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Friday, May 27, 2016

Summer 2016 Part 4

Akai Gurley

Akai Gurley’s death was a tragedy. Justice is not served for the family of Brother Akai Gurley. On February of 2016, a jury gave a guilty verdict for second degree manslaughter and official misconduct against the New York Police Department officer Peter Liang for the November 2014 killing of 28 year old Akai Gurley. Akai Gurley was unarmed. The shooting happened when Gurley and his girlfriend were walking down a stairwell in the Louis H. Pink Houses, which is a public housing complex in the East New York section of Brooklyn. At the same time, Liang and his partner were doing a “vertical patrol” in the building. Liang shown his gun and encountered 2 young people in the darkened stairwell. He was told to wait and get back up, but he refused to do so. He shot his gun and the bullet ricocheted off the wall, which wounded Gurley in the chest. Instead of using immediate assistance, the two police officers delayed for nearly 20 minutes by debating on what to do, which is disgraceful. Gurley was bleeding to death. The victim’s girlfriend used a neighbor’s phone to get an ambulance in the area. Gurley bled to death. Gurley was the father of two young girls. The verdict came in the mist of the large numbers of killings of the New York Police. None of the officers involved in the killing and choking death of Eric Garner by the NY police was been indicted. The last trial for a police killing was in 2008, when three officers were acquitted in the shooting death of 23-year-old Sean Bell.

Liang’s lawyers argued that the shooting was a tragic accident rather than a crime. That is a bold faced lie as Gurley was shot and the officer did nothing to help the victims for 20 minutes. There is a virtual police occupation of public housing complexes and working class neighborhoods in New York. Bill Bratton was chosen by the Democratic Party mayor Bill De Blasio and Bratton promoted the infamous “broken windows” policy for years. Bratton himself stated that Gurley was “totally innocent.” Furthermore, the evident failure of both officers to render any assistance to the victim after the shooting represents gross, criminal negligence, indicating an attitude that such deaths are merely “collateral damage.” Despite this, the only change in the wake of Gurley’s death has been to intensify police activities. Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said that the trial has nothing to do with Ferguson. He’s wrong since police occupation and class oppression exist in New York City and in Ferguson, Missouri. We see an epidemic of police misconduct. The African American Brooklyn DA Thompson now wants Liang to serve no jail time, which is a disgrace. People who done far less have served prison time. Ken Thompson is a Democratic politician who refuse to advocate for real justice involving this case. Last week, the District Attorney for Brooklyn, New York, recommended that the cop who was convicted in the death of Akai Gurley not spend a single day in prison, but, instead, serve five years’ probation, six months on home confinement, and do 500 hours of community service. Judge Chun was the Manhattan Assist. DA under Rudy Giuliani and he supported the evil stop and frisk policy. We know that police misconduct is a problem found nationally and globally. I express condolences to the family of Akai Gurley. Some (not all) of NYC’s Chinese American community wanted Peter Liang to be acquitted. This shows that we, as black people, must come together and defend the truth. The family of Akai Gurley is of course outraged. They said District Attorney Thompson’s recommendation “sends the message that police officers who kill people should not face serious consequences.” At least some of the jurors that convicted the cop agreed. One asked, “What was the point of prosecuting him? If something is wrong, you shouldn’t get a slap on the wrist.” Another juror said the DA’s call for leniency was “ridiculous,” and confided to the Daily News that his own father had spent seven years in prison for accidentally shooting a friend. The system readily gives impunity to cops who kill people. A totally unarmed and totally non-threatening Black man never deserved to be killed. We must show the truth. Black Lives will always Matter.

The Persian Gulf War

The Persian Gulf War was a futuristic war in many ways. It involved the usage of cruise missiles, computerized devices, and other forms of advanced weaponry. It lasted from 1990 to 1991. President George H. W. Bush used the military to fight Saddam Hussein’s forces for the sake of protecting American oil interests in Kuwait & Saudi Arabia. War readily deals with oil and other mineral resources. The Persian Gulf War lasted from August 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991. The war has a long history. Iraqi forces were not attacked to promote democracy, but the West wanted to directly extend its political and economic influence in the Middle East region. There was a time when Saddam Hussein was Washington’s friend. Back during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, there was upheaval in the Middle East. The CIA-backed Shah was overthrown by Iranian Muslim fundamentalist forces. During 1980, Iraq launched a war against Iran. The U.S., the West, and the USSR funded both sides in the Iran-Iraq War. It lasted from 1980 to 1988 with about one million people killed among both sides. By 1987, Iran was getting the upper hand in the war, so Washington shifted its support to Iraq. The West used the guise of wanting to protect Kuwaiti oil tankers sailing in the Gulf. The USA didn’t want Iraq defeated since they believe that an Iraq defeat would cause economic instability in the region. "While we want no victor, we can’t stand to see Iraq defeated," Assistant U.S. Defense Secretary Richard Armitage told Congress at the time. "[T]hat specter would lead to instability from Marrakech to Bangladesh." During the 1980’s, there was extensive American support for Iraqi. The U.S. gave Iraq millions of dollars in planes and helicopters. The U.S. provided Iraq with U.S. fed intelligence data from its AWACS surveillance planes to the Iraqi high command. The large armada of U.S. Naval forces was in the Gulf too. This was done under the guise of “protecting the freedom of navigation of the Gulf.”

The West wanted hegemony in the region over Iran. Even former Reagan National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane (who was involved in the Iran Contra scandal) admitted that the U.S. intervention in the Iran/Iraq War was not about defending the “freedom of the seas” or neutrality. He admitted that this action was done to supply Iraq with supplies. Iran conceded defeat in 1988. The U.S. continued to build Saddam Hussein as a dictator for the next two years. There was medical, military, and economic aid given to Iraq by the West. Between 1985 and 1990, U.S. firms sold almost $800 million in "dual use" aircraft–ostensibly to be used for civilian purposes, but easily convertible to military uses. In 1988 and 1989 alone, the U.S. government approved licenses to U.S. firms to sell biological products to the Iraqi Atomic Energy Agency and electronics equipment to Iraqi missile-producing plants. In July 1988–two months after Saddam used chemical weapons to wipe out the Kurdish village of Halabja–the California-based Bechtel Corp. won a contract to build a petrochemicals plant. Iraq planned to produce mustard gas and fuel-air explosives in the plant. The Bush administration doubled agricultural credits to Iraq to $1 billion a year. Other Western allies, like Britain and France, also helped to arm Saddam. Back then, there was a Saddam Lobby which promoted Iraqi interests before the Persian Gulf War existed. Even Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger shilled for Iraq before 1990. Former Senator Alan Simpson, former Senator Howard Metzenbaum, and former Senator Bob Dole stood by Saddam as later as April of 1990. The US knew that Saddam used chemical weapons against Kurds and Iranians before the war as the West helped to build Saddam’s arsenal.

The Start of the Persian Gulf War

The Iraq/Iran War made Iraq to be near bankrupt. Iraq pumped oil heavily in trying to get money. Kuwait once backed Iraq during the Iraq/Iran War. Yet, Kuwait dumped oil in the world market. This caused the world price for oil to go down while making Iraq have difficulty in their country.  Later, Iraq charged that Kuwait was poaching Iraqi oil from the Rumallah oil field, which straddled the countries’ border. When Saddam threatened military action against Kuwait, the U.S. didn’t discourage him. U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam "we have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait." Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. The Western world immediately wanted to attack Iraqi forces. The West wanted Saddam to confine his power in Iraq. When he or Saddam wanted more influence in the Gulf region, the West wanted to defeat Saddam. 3 days later, President George H. W. Bush declared that the invasion by Iraq “will not stand.” On August 6, 1990, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia met with Richard Cheney to request U.S. military assistance against Iraq. Saudi Arabia feared that Saddam would disrupt the world oil markets if he decided to invade Saudi Arabia. By August 8, U.S. Air force fighter planes arrived in Saudi Arabia. John Warden met with Schwarzkopf in Tampa to outline a proposed air campaign in August 10. By August 28, 1990, there was secret Israeli delegation flying to Washington, D.C. to stress the likelihood of an Iraqi attack on Israel if a war starts.

On September 18, 1990, Schwarzkopf asked four Army planned to start to work on a ground offensive. CENTCOM’s one Corps Concept was unveiled at the White House on October 10. Colin Powell flew to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to discuss offensive plans on October 21. George H. W. Bush decided to double the forces in Saudi Arabia in late October, but his decision was kept secret until November 8. To neutralize the USSR’s veto on the United Nations (UN) Security Council, the U.S. pushed the Gulf States to funnel $4 billion to Moscow. The U.S. also kept mum when the USSR rolled tanks into Lithuania to quell pro-independence unrest. To court China, the U.S. offered loans and helped bring the Chinese government back from the international pariah status it had earned with its 1989 repression of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Those countries which balked at joining Bush’s "international community" faced harsh reprisals. When the UN’s ambassador to Yemen voted against a resolution authorizing the use of force to expel Iraq from Kuwait, a U.S. official told the Yemeni: "That was the most expensive ‘no’ vote you ever cast." A few days later, the U.S. cut off millions in aid to Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world. Saudi Arabia expelled 800,000 Yemeni "guest" workers. By November 29, 1990, the UN Security Council authorized the use of “all means necessary” to eject Iraq from Kuwait. The first ship carrying VII Corps equipment arrived in Saudi Arabia from Germany on December 6, 1990. In January 9, 1991, James Baker met with Tariq Aziz in Geneva in an unsuccessful effort to find a peaceful solution. Congress authorized the use of force in January 12, 1991. Many Congress people opposed the authorization.

