Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 08:20 pm

This is a version of an an original page atributed to Robert Elias, a US Professor of Political Science , a list which, like so many others, has otherwise 'disappered'

US Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The indiscriminate use of bombs by the US, usually outside a declared war
situation, for wanton destruction, for no military objectives, whose
targets and victims are civilian populations, or what we now call
"collateral damage."

Japan (1945)
China (1945-46)
Korea & China (1950-53)
Guatemala (1954, 1960, 1967-69)
Indonesia (1958)
Cuba (1959-61)
Congo (1964)
Peru (1965)
Laos (1964-70)
Vietnam (1961-1973)
Cambodia (1969-70)
Grenada (1983)
Lebanon (1983-84)
Libya (1986)
El Salvador (1980s)
Nicaragua (1980s)
Iran (1987)
Panama (1989)
Iraq (1991-2000)
Kuwait (1991)
Somalia (1993)
Bosnia (1994-95)
Sudan (1998)
Afghanistan (1998)
Pakistan (1998)
Yugoslavia (1999)
Bulgaria (1999)
Macedonia (1999)

US Use of Chemical & Biological Weapons
The US has refused to sign Conventions against the development and use of
chemical and biological weapons, and has either used or tested (without
informing the civilian populations) these weapons in the following
locations abroad:

Bahamas (late 1940s-mid-1950s)
Canada (1953)
China and Korea (1950-53)
Korea (1967-69)
Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (1961-1970)
Panama (1940s-1990s)
Cuba (1962, 69, 70, 71, 81, 96)

And the US has tested such weapons on US civilian populations, without
their knowledge, in the following locations:

Watertown, NY and US Virgin Islands (1950)
SF Bay Area (1950, 1957-67)
Minneapolis (1953)
St. Louis (1953)
Washington, DC Area (1953, 1967)
Florida (1955)
Savannah GA/Avon Park, FL (1956-58)
New York City (1956, 1966)
Chicago (1960)

And the US has encouraged the use of such weapons, and provided the
technology to develop such weapons in various nations abroad, including:

South Africa

US Political and Military Interventions since 1945
The US has launched a series of military and political interventions since
1945, often to install puppet regimes, or alternatively to engage in
political actions such as smear campaigns, sponsoring or targeting
opposition political groups (depending on how they served US interests),
undermining political parties, sabotage and terror campaigns, and so forth.
It has done so in nations such as

China (1945-51)
South Africa (1960s-1980s)

France (1947)
Bolivia (1964-75)

Marshall Islands (1946-58)
Australia (1972-75)

Italy (1947-1975)
Iraq (1972-75)

Greece (1947-49)
Portugal (1974-76)

Philippines (1945-53)
East Timor (1975-99)

Korea (1945-53)
Ecuador (1975)

Albania (1949-53)
Argentina (1976)

Eastern Europe (1948-56)
Pakistan (1977)

Germany (1950s)
Angola (1975-1980s)

Iran (1953)
Jamaica (1976)

Guatemala (1953-1990s)
Honduras (1980s)

Costa Rica (mid-1950s, 1970-71)
Nicaragua (1980s)

Middle East (1956-58)
Philippines (1970s-90s)

Indonesia (1957-58)
Seychelles (1979-81)

Haiti (1959)
South Yemen (1979-84)

Western Europe (1950s-1960s)
South Korea (1980)

Guyana (1953-64)
Chad (1981-82)

Iraq (1958-63)
Grenada (1979-83)

Vietnam (1945-53)
Suriname (1982-84)

Cambodia (1955-73)
Libya (1981-89)

Laos (1957-73)
Fiji (1987)

Thailand (1965-73)
Panama (1989)

Ecuador (1960-63)
Afghanistan (1979-92)

Congo (1960-65, 1977-78)
El Salvador (1980-92)

Algeria (1960s)
Haiti (1987-94)

Brazil (1961-64)
Bulgaria (1990-91)

Peru (1965)
Albania (1991-92)

Dominican Republic (1963-65)
Somalia (1993)

Cuba (1959-present)
Iraq (1990s)

Indonesia (1965)
Peru (1990-present)

Ghana (1966)
Mexico (1990-present)

Uruguay (1969-72)
Colombia (1990-present)

Chile (1964-73)
Yugoslavia (1995-99)

Greece (1967-74)

US Perversions of Foreign Elections
The US has specifically intervened to rig or distort the outcome of foreign
elections, and sometimes engineered sham "demonstration" elections to ward
off accusations of government repression in allied nations in the US sphere
of influence. These sham elections have often installed or maintained in
power repressive dictators who have victimized their populations. Such
practices have occurred in nations such as:

Philippines (1950s)
Italy (1948-1970s)
Lebanon (1950s)
Indonesia (1955)
Vietnam (1955)
Guyana (1953-64)
Japan (1958-1970s)
Nepal (1959)
Laos (1960)
Brazil (1962)
Dominican Republic (1962)
Guatemala (1963)
Bolivia (1966)
Chile (1964-70)
Portugal (1974-75)
Australia (1974-75)
Jamaica (1976)
El Salvador (1984)
Panama (1984, 89)
Nicaragua (1984, 90)
Haiti (1987, 88)
Bulgaria (1990-91)
Albania (1991-92)
Russia (1996)
Mongolia (1996)
Bosnia (1998)

US Versus World at the United Nations
The US has repeatedly acted to undermine peace and human rights initiatives
at the United Nations, routinely voting against hundreds of UN resolutions
and treaties. The US easily has the worst record of any nation on not
supporting UN treaties. In almost all of its hundreds of "no" votes, the US
was the "sole" nation to vote no (among the 100-130 nations that usually
vote), and among only 1 or 2 other nations voting no the rest of the time.
Here's a representative sample of US votes from 1978-1987:

US Is the Sole "No" Vote on Resolutions or Treaties
For aid to underdeveloped nations
For the promotion of developing nation exports
For UN promotion of human rights
For protecting developing nations in trade agreements
For New International Economic Order for underdeveloped nations
For development as a human right
Versus multinational corporate operations in South Africa
For cooperative models in developing nations
For right of nations to economic system of their choice
Versus chemical and biological weapons (at least 3 times)
Versus Namibian apartheid
For economic/standard of living rights as human rights
Versus apartheid South African aggression vs. neighboring states (2 times)
Versus foreign investments in apartheid South Africa
For world charter to protect ecology
For anti-apartheid convention
For anti-apartheid convention in international sports
For nuclear test ban treaty (at least 2 times)
For prevention of arms race in outer space
For UNESCO-sponsored new world information order (at least 2 times)
For international law to protect economic rights
For Transport & Communications Decade in Africa
Versus manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction
Versus naval arms race
For Independent Commission on Disarmament & Security Issues
For UN response mechanism for natural disasters
For the Right to Food
For Report of Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination
For UN study on military development
For Commemoration of 25th anniversary of Independence for Colonial Countries
For Industrial Development Decade in Africa
For interdependence of economic and political rights
For improved UN response to human rights abuses
For protection of rights of migrant workers
For protection against products harmful to health and the environment
For a Convention on the Rights of the Child
For training journalists in the developing world
For international cooperation on third world debt
For a UN Conference on Trade & Development

US Is 1 of Only 2 "No" Votes on Resolutions or Treaties
For Palestinian living conditions/rights (at least 8 times)
Versus foreign intervention into other nations
For a UN Conference on Women
Versus nuclear test explosions (at least 2 times)
For the non-use of nuclear weapons vs. non-nuclear states
For a Middle East nuclear free zone
Versus Israeli nuclear weapons (at least 2 times)
For a new world international economic order
For a trade union conference on sanctions vs. South Africa
For the Law of the Sea Treaty
For economic assistance to Palestinians
For UN measures against fascist activities and groups
For international cooperation on money/finance/debt/trade/development
For a Zone of Peace in the South Atlantic
For compliance with Intl Court of Justice decision for Nicaragua vs. US.
**For a conference and measures to prevent international terrorism
(including its underlying causes)
For ending the trade embargo vs. Nicaragua

US Is 1 of Only 3 "No" Votes on Resolutions and Treaties
Versus Israeli human rights abuses (at least 6 times)
Versus South African apartheid (at least 4 times)
Versus return of refugees to Israel
For ending nuclear arms race (at least 2 times)
For an embargo on apartheid South Africa
For South African liberation from apartheid (at least 3 times)
For the independence of colonial nations
For the UN Decade for Women
Versus harmful foreign economic practices in colonial territories
For a Middle East Peace Conference
For ending the embargo of Cuba (at least 10 times)

In addition, the US has:
Repeatedly withheld its dues from the UN
Twice left UNESCO because of its human rights initiatives
Twice left the International Labor Organization for its workers rights
Refused to renew the Antiballistic Missile Treaty
Refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty on global warming
Refused to back the World Health Organization's ban on infant formula abuses
Refused to sign the Anti-Biological Weapons Convention
Refused to sign the Convention against the use of land mines
Refused to participate in the UN Conference Against Racism in Durban
Been one of the last nations in the world to sign the UN Covenant on
Political &
Civil Rights (30 years after its creation)
Refused to sign the UN Covenant on Economic & Social Rights
Opposed the emerging new UN Covenant on the Rights to Peace, Development &
Environmental Protection

Sampling of Deaths >From US Military Interventions & Propping Up Corrupt
Dictators (using the most conservative estimates)
30,000 dead

100,000 dead

4 million dead

200,000 dead

20,000 dead

El Salvador
63,000 dead

40,000 dead

10,000 dead

10,000 dead

10,000 dead

10,000 dead

1.3 million dead

30,000 dead

8-10,000 dead

50,000 dead

5,000 dead

140,000 dead

10,000 dead

5000 dead

150,000 dead

100,000 dead

Dominican Republic
10,000 dead

500 dead

1000 dead

South Africa
10,000 dead

10,000 dead

40,000 dead

1 million dead

East Timor
1/3-1/2 of total population

10,000 dead

600,000 dead

1 million dead

300,000 dead

500 dead

2 million dead

10,000 dead

1.5 million dead

50,000 dead

Other Lethal US Interventions
CIA Terror Training Manuals
Development and distribution of training manuals for foreign military
personnel or foreign nationals, including instructions on assassination,
subversion, sabotage, population control, torture, repression,
psychological torture, death squads, etc.

Specific Torture Campaigns
Creation and launching of direct US campaigns to support torture as an
instrument of terror and social control for governments in Greece, Iran,
Vietnam, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama

Supporting and Harboring Terrorists
The promotion, protection, arming or equiping of terrorists such as:

. Klaus Barbie and other German Nazis, and Italian and Japanese fascists,
after WW II

. Manual Noriega (Panama), Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Rafael Trujillo
(Dominican Republic), Osama bin Laden (Afghanistan), and others whose
terrorism has come back to haunt us

. Running the Higher War College (Brazil) and first School of the Americas
(Panama), which gave US training to repressors, death squad members, and
torturers (the second School of the Americas is still running at Ft.
Benning GA)

. Providing asylum for Cuban, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Haitian, Chilean,
Argentinian, Iranian, South Vietnamese and other terrorists, dictators, and

Assassinating World Leaders
Using assassination as a tool of foreign policy, wherein the CIA has
initiated assassination attempts against at least 40 foreign heads of state
(some several times) in the last 50 years, a number of which have been
successful, such as: Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican
Republic), Ngo Dihn Diem (Vietnam) Salvador Allende (Chile)

Arms Trade & US Military Presence
. The US is the world's largest seller of weapons abroad, arming
dictators, militaries, and terrorists that repress or victimize their
populations, and fueling scores of violent conflicts around the globe

. The US is the world's largest provider of live land mines which, even in
peacetime, kill or injure at least several people around the world each day

. The US has military bases in at least 50 nations around the world, which
have led to frequent victimization of local populations.

. The US military has been bombing one Middle Eastern or Muslim nation or
another almost continuously since 1983, including Lebanon, Libya, Syria,
Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq (almost daily bombings since 1991)

This, then, is a sampling of American foreign policies over the last 50
years. The FBI uses the following definition for Terrorism: "The unlawful
use of force or violence committed by a group or individual, who has some
connection to a foreign power or whose activities transcend national
boundaries, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a
government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance
of political or social objectives." This sounds like the terrorism we just
experienced. It also sounds a lot like the US policies and actions since
1945 that I've just described.
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Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2012 04:12 am
TAG: Not All War Crimes

Whoever wrote this tag, please, by all means point out those that aren't.
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 02:21 pm
Everything on that list that pertains to not signing an agreement, or not paying dues to the UN, or voting "no" at the security council.
None of those are "war crimes", no matter how you define the term.
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 08:52 pm
****, I shoulda known better than to give him an out.
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 09:27 pm
You wanna talk war crimes, that's fine. But you know as well as I do that half the stuff on that list is not a crime at all.
Reply Thu 1 Nov, 2012 09:46 pm
Maybe it would just be easier for you to find something good the US has done, MM. I gave you that opportunity, twice maybe, and there were no takers.

