Was aid worker Linda Norgrove’s killing really “accidental?"

Matthew Nasuti
Kabul Press

It is premature for the international media to conclude that Ms. Norgrove’s death was “accidental.” It appears increasingly likely that UK citizen Linda Norgrove was killed on October 8, 2010, by an American fragmentation grenade. If true, its use may violate U.S. Army rules and could be grounds for a criminal prosecution. Pursuant to American and British law, conduct that is sufficiently “reckless” can support a charge of intentional killing.

What is also disturbing is that at least some American military personnel concocted a false cover story and tried to blame her death on the Taliban. Instead of telling the truth, these Americans were willing to have her family believe that she died in the horrible explosion of a suicide vest detonated by her captors. The BBC’s October 10, 2010, headline was: “UK Hostage Linda Norgrove Killed by Vest Bomb

The Daily Mail, on the same day, reported that she had been “blown up by a suicide vest.” These are dreadful headlines for any parent to read. The motive for falsely accusing the Taliban of murder may be to distract the public from asking important questions.

The Horrors Of Israeli Settlements

M.J. Rosenberg
Political Correction

It looks like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will get away with his refusal to extend the settlements freeze. Actually, it wasn't much of a freeze in the first place (it had the consistency of ice cream after the freezer door has been left open overnight). But it was better than nothing and maintaining it was the one thing the Palestinians demanded as a condition to keep negotiating.

Palestinians rightfully believe that they can not negotiate with Israel about who is going to keep the occupied West Bank while Israel is building permanent structures all over the very land being discussed.

The usual suspects (the lobby and its cutouts on Capitol Hill) don't think settlements are such a big deal.

They should go to Hebron, a major city on the occupied West Bank — one that right-wingers say Israel will hold on to no matter what. It won't change their calculations on the Middle East, but at least they will know what they are defending in the name of political expediency.

I have visited Hebron a half-dozen times, most recently as part of an official U.S. government delegation. Much of what follows comes from a report I wrote then. (Note: the situation has only deteriorated.)

The War On Terror

Paul Craig Roberts
Antiwar Forum

Does anyone remember the "cakewalk war" that would last six weeks, cost $50-$60 billion, and be paid for out of Iraqi oil revenues?

Does anyone remember that White House economist Lawrence Lindsey was fired by Dubya because Lindsey estimated that the Iraq war could cost as much as $200 billion?

Lindsey was fired for over-estimating the cost of a war that, according to Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, has cost 15 times more than Lindsey estimated. And the US still has 50,000 troops in Iraq.

Does anyone remember that just prior to the US invasion of Iraq, the US government declared victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan?

Does anyone remember that the reason Dubya gave for invading Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, weapons that the US government knew did not exist?

Are Americans aware that the same neoconservatives who made these fantastic mistakes, or told these fabulous lies, are still in control of the government in Washington?

The "war on terror" is now in its tenth year. What is it really all about?

The bottom line answer is that the "war on terror" is about creating real terrorists. The US government desperately needs real terrorists in order to justify its expansion of its wars against Muslim countries and to keep the American people sufficiently fearful that they continue to accept the police state that provides "security from terrorists," but not from the government that has discarded civil liberties.

Chile's ghosts are not being rescued

John Pilger

The rescue of 33 miners in Chile is an extraordinary drama filled with pathos and heroism. It is also a media windfall for the Chilean government, whose every beneficence is recorded by a forest of cameras. One cannot fail to be impressed. However, like all great media events, it is a façade.

The accident that trapped the miners is not unusual in Chile and the inevitable consequence of a ruthless economic system that has barely changed since the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Copper is Chile’s gold, and the frequency of mining disasters keeps pace with prices and profits. There are, on average, 39 fatal accidents every year in Chile’s privatised mines. The San Jose mine, where the men work, became so unsafe in 2007 it had to be closed – but not for long. On 30 July last, a labour department report warned again of “serious safety deficiencies ”, but the minister took no action. Six days later, the men were entombed.

For all the media circus at the rescue site, contemporary Chile is a country of the unspoken. At the Villa Grimaldi, in the suburbs of the capital Santiago, a sign says: “The forgotten past is full of memory.” This was the torture centre where hundreds of people were murdered and disappeared for opposing the fascism that General Augusto Pinochet and his business allies brought to Chile. Its ghostly presence is overseen by the beauty of the Andes, and the man who unlocks the gate used to live nearby and remembers the screams.

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