Open Letter to the American People on Independence Day, 4th July

Open Letter to the American People on Independence Day, 4th July

Professor Mohammad Al-Ani, Chairman, Iraqi Consultants Council

Monday, 06 July 2009 01:43

On the 4th of July of each year, you celebrate your independence day, which you consider America’s most precious day, as it represents your freedom and true independence that you achieved by resisting British Occupation. You sacrificed for this day and fought for eight years to achieve your just aim, by simply refusing any kind of occupation and loss of true sovereignty.

Your country became the strongest nation in the world. But instead of spreading peace and freedom between mankind, your governments started to enslave nations economically in your name; punishment for anyone who does not want to be under your sphere of influence became the name of the game. This attitude was clearly crystallised when your government decided to break international law by invading Iraq under the disguise of weapons of mass destruction. But the whole world knows now the fallacy of this claim, and it has become crystal clear for all that the true aim is to have hands on control on the natural resources of Iraq. Your government believes that it has achieved this aim by imposing an ideologically polarized political system and constitution, and embedding wide spread corruption in the system, in order to reap the reward of controlling oil fields and other natural resources through false and orchestrated auctions.

But let me tell you what your country has achieved for you. Your government has committee the most evil act against humanity for the sake of controlling the resources of another nation in your name, in the name of your humanity and your civilisation. It tried to legalise this evil crime by initiating a so called treaty with the so called government of Iraq. History will Judge those Iraqis who signed, voted and who are quite about it as having committed high treason against the people of Iraq; it is simply an attempt to legalise the most evil act committed in the history of humanity. I do not mean the millions of orphans, or the millions of widows, or the millions of displaced people, or the crimes committed by your military army against detainees, or the destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure. I mean the use of the American military of at least 2000 tons of depleted uranium in the war against Iraq, which has polluted more or less all aspects of the environment in my beloved Iraq.

Depleted uranium is the true weapon of mass destruction, especially the way its pollution affects all aspects of normal life, land and water. To find out the true effect of this weapon, go and visit what ever is left of Iraqi hospitals; to see with your own eyes the crimes of your government and military. This inhumane weapon has caused wide spread cancer especially in women and children, and even unborn foetuses and genes. Yes it will affect genes for ten and probably hundred of years to come. An if you can not visit Iraqi hospitals, visit the hundred of thousands of your own veterans who are suffering from long term illnesses caused by depleted uranium according to the reports of your own institutions. That is correct; your government has even committed hideous crimes against your own soldiers.

You need to stop this hypocrisy of yours. On your independence day, I would like to remind you that resisting occupation is the right of all free people in the world, and it is the right of the people of Iraq to resist your occupation and hijacking their true sovereignty. You are not aware of the true losses Iraqi resistance has inflected on your military. The findings of your own academics and research institution indicate that the causalities are as high as half a million dead and disabled veterans with terminal illnesses. This is what your government has achieved in this unjust war on the people of Iraq as a result of the actions of the heroic Iraqi resistance. As to the so called withdrawal of the US military from Iraqi cities and towns and the charade of handing over sovereignty, I can assure you that free Iraqis are all too aware of this deception and will not be deceived by it. Free Iraqis will continue their resistance until all foreign troops are withdrawn from Iraq, and gain true independence and sovereignty. Just like their grandfathers in the last century who fought British rule until they gained independence. In order to know the willpower and tenacity of free Iraqis, read about the twenties revolution, as your future generations will read about the war of the twenty first century.

You must understand that the people of Iraq will not forgive you until you apologies and compensate justly for all the crimes and damages your government and military have committed again the people of Iraq and their environment. You can rest assure that if you do not, Iraqi people including future generations will hold you legally accountable for these crimes to gain a just compensation even after independence.

Lastly, I say to you that your country is less than two hundred and fifty years old. But the cradle of civilisation in Mesopotamia is thousands years old. This free land went through trials and tribulation from time to time over the centuries, but it has always regained its freedom and independence at the hands of its free sons.

Professor Mohammad Al-Ani
Chairman, Iraqi Consultants Council
4th July 2009

New Reaper sensors offer a bigger picture

New Reaper sensors offer a bigger picture

By Michael Hoffman – Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Feb 19, 2009 7:39:15 EST

The Air Force plans to install a wide-area airborne surveillance sensor under its MQ-9 Reapers that lets troops look at more of the battlefield from more angles. Ten of the service’s Reapers will start getting the sensor in spring 2010.

