Texas, USA cop-killing war veteran had PTSD


Micah Xavier Johnson

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Veteran who shot dead five policemen in Dallas had PTSD

Today, 08:24

The former soldier who last month shot dead five policemen in Dallas had symptoms suggestive of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but was not helped. This is evident from documents that the Veterans Administration has released.

After Micah Johnson in 2014 had returned from Afghanistan, he sought help for panic attacks, depression and hallucinations. Doctors then concluded that he was no danger to himself or others.

Johnson in the army was a specialist in the field of carpentry and masonry. He told doctors that he saw during the war how his fellow soldiers were torn apart by bombs. Since then, he had nightmares. He heard voices and explosions in his head.

“I was trying to block the images in my head, but it’s hard to forget something like that,” Johnson is quoted in the documents of the health care service for veterans. Doctors sent the former soldier back home and told him to have medication, but he got no further help.

On July 7, Micah Johnson shot five police officers dead during a demonstration in Dallas against racist police brutality. Police killed Johnson with a bomb robot.

Washington supports Turkey’s Erdogan’s anti-Syrian Kurds bloodshed


This video says about itself:

The Flowers of Rojava – A Feminist Revolution in Northern Syria (TRAILER)

5 November 2015

I am producing, with a small but very motivated team, a documentary on the situation of women in Rojava, the self-administered [mainly Kurdish] region in the North of Syria. This is the video trailer for our crowdfunding campaign.

Many politicians in many countries don’t often tell the truth. However, United States Vice President Joseph Biden did that at least once.

Mr Biden told Harvard University students in 2014 that Middle Eastern US allies such as Turkey strengthened extremist groups like ISIS in their bid to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Now, however, it looks like Mr Biden is betraying that moment of honesty.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

US calls on Syrian Kurds to withdraw

These Syrian Kurds are the only force effectively fighting ISIS terrorists. However, the Erdogan regime in Turkey hates them, and has fired artillery shells at them before, and has otherwise helped ISIS. Today, Turkish soldiers have crossed the Syrian border to attack Jarablus city, to prevent Syrian Kurds from entering it.

Today, 16:58

The US vice president, Joe Biden, has asked the Kurdish militias in northern Syria to withdraw behind the Euphrates river. If they do not do that, then the US will not “under any circumstances” support them. …

The Kurds expelled IS earlier this month from the southern city Manbij. Manbij is west of the Euphrates. Turkey therefore demands that the Kurds withdraw and for that, they now receive support from the US.

This blog has reported how happy the women of Manbij were when Syrian Kurds and their Syrian Arab allies drove away the ISIS reign of terror from Manbij, and the women were free again to dress the way they liked without fear of ISIS killing them. If Erdogan or the Joseph Biden of 2016 get their way in Manbij, then the women will have to fear another reign of terror, by ISIS or by a similar gang.

Biden meets with Erdogan, backs Turkish invasion of Syria: here.

War Porn, American anti-war novel


This video from the USA says about itself:

Identity, Experience, & Storytelling: A Conversation with Roy Scranton

18 March 2016

A discussion between Roy Scranton and Jennifer Ahern-Dodson about being a writer and reader in contemporary society. Scranton talks about how he approaches his own writing and assesses the writing of others, as well as how to draw on his own experience as a writer of fiction, non-fiction, and literary criticism.

Read more here.

By Eric London in the USA:

War Porn by Roy Scranton

The anti-war novel re-emerges in American literature

22 August 2016

After 15 years of permanent war, it is no surprise that the “war novel” has emerged as a predominant form of contemporary American literature. For the most part, contemporary war literature reflects the degree to which militarism and the celebration of American imperialism have been consciously elevated by the ruling class as “official” culture.

The most brutal of these works unapologetically glorify the death and destruction wreaked by the US armed forces on the impoverished people of the Middle East and Central Asia. Books with titles like “Kill Bin Laden,” “No Easy Day” and “Band of Sisters” repeat themes of love of country, battle heroism, and other such nonsense. The jackets of these books feature laudatory endorsements by generals and intelligence officials.

