Luxat, there is no radiation involved with this water spill. But Mr. Gruetzner has admitted that there is. As an employee of OPG, it would not seem to be to his advantage to makes such an admission, so we can assume with great probability that there is, at the very least, some radiation now polluting  Lake Ontario.
As Gordon Edwards, spokesperson for the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, stated, “That water came from the spent fuel bays right into Lake Ontario. The spent fuel bays in Japan are currently the source of some of the greatest radiation exposures. If there is an accident in Pickering, the fact that there is a direct pathway from the spent fuel bay into Lake Ontario should be quite alarming.”
Cause for great concern indeed. With two radiation-related accidents in only a few weeks, and a confirmed cover-up in both cases, one could almost begin to wonder if there is more to all this than meets the eye. Regardless, this new radioactive contamination should be watched closely and dealt with immediately.
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University where he earned the Pee Dee Electric Scholar’s Award as an undergraduate. He has had numerous articles published dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, and civil liberties. He is also the author of Codex Alimentarius – The End of Health Freedom


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