Now I'm not talking Bell or some other inventor or the CDC or ... .
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2012 02:55 am
Ole WHH must be rolling in his grave, or it was just more of the same propaganda meant to deceive Americans into thinking that this government of the people, by the people for the people actually means anything.

There is no part of the means placed in the hands of the Executive which might be used with greater effect for unhallowed purposes than the control of the public press. The maxim which our ancestors derived from the mother country that "the freedom of the press is the great bulwark of civil and religious liberty" is one of the most precious legacies which they have left us. We have learned, too, from our own as well as the experience of other countries, that golden shackles, by whomsoever or by whatever pretense imposed, are as fatal to it as the iron bonds of despotism. The presses in the necessary employment of the Government should never be used "to clear the guilty or to varnish crime." A decent and manly examination of the acts of the Government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged.


"A decent and manly examination of the acts of the Government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged."

Hear that, MM?

It's not manly or moral to provide coverage for war crimes and terrorism. Think, MM, some 10 million slaughtered just to line the pockets of US business interests. And that doesn't stir your sense of honesty?
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Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 08:39 pm
Deaths In Other Nations Since
WW II Due To Us Interventions

By James A. Lucas

24 April, 2007


After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by an accelerated "war on terrorism."

But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable.

The causes of wars are complex. In some instances nations other than the U.S. may have been responsible for more deaths, but if the involvement of our nation appeared to have been a necessary cause of a war or conflict it was considered responsible for the deaths in it. In other words they probably would not have taken place if the U.S. had not used the heavy hand of its power. The military and economic power of the United States was crucial.

This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.

The American public probably is not aware of these numbers and knows even less about the proxy wars for which the United States is also responsible. In the latter wars there were between nine and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.

But the victims are not just from big nations or one part of the world. The remaining deaths were in smaller ones which constitute over half the total number of nations. Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. intervention.

The overall conclusion reached is that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.

To the families and friends of these victims it makes little difference whether the causes were U.S. military action, proxy military forces, the provision of U.S. military supplies or advisors, or other ways, such as economic pressures applied by our nation. They had to make decisions about other things such as finding lost loved ones, whether to become refugees, and how to survive.

And the pain and anger is spread even further. Some authorities estimate that there are as many as 10 wounded for each person who dies in wars. Their visible, continued suffering is a continuing reminder to their fellow countrymen.

It is essential that Americans learn more about this topic so that they can begin to understand the pain that others feel. Someone once observed that the Germans during WWII “chose not to know.” We cannot allow history to say this about our country. The question posed above was “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” The answer is: possibly 10,000.

[continued at,]

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Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 08:40 pm
US war-murdered 20-30 million since WW2: arrest today’s War Criminals
Posted on April 2, 2012 by Carl Herman
US covert and overt criminal Wars of Aggression caused 20-30 million deaths of human beings since World War 2, according to the outstanding documentation of James Lucas of Countercurrents.org. The US use/support of armed attacks is documented in 37 countries, and in direct violation of treaties after both world wars (Kellogg-Briand and UN Charter) to forever end armed attacks unless first attacked by another nation’s government.

The end of this gruesome and psychopathic history of armed attacks and war-murders in the Orwellian names of unalienable rights and freedom will end upon the demand of enough in the 99% to arrest the obvious current War Criminals.

What will you think, say, and do at this historic moment in US history?

What would make your family and you most proud, with consideration of your relatives who sacrificed dearly in wars?

What is the future you will work to earn: the continued path of lies, destruction and death of the 1%, or building a brighter future for 100% of Earth’s inhabitants? As you know, choosing 100% demands your intellectual integrity and moral courage to help expose and end the crimes of the current 1%. So this question is more: what is your life really for?

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Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 09:17 pm
Ho hum, yet another US war crime.


Author of “No Easy Day” Admits to Committing a War Crime
by Kevin Jon Heller


The author of the new book “No Easy Day,” however, provides a very different account of bin Laden’s death — one that has to be taken seriously, because the author is one of the two SEALs who fired the fatal shots. Here is the Huffington Post’s summary of the author’s account (emphasis mine):

As the SEALS ascended a narrow staircase, the team’s point man saw a man poke his head from a doorway, wrote a SEAL using the pseudonym Mark Owen (whose real identity has since been revealed by Fox News) in “No Easy Day,” a copy of which was obtained at a bookstore by The Huffington Post.

“We were less than five steps from getting to the top when I heard suppressed shots. BOP. BOP,” writes Owen. “I couldn’t tell from my position if the rounds hit the target or not. The man disappeared into the dark room.”
Team members took their time entering the room, where they saw the women wailing over Bin Laden, who wore a white sleeveless T-shirt, loose tan pants and a tan tunic, according to the book.

Despite numerous reports that bin Laden had a weapon and resisted when Navy SEALs entered the room, he was unarmed, writes Owen. He had been fatally wounded before they had entered the room.
“Blood and brains spilled out of the side of his skull” and he was still twitching and convulsing, Owen writes. While bin Laden was in his death throes, Owen writes that he and another SEAL “trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless.”

Then the SEALS repeatedly examined his face to make sure he was truly bin Laden. They interrogated a young girl and one of the women who had been wailing over Bin Laden’s body, who verified that it was the terror leader.
By the author’s own admission, bin Laden was wounded but not yet dead when he and his fellow SEAL “fired several rounds” into his chest. He and his fellow SEAL thus intentionally killed bin Laden while he was “otherwise incapacitated by wounds” and hors de combat. That was a war crime — the war crime of wilful killing.

I imagine some readers will respond by pointing out that bin Laden was already fatally wounded when the SEALs shot him. There are two problems with that response. To begin with, the author is not a doctor; bin Laden might not have actually been fatally wounded. More importantly, though, it makes no difference if he was dying — he was still alive when the author and his fellow SEAL shot him, and that is all the war crime of wilful killing requires. That is not a controversial idea; no domestic criminal-law system would consider shooting a person dying of a fatal heart attack to be anything but murder. If your actions deprive someone of even one second of life, you are both the factual and legal cause of their death.

There is no chance, of course, that the two SEALs will ever be prosecuted for killing bin Laden. But that doesn’t mean, assuming the author’s account is accurate, that what they did was legal. It wasn’t — it was a war crime, pure and simple.

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Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 09:18 pm
Congress Delivers Blow To Survivors Of My Lai Massacre
Aug 2, 2012 By Patrick. Politics & Current Events
Vietnamese-American protesters will soon be severely limited in their ability to protest at the funerals of accused war criminals, after Congress passed a sweeping veterans bill this week that includes restrictions on such demonstrations.

According to "The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012," which is now headed to President Barack Obama's desk, demonstrators will no longer be allowed to picket funerals of war criminals acquitted because military prosecutors could not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt after witnesses to such crimes were killed. Protesters will be barred from cemeteries two hours before or after such a service. The bill also requires protesters to be at least 300 feet away from those who mourn the deaths of accused, but acquitted, war criminals.

Van Duc Tronh, secretary of the Son My Survivors Association of Garden Grove, California, spoke on behalf of Vietnamese-Americans outraged by the bill. "We thank God, every day, that our families were able to escape to this country, where we have built new lives and found freedom. But while we are second to none in our appreciation of American soldiers who fought and died to keep Vietnam free, we do not forget that a tiny minority of those soldiers committed unspeakable crimes during the war, crimes which were swept under the rug by the American government. The worst of these crimes was the My Lai massacre, in the village of Son My, in which 500 innocent civilians were raped and murdered, their bodies mutilated, by soldiers acting under the orders of Lieutenant William Calley and Captain Ernest Medina. Only Lieutenant Calley was convicted for this atrocity, in a whitewash trial despite the fact that over 30 soldiers participated in the killings, or stood silent while the rapes and murders went on."

"Personally, I had planned to protest at Captain Medina's funeral, which will be a military funeral. I believe it is a disgrace that, when he dies, Captain Medina will be given a rifle salute and buried under the flag he dishonored, the same flag under which the men he commanded killed so many innocent people. I suppose I'll have to spit on his grave, two hours and one minute after the ceremony."

In Dearborn, Michigan, members of the "Fair Play for Haditha Committee" expressed similar concerns. "My cousin Marya was shot by trigger-happy Marines who couldn't take the time to distinguish between a woman carrying groceries and an Al Qaeda bomber," said Abdul Al Hazred, an Iraqi who volunteered as an interpreter for the Marine Corps in Al Anbar province and was subsequently repatriated to the United States. "We know who did it. He has never apologized, nor has the government. We believe it is unspeakable that a war criminal will be buried under the flag of the country which fought to free us from Saddam Hussein. We plan to protest this disgrace when her killer dies, but thanks to Senator Snowe, we'll probably be jailed when that happens."

This aspect of the legislation was introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who, at the urging of a teenage constituent, proposed new limitations on military funeral demonstrations as a response to a 2011 Supreme Court case that ruled such actions were protected under the First Amendment.

In the wake of that decision, many have turned to counter-protest efforts to block disruptive and insensitive funerary displays, which frequently suggest that accused war criminals have died as God's vengeance for killing innocent civilians, as at Hiroshima, My Lai, Haditha, and in the secret bombing of Cambodia.

The Japanese-American Friendship Society of Nagasaki expressed concerns regarding the law, while the Sons of Ukrainian Veterans of the War for the Liberation of Ukraine from Bolsheviks, Gypsies, Jews, and Sodomites applauded the bill and urged that its protection be extended to immigrant Americans who fought under other flags. "God bless Senator Snowe. I only pray that this law will protect the dozens of surviving Ukrainian-American veterans who fought to keep America, and Ukraine, free of the Jew taint of Leninism" said its President Yuri Demjanjuk, from his home in Cleveland.

The bill also contains a variety of measures meant to address veterans health, benefits, housing and education. Obama is expected to sign to the legislation later this month.

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Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2012 09:21 pm
Iraq war logs: These crimes were not secret, they were tolerated

Why did we not investigate allegations of murder and torture in Iraq at the time, when it was well known what was going on

The most shocking of the revelations in the current batch of leaked Iraq war logs is that most of the acts of torture and murder were committed in the open. They weren't secret. They were tolerated, sanitised – justified, even. Take the Wolf Brigade, the 2nd battalion of the interior ministry's special commandos. Everybody knew about them. You would see them in their pick-up trucks wearing balaclavas. When there was a sectarian murder people would talk about the wolves, until they became a shorthand to describe a certain kind of cruel violence. The wolf commandos became killers in the uniform of the Iraqi police.

I recall speaking to UN human rights investigators, western police advisers, diplomats and army officers about what was going on. In 2005 an Iraqi government official confirmed a list of places where she believed torture and murder were taking place. A British police mentor described entering the office of a notorious figure at the interior ministry and found a man with a bag over his head standing in the corner of the office.

Some of us who covered Iraq wrote about what we found. In summer 2005, I described the operation of the torture squads. Human rights organisations prepared their own reports. But nothing very much happened, except excuses.

When the bodies started turning up in western Baghdad in 2004, the official line was that it was former Ba'athists who were being killed. Like the looting that occurred in the aftermath of the fall of Iraq, it was "understood." The victims probably deserved it, was the unspoken intimation. Officials, British and American, were really not that bothered.

Later, when it was men in police uniforms who were doing the killing, reported in the Iraqi papers day after day, the official line was "anyone could buy a uniform" or that these were difficult times and there would be "bad apples".

But they weren't bad apples. I spoke to people who had been taken to the interior ministry and heard the screams. One day a DVD was brought to me of a former interview subject who had been tortured to death after being taken by men in uniform. Like others, I wrote up what I knew. But nothing much ever happened.

It's true that when things sometimes became too embarrassing – too obvious – a local police chief implicated in killings might be removed or officials at the ministry re-organised. But the murder continued. There was a new excuse: the police had been infiltrated by Shia extremists. Which was true, up to a point. Except it wasn't really infiltration, more of an alliance in many places: a coincidence of sectarian interest.

Sometimes I would come across soldiers who would intervene. One day, at the Ministry of the Interior, a group of American soldiers arrived to free some men who were being abused in a facility called the "guest house" which was being guarded by other American soldiers. An argument between two US officers ensued. The beaten Iraqis were released.

Sometimes it was an awful game. In 2007, I was embedded with a US unit in Baghdad, tasked to go after some Shia militiamen suspected of attacking Sunnis. The rules then required an Iraqi police escort. The chief of police found excuses for over an hour to prevent the raid commencing. Everybody knew that the targets were being warned off by the police – or suspected it at least. But nothing much happened except some grumbles at the wasted time. And it is this that makes me angry now when I hear UN officials and politicians, after the event, calling for inquiries. Yes, there we things we didn't know: about the US order not to investigate allegations of murder and torture; the evidence of collaboration. And yes, an inquiry is an absolute necessity. But why now, not then? For who in Iraq did not know about the killing and torture? About the police death squads? About nothing ever really happening to halt it when we had a chance? Investigate, by all means – but it is too late.

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