The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent


Naturally, the common people don't want war...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
- Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, Luftwaffe Commander in Chief.

Today, Americans would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government.
- Former Sec'y of State to Richard Nixon and current think tank adviser Henry Kissinger speaking at Evian, France, May 21, 1992 Bilderburgers' meeting. Unbeknownst to Kissinger, his speech was taped by a Swiss delegate to the meeting.

Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.
- George F. Kennan, 1987, from his forward in Norman Cousins' Pathology of Power. Kennan, actively involved in U.S. government shaping since 1926 including Ambassador to the Soviet Union 1952 (McCarthy era), Ambassador to Yugoslavia 1961-1963, State Dept. Policy Planning Staff, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, - an institute which spawns 'think tanks' - 1974 to present.

Karen Lyden Cox • March 23, 2003

I turned the front page of the newspaper face-down. It was not enough to know it's not worth the fiber it is printed on and never has been, I had to remove the picture from view. I will state the paper's bias right off which is a lot more than they give their daily readers: the paper is pro-elitism and pro-war. Yes, war, unless threats to confidence and finances push a moderately critical stance when war is already a done deal. A stance devoid of much moral judgement. War, if that's what it takes to do the bidding of the parties shoveling money to the appropriate bank accounts, offshore or on. Conservative viewpoint they call it. Nice word, conservative. Soothing. Monuments and ceremonies along with a flag to wave will be our reward later on. Oh, and of course, democracy for everyone. A bevy of lawyers will write it up on fancy paper.

Combine the rote memorization of battle dates as the focus of America's mainstream history education - one which glorifies past presidents and considers revealing discussions of their failures and shortcomings to be treasonous - with the narrow education supplied by a few approved textbook publishers, information that supports the complicated bureaucratic system in place - one so loaded with legalese that the average citizen loses interest in participating - and the result is a mass of people relying on self-proclaimed experts and lawyers to control their political affairs. People in command who think they are more intelligent than you, more important than you, more powerful than you, so they are, right?

...everybody who properly estimates the political intelligence of the masses can easily see that this is not sufficiently developed to enable them to form general political judgements on their own account...- Adolf Hitler.

Daily newspapers and television are the primary sources of education for adults after they leave school. Media fails to educate and fails miserably. Worse yet, their intent is to fail, either by purposeful design or by engaging in a series of rewarding negatives. I'm not sure that all of these people are in control of deception or if some of them are just slaves to the habit of doing it. If either of these media had done anything to educate with a fully humanitarian and truthful focus rather than the emphasis on grasping consumption as self-preservation up until now, we would not be at war. For some of them to adopt a moderate anti-war stance at this juncture is hypocrisy. Now that some of the complicit are voicing worries about endless full-scale military invasion, it highlights just how dangerously insane this war is. The cushy plan just went runaway without brakes.

Some Americans struggle with the notion that politics and its offspring war are taboo topics of discussion, like religion. Pro-war opinions might be strong although their proof rests on nothing more solid than reactionary and tribal loyalties, suspicions, prejudices, limited information. Shouting matches are a defense against shaking the foundations too hard and having to change, something that must be avoided in 'civil' society. That's why the current political discussion, the overwhelming opposition to war even before it started by an unusually diverse and united social contingent, has the handlers in a panic. Stronger controls have been put into effect. If those fail to contain unrest, even stronger controls will be implemented. 'Patriot' Act II. And then what follows? Patriot Act III? Martial law? Internment camps?

Recently this newspaper encouraged readers that they are moderate, open, a forum where all can speak. They started printing anti-war letters, letters scathing to the politicians, right alongside the most selfish, hollow, lying, stupid pro-kill propaganda that a slovenly mind can cultivate. Publishing a myriad of views demonstrates that the paper is democratic, who could argue with that? But democracy was absent while the newspaper was in the business of educating and influencing, when readers' learning habits and opinions were being developed. The full story will continue to be absent. The focus will complement other societal controls. Certain information will be overemphasized while quickly passing over the rest, if it's mentioned at all. The bias will never be stated honestly.

The attitude seems to be, go ahead and write letters to the editor about how you feel, the massive U.S. war protests we ignore or minimize in our newspaper are making us sweat although we'll never let you see it. In fact, the more you talk, especially in a circular sense, arguing issues relentlessly and endlessly with people who aren't listening and learning but who are willing and anxious to confound the same points over and over, the more you will provide distractions for yourselves, ensuring that you will stagnate in one place while we continue "business as usual" without disturbance. (That tactic is used against dissenters, worldwide. Think about it.)