The $15 million sensor will film an area with a four-kilometer radius underneath the Reaper during both day and night operations from 12 angles, said Robert Marlin, technical adviser for Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

The Army started using a similar wide-area surveillance sensor, the Constant Hawk, in 2006 and the Marine Corps followed suit with an upgrade called Angel Fire in 2007. Those sensors are mounted under manned aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Air Force now has improved on Angel Fire with its Gorgon Stare, named after Medusa’s gaze that turned her enemies to stone. Gorgon Stare allows any user to choose from the 12 angles that it can broadcast simultaneously, Marlin said; Angel Fire allows multiple users to view its imagery but can broadcast back only one at a time. Angel Fire is also limited to day operations.

Gorgon Stare will allow a combat controller on the ground, a commander at headquarters and an intelligence officer back in the U.S. all to choose a different angle from the same Reaper, said Maj. William Bower, deputy program manager for the MQ-9 Reaper.

The sensor will supplement but not replace the multi-spectral targeting pod aboard the Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator that records full-motion video, Marlin said. He described the Gorgon Stare’s feed as “motion imagery, which will be like a slow, jumpy version of the full-motion video feed.”

Viewing that wider area, though, will allow airmen to “see the bigger picture” and have a better idea where to point full-motion video sensors, Marlin said.

Reapers and MQ-1 Predators are often called on to track vehicles and hover over buildings to watch for “squirters,” or insurgents running out of buildings during U.S. operations. Airmen controlling the sensors sometimes lose track of those vehicles or squirters if they drive or run out of view too fast.

Gorgon Stare will be invaluable in such instances, Bower said. Even if a vehicle drives out of the view of the full-motion video sensor, it will still be within Gorgon Stare’s range. Even if 12 squirters run in 12 directions, Gorgon Stare could dedicate one angle to each one, Marlin said.

Even after a mission is complete, Gorgon Stare will keep providing fresh intelligence by recording each angle. Airmen can then return to a previous mission and view all 12 angles to ensure nothing was missed, Bower said.

Reapers will initially be the only aircraft to fly with the Gorgon Stare, but the RQ-4 Global Hawk and manned aircraft could fly with it later, said Col. Christopher Coombs, 703rd Aeronautical Systems Group commanders, whose unit is in charge of UAV acquisition. The MQ-1 Predator and the Army MQ-1C Sky Warrior could be fitted with Gorgon Stare if Air Force engineers can figure out how to lighten the 1,100-pound sensor, Marlin said

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working with a wide-area airborne surveillance sensor that could provide up to 60 views.

“We’re enhancing this capability and will soon be able to study 30 to 60 targets with one MQ-9 pod,” said Lt. Gen. David Deptula, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

What the Gorgon Stare won’t be able to do is replace Reaper and Predator missions, Marlin said.

“I think there is a misperception out there that because it can look at 12 different angles that it will be able to replace 12 Reapers,” he said.

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, for example, threw their support behind Gorgon Stare in part for “its potential to reduce the requirement for UAS with FMV and to make the latter more effective,” according to a committee report on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009.

“That’s just not true, but it will be a very powerful tool the Air Force will be able to use,” Marlin said.

ORDINARY PAKISTANIS “INSPIRING EXAMPLE,” SAYS UN OFFICIAL:

ORDINARY PAKISTANIS “INSPIRING EXAMPLE,” SAYS UN OFFICIAL:

06/07/2009 (MaximsNews Network)

UNITED NATIONS – / MaximsNews Network / 06 July 2009 – UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan Martin Mogwanja praised Pakistanis today for the help they have rendered to the 2 million of their countrymen and women who have been forced from their homes by the conflict in the country’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

He opined, “The everyday people of Pakistan are the real heroes of this current crisis in Pakistan …They set an inspiring example of extraordinary generosity for the whole world.”

Despite the massive influx of displaced persons, the population has played a large role in ensuring that they have food, somewhere to stay, and other necessities. The majority of the refugees are sheltered in local homes rather than in internally displaced persons camps.

Mr. Mogwanja commended them to the international community as a model of generosity and urged other countries to step up their aid and help to the millions in Pakistan who fled the violence that wracked the region as a result of clashes between federal troops and opposition fighters. However, not all of those menaced by the fighting in the North West Frontier Province have been able to escape to safer areas.

Eric Laroche, Assistant Director General of the Health Action in Crises Cluster of the World Health Organisation, warned, “There are major challenges facing the displaced and those people still caught in the conflict area, for example in the Swat Valley and other conflict zones, where health facilities have been damaged or destroyed.”

