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Indiana apologizes for role in eugenics

KEN KUSMER

Associated Press

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/news/local/17071638.htm

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana official publicly apologized for the state's role 100 years ago in pioneering state-authorized sterilization of "imbeciles," paupers and others it deemed undesirable.

Health Commissioner Dr. Judith Monroe expressed regret on behalf of the state Thursday for its passing of the first such eugenics law. She also unveiled a historic marker that will stand across from the Statehouse.

"It is one (law) that we do regret but we should not forget," she said. In 1907, then-Gov. J. Frank Hanly signed a state law widely regarded as the first in the world to permit sterilization in a misguided effort to improve the quality of the human race.

The practice was not ended until 1974. By then, Indiana had sterilized about 2,500 people; nationally, 65,000 people in 30 states were given state-authorized vasectomies, tubal ligations and other operations.

Monroe was joined by one of the last people in Indiana to be sterilized, Jamie Renae Coleman, in unveiling the historic marker. It is a reminder to lawmakers and others that decisions made with the best of intentions sometimes can have dire ramifications.

Coleman was 15 years old in 1971 when a county judge gave her mother approval to have a doctor perform a tubal ligation on her under the guise of having her appendix removed.

In court papers, her mother said Coleman was "somewhat retarded." But Coleman said the real reason her mother wanted her sterilized was that an older, unmarried sister had just become pregnant and their mother worried about being stuck with raising grandchildren.

Coleman was 17, married and eager to have children when she learned the truth about her surgery.

"Oh gosh, I didn't want to live. I hated my mother. I hated everybody that did this to me," she said.

Coleman sued her mother, the doctor and the judge in a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and resulted in a landmark 1978 decision granting judges immunity in official actions.

Other state legislatures had approved sterilizations, but unlike Hanly, governors in those states refused to sign the measures into law.

John Dickerson, executive director of ARC of Indiana, which advocates on behalf of developmentally disabled people and their families, said eugenics was a simplistic answer to a complex problem.

He said such solutions remain a threat to vulnerable populations unless society remains vigilant.

"Always, the minority's rights can be infringed," Dickerson said.

Mysterious Death of Dr. David Kelly: Murder theory that just won't go away

MP Norman Baker sets out in detail why he believes the secret service murdered Dr David Kelly

Global Research, April 14, 2007

The Argus - 2007-04-13

The greatest British conspiracy theory of the modern age was unveiled this week. Lewes MP Norman Baker set out in detail for the first time why he believes the secret service murdered the Government scientist Dr David Kelly.

MILES GODFREY and KATYA MIRA report on a one-man crusade for the truth which has catapulted an unassuming Parliamentarian into the international spotlight.

It was the start of 2006 and the time was right to bring down the British Government. In March last year Norman Baker, serial thorn in the side of the establishment and by his own admission "not the Prime Minister's favourite person", resigned his role as a frontbench MP for the Liberal Democrats.

It was a typically low-key announcement, timed to coincide with the anointment of the party's new leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

The time had come, the MP said, for a new man to take over. But to those who knew Norman Baker, the decision to resign was made for another reason.

It would allow him more time to do what he does best: investigate, challenge, push, probe - specifically into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly. He was about to embark on an amazing investigation into the murky world of secret service agents, national security and the death of the man who very nearly halted the start of the war in Iraq. If he could prove conclusively that members of the Government had conspired to get rid of Dr Kelly, it would have been - and still could be - the biggest single scandal this country has ever known.

The official report into the death of Dr David Kelly concluded he committed suicide after a row between the BBC and the Government over the "sexed up" dossier on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction thrust the normally private scientist into the glare of the limelight.

But Mr Baker didn't believe a word of it. He said at the time: "The public out there can smell a rat and they don't think it's finished business either."

The scientist's death was, the MP said, just too convenient, too riddled with inconsistencies and so unlike a man like Dr Kelly.

His year-long investigation culminated on Wednesday night at a meeting at which he proclaimed Dr Kelly had been murdered and set out his evidence.

Mr Baker told a packed community hall in Lewes: "I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that this could not be suicide.

"The medical evidence does not support it and David Kelly's state of mind and personality suggests otherwise.

It was not an accident so I am left with the conclusion that it is murder." He told of how the world's leading WMD expert had spent the morning before his death sending "upbeat emails" and even booking himself a flight to Iraq from his rural home in Southmoor, near Oxford.

Mr Baker questioned the cause of death - a haemorrhage caused by cuts to the ulnar artery in the wrist.

He said such wounds were "matchstick thick" and hidden, difficult to get to, as well as rarely leading to death.

The knife said to have been used was a gardening pruner Dr Kelly had kept since childhood - an unlikely and blunt choice.

