Iraq Veterans Respond to Wikileaks’ Release of War Logs

IVAW responds to Wikileaks’ Iraq War Logs

The latest release by Wikileaks of the Iraq War Logs is the largest leak in U.S. history and reveals in extensive detail what Iraq Veterans Against the War has been saying since our founding in 2004.  The U.S. has presided over a bloody occupation for seven years where war crimes are a common offense, civilian casualties have been grossly under-reported, and corporate contractors run amok.  See our official statement on the Iraq War Logs below.

IVAW Statement on the Iraq War Logs – A Call for Accountability

The recent Wikileaks release–The Iraq War Logs–has shed important light on the high rate of civilian death and widespread atrocities, including torture, that are endemic to the war in Iraq. As veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are outraged that the U.S. government sought to hide this information from the U.S. public, instead presenting a sanitized and deceptive version of war, and we think it is vital for this and further information to get out. Members of IVAW have experienced firsthand the realities of war on the ground, and since our inception we have spoken out about similar atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are asking the U.S. public to join us in calling on our government to end the occupations and bring our brothers and sisters home.

The U.S. government has been claiming for years that they do not keep count of civilian death tolls, yet the recent releases show that they do, in fact, keep count. Between 2004 and 2009, according to these newly disclosed records, at least 109,032 Iraqis died, 66,081 of whom were civilians. The Guardian reports that the Iraq War Logs show that the U.S. military and government gave de facto approval for hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape, and murder by Iraqi soldiers and police officers. These recent revelations, along with the Afghan War Diaries and Collateral Murder footage, weave a picture of wars in which the rules of engagement allow for excessive violence, woven into the fabric of daily life with the U.S. military presence acting as a destabilizing and brutalizing force. The Iraq War Logs, while crucial, are reports produced in real time and themselves may be slanted to minimize the culpability of U.S. forces. Still, they represent an important part of evidence in assessing the reality of the Iraq war, evidence that can only be improved by the further release of documents and information and corroboration by individuals involved. To this end, our members are reviewing both Wikileaks’ Afghanistan War Diaries and the Iraq War Logs to identify incidents we were part of and to shed more light on what really happened.

Call on ABC News to Dump Racist Liar from Election Coverage

Dear Friends,

Remember Andrew Breitbart? He was the man who used selectively-edited video to paint Shirley Sherrod as a racist, to smear the NAACP, and to accuse the Obama administration of reverse racism. It was all a big, premeditated lie.

Unbelievably, ABC News now plans to have Breitbart participate in their Election Night coverage, despite his history as a deceitful operative who distorts, lies, and race-baits.

ABC’s decision is a slap in the face to Shirley Sherrod, to Black America, and to everyone who believes in the value of telling the truth. It’s unacceptable. It’s why I’m joining ColorOfChange incalling on ABC News and its parent company Disney to drop their plans to include Breitbart now:


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PA DEP to Regulate Fracking Wastewater Discharge

Washington County PA rig

DEP guidelines to challenge natural gas extractors

Friday, October 29, 2010

Natural gas exploration and production companies will have a difficult time meeting new standards for limiting pollutants in wastewater dumped in the state’s waterways, experts said yesterday.

“That’s a real daunting challenge,” John W. Ubinger Jr., senior vice president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, said at an event focusing on the risks and opportunities of developing the state’s Marcellus shale natural gas reserves.

About 70 companies are involved in the exploration and production of natural gas in the state’s Marcellus shale reserves. Almost 1,100 wells have been drilled since January, and 2,350 permits have been issued in the first nine months of this year, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

In January, the DEP is set to implement standards that will not permit the discharging of any wastewater that contains more than 500 milligrams per liter of total dissolved solids — such as salts and other minerals — into the state’s watershed. Water used by natural gas drillers to fracture Marcellus shale formations to release the gas has much higher levels of the dissolved salts as well as other minerals and chemicals used in the process.

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Appeal to Progressives: Join the Nov. 2nd Battle against Austerity


Pittsburgh March for Jobs

by Tina Shannon

Dear Fellow Progressive Democrats,

Do you think it is important to participate in this election?

We progressives are just beginning to find our voice. People are starting to want to hear what we have to say. Here in Beaver County the regular Dems invited us to their Annual Fundraising Banquet even though we bring no significant monetary resources. We were invited to participate in the One Nation coalition of labor, the NAACP & community leaders that took 4 buses to the October 2nd rally in DC. Our public events to discuss important issues are well attended.

To continue building in Beaver County, in the 4th Congressional District, we must use our growing strength to help stop the far-right from taking power in this election. All the races are close. If our effort makes the difference, we can build a stronger progressive movement. If we help the 2 Democratic labor candidates for State Representative get elected then we have a relationship with them as they move into power.

Pat Toomey is to the right of Bush. Toomey & Corbett are test cases for Tea Party politics. We might be disappointed that we haven’t made as much progress as we wanted for health care, peace, jobs, and the environment. But we must ask ourselves; do we want to be ruled by the likes of the Tea Party? If we do the work that prevents the Tea Party from gaining ascendancy in our country it may feel like the status quo goes on like usual. But we will have made a tremendous contribution by building the foundation for future progress.

