Illegal Immigration in the USA–The Overlooked Reality
The Associated Press reported on June 5:
“Millions of illegal immigrants in the United States never jumped the U.S.-Mexico border where Congress wants to erect impenetrable walls and President Bush is sending National Guard troops to patrol. They never sneaked in at all. The little-acknowledged reality is that nearly half the estimated 12 million undocumented foreigners in the United States entered on bona fide U.S. visas–and simply never left. Authorities call them ‘overstays’ who have been largely overlooked in the vitriolic debate on immigration.”
Bird Flu–and a Massive Cover-Up?
The New York Times reported on June 4 about the already existing reality of human-to-human transmissions of the bird flu virus. In the article, it was stated:
“In the wake of a cluster of avian flu cases that killed seven members of a rural Indonesian family, it appears likely that there have been many more human-to-human infections than the authorities have previously acknowledged. The numbers are still relatively small, and they do not mean that the virus has mutated to pass easily between people–a change that could touch off a worldwide epidemic. All the clusters of cases have been among relatives or in nurses who were in long, close contact with patients. But the clusters–in Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Vietnam–paint a grimmer picture of the virus’s potential to pass from human to human than is normally described by public health officials, who usually say such cases are ‘rare.’… Dr. Angus Nicoll, chief of flu activities at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, acknowledged that ‘we are probably underestimating the extent of person-to-person transmission.’… several scientists have noted that there are many clusters in which human-to-human infection may be a more logical explanation than the idea that relatives who fell sick days apart got the virus from the same dying bird.”
America’s Reputation Continues to Go Downhill in Iraq…
America’s involvement in Iraq becomes more and more questionable. Iraqis don’t like Americans to continue “occupying” their country. And alleged murders of civilians by American troops, and an alleged subsequent cover-up by the Marines, does not help to ease the tension.
AFP reported on June 2, 2006:
“The US military was investigating allegations made by Iraqi police that American troops rounded up and shot dead civilians in March, the BBC reported, after airing video footage it obtained of dead adults and children. The alleged incident in Ishaqi, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, comes on the heels of allegations that US Marines killed unarmed Iraqi civilians. The report by the British Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday quoted a spokesman for US forces in Iraq as saying that an inquiry was under way into the events in Ishaqi on March 15 this year. The BBC, which said it had received the video from a Sunni Muslim group opposed to US forces, said the evidence appeared to contradict the US version of events. US officials said at the time that four people died when US troops became involved in a firefight after a tip-off that an al-Qaeda supporter was visiting a house in Ishaqi, the BBC said. US officials, it added, said that the home collapsed under heavy fire, killing one suspected militant, two women and a child. But a report filed by Iraqi police accused US troops of rounding up and deliberately shooting 11 people in the house, including five children and four women, before blowing up the building. The BBC aired video footage of several bodies, including those of three children, one of them covered in blood. The BBC’s John Simpson said the images clearly show the dead adults and children suffered gunshot wounds. The BBC’s Ian Pannell in Baghdad said the footage has been cross-checked with other images taken at the time of events and is believed to be genuine.
“The video aired by the BBC follows news of an alleged massacre in Haditha, where US Marines are suspected of killing up to 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians last November… The Haditha shootings came to light in a Time magazine report… last March which cited an Iraqi human rights group and Haditha residents.”
The Associated Press stated on June 3 that “The U.S. military said Saturday that it had found no wrongdoing by American troops accused of intentionally killing civilians during a raid in a village north of Baghdad [Ishaqi] that left up to 13 Iraqis dead.”
The Associated Press had also reported on June 2:
“Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki upbraided the U.S. military over allegations that Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians in Haditha, calling the killings ‘a horrible crime’ in his strongest public comments on the subject since his government was sworn in last month… Al-Maliki said the list of human rights breaches by coalition forces in Iraq was long. ‘This is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces,’ the prime minister said. ‘No respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch. It’s unacceptable.’ Al-Maliki’s remarks bolstered Iraqi complaints that U.S. troops are insensitive to their culture and show disregard for their lives. To many Iraqis, the soldiers are occupiers seeking to control the country’s oil wealth. The Americans, on the other hand, are under intense pressure, isolated from Iraqis by cultural and language barriers and battling insurgents who easily blend into the civilian population. Some of the troops are in Iraq on their third combat tour since the U.S. invasion three years ago…
“U.S. military investigators have evidence that points toward unprovoked murders by the Marines, a senior defense official said last week. The Washington Post reported Thursday that the investigators will conclude some officers gave false testimony to their superiors, who then failed to scrutinize the reports adequately… It took nearly a month for President Bush to be told of the Haditha investigation, the White House said Thursday.”
