This is the story told to me by a 14-year-old Yazidi girl I’ll call “Narin,” currently staying in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. I am a Kurdish journalist with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia who covers northern Iraq as a freelancer for several international news outlets. I heard about Narin’s tale through a Yazidi friend who knew her. Aside from translating from Kurdish and excerpting her story in collaboration with Washington Post editors, the only things I changed are all the names, at Narin’s request, to protect her and other victims from reprisal; many of her relatives are still in captivity.
“We are an Islamic army, an estate that has been accepted by a number of Muslims worldwide. So, effectifvely, any agression towards the Islamic State is an aggression towards Muslims of all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership.
“So, any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate, will result in the bloodshed of your people.”
The fucker is lying. What they want more than anything else is for their war to become “ISIS vs. USA”, instead of “ISIS vs. Other Arabs” as it is now. Much easier recruiting that way.
Desperate diplomats are trying to censor a US Senate report that would blow open Britain’s role in torture and rendition, legal action charity Reprieve said yesterday.
Britain’s ambassador to the US has held at least 22 meetings with US intelligence select committee senators since they began looking into leaked CIA cables in 2009.
Newly released Foreign Office documents show “the desperate attempts being made by the UK to censor the Senate’s report on CIA torture,” stormed Reprieve executive director Clare Algar.
Current ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott most recently tried to lobby Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich on July 14.
He has also courted six other senators since July 2012, including committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and vice-chairman Saxby Chambliss.
And so now the US has to use American weaponry to destroy the American weaponry it gave Iraqis to make Iraqis safer, in order to make Iraqis safer.
Assalam Alaikum. The Imam Of The Sunnah, Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah swt have mercy on him and grant him the highest of Jannah) said in his Haadi al-Arwaah describing Jannah – about the Hoor :
“And if you ask about their brides and wives, then they are young and full-breasted and have had the liquid of youth flow through their limbs; the Sun runs along the beauty of her face if she shows it, light shines from between her teeth if she smiles; if you meet her love, then say whatever you want regarding the joining of two lights; he sees his face in the roundness of her cheek as if he is looking into a polished mirror, and he sees the brightness from behind her muscles and bones; if she were to be unleashed upon the World, she would fill what is between the Heavens and the Earth with a beautiful wind, and the mouths of the creation would glorifiy, praise, and exclaim greatness, and everything between the East and the West would be adorned for her, and every eye would be shut from everthing but her, and the light of the Sun would be outshone just as the light of the Sun outshines the light of the stars, and everyone on the face of the Earth would believe in the Ever-Living, the One who Sustains and Protects all the exists.”
“And the covering on her head is better than the World and all that is in it, and she does not increase with age except in beauty; free from an umbilical cord, childbirth and menses, and pure of mucous, saliva, urine and other filthy things; her youth never fades, her clothing is never worn out, no garment can be created that matches her beauty, and no one who is with her can ever become bored; her attention is restricted to her husband, so she desires none but him, just as his attention is restricted to her so she is the sole object of his desire, and he is with her in utmost safety and security, as none has touched her before of either humans or Jinn.”
Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.
Part 28, of an ongoing campaign of revisionist messages by the crew that brought us so much fun in the past…
Enough of the mock Churchillian statements, Lizard Dick. China shop rules.
According to leaked diplomatic correspondence, Iran has been warning Washington since July 2012 that Sunni rebel fighters have acquired chemical weapons, and called on the US to send “an immediate and serious warning” to rebel groups not to use them.
In a letter acquired by The Christian Science Monitor that was sent sometime in the spring, Iran told American officials that, as a “supporter” of the rebels, the US would be held responsible for any rebel use of chemical weapons.
Iran amplified those year-old warnings over the weekend in its strongest public comments to date linking the rebels with a chemical weapons, echoing Russia’s dismissal of American assurances that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were to blame. The comments come as the US Congress prepares to vote on military strikes.
Sometime in the next day or two, the Obama administration will release a declassified report justifying a U.S. military strike in Syria, according to CBS News. The news comes just hours after Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference in which he described last week’s chemical attacks in Syria as an “obscenity” that “defy any code of morality.”
The CBS News report describes a meeting of Obama’s national security team that took place on Saturday. The meeting reportedly included “detailed analysis” of evidence about the chemical attacks that provides “a near air-tight circumstantial case that the Syrian regime was behind it.”
I wonder if they can get Colin Powell to present it.
Baghdad Burning, a blog written by an Iraqi woman during the course of the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, has had its first update since 2007.
We learned that you can be floating on a sea of oil, but your people can be destitute. Your city can be an open sewer; your women and children can be eating out of trash dumps and begging for money in foreign lands.
We learned that justice does not prevail in this day and age. Innocent people are persecuted and executed daily. Some of them in courts, some of them in streets, and some of them in the private torture chambers.