Paramedics have said he had lost little blood and was "incredibly unlikely" to have died from the wound they saw.

Police said 29 tablets of the painkiller Coproxamol were missing from his home but all that was found in Dr Kelly's stomach was the equivalent of one fifth of a tablet.

The MP told The Argus: "It has taken more than a year to investigate and it has been an incredible and fascinating journey which has taken a large number of twists and turns.

"I have met experts on weapons of mass destruction in Brussels and uncovered more evidence about the lies the Government told about weapons of mass destruction before the war."

Along the way Mr Baker has had personal run-ins with high-profile Government figures, not least Tony Blair.

He said: "I wouldn't say it has been easy, certainly the Foreign Office has done a lot to put obstacles in my way and other people have too. It has been hard work but at the same time it has been extremely worthwhile."

He has also been hugely encouraged by the public, who he claims can see Dr Kelly's death for what he says it was. Mr Baker said: "There is a world in Westminster and the rest of the world and I think most people in the public world can see that Dr Kelly was murdered.

"He was the world's foremost expert on weapons of mass destruction who could single-handedly destroy the Government's case for war so it was no wonder he was killed.

"It may have also been intended as a message to other people out there who speak to the press when the Government doesn't want you to.

"I was appalled at his death and at the Hutton Inquiry into it. It was a procedural disaster from start to finish and I felt compelled to look into it."

Mr Baker has signed a book deal to explain in greater detail his findings on Dr Kelly's death and he expects to publish it later this year.

But the MP insists he will continue to investigate. He has nagging doubts about the official line taken over the recent Navy hostages taken in Iran and over the death of Robin Cook, the MP who resigned in protest at the Iraq war.

He said: "Robin Cook was on Ministry of Defence land, I believe, when he died and certainly I have doubts over what happened."

There are those, of course, who doubt Norman Baker's theories. But for every person out there who does there are an equal number for whom the MP has become a beacon of truth in an increasingly murky world.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com © Copyright , The Argus, 2007 The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20070414&articleId=5383

Military families learned of tour extensions from media

Russia Herald

Friday 13th April, 2007

Leaks to the media forced Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to speed up releasing his decision to increase tour lengths for soldiers assigned to U.S. Central Command from a year to 15 months.

The notification of the decision to soldiers and their families was made simultaneous with the news briefing. Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, Friday apologized to the families, many of whom heard about the decision on television.

“I know the announcement the other day was probably one that surprised them,” Odierno told Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Baghdad. “I just want to comment to them that we appreciate everything that they're sacrificing, everything that they're doing. They are the strength behind all these great soldiers that are over here today.” Odierno said 15-month deployments are needed to ensure that the Army retains the capacity to sustain the deployed force. The force will rise to 20 brigades by the end of May.

The program also gives predictability for soldiers and their families, Odierno said. “This policy will ensure 12 months at home station between rotations,” he said. “There's no doubt that this decision was a difficult one, and I am very aware that it will be hard on soldiers and their families.

“However, all who serve understand the importance of what we are trying to accomplish here and that the mission will always come first,” he said.

Non-profit Fronts for Drug Industry_Boston Globe

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

http://www.ahrp.org/cms/content/view/500/27/

These paid lobbying efforts on behalf of industry are carried out under the pretext of advocacy in the public interest.

The Boston Globe reports that "little attention has been paid to smaller nonprofits, especially patient groups that are largely funded by the drug industry." Much as doctors are on the take, a lot of so-called patient "advocacy" groups are pimping for the drug and medical device industry.

The Globe describes one such industry front group, the Breast Cancer Resource Committee, founded by Elzora K. Brown, a former staff assistant to former US House Majority Leader Jim Wright. Brown regularly testifies at public FDA advisory hearings, "packing an emotional punch as advisers vote on controversial drug and device approvals."

The Globe reports: From 1996 to 2004 , the years for which Internal Revenue Service records are available, the Breast Cancer Resource Committee raised about $3.4 million from mostly corporate donors, including hundreds of thousands of dollars from such drug firms as Amgen Inc. Pharmaceuticals LP , GlaxoSmithKline PLC, and Pfizer Inc.

"As her nonprofit's coffers swelled, Brown's salary jumped from $40,100 to $162,500 --roughly one-third of every dollar raised. During that time, the group paid up to $2,600 a month for a four-story Washington, D.C., townhouse, assessed at $788,510 , where Brown lived and worked."

The stakes for drug companies are high. Breast cancer remedies generate $35 billion in sales per year. And African-Americans are a particularly deep market for any drug maker to court. Elzora Brown is African-American.