New York's massive anti-war turnout on February 17 was grossly underestimated in this paper even more so than in other controlled media reports. So was the failure to mention unsolicited police brutality by the New York Police Department, a department headed by the newly-appointed former director of the CIA. The NYPD Mounted Police Unit's shameful brutality against peaceful protesters and the Unit's own dissenting horses was passed over although the Unit can be certain American equestrians like myself watched it and we aren't likely to forget.

New York's event was mentioned briefly on the front page, buried in the third paragraph of a narrow right-hand side column. The protest article was prepared by a London Knight Ridder correspondent, "reporting from London", not by a newswriter from America which is standard procedure for national news. But the news wasn't reported as a national phenomenon unlike anything in our history. Instead, the article focused more on what was happening in remote foreign places than on the massive protest that was underway at home. The anti-war, anti-Bush protest article was dwarfed by an entire full-page blazing color photo of the golden rotunda and tomb of a former president from this state entitled - with the largest typeface I have ever seen - Hail To The Chiefs. "Hail To The Chief" is America's anthem for the President, played ceremonially over the years to announce the entrance of the president. "Because of its military nature and appropriate title, the Department of Defense [Pentagon] made Hail to the Chief the official music to announce the President of the United States, in 1954":

Hail to the Chief we have chos-en for the na-tion,
Hail to the Chief! We sa-lute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge co-op-er-a-tion
In proud ful-fill-ment of a great, no-ble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand coun-try grand-er,
This you will do, that's our strong, firm be-lief.
Hail to the one we se-lect-ed as com-mand-er,
Hail to the Pres-i-dent! Hail to the Chief!

- Words by Albert Gamse, Music by James Sanderson

I can't say I knew the words until just now and I find the message to be chilling in the light of political history up to this point in time. Hitler said the common masses of people are unable to comprehend abstract ideas and must be controlled with emotion. Oaths are used to arouse patriotic emotion, thinking is replaced by the repetition of slogans: "We have chosen for the nation" "We pledge cooperation" "proud...a great noble call" "Yours is the aim to make this country grander" "...our strong firm belief" "...selected as commander". "We selected"; it rhymes with and suggests 'we elected'. The word 'hail' is generally used in our culture only when addressing God and in the other meaning of ice precipitation on the ground. Hail is the English version of heil. "Heil Hitler!" was a pledge of blind obedience, 'cooperation'.

The front page devotion to our presidents insisting on our truly 'patriotic' duty to them, along with the dwarfing of the news of powerful dissent against the president, was well-timed manipulation. This is only one example of the results: Someone I know just recently developed a strong political opinion during this post-9/11 terror climate and the push for war. His opinion is formed almost exclusively by information from the newspaper, daily doses of Rush Limbaugh's terror-pounding radio broadcasts, CNN and Fox News. "Patriotism means you obey your government and your leaders, the experts, especially in times of war and you don't ask questions!" This person has never voted and the reason stated was that not voting was an attempt to "fix them" because they were all bad anyway and didn't deserve to get the vote. Still, we must obey these people who are not worth our time to vote and obey unquestioningly? Why? Because "they (terrorists) are going to get us." and "Disagreement is not patriotic. It is anti-American. It is against the country. We have to support our troops." and so on.

Just peeking in...out of temporary retirement to make a note of these eejits [idiots]: "Members of M27, a coalition of antiwar groups, broke through police barricades and lay down at 50th Street and Fifth Avenue to act as mock war victims. They shouted: 'The people, united, will stop this war.'" Look people, despite all of your sincerest beliefs that "peace through traffic congestion" is going to make a difference, it's time to accept the fact that you are now in the minority. Somewhere around three quarters of Americans support this war. The generals are not going to pull their troops because they've gotten word that you've staged a "die-in" in Manhattan; they're too busy worrying about keeping their own men and women alive, and maybe a little pre-occupied with thoughts for those who have died for real. Continue writing your essays plooped with harsh words about "imperialism" and "hegemony", maybe even a "naked aggression" or two, but at this point, give up with the public nuisance business. The only thing you are united in is defeat. - Emily Jones, March 27, 2003, from her online blog entitled Give War A Chance.

Hail To The Chiefs - apparently hailing all forty-one of them and number forty-two whose presidential legitimacy is still being debated - was continued inside and got the entire two-page center spread of the most widely-circulated Sunday edition. The double center spread is the most comfortable to read and the most visually impacting part of Sunday's paper, if the reader is going to follow-up on the front page story and devote some time to finishing it. The article about national and world "unrest and unease" got the inside of the last page of section one, the most difficult page to read in the recliner.

The news is always carefully presented just as the selection comes down from the top, certain prescribed news with all the added visual tricks and language choice that makes news a brainwash. With this paper as many readers' only source besides the same message on all TV stations, the news sounds factual, official, democratically presented, a consensus of incontrovertible facts. However, the existence of a healthy democracy is not proved by the presence of many statements of the same opinion from essentially the same source. The dissenting comics are allowed space, bottom space, but a place in the 'democracy' nonetheless. Boondocks, the comic strip by Aaron McGruder - an artist with moral conscience and the guts to use it - is not whited out as it was in our democracy of 2001 and replaced with The Adventures of Flagee and Ribbon, our patriotic reminders. Gone is the notice that the names of people clamoring for re-instatement of the strip have been turned over to the FBI. Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury and the Viceroy of Baghdad are still with us.

Feel democratic, like it matters. The Bush junta is going to carry out escalated war in Iraq, probably elsewhere, and there is nothing - not Article I Section VIII Clause XI of the U.S. Constitution, not the UN Security Council, not massive world opinion, not your own passionate letters - that you can use to stop it before it happens. Nothing. From the start of the invasion onward, the message from the paper will be to support our troops; 'support' means to drop the anti-war comments, the massive protests, the creative acts of civil disobedience and enjoy the picture show as war unfolds. 'Support' means to agree that our troops should kill innocent Iraqis and get killed themselves, for the expansion of privately-owned corporate global domination. Otherwise, anti-war protesters who attempt to expose the wrongs will be called unpatriotic, a threat to the security of our country and our troops. Until veterans like Ron Kovic come home and start talking:

I'm a Vietnam veteran. I gave America my all, and the leaders of this government threw me and others away to rot in their VA hospitals. What's happening in Vietnam is a crime against humanity... - Ron Kovic, disrupting Nixon's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, 1972, to the extent that he was given a two-minute interview with CBS correspondent Roger Mudd.

This Knight-Ridder-owned newspaper publication for an average-sized American city and outlying areas devoted entirely one-half of this Sunday's front page to a gigantic full color close-up photo of a captured Iraqi, handcuffed and blindfolded. The caption, An Iraqi soldier is blindfolded by U.S. soldiers from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division after surrendering at An Nasiriyah, northwest of Baghdad, in Iraq. - Associated Press. A single blindfolded prisoner. Surrender. This supports beyond any doubt, we're justified, we're superior, we're in control. We must be 'winning'. No.

The prisoner was held firmly from behind by one U.S. soldier while another one out of view of the camera sliced at the man's plastic handcuffs with a Bowie knife. At least five other U.S. soldiers looked on, framed by a desert background. Not a drop of blood in sight. No dignity for the trussed man except what he kept safe inside. What did the U.S. soldiers do with that blindfolded man? One of them looking on, a round-faced fellow, was looking a little eager. Why eager? Why were they taking the cuffs off? What did they do with the Bowie knife? What is happening over there? Rest assured, our boys never do anything like that. Like hell. This is war. War is not about humanity, moral behavior and kindness toward others.

The enormous title, huge bold type of much larger print than the usual headlines, Sprint to Baghdad, was followed by the subtitles, Forces halfway to Iraqi capital as air onslaught continues, U.S. soldier detained in grenade attack on his own unit. It took three Knight Ridder journalists to write the story. I read further, U.S. and British forces are "advancing" and "capital jolted by ferocious new air strikes". This upbeat language reassures the reader that we are halfway there, sprinting. 'Getting there' is equivalent with 'victory', I presume?

The grenade attack by one U.S. soldier on his fellow soldiers "wounded fourteen, four of them seriously, military officials said." The motive for the attack was "most likely resentment, said Max Blumenfeld, an Army spokesman." I dare say. None of the usual speculation was offered for why a soldier would be inclined to attack his fellows with grenades at the start of an invasion. Anyway, the accurate total was "one dead, fifteen wounded, three seriously" according to yesterday's news, confirmed. Keep in mind the paper included the name of the battalion (101st Airborne Division) and location (Camp Pennsylvania) with the incorrect "tally of casualties". 'Casualties' - I have never thought there was anything casual about dying in war in which people are coerced by the will of others to take part in deadly violence.

The grenade-launcher has been "detained" and since the initial report, they wonder if "others were involved". Just to be sure, they detained "two Middle Eastern men working as contractors" also. Naturally. Would they mention the ethnicity of the detainees if only Nordic blondes were employed and no Arabic people were available, I'd like to know? The comment would hardly be noticeable outside our current terror climate. And still, the true answer to the central question is avoided: Why do they hate us? Adding to the reasons why they hate us has been the response to questions asked of the Bush administration.

So, first the man who threw the grenades was cracking-up presumably under the stress of war and after a certain amount of time passes, the officials smell a plot possibly involving Middle Eastern men. Does this sound alarmist? It is alarming and intended to be, from a government telling us that we are under threat from an Arab/Muslim terror network every minute of our lives and that we must root them out wherever they may be. Men of Arabic descent in the U.S., whether citizens or visitors, must register with the government now. From the Arab American Institute's legislative action alerts:

The INS Special Registration program requires male citizens and/or nationals from 25, mostly Arab and Muslim, nations who are living in the United States to report to local INS offices in order to be "voluntarily" questioned, photographed and fingerprinted. This program, even discounting its unfair focus on Arab and Muslim nations and its strict timetable, seems to be causing more trouble than good. Lack of coordination among the INS offices, the sheer numbers of people required to come in to register and the lack of an effectively targeted campaign to inform the affected communities have caused innumerable problems and led to a number of abuses of basic rights at various INS offices.

Attorney General Ashcroft said that because of our invasion of Iraq, all Iraqis in the United States will be (will continue to be) monitored. Arabs and Muslims might want to consult with German-Americans, Italian-Americans, and Japanese-Americans, all who were interned and suffered civil rights abuses during W.W.II, and further, anyone else here who has ethnicity that might be deemed threatening, except for 'colonist'. Colonist: refers to an individual, sometimes motivated in part by religious fanaticism, who invades another nation terrorizing the inhabitants and murdering resisters, resorting to genocide if necessary while confiscating and assuming permanent and exclusive control over the resources. Don't look for that definition in Webster's or any other dictionary because the word has been neutered. The standard definition of colonist is: the original settler or founder of a colony; a person who settles in a new colony or moves into a new country.

Executive Order: Confiscating and Vesting Certain Iraqi Property
March 20, 2003
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and in order to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12722 of August 2, 1990,

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, hereby determine that the United States and Iraq are engaged in armed hostilities, that it is in the interest of the United States to confiscate certain property of the Government of Iraq and its agencies, instrumentalities, or controlled entities, and that all right, title, and interest in any property so confiscated should vest in the Department of the Treasury. I intend that such vested property should be used to assist the Iraqi people and to assist in the reconstruction of Iraq, and determine that such use would be in the interest of and for the benefit of the United States. I hereby order...

Is the executive order valid? All kinds of election fraud occurred during the Bush 2000 presidential campaign including the possibility of foreign influence through the actual voting equipment. The election was decided 5-4 by Supreme Court justices appointed for life by Nixon (Rehnquist), Reagan (Kennedy, O'Connor, Scalia), and by the president's father, Bush Sr. (Thomas). Abstruse legal discussions continue to defend it. The judges have documented prior and current conflicts of interest including relatives appointed to high places in government since the election.

This government and its advisory think tanks - 'non-governmental personnel', the 'neo-cons' - are mostly individuals employed during Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr. presidencies, or the former aides of these people, or their associates. Some of them have been implicated in criminal activities during their tenures with previous presidents. There has been no thorough investigation of the others who are suspected of engaging in criminal activity. Corporate CEOs are also leaders and members of the think tanks which are non-profit (tax free) organizations and therefore entitled to receive undisclosed financial contributions from individuals and corporations which are tax write-offs for the donors. At the same time they are advising the president and government officials on issues such as 'defense' (war) and economic policy (taxes).

There are unresolved corporate scandals involving individuals in this government. There are disturbing unanswered questions about the events of September 11, 2001, and legislation which was pushed through in the wake of the attacks. Lies, bribes, and deceptions of the Congress and leaders of other nations were used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Administration officials - and their allied advisers kept off the official U.S. government payroll records - are accused of forming corporations in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. mainland, or, owning or benefiting from connections to older corporations, all of which will profit by millions or billions of dollars from the War in Iraq. UN Security Council resolutions were both ignored and used for advantage at the same time. In May of 2002, the Bush administration unsigned itself from a UN treaty for International Criminal Court so that U.S. military, governmental or other official personnel might never appear before the International Criminal Court for war crimes, the only end court. Withdrawing from the treaty signed by Clinton but not yet ratified gave the administration the freedom to negotiate bilateral deals with other nations to minimize even further the chances of being indicted and these 'bilateral negotiations' (I-don't-accuse-you-you-don't-accuse-me) began the same day with government official Marisa Lino.

Since the "Shock and Awe" military invasion the other day, bids for Iraqi reconstruction are already being taken but only from a few corporations "with a proven track record in post-war reconstruction" (National Security Adviser Rice). There are no less than thirty-two extremely close ties between Bush's cabinet and military/nuclear corporations, as well as other corporate involvement especially pharmaceutical, chemical and banking, and petroleum in the case of the president's family, the vice-president, and the national security adviser, etc. Bush Cabinet appointee Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is and has been on the board of directors of the corporation ABB Sweden, the seller of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of nuclear reactors to North Korea - N. Korea, the third member of Bush's Axis of Evil which must be eliminated - from which it is believed they are getting the capability for weapons. Rumsfeld "didn't know about the sales." This government is pushing through agendas such as tax breaks for the wealthy while the country is kept in terror and distracted by war. This list goes on. Bush continues to issue executive orders.

Sprint to Baghdad described the glorious feats of destruction that the combined U.S., UK and Aussie militaries have accomplished in such a short time noting that smoke from oil-filled trenches attempting to deflect the high-technology computerized air strikes on Baghdad "didn't work". Hardly a surprise to me. Are our military planners surprised that such a nil-rate military power under intense scrutiny and constant bombing runs for twelve years by the world's most sophisticated military machines opted for smoking oil as a defense? Trouble is, this homely if not brave defense makes the Iraqis look like ordinary poor people in desperate straits, pretty much unlike the image of sophisticated cunning terrorists plotting another attack on the U.S. mainland. And, there is fear that the sight on television of billowing black clouds of smoking oil choking the city of Baghdad might raise awareness of OIL, that unspoken forbidden word, and renewed talk - "No Blood For Oil!" - about the fact that this war is about the domination of the region's oil reserves. The coalition tankers are waiting to load it, every drop, and the belief is that Iraqi OIL, their natural resource, belongs to the economy of the West and must be confiscated. The job of the newspapers, television, radio, books, magazines, and advertisements is to deny it.

The remainder of the front page was devoted to other war stories, Battle for Baghdad still awaits U.S. forces. If audio was supplied with this title, we might hear Rossini's William Tell Overture, something to accompany the sprint. Then, there it was, the ever-present reminder, War adds to feeling of unease since 9/11, America's children live in a much scarier world. Sure the children are terrified and they should be. They live in a much scarier world that the CIA warned could become a reality if the U.S. invaded Iraq. If we temporarily forgot about 9/11/01, if we dared to forget, we are prodded into bringing it to fresh awareness. 9/11 in the same title with the war against terror in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Typical. No wonder pro-war Americans, and I have listened to them, no wonder they equate Saddam Hussein with 9/11. "The guy did it," they tell me.

If you ask pro-war Americans why they support Bush's war, and if you ask the people in America who are "not quite sure if we should", overwhelmingly they will tell you it is because Saddam Hussein is personally responsible and directly involved in the planning and carrying out of the attacks of 9/11 on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the skies over Pennsylvania. Osama bin Laden, the previous and often guilty party, has vanished into thin air again. The media, hypocritically, expresses amazement at the belief in a link between 9/11 and Saddam because "no one in the media has actually said it." Victoria "Torie" Clarke, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George Bush and all the others don't even have to state specifically "Saddam Hussein 'did' 9/11", after which their exact wording could be used to bring charges against them when the truth and lies about 9/11, and PNAC's plan for war in the century Rebuilding America's Defenses, are revealed. The immersion of the American public in mind-programming language, convoluted syntax and semantics, references, allusions, illusions, and juxtapositions were successful enough. That kind of linguistic coercion is the crowning-glory, the premier achievement, of the 'democracy' the Bush administration is telling us to die for.

Not a single line of type mentioned the dropping of missiles on Iran yesterday and the invasion of their air space, the injuries. What was that maniacal phrase speech writers Frum and Gerson wrote for Bush in another one of those speeches made official by saying it had Bush's "fingerprints all over it", something the U.S. State Department underlings have been gushing about in their failure to contain their enthusiasm about kill video games made real - Axis of Evil? Iran. Is it going to be war with the Evil Axis Iran today, George? George Bush? Commander in Chief? He isn't here. Fox News reported on Thursday, "Bush was not expected to make any further statements and was said to be leaving it to his military advisers to lead the war." Is Bush AWOL, again? The advisers said the other guy did it, pointing away in every direction, it must have been Iraq.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld expressed outrage that captured U.S. soldiers were being shown on Iraqi television, visibly terrified and telling their captors they were in Iraq "here to fix broke stuff" and "only following orders" and "[Iraqis] don't bother me, I don't bother them." I'm sure Rumsfeld is outraged. He and the rest of the junta making this war without shedding a drop of their own want to sanitize it, glorify it, keep the news contained. And then this of all things, a sad and anxious public saw it, frightened American kids in uniform, our kids, captured by the enemy, one injured, facing uncertain fate, no Hollywood script, film of others already dead, and all of this horror for Americans happening so early on in the sprint.

Rumsfeld said that showing pictures of captured U.S. soldiers (in such a light) was a violation of the Geneva Convention. Then so was Knight Ridder's half-page AP photo of the Iraqi prisoner also in a humiliating pose. And the photo I saw earlier today of an Iraqi prisoner rolled up in a blanket like a tamale with only his plastic-cuffed hands sticking out. There were photos of dead Iraqi soldiers whose bodies had burned, descriptions of charred body parts that were recognizable.

The rules governing the treatment of prisoners of war are spelled out in the third Geneva Convention of 1949. The Convention requires that POW's "must at all times be treated humanely," and goes on to list a number of specific requirements: they must not be killed, seriously endangered, mutilated or subject to medical or scientific experiments. Furthermore, they must be protected against acts of violence or intimidation, and against "insults and public curiosity" (Article 13).

Using retired British Major General A. P. V. Rogers' definition of violation, what is "perceived to be the intent" of the action behind showing film/photos of prisoners of war, British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon just made a distinction between 'ours' and 'theirs'. He told reporters that "there was an enormous difference between the factual photographs very often of the backs of prisoners surrendering as against the appalling, barbaric behaviour of Iraqi forces dealing with...American prisoners." Other reporters noted that Iraqis have been filmed and photographed in captivity in humiliating circumstances.

Francoise Bouchet-Saulnier, who is a legal adviser to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), elaborated further and said that "the rules of the Convention were to prevent prisoners from being put into danger and that footage of Iraqi soldiers shown surrendering might lead to future reprisals against them and their families on the grounds that they were traitors." Florian Westphall, speaking for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that "the ICRC would consider the use of any image that makes a prisoner of war individually recognizable to be a violation of Article 13 of the Convention. He pointed out that the condition of being taken prisoner might be considered degrading or humiliating in itself, and that representations of captives could also have an impact on families." An argument was raised by a U.S. government official that "they (Iraqis) aren't recognizable." Not to us.

Bush warned that if POW's were not treated humanely, "the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals." In January of 2002, the Bush administration was asked to explain published photographs showing suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: "eyes and ears covered, with their arms tightly shackled, kneeling behind wire fences...manacled hand and foot, they kneel in submission." The London Mail also said, "First pictures show use of sensory deprivation to soften suspects for interrogation...Is this how Bush and Blair defend our civilisation?" George Bush said the administration would look into the legal status of the captives again and examine the legal distinction between 'prisoners' (entitled to rights and 'detainees' (not prisoners of war and therefore exempt from the Geneva Convention). This appalling 'legal' maneuvering used to justify torture and escape the punishment that follows such acts represents the climax of this country's efforts to develop legal justice as an example for the entire world, a mockery of our intended and perceived system of justice.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation said that an inspection team from the International Red Cross was to be dispatched but results of their findings would not be made available to the public. Human rights groups had already expressed horror at the conditions of the prisoners long before this and they continue to do so at this time. U.S officials have rebuffed inquiries and criticism, citing the events of 9/11 as creating the need for these "detainees" to be "held firmly" (Clarke). More pictures released in November of 2002 are undeniable and were cause for renewed allegations of torture although, again, President Bush, the U.S. military and U.S. government officials withdrew from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in May of 2002 in order that they be exempt from International War Crimes Tribunals. Photos:

and, Information:

From Yahoo and Reuters reports, one hundred miles south of Baghdad "burned out vehicles and charred remains of Iraqis litter the desert along the road." If someone from this country died in such a tragedy - one person - there would be outrage if the words "charred" and "litter" were used in connection with that person's mutilated body, someone who had a name, a personality, friends, a family. It's better for the junta to make the 'casualties' anonymous sacks of unidentifiable protoplasm, or charcoal.

Surprisingly, the report included a moving humanitarian commentary (below). Did this commentary exposing the sorrows of a peasant militia pitted against a trillion dollar high-tech military assault slip through the administration's clearinghouse or is it psyops for us? Will it be used to argue that this war is a sick comedy, omnipotence against rudiment, and conclude again that real diplomacy could have worked to help repair evil deeds of the past? Or, will humanitarianism be pandered shamelessly to justify the propaganda that we are well-meaning good guys in this invasion, only there as liberators of the people with no other agenda? Will it be used to throw the focus on Saddam - the soon-to-be-discarded boy of previous U.S. government administrations' wily schemes - for using his own ill-prepared and suffering people as defense? Will it be used to say that Saddam Hussein is the only cause of their suffering, the dictator who rose to power out of the aberrations of Islam without any help from the West, his name interchangeable with Osama bin Laden or anyone Arabic and angry? Time will tell.

...the militiamen appeared hopelessly ill-prepared to deal with the sheer firepower that the U.S. military can throw at them. Dead soldiers shown to reporters were not wearing any standard uniform and had only open-toed sandals on their feet. Helmets lying near their bodies were made of plastic, not Kevlar. The only common item appeared to be a black beret with an eagle and standard badge at the front. A desert hideout Hildenbrand said had been used by a militiaman in recent days showed the hardship many ordinary Iraqi soldiers face. The soldier had only a filthy blanket to protect him from the cold desert nights, and for food he had only a plastic bag full of raw meat. When he fled, he left behind a picture of his two children.

Colonel Mark Hildenbrand, commander 937th Engineer Group, expressed dismay and horror at the unfairness of the carnage, U.S. M1 tanks (M1A1/M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems) against Iraqis using Japanese pick-up trucks and SUVs with machine gun mounts. "It wasn't even a fair fight. I don't know why they don't just surrender," said Colonel Hildenbrand. "It's heinous - for the SUV to go up against an M1 tank. I feel nothing but sorrow for these people," Hildenbrand said as he toured the hideout. "This war is against one man, it's not against the Iraqi people. I just wish they would surrender so we could get it over with."

Why don't they just surrender so you could get it over with? Wars never fulfill the guarantees of the recruiters, the colorful advertisements, the promises of those not risking their lives, their pathetic lies.

It may be that Iraqi soldiers think their country is being invaded, again. Maybe they feel terror and shock, but not awe. Maybe they are compelled to kill you before you kill them. Maybe they are told they must fight to be patriotic. Maybe they do not wish to welcome a different tyrant, be the next victim of American and British colonial occupation. Maybe they don't trust the CIA to pick another leader for them. Maybe they don't want to watch the invaders divide the spoils. Maybe their evil junta's propaganda told them they will be facing a terrorist attack on their own soil and that they must fight to protect their people and their way of life. It's all in the language. Why do you suppose you are there, Colonel??


Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.
- Thomas J. Watson

Index: Current Articles

28 March 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


"Stop the Deportations of the Irish in America!"
Sean O'Neill


The Horse's Head
Anthony McIntyre


"Sprint to Baghdad"
Karen Lyden Cox


Bombing Basra to Baghdad
Anthony McIntyre


Operation 'Coxswain' Continues



25 March 2003


Fitting Ireland into Foreign Moulds
Paul Dunne


Republican Not Bandit Country
Anthony McIntyre


Denigration of Heroes

Proinsias O'Loinsaigh


Dodging Double Dicks at the Freak Dance
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain


Bombing Baghdad Rather than Ankara
Anthony McIntyre





The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices