Category Archives: GWOT

The War on Terror’s small casualties at home

A new study has revealed a new class if victims of the war on terror, and they’re right here at home, sleeping in cribs.

The story, via Newswise:

Children under age two may be at heightened risk for abuse and neglect during the six months immediately following a parent’s return from deployment in the U.S. Army, and the risk may rise among Army families with soldiers who are deployed more than once.

Researchers from the PolicyLab at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) performed one of the largest longitudinal retrospective studies analyzing child abuse and neglect among Army families. Supported by the Defense Health Program, the study appeared today in the American Journal of Public Health.

“Prior research had revealed an increased risk to children while parents were deployed, mostly due to supervisory neglect while parents were overseas,” said the study’s senior author, David M. Rubin, M.D., MSCE, the co-director of PolicyLab. “This study is the first to reveal an increased risk when soldiers with young children return home from deployment. This demonstrates that elevated stress when a soldier returns home can have real and potentially devastating consequences for some military families.”

“While incidents of child abuse and neglect among military families are well below that of the general population, this study is another indicator of the stress deployments place on soldiers, family members and caregivers,” said Karl F. Schneider, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. “Since the end of the data collection period in 2007, the Army has enacted myriad programs to meet these kinds of challenges head on, and we will continue working to ensure services and support are available to soldiers, families, and their children.”

The study drew on two different measures of child abuse from Army databases: substantiated child maltreatment reports and medical diagnoses of child maltreatment. The substantiated reports, collected by the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) of the Department of Defense, captured four types of child maltreatment: physical, sexual, and emotional, and neglect. The medical diagnoses were identified from TRICARE, the healthcare program for U.S. service members and their families.

The study included children under age two in Army families of over 112,000 soldiers deployed once or twice during the years 2001 to 2007. The first two years of a child’s life are known to be a period of high stress for families.

The researchers compared patterns of abuse and neglect in Army families of soldiers deployed only once versus those deployed twice. The study focused on the first two years of a child’s life because of the elevated risk for life-threatening child abuse among infants that exceeds risk in all other age groups.

Although the proportion of families whose children were identified with abuse or neglect was low, the researchers found there was an elevated risk of abuse and neglect specifically during the six months immediately following a soldier’s one-time deployment. When soldiers were deployed twice, the highest rate of abuse and neglect occurred during the second deployment, and was usually perpetrated by a non-soldier caregiver. The rate of substantiated child abuse and neglect doubled during the second deployment compared to the first deployment period.

“The finding that in most cases the perpetrators were not the soldiers themselves reveals to us that the stress that plays out in Army families during or after deployment impacts the entire family, and is not simply a consequence of the soldier’s experience and stress following deployment,” said Christine Taylor, the study’s lead author, a project manager at CHOP’s PolicyLab.

The Family Advocacy Program offers a breadth of valuable services to families, such as parenting classes, child care services, and classes focused on a soldier’s reintegration into home life. Ultimately, these findings may inform efforts by the military and civilian systems to standardize care and support military families during all periods of elevated risk.

Here are some more precise numbers from PolicyLab’s website:

METHODS: We conducted a person-time analysis of substantiated maltreatment reports and medical diagnoses among children of 112,325 deployed US Army soldiers between 2001 and 2007.

RESULTS: Risk of maltreatment was elevated after deployment for children of soldiers deployed once but not for children of soldiers deployed twice. During the 6 months after deployment, children of soldiers deployed once had 4.43 substantiated maltreatment reports and 4.96 medical diagnoses per 10,000 child-months. The highest maltreatment rate among children of soldiers deployed twice occurred during the second deployment for substantiated maltreatment (4.83 episodes per 10,000 child-months) and before the first deployment for medical diagnoses of maltreatment (3.78 episodes per 10,000 child-months).

