World News Section

susie dow
Monday, November 1, 2010 - 11:45am

While it's very slow going, I am currently searching the WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs for the preliminary incident reports of kidnappings of Americans in Iraq. It is - most definitely - not a speedy project. That said, I thought I'd share some of my findings as well as search methodology that seems to work fairly well in terms of maneuvering around the database.

For whatever reasons, navigating the WikiLeaks' site is a bit clunky.

Here is a sample incident report for the kidnapping of American photojournalist, Paul Taggart, abducted on October 10, 2004. Taggart was released several days later:

US ___ KIDNAPPED IN BAGHDAD (ZONE ___)
2004-10-10 11:00:00


AT 1600C, /___ MP REPORTS THAT AN ___ WAS KIDNAPPED NEAR THE ___ HOSPITAL. THE E___ DRIVER AND ___ REPORTED THE KIDNAPPING TO THE ___ IP STATION. HE WAS WEARING A LIGHT BLUE GOLF SHIRT AND BLUE JEANS. E___ NAME IS ___. KIDNAPPERS WERE DRIVING A BLACK ___ PLATES. IPS CASE NUMBER ___, INVESTIGATING OFFICER ___ BADGE # ___.

Search Tips

Category - To search by category, for instance, "Kidnapping" the search query url is: http://wikileaks.org/search/?q=kidnap&category=Kidnapping&sort=date&p=1 which takes you to page 1. Change the very last number in the url to jump pages. Which is really useful for the Kidnapping category - currently comprised of 408 pages. There are 10 incident reports per page, in other words, over 4,000 reports to comb through.

Date - WikiLeaks is also set up to search by date range. The search query url for an event within date range of October 10, 2004 to October 11, 2004 is: http://wikileaks.org/search/?sort=date&date__gte=2004-10-10&date__lte=2004-10-11 Just replace the dates for whatever range you are searching within. Give your search a little padding of a day or two in front of and after a known incident date.

Term - To narrow a query by a word - 'missing' - the search query url for is: http://wikileaks.org/search/?q=missing Replace missing with your own search term. I've been slowly making my way through a list of terms such as hostage, kidnap, missing, abduct, etc.

Nationality - With search results, watch the second line under the Incident Caption hot link for the word, 'Casualties.' Casualties will be followed by a number, 0 and up. The number is a clue as to whether or not American or Coalition personnel were impacted.  If the number is a 0, the Incident Report is likely for Iraqi persons - who apparently don't qualify in the casualty counts. Which, in itself, is worthy of an extended analysis.

Two final notes.

The database unfortunately begins with the date of January 1, 2004. The longest known missing American in Iraq is a civilian contractor, Kirk von Ackermann, who disappeared on October 9, 2003.

The 'Overload' page comes up a lot. Give it a moment and then just hit refresh. Again. And again. Until you get through.

Incident Reports of Kidnapped and Missing Americans

Below is a chart showing the incident date, name, link to WikiLeaks incident report when available, and status of those Americans known to be missing and/or held hostage in Iraq in table format. Assumption that exact date matches found within the WikiLeaks database correspond to reported kidnappings follows. This is an ongoing project, so if you find an incident report that I have so far missed, let me know.

Americans Missing in Iraq - as of November 3, 2010


Date Name - incident report Status
1 Oct 9, 2003 Kirk von Ackermann missing 1
2 Apr 9, 2004 Thomas Hamill escaped
3 Apr 9, 2004 Nicholas Evan Berg deceased
4 Apr 9, 2004 William Bradley deceased
5 Apr 9, 2004 Pfc Keith Matthew Maupin deceased
6 Apr 9, 2004 Timothy E Bell missing 2
7 May 3, 2004 Aban Elias missing 3
8 Aug 13, 2004 Micah Garen released
9 Sept 16, 2004 Jack Henlsey deceased
10 Sept 16, 2004 Olin Eugene Armstrong Jr deceased
11 Oct 10, 2004 Paul Taggart released
12 Nov 1, 2004 Roy Hallums released
13 Nov 2, 2004 Dean Sadek missing 4
14 Apr 11, 2005 Jeffrey Ake missing 5
15 May 17, 2005 unknown - incident? missing 6
16 Aug 2, 2005 Steven Charles Vincent deceased
17 Sept 27, 2005 Abbas Kareem Naama (Tim) missing 7
18 Nov 25, 2005 Ronald Alan Schulz  deceased
19 Nov 27, 2005 Thomas William Fox deceased
20 Dec 2, 2005 unknown missing 8
21 Jan 7, 2006 Jill Carroll released
22 Jun 16, 2006 Pfc Kristian Menchaca deceased
23 Jun 16, 2006 Pfc Thomas Tucker deceased
24 Oct 23, 2006 Sgt Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie missing 9
25 Nov 16, 2006 Jonathon Michael Cote deceased
26 Nov 16, 2006 Paul Christopher Johnson-Reuben deceased
27 Nov 16, 2006 Joshua Mark Munns deceased
28 Nov 16, 2006 John Roy Young deceased
29 Nov 27, 2006 Maj Troy Lee Gilbert (deceased) missing 10
30 Jan 5, 2007 Ronald J Withrow deceased
31 Jan 27, 2007 unknown - incident? missing 11
32 Jan 27, 2007 unknown - incident? missing 12
33 Feb 1, 2007 unknown Iraqi-American citizen missing 13
34 Mar 3, 2007 unknown American-Iraqi citizen missing 14
35 Apr 25, 2007 unknown missing 15
36 May 12, 2007 Sgt Alex Ramon Jimenez deceased
37 May 12, 2007 Pfc Byron W Fouty deceased
38 May 25, 2007 unknown missing 16
39 Aug 17, 2007 unknown missing 17
40 summer 2008 unknown missing 18
41 May 21, 2009 Jim Kitterman deceased
42 Jan 23, 2010 Issa T Salomi released


Not included in the chart (at this time) are the troops taken POW (status: missing) during the invasion of March 2003. All were Returned to Military Control:

Spc. Edgar Hernandez
Spc. Joseph Hudson
Spc. Shoshana Johnson
Pfc. Patrick Miller
Sgt. James Riley
Pfc. Jessica Lynch
Chief warrant officer David Williams
Chief warrant officer Ronald Young Jr.

US Navy pilot Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, shot down during Gulf War I, is also not included. Speicher's remains were recovered in August of 2009.

Additions/corrections are welcome, please email me at susie.dow at gmail.com

About the Data

  • the data is based on news reports which often contradict each other
  • an article from April 2010 (US Operation aims to find missing) cites 11 missing Americans
  • a February 2010 article cites 17 missing (They search if someone's missing in Iraq) which conflicts with the current count of 18. Think positive, let's assume someone was released.
  • an article from October 2008 cites a total of 39 kidnapped Americans of which 22 are known to have been executed (Iraq calmer but copycat kidnappings spread). The chart above was started with 39 kidnapped Americans as a base line.
  • the data represents the minimum number of missing Americans. Companies and/or families may deliberately choose not report a hostage or kidnap victim to US government agencies. I was told by one representative of the Department of Labor that they were aware of unreported contractors missing in Iraq.
  • not all names of those missing - both past and present - are known and/or publicized for a number of reasons
  • Technically, the status of 'released' should more properly be referred to as 'Returned to Military Control' (RMC)

References

Iraq War Logs
WikiLeaks, October 22, 2010 - search query kidnap

Data on Kidnappings from the State Department
August 8, 2010

Liberator II continues effort to find missing
By Sgt. 1st Class Roger Dey, April 20, 2010

US operation aims to find missing
By Sgt. 1st Class Roger Dey, 103rd Public Affairs Detachment, April 21, 2010

They search if someone’s missing in Iraq
By Scott Fontaine, The News Tribune, February 8, 2010

Officials confirm kidnapping of U.S. contractor in Iraq
By Ernesto Londoño and Leila Fadel, Washington Post, February 6, 2010

Iraq calmer but copycat kidnappings spread
By Pamela Hess, Associated Press, October 13, 2008

Susie Dow is the Editor of the Missing Man a blog dedicated to providing information about Americans missing in Iraq. 

mishima
Saturday, October 9, 2010 - 9:16am

OUT OF A JOBS

It was reported that Steve Jobs vowed never to return to Japan after officials at Kansai International Airport confiscated ninja throwing stars that the Apple chief was carrying to his private jet. A company spokesman denied the report.

At last month’s World Judo Championships in Tokyo, 19-year-old Majlinda Kelmendi competed under the banner of the International Judo Federation instead of her native Kosovo, in part because Russia doesn’t recognize Kosovo as an independent nation.

Too sweet for its own good: confectionery company Ishida Roho was ordered to pay ¥2.8 million in damages to 17 people who lived near its factory in Kyoto’s Minami Ward. The residents said they suffered health problems due to the smell from the manufacturing plant.

For the first time ever, Japanese TV stations lost money televising the World Cup. Broadcasters blamed increased rights fees and the poor performance of the Japanese national team.

A 55-year-old crew member for a Japan Airlines subsidiary was reprimanded for filming the descent of an aircraft from the cockpit with his cellphone camera.

STATS
180,000
Number of troops deployed by Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces in 1972

155,000
Number of troops deployed today

11
Number of Japanese universities among the top 200 in 2009, according to a survey by Times Higher Education magazine

5
Number of Japanese schools among the top 200 this year

DOES NOT COMPUTE
It was reported that three chimpanzees at a zoo in Kyoto lost their enthusiasm for memorizing numbers after the death of one of their companions. The dead chimp was thought to be “a competition-inspiring rival.”

The education ministry reported that the number of violent incidents at elementary, junior and senior high schools in Japan rose for the fourth straight year, to 60,913.

At the same time, the number of incidents classified as bullying plunged from 84,648 in 2008 to 72,778 in 2009.

The head of the Chiba Dental Association apologized after the group lost a whopping ¥1.9 billion of members’ fees on investments in structured bonds.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced that the number of foreigners living in the city since 2005 has increased by 60,000, to 420,000

I May Be A Bum

But, I'm No Quitter

JAL flight Attendant Busted For?

1Gram Of Drugs

To Protect And Serve

He Got That Part Wrong

NHK says reporter informed sumo official of police plan to raid stables

Saturday 09th October
A sports reporter at public broadcaster NHK informed a Japan Sumo Association official beforehand of Tokyo police’s plan in July to search stables for evidence of illegal gambling in a scandal that rocked Japan’s national sport, NHK said Friday.

The reporter in his 30s who was then covering sumo as a member of the sports section of NHK’s News Department sent a text message around midnight July 6 telling the official that the search would likely take place the following day. It was conducted on the morning of July 7.

NHK said it will consider reprimanding the reporter over ethical concerns, while a senior investigator said the police have already questioned the reporter on a voluntary basis and are considering whether his deed constitutes a crime.

Kim Kyong Hui, the godmother of North Korea's dynasty

BY KIYOHITO KOKITA ASAHI SHIMBUN WEEKLY AERA
In the large group photograph taken Sept. 30 in front of the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, international attention was focused on Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and heir apparent.

But another individual in that photograph, sitting five places to the right of Jong Il, may warrant even more attention than Jong Un.

The woman is Kim Kyong Hui, 64, Jong Il's younger sister and the "godmother of the royal family."

She has been described as cantankerous, obstinate and a drunk. She might also become the true power figure of the impoverished nuclear-power wannabe.

mishima
Friday, October 8, 2010 - 2:48pm

Originally posted 2010-10-08 12:00:02 -0400. Bumped and promoted. -- GH

Today the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo of china who has been an advocate for open since he was a student leader during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Even though the Tianamen Square protests were an ultimate failure Liu Xiaobno was undeterred in his promotion of a pluralistic Chinese government. When China was awarded the 2008 Olympic Summer Games one of the conditions imposed by the International Olympic Committee was that China become a more open and democratic society which never happened. It was in the run up to these games that Liu Xiaobo and other political activists issued Charter 08 asking that the Chinese government up hold the conditions under which it was awarded the 2008 Summer Olympic games. After the Charter 08 statement was issued Liu Xiaobo was arrested tried and and convicted by a Chinese court of violating Chinese law for promoting the idea of egalitarianism in China.

What's interesting is that as China's economy has continued to expand China has become more aggressive or perhaps emboldened because of its economic power. One such example is the Senkaku Islands which until 1972 when oil and natural deposits were discovered there no one care about these islands. With the oil and gas discoveries suddenly China and Taiwan laid claim to these islands which Japan has controlled since the 19th century under the Treaty of Shimonnoseki

These two things may not seem to be not related yet in Chinese eyes they are. Its all about a greater China and its place in the world.

GreyHawk
Friday, October 8, 2010 - 5:02am

When a budding pirate, aged 9, from the Meridian Primary School in Greenwich wrote to Captain Jack Sparrow for help mutinying against the teachers, the Captain's alter ego decided it was worth a short jaunt from the nearby locale where he was filming "Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides."

(c) CAVAN PAWSON via the DailyMailFrom the article in the Daily Mail,

She said that she was then asked by the star to make herself known from the assembled pupils once he arrived, and gave her a cuddle. 

Beatrice marvelled: 'He gave me a hug and he said, "Maybe we shouldn't mutiny today 'cos there are police outside monitoring me."'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1318516/Johnny-Depps-surprise-visit-London-primary-school-Captain-Jack-Sparrow.html#ixzz11kw7DXVS

Not a bad way to plan or stage a mutiny -- the kid shows some promise. :)

Connecticut Man1
Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:22am

From Bill in Portland Maine's "Cheers and Jeers, Thursday" edition where, typically, "Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moresville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHT NOW! [Gong!!]"

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...

Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers

Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers:

Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers.

Cheers Cheers Cheers! (Cheers Cheers Cheers Cheers!)

P.S. Cheers Cheers Cheers!

And just why am I not quite as enthusiastic about the "how" of it? From the NY Times:

Civilians to Take U.S. Lead After Military Leaves Iraq

By October 2011, the State Department will assume responsibility for training the Iraqi police, a task that will largely be carried out by contractors. With no American soldiers to defuse sectarian tensions in northern Iraq, it will be up to American diplomats in two new $100 million outposts to head off potential confrontations between the Iraqi Army and Kurdish pesh merga forces.

To protect the civilians in a country that is still home to insurgents with Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias, the State Department is planning to more than double its private security guards, up to as many as 7,000, according to administration officials who disclosed new details of the plan. Defending five fortified compounds across the country, the security contractors would operate radars to warn of enemy rocket attacks, search for roadside bombs, fly reconnaissance drones and even staff quick reaction forces to aid civilians in distress, the officials said.

Emph. mine, aside from the fact that I don't consider MERCENARIES as civilians, we all know just how great the track record of private militaries have been in unethical actions, killing innocents, causing massive waste and fraud with our government money and generally operating outside of any real scrutiny and oversight from Congress.

And the typical idiocy from the slobbering embedded media fools pretending these fortresses that will remain are embassies? Embassies almost always need some protection... But they do not need private armies.

Some of the media coverage featuring Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow from last night.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

[update] One glance at the top of the headlines at AntiWar.com kind of sums up exactly at how I felt about it:

News
Updated August 19, 2010 - 11:36 AM EDT
US Announces Second Fake End to Iraq War
 
  US to Double Mercenary Forces in Iraq After Drawdown
  Wednesday: 25 Iraqis Killed, 33 Wounded
MichaelCollins
Monday, August 16, 2010 - 6:18am

Michael Collins

A revealing article appeared in Voice of America (VOA) on August 12. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the following statement:

"I think we have an agreement with the Iraqis that both governments have agreed to, that we will be out of Iraq at the end of 2011," he (Gates) said. "If a new government is formed there and they want to talk about beyond 2011, we're obviously open to that discussion. But that initiative will have to come from the Iraqis." Robert Gates in "US Military Prepares to Leave Iraq, But May Stay If Asked", Voice of America (VOA), Aug 12

At the time of this post, if you do a Google "News" search for the sentence underlined, you will find it only at the VOA source. The article notes that Gates made the statement, "to reporters on his aircraft during a domestic trip on Wednesday." Apparently, it wasn't newsworthy except to the official news agency for the United States government.

President Obama's withdrawal promise has been treated with some skepticism. Now we've got Robert Gates adding a cynical codicil: "if they want to talk … we're obviously open to discussion."

Who's in charge here?

We're used to some military officials challenging President Obama's authority. Both General David Petraeus and former Afghanistan commander General Stanley McChrystal have contradicted Obama. But now we have the Secretary of Defense encouraging the Iraqi government to speak up if they want us to stay. He's giving that government leverage to force a discussion of a set policy at a critical juncture.

One has to wonder where Gates gets the confidence that Congress would approve another year or ten simply because the Iraqis government asked.

Creating a Storyline

The Voice of America charter states that, "The long-range interests of the United States are served by communicating directly with the peoples of the world by radio." VOA How well did it do its job in this article?

The narrative presented the troop withdrawal as being on time but then raised questions about the wisdom of the overall policy and the removal of all US troops by the end of 2011. VOA quoted Iraqi Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari and alluded to a larger unnamed group as questioning the 2011 deadline.

At that point, the article brought in "Iraqi expert" Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, a DC think tank supposedly aligned with the Democratic Party. Part of O'Hanlon's expert credentials were earned as an early supporter of the invasion planning by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The Iraqi "expert" of choice said that General Zebari's views were probably those of most Iraqi commanders. Then he offered this endorsement of an ongoing occupation.

"Why do you want to run the risk of taking away this good friend of the Iraqi people, and this sort of stabilizing, independent, neutral capability in the form of the United States military, when you're not yet sure all the Iraqi wounds have adequately healed for that country to really be on a path toward stability," asked O'Hanlon. (Video here or at end of VOA article)

It was time for VOA's message to the world, Gate's offer to change the withdrawal deadline.

There was no mention of competing arguments including the stated policy of the US government. There was certainly no rebuttal offered for the absurd statement in O'Hanlon's set up about the U.S. as "this good friend of the Iraqi people. Can he read? And there was not a mention that the Iraqi people have consistently favored a U.S. withdrawal in six to twelve months for years.

Corrective Action?

The VOA presented a one sided set of arguments for breaking the commitment of the President of the United States, Congress, and the will of citizens.

Surely, the president will fire the head of VOA and take Gates to the woodshed for creating confusion about a vital national security interest. Otherwise people might conclude that he agrees with this backpedaling on a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.

END

This article may be reproduced in part or whole with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

Connecticut Man1
Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 10:42am

From PZ Myers at Pharyngula we get a world cruise of cussing and cursing:

I'm going to regret this…it's a site that teaches you how to swear in exotic foreign languages, like Tagalog and Australian and Latvian.

The comments section may become more profane, but it'll also become more unintelligible.

I swear that on some blogs it might actually improve their comment sections given the level of discourse provided. This may or may not be a profanity free Open Thread now...
cheeky

Connecticut Man1
Monday, July 26, 2010 - 12:48pm

Given the last week's Shirley Sherrod news cycle of pre fact checking trashing to a post fact checked resurrection, I find a little bit of humor in asking some in the traditional media to take an advance look at the most recent Wikileaks documents to help verify the fact that they were real. Ya know.... A little bit of fact checking before anybody runs with it.

Anyways, with the resources they have they can and did serve a purpose here as the Times, the Guardian and others confirmed the likelihood that the docs are the real McCoy, and even using the advance notice to take a moment to dig a story or two out of the Wikileaks documents and spin what they can:


A massive new leak by Wikileaks of more than 90,000 pages of classified materials covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2009 dominates the front page of the New York Times today, one of the outlets to receive the papers along with The Guardian and Der Spiegel.

The Times' initial report gives the basic overview:

A six-year archive of classified military documents made public on Sunday offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal....

The documents — some 92,000 reports spanning parts of two administrations from January 2004 through December 2009 — illustrate in mosaic detail why, after the United States has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001....

The reports — usually spare summaries but sometimes detailed narratives — shed light on some elements of the war that have been largely hidden from the public eye:

• The Taliban have used portable heat-seeking missiles against allied aircraft, a fact that has not been publicly disclosed by the military. This type of weapon helped the Afghan mujahedeen defeat the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

• Secret commando units like Task Force 373 — a classified group of Army and Navy special operatives — work from a “capture/kill list” of about 70 top insurgent commanders. These missions, which have been stepped up under the Obama administration, claim notable successes, but have sometimes gone wrong, killing civilians and stoking Afghan resentment.

• The military employs more and more drone aircraft to survey the battlefield and strike targets in Afghanistan, although their performance is less impressive than officially portrayed. Some crash or collide, forcing American troops to undertake risky retrieval missions before the Taliban can claim the drone’s weaponry.

• The Central Intelligence Agency has expanded paramilitary operations inside Afghanistan. The units launch ambushes, order airstrikes and conduct night raids. From 2001 to 2008, the C.I.A. paid the budget of Afghanistan’s spy agency and ran it as a virtual subsidiary.

Over all, the documents do not contradict official accounts of the war. But in some cases the documents show that the American military made misleading public statements — attributing the downing of a helicopter to conventional weapons instead of heat-seeking missiles or giving Afghans credit for missions carried out by Special Operations commandos.

The White House has condemned the leak

Just a little bit from Amy Davidson at the New Yorker as she looks at some of what may be the Obama Administration's real problems with the leaks:

Among the ninety-one thousand or so documents from the Afghan war released by WikiLeaks Sunday is an incident report dated November 22, 2009, submitted by a unit called Task Force Pegasus. It describes how a convoy was stopped on a road in southern Afghanistan at an illegal checkpoint manned by what appeared to be a hundred insurgents, “middle-age males with approx 75 x AK-47’s and 15 x PKM’s.” What could be scarier than that?

Maybe what the soldiers found out next: these weren’t “insurgents” at all, at least not in the die-hard jihadi sense that the American public might understand the term. The gunmen were quite willing to let the convoy through, if the soldiers just forked over a two- or three-thousand-dollar bribe; and they were in the pay of a local warlord, Matiullah Khan, who was himself in the pay, ultimately, of the American public. According to a Times report this June (six months after the incident with Task Force Pegasus), Matiullah earns millions of dollars from NATO, supposedly to keep that road clear for convoys and help with American special-forces missions. Matiullah is also suspected of (and has denied) earning money “facilitating the movement of drugs along the highway.”

That is good to know. The Obama Administration has already expressed dismay that WikiLeaks publicized the documents, but a leak informing us that our tax dollars may be being used as seed money for a protection racket associated with a narcotics-trafficking enterprise is a good leak to have. And the checkpoint incident is, again, only one report, from one day. It will take some time to go through everything WikiLeaks has to offer—the documents cover the period from January, 2004, to December, 2009—but it is well worth it, especially since the war in Afghanistan is not winding down, but ramping up. (Also very helpful: Raffi Khatchadourian’s piece for The New Yorker on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.)

And when I say read on? I really mean it on that one as Davidson makes clear the point that anyone should pause for a moment after revelations of massive bribery of warlords (something we already knew a little bit about) where they are getting us coming and going (something we did not know about)... As well as other revelations that are included that had been hidden from the public record and the New York Times drones on:

Over all, the documents do not contradict official accounts of the war.

Oh really? Davidson, who will likely be among a small eyeful of print in the traditional media to note a little more truth than they usually do, goes on to say:

One should pause there. What does it mean to tell the truth about a war? Is it a lie, technically speaking, for the Administration to say that it has faith in Hamid Karzai’s government and regards him as a legitimate leader—or is it just absurd? Is it a lie to say that we have a plan for Afghanistan that makes any sense at all? If you put it that way, each of the WikiLeaks documents—from an account of an armed showdown between the Afghan police and the Afghan Army, to a few lines about a local interdiction official taking seventy-five-dollar bribes, to a sad exchange about an aid scam involving orphans—is a pixel in a picture that does, indeed, contradict official accounts of the war, and rather drastically so.

As a matter of what has been hidden from the public record? There are too many failures that should have caused more than a little pause alrready before this story. A small amount of which has been noted  previously. This just heaping a lot more onto the pile. But I can't help but wonder how much of this being addressed this late on has to do with the inbeded embeded media that is afraid, all too often, to do their jobs for fear of losing the access to what amounts to nothing more than a heaping pile of media stenography and propaganda.

My own personal note on the media?

Over all, the traditional media's spin on the new documents do does not contradict official accounts previous uncritical media stenography of the government spin on the war.

Currently on the media spin cycle they are asking the dumbest question they can think of to distract from real news:

"Will this leak hurt the troops"

A totally predictable reaction given their previous track records, instead of concentrating on what the media is suposed to concentrate on, you know:

"Do the actual actions taken in Afghanistan hurt our troops"

And a note on the Wikileaks site: At the moment I keep getting error messages trying to get in there and look at the docs myslef. No doubt every blogger, researcher, jounalist and even the jounamalist with an internet connection is trying to get in there and find their own little scoops. No doubt their site is being hit with more traffic than they can take.

Connecticut Man1
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - 7:58pm

I know you just rubbernecked on that title but he really did say it. Via Reuters:


Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described the 2003 invasion of Iraq as illegal on Wednesday, putting the new coalition government under pressure to clarity its position on the war.

The Liberal Democrat leader was speaking in parliament while deputizing for Prime Minister David Cameron who was on a visit to the United States.

Cameron, like most of his Conservative Party -- the senior coalition partners -- supported Britain's involvement in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq under the previous Labour government.

There is nothing controversial about that. Unless you have suported the illegal war of aggression?

As a side note: "Britain has withdrawn its troops from Iraq but has 9,500 soldiers in Afghanistan"

Connecticut Man1
Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 3:59pm

Via McClatchy:

Shiite Iraqi militants have trained in Iran in preparation for attacks against U.S. military bases as American combat forces prepare to withdraw by September, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said on Tuesday.

In an unusually candid assessment, Gen. Ray Odierno said that Kataib Hezbollah - an Iraqi Shiite militant group backed by Iran - may be seeking to take some credit for the long-planned departure of U.S. troops.

"For years these groups have been (saying) that they are forcing the U.S. to leave," Odierno told reporters in Baghdad. A significant strike "could be a huge propaganda tool for them in the future."

I guess al Qaeda no longer scares people enough to want them to keep America in Iraq (or Afghanistan) since, now, we have the al Iran Hezbollah Qaeda super army being rolled out in one big bogeyman to try to get you to cower in support of forever war. As Laurence Lewis at dKos notes:

Odierno was considered one of the least sensitive commanders of the initial years of the Iraq Invasion and Occupation. His troops were considered among the most needlessly brutal. If there's one thing he understands, it's huge propaganda tools.

I can't help but wonder if Israel helped the propagandists name this newest figment of their al Qaeda imaginations? All that is missing is a Hamas tie to make the ultimate army of al Qaeda bogeyman complete. Anyways...

Note to the warmongers and their fear campaigns: We won't let you stampede us into another front of your assault on sanity. And boo fricken hoo to you.

Pages