The Initial Bombings

The Coalition forces of the Allies included the following nations: the United States of America, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, Canada, Argentina, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Oman, and Qatar. The total strength of the Allied forces were 956,000 troops including about 700,000 U.S. troops. The Iraqis had 650,000 frontline troops, and 1 million reserve troops. January 15, 1991 was the UN deadline for Iraqi withdrawal. Schwarzkopf accused the Air Force of ignoring orders by not including the Republican Guard in initial bombing sorties. The U.S. dropped 90 percent of the bombs on Iraq. On January 17, 1991 on 2:38 am., the Allied attack started with the Apache strike. Iraqi responded by sending its first scuds in Israel on January 18. Navy aircraft losses during attack on Scud sites lead to recriminations about low-altitude bombing tactics. First American air attacks are launched from Turkey. David Eberly and Thomas Griffith were shot down in January 19th. Lawrence Eagleburger and Paul Wolfowitz arrived in Tel Aviv on January 20. On January 22, 1991, the Navy attacked an Iraqi oil tanker. Schwarzkopf threatened court martial. The British high command was alarmed at aircraft losses, so they abandon low altitude attacks against airfields. The intense attack against Iraqi aircraft shelters started in January 23, 1991. The U.S. Marines in Oman participated in the Sea Soldier IV, which is a rehearsal for an amphibious landing on the Kuwaiti coast. On that day, F-111s attacked oil manifolds at Al Ahmandi in an effort to counter Iraqi sabotage. Iraqis attacked Khafji and other border positions in January 29, 1991. Allied pilots begin flying combat air patrols to thwart Iraqi flights to Iran.

Richard Cheney dispatched the Delta Force to Saudi Arabia to hunt for Scuds. The city of Khafji is recaptured on January 31. David Eberly is moved to a new prison called the “Biltmore.” On February 1, 1991, the last Tomahawk missiles are launched in an attack on a Baghdad airfield. During the next day, General Schwarzkopf formally decided against an amphibious landing in Kuwait. The first battleship gunfire comes against targets in Kuwait in February 3 and the first “tank plinking” mission is flown on February 5. The VII corps finished closing in theater with the arrival of the final 3rd Armored Division equipment. The CIA on February 7, 1991 in a daily intelligence brief noted a large discrepancy between Washington and Riyadh regarding destruction of Iraqi armor in air attacks. Cheney and Powell fly to Riyadh for final review of ground war plans on February 8. Al Firdos bunker in Baghdad suburb added to master attack plan. Moshe Arens in Washington complains about ineffectiveness of Patriot missile against Scuds. Yevgeni Primakov arrives in Baghdad to urge Iraqi withdrawal on February 11. The February 13 Al Firdos bunker strike killed more than 200 civilians and leads to restrictions on the strategic bombing campaign. Radio Baghdad suggested that Iraq is willing to surrender, but Bush rejected the proposal as a “cruel hoax” on the 15th of February. The U.S. and its lackey, Britain, dismissed Saddam’s surrender. Instead, Bush called for Iraqis to rise up and overthrow Saddam: "[T]here’s another way for the bloodshed to stop, and that is for the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands, to force Saddam to step aside." Bush’s statement communicated two points: first that the U.S. wouldn’t settle only for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait, and second, that the U.S. might back anyone who rose up against Saddam. The first point proved that expelling Iraq from Kuwait was a mere pretext for wider U.S. designs in the war. The second point proved a lie only weeks later, when masses of Kurds and Shiites took "matters into their own hands" and rose up against Saddam (but the US didn't support the Kurdish and Shia resistance movements in Iraq).

