James Baker’s use of his Role for Illegal Business Deal
In a major story posted on The Nation magazine’s website on Wednesday October 14, Naomi Klein detailed how Special Presidential Envoy James Baker III used his power to try to secure a $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government for the Carlyle Group a merchant bank and defense contractor. The investment would “help” Kuwait secure the $57 billion in unpaid debts owed to Kuwait by Iraq. The deal centered on the establishment of a consortium that would transfer the $57 billion in unpaid Iraqi debts to a consortium made of various “well-connected” firms, most notably the Carlyle Group and the Albright Group. According to Naomi Klein’s report, the consortium suggested that if Kuwait did not go along with the deal they might lose their payments from Iraq and suggested that it was only through the consortium’s “personal rapport with the stakeholders in the anticipated negotiations [over the forgiving of Iraq’s debt]” that the Kuwaitis could receive their payments.
Naomi Klein appeared to discuss her report on Democracy Now.
Justification for War Keeps Falling Apart
The justification for the invasion of Iraq has continued to shift over the past year–from weapons of mass destruction, to the liberation of the Iraqi people, and most recently, stopping Saddam Hussein’s scamming of the United Nations oil-for-food program. While politicians in Britain are considering ways of ?apologizing? for the intelligence errors (although no apology will be issued to the thousands of Iraqis who died because of the “errors”), Vice President Cheney is unapologetic and is touting the claim that Saddam Hussein was “gaming the system, using the oil-for-food program” so that he could restart his weapons program. Former United Nations weapons inspectors have criticized the Bush administration’s shifting justifications for the war, while Vice President Cheney’s focus has left out important details about the oil-for-food program, notably that US companies profited from the program. Cheney’s own company, the oft-criticized Halliburton, helped rebuild Iraq’s oil industry while as CEO of Halliburton Cheney also campaigned for the end of the 11-year embargo on the sale of civilian goods to Iraq, arguing that the embargo unfairly punished United States companies.
Classified Documents Relating to Abu Ghraib Prison Abuse Posted Online
The Center for Public Integrity has posted an extensive collection of classified documents pertaining to Abu Ghraib. The documents posted form the basis of what was used in Army Major General Anthony Taguba’s investigation into the abuse of military detainees in Iraq. They include everything from policy memos to witness testimony and cover prison riots, interrogation methods, and torture.
Stories of U.S. troop Atrocities by Semour Hersh
The blog A Tiny Revolution has posted a transcript of a speech Seymour Hersh gave at Berkeley on October 8th. He told a story about recently receiving a call from an American lieutenant in Iraq who’d just witnessed other American soldiers killing non-combatant Iraqis. According to Hersh:
It was a call about this. He had been bivouacing outside of town with his platoon. It was near, it was an agricultural area, and there was a granary around. And the guys that owned the granary, the Iraqis that owned the granary… It was an area that the insurgency had some control, but it was very quiet, it was not Fallujah. It was a town that was off the mainstream. Not much violence there. And his guys, the guys that owned the granary, had hired, my guess is from his language, I wasn’t explicit — we’re talking not more than three dozen, thirty or so guards. Any kind of work people were dying to do. So Iraqis were guarding the granary. His troops were bivouaced, they were stationed there, they got to know everybody…
They were a couple weeks together, they knew each other. So orders came down from the generals in Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon from his company came and executed all the guards, as his people were screaming, stop. And he said they just shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he’s hysterical. He’s totally hysterical. And he went to the captain. He was a lieutenant, he went to the company captain. And the company captain said, “No, you don’t understand. That’s a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents.”
US soldiers arrested for disobeying orders
A 17-member US army reserve platoon deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a ‘suicide mission’ to deliver fuel, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger has reported. The soldiers disobeyed orders to haul fuel to the Iraqi town of Taji, north of Baghdad, claiming that their vehicles were unsafe and that their customary armed security escort was unavailable. The platoon could be charged with the willful disobeying of orders, punishable by dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and up to five years confinement, said military law expert Mark Stevens, an associate professor of justice studies at Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C.