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is also worried about the plight of women and children, many of whom are still stuck amidst the fighting. One UNICEF official indicated that reports suggest they are facing “intolerable circumstances without proper access to clean, potable water, medical services and food.

Among those who fled the conflict zone, apparently over 60 percent are under 18 who are in need of help of all kinds, as well as access to education.

Dr. Laroche warned that the deficits in the medical system in Pakistan must be remedied because the population is already affected by a variety of diseases. Without new shipments of vital drugs and equipment and further personnel, not only to care for the sick but also to prevent new outbreaks, the country risks serious damage to public health. For some drugs, there is only enough for a couple more weeks.

Because the women are uncomfortable with male medical personnel, he emphasized that “we need to have other women, Pashtun women doctors, Pashtun women workers, health workers, to be taking care of them… This is a major challenge.”

Dr. Laroche was particularly worried by the health care resources in the communities, while reporting that he was pleased with the provision of medical care found in the internally displaced persons camps.

Despite the laudatory willingness of the population to take in refuges, the addition of the displaced to the local population has stretched the infrastructure, including sanitation, water, and medical, to their breaking point.

Nonetheless, WHO has successfully detected and contained more than 30 cases of spreading infectious diseases, thanks to an early warning initiative set up by the agency.

Dr. Laroche was in Pakistan last week to observe and analyze conditions there and make recommendations on how to best proceed.

Still, funding is very short, he observed, “We have gotten only 27 per cent of what we were asking for. And what we are asking for is not even 10 per cent of the overall [total]. We are asking for $4 million.” Without more money, the critical operations of the UN agencies will not be able to continue.

French monks killed by Algeria, not Islamists: source

French monks killed by Algeria, not Islamists: source

By Thierry Leveque

PARIS (Reuters) – A French general has said seven French monks murdered in Algeria in 1996 were killed by the army there rather than by Islamist militants and Paris helped cover up the truth, a judicial source said on Monday.

Retired General Francois Buchwalter, France’s defence attache in Algiers at the time, told a closed-door inquiry an army helicopter killed the Catholic monks when it fired on an isolated camp they thought was a militant hide-out.

Algeria says the Trappist monks, who lived in a hilltop monastery in Tibehirine 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Algiers, were abducted by militants in March 1996 and found dead with their throats slit two months later.

When an Algerian source told him the official version, which blamed the Islamists for their death, was false, Buchwalter informed Paris but was told to keep quiet, according to a report in Le Figaro daily confirmed by the source.

The murder shocked France and strained relations with Algeria.

Asked about the charge while at a French-British summit in Evian, President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had been deeply upset by the murder at the time and the present inquiry must find out the truth. “Justice must do its job,” he said.

A lawyer for relatives of the monks called for secret defence files on the case be opened, a demand seconded by former Prime Minster Jean-Pierre Raffarin. “We must find out what happened. This is a very painful affair,” he said.

ONLY HEADS HANDED OVER

France opened a probe into the killings in 2004 after a former Algerian secret service agent said Algiers had ordered agents to kidnap the monks as part of a plot. But militants in the area seized them from the agents and later killed them.

The aim of the plot is not clear. One theory in the French media says it was to warn the monks, who had refused to leave the area that had become a stronghold of the militant Armed Islamic Group (GIA). Another says it was to discredit the GIA.

According to Le Figaro, Buchwalter said his source, an Algerian officer, told him his brother had been in the attacking helicopter and that it landed at the camp after the shooting.

“The monks’ bodies were riddled with bullets,” he quoted the source as saying. Buchwalter said his superiors told him to keep quiet to avoid harming relations between France and Algeria.

In other testimony to the investigation, Trappist Procurator General Rev. Armand Veilleux said he went to Algeria after the murders and insisted on opening the coffins to identify the monks.

They contained only the dead men’s heads, he said, adding he thought someone disposed of the bodies to hide the evidence of how they died. He said the French embassy had urged him not to discuss this in public.

Buchwalter also told the inquiry he suspected Algerian authorities were behind the killing of the Catholic bishop of Oran, Pierre Claverie, shortly after the monks were murdered.

Distracting manoeuvre (Practicing for the Day of Attack)

090706_submarine

Israeli sub transits Suez Canal

Distracting manoeuvre

Monday, 06 July 2009 05:37 Jordan Times

An Israeli navy submarine reportedly sailed into the Arabian Gulf last month, ostensibly as part of an Israeli military drill. But the submarine, believed to carry nuclear weapons, is more likely to have been on a far more sinister preparatory mission and a potential Israeli military offensive on Iran is still very much in the cards.

This is a dangerous and entirely unwanted development. The region is in enough turmoil as it is, with Israel in large part to blame, without the potentially catastrophic consequences an Israeli strike on Iran could have.

Israel, of course, does not do irony. Otherwise, its insistence that Iran is the greatest threat to regional stability, and not Israel, which occupies land and attacks neighbours at will, might be seen as some warped post-modernist political spin.

But Israel does not like competitors. Like an over-bloated and unchallenged industrial monopoly, Israel fears that its hegemony could be challenged. It applauded and encouraged the US-led invasion of Iraq, not for any other reason than because it put paid to one possible competitor. And Israel’s insatiable desire for safety without sacrifice will always see it encourage Arabs to fight Arabs or the international community to distract itself with anyone but Israel.

And so the country appears to be heading towards stirring yet another war in the region. Anything to take away the spotlight from the uncomfortable fact that it is Israel that is the greatest source of instability and conflict in this region.

It is Israel that stands in contradiction to international law, whether in its occupation of Arab land, in its war crimes in Lebanon or Gaza, in its inhumane treatment of Palestinians under occupation or refusal to allow refugees their right of return, or in its refusal to become a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that nuclear powers are obliged to sign.

And now, with an American administration less inclined to see the world through the warped lens of Israeli interests, Israel is preparing to take matters in its own hands. An Israeli strike on Iran would be a catastrophic event for the region.

It must not be allowed to happen, and it is the duty and responsibility of every state in this region and further afield to see to it that it does not.

Source: Jordan Times

US denies giving Israel ‘green light’ to attack Iran

US denies giving Israel ‘green light’ to attack Iran

By Lachlan Carmichael – 12 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President Barack Obama’s administration denied Monday that it is giving Israel the green light to attack Iran or that it is reconsidering plans to engage diplomatically with the Islamic Republic.

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, formerly the country’s top nuclear negotiator, warned Tehran would hold Washington responsible for any such strike after Vice President Joe Biden said Washington would not dictate how Israel deals with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

But State Department spokesman Ian Kelly poured cold water on suggestions that Biden could be seen as giving the Jewish state a green light to attack Iran, which it views as an existential threat.

“I certainly would not want to give a green light to any kind of military action,” Kelly told reporters.

But he echoed Biden’s point that Washington considered Israel a “sovereign country” with a right to make its own military decisions.

“We’re not going to dictate its actions,” Kelly added. “We’re also committed to Israel’s security. And we share Israel’s deep concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”

He also refuted any idea that Biden was signaling a move by the Obama administration to drop its policy of diplomatic engagement with Iran.

“I wouldn’t read into it any more than what you see,” Kelly said.

In an interview with ABC television broadcast Sunday, Biden said: “Israel can determine for itself — it’s a sovereign nation — what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.

“We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do when they make a determination, if they make a determination, that they’re existentially threatened,” he added.

But Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned in a separate interview Sunday of the dangers posed by any military strike against Iran, despite saying military options should not be ruled out.

Obama has said he wants to see progress on his diplomatic outreach to Iran by year’s end, while not excluding a “range of steps,” including tougher sanctions, if Tehran continued its nuclear drive.

Hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not ruled out a possible military strike against Iran.

Larijani warned that Iran “will consider the Americans responsible in any adventure launched by” Israel, a country he said that nobody can imagine acting “without getting the green light” from Washington.

Speaking on a visit to Qatar, Larijani warned that Iran’s response to an attack would be “decisive and painful.”

Biden’s comments, said Trita Parsi, who heads the National Iranian American Council, were “not helpful to those who are trying to find peaceful change in Iran.”

But Parsi said it would be wrong to interpret them as heralding a policy shift, even if the administration’s plans for engagement now face a “rough ride.”

Suzanne Maloney, a former State Department specialist on Iran, said Biden’s remarks are not new and did not signal a policy shift, even if the Iranians read more into them.

“Particularly for this administration, an Israeli strike on Iran would have devastating consequences for all its foreign policy initiatives,” she said, citing its efforts to broker Arab-Israeli peace and stabilize Iraq and Lebanon.

But she feared the Obama administration may find the Iranians are not in the right “mindset” to engage in talks if they get “so caught up in this narrative of an externally-sponsored velvet revolution.”