The End of the War

VII Corps moves into final attack positions on February 16.  On February 18, U.S.S. Tripoli and U.S.S. Princeton strike mines. Army complaints about insufficient air support lead to confrontation with Air Force. By February 20, 1991, 1st Cavalry Division feints up the Wadi al Batin; pulls back with three dead and nine wounded... The CIA and the Pentagon officials on February 21, 1991 meet at the White House to air differences over battle damage assessment. George H. W. Bush set a deadline of noon, February 23 for Iraqi withdrawal. The next day, the Marines began to infiltrate the Kuwaiti bootheel. Stealth fighters attack Iraqi intelligence headquarters, unaware that allied POWs are inside. Army Special Forces teams inserted deep into Iraq on February 23. The ground attack in Iraq begins in February 24, 1991. General Schwarzkopf decided to accelerate the main attack of VII Corps by fifteen hours.  On February 25, General Schwarzkopf explodes at slow pace of VII Corps. 101st Airborne Division cuts Highway 8 in Euphrates Valley. Iraqis counterattack. 1st Marine Division fights in the war too. A Scud missile destroyed barracks in Al Khobar, killing twenty- eight Americans and wounding ninety-eight. By February 26, 1991, the Iraqis flee Kuwait City. VII Corps hits Republican Guard in Battle of 73 Easting. On the night of 26–27 February 1991, some Iraqi forces began leaving Kuwait on the main highway north of Al Jahra in a column of some 1,400 vehicles. A patrolling E-8 Joint STARS aircraft observed the retreating forces and relayed the information to the DDM-8 air operations center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. These vehicles and the retreating soldiers were subsequently attacked, resulting in a 60 km stretch of highway strewn with debris—the Highway of Death. The "Highway of Death," and, in fact, the ground war itself, served no military purpose. Saddam had admitted defeat before the ground war began. Attacks on retreating Iraqis merely delayed the war’s end.

The Ceasefire

The cease fire took effect on February 28, 1991 on 8 am. On March 2, 1991, the 24th Infantry Division fights the Hammurabi Division as it flees; destroys six hundred vehicles. March 3 was when Schwarzkopf met with the Iraqi generals at Safwan. David Eberly and most POWs were released in March 5. The Victory parade in Washington, D.C. came about in June 8, 1991. In the wake of all the slaughter and destruction, George Bush promised that Desert Storm would usher in a "new world order." But the new order looked quite a bit like the old order. There were still imperialism in the world, Iraq was crippled with sanctions, and bloodshed existed in the Persian Gulf War. Kuwait saw the return of the al-Sabahs dynasty after the Persian Gulf War. They or the members of the al-Sabahs dynasty violated the rights of women, Palestinians, and workers. They were pro-Iraq in their sentiments too. Human rights violations increased in Kuwait. Many soldiers suffer Gulf War Syndrome after the Persian Gulf War too.

According to Dr. Gary Null's article entitled, "Gulf War Syndrome: US Veterans Suffering from Multiple Debilitating Symptoms":

"...Yet for nearly two decades, the official word from the Veterans Administration (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the White House was that Gulf War syndrome did not exist. The result? Countless returning military personnel struggled for years to have their physical illnesses recognized as something other than psychological. The latest official statistics compiled by the VA show that 25%-30%, or as many as 250,000 Gulf War veterans have suffered from this life-threatening spectrum of illnesses. (1) The number of deaths attributable to Gulf War syndrome remains elusive, however, the US government has failed to address this critical matter...Twenty-five years after the conclusion of the Gulf War conflict, there is no debating the fact that our troops suffered tremendously not only from chemical hazards on the battlefield but also from exposure to dangerous experimental drugs administered by the US military..."

Many Iraqis died as a product of the Persian Gulf War and the crippling UN sanctions. The mind-numbing statistics: 7,000 children dying a month, 1.5 million Iraqis killed since 1990, ordinary Iraqis receiving only 34 percent of the daily caloric minimum–don’t adequately convey the destruction of an entire people. Perversely, the UN–the same organization which is perpetrating the crime of sanctions–has produced some of the most authoritative accounts of this destruction. "After 24 years in the field, mostly in Africa starting with Biafra, I didn’t think anything could shock me, but it was comparable to the worse scenarios I had ever seen," said Dieter Hannusch, chief emergency support officer for the UN World Food Program (WFP). Another WFP manager commented, following a 1996 visit to Iraq. Madeline Albright made the disgraceful, evil, and sick comment that murderous sanctions against the Iraqi people were worth it. The Persian Gulf War was very controversial and ultimately Iraq plus the world would never be the same again. The events of the Persian Gulf War led into the 2003 Iraq War (which was executed by George H. W. Bush's son, George W. Bush). Now, we see ISIS, al-Qaeda, and a complex situation in the Middle East.

By Timothy

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