Quote of the day: Snowden on torture hypocrisy

Speaking to Swedish journalists Lena Sundström and Foto Lotta Härdelin for the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter:

It’s really just crazy, the way that the US Government has handled the issue of torture. Because it’s so clear that is what they’ve done. We’ve even had an investigation in the intelligence committee, which almost never does anything meaningful. They usually act more like cheerleaders for the intelligence community, than watch-dogs. When they get a report that’s so clear and when there were indications that there were people in the CIA, who wanted to talk about these things, but who felt stressed. Some even asked to be moved, because they couldn’t cope with the things they were witnessing and they wanted to do something about it. But instead of providing some path for these individuals to report the wrongdoings that they were witnessing, the CIA actually asked them to stop documenting the abuse.

And the only person, who, to this point, has been convicted of this kind of wrongdoings, is the CIA officer who reported the waterboarding.

Map of the day: Caution, spooks at work

From the US Forum on Combating Globalization:

BLOG Spooks

Life at Guantanamo Bay and the art of protest

Our video offering features the latest edition of the Laura Flanders Show, a report on the art of protest in the form of an unusual performance piece featuring an American musician and performance artist teamed up with one of the youngest prisoners ever held at the Guantamo Bay concentration camp.

Because Mohammed el Gharani is barred from entering the United States, he appears in the form of a hologram projected onto a chair that is also a work of sculpture.

So who is he?

From Wikipedia:

Mohammed el Gharani is a citizen of Chad and native of Saudi Arabia born in 1986, in Medina. He was one of the juveniles held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp with an estimated age of 15–16 years when he arrived at the camps. Human Rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith identified Al Qarani as one of a dozen teenage boys held in the adult portion of the prison.

The Independent said Gharani was accused of plotting with Abu Qatada, in London, in 1999 – when he was a 12-year-old, living with his parents, in Saudi Arabia. He was detained for seven years in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps.

On January 14, 2009, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered the release of Gharani because the evidence that he was an enemy combatant was mostly limited to statements from two other detainees whose credibility had been called into question by US government staff. Gharani’s attorney Zachary Katznelson said after the ruling “Judge Leon did justice today. This is an innocent kid when he was seized illegally in Pakistan and should never have been in prison in the first place.”

In a piece for the London Review of Books, el Gorani described one experience at Gitmo, a conversation with another black man, intermediated by prison bars:

Once, in 2005, one of our brothers was badly beaten in front of us. I sat in my room not speaking to anyone all day. During night shift, one of the good guards, a black guy from Louisiana, came to me. We called him Mike Tyson because he was a boxer. He used to bump my fist through the bars: ‘Wassup, Chris?’

‘If at least we’d done something bad, I could understand …’

‘Brother, look at my face!’ he said. ‘How long you’ve been here with Americans?’

‘Four years.’

‘I’ve been suffering 27 years, man! I know what it is. They put my brother in jail for no reason, instead of a white guy.’ Most of the people in jail in US are blacks, he told me. ‘My grandfather and my great-grandfather were in the situation you’re in now.’ He meant they were slaves, shackled like us.

So how did Anderson work to convey a sense of the emotional intensity of Gharani’s experience given his physical absence?

From Telesur English:

Laura Flanders – Laurie Anderson & Mohammed el Gharani: Habeas Corpus

Program notes:

Like all men held at Guantanamo Bay, Mohammed el Gharani, who was imprisoned at the age of 14, is barred from entering the USA. But American artist Laurie Anderson found a way to bring him to the states, via telepresence. Laura talks with Anderson about presence, absence and the questions raised in Anderson’s latest attention-getting performance, Habeas Corpus. We also hear from el Gharani, who was held at Guantanamo from 2002 until his release in 2009, about prison-camp solidarity, the prisoner who is his hero, and his thoughts on slavery and the Middle Passage – then and now. All that and an F Word from Laura on a long, 40 second delay.

Chris Hedges, fervently hoping for revolution

Chris Hedges rose to the summit of American journalism, winning a Pulitzer Prize and working as Mideast Bureau Chief for the New York Times at the time he resigned following discipline for speaking out against the invasion of Iraq, declaring “We are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security.”

