Tortured in George W Bush’s USA


This 2009 video from the USA says about itself:

This is part 1 of a documentary about terror suspect Ali al-Marri, who’s been held at the Charleston Navy Brig for 7 years without a trial. We went to the Mideast to film this right after the Presidential election in 2008. Our story highlights this case as a prime example of how the law and the Constitution can easily be ignored in a time of war. In February 2009, al-Marri learned he will finally have his case heard in court.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

New evidence shows that Americans also used torture methods in the United States itself. The Qatari Ali al-Marri tells for the first time how he was treated in the aftermath of 9/11.

by Maud Effting, Tom Kreling and Huib Modderkolk

Ali al-Marri looks at the door of his American cell that swings open. ‘Pack your things’, the guard says in the doorway. “We’re leaving.” He looks up. Al-Marri – dark eyes, long black hair and a beard – has been trapped in the US for almost a year and a half, where he has come from Qatar to study. Now he is suspected of involvement in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

When he has gathered his things together, his hands and feet are chained. Then guards chain his hands to his waist. He gets ski goggles on which the glass is made black. A pair of headphones goes over his ears. This is how he shuffles behind his guards. In the past year he has been waiting in prison for something to happen with his case. Waiting for a formal charge, a conviction, a punishment. Sometimes he was moved. He was suddenly put in another cell. He waited there again. But this time it is different. Outside he hears the rotors of an aircraft turning. He peeks along the side of his glasses and then he sees them. Soldiers. He knows bad things will happen. He has never seen soldiers in prison. “Am I declared to be an enemy combatant?” He asks. “Yes”, says a soldier. It is June 23, 2003 and Ali al-Marri disappears in the plane that will take him to the military prison: the Navy Brig in South Carolina. From now on, other rules apply.

Because of his new status as enemy combatant- President George W. Bush signed the papers – he will disappear into a black hole from today on. He will not have contact with his lawyers for nearly a year and a half. His family has no idea where he is. And if he still lives at all. A week after the September 11 attacks, Bush was given the power by Congress to “use all necessary and appropriate means” in the fight against terrorism. For so-called enemy combatants, this meant that they could be held indefinitely and without trial. Most of the enemy combatants were detained at Guantánamo Bay after 2001. Only three were jailed on US American territory. Ali al-Marri was one of them.

For the first time, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri (52) is telling his story. He is a Qatarese banker who came to the US with his wife and five children just one day before September 11, 2001, to study information technology . He previously earned his bachelor’s degree in the US. He was arrested after the attacks. Initially he was seen as an important witness. He refused, however, to say something and gradually the accusations became more serious. Members of Al Qaeda in Guantánamo Bay were supposed to have said – maybe after torture – that he had ties with them: al-Marri supposedly belonged to a sleeping cell of Al Qaeda, waiting for instructions. After that, the FBI treated him for years as an important terrorism suspect.

Al-Marri denies to this day that he had anything to do with Al Qaida … Now he is here in a room in Amsterdam, and he wants to tell how he was treated in prison. How they tried to break him spiritually. And what total isolation did to him. How he was slowly dehumanized. On US American territory. His story is supported by new documents that show that the methods used in al-Marri are inhuman or torture according to international law.

… The log says that a senior officer of the Navy Brig passes. “Do I have any rights?” asks al-Marri. “No”, the man says. …

In December 2003, the interrogations seem to change: FBI agent Ali Soufan comes to the jail. He is one of the few Arabic-speaking agents at the service, famous for confessions he extracted from terrorist suspects. …

The atmosphere changes, al-Marri says. “Soufan said he could have my family imprisoned and tortured. He threatened that he would rape my wife in front of me, that he would put my children in the cell next to me so that I could hear them cry. He could make me disappear to black sites where they could do what they wanted with me. “Soufan said he had homosexual soldiers who wanted to have fun with me. …

