Iraq

Beyond Blackwater Massacre, Renewed Concern Over Rise of Mercenary Armies – Lauren McCauley

April 17, 2015 // 0 Comments

Following the sentencing of four private security guards convicted in the notorious 2007 massacre of innocent Iraqi civilians, attention has shifted to the growing role such private mercenaries are having on battlefields throughout the world. On Monday, three former employees of Blackwater Worldwide were given thirty-year prison sentences while one guard, Nicholas Slatten, who fired the first shot, was sentenced to life in prison for a shooting spree which resulted in the deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians in Nissour Square. The accused say they will appeal. In a statement on Tuesday, human rights expert Elzbieta Karska, chair of the United Nations working group on the use of mercenaries, said that while the group welcomed the sentencing, such examples of accountability are the “exception rather than the rule.” “The outsourcing of national security to private firms creates risks for human rights and accountability,” Karska said. The UN is calling for an international treaty to “address the increasingly significant role that private military companies play in transnational conflicts.” Critics of the military industrial complex have long-warned about the difficulties of holding private security firms accountable for rights violations in foreign war zones. As Karska notes, these four Blackwater security guards are merely the tip of the

America Being Crushed by a Mountain of Escalating Debt

April 7, 2015 // 0 Comments

America, without question, is drowning in a sea of debt, barely holding its head above water. There is the massive national debt of the U.S. government, personal/consumer debt, student debt, and an increasing number of U.S. cities and states that are in debt over their heads. America is literally destroying itself by the monumental debt that we as a nation, government and society have incurred. We are being consumed by this ever-escalating debt running rampant throughout this country. And we seem to be totally incapable of addressing the underlying problems and finding the ways to bring this situation under control. Massive debt is a destructive force, one that once it gains momentum is almost impossible to bring under control. When we use the word destroying to describe what debt is doing to America we can also use the word killing, in that debt kills creativity, innovation, and constructive endeavors. There is a complete lack of funding available for new, revolutionary initiatives for which America once was known and greatly respected. This country’s national debt has escalated from $5.7 trillion in the year 2000 to the current staggering amount of $18.2. That’s an increase of some 319% in just 14 years;

War With Iran, by the Numbers

April 2, 2015 // 0 Comments

Sen. John McCain and others on the American Right are in favor of dropping those pesky negotiations with Iran and just bombing their nuclear enrichment sites.  Doing so, however, would only set them back a year or so, and would certainly put Iran on a war footing with the USA.  Those who think such bombing runs would be the end of the story, however, are fooling themselves.  Bombing Iraq in 1991 and the no-fly zone had a lot to do with taking the USA down the path to a ground war in 2003.  Bombing now will almost certainly lead to a similar ground war. Iran is 2.5 times more populous than Iraq and much bigger geographically.  It is likely that Iran war numbers would be three times those of Iraq, at least. Casualties from a strike on Bushehr NuclearPlant:  Hundreds of thousands. Likely US troop deaths:  15,000 Likely US troops lightly injured:  270,000 Read

Body Count Report Reveals At Least 1.3 Million Lives Lost to US-Led War on Terror

March 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

How do you calculate the human costs of the U.S.-led War on Terror? On the 12th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, groups of physicians attempted to arrive at a partial answer to this question by counting the dead. In their joint report— Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror—Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival, and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War concluded that this number is staggering, with at least 1.3 million lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone since the onset of the war following September 11, 2001. Read More

Institute Finds US Medical System Wastes $750 Billion Per Year

March 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

Now surely that’s a big number, and it’s really concerning just considering this fact — but I want to put this figure into perspective for you. After all, it’s hard to envision a billion dollars let alone 750 billion. The amount we’re talking about here is not only more than the entire budget for the US Department of Defense, or more than the 2008 banker bailout that everyone is so upset about. It’s also enough to completely cover healthcare costs for 150 million US workers. That’s how much the medical system is blowing each and every year. And it’s not on providing excellent care. In fact,according to the report, the ridiculous waste can be categorized a number of really disturbing ways: Over $75 billion is wasted in straight up fraud. A total of $55 billion or more is lost due to lack of preventative education and opportunity. More than $190 is blown on unnecessary paperwork and administrative costs. A plentiful $210 billion is spent on what has been deemed ‘unnecessary services,’ as in repeating tests over and over for really no reason. Read