A Mother Jones expose focused on the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) which began cashing in on the industry promotion "patient advocacy" charade early on. In 1999 Mother Jones reported that 18 drug firms gave NAMI a total of $11.72 million between 1996 and mid-1999. These include Janssen ($2.08 million), Novartis ($1.87 million), Pfizer ($1.3 million), Abbott Laboratories ($1.24 million), Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals ($658,000), and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($613,505). See: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/1999/11/nami.html

NAMI's leading donor is Eli Lilly and Company, maker of Prozac, which gave $2.87 million during that period. In 1999 alone, Lilly will have delivered $1.1 million in quarterly installments. "In the case of Lilly, at least, "funding" takes more than one form. Jerry Radke, a Lilly executive, is "on loan" to NAMI, working out of the organization's headquarters.

Mother Jones reported that (then executive director of NAMI) Laurie "Flynn explains the cozy-seeming arrangement by saying, "[Lilly] pays his salary, but he does not report to them, and he is not involved in meetings we have with [them]." She characterizes Radke's role at NAMI as "strategic planning."

Of note, Flynn now heads TeenScreen, a controversial scheme that falsely labels teen agers as mentally ill. TeenScreen is promoted as a suicide prevention tool without any evidence to back up that claim. In fact, TeenScreen is designed to increase the psychotropic drug market--the only certain beneficiaries are NAMI's industry benefactors: Eli Lilly; Janssen; Pfizer; Novartis; Abbott; Weyth-Ayrs; Bristol-Mayers Squibb; GlaxoSmithKline

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav

212-595-8974

veracare@ahrp.orgThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

http://tinyurl.com/3cmn7y

The Boston Globe

Drug firms' funding of advocates often escapes government scrutiny

Many patient groups depend on it, raising tricky ethical questions

By Diedtra Henderson

March 18, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Elzora K. Brown could stand before a microphone and calmly describe the swath of devastation that cancer has cut through five generations of her family. Her great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, three sisters, and three nieces had breast cancer . And, at age 31 , Brown was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer.

"My own story is replicated in the lives of high-risk families across the globe," Brown told an audience of Food and Drug Administration advisers considering a controversial application to allow wider sales of silicon gel breast implants, " families who every single day quietly and patiently confront the ravages of breast cancer with far more courage and fortitude than I could ever muster and with far fewer resources than I have at my own disposal."

Brown's message about the need to reduce disproportionately high mortality rates among African-American women, like herself, resonated whether she was testifying before the FDA, addressing the nation's mayors, or speaking with members of Congress, where she was a staff assistant to former US House Majority Leader Jim Wright.

What few in Brown's audiences knew is that the patient advocate personally profited from her cancer-survival message, accepting funding from major pharmaceutical companies that produce cancer treatments, according to tax records.

Brown, 57 , wears a wig to conceal graying hair slowly growing back after she successfully fended off a second cancer; last June she underwent her final chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer. Through speaking engagements for the Breast Cancer Resource Committee, a patient-advocacy group Brown founded in 1989 , she highlighted the benefits of early cancer screening, offered a support group for African-American women, and called attention to the need for diversity among participants in clinical trials for new treatments. The efforts earned her dozens of awards, including one from the Washington, D.C., mayor for community service, and a presidential appointment to the National Cancer Advisory Board .

Patient advocates like Brown regularly testify at FDA public hearings, packing an emotional punch as advisers vote on controversial drug and device approvals.

Congress has homed in on examples of excessive compensation to managers of some nonprofits that underwrite what Senator Charles E. Grassley , Republican of Iowa , has derided as "champagne lifestyles." And others have targeted conflicts of interest that taint medical research and creep into FDA advisory panels. But little attention has been paid to smaller nonprofits, especially patient groups that are largely funded by the drug industry.

Public Citizen's Peter Lurie , who testifies frequently before FDA panels, noticed a shift as public hearings "were becoming contaminated by people who didn't represent the public in any way. They represented particular moneyed interests." Lurie, deputy director of the consumer advocacy organization's health research group, said, "It's a fair question: Who represents patients and how they come to call themselves" patient representatives?

In 221 advisory committee meetings scrutinized, 32 of 44 speakers representing patients said they had received funding from a company that would be affected by the FDA's decision, according to a recent journal article that Lurie co authored about conflicts of interest on FDA advisory panels.

While the FDA scours its advisers' backgrounds for such information, the agency does not require disclosures when patients testify.

Nor do drug makers highlight such ties. "As a survivor, I want a healthy life after breast cancer, so the long-term side effects of treatment must figure into the treatment decision," Brown said in a press release touting Ellence , a breast cancer drug that showed lower heart risk. The release, distributed by Pfizer Inc., did not disclose the funding that Brown's group received that year from the drug giant.