We are learning that corruption is the way to go. You want a passport issued? Pay someone. You want a document ratified? Pay someone. You want someone dead? Pay someone.
We learned that it’s not that difficult to make billions disappear.
The accounting of the financial cost of the nearly decade-long Iraq War will go on for years, but a recent analysis has shed light on the companies that made money off the war by providing support services as the privatization of what were former U.S. military operations rose to unprecedented levels.
Private or publicly listed firms received at least $138 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for government contracts for services that included providing private security, building infrastructure and feeding the troops.
Ten contractors received 52 percent of the funds, according to an analysis by the Financial Times that was published Tuesday.
The No. 1 recipient?
Houston-based energy-focused engineering and construction firm KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), which was spun off from its parent, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), in 2007.
The company was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts over the past decade, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract renewal in 2010 to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers, a deal that led to a Justice Department lawsuit over alleged kickbacks, as reported by Bloomberg.
The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.
A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding.
Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organise and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and returned to the country in 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld.
“They worked hand in hand,” said General Muntadher al-Samari, who worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the commandos were being set up. “I never saw them apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centres. They knew everything that was going on there … the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture.”
Washington Post: *crickets*
One chilling moment in the film comes in an interview with retired General Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of US Central Command. In August 2002, the Bush-Cheney administration opened its propaganda campaign for war with a Cheney speech at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. The veep made a stark declaration: “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” No doubt, he proclaimed, Saddam was arming himself with WMD in preparation for attacking the United States.
Zinni was sitting on the stage during the speech, and in the documentary he recalls his reaction:
It was a shock. It was a total shock. I couldn’t believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. And that’s when I began to believe they’re getting serious about this. They wanna go into Iraq.
That Zinni quote should almost end the debate on whether the Bush-Cheney administration purposefully guided the nation into war with misinformation and disinformation.
But there’s more. So much more. The film highlights a Pentagon document declassified two years ago. This memo notes that in November 2001—shortly after the 9/11 attacks—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with General Tommy Franks to review plans for the “decapitation” of the Iraqi government. The two men reviewed how a war against Saddam could be triggered; that list included a “dispute over WMD inspections.” It’s evidence that the administration was seeking a pretense for war.
A defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to torture detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has paid $5.28 million to 71 former inmates held there and at other U.S.-run detention sites between 2003 and 2007.
The settlement in the case involving Engility Holdings Inc. of Chantilly, Va., marks the first successful effort by lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers to collect money from a U.S. defense contractor in lawsuits alleging torture. Another contractor, CACI, is expected to go to trial over similar allegations this summer.
The payments were disclosed in a document that Engility filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission two months ago but which has gone essentially unnoticed.
Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.
The matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6. But with more than 300 drone strikes and some 2,500 people killed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military since Mr. Obama first took office, the administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.
Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.
Yes, after 300 strikes and 2,500 dead, Obama and his team are still debating when drone strikes are OK and when not.
“You pay $300,000 to buy a post as a security chief or military commander of a neighbourhood for a year and you have to get your money back. It’s like an investment. But you can never trust anyone in this country – they take your money and a year later they conspire against you and throw you in jail. They are like wolves.”
One of his subordinates explained how the officers procured their positions. “The commander of the district buys his post from the politicians or the office of the commander-in-chief. Then the commander rents the post of interrogation officer to his juniors for $10,000 to $15,000 per month, depending on the area. For a Sunni neighbourhood you have to pay a lot of money; for Shia not that much, because most of the arrests take place in the Sunni areas. Then you get your money back from the detainee.
“Sometimes you get really lucky and actually detain someone who is in al-Qaida, and then you can get your full investment in one go: you arrange for him to escape for half a million dollars.”
Kuwaiti prisoner Awdh Al-Shimri caught by Iraqi and US soldiers is made to clean out his dead comrades’ corpses when he finds a machine gun. He promptly uses it on his captors crippling or killing the cameraman. Voices are heard talking in Iraqi Arabic and US English.
Obama DOJ lawyer Marty Lederman, for instance, announced: because of secrecy powers, “we’re in armed conflicts with some groups the American public doesn’t know we’re in armed conflict with“.
You know how every time Michele Bachmann opens her mouth it’s kind of exciting because you never know what’s going to come out, but then it’s also terrifying because you’re worried whatever she says will be taken seriously? Well, brace yourselves because today she’s dropped a real doozy: she thinks the people of Iraq should pay us back for all of the money we spent invading them.
Using data from the National Priorities Project, ThinkProgress calculated ten investments America could’ve afforded if it didn’t spend $113 billion — the allotment made in Fiscal Year 2011 — on the war in Afghanistan. Each one of these policy options represents an equivalent $113 billion cost:
– Provide 57.5 Million Children With Low-Income Health Care For 2011
– Provide 23 Million People With Low-Income Health Coverage In 2011
– Give 20.2 Million $5,500 Pell Grants To Students In 2011
– Provide 14.35 million Military Veterans With VA Medical Care In 2011
– Give 14.7 million Children Head Start Funding In 2011
– Give 14.26 Million Scholarships To University Students In 2011
– Employ 1.93 million Firefighters In 2011
– Hire 1.75 Million Elementary School Teachers In 2011
– Hire 1.65 Million Police Officers In 2011
– Equip 67.8 Million Households With The Ability To Use Wind Power In 2011
– Equip 25.39 Million Households With The Ability To Use Solar Photovoltaic Energy In 2011
Plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.
The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain’s involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair’s cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.
“Hundreds of the leaked war logs reflect the fertile imagination of the torturer faced with the entirely helpless victim – bound, gagged, blindfolded and isolated – who is whipped by men in uniforms using wire cables, metal rods, rubber hoses, wooden stakes, TV antennae, plastic water pipes, engine fan belts or chains.”
Today, WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of documents that give insight into what coalition forces experienced from 2004 to 2009.
From the official leak site, WikiLeaks claims the logs account for “109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 ‘civilians'; 23,984 ‘enemy’ (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 ‘friendly’ (coalition forces).”
A standing order, known as Frago 242, directed coalition military personnel that no investigations were necessary if an Iraqi citizen was being tortured by an Iraqi official. Though coalition troops in many cases tried to persuade Iraqi officials to reprimand their security forces for torture, often times the Iraqis simply covered it up, and in one log were heard to say, “keep quiet because the Americans might hear his screams”.
Imagine if, an hour from now, a robot-plane swooped over your house and blasted it to pieces. The plane has no pilot. It is controlled with a joystick from 7,000 miles away, sent by the Pakistani military to kill you. It blows up all the houses in your street, and so barbecues your family and your neighbours until there is nothing left to bury but a few charred slops. Why? They refuse to comment. They don’t even admit the robot-planes belong to them. But they tell the Pakistani newspapers back home it is because one of you was planning to attack Pakistan. How do they know? Somebody told them. Who? You don’t know, and there are no appeals against the robot.
Now imagine it doesn’t end there: these attacks are happening every week somewhere in your country. They blow up funerals and family dinners and children. The number of robot-planes in the sky is increasing every week. You discover they are named "Predators", or "Reapers" – after the Grim Reaper. No matter how much you plead, no matter how much you make it clear you are a peaceful civilian getting on with your life, it won’t stop. What do you do? If there was a group arguing that Pakistan was an evil nation that deserved to be violently attacked, would you now start to listen?
The last US combat brigade in Iraq has left the country, seven years after the US-led invasion.
The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, began crossing by land into Kuwait in the early hours of Thursday, a military spokesman said.
Some 50,000 US troops will remain until the end of 2011 to advise Iraqi forces and protect US interests.
A further 6,000 support troops will be in Iraq until the end of the month, when US combat operations will end.
Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) drew criticism and a call for his resignation Friday after saying at a party fundraiser that the United States was on the wrong side of history with its conflict in Afghanistan, a military fight he called "a war of Obama’s choosing."
"This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in," Steele said in a speech Thursday night in Connecticut in which he slammed President Obama’s military strategy.
"It was the president who was trying to be (too) cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan," Steele said, according to a video of his remarks that was circulated by Democrats on Friday. "Well, if he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?"
Steele, seeking to clarify his remarks, said Friday afternoon that, "There is no question that America must win the war on terror."
He did not, however, correct his factual error about the war’s start.
I’d wonder how many people in the US would answer “Obama” when asked “who started the war in Afghanistan?”….
For several years, Afghan police recruits under the tutelage of private U.S. government contractors couldn’t understand why their marksmanship never improved.
The answer became clear earlier this year. Italian contractors also helping to train Afghan volunteers showed them that the sights on their AK-47s and M-16s had never been adjusted.
“We’re paying somebody to teach these people to shoot these weapons, and nobody ever bothered to check their sights?” Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said, after relating that story at a hearing Thursday.
To McCaskill, who chaired the hearing of the Senate Contracting Oversight panel, it illustrated why the U.S. has spent more than $6 billion on private contractors, but the police-training program remains rife with problems.
“It is an unbelievable, incompetent story of contracts,” she said. “For eight years we have been supposed training the police in Afghanistan. We’ve flushed $6 billion.”
Kelly Dougherty – then executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War – blamed the behavior of soldiers in Iraq on policies of the US government.
“The abuses committed in the occupations, far from being the result of a ‘few bad apples’ misbehaving, are the result of our government’s Middle East policy, which is crafted in the highest spheres of US power,” she said.