Life Under ISIS: One of the Strangest States Ever Created

March 17, 2015 // 0 Comments

It is one of the strangest states ever created. The Islamic State wants to force all humanity to believe in its vision of a religious and social utopia existing in the first days of Islam. Women are to be treated as chattels, forbidden to leave the house unless they are accompanied by a male relative. People deemed to be pagans, like the Yazidis, can be bought and sold as slaves. Punishments such as beheadings, amputations and flogging become the norm. All those not pledging allegiance to the caliphate declared by its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on 29 June last year are considered enemies. The rest of the world has watched with fascinated horror over the past eight months as Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, imposed its rule over a vast area in northern Iraq and eastern Syria inhabited by six million people. Highly publicised atrocities or acts of destruction, such as burning to death a Jordanian pilot, decapitating prisoners and destroying the remains of ancient cities, are deliberately staged as demonstrations of strength and acts of defiance. For a movement whose tenets are supposedly drawn from the religious norms of the 7th century CE, Isis has a very modern

UN condemns ‘destruction’ of ancient Iraq city of Hatra

March 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

The United Nations’ cultural body on Saturday condemned the “destruction” by the Islamic State jihadist group of Hatra, a stunning Roman period ancient fortress city in the Iraqi desert. The destruction of the UNESCO world heritage site was reported two days after the Iraqi antiquities ministry said that IS bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, and a week after the jihadists released a tape of them smashing artefacts in the Mosul museum. “The destruction of Hatra marks a turning point in the appalling strategy of cultural cleansing under way in Iraq,” UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said. Hatra is an extremely well-preserved city with a unique mix of eastern and western architecture, located in a desert area about 60 miles (100 kilometres) southwest of the northern jihadist hub of Mosul. “Official sources today reported the destruction of the World Heritage property of Hatra,” the organisation said in a statement. The UNESCO statement did not say when or how Hatra, which was built around 2,200 years ago, was destroyed, nor was any Iraqi official able to provide such details. Mohammed Nuri, an MP from southern Nineveh province, where Hatra is located, said that “until this moment, there are no confirmed

American Sniper vs. Baghdad Sniper

March 2, 2015 // 0 Comments

Chris Kyle’s story is now enshrined in celluloid, taking over $300 million at the box office, but the Islamic Army in Iraq also had its legend, “Juba” — the Baghdad Sniper. A Texas jury found former Marine Eddie Ray Routh guilty of capital murder; in 2013 he shot to death former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the man behind American Sniper — the book later turned into a blockbuster movie directed by Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood. Texas Governor Greg Abbott also made his mark, post-verdict, by tweeting “JUSTICE!” It didn’t matter that Routh’s attorneys — and his family — insisted he suffered from psychosis, caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Texas prosecutors easily brushed it off — “proving” Routh’s episodes of PTSD were provoked by alcohol and marijuana. American Sniper — the movie — could not but become a pop culture phenomenon in the US. Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, is Dirty Harry in combat gear — a specialist in dehumanizing the faceless “enemy” as he eviscerates them one by one. The “enemy” happened to be defending the homeland against an invading/occupying force. Poetic justice does intervene, and the Ultimate Sniper also becomes dehumanized himself. He is diagnosed with PTSD. In

How Psychedelics Might Transform the Human Mind and Lead Humanity Towards Intellectual and Artistic Heights

March 2, 2015 // 0 Comments

The idea of a Psychedelic Renaissance — as captured in the title of Ben Sessa’s book The Psychedelic Renaissance — is growing in the health professions, and as a Feb. 9, 2015, article in The New Yorker phrased it, current clinical research is “part of a renaissance of psychedelic research,” so we see the phrase is catching on in the general culture too. To me, Psychedelic Renaissance is more than a guide for psychotherapeutic practices, more than the inauguration of an era of experience-based religion, more than an enrichment of academic and artistic fields; it can be an embarkation port to a realistic and expanded view of what our minds are and what they can become. Health dominates current policy discussions, but as psychedelics’ other domains become widely accepted, what new uses will emerge, and what policy discussions can we anticipate for future years? A Four-Stage Model When I think about the Psychedelic Renaissance, I find it handy to think about it as a four-stage process, in short: medical, religious, intellectual, mind. This is not a sequential theory, not one in which a new stage replaces it predecessor; each stage builds quite naturally into the next. While we are now at the medical stage,
Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com