Archive for the Category » Wikileaks «

July 06th, 2010 | Author:

The Army has formally charged Bradley Manning for allegedly releasing the Wikileaks video depicting US Apache pilots gleefully slaughtering Iraqi civilians and a Reuters journalist in 2007.  Among the cornucopia of charges leveled against Manning, most relate to the release of classified information.   The following wording stands out in the official press release, emphasis added:

One specification of violating United States Code Title 18, Section 793, for communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source;

I am hard-pressed to understand how this nation is made safer when documentation of unrepentant, unholy murder is suppressed, but I suppose from the Army’s perspective the video truly is a “national defense” issue.  Look at all the national resources being expended defending the three-year-old, cavalier slaughter of innocents.

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May 12th, 2010 | Author:

The Word for Wednesday (WFW) is a once-a-week opportunity for Christian bloggers to collectively share what the Lord is working in their hearts. If you’d like to participate, click the WFW tab above.

Note to regular readers: I will resume my End of the Age review of the Olivet Discourse as the Lord leads. Today I’m off on a more topical issue.

The National Day of Prayer

In 1952 Congress, at the request of Billy Graham, established the National Day of Prayer where people were asked to “turn to God in prayer and meditation.”  In 1988, they set the first Thursday in May as “the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.”

On April 15, 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional on this basis:

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote that the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.

“In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray,” Crabb wrote.

In her ruling, she stated that the issue would not go into effect until it has been through the appeals process, and Obama dutifully issued his proclamation.

My first response to all the backlash Crabb’s ruling generated was, “So what?” Do we really need – or want – Obama (or Bush or Clinton or ?) to tell us when and what to pray?  Would the lack of a presidential proclamation prevent us from praying?

When I read Crabb’s reasoning, I tended to agree with her.  If the President can call us to pray on a particular day, hosting special events for that purpose, could they not also try to direct us to non-biblical acts?  This, in fact, is already being attempted, as the New Apostolic Reformation of C. Peter Wagner joined forces with the Christian Right  in what was dubbed “A Cry to God:  May Day 2010” at the Lincoln Memorial.  As Herescope documented, this was less than biblical:

One of the most amazing aspects of the May Day event, planned in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial on May 1, 2010, is its Official Program stating the “Prayers of Repentance for the Seven Mountains of Culture.”[3] Many good-intentioned believers are being led into this event because they support its conservative political ideologies and moral overtones. They support Israel and they are against abortion. But do these folks also support the Seven Mountains of Culture Mandate? And are they fully in agreement with the esoteric theology of these spiritual warfare prayers and the Dominionist goals of the NAR leaders of the May Day event?

I’d encourage you to read that article and follow the links it contains, as well as this article and this one.  There is a long-planned co-opting of Christianity being implemented, and discernment is required.

All of this has led me to reflect on the larger issue of America as

A Christian Nation

“America was birthed in prayer and founded on the Bible,” said Shirley Dobson, chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, on Thursday.

A solemn mood prevailed at this year’s National Day of Prayer, as speaker after speaker lamented what they perceive as an attack on our Christian Nation, but … does it really matter?  Can any man-made law make us Christian or prevent us from being Christian?  Can any nation actually be Christian?

Before everybody gets in a dither, let me state that I agree with Dobson’s statement.  I’ve learned a lot from my friend Hercules Mulligan, and I agree that, by and large, the founders of America were Christian and attempted to base our government on God’s law.  But that does not make us a Christian nation.

Jesus told Pilate this:

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” (John 18:36)

Nowhere in scripture did Jesus attempt to change the worldly governments.  Nowhere in scripture did Jesus tell his disciples to change the worldly governments. In fact, history has shown that since Constantine tried to establish the first “Christian nation,” nothing but disaster has resulted.  Every government that has tried to enforce Christian principles wound up killing in Jesus’ name and desecrating His name – and America is no exception.

A Young Soldier

Realnews.com, in a follow-up to the Wikileak Collateral Murder video (which has over 6 million views to date),  has posted Part 1 of an interview with Josh Stieber.  Go here to watch the whole interview or read the transcript.

Josh Stieber enlisted in the army after graduating high school. He was deployed to Baghdad from Feb 07- Apr 08 with the military company shown on the ground in the Collater Murder video. Upon his return from Iraq, Josh was granted conscientious objector status.

