April 10, 2012
“One has to wonder what kind of drugs was in the system of the solider who went on the Afghan rampage.” –KTRN
Thousands of US soldiers are going into battle fueled by all sorts of prescription medications, be they amphetamines, antidepressants, sedatives or others. Largely unmonitored consumption of drugs can lead to aberrant behavior and mental disorders.
Over 110,000 American service personnel took prescribed medications in 2011 to battle through everyday military routine.
The Times recently disclosed that nearly 8 per cent of active-duty American servicemen and women take sedatives and over 6 per cent are on antidepressants, a tremendous eightfold increase since 2005, when two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were in full swing.
Routine military service, combat stress, and sometimes lack of sleep force American troops to go to work medicated. It mirrors the general situation in American society that uses prescription drugs on a daily basis at levels unseen before.
In the Army, though, those who opt to modulate their lives with drugs are facing challenges of a non-civil nature that supposes an absolutely different level of responsibility. These men and women are well-armed, after all.
As a rule, troops are sent to deployment with 180-day medication supply. But soldiers can always trade favorite pills with their friends. The habit of ending a hard day with a handful of various tablets is apparently nothing extraordinary.
“We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now…. And I don’t believe the current increase in suicides and homicides in the military is a coincidence,” said Bart Billings, a former military psychologist who hosts an annual conference on combat stress, informed The Los Angeles Times.
Painkillers of narcotic nature pose a threat of addiction to those injured who have to take them, too.
One could only guess whether the suicide rate surge in the US Army in the recent decade has any connections with army psychologists prescribing pills to personnel left, right and center. An appalling 80 per cent increase in suicides among US service personnel has been registered between 2004 and 2008.
On the other hand, when every 10th US serviceman deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there must be a calculated risk in prescribing these medications to keep soldiers in service.
March 19, 2012
By Madison Ruppert
“It appears there may have been more than one solider involved with the senseless murder rampage in Afghanistan. America’s finest at work.” –KTRN
Rumors and eyewitness accounts have been circulating since the news first broke of the massacre of Afghan civilians, including women and children, which left 16 dead.
Most of these focus on casting doubt on the American account of a lone wolf gunman acting completely on his own without the involvement of any other soldiers.
However, it is not pure rumor; indeed a probe conducted by the Afghan parliament determined that up to 20 American troops were involved in the killing.
According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the nine-member parliamentary probe spent two days in the southern Kandahar province conducting interviews with the families of the victims, tribal elders, as well as survivors while collecting evidence at the site of the brutal slayings in the Panjwai district.
Hamidzai Lali, a lawmaker representing the Kandahar province at the Wolesi Jirga, told Pajhwok Afghan News, that their probe concluded that there were anywhere between 15 to 20 American soldiers involved in the murders.
“We closely examined the site of the incident, talked to the families who lost their beloved ones, the injured people and tribal elders,” he said.
Lali stated that the attack lasted an entire hour and involved two different groups of American soldiers.
“The villages are one and a half kilometer[s] from the American military base. We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups,” he said.
Lali has called for the Afghan government along with the United Nations and the rest of the international community to make sure that those who were responsible for the killings are brought to justice in Afghanistan.
March 5th, 2012
By: Paul Joseph Watson
Uniformed troops from the Texas State Guard were used for the purposes of crowd control during the Zilker Kite Festival in Austin this past weekend, with video showing the troops ordering parents and children to board school buses at the end of the event.
Disturbing footage of the troops controlling the movement of attendees was filmed by Infowars reporters, in addition to a police helicopter circling above. However, the website of the Zilker Kite Festival attempted to downplay the Guard’s involvement as if it was completely normal.
Under the headline What are Soldiers doing at the Kite Festival!?, the website states that the troops were there to “help to manage the crowds during bus loading and unloading, at parking lots, and around the event.”
According to the Texas State Guard’s website, “The Texas State Guard (TXSG) mission as a branch of the Texas Military Forces is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist State and local authorities in times of state emergencies, with homeland security and community service through Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA).”
No information concerning the TXSG being present at the Kite Festival appears on the website.
The use of the military to oversee domestic roles normally ascribed to police officers is a sign of America’s deepening decline into a state of de facto martial law.
