Nothing symbolizes more acutely the dark matrix of corporate hegemony, war, lies, unaccountability, torture and secrecy than the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq 8 years ago.
This weekend, as the U.S. Executive Branch (without Congressional approval) began bombarding yet another oil rich predominantly Muslim country, Los Angeles joined other cities in protest to mark the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, a “supreme international crime” according to principles laid out by the International Tribunal at Nuremberg after World War II.
As I did last year, I documented the event in video. This year the most compelling speaker was Mike Prysner, an Iraq War Vet and co-founder of March Forward!, a anti-war veterans group. Here is a recording I made of his speech at the rally, edited with time lapse video of the protest march:
The AP reported that “hundreds” of people marched, but the time lapse sequences seem to indicate more. Looks like at least a few thousand to me.
Meanwhile, in D.C., Daniel Ellsberg and about 100 others were arrested in protests outside the White House.
This month, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waxed about internet freedom, a silent protester was forcibly whisked from her presence and administration lawyers subpoenaed Twitter in their effort to crack down on Wikileaks operatives.
From Partnership for Civil Justice:
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her speech at George Washington University yesterday condemning governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, 71-year-old Ray McGovern was grabbed from the audience in plain view of her by police and an unidentified official in plain clothes, brutalized and left bleeding in jail. She never paused speaking.
From Democracy Now:
In an unacknowledged irony, Clinton’s comments came just as government lawyers appeared in a Virginia court to argue their case for cracking down on the online whistleblower WikiLeaks. The U.S. Department of Justice has subpoenaed the internet company Twitter for personal information from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and four other people linked to WikiLeaks, including Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic parliament. The subpoena asks Twitter for all records and correspondence relating to their accounts, including apparently private direct messages sent through Twitter.
This weekend Wikileaks released the Iraq War Logs – 40,000 “Significant Incident Reports” from the period of 2004-2009 that together tell the most detailed story of the war in Iraq during that time.
As was the case with the Afghan War Logs, a number of news media outlets received advanced access to the documents and extensive competing coverage can be found in the The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, and last and least, The New York Times, which decided to lead with a hit piece on the personality of the founder of Wikileaks, rather than on what the war logs themselves reveal. CNN played the same game. (Not suprising, of course, from an institutions that were essential to enabling the war itself.)
Like Afghan War wikileak, there is so much to read, so video summaries can be useful: The Guardian has a short video on prevalence of “Frago 242″, which is a “fragmentary order” not to investigate torture, and some of the consequences thereof. Al Jazeera presents an hour long special here. And here is good highlight reel from U.K. Channel 4′s current affairs program, “Dispatches“:
The U.N.’s chief torture investigator thinks there is torture to investigate, and reminds Obama of his legal obligation to do so. Dig through the logs yourself here.
Bag News has a nice piece in which photojournalist Michael Kamber talks about his experiences with military censorship of images in Iraq:
By the way, the idea that photographers are blocked from taking pictures of detainees in order to protect the detainees rights is a nice example of how the U.S. cynically employs its most lofty ideals in support of its dark imperial agenda.
The current Iraq War, which has now dragged on into its 7th year, was justified by the U.S. government and mainstream news media on the basis of a series of demonstrable lies either made up or extracted by torture from people accused of terrorism by the Bush Administration.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands (perhaps a million) of people have been killed in the course of what the International Tribunal at Nuremberg would have considered “the supreme international crime“.
The 7th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion was commemorated this Saturday by modest popular protests in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. I attended and documented the Los Angeles event in the following video:
The L.A. march was organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition and was led by disabled Vietnam Veteran Ron Kovic (author of “Born on the 4th of July“), who was accompanied by a color guard of terror war veterans carrying the flags of war profiteering corporations.
And here is a nice essay on the anniversary by Andy Worthington.
Last month, Army suicides outnumbered combat deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan, continuing a steady rise in the number of Army suicides over the last 5 years.
This trend seems to be caused by the stress of repeated combat deployments, the trauma of returning from a combat zone, the bureaucratic obstacles at Veteran Affairs, the overuse of anti-depressants, and, just maybe, the immorality and incoherence of the wars.
John Soltz of VoteVets.org is interviewed on this topic here.
From the helmet-cam of Sgt. 1st Class Jack Robinson while stationed in Ramadi:
Part 2 here.
In the following segment from a recent This American Life episode, a mild mannered young Iraqi travels through Bush country talking to people and trying to make sense of why the U.S. invaded his country.
Here is part one:
And part two:
I think I know who I’m voting for in 2032.