Six-figure salary From 1996 to 2004 , the years for which Internal Revenue Service records are available, the Breast Cancer Resource Committee raised about $3.4 million from mostly corporate donors, including hundreds of thousands of dollars from such drug firms as Amgen Inc. Pharmaceuticals LP , GlaxoSmithKline PLC, and Pfizer Inc. As her nonprofit's coffers swelled, Brown's salary jumped from $40,100 to $162,500 --roughly one-third of every dollar raised. During that time, the group paid up to $2,600 a month for a four-story Washington, D.C., townhouse, assessed at $788,510 , where Brown lived and worked. She also made liberal use of the committee's American Express card for "incidental, personal expenses," according to tax records, leaving the balance unpaid.

The nonprofit's accountant, James Dunn , of White Hall, Md ., declined to respond to questions about liens the IRS filed against Brown in 2003 , which allege she underpaid taxes by $179,257 from 1997 to 2002 .

An IRS spokesman said the agency cannot discuss the specifics of an individual's tax lien, but no records have been filed indicating the IRS has discharged the liens. In a brief telephone conversation this week , Brown declined to comment except to say she has paid the tax liens and has spent the funds she raised properly.

Last July, in a lengthy interview, she said questions about her finances arose because of testimony she gave in support of breast implants. Her comments to federal advisers raised the ire of a "nasty, contentious group of women" who disagreed with her views, Brown said. She has declined requests to clarify her IRS reports, sent by fax and overnight mail.

A Boston consultant who works exclusively with nonprofits, however, said Brown's salary and her use of the Breast Cancer Resource Committee's funds to pay her lease warrant scrutiny.

"In a vacuum, Elzora Brown's salary is, arguably, not outrageous," said Thomas A. McLaughlin , a consultant at Grant Thornton LLP and author of "Streetsmart Financial Basics for Nonprofit Managers ," which coaches nonprofit leaders on how to read and use financial data. "What is far less defensible is the fact that she is paid nearly one-third of every dollar that comes through the door."

Brown's highest salary was in 2002 , when she was paid $162,500 and the organization raised $554,993 . Brown's salary would have ranked her among the highest-paid chief executives for nonprofit advocacy groups of that size, according to a 2005 compensation survey of 1,660 nonprofits. It compares with a median salary of $72,000 paid to chief executives of nonprofit advocacy organizations with annual revenue from $500,000 to $1 million , according to Abbott, Langer & Associates Inc. , a firm that conducts salary surveys.

In 2002 , Brown also was reimbursed $37,246 for expenses and tallied $2,682 in personal charges on the committee's American Express card, according to the IRS filing. By 2004 , that unpaid card balance was $4,414 .

"It's looking like this is her own piggy bank," said Daniel Borochoff , president of the American Institute of Philanthropy , a charity watchdog based in Chicago . "You need to separate business and personal expenses; that's a pretty common principle."

Combined with her benefits and the pay she awarded her niece -- who was the committee's lone paid employee that year -- the $264,746 in spending in 2002 amounted to 47 percent of the Breast Cancer Resource Committee's total revenue.

By contrast, the National Organization for Rare Disorders , generously funded by such biotechnology companies as Biogen Idec Inc. , had total revenue of $7.6 million in 2004 . Its president, Abbey S. Meyers , was paid $129,943 . The salary and benefits paid to Meyers and the organization's four highest-paid employees accounted for about 5.2 percent of the group's spending.

`Wild West atmosphere' By working out of an office in her basement, Brown nestled into a regulatory black hole: Unlike attorneys general in other states, the attorney general's office in Washington, D.C., has lacked authority to investigate nonprofits, although it will gain such power within three months. Also, Brown's budget was too small to attract the attention of other regulators.

"It's a Wild West atmosphere," Borochoff, of the American Institute of Philanthropy , said of the oversight of small nonprofits in Washington. "Basically, a group this size can get away with a lot."

Despite what nonprofit experts describe as questionable spending, Brown's corporate backers defend their funding decisions.

AstraZeneca, which paid Brown's group at least $380,047 from 1999 to 2004 , said it remains a "proud" partner with the Breast Cancer Resource Committee.

The committee "provides a valuable resource through its dedication to reducing the incidence and mortality of breast cancer among African-American women, particularly those who have little or no access to adequate healthcare and treatment," Kirsten Evraire, a spokeswoman for AstraZeneca cancer therapies, said in a statement.

The stakes for drug companies are high. Breast cancer remedies generate $35 billion in sales per year. And African-Americans are a particularly deep market for any drug maker to court.

African-Americans suffer disproportionately higher rates of chronic ailments, such as diabetes , with blacks nearly twice as likely as whites to have that disease. Black men are nearly seven times as likely as white men to be diagnosed with HIV , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . And, when it comes to cancer , African-Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial or ethnic group, according to the American Cancer Society , lowering life expectancy when compared with whites. In return for their donations to patients' groups, drug companies are able attach their names to causes that cancer patients are passionate about, said Selma Schimmel , a three-time cancer survivor who heads a nonprofit that produces a weekly radio show for cancer patients.

