Berto Jongman: Star-Spangled Baggage — US Veterans Going Nuts…

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Star-Spangled Baggage

By Ann Jones, TomDispatch

This piece first appeared at TomDispatch. Read Tom Engelhardt’s introduction here.

After an argument about a leave denied, Specialist Ivan Lopez pulled out a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and began a shooting spree at Fort Hood, America’s biggest stateside base, that left three soldiers dead and 16 wounded.  When he did so, he also pulled America’s fading wars out of the closet.  This time, a Fort Hood mass killing, the second in four and a half years, was committed by a man who was neither a religious nor a political “extremist.”  He seems to have been merely one of America’s injured and troubled veterans who now number in the hundreds of thousands.

Some 2.6 million men and women have been dispatched, often repeatedly, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and according to a recent survey of veterans of those wars conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly one-third say that their mental health is worse than it was before they left, and nearly half say the same of their physical condition.  Almost half say they give way to sudden outbursts of anger.  Only 12% of the surveyed veterans claim they are now “better” mentally or physically than they were before they went to war.

The media coverage that followed Lopez’s rampage was, of course, 24/7 and there was much discussion of PTSD, the all-purpose (if little understood) label now used to explain just about anything unpleasant that happens to or is caused by current or former military men and women. Amid the barrage of coverage, however, something was missing: evidence that has been in plain sight for years of how the violence of America’s distant wars comes back to haunt the “homeland” as the troops return.  In that context, Lopez’s killings, while on a scale not often matched, are one more marker on a bloody trail of death that leads from Iraq and Afghanistan into the American heartland, to bases and backyards nationwide.  It’s a story with a body count that should not be ignored.

War Comes Home

During the last 12 years, many veterans who had grown “worse” while at war could be found on and around bases here at home, waiting to be deployed again, and sometimes doing serious damage to themselves and others.  The organization Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has campaigned for years for a soldier’s “right to heal” between deployments.  Next month it will release its own report on a common practice at Fort Hood of sending damaged and heavily medicated soldiers back to combat zones against both doctors’ orders and official base regulations. Such soldiers can’t be expected to survive in great shape.

Immediately after the Lopez rampage, President Obama spoke of those soldiers who have served multiple tours in the wars and “need to feel safe” on their home base. But what the president called “that sense of safety… broken once again” at Fort Hood has, in fact, already been shattered again and again on bases and in towns across post-9/11 America—ever since misused, misled, and mistreated soldiers began bringing war home with them.

Since 2002, soldiers and veterans have been committing murder individually and in groups, killing wives, girlfriends, children, fellow soldiers, friends, acquaintances, complete strangers, and—in appalling numbers—themselves. Most of these killings haven’t been on a mass scale, but they add up, even if no one is doing the math.  To date, they have never been fully counted.

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Apr 18

Berto Jongman: Environmental Activists Being Systematically Murdered

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Killing Nature’s Defenders: Study Finds Global Surge in Murders of Environmental Activists

A new reports finds the killings of environmental and land rights activists worldwide has tripled over the past decade. The group Global Witness documented 147 activists who were killed in 2012, compared to 51 in 2002. The death rate is now an average of two per week. Almost none of the killers have faced charges. We air interviews with some of the late activists featured in the report, including José da Silva, a Brazilian conservationist and environmentalist who campaigned against logging and clearcutting of trees in the Amazon rainforest. In 2011, José and his wife, Maria, were murdered by masked gunmen. “This could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the scale of the real problem,” says Global Witness campaigner Oliver Courtney, who says details about the murders were nearly impossible to locate.

Watch video and/or read transcript.

REPORT: Deadly Environment: The Dramatic Rise in Killings of Environmental and Land Defenders

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Apr 18

Lee Camp: (YouTube 5:30) World Bank President Complains that Internet is Exposing Worker Conditions Worldwide

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Apr 12

Jean Lievins: (YouTube 9:30) The Human Cost of Your iPhone – Should SHOCK You

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Who Pays the Price? The Human Cost of Electronics

This short documentary reveals the hazards of the electronics industry in China profiling workers poisoned by chemicals and their struggle for compensation.

Thousands of young people in China enter export factories to make the West’s favorite electronic gadgets, only to find they have contracted occupational diseases or worse, leukemia, by the age of 25.

Benzine is a class one carcinogenic banned everywhere EXCEPT China.

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Apr 12

Berto Jongman: MI5 Central to Protection of Britain’s Greatest Known Pedophile – 40 Years of Government Corruption on Top of Extensive Child Abuse

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Monstrous cover-up: How the Liberal party, police and MI5 concealed MP Cyril Smith’s industrial-scale child abuse

  • For four decades, 29st politician was free to prey on vulnerable children as young as eight
  • Police received at least 144 complaints from victims yet authorities blocked any prosecution
  • New book serialised in Daily Mail details how Smith – who died in 2010 aged 82 – was repeatedly protected despite being arrested for sex crimes
  • MI5 and Special Branch officers put pressure on police to drop investigations
  • Child porn was found in Smith’s car but police were ordered to release him
  • Liberal Party put his name forward for knighthood in 1988 in spite of rumours of his sordid activities swirling around Westminster

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Apr 12

Veterans Today: US Produced Sarin Gas for Syrian Rebels, in Georgia (the Country Next to Russia)

veterans todayUS Produced Sarin Gas Used in Syria

Jeffrey K. Silverman

Veterans Today, 8 April 2014

Jeffrey K. Silverman, 22 years resident of the former Soviet Union, since October 1991, resides in Tbilisi Georgia worked with Radio Free Europe, crime, corruption and terrorism report. USAR, 100th Division Training, Fort Knox and Blue Grass Army Chemical Weapons Depot, both Kentucky bases: decorated veteran, 19D, Calvary Scout. Jeffrey has a track record in breaking through language barriers and bureaucracies to gather information under unconventional circumstances.

EXTRACT

Journalists Jeffrey Silverman and Lika Moshiashvili are credited with having discovered the secret and illegal operations taking place in the US-controlled Central Reference Laboratory (CPHRL) in the Tbilisi suburb the Alekseevka Settlement.”As soon as this scary information was made known to the public, Georgia & World contacted Tbilisi based American journalist and researcher Jeffrey Silverman.

. . . . . . .

A number of labs, strewn across Eastern Europe, are linked like an umbilicial cord to the Biological Weapons Proliferation Prevention (BWPP) programme and various projects within it. This programme provides a cover for what is most likely an offensive programme. If the strains they are investigating turn out to be antibiotic resistant, this implies they are conducting ongoing research into special organisms that can eat bacteria and attack infections that are antibiotic resistant, which can be quickly accessed.  Whoever has the capacity to release these controls the bioweapons battlefield.

Read full article/interview.

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Apr 10

Berto Jongman: Frederick Kagan on Why US Has Failed to Defeat Al Qaeda

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Missing the Target: Why the US Has Not Defeated al Qaeda

Frederick W. Kagan, TESTIMONY

American Enterprise Institute, 8 April 2014

All conditions are set for a series of significant terrorist attacks against the US and its allies over the next few years. But that’s not the worst news. Conditions are also set for state collapse in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and possibly Jordan. Saudi Arabia, facing a complex succession soon, is likely to acquire nuclear weapons shortly, if it has not already done so. Turkey and Egypt confront major crises. Almost all of Northern and Equatorial Africa is violent, unstable, and facing a growing al Qaeda threat. And Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine is likely to empower al Qaeda-aligned jihadists in Crimea and in Russia itself. That eventuality is, of course, less worrisome than the prospect of conventional and partisan war on the European continent, likely threatening NATO allies. The international order and global stability are collapsing in a way we have not seen since the 1930s. There is little prospect of this trend reversing of its own accord, and managing it will require massive efforts by the US and its allies over a generation or more.

This distressing context is essential for considering the al Qaeda threat today. On the one hand, it makes that threat look small. The long – term effects of global chaos and conflict among hundreds of millions of people across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East on US security, interests, and way of life are surely greater than any damage al Qaeda is likely to do to us in the immediate future. Yet the two threats feed each other powerfully. Disorder and conflict in the Muslim world breed support for al Qaeda, which is starting to look like the strong horse in Iraq and even in Syria. Al Qaeda groups and their allies, on the other hand, powerfully contribute to the collapse of state structures and the emergence of horrific violence and Hobbesian chaos wherever they operate. They are benefiting greatly from the regional sectarian war they intentionally triggered (the destruction of the Samarra Mosque in 2006 was only the most spectacular of a long series of efforts by al Qaeda in Iraq to goad Iraq’s Shi’a into sectarian conflict , for which some Shi’a militants, to be sure, were already preparing) — and have been continuing to fuel.

Al Qaeda is like a virulent pathogen that opportunistically attacks bodies weakened by internal strife and poor governance, but that further weakens those bodies and infects others that would not otherwise have been susceptible to the disease. The problem of al Qaeda cannot be separated from the other crises of our age, nor can it be quarantined or rendered harmless through targeted therapies that ignore the larger problems.

Yet that is precisely how the Obama administration has been trying to deal with al Qaeda.

PDF (6 Pages): 20140408 Kagan on Why US Has Not Defeated Al Qaeda

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Apr 9

Berto Jongman: 7 armed conflicts world failed to stop

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

7 armed conflicts the world failed to stop, proving we learned little from the Rwanda genocide

For 20 years, the world has been promising “never again.” It’s been an empty promise.

Timothy McGrath

Global Post, 8 April 2014

For those who lived through the genocide in Rwanda, the mass killings were an indescribable horror. For those who watched from afar, it was an international shame. The world stood idle as an estimated 800,000 men, women, and children were slaughtered in the course of 100 days in 1994. After, hanging its collective head, the world promised that “never again” would it allow such a horrifying conflict to unfold.

But even while making that promise, the world watched as people in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo killed and displaced each other by the millions. Conflicts in Darfur and Syria would also later test the world’s “never again” resolve. The US invasion of Iraq and Mexico’s drug war created new armed conflicts that also failed to live up to the lofty promise.

“Never again,” it seems, was an empty promise. The world of international actors capable of preventing or intervening in such conflicts has over and over again avoided doing so, even when there was the political and public will to do so.

Here are just seven examples:

LIST ONLY:

1) Democratic Republic of Congo: First & Second Congo Wars, aftermath (1996 – present)

2) First and Second Liberian Civil Wars (1989-2003)

3) Eritrean – Ethiopian War (1998-2000)

4) Darfur conflict (2003 – present)

5) Iraq: US invasion, insurgency, civil war (2003 – present)

6) Mexican Drug War (2006 – present)

7) Syrian conflict (2011 – present)

Read full article with photos, death tolls, and descriptive text.

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Apr 9

Chris Hedge: The Crucible of Iraq – Best Book from Worst War

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges

The Crucible of Iraq

The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq, by Hassan Blasim, is the most important book to come out of the Iraq War. Blasim, whom I met with last week in Princeton, N.J., has a faultless eye for revealing detail, a ribald black humor and a psychological brilliance that makes every story in his book a depth charge. In this collection of short stories he explores through fiction the culture of violence unleashed under the bloody dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and exacerbated by an American occupation that has destroyed the damaged social cohesion and civil life that survived Saddam’s regime. His prose, courtesy of a brilliant translation by  Jonathan Wright, is lyrical, taut, and riveting.

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Militarism and violence are diseases. It does not matter under what guise they appear. Renegade jihadists, Shiite death squads, Sunni militias, Saddam’s Baathists and secret police, Kurdish Peshmerga rebels, al-Qaida cells, gangs of kidnappers and the U.S. Army 101st Airborne are all infected with the same virus. And it is a virus Blasim fearlessly inspects. By the end of this short-story collection the reader grasps, in a way no soldier’s memoir or journalistic account from Iraq can explicate, the crucible of war and the unmitigated horror of violence itself. The book is a masterpiece.

“When I was 6, during my first year at school, the Iran-Iraq War erupted,” Blasim told me in a mixture of English and Arabic. “We were living in Kirkuk. We were taught in school to draw tanks or the face of Ayatollah Khomeini as the enemy. The city of Kirkuk was beautiful. There were flowers everywhere. But we were never taught the names of the flowers. Even today I do not know the names of these flowers. I tried to learn their names as an adult.”

“There was a culture of violence that predated the occupation,” he said…

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Apr 8

Berto Jongman: John Whitehead Reviews the the US Budget and What It Says About America and Americans

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Why Are Americans Paying to be Searched, Spied On, Shot At, and Robbed Blind by the Government [and the Oligarchs Behind the Government]?

John Whitehead

OpEdNews, 7 April 2014

The State Department wants $400,000 to purchase a fiberglass sculpture of a camel looking at a needle for its new embassy in Pakistan. They’ve already spent their allotted $630,000 to increase the number of “likes” and fans on their Facebook and Twitter pages. The NATO ambassador for the U.S. needs $700,000 for landscaping and gardening, the National Science Foundation would like $700,000 to put on a theatrical production about climate change, and the Senate staffers need $1.9 million for lifestyle coaching. Also, Yale University researchers could really use $384,000 so they can study the odd cork-screw shape of a duck’s penis.

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Apr 8