There are also many writers of a second type who attempt, without much success, to address general themes like the difficulties of reintegration into civilian life, the hardship of war, and the repressive atmosphere attendant to military life. Books like “The Yellow Birds,” “Youngblood” and “Thank You For Your Service” generally take the position that soldiers are placed in morally ambiguous positions by the contradiction between the essentially “good” character of the wars and the obvious fact that “war is hell.”

Whatever aesthetic skill the authors of these books possess is wasted by the fact that they are based on lies. It is widely understood that the US government and corporate media engaged in a fraudulent conspiracy to launch the wars in order to capture resources and secure the profits of Wall Street and the oil corporations. Fifteen years later the wars continue, with over one million dead. The destruction has triggered one of the largest migrations in human history. Those books which cover up these truths will be forgotten within a handful of years, and rightfully so.

But there is a third, emergent genre of war literature which is reacting against the first two types. Books like Phil Klay’s 2014 short story compilation Redeployment mark an important step toward an honest appraisal of the devastating impact that 15 years of the war on terror have had on social, cultural and individual life. Klay, a returning soldier, begins his book: “We shot dogs. Not by accident. We did it on purpose and we called it Operation Scooby.”

In August, SoHo Publishing released “War Porn,” by Roy Scranton, who spent 2002 to 2006 as a soldier in Iraq. The novel consciously challenges the pro-war propaganda literature that has dominated the literary scene for the last decade. It is an advance from Redeployment and it foreshadows the emergence of a new canon of contemporary literature that is consciously anti-war.

Scranton’s debut novel intertwines the stories of three people in the early days of the US invasion of Iraq. There is the US soldier who returns home and commits a crime as horrendous as those he committed in Iraq, and the Iraqi mathematician who aids the US occupation and ends up its victim. Then there is the autobiographical left-wing US soldier who serves alongside soldiers whose readiness to kill is justly presented as a dangerous form of mental illness.

Though the title strikes the reader as an attempt at shock value, the inside jacket explains that “war porn” means “videos, images, and narratives featuring graphic violence, often brought back from combat zones, viewed voyeuristically or for emotional gratification. Such media are often presented and circulated without context, though they may be used as evidence of war crimes.”

The sensory material from which Scranton has drawn to write his novel consists of evidence of the most horrible war crimes committed by the US occupation forces against the people of Iraq. He portrays the material honestly and devastatingly.

Take, for example, Scranton’s description of the beginning of the US bombing campaign in March 2003:

“Day and night, bombs crashed into Baghdad. You watched it on TV, you heard it on the radio, you saw it from the roof and when you ventured out into the street: soldiers and civilians, arms and legs roasting, broken by falling stone, intestines spilling onto concrete; homes and barracks, walls ripped open; Baathists and Islamists, Communists and Social Democrats, grocers, tailors, construction workers, nurses, teachers all scurrying to hide in the dim burrows, where they would wait to die, as many died, some slowly from disease and infection, others quick in bursts of light, thickets of tumbling steel, halos of dust, crushed by the world’s greatest army.

“As the bombing grew worse, the terror of it stained every living moment. Sleep was a fractured nightmare of the day before, cut short by another raid. Stillness and quiet didn’t mean peace, only more hours of anxious waiting—or death. Even the comfort of family rubbed raw.”

The crimes Scranton describes have also shaped the political consciousness of hundreds of millions worldwide, and Scranton is writing on behalf of those upon whom the wars have left an indelible impression. He is attempting to take the images and experiences of 15 years and to present the wars as they really are.

One scene gives the reader a sense of Scranton’s laudable literary approach. He depicts an old blind man sitting in a park who “remembered the British biplanes of his youth.” He recalls Iraqi independence and “the shining dream of nation.” The old man ponders the exploitation of Iraqi oil by foreign corporations, the Nakbha in 1948, and the rise of the Baathists, who cut off his tongue for an unknown political offense. He sits amidst the US invasion, “listening to the thunder.” Scranton describes the man and explains: “For do I not yet write? Do I not mark the truth in my book? Do I not chronicle my poem for the ages, to be sung by my children’s children’s children? They would blind me, but I see the truth. I see the truth and I write the truth, and our truth shall outlive theirs.”

This is a healthy development for contemporary literature both in terms of its historical understanding and in terms of its objectivity. Scranton’s war is not one of equally valid narratives or ethically ambiguous situations. As the author recently tweeted, with sarcasm: “You know what would be awesome? More veterans whining about how nobody understands the moral complexity of being an imperial stormtrooper.”

But War Porn does not feel forced or pedagogical. The author has a real aesthetic skill and is moved by a genuine sympathy for humanity. One finds in his novel very little cynicism. Absent is the concept that war is the inescapable product of a violent human nature. To the contrary, one character, a teenaged Iraqi girl, is angry that the stress of the war is giving her acne and split ends, and fears the possibility of dying without having first fallen in love. Her greatest philosophical preoccupation: can Michael Jackson be reconciled with the Quran?

Scranton’s attempts to depict beauty amidst the backdrop of the war are not saccharine. A returning US soldier ponders “feeling the war slip off like an old jacket,” echoing Hemingway’s brilliant and simple line from A Farewell to Arms: “the war seemed as far away as the football games of someone else’s college.”

The descriptions of Iraq in the hours before the bombing, for example, are striking. The Iraqi main character, Qasim, is awoken from a nightmare and looks out the window of his room at Baghdad:

“Dawn shone in a red line. Black palms rose like minarets and the minarets rose like rockets: the sky floated black under a starry blue sea, and that’s how they’d come at him, like sharks. Had it begun yet? Were the lights in the sky the sea, or the city?”

After the bombing begins, Qasim’s family watches their city under siege on CNN: “They watched balls of fire rise up in the night across the Dijlah, red and gold flowers blooming in the black water. They saw their city in green from above, in videos made by the men who were killing them, bright neon stripes cutting the screen, pale green explosions below.”

The publication of these lines, and of the book as a whole, has an objective significance. The hatred for war that exists among broad masses of the world’s population cannot be silenced by the lies of the government and its media and literary propagandists. Roy Scranton’s War Porn expresses and helps advance the profound social anger that is emerging amidst the rumble of a society devastated by imperialist war.

Finally, a Realistic Iraq War Novel. Roy Scranton‘s ‘War Porn‘ bucks the trends of recent fiction about soldiers. By Tom A. Peter: here.

European Union propaganda and Lesbos refugees reality


This video about Iraq says about itself:

Mosul Offensive Will Create More Refugees, Displacement, and Humanitarian Disaster

11 July 2016

Institute for Policy Studies Fellow Phyllis Bennis says the fightback against ISIS requires the abandonment of more military force, and the pursuit of diplomacy with Russia and Iran.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Things go well on Lesbos, says Brussels. Until you start looking there yourself

Today, 12:14

In spite of Europe we still exist.” That’s the predominant feeling on Lesbos, the Greek island that was flooded last year by boat people. 600,000 of the 1 million refugees who then reached Greece arrived on the island off the Turkish coast.

After the EU-Turkey deal in March this year, the number of refugee dinghies dropped drastically. But the people are still afraid, noted EU correspondent Arjan Noorlander ….

Distressing situation

Noorlander decided to look for himself what has become of all the plans and optimistic words he heard in Brussels in recent months. He was disappointed drastically at what the EU is doing to help the refugees and the people of Lesbos. “It’s a very different situation than I expected after following the political discussions in Brussels. From these you get the idea that they really are tackling problems. That idea proves to be untrue here. It is distressing.”

He is shocked by the extent of the problem. What struck Noorlander most was a huge pile of life jackets at a local landfill. “Such a stack as a symbol of all those hundreds of thousands of boat people hurts one pretty hard inside. Then it becomes from a problem that you know from TV or from the political corridors suddenly a real problem of real people.”

“Europe has done preciously little for Lesbos,” he says. “You can see that the refugees all these months anyway were mostly helped by volunteers. In the official camps you see United Nations stickers everywhere, because the United Nations [contrary to the EU] is present.”

Brussels was said they would help the Greeks with the reception and even take over refugees. All that does not happen, Noorlander notes. People are thereby stuck on the islands, where it starts to get more crowded.

The facilities are in reasonable order, but because of the bigger crowds the situation is not improving. “The atmosphere in the camps is tense. There has to be done little before things may get out of hand.”

According to official figures, 58,000 refugees now reside in Greece. 11,000 of them are on the Aegean islands Lesbos, Chios and Samos.

Last week fourteen migrants from Lesbos were returned to Turkey: eight Syrians, four Pakistanis and two Algerians. …

Most poignant is the situation around the so-called emergency procedure. Part of the agreement was that newly arrived refugees would get clarity within 48 hours about their applications for asylum. …

Nothing like that happened, says Noorlander. “I have spoken to people in the camps who have been there for months and have just been told they will have to wait until December for their first asylum interview.” …

Why the difference between the Brussels [European Union] reality and the actual situation in Greece? The problem, according to Noorlander, is that the Brussels politicians and diplomats do not themselves come to see how things are in Lesbos.

Divisions rise inside EU at summit between Germany, France and Italy: here.

Bloody bombing of wedding in Turkey


This video says about itself:

21 August 2016

A funeral ceremony was held in Gaziantep, Sunday, to mourn the 50 people killed by a suspected child suicide bomber at a wedding celebration in the largely Kurdish city on Saturday. Around 94 people were also injured in the blast.

By Alex Lantier:

Suicide bombing kills 51 at wedding in Turkey

22 August 2016

Fifty-one people died and 69 were injured Saturday when a horrific suicide bombing hit a Kurdish wedding in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the border with Syria. At least 17 of the wounded are severely injured and clinging to life.

The pro-Kurdish People‘s Democratic Party (HDP) has confirmed that one of its members was getting married at the wedding. The wedding party was winding down and guests were beginning to leave when the suicide bomber, identified as a boy aged 12 to 14, detonated his explosive vest. “The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion,” one of the guests said. “There was blood and body parts everywhere.”

Many of the victims were children, apparently because they had gathered to one side of the folk dancing at the party, and were therefore closer to the blast.

The bride and groom, Besna and Nurettin Akdogan, were injured. “They turned our wedding into a blood bath,” the bride told Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency after being released from the hospital.

The couple had reportedly fled the town of Siirt to Gaziantep in order to escape fighting between the Turkish army and ethnic Kurdish militias in Turkey. The government offensive against Kurdish separatists escalated as Kurdish militias across the border in Syria began playing a larger role in the war in that country.

Yesterday, a mass funeral was held for victims of the bombing in Gaziantep, though authorities said further DNA testing will be needed to identify all of the victims, many of whom were blown apart. …

While as of this writing no one has claimed responsibility for the Gaziantep bombing, international media and several Turkish officials blamed the atrocity on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has reportedly recruited children to be used as suicide bombers. …

The atrocity in Gaziantep is the outcome of years of incitement of Islamist terror and ethnic bloodshed in the region by Washington and its imperialist allies in Europe as part of their proxy war for regime-change in Syria. Since 2011, the NATO powers and their Middle East allies have funneled billions of dollars and vast weapons shipments to Islamist … militias fighting in Syria. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died and over 10 million have fled their homes, unleashing the greatest global refugee crisis since World War II.

Erdoğan’s attempts to follow the twists and turns of imperialist policy have had devastating consequences for Turkey itself, particularly since Washington and its European allies began attacking ISIS in 2014 after it invaded Iraq and threatened to topple the US-backed puppet regime in Baghdad. ISIS had developed an extensive logistical network in Turkey and, starting last year, retaliated with a string of terror bombings inside Turkey.

These included the October 2015 attack in Ankara that killed 105 people and the March 2016 bombing on Istiqlal Avenue in Istanbul, both of which were planned by ISIS forces in Gaziantep.