The nonprofits consider pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry donations essential.

"When a company donates to us in support of a program that gives aid directly to patients, it is a humanitarian gift, not a donation to influence us," said Meyers , president of the National Organization for Rare Disorders . "If companies stop supporting these programs, we will not be able to help patients who could not otherwise afford their treatments."

Brown said the Breast Cancer Resource Committee has been on hiatus since she moved to Oklahoma to be near her ailing mother. But during its heyday, the committee's actions were typical of a nonprofit -- mainly aimed at spreading the message as widely as possible. For instance, in 2001 , the group co produced a one-hour television special funded by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation , the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors, highlighting innovative ways to reach African-American women, including sending mammography vans to churches and dispatching health workers to beauty salons. The production, "A Celebration of Life: Rising Above Breast Cancer " was broadcast on more than 200 public television stations when it first aired.

Diedtra Henderson can be reached at dhenderson@globe.comThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it < This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text81554 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it > .

© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit. .........................

Fake Drug, Fake Illness--People Believe It

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Direct to consumer drug advertisements are so successful, they can convince people they're sick and need the advertised drug--

Below , Australian artist Justine Cooper created a marketing campaign for a non-existent drug called Havidol (as in Have it All) for Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD), which she also invented.

"The thing that amazes me is that it has been folded into real Web sites for panic and anxiety disorder. It's been folded into a Web site for depression. It's been folded into hundreds of art blogs."

Another hillarious parody, also from Australia, is a video describing a new "epidemic":

Motivational Deficiency Disorder: "In its mild forms, persons can't get off the beach...."

See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoppJOtRLe4

That people are taken in by these parodies is a testament to how the drug industry backed up by psychiatry have insinuated non-diseases into the culture. However, nothing in the parodies compares with the actual nonesense that serves as the diagnostic criteria in psychiatry:

"Disruptive Behaviour Disorder is an expression used to describe a set of externalising negativistic behaviours that co-occur during childhood; and which are referred to collectively in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) as:

"Attention-Deficit and Disruptive Behaviour Disorders".

There are three subgroups of externalising behaviours:

Oppositional Defiant disorder (ODD); Conduct Disorder (CD); Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Oppositional Defiant disorder (ODD): often loses temper, often argues with adults, often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules, often deliberately annoys people, often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviour, is often touchy or easily annoyed by others, is often angry and resentful, is often spiteful or vindictive-

"A high level of co-morbidity (almost 95%) was found among 236 ADHD children (aged 6-16 yrs) with conduct disorder, ODD and other related categories (Bird, Gould, & Staghezza Jaramillo, 1994). In an 8 year follow-up study, Barklay and colleagues (1990) found that 80% of the children with ADHD were still hyperactive as adolescents and that 60% of them had developed Oppositional Defiant or Conduct Disorder."

Logically that finding signifies that the "treatments" don't work!

In fact, it appears, children treated for ADHD developed an additional "disorder"

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav

212-595-8974

veracare@ahrp.orgThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070216/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_drug_fake

Fake drug, fake illness -- and people believe it!

Fri Feb 16,

A media exhibit featuring a campaign for a fake drug to treat a fictitious illness is causing a stir because some people think the illness is real.

Australian artist Justine Cooper created the marketing campaign for a non-existent drug called Havidol for Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD), which she also invented.

But the multi-media exhibit at the Daneyal Mahmood Gallery in New York, which includes a Web site, mock television and print advertisements and billboards is so convincing people think it is authentic.

"People have walked into the gallery and thought it was real," Mahmood said in an interview.

"They didn't get the fact that this was a parody or satire."

But Mahmood said it really took off over the Internet. In the first few days after the Web site (www.havidol.com) went up, it had 5,000 hits. The last time he checked it had reached a quarter of a million.

"The thing that amazes me is that it has been folded into real Web sites for panic and anxiety disorder. It's been folded into a Web site for depression. It's been folded into hundreds of art blogs," he added.

The parody is in response to the tactics used by the drug industry to sell their wares to the public. Consumer advertising for prescription medications, which are a staple of television advertising in the United States, was legalised in the country in 1997. Cooper said she intended the exhibit to be subtle.

"The drug ads themselves are sometimes so comedic. I couldn't be outrageously spoofy so I really wanted it to be a more subtle kind of parody that draws you in, makes you want this thing and then makes you wonder why you want it and maybe where you can get it," she added.

Mahmood said that in addition to generating interest among the artsy crowd, doctors and medical students have been asking about the exhibit. "I think people identify with the condition," he said.

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

"Sorry We Shot Your Kid, But Here's $500"

By Greg Mitchell

http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=21513

For the entire war in Iraq, the press has been kept largely in the dark concerning the number of civilians killed by our forces, and what happened in the aftermath. Now several hundred files posted online reveal some of the true horror while raising questions about lack of compensation. The most revealing new information on Iraq -- guaranteed to make readers sad or angry, or both -- is found not in any press dispatch but in a collection of several hundred PDFs posted on the Web this week.

Here you will find, for example, that when the U.S. drops a bomb that goes awry, lands in an orchard, and does not detonate -- until after a couple of kids go out to take a look -- our military does not feel any moral or legal reason to compensate the family of the dead child because this is, after all, broadly speaking, a "combat situation." Also: What price (when we do pay) do we place on the life of a 9-year-old boy, shot by one of our soldiers who mistook his book bag for a bomb satchel? Would you believe $500? And when we shoot an Iraqi journalist on a bridge we shell out $2500 to his widow -- but why not the measly $5000 she had requested? This, and much more, is found in the new PDFs of Iraqi claims, which are usually denied.

Last June, The Boston Globe and The New York Times revealed that a local custom in Iraq known as "solatia" had now been adapted by the U.S. military -- it means families receive financial compensation for physical damage or a loss of life. The Globe revealed that payoffs had "skyrocketed from just under $5 million in 2004 to almost $20 million last year, according to Pentagon financial data."

In a column at that time, I asked: How common is the practice? And how many unnecessary deaths do the numbers seem to suggest? It's necessary to ask because the press generally has been denied information on civilian killings and, in recent years, it has become too dangerous in much of Iraq for reporters to go out and investigate shootings or alleged atrocities.

Now we have more evidence, thanks to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) request for files on payments by the military. The FOIA request produced 500 case studies, which deserve broad attention.

An Army spokesman told the New York Times that the total payments so far had reached at least $32 million. Yet this figure apparently includes only the payments made in this formal claim process that requires offiical approval. The many other "solatia" or "condolence payments" made informally at a unit commander's discretion are not always included. The ACLU site, www.aclu.org, now features a searchable database of reports (the ACLU is seeking more of them in case this is just the tip of the iceberg).

The New York Times comments today: "There is no way to know immediately whether disciplinary action or prosecution has resulted from the cases. Soldiers hand out instruction cards after mistakes are made, so Iraqis know where to file claims. ..."

Exploring the case reports quickly turns disturbing. They often include the scrawled claims by a victim's family member detailing a horrific accidental or deliberate killing (all names blacked out) and then a ruling by a U.S. Army captain or major with the Foreign Claims Commission.

Occasionally the officer orders a payment, although it can still make you scream, as for example: "Claimant alleges that her two brothers were returning home with groceries from their business, when U.S. troops shot and killed them, thinking they were insurgents with bombs in the bags. I recommend approving this claim in the amount of $5,OOO." More often the officer denies the claim due to alleged lack of evidence, or threatening behavior by the deceased (usually just failing to stop quickly enough while driving) or the death occurring in some sort of vague combat situation. Many of the denials seem arbitrary or unfair, particularly when the only reason cited is a "combat exemption" -- as in the case of the dead kid in that orchard.

Then there's this example:

"Claimant's son and a friend were fishing, in a small boat, 15 kilometers north of Tikrit on the Tigres river at 2200 hours on 31 March 2005. The claimant and his son had fished the Tigres many nights recently, but the father did not join his son this night. U.S. Forces helicopters were flying overhead, like they usually did and there were no problems. "A U.S. Forces HMMWV patrol pulled up to the beach near where they were fishing. The patrol had spotted and destroyed a boat earlier in the evening that had an RPG in it. They set off an illumination round and then opened fre. The claimant's only son was shot and killed. His friend was injured, but managed to get the boat to the other side of the river. At the small village across the river they received medical help and were taken to the hospital. But, it was too late for the claimant's son. "The claimant and his son were huge supporters of democracy and up to this day held meetings and taught there friends about democracy. The claimant provided two witness statements, medical records, a death certificate, photographs and a scene sketch, all of which supported his claim.

"Opinion: There is sufficient evidence to indicate that U.S. Forces intentionally killed the claimant's son. Unfortunately, those forces were involved in security operations at the time. Therefore, this case falls within the combat exception."

Sometimes the Army officer, perhaps feeling a bit guilty for his ruling – or the whole war – authorizes a small payment in "condolence" money, which does not require admitting any wrongdoing on our part. One of the PDFs notes that a U.S. army memo states a maximum condolence payment scale: $2,500 for death, $500 for property, $1,000 for injury. To give you more of the flavor, here are some excerpts (with a few typos corrected).

***

Claimant filed a claim for $5,500 on 3 Sept. 2005.

