Tallying Iraqi Civilian Deaths

You might think a little accounting would be in order.

We know exactly how many American and British soldiers have died in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We can only guess at the number of Iraqis, both military and civilian. We can be sure of only one thing: it far exceeds coalition casualties. Civilians, like truth, are usually the first casualties of war. In the early days of the invasion of Iraq, Gen. Tommy Franks famously told reporters at his headquarters in Qatar, "We don't do body counts." The Pentagon and our British allies have stuck to that position ever since. They have never given an accounting, or even a rough estimate, of the number of Iraqi civilians who have died in the bombing and crossfire of combat during the invasion, or in he deadly insurgency that still wracks the country. The United States and Britain, under the Geneva Convention and Hague Regulations, have a binding responsibility as occupying authorities to prevent civilian deaths, including those resulting from the breakdown of law and order and inadequate health care or sanitation. So you might think a little accounting would be in order.

That's what a group of retired military, diplomats and government officials have demanded in an open letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The signatures on the letter were collected by Retired Air Vice Marshall Tim Garden, now a member of the House of Lords. They say a full investigation into the death toll is the only way for Britain to comply with its legal requirement to protect Iraqi civilians. A spokesman for the prime minister said his position would not be changed by the letter.


Aftermath News
Top Stories - December 23rd, 2004

U.S. Marines Suffer Most Suicides in Five Years

Suicides of U.S. Marines have reached their highest level in five years, prompting a Defense Department effort to encourage Marines to seek mental health services, a Marine Corps spokesman said on Tuesday. But spokesman Bryan Driver said there was no evidence linking the higher suicide rate with the long tours of duty and frontline fighting Marines have engaged in Iraq. There have been 32 confirmed or probable suicides among 178,000 Marines this year, surpassing the 28 who killed themselves in 2001 as the United States invaded Afghanistan, Driver said. The Marines, the smallest of the U.S. armed services by number of troops, have had the military's highest suicide rate -- about 25 per year among 178,000 active duty troops since 1999, the year the government began keeping detailed records.

"What we found out when we looked into the circumstances are relationship problems, financial problems, legal problems. Those are the three main triggers in these Marines' lives," Driver said.


Aftermath News
Top Stories - December 23rd, 2004

Push it to the kids

Mandatory testing and medication for childhood mental illnesses if the federal government gets their way

In its rush to pass an omnibus federal budget, the U.S. Congress recently approved measures to possibly promote the involuntary screening and consequent medication of students for suspected mental illnesses. The legislation, which passed both the House and Senate, conjoins with two Bush administration pet projects: the president’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and No Child Left Behind. In a telephone interview, lobbyist Michael Ostrolenk, M.A., explained that the Mental Health Commission’s recommendations for universal and mandatory mental illness screening remain just that: recommendations. Individual states remain free to decide how or if they would implement them. Ostrolenk cites the example of the state of Illinois, which attempted to force screening protocols on all pregnant women and public school children. Public outcry forced that state to retreat. Nevertheless, President Bush and the Senate requested $44 million toward block grants to states to support universal and mandatory measures, although the House cut the allocation down to $20 million. Several observers believe that the Republicans have caved into economic pressures, and accuse pharmaceutical companies of using their influence to receive favors from all levels of government responsible for mental health care. In July 7 of this year the Philadelphia Daily News reported that a government psychiatrist had filed a public interest lawsuit “charging major pharmaceutical companies, state officials and state contractors with public corruption, and fraud violations of civil and criminal law,” alleging that the drug firms had essentially dictated the diagnostic criteria that state officials used for mental illnesses, skewing them in such a manner as to favor conditions that require psychotropic medication rather than counseling or psychotherapy.

The article went on to cite similar lawsuits in several other states, as well as the firing of the original Pennslyvania whistleblower.

Aftermath News
Top Stories - December 23rd, 2004

FDA admits that antidepressant drugs double risk of suicides, violent behavior in children

Scientific advisers to the Food and Drug Administration next week are expected to recommend tougher warning labels or other restrictions on antidepressants linked to suicidal behavior in children. A re-analysis of studies, released last month, confirmed that those on antidepressants may be nearly twice as likely to become suicidal as kids given sugar pills, and some drugs appear to raise the risk much more than others.

June 2003: FDA advises doctors not to prescribe Paxil for kids under 18 because of possible rise in suicide risk.
August 2003: Wyeth tells doctors that studies show hostility and thoughts of suicide increase in children 6 to 17 taking Effexor and Effexor XR.

October 2003: FDA sends a "Dear Dr." letter saying studies can't rule out increased suicidal thinking and attempts in children on the antidepressants, urges caution in prescribing.

December 2003: British drug regulators advise doctors to use none of the antidepressants except for Prozac with children, saying it's the only one whose benefits outweigh risks.


