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Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
INVADING COUNTRIES — WHY?
Brits Sound Final Retreat From Iraq -- But the U.S. Beat Goes On
Friday, 1 May 2009
What sort of country has Britain's noble endeavor in Iraq helped to make? Well, in just six short years, the Anglo-American crusade has managed to turn one of the region's most secular states in the Arab world into a seething cauldron of extremist, sectarian militias.This week we saw a huge milestone reached in the greatest conflict of our day: yet it passed with scarcely more than a murmur in the American press -- and with deathly silence on the part of the primary architects of the occasion.
We speak of course of the final bug-out of British forces from Iraq, where this week, after six years of slavish service to America's war of aggression, Her Majesty's military gave up their last remaining base in the conquered land. But as the Guardian astutely points out, the Brits did not turn the base over to the completey liberated totally sovereign Iraqi goverment, but to the tender care of Pentagon, which is pouring thousands of American troops into Basra to guard the occupation's supply lines out of Kuwait -- and keep a watchful eye over the oil-rich region.
Of course, British troops had pulled in their horns in Iraq long ago, having essentially —retreated to a few key bases while letting sectarian militias and criminal gangs battle it out on the streets. And indeed, in some cases, the Brits were literally driven out of their bases by Iraqi resistance, as we reported here way back in 2006:
The shebang's final toppling was a low-key affair. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a no-show, despite being in the general vicinity this week out on the other Terror War frontier, Afghanistan (where he is upping the Anglo troop level to bolster Barack Obama's "surge"). His predecessor, Tony Blair, was likewise absent, and silent, at the end of an action that will forever stain his legacy with its monstrous, murderous folly.
He was in the news, however, after the UK government was forced to release memos from 2004, detailing Blair's frantic, mendacious attempts to suppress word of the rising death count among civilians in the war that he and George W. Bush engineered on the basis of knowingly false and deliberately manipulated information. In October 2004, the world's leading medical journal, The Lancet, released a careful study showing that an estimated 98,000 people had died from war-related causes in the first 18 months of the aggression and occupation. Blair first tried to stop publication of the figures, and then later told Parliament, "We do not accept these figures at all," the BBC reports. The memos show various ministries trying to pass off responsibility for dealing with study; no one wanted the impossible task of squaring Blair's blatant lies to Parliament with the scientific fact of the study.
This same farce was repeated -- on both sides of the Atlantic -- two years later, when The Lancet reported a further study, using the same methodology, showing that a minimum of 650,000 people had died as a result of the conflict. As we noted here last year:
But of course, as we noted at the time, "it doesn't really matter how you count the dead....when the dead don't count."
Neither did we hear from George W. Bush, now keeping a demure silence in his ritzy Dallas digs. (Ole George don't cut no more brush down on that fake ranch of his in Crawford, now that there ain't no PR value in it.) No word for his "gallant allies," who lost 179 men and women -- while dishing out thousands of more deaths, and atrocities of their own, as Robert Fisk reports in his piece on the pullout:
Fisk takes special note of Britain's first long-term intervention in Iraq, beginning in the First World War, and continuing on, in bloodsoaked "counterinsurgency operations" and repression by client governments, for many years thereafter:
What sort of country has Britain's noble endeavor in Iraq helped to make? Well, in just six short years, the Anglo-American crusade has managed to turn one of the region's most secular states in the Arab world into a seething cauldron of extremist, sectarian militias -- including the sectarian militia that Bush, Blair, Brown and Obama have installed and maintained in power: the increasingly authoritarian Dawa Party of Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki.
Reuters reports on the plight of women in Iraq, whose women once had enjoyed more cultural and professional freedom than any others in the Arab world:
How did this pandemic of oppression arise? Reuters again:
We should note that a large portion of the sectarians in the "Sunni Islamist insurgency" were subsequently put on the American payroll and given large swathes of territory to rule as they saw fit. Many of the Shiite militias, of course, were already working directly for the American-installed Iraqi government.
But what about Kurdistan, where American power has allowed two powerful and repressive factions to hold sway independently since the first Gulf War? (Do recall that Saddam's writ did not run in Kurdish Iraq -- which was, curiously enough, the only place in Iraq that had any kind of "al Qaeda" associates before the American invasion of 2003. For more, see "Hubub in HibHib: The Timely Death of al-Zarqawi.") Reuters reports:
Oh well. You can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs, can you? Or as that other breaker and maker of nations, Joe Stalin, used to say: When wood is chopped, chips fly. Surely the mutilation, murder and subjegation of a few million women here and there is an acceptable price to pay for what our wise new president calls "the extraordinary achievement" of the Anglo-American military action in Iraq.
But what next in Iraq, now that the Brits are gone? Surely the Americans will follow them out shortly, right? After all, we know that Barack Obama is committed to "ending the war." One of the most astute observers of the American war machine, Jeremy Scahill, has a few thoughts on that subject:
Scahill points to a remarkable story in the New York Times, which has passed almost without notice. In it, we find that thousands of American "combat troops" (a distinction without a difference that is key to the Obama plan) will actually remain in Iraqi cities after the June 30 deadline "mandated" by the soft, fluffy SOFA for the withdrawal of fighting troops to bases outside urban areas. How can this be? Simple: American and Iraqi authorities are simply, arbitrarily declaring U.S. bases inside Baghdad's city limits to be suddenly, magically outside the city limits! The NYT:
As Scahill notes, America just has to ask nicely, and their Iraqi partners are happy to oblige. He goes on:
[Just as an aside, imagine invading a country, planting two military bases in its capital named "Striker" and "Slayer" -- and then having the gall to pass yourself off as an altruistic, peace-loving liberator. The self-revealing unselfconsciousness of this brutal nomenclature is almost sublime.]
So: thousands of troops -- combat troops, "trained to fight" -- in sprawling, growing, permanent bases, inside Iraq's cities, augmented by hordes of private mercenaries, "supporting" missions against an unvanquished insurgency with ground forces and airstrikes (which, as a new study shows, kill mostly women and children). Once again, we see the hallmark of the new administration's Terror War policies: continuity -- continuity with a vengeance.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on May 4, 2009.
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