They screamed that I had to keep my mouth shut. At one point I saw someone gesturing that this did not work. One interrogator walked out. “After a minute he was back, he says. “In his hands he had duct tape and a pair of white sports socks. They stuck my mouth shut with tape. “It does not work: the tape gets loose because he pushes it away with his tongue.” They try again. “Soufan pushed my jaws to open my mouth – he knew exactly what to do. Then he pushed the socks in. He shouted: stop singing, you will listen. Then he closed my mouth – one hand under my chin, the other on my head – while the other interrogator closed my head with tape. He went four, five times, horizontally and vertically. “Al-Marri begins to hum. They push his head towards the photos, shout close to his face, hit his cheeks with two hands, sit on his lap: they want him to listen. With two fingers they push his chin up. “I breathed through my nose. But from one moment to the next I suddenly got no air. I choked. It felt like you were trying to breathe under water. I could not do anything. The only thing I wanted was to take out those socks. But my hands were shackled. “I do not know where I was suffocated. The socks? My saliva? My tongue? It was as if I was drowning. I struggled, my body was shocked. I tried to pull my hands out of the shackles. I remember seeing two men sitting quietly beside me and thinking: they just let it happen. “How long does everything take – he does not remember. He only knows that at a given moment he no longer perceived anything. “I have never been closer to death”, says Al Marri. According to documents, the incident takes 15 minutes, until someone removes the tape. “I started coughing, throwing up.” His description is largely supported by documents. The Defense Department only deviates over the socks. …

He has been in total for thirteen years, until he is released in 2015 and expelled to Qatar. ‘I call on people who have experienced the same thing to also go out and tell their story about this man. It will become clear what he has done. I want justice.”

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Bush’s Iraq invasion, 15 years later


This 20 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

“It Was A Crime”: 15 Years After U.S. Invasion, Iraqis Still Face Trauma, Destruction & Violence

It was 15 years ago today when the U.S. invaded Iraq on the false pretense that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

The attack came despite worldwide protest and a lack of authorization from the United Nations Security Council. At around 5:30 a.m. in Baghdad on March 20, 2003, air raid sirens were heard as the U.S. invasion began.

The fighting has yet to end, and the death toll may never be known. Conservative estimates put the Iraqi civilian death toll at 200,000. But some counts range as high as 2 million.

In 2006, the British medical journal Lancet estimated 600,000 Iraqis died in just the first 40 months of the war. The U.S. has also lost about 4,500 soldiers in Iraq. Just last week, seven U.S. servicemembers died in a helicopter crash in western Iraq near the Syrian border.

The war in Iraq has also destabilized much of the Middle East. Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and others have directly blamed the U.S. invasion of Iraq for the rise of ISIS.

We speak to the Iraqi-French sociologist Zahra Ali, who teaches at Rutgers University; Matt Howard, co-director of About Face: Veterans Against the War, the organization formerly known as Iraq Veterans Against the War; and Sami Rasouli, founder and director of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq.

This 20 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

15 Years of Mass Destruction in Iraq

On the 15th anniversary of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, CODEPINK‘s Medea Benjamin and scholar Sabah Alnasseri discuss the war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and more than 4,500 American troops–and that changed Iraq and the Middle East forever.

‘HOW DECADES OF U.S. WAR IN IRAQ SHAPED — AND SCATTERED — ONE FAMILY’ “‘I used to be okay,’ said Hilda Simonian, who regularly suffers from paranoia and flashbacks 20 years after reaching safety in Canada.” [HuffPost]

By a margin of 2 to 1, Americans now say 15 years after the Iraq War that it was a mistake.

Fifteen years ago today, on the night of March 20-21, 2003, the armed forces of the United States and Great Britain began an illegal and unprovoked invasion of Iraq, a country of 26 million people. As bombs and missiles began to rain down on Iraq’s cities, and tanks and armored vehicles crossed the border from Kuwait, US President George W. Bush set in motion a war of aggression whose catastrophic consequences now shape world politics: here.

Ex-NATO boss regrets NATO warmongering


Ukraine

The Dutch ex-NATO boss Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has been, deservedly, criticized on this blog.

Now, however, for a change, he has said something right. Reminding me a bit of ex-United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, with his lies on behalf of the George W Bush administration, promoting war in Iraq, which Powell later regretted. Unfortunately, many politicians seems to become wiser only after retirement than when they still had powerful jobs.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘NATO should not have proposed membership to Ukraine and Georgia’

Today, 20:25

Then, Georgia was ruled by dictator and George W Bush pal Saakashvili. In Ukraine, people demonstrated against NATO membership and against George W Bush. Even the ‘pro-Western’ ‘orange’ Ukrainian government opposed Bush’s NATO missile plans.

NATO has driven Vladimir Putin into a corner, making him more radical. These are not the words of Russia, but those of NATO’s former Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

According to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the West must respect the Russian red line. The speed of NATO enlargement has contributed to Putin’s aggressive stance in the former Soviet Union.

NATO should not have offered membership to Ukraine and Georgia in 2008, the former NATO executive said. He calls it understandable that Putin has opposed it. …

The NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 was a breaking point in the relationship between Russia and the West. NATO opened the door for Georgia and Ukraine. Both countries were allowed to join, even though no date was mentioned. That was the wish of the American President Bush. The German Chancellor Merkel resisted. But NATO decided to leave the door ajar. That was unacceptable for Russia and Putin also said that afterwards.

The former Secretary General now says that he underestimated the response and that he should have done more to keep the parties on the same level. According to De Hoop Scheffer, the decision led to a radicalization by Putin.

He sees a direct connection with the war in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014). Meanwhile, De Hoop Scheffer is convinced that there can no longer be a question of membership for both countries.

George W Bush’s lies on the Iraq war


This video from the USA says about itself:

Finally – PROOF The Bush Administration LIED About Iraq’s WMDs

9 March 2016

Unfortunately Donald Trump isn’t wrong about everything. He has been very vocal about the Iraq War. In 2003 the United States invaded Iraq, which led to a near decade long war. Even though US troops left, the chaos from that decision still rages on, with no solution or end in sight. Did the United States have to invade? Why did they invade? Jonny 5, of the Flobots, tells you about the lies that the Bush Administration gave the American people so that they could start a war.

George W Bush’s ‘super Berlin’ wall damages wildlife


This 2012 video is called Photos and video of wildlife stranded at the US-Mexico border wall.

From Newsweek in the USA:

The Environmental Impact of the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall

By Melissa Gaskill On 2/14/16 at 2:28 PM

A line of 18-foot-tall steel posts placed four inches apart cuts like a scar across the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge near McAllen, Texas. It’s a stretch of a barrier extending intermittently across 650 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border from California to Texas, and presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio vow to enlarge it if elected.

The barrier is intended to deter illegal immigration and smuggling. Whether it has achieved those aims remains unclear, but what is clear in this part of Texas is that sections of the barrier bisect and isolate public and private lands, threatening to decimate wildlife habitats and leaving communities on both sides of the border that rely on wildlife tourism to wither.

Trump’s wall will damage wildlife.

George W Bush godfather of ISIS, United States general says


United States President George W Bush flashes a 'thumbs-up' after declaring the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, in this May 1, 2003 file photo. Six months after he spoke on an aircraft carrier deck under a banner proclaiming 'Mission Accomplished', President Bush disavowed any connection with the war message. Later, the White House changed its story and said there was a link

On this May 1, 2003 photo, United States President George W Bush flashes a ‘thumbs-up’ after declaring victory in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast. Six months after he spoke on that aircraft carrier deck under a banner proclaiming ‘Mission Accomplished’, President Bush disavowed any connection with the war message. Later, the White House changed its story and said there was a link.

The ISIS terrorist organisation has quite some ‘godbrothers’, including Turkish President Erdogan, ruling class people in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and elsewhere; as United States Vice President Joe Biden and many others have pointed out.

The main cause of the birth of ISIS was the 2003 start of the Iraq war by George W Bush and Tony Blair. As, again, many people have pointed out: including US President Obama; former United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan; and George W Bush’s ex-neo-colonial viceroy in Iraq, Paul Bremer. Recently, after a long time of being in denial, even Tony Blair himself half-apologized for his role as ‘godfather’ of ISIS.

Will George W Bush apologize, or half-apologize now, for his role as the other ‘godfather’ of ISIS? Will his little brother Jeb Bush (one of many Republican party candidates for the presidency; so far, public opinion polls say, remarkably unsuccessful, in spite of all his Super PAC money)? Now that an important officer in the United States armed forces has spoken on this?

By Travis Gettys in the USA:

Former head of US special forces admits: Islamic State would not exist if Bush didn’t invade Iraq

30 Nov 2015 at 09:59 ET

The former commander of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and Iraq admitted that strategic blunders by the Bush administration had led to the rise of Islamic State militants.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told the German newspaper Der Spiegel that Americans allowed their anger of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to lead them into disastrous military policies that failed to address the root causes of terrorism — and actually helped create new and more brutal terrorists.

The misunderstanding was so great that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who now heads ISIS, was freed in 2004 from a military prison after a U.S. military commission cleared him as harmless.

“We were too dumb,” Flynn said. “We didn’t understand who we had there at that moment. When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, ‘Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them.’ Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from.

The Bush administration did not even look properly where the 9/11 perpetrators came from. They were from the Saudi Arabian absolute monarchy (staunch allies of Pentagon, CIA and US Big Oil, with Saudi Prince ‘Bandar Bush’ being particularly close to the US Bush dynasty); and from Egypt, ruled by dictatorial Pentagon and CIA ally Hosni Mubarak.

Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction.”

Now the truth emerges: Here’s how the US fueled the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq

Laura Ingraham discovers Bush to blame for ISIS: ‘Iraq is worse than before we went in’

Hillary Clinton chides Jeb Bush on brother’s role in Iraq leading to ISIS

Ms Clinton is right on that. However, as her fellow Democratic party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and many others have pointed out, Hillary Clinton herself was wrong in voting for the Iraq war in 2002.

The U.S. invaded Iraq after administration officials — including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell — presented false intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s [alleged] weapons of mass destruction and alleged links to al-Qaeda.

“First we went to Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda was based, then we went to Iraq,” Flynn said. “Instead of asking ourselves why the phenomenon of terror occurred, we were looking for locations. This is a major lesson we must learn in order not to make the same mistakes again.”

Flynn, who served just before his retirement as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, admitted that he regrets his role in the Iraq War.

“Yes, absolutely,” said Flynn, who served from 2004 to 2007 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It was huge error,” he continued. “As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him.

Deposing Saddam Hussein should have been done by the Iraqi people. Not by a foreign military invasion, causing over a million dead, millions of injured people, over four million refugees, etc. etc. Like the colonels’ dictatorship in Greece was not finished by invasion by NATO (which considered the dictators to be allies), but by the Greek people. Like the dictatorships in Portugal, in Spain, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Indonesia, etc. were all finished by the people, without any bloodbath like Bush’s and Blair’s in Iraq.

The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.”

TED CRUZ GOES AFTER MARCO RUBIO “Ted Cruz on Monday offered his strongest denunciation so far of Marco Rubio‘s foreign policy views, assailing his Republican presidential rival as a proponent of ‘military adventurism’ that he said has benefited Islamic militant groups. He even tied the Floridian to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.” [Bloomberg]

‘HOW THE ARAB WORLD CAME APART’ This five-part New York Times investigation meticulously traces “the catastrophe that has fractured the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq 13 years ago, leading to the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis.” [NYT]