Aftermath News
Top Stories - December 23rd, 2004

Rocketing rise of behaviour-controlling drug

The number of Lothians children prescribed with the behaviour-controlling drug Ritalin has risen more than sevenfold in the last seven years, it emerged today. But the dramatic rise was smaller than the ten-fold increase recorded across Scotland as a whole. NHS watchdogs said a review would look into why prescription rates vary among health boards throughout the country. The drug is given to children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A report by the body NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (QIS) said prescribing of the drug, officially known as methylphenidate, rose "notably" between 1996 and 2003, from 69 to 603 prescriptions per 10,000 of the population aged from six to 14. In Lothian, 75 prescriptions per 10,000 children were written in 1996 and, by last year, it had risen to 541. Around one in 20 children in Scotland has ADHD, the key symptoms of which are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.

It is estimated that around half do not grow out of the condition and it carries longer-term risks of other problems including anxiety, depression and suicide.


Aftermath News
Top Stories - December 23rd, 2004


More about Ritalin:

George W. Bush's America: A National Nightmare?

Homeland Security Agency is the mother of all domestic bureaucracies

The “Intelligence Bill,” or S. 2845, was passed by the Congress, on Dec. 9, 2004, with little or no public input. Pushed by the ultra Iraqi War Hawk, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), it creates the foundation for a national ID card. Bail can easily be denied to anyone charged with a terrorist offense. The power of Homeland Security bureaucrats to place an activist on “Watch” or “No Fly” lists have also been greatly enhanced by this police state scheme. In many of the Hollywood “B” movies made about WWII, you could always count on a scene where two arrogant Gestapo thugs, wearing dark trench coats, would demand of a hapless German, walking on a street or seated as a passenger in a railroad car, “Let me see your papers!” Fear on the face of the nervous citizen was the typical response to such a question. Then, the subject in the scene would be seen stumbling around looking inside his jacket for his credentials while mumbling to himself. No papers! Well, that meant the suspect was going to be hauled downtown to police headquarters for a good beating or worse. Well, thanks to the cowardly members of the U.S. Congress, in 2005, and at the explicit direction of the Bush()-Cheney Gang, the above scenario could become part of our national nightmare. A separate ID or an “Internal Passport” will soon be needed by anyone trying to board an airplane for commercial travel. I’m confident that other means of public transportation, like trains, buses and ferries, will shortly be added to that category by our rubber stamp Congress. If your name shows up, no matter how, on a “No Fly” or “Watch List,” you may have to walk home! The ACLU rightly denounced that provision, and others, which call for the creation of national database systems, for laying the foundation for a “de facto national id card” (supra., cnn.com, 12/10/04).

Buried in the over 3,000 pages, S. 2845, and unread by a majority of the members of the Congress or a mostly complicit media, were other draconian provisions ( http://thomas.loc.gov/ ).


Aftermath News
Top Stories - December 23rd, 2004

Cobb Says Blackwell Has Refused to Answer His Questions


December 22, 2004


Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb said today that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has refused to answer questions about the recount process and about a multitude of problems with the underlying presidential election in Ohio. "Mr. Blackwell's conduct is insulting and inexcusable. He has refused to answer clarifying questions about the recount process and has also refused to answer questions posed to him in writing by a number of members of Congress," said Cobb. Cobb had previously called for Blackwell's recusal from the recount process, citing Blackwell's conflict of interest by serving simultaneously as a co-chair for the Bush campaign in Ohio and as the state official responsible for overseeing the election. Reverend Jesse Jackson, Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik and a number of citizens' organizations have joined Cobb's demand for Blackwell's recusal.

read article:

Letter from John Conyers Jr. to Triad



Dear Mr. Rapp and Mr. Barbian:

I have just reviewed a tape prepared by the documentarian Lynda Byrket of the hearing held by the Hocking County Board of Elections on December 20, and based on that tape I have more questions and concerns than ever about the conduct of your firm in connection with the Ohio presidential election and recount. In particular, I am concerned that your company has operated - either intentionally or negligently - in a manner which will thwart the recount law.

read more:

read article:

Kerry backer questions Cuyahoga recount

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Diane Suchetka
Plain Dealer

John Kerry's presidential campaign criticized the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Wednesday night for its handling of the presidential recount and said some parts of that recount should be conducted again. That won't happen.

read article:

Grave harm John Kerry caused by his early concession and subsequent failure to take aggressive actions to correct the result in Ohio

Now available -- Transcript of December 3rd Federal Court Hearing in Which Relief Was Denied Because Cobb Rather Than Kerry Was


Ray Beckerman

This is an historic document, which well illustrates the grave harm John Kerry caused by his early concession and subsequent failure to take aggressive actions to correct the result in Ohio. Here the parties argued their cases, and John Bonifaz of the National Voting Rights Institute fought valiantly to stand up for the voting rights of all Americans. The Judge denied him the temporary relief because John Kerry was not the person bringing the motion:

read article:

Rallies Will Demand Accurate Ohio Recount

By International Labor Communications Association The International Labor Communications Association is working with a broad coalition of organizations, including Rainbow/PUSH, Progressive Democrats of America, and ReDefeatBush.com to promote rallies in Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 3, and Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.

read article:

Important Action Memo from We Do Not Concede

Sheri Myers, Outreach
We Do Not Concede

December 22, 2004

Revolution: That's what Rev. Jackson says about the upcoming Ohio 1/03 and the DC 1/06 Voters Rights Rallies. "We must keep the drums beating!" Perhaps you feel that contesting the election is a lost cause. Please remember that at certain critical points in every struggle for human rights, all did seem lost, before the tide turned. Why did it turn? Because some people refused to give up.

read article:

Progressive Democrats of America Take Ohio Voting Fraud Issue to Floor of Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, December 21, 2004

Progressive Democrats take Voting Fraud Issues to the Floor of the Senate Washington, D.C. – Today, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) launched an online campaign to send thousands of emails to members of the Senate, urging them to stand with progressive members of the House of Representatives on January 6th. Rather than have a repeat of the Senatorial silence of 2000, this election's certification should find at least one Senator, and perhaps many, who will stand with the voters who were disenfranchised and suppressed during the November 2nd, 2004 election. Tonight, PDA is reporting over 12,000 emails sent to targeted Senators.

read article:

Urge Progressive Senators To Take A Stand On Jan. 6

On January 6, 2005, Congress will meet in joint session to certify the 2004 presidential election. On that day, if one member of the House and one member of the Senate object to the certification of the vote, then all members of Congress will finally discuss these issues. On January 6, 2001, not a single Senator would join with the Representatives who demanded an inquiry into the Florida recount. This year, let's make our Senators take a stand!

The following seven Senators are some of the most progressive members of the Senate. Please call them immediately, and urge them to defend democracy on January 6.

read article:

Sumatra droht Kahlschlag

Der indonesische Konzern APRIL hat für seine Zellstoffproduktion bereits mindestens 300.000 Hektar Regenwald vernichtet und dabei viele Menschen von ihrem angestammten Land vertrieben. Jetzt hat APRIL eine neue Abholz-Konzession in den letzten tropischen Torfwäldern Sumatras beantragt.

Bitte fordern sie noch heute vom zuständigen Provinzgouverneur und anderen verantwortlichen Politikern, die Konzession nicht zu genehmigen.

Einen entsprechenden Brief in englisch und die deutsche Übersetzung finden Sie unter http://www.regenwald.org

Bitte leiten Sie diese Nachricht an möglichst viele Freunde und Bekannte weiter!

Vielen Dank für Ihre Unterstützung. Beste Grüße, ein friedliches Weihnachtsfest und ein erfolgreiches neues Jahr.

Ihr Reinhard Behrend
Rettet den Regenwald e. V.

War Crimes


US Count Votes Gains Staff, Readies For Archival Kickoff

December 23, 2004

USCountVotes - a new volunteer scientific project to investigate the accuracy of elections in America - formed in December 2004 to objectively investigate the accuracy of elections in every part of America. Our goal is to provide statistically-valid methods to help detect any and all precincts with probable vote-counting errors.

New staff announcement:

Just one week after launching our new web site, US Count Votes has committed itself to hire its first full-time paid staff person. Thomas Knight has been in the IT industry for over 9 years, specializing in software development and system administration. He is currently wrapping up the programming and testing needed to prepare for the launch of US Count Votes' election data archival system - the first step in our data-gathering and analyzing mission.

Submit your local media contacts:

In order to ensure that USCountVotes public archive and statistical analyses gets full public exposure when we announce its launch, Thomas Knight has programmed a "media collector" online form. Please help us to build a comprehensive national media contact list, covering every state in the US, by submitting the names and contact information of newspapers, broadcast media outlets and independent journalists that you know at:

Volunteer opportunities for data collection:

US Count Votes plans to begin accepting data documents for its archive from its civic volunteers before the end of the year. Volunteers in each state are needed who can collect precinct-level data for every jurisdiction in the US, starting with the 2004 elections. We're encouraging you to sign up for our state volunteer mailing list now, so that you may team up and coordinate with other volunteers, and we can notify you just as soon as we're ready to go.

About USCountVotes:

USCountVotes will create a single database containing precinct-level election results for the entire United States. All data and analysis will be published and there will be free public access to the data, via the Internet, that will allow anyone to verify the results. This data will then be analyzed by statisticians.

If the database and analytic tools can be put in place by the national election in November 2006, for the first time in American history, it could be possible for candidates to be reliably warned of indications of machine or human-caused vote count errors, in time to challenge the results. With a sound scientific approach and methodology, it may be possible for US Count Votes project staff to serve as expert witnesses, or to help develop statistical evidence in support of legal filings.

Please visit USCountVotes online at http://www.uscountvotes.org for additional information.

Contact: Bruce O'Dell at 612-309-1330 bruce@uscountvotes.org

Thomas G. Knight
System Administrator


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Dezember 2004

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