BAGHDAD (AFP) – Baghdad is drowning in sewage, thirsty for water and largely powerless, an Iraqi official said on Sunday in a grim assessment of services in the capital five years after the US-led invasion.One of three sewage treatment plants is out of commission, one is working at stuttering capacity while a pipe blockage in the third means sewage is forming a foul lake so large it can be seen “as a big black spot on Google Earth,” said Tahseen Sheikhly, civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security plan.
Sheikhly told a news conference in the capital that water pipes, where they exist, are so old that it is not possible to pump water at a sufficient rate to meet demands — leaving many neighbourhoods parched.
A sharp deficit of 3,000 megawatts of electricity adds to the woes of residents, who are forced to rely on neighbourhood generators to light up their lives and heat their homes.
“Sewerage, water and electricity are our three main problems,” said Sheikhly, adding that many of these problems date back to the Saddam Hussein regime when not enough attention was paid to basic infrastructure.
Marshall Adame is a Democrat running for Congress in North Carolina’s 3rd District, a jurisdiction along the Tar Heel state’s low-lying eastern coast that is home to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, Air Station Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, as well as Blackwater Worldwide’s 7,000-acre corporate headquarters and training facility. Adame is an underdog in the congressional race, where he will likely face seven-term Republican incumbent Walter B. Jones—who brought the term “freedom fries” to Congress—in the general election. Jones has since become an opponent of the Iraq war, atoning for his vote to authorize the war by writing letters of condolence to the families of dead soldiers—a “mea culpa to my Lord,” he says. But the incumbent and his Republican party are not the only obstacles Adame will have to overcome if he hopes to take over the 3rd District’s congressional seat. He also faces tough opposition from Blackwater.
The private military firm CACI International was recently awarded lucrative, multi-million dollar contracts from the U.S. Army and the Department of Justice. The contracts came despite a lawsuit CACI is facing for alleged abuses in Iraqi prisons, including Abu Ghraib. We speak with attorney Susan Burke, who filed the suit on behalf of 256 prisoners held in Iraqi jails.
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Not just any former CIA official but the head of clandestine operations such as rendition, waterboarding, torture, kidnapping and murder, all in the name of “the war on terror”.
A former CIA official at the center of the controversy over destroyed interrogation videotapes has been blocked by Justice Department officials from gaining access to government records about the incident, according to sources familiar with the case.
Federal Judge Won’t Review Destruction Of CIA Videotapes
Thursday, Jan. 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET: National Security and Intelligence
The former official, Jose Rodriguez Jr., has also told the House intelligence committee through a letter from his attorney that he will refuse to testify next week about the tapes unless he is granted immunity from prosecution for his statements, the sources said.
The panel has issued a subpoena for Rodriguez, the former chief of clandestine operations who issued the order to destroy the videotapes in 2005. He and other former CIA officials are also being blocked from gaining access to documents about the incident, sources said.
Many who deny government complicity in 9/11/01 maintain that some of the best evidence against official involvement in the crime of the century lies in the Bush administration’s unbroken record of sheer incompetence, an argument bolstered by the perception that key members of the administration, notably The Commander Guy, spent that entire day running around like headless chickens.
On the contrary, they did no such thing. Rather, the administration was highly competent and enormously successful that day — they just had different criteria for success than would sane people. And they’ve been highly competent ever since. You just have to adjust your standards for evaluating success, then view the past six years through the PNAC/neocon lens. Let’s review some of their primary accomplishments — on 9/11 and in the six eternal years since:
Every time I read a story published in Western mainstream media about what transpired in Fallujah in 2004 during two US assaults on the city I feel sick.
The evidence proving that the United States committed war crimes, slaughtering innocent men, women and children is irrefutable. The US military’s use of chemical weapons is irrefutable. The destruction of a city amounting to collective punishment is irrefutable. All of this occurred because four Blackwater mercenaries were killed by Iraqis who were trying to protect their city form what we now know as “America’s Private Army”.
I have tried to understand why Western mainstream media has remained complicit in its coverage and reporting of this event, and I believe I have found the answer.
Yesterday, The Washington Times reported that “a secret intelligence assessment of the first battle of Fallujah shows that the U.S. military thinks that it lost control over information about what was happening in the town, leading to ‘political pressure’ that ended its April 2004 offensive with control being handed to Sunni insurgents.” This propaganda piece continues to state that “the decision to order an immediate assault on Fallujah, in response to the televised killing of four contractors from the private military firm Blackwater, effectively prevented the Marine Expeditionary Force charged with retaking the town from carrying out ‘shaping operations,’ such as clearing civilians from the area, which would have improved their chances of success.”