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The Human Cost of War on Iran

bodies of Vietnamese men, women and children piled along a road in My Lai
© Ronald L. Haeberle/ US Army
The bodies of Vietnamese men, women and children piled along a road in My Lai after a U.S. Army massacre on March 16, 1968.
As Israel threatens to bomb Iran, U.S. pundits are again pontificating about the necessity of war and opining about military tactics. Left out of their frame is the certainty of mass human suffering, a reality forgotten since the days of the Vietnam War, says former U.S. intelligence analyst Elizabeth Murray.

In late 2002, just prior to the launch of the U.S. "shock and awe" campaign against Iraq, I was invited to join a gathering of intelligence analysts at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to participate in an Iraq "war games" exercise. We were assigned specific roles and asked to "play out" various political and diplomatic scenarios that might unfold in the wake of a U.S. attack on Iraq.

A tall, heavy-set Iraqi-American, who was present as an observer and seated beside me on the final day, remarked quietly: "All these people are talking about strategic, political and military issues; no one here is talking about the hundreds of thousands of people - my people - that are going to die."

His words struck me as profoundly tragic, and the tears welling up behind his dark glasses made me feel suddenly ashamed to be there, aware of the complete absence of consideration for Iraqis. I struggled to find something to say that would console the man, but found myself at a loss.

All these years later, that incident has come back to haunt me as we approach the precipice of yet another deadly war. Will we allow ourselves to be blinded again?


Drones to Watch Over UK Streets

© Agence France-Presse/Max Nash
Unmanned police drones, comparable to those used in war zones such as Afghanistan, could soon be secretly watching over the streets of UK cities, according to a National Police Air Service director.
­The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being considered to monitor crowded events in Britain, such as concerts and festivals, as soon as the aerial units become cost-effective.

"I see unmanned systems as part of the future. There is an aircraft over London all the time - every day, giving images back. Why does it need to be a very expensive helicopter? If somebody gave me an unmanned system that I could use as I use a helicopter at half the cost, within the regulations, I would buy it tomorrow." Superintendent Richard Watson said in a presentation to the defense industry, reports The Times.Some police precincts have tried using the remote-controlled system to curb crime. Now the idea is to implement the drone policy nationwide.


Israel, U.S. divided over latest IAEA report on Iran

Israel believes the report backs up claims that Tehran has sped up its nuclear project, while the White House insists that findings don't change the working assumption that there is still time to resolve the crisis diplomatically.
© The Associated Press
The IAEA's Herman Nackaerts, Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh after talks at the permanent mission of Iran, Vienna, August 24, 2012.
Israel and the United States are split over the significance of a new International Atomic Energy Agency report expected to accuse Iran of installing hundreds of new centrifuges at its underground enrichment facility near Qom.

Israel believes that the IAEA report, due to be published this week, backs up claims that Tehran has accelerated its nuclear project. The White House, however, insists that the findings do nothing to alter the working assumption that there is still time to resolve the crisis diplomatically.

The new centrifuges are thought to be capable of enriching uranium to a level higher than the 20 percent needed for research purposes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met on Friday in Jerusalem with U.S. Congressmen Mike Rogers, who heads the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that the new information contained in the soon-to-be-released report is "further proof that Iran is galloping toward obtaining nuclear capability and that it continues to ignore the demands of the international community."


Long Arm of the Law: UK Police Given Arrest Assange Order

© twitter.com @LewisWhyld
British police are to arrest Julian Assange "under any circumstances" if he attempts to flee the Ecuadorian embassy. The secret police documents revealing the order, were found in plain view outside the embassy, in the arms of London's...finest.

When Lewis Whyld of the Press Association snapped a photo of a few officers standing on the steps outside of the Knightsbridge embassy on Friday, he had no idea that Assange's fate was literally in one of the officer's hands.

The handwritten tactical brief, scrawled in barely legible scribble and partially obscured by the officer's arm, says that however Assange leaves the embassy - be it in a diplomatic car, container or bag - he should be arrested.

Brief - EQ. Embassy Brief Summary of current position Re: Assange. Action required Assange to be arrested under all circumstances. He comes out with dip immune [diplomatic immunity] as dip bag in dip bag in dip vehicle ARRESTED. Discuss possibilities of distraction SS10 to liaise...provide additional support," the visible portion of the "restricted" official document reads.

Despite diplomatic bags, containers and vehicles legally holding the same status as embassies, the document seems to entail that MET police would violate that immunity to seize Assange in the event of an escape.

The officers also appear to be prepared for any smokescreen allowing Assange to slip out of the embassy as the documents implores the officers to be vigilant for "the possibility of distraction."


Propaganda Alert! NATO Says Pakistani Militant Mullah Dadullah Is Killed in Afghanistan

Mullah Dadullah
© Reuters
The targeted commander, Mullah Dadullah, right, of the Pakistani Taliban, in September 2011.
Islamabad, Pakistan - NATO forces said on Saturday that they had killed a senior Pakistani Taliban commander in an airstrike in Afghanistan, highlighting the increasingly complicated nature of the fight against Islamist militants along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mullah Dadullah, who led the Pakistani Taliban in the Bajaur tribal agency, was killed late Friday in a strike on a compound across the border in the Afghan province of Kunar, NATO and Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The Kunar police chief, Gen. Elwaz Mohammad Naziri, said 12 other militants, including Mullah Dadullah's deputy, were also killed.