The New York Times added on June 3:
“Marine commanders in Iraq learned within two days of the killings in Haditha last November that Iraqi civilians had died from gunfire, not a roadside bomb as initially reported, but the officers involved saw no reason to investigate further, according to a senior Marine officer. The commanders have told investigators they had not viewed as unusual, in a combat environment, the discrepancies that emerged almost immediately in accounts about how the two dozen Iraqis died, and that they had no information at the time suggesting that any civilians had been killed deliberately. But the handling of the matter by the senior Marine commanders in Haditha, and whether officers and enlisted personnel tried to cover up what happened or missed signs suggesting that the civilian killings were not accidental, has become a major element of the investigation by an Army general into the entire episode. Officials have said that the investigation, while not yet complete, is likely to conclude that a small group of marines carried out the unprovoked killings of two dozen civilians in the hours after a makeshift bomb killed a marine.”
Der Spiegel Online reported on June 3:
“Only a few days ago, US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair publicly conceded that their two countries had made many mistakes in Iraq. In his speech, the US president symbolically mentioned Abu Ghraib, the site of gruesome excesses committed by American soldiers. But if accusations prove to be true, Haditha would represent an even more serious act of barbarism — a systematic murder of the innocent motivated by revenge. Haditha will then be on par with the infamous My Lai incident. Five hundred and four Vietnamese civilians were killed on March 16, 1968 in a massacre committed by soldiers in the 11th Infantry Brigade, under the command of Lt. William Calley. It took almost two years before Life magazine first reported on the atrocities that took place in the village on the border with North Vietnam — finally breaking the cloak of silence the US military had placed over My Lai.
“… the Haditha incident has destroyed much of any progress made in the region. Haditha reinforced widespread suspicion that the US is not only capable of atrocities, but also that it does its best to cover them up. Should it come to an investigation, each case is merely declared an isolated incident. Haditha weakens America and is likely to bolster already staunch opposition to the now-unpopular US president’s war. ‘Such incidents are devastating,’ says Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador to Iraq, in an interview with SPIEGEL… Instead of launching their own investigation, the Marines tried to cover their tracks. Their official version of the incident has the 24 civilians being killed by insurgents and not by US troops… The families of most of the victims each received $2,500, the maximum amount of compensation allowed under Marine regulations. The payments represented an initial acknowledgment that Haditha was more than just an ordinary attack with a high, but not unusual number of victims…
“The Marines’ version of the incident fell apart when the investigators reconstructed the massacre. The principal suspects include Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who led the patrol, and two privates. All three will likely face murder charges. Nine of the 13 Marines probably witnessed what happened in Haditha, but failed to intervene. The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, and two other officers suspected of trying to cover up the killings have since been relieved of their commands. Chessani also apparently gave the order to compensate the victims’ families. Under Marine regulations, cash compensation can only be paid when innocent people are killed.”
… and in Afghanistan
There are also troubles brewing in Afghanistan, provoked by conduct of American troops which has been strongly condemned by the Afghan government. The Associated Press reported on June 1:
“President Hamid Karzai on Thursday condemned the use of gunfire by U.S. troops to suppress Afghans angered by a traffic accident involving a military truck that sparked the worst riots in the capital since the fall of the Taliban. Speaking in his native Pashto language, Karzai used phrases that left open whether the U.S. troops had fired into a crowd that had gathered at the scene of Monday’s accident, or only over their heads. But he was strongly critical.’The coalition opened fire, and we strongly condemn that,’ Karzai said in a national radio address. ‘I have to say, all the time we tell them to be careful because we have one joint aim, which is the struggle against terrorism.’… AP Television News video from Monday shows the mounted machine gun of a U.S. Humvee firing over the heads of Afghans shortly after the accident. Many Afghans at the scene and some officials say the U.S. troops also fired into the crowd. The U.S. military has only confirmed that its soldiers used their weapons in self-defense.