So who is this young man?  What was he thinking when he enlisted?  Here’s part of the interview.

STIEBER: I grew up very religiously and very patriotic, in a selective sense that, you know, I only wanted to hear things that I wanted to hear and only things that I thought would make my country look better and make my beliefs look better, and I wasn’t very interested in understanding other perspectives. And the vision I had of my country was that, you know, we were going all throughout the world doing, you know, all this great stuff and helping people in need. And, you know, after 9/11 I was obviously affected by that and wanted to protect the people that I cared about, and, from everyone I trusted, was told that the military would be a good way to do that, and then was also told, you know, there’s this country Iraq that’s getting oppressed by this horrible dictator who’s also a threat to us, and if we can get rid of him, not only will we be keeping ourselves safe, but we’ll also be helping this other country in the process.

JAY: How interwoven were your beliefs in America and what America stands for and your religious beliefs?

STIEBER: They were pretty closely intertwined. I went to a religious high school. And one example is, in a government class that I was in at this religious high school, we read a book called The Faith of George W. Bush. And people like that were held up as, you know, these—these are people that are fighting for God’s will here on Earth. So religion was very interwoven with a sense of nationalism.

So what happened to change his beliefs?

JAY: So you go to Iraq. You join, you go through boot camp, and you’re sent to Iraq, and you’re still more or less the same mindset. Tell us a little bit about boot camp and the kind of training that takes place to prepare you for war. I mean, your religious training is supposed to be about love thy neighbor, and then you’re sent to war. So how do they get you ready for that?

STIEBER: Yeah, I guess that’s where I started to see, maybe, some of these contradictions, just by the kinds of things that we did on a regular basis in basic training, whether it was the cadences that we sang as we were marching around, some that even joked about killing women and children.

JAY: Like what?

STIEBER: One that stands out in my mind is—it goes,

“I went down to the market where all the women shop
I pulled out my machete and I begin to chop
I went down to the park where all the children play
I pulled out my machine gun and I begin to spray.”

JAY: That’s as you’re marching.

STIEBER: Right.

JAY: So this is, like, an authorized chant, you could say.

STIEBER: Yeah. I mean, the training, they focus on the physical aspect, or, you know, they say that’s the challenging part, but then they slip all these psychological things in along with it.

JAY: Well, that’s got to be shocking for you to hear that the first time.

STIEBER: Yeah. And so I started writing home to religious leaders at my church, saying what I’m being asked to do doesn’t really line up with, you know, all these religious beliefs I had. And I would get letters back with explanations that I needed to have more faith in God, or this is just how the military works.

JAY: They would write back and defend a chant like that, that it’s okay to go down where the kids are playing and start to spray? They would defend that?

STIEBER: They would either defend it or say that ends justify the means or say, you know, maybe you personally don’t say chants like that and just march silently, but you still go along with the whole system.

If these are the words taught by a “Christian Nation,” it’s no wonder the Muslims hate America.  And it’s no wonder that they hate Jesus.

I’ve taken some liberties with the following scripture, but based on Matthew 5:43-48 when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, I don’t think He will object.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love for Muslims,
I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge;
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love for Muslims,
I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor,
and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love for Muslims,
it profits me nothing.
Love is patient,
love is kind and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own, is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7)

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April 26th, 2010 | Author:

Amy Tirador:  Another Military Cover-up? Remember Lavena Johnson, who was murdered in Iraq and the military continues to classify her death as suicide?  It would appear that she has a sister.  As you read these military conclusions, contort your body and see if you could have done this to yourself:

Medical examiners had concluded that the decorated soldier committed suicide in a generator room of Camp Caldwell in eastern Iraq. They said she shot herself once above and behind the right ear, and reported finding “black powder material on the fingers and thumbs of both hands.” Army personnel found Tirador at 1:15 p.m. Nov. 5 slouched against a machine with her 9 mm gun attached to her uniform by a lanyard and a single shell casing nearby, the document states.

Wired Interview: One of the soldiers who was at the scene of the Wikileaks Apache helicopter attack gives his perspective.  Here’s a piece.

Ethan McCord: Right. We were engaged in our own conflict roughly about three or four blocks away. We heard the gunships open up. [Then] we were just told … to move to this [other] location. It was pretty much a shock when we got there to see what had happened, the carnage and everything else.

Wired.com: But you had been in combat before. It shouldn’t have surprised you what you saw.

McCord: I have never seen anybody being shot by a 30-millimeter round before. It didn’t seem real, in the sense that it didn’t look like human beings. They were destroyed.

What If? Stepping back from these intimate details of war, Gary D. Barnett has posited an interesting question at LewRockwell.com.  Here’s a teaser:

What if a small group of extremist Americans high-jacked passenger planes in another country and flew them into skyscrapers in a major foreign city killing thousands of innocent people? Would it then be proper and moral for that country, and with the full use of its military, to attack and occupy the entire United States? Would it then be right for that invading army to take over and demand that all U.S. citizens bow to their command? Would it be right for that country’s forces to kill and maim all who refused to comply with their demands? And would it be right for that foreign invading entity to destroy the entire infrastructure of America?

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Category: abuse of power, war, Wikileaks  | Comments off
April 14th, 2010 | Author:

from AP, aboard a military aircraft:

Gates says the video doesn’t show what happened before or after. He said: “You’re looking at a situation through a soda straw and you have no context or perspective.”

You want perspective, Gates?  Liliana Segura at AlterNet has collected some perspective from people who were there:

On Monday, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez played clips from an interview with Ahlam Abdelhussain, whose husband, Saleh Mutashar, died trying to rescue one of the two Reuters newsman hit by the blasts while his two children were injured. “My husband did nothing wrong,” she says, now a widow.

“How do I feel? What can I say? Why was he shot with his children in the car? They did nothing wrong. He was helping a journalist. What was his crime? What was the crime of our children who are left with no father and no support.”

Saleh’s nephew, Anwar, said:

    He was carrying wounded people during the American attacks. He was trying to help. They believe that someone who was carrying a gun will take his children along with him? Unbelievable. What can we do? God take revenge from the Americans. They destroyed us and destroyed our nations. What is the future of those children? They are orphans.

And here’s a little context from one of the witnesses:

WITNESS 2: [translated] Do we help the wounded or kill them? They killed all the wounded and drove over their bodies. Everyone witnessed it. And the journalist was among those who was injured, and the armored vehicle drove over his body.

For more perspective and context, go here.

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April 10th, 2010 | Author:

Papa Mike’s blog has posted a time line for Obamacare, that helps clarify what comes when (along with a couple interesting cartoons.)  Among all the particulars, this one jumped out at me:

2012
§ 1099 reporting: Businesses will have to complete 1099 forms for every business-to-business transaction of $600 or more – a tremendous new paperwork burden for small business.

And this is going to help the economy.

Hornberger’s Blog comments on the pilots in the WikiLeaks video:

However, there is one part of the WikiLeaks video that I wish to address — the reaction of the helicopter pilots upon learning that there were two children who were shot and injured during the melee. Their reaction, in fact, perfectly exemplifies the mindset that has long characterized U.S. officials, including those in the Pentagon.

When the pilots discovered that they had shot the two Iraqi kids, here was their exchange:

“Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

“That’s right.”

No remorse, no anguish, no regret, no concern. Just callous indifference to the possibility that the lives of two innocent children might have just been snuffed out.

What will be the reaction of the relatives of those two Iraqi children, who lost their father in the attack? Surely, even the most ardent pro-war advocates would not deny the obvious: the relatives will be filled with anger and rage.

Welcome to the world of U.S. foreign policy and terrorist blowback.

Never let it be said that our immoral actions have consequences.

CNSNews.com: shows us the value of “Energy Star” ratings from the EPA:

The Environmental Protection Agency certified that a “gas-powered clock radio” was an energy-efficient product under the government’s Energy Star program, despite the fact that neither the clock nor its manufacturer ever existed. The clock and 14 other phony products were part of an investigation into the Energy Star program conducted by the Government Accountability Office, which submitted 20 fraudulent Energy Star applications from four fake companies.  The EPA evaluated 16 of those products while the Department of Energy (DOE) evaluated four. Fifteen of the phony products – including the gas-powered alarm clock – and all four of the fake companies were certified by EPA/DOE under the Energy Star program.

Last, but not least, the President’s wife has finally acknowledged where Barrack calls home, so quit scoffing at all those birthers:

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