In 2008 it was announced that U.S. troops returning from duty in Iraq would be carrying out homeland patrols in America for the purposes of helping with “civil unrest and crowd control”. In recent years, budget cuts have also contributed to the increasing use of military assets to conduct routine law enforcement actions.
Military police were used to detain people at the Kentucky Derby horse race in 2009. In April of the same year, 400 Massachusetts National Guardsmen from the 126th Combat Support Battalion were deployed at the Boston Marathon to “maintain order”.
We have documented innumerable examples of Posse Comitatus being violated with uniformed troops increasingly being used to conduct routine traffic stops and provide security at public events across the nation.
The process of loading children onto buses for the purposes of forced relocation is also a scenario that has cropped up time and time again during exercises focused around responding to terror attacks and national emergencies.
During the Operation Mountain Guardian terrorism exercise undertaken in Denver last year, Colorado authorities issued a news advisory that detailed how children would be “processed” in the event of a terror attack by being taken to Denver’s Mile High Stadium.
Infowars reporters Aaron Dykes and Darrin McBreen, who were covering the drill, confirmed that buses marked “special” were used for that purpose.
As part of the same drill, a SWAT team raided a Denver school, terrorizing children as young as first grade with a traumatic and frighteningly realistic school shooter scenario.
Federal exercises have specifically targeted children on a number of occasions, most infamously in Muskegon, Michigan. In 2004, a Michigan county concocted a scenario in which public school children were threatened by a fictitious radical group that believed everyone should be home-schooled, WorldNetDaily reported. The exercise was funded by homeland security grants to area school districts and Muskegon county.
A 2003 Washington Post article revealed how school administrators in the Washington area had told parents they would be “prevented, or strongly discouraged, from picking up their children” in the event of a terrorist attack.
Under the plan, schools would be locked down and parents would not be able to retrieve their children.
For The Full Story Go To Info Wars
February 21, 2012
By Steve Vogel
Every year, more than a thousand National Guard, reserve and active-duty troops coming back from Iraq, Afghanistan or other military duties complain of being denied jobs or otherwise being penalized by employers because of their military obligations.
The biggest offender: the federal government.
It is against federal law for employers to penalize service members because of their military service. And yet, in some cases, the U.S. government has withdrawn job offers to service members unable to get released from active duty fast enough; in others, service members have been fired after absences.
In fiscal 2011, more than 18 percent of the 1,548 complaints of violations of that law involved federal agencies, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
“On the one hand, the government asked me to serve in Iraq,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Michael Silva, a reservist who commanded a brigade in Iraq and was fired from his job as a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol contractor on his return. “On the other hand, another branch of government was not willing to protect my rights after serving.”
The federal government is the largest employer of citizen-soldiers. About 123,000 of the 855,000 men and women currently serving as Guard members and reservists, or about 14 percent, have civilian jobs with the federal government. Over a fourth of federal employees are veterans.
October 31, 2011
By Thom Shanker and Steven Lee Myers
MacDill Air Force Base, FL – The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.
The plans, under discussion for months, gained new urgency after President Obama’s announcement this month that the last American soldiers would be brought home from Iraq by the end of December. Ending the eight-year war was a central pledge of his presidential campaign, but American military officers and diplomats, as well as officials of several countries in the region, worry that the withdrawal could leave instability or worse in its wake.
After unsuccessfully pressing both the Obama administration and the Iraqi government to permit as many as 20,000 American troops to remain in Iraq beyond 2011, the Pentagon is now drawing up an alternative.
In addition to negotiations over maintaining a ground combat presence in Kuwait, the United States is considering sending more naval warships through international waters in the region.
With an eye on the threat of a belligerent Iran, the administration is also seeking to expand military ties with the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. While the United States has close bilateral military relationships with each, the administration and the military are trying to foster a new “security architecture” for the Persian Gulf that would integrate air and naval patrols and missile defense.
The size of the standby American combat force to be based in Kuwait remains the subject of negotiations, with an answer expected in coming days. Officers at the Central Command headquarters here declined to discuss specifics of the proposals, but it was clear that successful deployment plans from past decades could be incorporated into plans for a post-Iraq footprint in the region.
For example, in the time between the Persian Gulf war in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States Army kept at least a combat battalion — and sometimes a full combat brigade — in Kuwait year-round, along with an enormous arsenal ready to be unpacked should even more troops have been called to the region.
“Back to the future” is how Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, Central Command’s chief of staff, described planning for a new posture in the Gulf. He said the command was focusing on smaller but highly capable deployments and training partnerships with regional militaries. “We are kind of thinking of going back to the way it was before we had a big ‘boots on the ground’ presence,” General Horst said. “I think it is healthy. I think it is efficient. I think it is practical.”
Mr. Obama and his senior national security advisers have sought to reassure allies and answer critics, including many Republicans, that the United States will not abandon its commitments in the Persian Gulf even as it winds down the war in Iraq and looks ahead to doing the same in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
“We will have a robust continuing presence throughout the region, which is proof of our ongoing commitment to Iraq and to the future of that region, which holds such promise and should be freed from outside interference to continue on a pathway to democracy,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Tajikistan after the president’s announcement.
During town-hall-style meetings with military personnel in Asia last week, the secretary of defense, Leon E. Panetta, noted that the United States had 40,000 troops in the region, including 23,000 in Kuwait, though the bulk of those serve as logistical support for the forces in Iraq.
As they undertake this effort, the Pentagon and its Central Command, which oversees operations in the region, have begun a significant rearrangement of American forces, acutely aware of the political and budgetary constraints facing the United States, including at least $450 billion of cuts in military spending over the next decade as part of the agreement to reduce the budget deficit.
Officers at Central Command said that the post-Iraq era required them to seek more efficient ways to deploy forces and maximize cooperation with regional partners. One significant outcome of the coming cuts, officials said, could be a steep decrease in the number of intelligence analysts assigned to the region. At the same time, officers hope to expand security relationships in the region. General Horst said that training exercises were “a sign of commitment to presence, a sign of commitment of resources, and a sign of commitment in building partner capability and partner capacity.”
Col. John G. Worman, Central Command’s chief for exercises, noted a Persian Gulf milestone: For the first time, he said, the military of Iraq had been invited to participate in a regional exercise in Jordan next year, called Eager Lion 12, built around the threat of guerrilla warfare and terrorism.
Another part of the administration’s post-Iraq planning involves the Gulf Cooperation Council, dominated by Saudi Arabia. It has increasingly sought to exert its diplomatic and military influence in the region and beyond. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, for example, sent combat aircraft to the Mediterranean as part of the NATO-led intervention in Libya, while Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates each have forces in Afghanistan.
At the same time, however, the council sent a mostly Saudi ground force into Bahrain to support that government’s suppression of demonstrations this year, despite international criticism.
Despite such concerns, the administration has proposed establishing a stronger, multilateral security alliance with the six nations and the United States. Mr. Panetta and Mrs. Clinton outlined the proposal in an unusual joint meeting with the council on the sidelines of the United Nations in New York last month.
The proposal still requires the approval of the council, whose leaders will meet again in December in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and the kind of multilateral collaboration that the administration envisions must overcome rivalries among the six nations.
“It’s not going to be a NATO tomorrow,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic negotiations still under way, “but the idea is to move to a more integrated effort.”
Iran, as it has been for more than three decades, remains the most worrisome threat to many of those nations, as well as to Iraq itself, where it has re-established political, cultural and economic ties, even as it provided covert support for Shiite insurgents who have battled American forces.
October 26, 2011
By Spencer Ackerman
President Obama announced on Friday that all 41,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq will return home by December 31. “That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end,” he said. Don’t believe him.
Now: it’s a big deal that all U.S. troops are coming home. For much of the year, the military, fearful of Iranian influence, has sought a residual presence in Iraq of several thousand troops. But arduous negotiations with the Iraqi government about keeping a residual force stalled over the Iraqis’ reluctance to provide them with legal immunity.
But the fact is America’s military efforts in Iraq aren’t coming to an end. They are instead entering a new phase. On January 1, 2012, the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors, all to protect the largest U.S. diplomatic presence anywhere overseas.
The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security does not have a promising record when it comes to managing its mercenaries. The 2007 Nisour Square shootings by State’s security contractors, in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed, marked one of the low points of the war. Now, State will be commanding a much larger security presence, the equivalent of a heavy combat brigade. In July, Danger Room exclusively reported that the Department blocked the Congressionally-appointed watchdog for Iraq from acquiring basic information about contractor security operations, such as the contractors’ rules of engagement.
That means no one outside the State Department knows how its contractors will behave as they ferry over 10,000 U.S. State Department employees throughout Iraq — which, in case anyone has forgotten, is still a war zone. Since Iraq wouldn’t grant legal immunity to U.S. troops, it is unlikely to grant it to U.S. contractors, particularly in the heat and anger of an accident resulting in the loss of Iraqi life.
It’s a situation with the potential for diplomatic disaster. And it’s being managed by an organization with no experience running the tight command structure that makes armies cohesive and effective.
You can also expect that there will be a shadow presence by the CIA, and possibly the Joint Special Operations Command, to hunt persons affiliated with al-Qaida. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has conspicuously stated that al-Qaida still has 1,000 Iraqi adherents, which would make it the largest al-Qaida affiliate in the world.
So far, there are three big security firms with lucrative contracts to protect U.S. diplomats. Triple Canopy, a longtime State guard company, has a contract worth up to $1.53 billion to keep diplos safe as they travel throughout Iraq. Global Strategies Group will guard the consulate at Basra for up to $401 million. SOC Incorporated will protect the mega-embassy in Baghdad for up to $974 million. State has yet to award contracts to guard consulates in multiethnic flashpoint cities Mosul and Kirkuk, as well as the outpost in placid Irbil.
“We can have the kind of protection our diplomats need,” Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough told reporters after Obama’s announcement. Whether the Iraqi people will have protection from the contractors that the State Department commands is a different question. And whatever you call their operations, the Obama administration hopes that you won’t be so rude as to call it “war.”
October 24, 2011
By Tony Cartalucci
For ten months the Obama administration has presided over the “Arab Spring,” a geopolitical gambit years in the making, and executed simultaneously in multiple nations throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the beginning of 2011.
The regional conflagration was stoked by a steady stream of denial, even feigned surprise, with covert support for US-backed opposition groups, then more overt support, and finally NATO airstrikes, weapons, training, and special operations forces lent to the rebellion in Libya and weapons and support sent to Syria’s militants.
These collective efforts stretching from Tunisia and leading up to Iran’s doorstep serve a singular agenda — that is, to contain and ultimately overturn the reemergence of Russia as well as to contain the rise of China.
Integral to this stated agenda, is the toppling of Iran’s government and its integration into the Wall Street-London “international order.” Efforts to topple Syria’s government by US-backed and now apparently armed opposition groups aim to isolate and even provoke the Islamic Republic into a suitable justification for US or Israeli (or both) retaliation. As reported on extensively, the literal playbook from which these stratagems are drawn is the Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s “Which Path to Persia?” report. In it, it specifically states:
“…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.) ”
The 2009 “Green Revolution” was just such an attempt at “covert regime change” to “goad Iran into such a provocation” though it ignominiously failed. It appears that in addition to funding, arming, and harboring the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), the US has also taken to entirely fabricating “such provocations.” The recent DEA-Saudi bomb plot announced by Attorney General Eric Holder stands on tenuous grounds, even more so now that Iran has counterclaimed that the supposed Quds Forces member the US implicated may in fact be a member of the above stated US-backed MEK terrorist organization. The US has done all in its power to coax Saudi Arabia into taking a harder line against Tehran. The Brookings report had this to say about that in 2009:
“For instance, Saudi Arabia is positively apoplectic about the Iranians’ nuclear program, as well as about their mischief making in Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories. Yet, so far, Riyadh has made clear that it will not support military operations of any kind against Iran. Certainly that could change, but it is hard to imagine what it would take.”
“…it is hard to imagine what it would take.” Perhaps MEK terrorists posing as Quds Forces, entrapping a drug addicted used-car salesman to arrange a bomb plot against a Saudi ambassador and then blaming it on Iran.
With the fate of Libya hanging in the balance, with US troops still occupying both Iraq and Afghanistan, and with renewed vigor aimed toward Syria after the alleged fall of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, it is incredibly unlikely that the US has abandoned its plans to ultimately topple the Iranian regime as the crescendo to this ongoing regional campaign. In fact, many amongst Obama’s own administration have been the most rabid supporters of executing the final leg of this long-term strategy started under the Bush administration. The 2008 presidential runner-up John McCain, and of course the same collection of unelected, corporate-funded policy makers from the halls of Brookings Institution, the Foreign Policy Initiative and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have also been more than eager in pushing this agenda along.
That these policy makers, who have helped engineer and support the current course Obama is on, are now sulking over Obama’s decision to pull troops out of Iraq when in fact Obama doesn’t, never has, and never will make such decisions, is highly suspect. Kenneth Pollack, one of the co-authors of the “Which Path to Persia?” report, recently expressed dismay in his article titled, “With a Whimper, Not a Bang.” Frederick Kagan, the corporate-funded AEI architect behind the Iraq “troop surge” also lamented in a piece titled, “Obama abandons Iraq.” Kagan explicitly claims that the withdrawal would be “giving Tehran the single most important demand it has pursued for years—the complete withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq.”
The US is at least peddling the illusion that it is clearing out its holdings in Iraq, leaving a symbolic force for a reason — a reason that has to do with a final gambit to be played against Iran, the last domino to fall in the US-contrived “Arab Spring.” These are two possible scenarios:
1. Leave a small symbolic force for the Iranians to attack in Iraq after a “unilateral” Israeli airstrike. Whatever Iran decides to do, it may not be able to do sustainably, but will do viciously in the opening phases. By leaving a symbolic force in Iraq, the US can garner the necessary sympathy and anger politically at home to launch a wider operation against Iran in “retaliation.”
2. Feign as if the US is disengaging from the Middle East so when a false flag terror attack or other provocation is perpetrated against the US, it will look like an egregious act of war by Iran. While a shrinking US presence in the Middle East would logically engender even more patience in Tehran, the script writers of the latest DEA-Saudi bomb plot took special care to ensure the “Iran has become bolder” talking-point made it repetitively on air and into the minds of unsuspecting Americans.
This is more than mere idle speculation. In the Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia?” nearly all but the most extreme measures proposed in the report have been executed. The only options left on the table unused include a unilateral Israeli airstrike designed to provoke a significant retaliation thus bringing the US into war with Iran and a variety of options to provoke a full-scale invasion.
In a section of the report titled, “Leave it to Bibi: Allowing or Encouraging an Israeli Military Strike,” (page 89, page 102 of the .pdf) it appears that Israeli intelligence is also working with the terrorist organization MEK:
“Israeli intelligence operations against Iran were stepped up even earlier and have included use of third parties to publicize the Iranian threat without revealing the Israeli hand. Iran’s secret enrichment and heavy-water reactor programs were publicly exposed in August 2002 by an Iranian dissident group (the Mujahedin-e Khalq), which reportedly was unwittingly fed the information by Israeli intelligence.”
The report goes on to say of an American-approved Israeli airstrike:
“However, as noted in the previous chapter, the airstrikes themselves are really just the start of this policy. Again, the Iranians would doubtless rebuild their nuclear sites. They would probably retaliate against Israel, and they might retaliate against the United States, too (which might create a pretext for American airstrikes or even an invasion.)”
Allowing the Israelis to attack by air, and sacrificing US troops on the ground in Iraq as a pretext for greater war is most certainly a possibility. The report continues on by stating the necessity of maintaining a certain level of plausible deniablity regarding the Israeli airstrikes. US troops in Iraq would by default implicate America in any Israeli airstrike that would need to pass over Iraqi airspace. US troops “in retreat” in Iraq could possibly mitigate such implications as well as make an Iranian retaliation seem all the more “outrageous, deadly, and unprovoked.”
We can be sure that after years of carrying forth an agenda that preceded his presidency, Obama has not suddenly decided to unilaterally pull troops from Iraq. His administration’s duplicity and eagerness throughout the US-contrived “Arab Spring” all but assure us that the overarching agenda still includes encircling and toppling the government in Iran. It has not escaped the attention of the White House that a withdrawal from Iraq would give Iran its greatly desired breathing room and would greatly diminish America’s influence throughout the Middle East.
Just like the false rapprochement of the West with Libya’s Qaddafi before the US rearmed, reorganized, and let loose the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), when the West returns to torment Tehran, it will come back with a vengeance. Keep an eye on Israel for their attack and the complicit United States waiting to once again “lead from behind.” And if you have someone you know in the US military stationed in Iraq staying behind, prepare for the absolute worse. As Henry Kissinger once so bluntly stated, “military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.” (Woodward and Bernstein The Final Days in chapter 14). Certainly, a few dead G.I.s in Iraq after an Iranian retaliation for an Israeli airstrike would be just the pawns needed for “foreign policy” to move forward.