Facts: Claimant alleges that a CF [coalition force] dropped a bomb in his orchard. The bomb allegedly did not explode upon impact. Claimant's son went to investigate and was killed when the UXO detonated. Claimant's cousin was seriously injured in the explosion. A couple of hours later, CF allegedly took the body and Claimant to LSA Anaconda for medical treatment. In support of their claims, the Claimants have offered witness statements, medical records from LSA Anaconda, and police and judicial reports. Opinion: Under AR 27-20, paragraph 10-3, Claims arising "directly or indirectly" from combat sctivities of the US. Armed Forces are not payable. AR 27-20 defines combat activities as "Activities resulting directly or indirectly from action by the enemy, or by the U.S. Armed Forces engaged in armed conflict, or in immediate preparation for impending armed conflict." Here, an airstrike clearly constitutes combat activity. While unfortunate, this claim is precluded from compensation under the combat exception. Recommendation: The claim is denied

***

Dec. 5 2005:

Claimant alleges that on the above date at the above mentioned location, the child was outside playing by their gate and a stray bullet from a U.S. soldier hit their son in the head and killed him. The U.S. soldiers went to the boy's funeral and apologized to the family and took their information to get to them, but never did. The child was nine years old and their only son.

I recommend approving this claim in the amount of $4,OOO.OO.

***

April 15, 2005

Claimant alleges that on or about 24 February 2005, he was riding in a mini-bus with his nine-year-old son on his lap when Coalition Forces fired a round into the bus. The round allegedly hit his son in the head, causing the son's death later on. Xxxxx alleges that some Americans came to the hospital and apologized. He also states that one of the HMMWV's had "32" on the side. Claimant has enclosed an autopsy report.

Allow me to express my sympathy for your loss, however, in accordance with the cited references and after investigating your claim, I find that your claim is not compensable for the following reason: In vour claim you failed to provide suflicient evidence that U.S. Forces and not someone else is responsible for your damages. Accordingly, your claim must be denied. ***

Incident occurred Jan. 6, 2005 at a bridge near Haifa Street

Claimant alleges that her husband, who was working as a journalist, was walking across the bridge when he was shot and killed by U.S. troops. She has documentation from CA confirming that US. troops were in the area at that time. Also, a medical report is attached stating that the round that killed the victim was a 5.56mm round. The claimant has submitted sufficient evidence.

I recommend approving this claim in the amount of $2,5OO.OO.

(She had asked for $5000)

***

On 11 April 2005, Claimant's father was allegedly killed by CF forces near the Samarra Museum&hellipClaimant says that his father was deaf and would not have heard danger nearby. The claimant did not personally witness the shooting and relies solely on eyewitnesses. Eye witnesses related that victim was shot by CF forces. The Claimant does not know if his father was shot by CF forces responding to an AIF attack, or whether CF fired directly on his father.

The claimant presented a claim in the amount of $4,000 on 21 November 2005.

RECOMMENDATION: this claim be denied.

***

Dec. 5, 2004:

The issue presented is whether claimant may receive compensation for the death of his father, his mother, his brother and 32 sheeps. In this case, the claimant has lost his entire family and his herd of sheep that provide a means of income. In addition, the claimant suffered gun shot wounds himself.

The claimant states that his family was sleeping when the shots were fired that killed his family. He claims that the family had only one AK-47 that the father carried outside after his wife was shot in the head The coalition force may have been justified in shooting at another target where the claimant and his family would be collateral damage to that combat operation. However, the ROE require units to have positive identification of target before engaging. In this case, reports indicate that over one hundred rounds were fired that impacted around a flock of sheep and his sleeping family. Accordingly, it appears that the shooting, although not "wrongful", was conducted "negligently". It is therefore my opinion that there is sufficient evidence to justify compensation under the FCA.

I recommend that claimant be appoved in the amount claimed totaling $11,020.

***

On 11 April 2005, at about 11:30 am, Claimant's 8 year old sister,

xxxx was allegedly killed by CF forces near the Al Khatib Secondary School, Samarra. xxxx says that his sister was playing near the school and was shot by CF. Deceased's death certificate ... she was killed by gunfire. The claimant did not personally witness the shooting and relies solely on eye witnesses. Eye witnesses related that victim was shot by CF forces by a "random shot." During the interview, it was impossible to clarify what the claimant meant by a "random shot." A SIGACTS investigation revealed no activity or incidents in Samarra on that date.

RECOMMENDATION: Based upon the investigation by this FCC, it is reasonable to conclude that the CF activity can be characterized as combat activity. I recommend this claim be denied.

***

June 17, 2005

Claimant alleges that on the above date at the above mentioned location, his brother xxxxx was traveling in his car with rugs that he was taking to a rug store to sell. He was shot by U.S. soldiers, and the rugs and cash on his possession were never recovered...and his body left there.

I recommend approving this claim in the amount of $3,000.00

**

April 23, 2006, Samarra

Claimant alleges that Coalition Forces fired upon his two sons as they were leaving the market. The claimants sons waived their shirts and their underwear as a sign of peace. The claimant provided death certificates, legal expert and witness statements to substantiate the claim.

Recommendation: The claim is denied.

Greg Mitchell (gmitchell@editorandpublisher.com) is editor.

Washington may release detained Iranian diplomats: FM

TEHRAN (Press TV) -- Iran's foreign minister says Tehran has received some signals concerning the possible release of five Iranian diplomats held by U.S. forces in Iraq. At the inauguration ceremony of the Gambian Embassy in Tehran on Sunday, Manuchehr Mottaki told a Press TV correspondent, "We have recently received some indications over their release."

"We are hopeful the diplomats will be released quickly," said the foreign minister, adding that Iran holds the Unites States responsible for the abduction of the Iranian diplomats and expects the Iraqi government to step up efforts to secure the release of the five men.

The diplomats were kidnapped during a raid by the U.S. forces on Iran's consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on January 2007. The foreign minister also confirmed that a meeting did indeed take place between Iran's envoy to the United Nations Javad Zarif and several US senators on Saturday. Mottaki stated that "certain individuals outside the circle of the U.S. administration met with Zarif." The discussion, according to Mottaki, mostly revolved around "the current situation in Iraq and the security conditions in that country."

U.S. forces abducted the five Iranians in Irbil more than three months ago and despite growing pressure from Tehran have so far refused to release them or allow Iranian officials a chance to visit the diplomats.

Cheney claims Democrats won't impede U.S. strategy in Iraq war

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Democrats in Congress won't impede the progress being made in Iraq and that he expects them to ultimately pass war funding legislation without a deadline for a troop withdrawal.

``I don't think the majority of Democrats in Congress want to leave America's fighting forces in harm's way without the resources they need to defend themselves,'' Cheney said in a taped interview on CBS's ``Face the Nation'' program.

The Republican Bush administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress are at loggerheads over a $100 billion measure to pay for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of the year. The Senate and the House of Representatives have passed similar supplemental funding measures that set limits for the U.S. presence in Iraq. President George W. Bush has said he will veto any war-funding legislation that contains timetables for pulling troops out.

Cheney, 66, rejected the notion that the Iraq war, now in its fifth year, has isolated the president in the same way that the Watergate scandal isolated the late President Richard Nixon.

``That's a ridiculous notion,'' he said.

Cheney also called Democratic leaders ``irresponsible'' for approving General David Petraeus as commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and then attempting to dictate how he can manage the conflict by attaching provisions to war funding legislation.

Democrats said they are undeterred by Bush's veto threat.

``We're going to send him a strong bill saying we're going to begin reducing troops in four months'' and that will try to force the Iraqi leadership ``to take responsibility for their own country,'' Senator Carl Levin said on the ``Fox News Sunday'' program.

Should the president veto the bill as expected, Levin, a Democrat from Michigan who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Congress would pass a different bill with benchmarks for political and military progress in Iraq.

``We're going to try to use this opportunity to change course,'' Levin said. He said Democratic leaders are unhappy with the progress the Iraqi government has made on sharing political power and oil revenue between Shiite Muslims and Sunnis in the nation, which is torn by sectarian violence.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina, called the Democrats' strategy unhelpful. -------------Empowering the Enemy By attaching timelines and deadlines to funding legislation, ``you empower our enemy, and you give them a roadmap to defeat us,'' Graham said on the Fox program. He said he witnessed on a recent visit to Baghdad the progress being made there as a result of boosting the number of U.S. troops.

``Now is the time to pour it on, politically, economically and militarily, and build on this momentum,'' Graham said. Cheney said the U.S. ``is perfectly capable of winning this fight against these people and setting up and establishing in Iraq a democratic government that can defend itself.''

Bush ordered almost 30,000 more troops sent to Iraq to carry out a strategy, outlined by Petraeus, to beef up security in Iraq. While Graham and other U.S. officials say the reinforcements have made the Iraqi capital more secure, sectarian violence has continued there and in other parts of the country. Bombings in Shiite Muslim areas of Baghdad killed at least 35 people on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reported. Another 34 died Saturday in a bombing in Karbala. Congress will not allow money for the war effort to run out, Levin said, adding that ``it's up to Democrats to force a change of course.''

He dismissed Cheney's statements about progress in the war and criticism of the actions by Democrats, saying the vice president ``has been wrong consistently on Iraq'' and ``has zero credibility'' with the American public.

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