“On Thursday, a top judge said foreigners could be tried for crimes committed in Afghanistan, after lawmakers passed a nonbinding resolution calling for local prosecution of U.S. troops responsible for the crash. U.S. Ambassador Ronald Neumann, however, said that American troops in Afghanistan couldn’t be punished under local law… There also is outrage in Afghanistan over civilian deaths caused by coalition military action against Taliban guerrillas. The latest incident occurred last week, when a U.S. airstrike killed at least 16 civilians in a southern village. A rights group said as many as 34 civilians died.”
In War This Kind of Thing Happens
AFP reported on June 4 from Camp Pendelton:
“Here outside the world’s largest base of US marines — the elite force that calls itself ‘the few, the proud’ — men of all ranks are cautious when responding to reports of marines killing civilians. But privately the answer is simple: ‘in war that kind of thing happens.’… [These] remarks provide a framework to comments… on reports that US marines massacred 24 civilians, including unarmed women and young children, in the western Iraqi town of Haditha in November. Time magazine reported that the marines killed seven civilians in one house and another 12 civilians in neighbouring [sic] homes, as well as shooting dead the driver of a taxi and his four passengers… There are currently at least two investigations regarding Haditha — one relating to the massacre charges, the other relating to the coverup… Both the marines and the Oceanside residents expressed anger at the news media coverage of the case, and are stunned by the official investigation. ‘It’s the marines, the soldiers there are in the camp of battle, fighting for our country,’ said [one person].”
Recently, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was quoted in an article by AFP, dated May 26, as follows:
“‘Well, obviously, they hear a lot of bad news and it’s not surprising. A war is an ugly thing. I don’t think you’ll ever find a popular war,’ he said. “Why should war be popular? It’s a vicious, horrible, ugly thing. But…, if we tossed in the towel every time we had a problem in this country we wouldn’t have a country,’ he said. ‘Turning over that country [Iraq] to violent extremists would destabilize that region, it would put at risk the neighboring Sunni regimes. If you were Iran, it would be the best thing in the world,’ he said… Visiting the casualties of war and their families at military hospitals, he said, ‘can be heartbreak.’ Asked how he dealt with it emotionally, Rumsfeld said he read US history to try to keep it in perspective.”
Lieutenant Announced that He Won’t Fight in Iraq
On June 6, 2006, ThankyouLT.org filed the following article:
“As thousands of Fort Lewis Army troops prepare to head back to Iraq, one of their officers is making a stand. A lieutenant says he is going to refuse to go, saying it’s an unjust war… Lt. Ehren Watada of the Stryker Brigade writes, ‘I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to watch families torn apart, while the President tells us to “stay the course.” I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression…’ [T]he lieutenant hasn’t done anything official yet, there’s no violation. But should he decide to go ahead with this, he could be charged with ‘desertion’ or more likely with ‘missing the movement’ of his unit… It’s happened before with a sergeant who refused to go… [and] was sentenced to 15 months… Anti-war protestors… are rushing to [Watada’s] aid. They have put up a Web site believing he’s the first commissioned officer to refuse to go.”
Success in Iraq?
AFP reported on June 8, 2006:
“Al-Qaeda’s chief in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who orchestrated a bloody campaign of attacks and beheadings, has been killed in an air strike, with US and Iraqi officials hailing it as a major blow against the network… US President George W. Bush and other leaders welcomed the killing of the Jordanian-born insurgent who carried a 25 million dollar bounty on his head, but also cautioned Al-Qaeda remains a dangerous force in Iraq and worldwide… Bush cautioned: ‘The difficult and necessary mission in Iraq continues. We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him. We can expect the sectarian violence to continue.’… An Al-Qaeda statement on an Islamist website confirmed the death. ‘We announce the martyr death of our sheikh, fighter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,’ said a statement… His death ‘would only reinforce our determination to pursue “jihad” so that the word of Allah gains the upper hand,’ the statement said. The group promised Al-Qaeda supremo bin Laden that ‘his soldiers in Al-Qaeda in Iraq will continue on the path forged by our sheikh Abu Musab.’…
“… in another step aimed at returning security to the insurgency-wracked country, parliament also approved Maliki’s long-awaited appointments to the defence and interior ministries. Jawad Polani [a Shiite] was named as interior minister, Abdel Qader al-Obeidi [a Sunni] as defense minister and Shirwan al-Waili [a Shiite] to head national security.”
Der Stern commented on Thursday: “Even the few good news in Iraq deal with killing… The death of al-Zarqawi is one of the very few successes for the US government in Iraq–a success which is not due to Bush, but to al-Zarqawi’s own conduct…. A militant Sunni leader in Iraq said recently: ‘We are so heavily involved in fighting the Shiites that we don’t get around to fighting the Americans. Allah may curse al-Zarqawi: His constant attacks on the Shiites have turned them against us.'”
“A Baghdad baker gave out free bread and a school teacher in rebellious Falluja expressed hope the killing of al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would halt Iraq’s ‘rivers of blood.’ But other Iraqis lamented the death of Zarqawi… as a great loss in the fight against American occupiers and some feared it would prompt reprisals… Some experts on Islamist groups have accused the United States of playing up the role of Zarqawi in Iraq to exaggerate America’s successes in Iraq. ‘We received this news with great joy, but our greater joy will be the departure of the occupation forces from Iraq,’ said Sahib al-Amiri, a member of radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s group… ‘Zarqawi is a puppet in the hands of the Americans, who chose to kill him to keep the occupation in our country. The occupation forces will start a new game in coming days.'”
European Countries Under Fire
The Associated Press reported on June 7:
“Fourteen European nations colluded with U.S. intelligence in a ‘spider’s web’ of secret flights and detention centers that violated international human rights law, [Swiss senator Dick Marty,] the head of an investigation into alleged CIA clandestine prisons said Wednesday… Marty relied mostly on flight logs provided by the European Union’s air traffic agency, Eurocontrol, witness statements gathered from people who said they had been abducted by U.S. intelligence agents and judicial and parliamentary inquiries in various countries… He listed 14 European countries–Britain, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Bosnia, Macedonia, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Romania and Poland–as being complicit in ‘unlawful inter-state transfers’ of people. Some, including Sweden and Bosnia, already have admitted some involvement… A parallel investigation by the European Parliament has said data show there have been more than 1,000 clandestine CIA flights stopping on European territory since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks… The Council of Europe has no power to punish countries for breaching the treaty other than terminating their membership in the organization. Based on irrefutable evidence, the European Union might be able to suspend the voting rights of a country found to have breached the convention.”
On June 8, 2006, AFP reported that “Poland and Romania led European countries in dismissing [the] report… The United States also criticized the report calling it a list of unproven allegations… In Warsaw, Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz dismissed the allegations as ‘libel’ with ‘no basis in fact’… Romania said the accusations were ‘pure speculation’ and slammed as unacceptable the ‘accusations based on “indications”‘… Belgium, meanwhile, urged Poland and Romania to lay their cards on the table and clear up the murky situation… Spain ‘categorically’ rejected the accusations… British Prime Minister Tony Blair dismissed the report as containing ‘absolutely nothing new’… But rights watchdog Amnesty International welcomed the report and repeated demands for the United States and Europe to halt ‘extraordinary renditions’. The London-based organisation said the report showed that so-called renditions were outside the law and ‘contrary to basic legal principles — involving… “disappearances”, arbitrary detention, illegal transfers and torture or other ill-treatment’.
“The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, which is a separate body from the European Union, was set up after World War II to promote democracy and human rights across the continent. All 25 EU countries are part of the 46-member organisation.”
Iran’s President Unwelcome in Germany?
AFP reported on June 6 that “The head of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote to Germany’s leader [Angela Merkel] on Monday after Iranian officials were quoted by media as saying their president would attend the football fiesta in Germany if Iran’s team advances to the second stage. ‘President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust and called for the obliteration of the state of Israel,’ wrote Rabbi Marvin Hier… ‘It is inconceivable that a head of state who advocates those policies would be received at a world sporting event by the same country where the Nuremburg Laws were proclaimed and where Adolf Hitler first enunciated his policies that led to the “Final Solution.” Such a visit would desecrate the memory of the millions murdered in the gas chambers and contradict the very foundation upon which the post-war Federal Republic of Germany was built,’ Hier added in the strongly worded letter on behalf of the 400,000 center members… While as a head of state Ahmadinejad does not require an official invitation from Germany to accept the games, Hier said he believed Berlin had a ‘moral obligation to state publicly that his visit would be unwelcome. I feel that the international community, and in this case Germany as the host country, have to say something and it’s not good enough to say they are hoping he won’t come,’ Hier told AFP.”
The German press has discussed for weeks the possible unwelcome visit of the President of Iran, but they have also pointed out that Germany does not really have any legal grounds for prohibiting the President’s visit. Even his denial of the Holocaust–to do so is a crime in Germany–does not constitute any legal basis for criminal prosecution or a denial of his visit, as the President of Iran would enjoy diplomatic and legal immunity.
Is the World Bowing to Iran?
The Associated Press reported on June 6:
“A package of incentives presented Tuesday to Iran includes a provision for the United States to supply Tehran with some nuclear technology if it stops enriching uranium–a major concession by Washington, diplomats said… The package was agreed on last week by the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia–the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, in a bid to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran.”
On June 8, 2006, AFP reported:
“The United States refused to confirm or deny reports that it and European powers had offered Iran the possibility of uranium enrichment on its territory, dismissing them as ‘hypothetical and theoretical.’… The State Department and White House reiterated that Iran must suspend all uranium enrichment on its soil as a condition for Washington’s participation in negotiations with the Islamic republic… According to diplomatic sources in Vienna and Tehran, the powers’ offer to Iran would eventually allow uranium enrichment on its territory, but only after the approval of the international community.”
Der Spiegel Online reported on June 7:
“The United States and West Germany knew of the location and alias of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann two years before his capture, according to CIA documents released on Tuesday. The newly declassified intelligence archives reveal that the CIA was told by West German intelligence in 1958 about Eichmann’s whereabouts in Argentina. Eichmann is known to have organized the ‘final solution’ –the deportation of Jews to ghettos and death camps — to rid Germany of its Jewish population during World War II… Eichmann remained at large in Argentina with his family until 1960 where he was captured and kidnapped by Israeli intelligence…After his capture by Israeli agents Eichmann was taken to Israel where he was tried, convicted and executed in 1962 for crimes that he committed against the Jews.”
Aachen Cathedral Restored
“This Week in Germany” reported on June 3 about the completed restoration of the cathedral of Aachen, a German town with highly significant historic relevance. The article stated:
“The cathedral–Germany’s oldest–defines the phrase ‘work in progress,’ featuring architectural and artistic elements from several eras of German history. Construction of the Palatine Chapel began in 786 AD at the behest of Charlemagne, who chose Aachen as the seat of his Holy Roman Empire. Thirty kings of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned in the cathedral’s chambers. It continued as wings were added to the structure periodically over the course of the next millennium, while a ‘glass house’ for choral performances was built in 1614. In 1978, the Aachen cathedral was the first German site to be chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In late 2005, the first compilation of the Seven Wonders Foundation’s roster of ‘New 7 Wonders’ ranked the Aachen Cathedral at number 25, making it the highest ranked German site on the list.”
Mass Extinctions Through Space Rock?
Space.com reported on June 1:
“An apparent crater as big as Ohio has been found in Antarctica. Scientists think it was carved by a space rock that caused the greatest mass extinction on Earth, 250 million years ago.The crater, buried beneath a half-mile of ice and discovered by some serious airborne and satellite sleuthing, is more than twice as big as the one involved in the demise of the dinosaurs.The crater’s location, in the Wilkes Land region of East Antarctica, south of Australia, suggests it might have instigated the breakup of the so-called Gondwana supercontinent, which pushed Australia northward, the researchers said. ‘This Wilkes Land impact is much bigger than the impact that killed the dinosaurs, and probably would have caused catastrophic damage at the time,’ said Ralph von Frese, a professor of geological sciences at Ohio State University… The Permian-Triassic extinction, as it is known, wiped out most life on land and in the oceans. Researchers have long suspected a space rock might have been involved. Some scientists have blamed volcanic activity or other culprits… The newfound crater is more than twice the size of the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan peninsula, which marks the impact that may have ultimately killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The Chicxulub space rock is thought to have been 6 miles wide, while the Wilkes Land meteor could have been up to 30 miles wide, the researchers said.”