One can only hope this pessimistic analysis is entirely wrong, and that the US has overreached and has simply decided to withdraw from the battlefield and ultimately from empire. However, if unrest continues to unfold in Syria, which is essentially a low-intensity US proxy war against Damascus, and in turn against Tehran, we can be sure any optimism will be quickly dashed against the rocks by the Wall Street-London corporate-financier oligarchs.
September 12, 2011
By: Paul Joseph Watson
The consequences of a “credible and specific” warning that terrorists were planning to blow up bridges or tunnels on the anniversary of 9/11 turned into a police state showcase and ended in a farce when fighter jets were scrambled as a response to people visiting airplane bathrooms.
Following days of endless fearmongering prompted by a “reliable source” who provided “uncorroborated” information that Al-Qaeda was planning to strike this weekend, we were saturated with images of police brazenly violating the 4th amendment by conducting sweeping vehicle and bag searches, national guard troops with guns, and random checkpoints, all serving as a reminder that the terrorists really did win.
But what became of the deadly terror plot? Was the attempt foiled by the suffocating but necessary “security” procedures?
“Fighter planes were scrambled, bomb squads were called, FBI command centers went on alert and police teams raced to airports today, but in the end two separate airline incidents were caused by apparently innocent bathroom breaks and a little “making out,” federal officials said,” reports ABC News.
F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to follow a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Detroit after reports that three passengers, two men and a woman, were acting “suspiciously” and spending lengthy amounts of time in the bathroom.
After landing in Detroit, police stormed the plane with guns drawn and ordered everybody to put their heads down and their hands on the seat in front of them.
“The policeman said everybody remain seated. Everyone remains seated. If you get out of your seats you will be taken care of quickly,” said Marilyn Dietrick,” reports ABC 7.
Passengers were then ordered off the plane without their belongings and forced to undergo FBI questioning while bomb-sniffing dogs searched their luggage.
“No one was hurt and so far no one has been placed under arrest. All of the detained passengers, including the three who were first taken off the plane, have been released,” reports ABC 7.
It turned out that the “suspicious behavior” was two people “making out” in the bathroom mid-flight, law enforcement sources told ABC News.”
In another incident, two fighter jets were scrambled to escort an American Airlines jet into New York’s JFK airport. Again, the “suspicious behavior” that prompted the alert comprised of passengers visiting the restroom.
So the serious and sober terror alert that provoked thousands of headlines and a multi-million dollar security response, while of course presenting the perfect opportunity to reinforce the police state by invoking 9/11, culminated in nothing more than an almighty freak out in response to a few people eager to use the bathroom.
The whole farce underscores the fact that the terrorists have won. The goal of terror is to fundamentally change society so that the population alters their behavior and willingly relinquishes their freedom through fear. By exploiting the threat of terrorism to provoke fear, the federal government has achieved this objective.
The fact that Americans are more likely to die from intestinal illnesses, accident-causing deer, and allergic reactions to peanuts than they are in terrorist attacks is buried amidst all the panic and hand-wringing about deadly plots that never come to fruition, but do serve to justify the bloated Homeland Security state that has swallowed up America in the drive for profit and control.
This is why military-industrial complex publications like National Defense have openly expressed the need to maintain “fear and an unrealistic American perception of risk” regarding terrorist attacks in order to drive up profits.
This can only be accomplished with the complicity of the establishment media, who are certain to hype more dubious terror alerts, which former DHS head Tom Ridge admitted were faked and exaggerated for political purposes, in order to generate the kind of hysteria that leads to visits to the bathroom being characterized as suspicious and terror-related.
September 13, 2010
by Rania El Gamal
U.S. Staff Sergeant Kendrick Manuel swung his rifle over his shoulder and grumbled about being viewed as a “non-combat” soldier in Iraq.
“When NBC talked about the last combat troops are gone, they made it sound like everything is basically over,” he said, after escorting a 19-truck convoy through a part of northern Iraq where roadside bombs and mortar attacks are still a danger.
“To us it was like a slap in the face, because we are still here … we are still going in harm’s way every time we leave out of the gate,” Manuel said at a U.S. military base, Camp Speicher, near Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit.
On August 31, the U.S. military formally declared an end to its combat mission in Iraq, 7-1/2 years after the invasion that removed Saddam and led to sectarian warfare and a fierce insurgency in which tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed. More than 4,400 U.S. soldiers have been killed since 2003.
U.S. networks such as NBC showed what the U.S. military labeled the last combat brigade rumbling into Kuwait. Soldiers whooped and shouted on camera that the war was over.
Yet, there are still six brigades made up of 50,000 troops in Iraq, ahead of a full withdrawal at the end of 2011. Their focus is to assist and advise their Iraqi counterparts, not lead the fight against insurgents, but they remain heavily armed and face frequent threats.
On September 7, two U.S. soldiers were killed and nine wounded when an Iraqi soldier opened fire on them at an Iraqi commando base.
The hype around the change of mission, which allowed President Barack Obama to say he was fulfilling a pledge to start ending the unpopular war, set off complaints among some soldiers left behind who were no longer viewed as combat troops.
U.S. military convoys are still shot at and bombed, and bases are mortared, despite a change in the name of the U.S. mission from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn.
“That doesn’t really change a thing, it is still dangerous,” said 22-year-old Specialist Byron Reed, on his second deployment in Iraq, as he prepared to escort a convoy to Camp Speicher from Balad air base in Salahuddin province.
Manuel said changing the mission’s name meant little if any of his soldiers were to be killed by a roadside bomb.
“If a life is gone, it is gone,” he said. “As long as we are going in harm’s way, it (the war) is not over for us.”
LITTLE REAL CHANGE
U.S. soldiers said there had been little change in their mission since September 1. Most U.S. military units switched their focus to training Iraqi troops and police when they pulled out of towns and cities on June 30 last year.
While overall violence has dipped sharply in the past two or three years, Iraq is still a fragile place and al-Qaeda-linked insurgents and Shi’ite militia are active. Furthermore, tension has been heightened by the failure of politicians to form a new government six months after an inconclusive election.
“We do present a big target for the enemy, we still get attacked, just not as frequently,” said Lieutenant Colonel David Gooch, an infantry battalion commander, at Balad, about 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.
“Over the last week, I think we probably got attacked, say, five times. Those attacks are becoming less lethal I guess you would say, because we have some really good vehicles as you can see,” he said, standing in front of a U.S. army MRAP — Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected trucks.
The MRAP, heavily armored and V-hulled to deflect bomb blasts, is credited with saving many soldiers’ lives in Iraq.
Soldiers who were in Iraq during the worst of the sectarian bloodshed between once dominant Sunnis and majority Shi’ite Muslims who rose to power with Saddam’s fall are happy to take a back seat and let the Iraqis fight the war.
“It is their country you know,” said 37-year-old Sergeant First Class Dana Campell, adding that security had greatly improved since 2007.
“I think they are doing a great job. They came a long, long way,” he said, dressed for battle in the remote northern town of Rabiya near the Syrian border.
Gone are the days when U.S. soldiers kicked in doors and searched for insurgents and weapons, U.S. officers say, adding that they cannot even enter towns now unless invited and escorted.
However, a tip-off that a suicide bomber from the Iraqi affiliate of al-Qaeda planned to attack a joint Iraqi-U.S. checkpoint in western Nineveh during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which started on Friday, led U.S. troops to take the initiative in a raid last week.
“Being that it is a credible threat specifically against U.S. forces, we kind of have to act,” said Captain Keith Benoit, a squadron commander in the 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the checkpoint a few hours before the raid.
The mission was planned by U.S. forces but it was to be carried out by the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga security forces, while U.S. soldiers stood about 100 meters away, said Benoit.
“If we were to capture these folks alive tonight, I have a specific interest in this … so I would probably join in the questioning, but there is no unilateral questioning by U.S. forces any more,” he said.
“Because it is not my country, really, it is their country.”
August 11, 2010
Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari said Iraq’s politicians had to find a way to “fill the void” after American troops withdraw from the country at the end of next year under a bilateral security pact.
“At this point, the withdrawal (of US forces) is going well, because they are still here,” Zebari said.
“But the problem will start after 2011; the politicians must find other ways to fill the void after 2011, because the army will be fully ready in 2020.
Zebari’s remarks came as US forces were in the process of withdrawing thousands of soldiers from Iraq to meet an August 31 declaration of an end to combat operations by US troops.
By that point, Washington has committed to having 50,000 troops stationed in Iraq, from about 64,000 now.