The death of Mullah Dadullah, a former prayer leader who rose through the Taliban ranks to become a commander, will have an impact on the fighting in Bajaur, where the Pakistani Army has been battling the Pakistani Taliban since 2008.

But it may also offer an opportunity for a fresh turn in the relations among NATO, Pakistani and Afghan forces along the porous border, which have been marred by acrid recriminations in recent months.

Pakistani officials have publicly accused NATO of failing to stop Taliban fighters sheltering in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, from which American forces have largely withdrawn, from carrying out attacks inside Pakistan.

The protests reached a crescendo in June after a Taliban ambush killed 13 Pakistani soldiers, 7 of whom were beheaded. Some Pakistani officials have gone as far as to accuse NATO and Afghan forces of secretly supporting the insurgents.

War Whore

Americans ignore the war in Afghanistan, despite 2,000 US casualties and 15,000 civilian casualties

us army in afghanistan
© Agence France-Presse/Tauseef Mustafa
US troops of the 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 5/2 ID Striker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) 1-17 Infantry Batallion during a patrol in Shahwali Kot district in Kandahar, Afghanistan
Nearly 12 years after it began, America's war in Afghanistan has all but approached a stalemate. Now the cost for such an outcome is once again being brought up after the number of US casualties hits another milestone: 2,000.

There are more than 80,000 US troops still fighting a war overseas that has been on the verge of ending since President Barack Obama took the oath of office over three years ago. But with America's exit from the Afghan War almost as drawn out as the operation itself, the country's collective attention span is spent as not only support for the mission wanes, but even public acknowledgment of the endeavor and its atrocities seem to be slipping away.

At the same time, though, US troops are being killed at a rate that exceeds what soldiers experience during the height of the war. As of August 22, the US Defense Department reports that 1,972 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan since the post-9/11 war began, with an additional 116 troops losing their lives in other locales, like Pakistan and Yemen, as part of the greater War in Afghanistan. Even still, exactly why the US is still in Afghanistan is being brought up less and less as young servicemen see a surge in battlefield fatalities.

Comment: Like Ernest Hemingway said addressing war soldiers, "there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason".

The article did not even mention the Afghan civilian casualties of this useless war, which reached close to 15,000 by the end of 2011, and they are the unarmed innocent true victims of the insanity that Bush Jr started and Obama continues, against his pre-election promises four years ago.

And despite the loss of life of the US troops in Afghanistan (or Iraq, or wherever the US stations its pawns to execute its fabricated "war on terror") there's hell awaiting those who return alive back home:
Army Suicides: The Most Alarming and Tragically Hidden Secret in America
More U.S. Soldiers Take Their Own Lives than are Killed in Action
Programmed to Kill


US sabotage ahead of Chavez re-election bid? 24 dead, dozens hurt in explosion at huge Venezuela oil refinery

© Daniela Primera/AP
An explosion at a Venezuelan oil refinery triggered the fire seen at right early Saturday.
A gas explosion at a Venezuelan oil refinery -- one of the world's largest -- killed at least 24 people, many of them soldiers stationed there, and injured dozens more, Vice President Elias Jaua said Saturday.

The local governor said the victims included a 10-year-old boy.

"There's no risk of another explosion," said Falcon state Gov. Stella Lugo, who added that at least 53 people were hurt.

The Amuay refinery, in western city of Paraguana, is Venezuela's largest, producing some 645,000-barrels a day.

"There was a gas leak," Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told state TV. "A cloud of gas exploded ... it was a significant explosion, there are appreciable damages to infrastructure and houses opposite the refinery."

Emergency workers were at the scene, where smoke and flames could be seen over the facility. Inhabitants of the immediate area were evacuated, authorities said.

Eye 2

Psychopathic Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik gets 21 years, regrets not killing more

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Brevik - who admitted killing 77 people, and taunted the court with Nazi salutes - has been declared sane by judges. He's been jailed for the maximum 21 years, for committing the country's worst atrocity since World War 2, with his bombing and gun rampage in Oslo and Utoya island. But, broken down, his sentence equates to just over three months for each of his victims.

Breivik smirked when he heard the verdict. At the end of his sentencing, he apologised to 'militant nationalists' for not killing more people. He's always insisted on his sanity, and that the killings were part of his fight against the 'Islamification of Norway.' EU countries were suffering a rise in far-right activities before the tragedy but, as Tesa Arcilla reports, Breivik's ideas are fuelling even more hatred towards immigrants and Islam.


President Correa: 'Ecuador stands by Assange'

Ecuador is standing by its decision to grant asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who's resisting Britain's efforts to extradite him to Sweden to face sex crime claims. In an exclusive interview with RT's Spanish channel, Ecuador's president explains the choice he made, and says what he thinks Britain's motives really are.


Egyptian President Orders Journalist Freed from Jail

Islam Afifi
© Mohamed Abdel Wahab
Islam Afifi (middle)
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has ordered a newspaper editor accused of insulting him freed from jail.

Mr. Morsi Thursday decreed that no journalist shall be jailed for such alleged publishing-related crimes as libel and slander. It was his first presidential decree since taking law-making powers away from the military earlier this month.

The president's decision came almost immediately after a Cairo court ordered newspaper editor Islam Afifi to remain in jail until his next court appearance in September. Prosecutors say Afifi's Al-Dustour newspaper insulted the president and incited disorder by criticizing Mr. Morsi's former party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The U.S. State Department and human rights groups urged Egypt to uphold press freedom, saying demands for free speech were one reason Egyptians overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak.