Torture, Paramilitarism, Occupation and Genocide

Stephen Lendman

Posted Oct 25, 2007      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Torture, Paramilitarism, Occupation and Genocide

by Stephen Lendman

On October 5, George Bush confronted a public uproar
and defended his administration claiming “This
government does not torture people.” Again he lied.
Once secret US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal
opinions confirm the Bush administration condones
torture by endorsing “the harshest interrogation
techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence
Agency.” It also condones paramilitary thuggery,
oppressive occupation, and genocide. This unholy
combination is the ugly face of an imperial nation run
by war criminals. That’s the state of things today.
First, the practice of torture.

Torture as Policy under George Bush

In a hollow posturing gesture, DOJ publicly declared
torture “abhorrent” in a December, 2004 legal opinion.
That secretly changed after Alberto Gonzales became
Attorney General in February, 2005 and authorized
physical and psychological brutality as official
administration policy. This continues unabated in
violation of international and US laws that include
fifth and eighth amendment prohibitions against cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in all
forms for any reason. These practices been
long-standing US official policy, nonetheless, but the
mask came off post-9/11 when former CIA
Counterterrorism Center chief Cofer Black (now
Blackwater USA’s vice-chairman) told a joint
House-Senate intelligence committee hearing September
26, 2002: “There was a before-9/11 and an
after-9/11(on the use of torture). After 9/11, the
gloves came off” and “old” standards no longer apply.
They never did, and Congress knows and condones it.

Further, George Bush signed a secret September 17,
2001 “finding” authorizing CIA to kill, capture and
detain “Al Qaeda” members anywhere in the world and
rendition them to secret black site torture prisons
for interrogation presumed to include torture.

As White House Counsel, Alberto Gonzales then wrote a
sweeping memorandum to George Bush January 25, 2002
calling the Geneva Conventions “quaint” and “obsolete”
and claimed the administration could ignore Geneva
international law in interrogating prisoners
henceforth. He also outlined plans to try prisoners in
military “commissions” and deny them all protections
under international law including due process and
habeas rights. DOD Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was on
board as well. In December, 2002, he approved a menu
of banned interrogation practices that allowed most
anything short of what would cause organ failure.

A new book called “Administration of Torture,” by two
ACLU attorneys, contains evidence (from FOIA requests)
from over 100,000 newly released government documents.
It reveals how US military interrogators carried out
abuse and torture orders from their superiors on
scores of prisoners. The book quotes Major General
Michael Dunlavey who had DOD responsibility for
interrogations of “suspected terrorists.” He and
Guantanamo commander General Geoffrey Miller both told
the FBI they got their “marching orders” from Donald
Rumsfeld to use harsh methods at Guantanamo that
presumably were meant for all other US-run torture
prisons as well. It was also revealed that Rumsfeld
was “personally involved” in overseeing the
torture-interrogation of Mohammed al Qahtani. He was
falsely accused of being the 20th 9/11 hijacker,
confessed under torture, and then retracted his
testimony later as completely untrue.

Torture violates international law. The (non-binding)
Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlawed it in
1948. The four 1949 Geneva Conventions then banned any
form of “physical or mental coercion” and affirmed
detainees must at all times be treated humanely. Its
first two conventions protect sick and wounded forces
in battle. The third one defines who is a prisoner of
war and establishes “minimum standards” for POW
treatment. The fourth convention applies to civilians
and affords them protections during war that require
they be treated humanely. All four conventions have a
common thread called Common Article Three. It requires
non-combatants be treated humanely at all times. There
are no exceptions for any reasons and violations are
grave breaches under Geneva and other international
law that constitute crimes of war and against

The European Convention followed Geneva in 1950. Then
in 1984, the UN Convention Against Torture became the
first binding international instrument dealing
exclusively with the issue of banning torture in any
form for any reason. These are sacred international
laws all signatories, that include the US, are bound
by. No longer under George Bush’s unconstitutional
“unitary executive” authority power grab Chalmers
Johnson calls a “bald-faced assertion of presidential
supremacy….dressed up in legalistic mumbo jumbo.”
Condoning torture as official policy under it is
Exhibit A.

In her important new book, “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways
the Bush Gang Defied the law,” law professor and
current National Lawyers Guild president Marjorie Cohn
calls torture abhorrent and violates at least two US
laws - the 1996 War Crimes Act and 1994 Torture
Statute. The US is also party to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that
guarantees the right to life and prohibits cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment.   

The 1996 War Crimes Act provides up to life
imprisonment or the death penalty for persons
convicted of committing war crimes within or outside
the US. Administration memos from Gonzales, John Yoo,
Jay Bybee, and David Addington supported dictatorial
powers for the president and advised Al Qaeda and
Taliban interrogators were exempt from torture laws
under George Bush’s “commander-in-chief powers.” Cohn,
in her book, explained “the Torture Convention permits
no such exemption, even during wartime.”

Yoo and Bybee also distorted what constitutes torture
by claiming psychological harm must last “months or
even years.” Otherwise, it’s just harsh “enhanced
interrogation” of the secret kinds George Bush
authorized in a July, 2006 executive order. They
reportedly include sleep deprivation, simulated
drowning, stress positions, prolonged isolation,
sensory deprivation and/or overload, beatings, induced
hypothermia, and more that can cause irreversible
physical and psychological harm including psychoses. 

The October, 2006 Military Commissions Act followed,
appropriately called the “torture authorization act.”
It gives the administration extraordinary
unconstitutional powers to detain, interrogate and
prosecute alleged terror suspects and anyone thought
to be their supporters. The law lets the president
designate anyone in the world an “unlawful enemy
combatant,” without corroborating evidence, and order
they be arrested and incarcerated indefinitely in
military prisons outside the criminal justice system
without habeas and due process rights. US citizens
aren’t exempt. We’re all “enemy combatants” under this
law. Anyone charged under it loses all
constitutionally protected rights and can be subjected
to cruel and unusual punishment including torture.

Ironically, on the one year anniversary of the
Military Commissions Act enactment, Fr. Louie Vitale
and Fr. Steve Kelly were both sentenced to five months
in federal prison for opposing torture. They also
oppose teaching it at Fort Huachuca, Arizona and tried
to deliver a letter with their views to the base
commander, Major General Barbara Fast, former head of
military intelligence in Iraq. Both priests were
arrested for trespassing while kneeling in prayer on
the base driveway in November, 2006. In an appalling
miscarriage of justice, the presiding judge refused to
allow any evidence of torture to be introduced. He
also ruled out discussion of the illegality of the
Iraq war and all references to international law.

Relief from these type abuses are nowhere in sight as
leading Democrats condone them and now assure
extremist Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey’s
nomination won’t be challenged. He promises business
as usual that’s bad news for supporters of the law. He
earned his bona fides as a US District Court Southern
District of New York judge by ruling Jose Padilla, a
US citizen, could be imprisoned without trial and held
indefinitely by the military.

Padilla spent three and a half years uncharged in a 9
by 7-foot isolated South Carolina Navy brig cell where
he underwent alternating sensory deprivation and
overload and was denied the right to counsel for two
years. Months of beatings, mind-altering drugs, and
denial of medical treatment destroyed his mind, turned
him to mush, and him easy pickings to convict on all
charges without evidence he broke any law. Under Bush
administration justice, we’re all potential Jose
Padillas in a nation where the rule of law affords no
protection, and torture is the preferred means of
social control.

Administration Outsourced Paramilitarism

The Bush administration believes anything government
can do private business does better, so let it. And
that applies to the military as well with Blackwater
USA’s powerful emergence Exhibit A. Author Jeremy
Scahill portrays the company as “the world’s most
powerful mercenary army” in his frightening new book
about it. It describes a “shadowy mercenary company
(employing) some of the most feared professional
killers in the world….accustomed to operating
without worry of legal consequences….largely off the
congressional radar.” It has “remarkable power and
protection within the US war apparatus” with
unaccountable license to practice street violence with
impunity that includes cold-blooded murder.

A congressional report indicates Blackwater received
more than $1 billion in mostly State Department no-bid
contracts since 2001. It’s to provide security
services for US diplomats, officials and others once
assigned to the military at around six times the cost
and can be up to $1200 per man-day. With Bush
administration backing, it operates outside the law
and Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and is
immune from civil lawsuits like the military. Scahill
calls the company the “Bush administration’s
Praetorian Guard” with “immunity and impunity” to do
as it pleases.

Today, around 200,000 private contractors operate in
Iraq. Up to 100,000 of them are paramilitary
mercenaries from companies like Blackwater, DynCorp,
ArmorGroup, Erinys, Triple Canopy and others like the
Australian-owned Unity Resources that murdered two
Iraqi women October 9. Blackwater is the largest, is
close to the Bush administration, and is cashing in
big as a war profiteer from huge continuing no-bid

The company was founded in 1996 by former Navy SEAL
Eric Prince who’s also closely allied to the extremist
Christian Right. Blackwater came into its own
post-9/11 and is now the world’s best connected,
largest paramilitary army. It employs 2300 personnel
in nine countries with 20,000 or more others on call
as needed. The company also has its own 20 aircraft
fleet that includes helicopter gunships as well as a
private intelligence division and a 7000 acre Moyock,
North Carolina headquarters Scahill calls “the world’s
largest private military base.”

Controversary surrounding Blackwater made headlines
after its mercenaries killed as many as 28 Iraqis in
al-Nisour September 16 by some accounts and wounded
dozens more. It was only the latest incident involving
the company that has a disturbing history of
instigating unprovoked violence and then falsely claim
it acted in self-defense as Eric Prince told Congress
saying his men act “appropriately at all times.”

A new congressional account from State Department and
company documents reveals otherwise. It shows the
company has been involved in at least 195 “escalation
of force” incidents since early 2005 that include
previously unreported Iraqi civilian killings. In at
least one of them, evidence proved Blackwater
personnel tried covering up what happened with a
falsified report, and the State Department made no
effort to hold them accountable or order the company
to pay compensation to the families of the victims.

Agence France-Presse reported on September 16
Blackwater personnel shot recklessly “at everything
that moved with a machine gun and even with a grenade
launcher (as well as from two hovering helicopters).
There was panic. Everyone tried to flee. Vehicles
tried to make U-turns to escape. There were dead
bodies and wounded people everywhere. The road was
full of blood. A bus was also hit and several of its
occupants were wounded.” Among the dead were women and
children. A daughter witnessing her mother shot in the
head and killed said: “They are killers. I swear to
God, not one bullet was shot at them. Why did they
shoot us?”

Following the incident, investigations were launched
that are little more than damage control cover-up. The
FBI is involved as well as a joint American-Iraqi
inquiry. Iraqi prime minister al-Maliki has gone back
and forth on this one. At first, he demanded
Blackwater personnel leave Iraq. He then backed down
under pressure. He’ll likely await the inquiry’s
findings that are out in part from Iraqi
investigators, but again said he wants Washington to
sever all Blackwater ties, remove the company from
Iraq in six months, and have it pay each family $8
million in compensation.

It won’t ever happen, even though early findings
conclude Blackwater’s actions were unprovoked, the
al-Nisour massacre was a deliberate crime, those
involved in it should be charged, put on trial, and
the families of victims fairly compensated. The
findings are similar to an initial US military report
that one Pentagon official confirmed saying
Blackwater’s actions were “obviously excessive, it was
obviously wrong. The civilians….didn’t have any
weapons (and) none of the IP (Iraqi police) or any
local security forces fired (on Blackwater).”

Investigations are still continuing, the State
Department is in damage control mode, and an October 4
House-passed bill (not retroactive) just made US
contractors accountable for felony crimes under the
2000 Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act
(MEJA). In addition, new operating procedures have
been instituted to paper over the whole affair.
Nothing, in fact, will change, however. Blackwater
personnel will stay in place, none of them will face
criminal charges, and things are again business as
usual with the company’s paramilitaries back on Iraqi
streets after being banned from operating there by an
impotent prime minister.

A sign of things to come came a day ahead of the
October House Committee on Oversight and Government
Reform Blackwater hearing. It was revealed the
company’s Presidential Airways subsidiary got a new
government contract to supply aircraft, crew and
equipment for flight operations in Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Blackwater
personnel may likely show up anywhere and currently
patrol New Orleans streets for the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) post-hurricane Katrina. Their
presence is menacing everywhere, and they may show up
soon in a neighborhood near you as the “war on
terrorism” touches down at home.

Imperial Conquest and Occupation

Current rhetoric aside, even Alan Greenspan’s new book
admitted what’s “politically inconvenient to
acknowledge (but) everyone knows: the Iraq war is
largely about oil” and it was “essential” Saddam be
removed to control it. Unmentioned was Iraq’s
importance that explains why Washington plans
permanent occupation of the country. The Middle East
has two-thirds of the world’s proved oil reserves;
Iraq has the most untapped amounts of it; and it’s the
easiest gotten, cheap to refine light sweet kind Big
Oil covets. The country is also strategically located
between Saudi Arabia and Iran at the top of the
Persian Gulf. That makes it a perfect site for
military bases sitting atop an ocean of oil worth
trillions of dollars and surrounded by lots more of

The strategy to seize it was simply conceived but
hopelessly flawed - replace the “cradle of
civilization” with a newly created free market
paradise with all that oil as grand prize pickings.
It’s still up for grabs, but a huge supportive
infrastructure is in place and still being built for
permanent occupation.

By May, 2005, US forces were operating out of 106
bases around the country from an original 120 number
of sites. They range in size from the huge Main
Operating Base (MOB) Camp Victory complex near Baghdad
airport with thousands of US troops to others for
fewer numbers called Forward Operation Sites (FOS)
that are still major installations. There are also
many smaller Cooperative Security Locations (CSL) as
well as prisons and detention facilities throughout
the country plus others for Iraqi military and police

A sign of permanency are four to six or more
super-bases built and planned, the largest of which is
the huge Balad one. It’s the major Air Force facility
in the country with its state of the art “Kingpin” air
traffic control center (called the Common Grid
Reference System) that divides the country’s airspace
into “kill boxes.” The Army’s largest logistical
support center and secret Combined Joint Special
Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) are also there as well
as well as thousands of civilian contractors in
neighborhoods charmingly called “KBR-land.”

Balad and other major bases are enormous in size and
on the order of small towns. They encompass 15 - 20
square miles with double runways as long as 12,000
feet, and Balad’s air traffic operates round the clock
and is comparable in number of takeoffs and landings
to Chicago’s O’Hare that along with Atlanta’s
Hartsfield are the world’s two busiest airports.

In addition, they have their own neighborhoods and
kinds of amenities found back home. They include
department store-sized post exchanges, fast food
outlets, movie theaters with the latest films,
swimming pools, miniature golf courses, elaborate
gymnasium and sports facilities, satellite internet
access, cable TV, air-conditioning, international
phone service and more. All the comforts of home
including takeout pizza and Monday night football in
the middle of a war zone.

Other major facilities are at al-Talil near Nasiriya
in the South; the largest Marine base at al-Asad in
Western Anbar province; al-Qayyara, 50 miles southeast
of Mosul in the North; the US military command HQ at
Camp Victory/Camp Liberty near Baghdad International
Airport; Camp Marez near Mosul Airport; Camp Cook
north of Baghdad; and a new base near Irbil in the
North. In addition, another new Forward Operating base
is being built near Zurbatiya near the Iranian border
to be completed in November. It’s location is
provocative as the centerpiece of a new border control
surveillance, monitoring and logistical support
strategy called “Combat Outpost Shocker.”

Then, there’s what critics call “Fortress Baghdad” or
the “ultimate gated community” inside the city’s four
square mile fortress-like Green Zone. It’s surrounded
by thick blast-proof concrete walls, and to enter
visitors must pass through up to eight checkpoints.
Inside, security is intense and includes full body
searches, electronic scanners, explosive-sniffing dogs
and every other human and high-tech measure imaginable
for security.

The US embassy compound is there as well that when
finished will be the largest in the world. It’s
Vatican-sized in dimensions and hugely fortified atop
104 acres, or six times larger than the UN complex in
New York. Reports vary on whether 21 or 27 buildings
are planned but their cost plus all facilities and
perimeter security will top $1 billion. Construction
is continuing, far behind schedule, it’s reported to
be shoddy, and it’s already way over budget as
predicted so the final cost remains uncertain but will
be plenty.

The compound has everything - its own water,
electricity, sewers, apartment buildings, swimming
pool, shops, Marine barracks and will house more than
1000 civilian staff plus a large private and military
security contingent. For the Iraqi people, it’s a
hated symbol of imperial occupation Washington intends
to be permanent, but it may in the end go the way of
the Saigon embassy in 1975. That’s where the last US
Vietnam remnants were frenetically
rooftop-helicoptered out of the country in humiliating
drawdown defeat. It ended visions of permanence then
the way history may one day repeat in Iraq.

Imperial Genocide in Iraq

By any estimate, the human toll in Iraq is horrific
from all that happened after Saddam’s August 2, 1990
Kuwait invasion. Four days later, Operation Desert
Shield was launched. It began with US-led UN-imposed
economic sanctions, large US and other troop
deployments to the region, and a sweeping
Kuwait-funded PR campaign to win public support for
Operation Desert Storm that began January 17, 1991.

Before it ended six weeks later on February 28, US
forces committed grievous war crime violations of the
Hague and Geneva Conventions and UN and Nuremberg
Charters. They included gratuitous mass killings as
well as bombing and destroying essential to life
facilities that included:

—power generating stations;


—water purification capabilities;

—sewage treatment and disposal systems;

—telephone and other communications;



—residential areas affecting 10-20,000 homes,
apartments and other dwellings;

—irrigation sites;

—food processing, storage and distribution

—hotels and retail establishments;

—transportation infrastructure;

—oil wells, pipelines, refineries and storage tanks;

—chemical plants;

—civilian shelters like Al Ameriyya that was
attacked February 13, 1991 by two laser-guided “smart
bombs” killing around 400 civilians including 142

—factories and other commercial operations;

—government offices;

—historical sites; and more in a willful malicious
effort to return the country to a pre-industrial age
and punish its people horrifically.

Lost was power, clean water, sanitation, fuel,
transportation, medical facilities and medications,
adequate food, schools, private dwellings and places
of employment. Early post-war estimates placed the
number of civilians killed at 113,000 (mostly
children) according to the Red Crescent Society of
Jordan. In addition, US CENTCOM commander, General
Schwarzkopf and others, estimated 100,000 or more
Iraqi military deaths plus thousands more killed
gratuitously as they were retreating in disarray.

What then followed was 12 years of the most
comprehensive genocidal sanctions ever imposed on a
country as an act of vengeance and US-imposed imperial
arrogance. They were first adopted in UN Resolution
661 four days after Iraq invaded Kuwait. They included
a full trade embargo that crippled the country
economically but initially allowed in food, medical
and other essential humanitarian needs. UN Resolution
670 followed in September, 1990 that imposed an air
blockade and measures to enforce it.

After the war in April, 1991, UN Resolution 687 was
adopted. It required Saddam accept cease fire terms
and comply with Geneva protocols banning biological
and chemical weapons. It also affirmed Kuwait’s
sovereignty, but it wasn’t good enough for US
officials who wanted sanctions to remain in force
until Saddam was removed.

Later on, the oil for food and medicine program was
adopted under UN Resolution 986 in 1995 but was
hopelessly inadequate by design. An internal UN report
in 1999 revealed it delivered only $74 of food per
annum per person (about 21 cents a day) and $15 worth
of medicines (about 4 cents a day) with vitally needed
items banned or in short supply like syringes,
anesthetics, vaccines, antibiotics and other drugs.
Everything with potential “dual use” was blocked -
chlorine to purify water, vital medical equipment,
chemotherapy and pain-killing drugs, ambulances, and
anything Washington wished to deny the country
punitively with horrific consequences.

Further complicating things, all Iraqi funds were
frozen and administered through a US-controlled
Development Fund for Iraq. In addition, UN Resolution
661 stipulated all goods entering the country had to
be approved by a 15 member committee that included the
five permanent Security Council members. Approval had
to be unanimous with every member having veto power.
The US representative abused his authority by blocking
items or causing long delays in importing others. The
practice became so extreme, on one occasion baby food
was denied on the grounds adults might consume it. At
other times, items on the World Health Organization
(WHO) humanitarian priority list were blocked such as
rice, school books, paper, agricultural pesticides,
medical journals and catheters for babies.

The results were predictable and devastating. Normal
life was impossible and became a daily struggle to
survive. It became apparent by the mid-1990s many
didn’t or wouldn’t:

—the UN World Food Program (WFP) reported 2.4
million Iraqi children were severely at nutritional
risk in September, 1995;

—in December, 1995, the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) said 12% of Baghdad children were
“wasted, 28% stunted and 29% under weight;”

—by year end 1995, FAO reported 567,000 Iraqi
children sanction-related deaths;

—by March, 1996, WHO noted a six-fold mortality rate
increase among children under five;

—in October, 1996 UNICEF reported 4500 monthly Iraqi
children deaths from sanction-caused starvation and

—by 1999, the under five child mortality rate rose
three-fold from 1989, malnutrition doubled, and the
entire young child population was affected;

—UN Secretary-General Boutras-Boutras-Ghali noted
how health conditions deteriorated dramatically by the
mid-1990s, and by 1997 the WHO Director General said
Iraq’s health care system was systemically broken; in
addition, malaria, typhoid, cholera and other
life-threatening and communicable diseases were

These actions were committed willfully and are war
crimes under relevant Geneva Conventions and other
international law. They also constitute genocide under
provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide that “means any
(acts like those listed above) committed with intent
to destroy, in whole or in part, the national,
ethnical, racial or religious group (by) killing (its)
members; causing (them) serious bodily or mental harm;
(or) deliberately inflicting (on them) conditions
(that may destroy them in whole or in part).”

US administrations under GHW Bush, Bill Clinton and GW
Bush are criminally liable under “the genocide
convention” and other relevant international law. Up
to the March, 2003 attack and invasion, more than 1.5
million Iraqis, including over one million children,
likely died from the combination of war and economic
sanctions. Two UN heads of Iraqi humanitarian relief
resigned under them in anger and frustration with
Dennis Halliday saying in 1998 he did so because he
“had been instructed to implement a policy that
satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate
policy that has effectively killed well over one
million individuals, children and adults” including
5000 Iraqi children monthly in his judgment.

To date, most members of Congress are mute on the Iraq
genocide and continue funding it with hundreds of
billions of taxpayer dollars. Yet on October 10, the
House Foreign Relations Committee hypocritically
passed a non-binding resolution calling the 1915 -
1923 Armenian holocaust (taking 1.0 to 1.5 million
lives) genocide with a full House vote on the measure
still scheduled for November in spite of waning
support for it and uncertainty where it will go in the

Speaker Pelosi still backs the measure and in 2006 as
Minority Leader pledged to support legislation “that
would properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. It
is imperative that the United States recognize this
atrocity and move to renew our commitment to eliminate
genocide whenever and wherever it exists.” Today,
Speaker Pelosi is mute on Iraq, Afghanistan and fully
supports AIPAC’s agenda and its top priority of war
with Iran. She’s not bothered by her own government’s
genocide that far exceeds the Ottoman and post-Ottoman
Turkish Armenian slaughter during and after WW I. The
data below estimates as many as four million Iraqis
have perished from 1990 - 2007, but speaker Pelosi’s
condemnation of it is nowhere in sight.

Dr. Gideon Polya is a well-published biological
scientist who’s book, “Body Count: Global avoidable
mortality since 1950,” came out this year. It
“documents….non-reported (worldwide) avoidable
death(s) of 1.3 billion people since 1950” including
in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also published his data on
millions of violent and non-violent deaths under the
three most recent US administrations in articles like
his October 7 one on In it, he
cites data on Iraq from the Lancet, UN and British
polling firm ORB. His “Asian Wars” totals in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Occupied Palestine and Lebanon are
horrific, and, if correct, exceed any others published
to date. A summary of his data follows.

—Eight million total violent and non-violent deaths
in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon breaking
down as follows:

—70,000 “US-backed” Israeli-caused deaths in Lebanon
from 1978 - 2006, 10,000 of which were violent
killings “by Israelis” or their “surrogates;”

—300,000 1967-2007 Occupied Palestinian Territory
(OPT) deaths plus another 10,000 violent deaths;

—200,000 violent 1990-91 Gulf war deaths;

—1.7 million 1990-2003 Iraqi sanctions-caused deaths
including 1.2 million children under age five;

—3.2 million 2001-2007 US Afghanistan war deaths
including UN Population Division data totaling 2.5
million plus 700,000 children under age five;

—2.0 million 2003-07 US Iraq war deaths including
1.2 million UK polling firm ORB violence-related
estimates plus 800,000 children under age five from
UNICEF data; and

—500,000 2001-07 opiate drug-related deaths
resulting from the resurgent Afghan opium industry
under US-UK occupation; the UN Office on Drugs and
Crime estimates its output at 93% of world production.

Polya cites the failure of occupying powers to supply
essential “life-sustaining requisites” as a major
cause of preventable deaths. He also notes his eight
million estimate exceeds the Nazi-inflicted Jewish
holocaust total of about six million. And he rightly
observes that major media misreporting, denying or
“ignoring of this horrendous, ongoing mass” slaughter
is the equivalent of Jewish holocaust denial and doing
it endangers security for “both….victims

There’s no denying the toll on victims, but consider
the cost at home post-9/11:

—a nation with no outside enemies permanently at war
and claims the right to wage preventive wars under the
doctrine of “anticipatory self-defense” using first
strike nuclear weapons even against non-nuclear

—world stability and peace further threatened by the
administration’s abandoning NPT, ending Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty protection, rescinding and subverting
the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, deploying
so-called “missile defense” for offense, and plans to
weaponize space toward the goal of “full-spectrum
(unchallengeable) dominance” of all land, surface and
sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum
and information systems plus as much of the world’s
energy resources as possible;

—a military budget hugely exceeding the rest of the
world combined; The Independent Institute analyst
Robert Higgs estimates the true FY 2007 budget exceeds
$1 trillion with all defense-related items included;

—a rogue government operating outside constitutional
and international laws and norms with the Congress and
courts criminally complicit;

—an unprecedented wealth disparity in an omnipotent
corporatist state;

—growing social decay and poverty in the richest
country in the world;

—a secretive, intrusive, repressive administration
under a president who disdains the public interest and
is a serial liar and war criminal;

—condoning and operating secret torture-prisons
around the world as a weapon of cruelty, vengeance and
social control; and

—a cesspool of corruption stemming from incestuous
business-govenment ties that defile democracy and mock
any notion of government of, for and by the people.

The toll in Israel is evident as well. Angela
Godfrey-Goldstein is an Israeli Jew, based in
Jerusalem, and the Action Advocacy Officer with the
Israeli Committee Against (Palestinian) House
Demolitions (ICAHD). On August 30, 2007, she delivered
an address at the UN Conference at the EU Parliament
in Brussels commemorating the fortieth anniversary of
Occupied Palestine. In it, she noted part of the toll
on Israeli society caused by 40 years of Palestinian

—around one million Israeli Jews “voted with their
feet and left the country;”

—an estimate by some that up to 50% of Israeli
youths refuse mandatory Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
service plus a “grey” Air Force refusal rate of around

—a significant recent observation from John Pilger

that “something (around the world) is changing.
(There’s a) swell of a boycott….growing
inexorably….an important marker (may have) been
passed, reminiscent of the boycotts (preceding)
sanctions against apartheid South Africa” that led to
the fall of its white-supremicist government; and

—her experience working with “diplomats, politicians
and aid workers in Israel and Palestine (shows) that,
on an individual basis, there’s enormous personal
support and empathy for the Palestinian cause” because
decades of abuse against them are intolerable and must

Push eventually will come to shove. We better hope it
arrives soon. The world can’t wait much longer.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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