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Pat Toomey – Republican Candidate for US Senator: As Bad As It Gets: Philadelphia Citypaper

66 Reasons NOT to Vote for Pat Toomey

by Jeffrey C. Billman

Published: October 27, 2010

In any other year, it wouldn’t be working. In any other year, Pat Toomey — former derivatives trader, congressman and president of the anti-tax group Club for Growth — wouldn’t be getting away with it. In any other year, his long-standing efforts to privatize Social Security, his radical approach to taxes and spending, his courting of fringe politicians, the millions of dollars he spent purging moderates from the Republican Party, his unabashed corporatism and his voting record — which is, statistically speaking, to the right of the late Jesse Helms — would render him unelectable in a state like Pennsylvania.

Last year, in fact, many Republicans thought that the case. In April 2009, William Parker, founder of the Pennsylvania Club for Growth, begged him to bow out of his challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter: “Pat can’t win the general election,” he wrote in a letter to Republicans. But Toomey pressed on, and not long after Parker wrote that letter, Specter switched parties. Without a serious primary challenge, Toomey was free to reinvent himself: No longer was he a rigid ideologue; instead, he morphed into a “mainstream,” “center-right” businessman who simply wants more jobs and less government.

That this rebranding might succeed is a testament to the times in which we live: 2010 is, after all, the year of the Tea Party, of Christine O’Donnell, of Sharron Angle, of Rand Paul. The year in which Glenn Beck’s paranoia can draw tens of thousands to the National Mall, and revanchist politicians speak openly of repealing the sacraments of the New Deal. This is the year in which anxiety over the economy has poisoned our relationship with rationality.

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The Barbarians Are at the Gates

Enthusiasm?: I Am Not Interested in Things Getting Worse!

By Bill Fletcher, Jr
October 27, 2010

There has been a lot of discussion about the apparent enthusiasm gap between Democratic voters and Republican voters.  While it is beyond question that the Obama administration has accomplished significant reforms in its first two years, the manner in which these have been accomplished, combined with the fact that they were generally not deep enough, has led many liberal and progressive voters to despair.

So, what should we think as we quickly approach November 2nd? First, there were too many magical expectations of both the Obama administration and most Democrats in Congress.  Many of us forgot that while they represented a break with the corrupt Bush era, they were not coming into D.C. with a red flag, a pink flag or a purple flag. They came to stabilize the system in a period of crisis.  President Obama chose to surround himself with advisers who either did not want to appear to believe or in fact did not believe that dramatic structural reforms were necessary in order to address the depth of the economic and environmental crises we face.  They also believed, for reasons that mystify me, that they could work out a compromise with so-called moderate Republicans.

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Progressives and Labor Can Tip This Election

Progressives and Labor Can Tip This Election

by Randy Shannon

On Tuesday evening, October 26, Beaver County local union leaders, Democratic Party activists, and Progressive Democrats gathered at the IBEW Local 712 Hall in Vanport, PA to plan a get out the vote effort for the next week. In a close off-year election in which the Republicans are spending $millions, the union turnout at the polls can make the difference between winning or losing union contracts, social security, and healthcare.

Yael Foa, National AFL-CIO senior field representative, is spending two weeks in the area pulling together the union effort and coordinating with Progressive Democrats, the regular Democratic Party and union locals. The Beaver County GOTV effort is led by Chuck Munoz, (602) 738-7878, of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA).

Ms. Foa pointed out that there are approximately 6,400 union households in Beaver County and around 11,400 members who are registered to vote. The AFL-CIO’s priority list consists of 7,500 households to contact by phone or in person. Representatives of IBEW locals, Postal Workers, USW, AFSCME, IAM committed to mobilize volunteers for the effort.

Labor Walks will be held on Saturday 9am-4pm, Sunday 1pm-6pm, Monday 9am-7pm, and Tuesday 9m-7pm, October 30 through November 2, Election Day. Volunteers can get assignments and partners at the IBEW Local 712 Hall, 217 Sassafras Lane, Beaver. (See Calendar for more details.)

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Marcellus Shale Fracking Releases Uranium: University of Buffalo

Release Date: October 25, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Scientific and political disputes over drilling Marcellus shale for natural gas have focused primarily on the environmental effects of pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground to blast through rocks to release the natural gas.

But University at Buffalo researchers have now found that that process — called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”– also causes uranium that is naturally trapped inside Marcellus shale to be released, raising additional environmental concerns.
The research will be presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver on Nov. 2. Marcellus shale is a massive rock formation that stretches from New York through Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and which is often described as the nation’s largest source of natural gas.

“Marcellus shale naturally traps metals such as uranium and at levels higher than usually found naturally, but lower than manmade contamination levels,” says Tracy Bank, PhD, assistant professor of geology in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences and lead researcher. “My question was, if they start drilling and pumping millions of gallons of water into these underground rocks, will that force the uranium into the soluble phase and mobilize it? Will uranium then show up in groundwater?”

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Why Finance Capital Is Making You Sick of Voting

What To Do Nov 2?

Follow the Money…

By Robert Creamer
Huffington Post

In the movie version of the story of Watergate — “All the President’s Men” – the Nixon administration source who met Bob Woodward in the underground garage to provide him clues — “Deep Throat” — famously tells Woodward to “follow the money.” Apparently those lines were never uttered in real life, but it’s good advice in politics nonetheless.

The other day, California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger – with whom I rarely agree – said something that should be repeated over and over between now and the mid-term elections. Schwarzenegger was referring to oil company financial support for California’s Proposition 23 that would shelve the state’s four-year-old climate legislation until the state’s unemployment rate hits 5.5% when he said:

“Does anyone really believe that these companies, out of the goodness of their black oil hearts, are spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs?” He continued. “….It’s not about jobs at all, ladies and gentlemen. It’s about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits.”

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