Since shedding his role as an exemplar of the mainstream media, Hedges has found a new calling as one of the country’s foremost critics of the media, and of the economic system in which they are based — a system which has produced an ongoing unemployment crisis and left most Americans struggling on the bring of poverty.

And now, in this interview with Vice News, Hedges admits to a fervent hope for a second American Revolution, a stance reflected in the title of his latest book,  Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.

From Vice News:

Chris Hedges on What it Takes to be a Rebel in Modern Times

Program notes:

Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges sits down with Ben Makuch at the Toronto VICE office to discuss what it takes to be a rebel in modern times. Hedges discusses his new book Wages of Rebellion, an investigation of the social and psychological factors that cause revolution, rebellion and resistance. From Wall Street corruption to why the elites in corporate media have eviscerated traditional investigative journalism, Hedges tries to make sense of the world we live in.

And if you’re wondering about that unemployment figure and why it’s so much higher than the official number, its because the long-term unemployed who have simply given up have been factored out of the data, a decision reached in 1994 under Bill Clinton.

From Shadow Government Statistics, here’s what the real jobless rate would be without the political tweaking:


The Empire Files: Refugees, class, and warfare

Not so very long ago in historical terms, a wave of xenophobic alarm flooded American media, triggered by a wave of immigrants seen as offering allegiance not to the duly elected government in Washington but to a foreign religion.

That alarm was raised by Christians [Protestants with British and Northern European ancestors] against fellow Christians [Irish Catholics].

Nowadays, new waves of religious xenophobia are sweeping both Europe and the U.S., this time aimed at the flood of immigrants fleeing sectarian violence that directly caused by the ravages of the needless wars launched in the wake of the 9/11 attacks delivered by nationals of the one country the U.S. and Europe wouldn’t think of bombing.

And would-be refugees die in their hundreds, swamped at sea in overladen boats and suffocating in trucks on Europe’s highways, all because the dangers they faced at home were event worse. Meanwhile, their rich compatriots suffer no such dangers as they emigrate freely from the Mideast and North Africa to Europe and North America.

And once in their countries of refuge, poor immigrants are becoming targets of violence directed by rising numbers of the populist far Right.

In this latest edition of Telesur’s The Empire Files, Abby Martin looks at the story behind the latest exodus, a story mainstream media are reluctant to present in its full nuance.

From The Empire Files:

Who Is To Blame For The Refugee Crisis?

Program notes:

Today 60 million human beings are displaced from war and extreme poverty. Many European countries are responding to the crisis with racist hysteria, polices and police state measures.

Abby Martin exposes the facts that are left out of the mainstream reporting: the role of criminal wars, disastrous neoliberal economics and why mass displacement is a permanent feature under this system.

Featuring interviews with:

  • Atossa Abrahamian, journalist and author of the new book “The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen” (Twitter: @atossaaraxia)
  • Professor Saskia Sassen, sociologist and expert on human migration, currently serving as co-chair of Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. She just published her latest book on the subject, “Expulsions.” (Twitter: @SaskiaSassen)

Andrew Cockburn dissects high tech warfare

From The Laura Flanders Show on Telesur English, Andrew Cockburn [Harpers Magazine Washington editor] examines the pernicious psychological and prodigious profits reaped from America’s transition to boots on the ground to drones in the air:

Andrew Cockburn: Modern War

Program notes:

This week’s episode focuses on modern warfare and US imperialism. Is drone warfare here to stay? It’s one of the few things Republicans and Democrats agree on. Andrew Cockburn has been a rare critical voice on the subject. He is the Washington editor of Harper’s magazine and the author of several nonfiction books on war and international politics. His new book is Kill Chain: The Rise of High-Tech Assassins. And later in the show, an excerpt from a new film about a young man held in the US prison at Guantanamo – Fahd Ghazy.