The new figures could mean 42 million to 84 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on the night of April 20 -- with the lowest estimate nearly four times the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.
The flow estimates were released by Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, and do not count any increases that may have occurred since the cutting of the well's riser pipe, a step that was expected to boost the flow.
That's from Richard Simon, Betina Boxall and Margot Roosevelt's "Gulf oil spill figures may be double earlier estimates" (Los Angeles Times) and, goodness, it just gets worse every day. And I feel like it's being managed, the flow of information. I feel like somewhere in the White House, in a War Room (they hate that term in the Obama administration, by the way), they're discussing all that is known and brainstorming a timeline on telling the American people. It's a slow trickle, a steady drip-drip. And they're hoping we'll grow bored with the story.
That's what I fear.
If you need audio on the latest round of news, click here for Brian Mann's Morning Edition report (NPR).
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, June 10, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, Robert Gates lives in his own little world, the US Congress addresses disabilities, a grave scandal emerges in DC, and more.
Do they grow them extra stupid at the Christian Science Monitor? Apparently or we wouldn't have to forever call them out on their Iraq 'knowledge.' Gail Russell Chaddock writes of a supplemental for the Afghanistan War. And reading through her 'reporting,' you may wonder if there are two supplementals US President Barack Obama is asking for? No, there's just one. Even the headline writer plays dumb. This is the same supplemental noted in the May 28th snapshot, "In the US, Brian Faler (Bloomberg News) notes, the Senate pushed through the war supplemental bill late last night on a 67 for and 28 against vote. The bill now goes to the House which will debate it sometime after their Memorial Day vacation." And, no, it's not just me noting it is a supplemental for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Go to the June 7th snapshot and scroll down to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee press release. Here are the first two paragraphs:
On May 27th, Senate Democrats led the effort to pass a bipartisan supplemental appropriations bill that funds key counterterrorism and national security missions and supports disaster recovery initiatives by a vote of 67 to 28. The bill provides a total of $58.96 billion in emergency funding for Fiscal Year 2010 in support of ongoing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the addition of 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan as well as $2.6 billion for the Afghan Security Forces Fund and $1 billion for the Iraqi Security Forces Fund; more than $5.5 billion for continued and emerging disaster relief and recovery initiatives for affected communities across the United States; $2.8 billion to support relief efforts in Haiti; and $68 million in initial disaster response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The supplemental bill provides a total of $32.8 billion in funding, as requested, for the Department of Defense (DoD) for operations, personnel costs, and equipment related primarily to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan , but also in support of ongoing operations and continued drawdown efforts in Iraq.
So the Iraq War continues but Gail Russell Chaddock and the Christian Science Monitor vanish it? Erase it. Treat it as something in the past? Go so far as to take a funding bill for it and the Afghanistan War and reduce it to just Afghanistan? That's shameful. Actually, that's worse than shameful, that's whoring. The press sold the Iraq War, they damn sure have a duty to see it through to the end.
US House Rep Lynn Woolsey (at The Hill) points out, "A week ago Sunday at approximately 10:06 a.m., after the House had adjourned for recess and Americans were enjoying their holiday weekends, our nation reached a truly disturbing milestone. At about that moment, according to the National Priorities Project, the combined amount of taxpayer money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reached a staggering $1 trillion. That's a trillion. With a 'T'." RTT News adds, "According to a report released Thursday by 'National Priorities Project,' the ongoing military operations in the two war-ravaged nations are the most expensive ever carried out by American forces since the end of the Second World War."
Why does the Afghanistan War continue? Why does the Iraq War? On the latter, US Secretary Robert Gates offered some mumbo jumbo to David Frost on Frost Over The World (Al Jazeera, link has video and text):
David Frost: And you've said I believe that the outcome of these conflicts must shape our world for decades to come." It's that serious, it's that important, it's that much at stake right now, Mr. Secretary?
Robert Gates: I think that. Let's take Iraq. Historians will debate whether going into Iraq in the first place was the right or wrong decision, but when I came to this job at the end of 2006, the consequences of an American defeat in Iraq, I think along the lines you just quoted, would have had impact for decades to come. A failure in Afghanistan, for NATO, I think will have consequences for a long time to come. Not just for the United States but for the alliance itself having made this commitment, and so I think these conflicts, however one might agree or disagree how they started, the outcome matters a great deal.
David Frost: And it's going to matter for a long, long time?
Robert Gates: I think so. And the good news is things in Iraq look like they're headed in a very positive direction.
And that's what you get stuck with when you don't have the guts to fire the previous administration's Secretary of Defense. That's actually an illuminating answer because many of the War Hawks maintain that the US war was just until Saddam Hussein was captured and that it's just 'peace keeping' ever since. By mentioning his fear of defeat (it was that a long time ago) and tying it to 2006, Gates is implying that the US forces were fighting . . . Iraqis. The US military was in another country fighting that country's people. It's the closest to honesty anyone in the US administration has probably ever gotten. "And the good news is things in Iraq look like they're headed in a very positive direction," gushes Gates -- putting on such a happy face despite the recent death that no one wants to go on record about but that everyone in DC whispers about. Brave Bobby Gates. Such a brave boy.
In the real world, things do not look like they're headed in a very positive direction at present. But don't just take my word on it, here's Ayad Allawi writing in the Washington Post:
The current, sectarian-leaning government has failed to deliver such fundamentals as sustained security, improved basic services and better job prospects. Although democracy is, at its core, about the peaceful transfer of political authority, and despite his failure to get the electoral results overturned, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refuses to acknowledge his defeat or Iraqis' clear desire for change and national progress. As the winner of the election, our political bloc should have the first opportunity to try to form a government through alliances with other parties. Yet Maliki continues seeking to appropriate that option for his party, defying constitutional convention and the will of the people. Because his bloc placed second, our slate wants to meet him, without preconditions, for face-to-face talks. We are determined to build a government based on competence and professionalism instead of ethnic or sectarian identities. Regrettably, Maliki has thus far declined to meet with us.
Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which, last March, won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance. Together, the two still lack four seats necessary (or so it is thought) to form the government. Yesterday, Little Nouri was insisting to Anthony Shadid (New York Times) that only he could save Iraq.
Ma'ad Fayad (Asharq Alawsat Newspaper) reports sources are stating Allawi's "begun to form the next government" via "internal meetings as well as official dialogue with the rest of the winning coalitions". Muhanad Mohammed (Reuters) reports that the State of Law slate and the Iraqi National Alliance have "announced their merger". Two reports, on two different attempts to start a ruling government. Meanwhile Paulina Reso (New York Daily News) reports on the Global Peace Index: While peace and stability aren't easy to come by, this year the world fared slightly worse, partly due to the global recession, according to the fourth annual Global Peace Index. The survey, which aims to objectively measure security and violence among nations while illustrating drivers of peace, ranked 149 countries this year.The Japan Times explains, "Iraq -- for the fourth year in a row -- was the worst among 149 countries". Four years in a row. Wow, exactly where it was in 2006. Hey, April 2006, who became prime minister? Oh, yeah. Nouri. Heck of a job, Nouri.
Today's violence, Reuters notes, includes a Baghdad car bombing which claimed 4 lives and left ten more people injured. In addition, they note a Baghdad bombing which injured two people, a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured two people and a Saqlawiya bombing which injured two people.
In the US today, the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee (House Veterans Affairs Committee) held a legislative hearing. To move the hearing along, Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin noted that she and the Ranking Member John Boozman were entering their statements into the record but not reading them or summarzing them during the time allotted for the hearing. What bills is Congress pushing for veterans? And would they be effective? The first panel was House members explaining their legislation.
US House Rep Peter DaFazio explained how, since the eighties, Oregon's Congressional offices had been able to do a work-study program with the VA giving the veterans work opportunities as they pursued higher education, additional skills and a nice credit on their resumes. However, in 2009 they were all informed that this would no longer be possible. "Somehwere in the depths of the VA bureaucracy, lawyers have determined this highly successful program was never authorized and is now scheduled for termination." This would create a number of lost jobs for Oregon veterans and would do so when the economy is already poor, employment opportunities hard to come by and the Oregon veterans rate of unemployment stands at over 12%. To rememdy the situation and keep the VA work-study program, DaFazio is proposing HR 4765 which would authorize the program in Oregon and hopefully create more VA work-study jobs in other states. The Subcommittee Chair and Ranking Member were both work-study students in college and Boozman is an optometrist, FYI.
US House Rep Cliff Stearns bill is HR 3685 and attempts to make it easier for veterans visiting the VA page to easily navigate through employment opportunities: "drop- down menu titled 'Veterans Employment' on its home page" which would combine government and private sector employment for veterans. It would also make the searches easier and more specific (including region).
US House Rep Jeff Fortenberry bill is HR 114. Fortenberry hopes to catch those veterans who do not use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for education because not everyone wants or needs to go to college. Fortenberry wants to provide more business opportunity by providing start-up funds for small businesses "to permit veterans elegible for assistance under the Montgomery GI Bill to elect to use those benefits to establish and operate a business that they own as a primary source of income."
The second panel was made up of veterans advocates: Richard Daley (Paralyzed Veterans of America), Michael R. Duenas (American Optometric Association), Eric A. Hilleman (Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States), Catherine A. Trombley (American Legion) and Thomas Zampieri (Blinded Veterans Association). It was called to order by acting Chair Harry Teague (voting requirements meant there were breaks between panels).
Richard Daley felt HR 114 "will be very important to some veterans." Daley noted, "Every veteran does not want to attend college for four years," and this would allow those with business inclinations to pursue their dreams. HR 3685 would merge employment into one site on the VA's main page and Daley stated, "What a great idea. Why didn't we do this years ago?" HR 4319 was not introduced in the first panel. This bill is sponsored by US House Rep Jerry Moran and reads, "To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for certain improvements in the laws relating to specially adapted housing assistance provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs." Daley stated PVA "strongly supports" this and would assist veterans with needed home modifactions that disabilities may require. They do advocate for this being a permanent program and not a pilot.
Catherine A. Trombley said that they endorses part of HR 3685 (making employment listings for veterans on the VA home page easier). What part do they not endorse? "Drop-down menu" which they feel could bind the web page to some format even if new formats were replacing it all over the internet. HR 114 is supported by the American Legion (this is the small business effort). The work study was supported with reservations about the duties a veteran might be doing and concerns that a veteran speaking to another veteran on behalf of the work study program might be seen as an 'expert.'
Eric A. Hilleman stated his organization does not favor HR 114. "The intent of the GI Bill is to provide education and training," he stated. He noted business skills could be increased by classes or courses. The point of the GI Bill, he maintained, was "not to provide start-up money for a business" but to provide education, training and skills. They did support the work study (HR 4765) for both the experience and "the jump start on their career." June 30th, he stated, other work-study programs would be phased out. Steps to extend the programs are "tied up in another bill HR 1037" which passed the Senate in October 2009 and the House in July of last year but is stuck in reconciliation at present. Hilleman noted that the VFW not only supports work-study but itself offers internships. HR 5484 is strongly supported by the VFW. This bill was introduced by House Rep Harry Teague and reads: "To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish an annual award program to recognize businesses for their contributions to veterans' employment, and for other purposes." Note that all the above is based on oral testimony. Written opening statements were far longer. In Hilleman's written testimony, HR 5484 has no number but is listed as "Draft Bill -- Veterans-Friendly Business Act of 2010."
Thomas Zampieri referred back to the Subcommittee's meeting last fall (November 19th, see the November 20th snapshot).
Dr. Thomas Zampieri : I want to thank you (Chair Herseth-Sandlin) and Ranking Member Boozman for introducing HR 5360 Blind Veterans Adaptive Housing Improvement Act. This came out of the hearing that we had last fall on different changes that could possibly be made in regards to adaptive housing grant program. And we had had problem with the restrictive language that was currently in place of 5/200 being used as the definition for being eligible for this grant. The standards for blindness is 20/200 or 20 degress less of peripheral field loss and we would ask that this be changed. Several reasons why. One is that a lot of individuals who are at the accepted standard of 20/200 are legally blind and they need to be able to access the adaptive housing grant in order to make changes so that they can live independently in their own homes. And this would also be consistent with what Public Law 110-157, which was HR 797, which passed back in December 2007 which corrected another problem in VBA where they were using 5/200 standard in order for paired organ. I would point out that it was sort of interesting that when that originally came up there was a lot of concern that we're going to be opening up the system for -- one estimate was like 45,000 veterans. And since that change, the actual number of veterans that have applied under the paired organ thing using the 20/200 standard is less than 500. So it's difficult when you get into these things, I think, sometimes to determine exactly the numbers that may fall out because when you're talking about clinical standards versus the-the service connected numbers of veterans who are all service connected for vision problems you may be led down the path of thinking this is a lot more veterans than what our experience has been. So we appreciate that you've introduced this. As I've testified before, there's tremendous numbers of OIF and OEF service members coming back with a variety of Traumatic Brain Injuries with vision problems and impairments and they are falling into this problem of not meeting this criteria in order to be able to have the grants. So I appreciate being able to testify today and be happy to answer any of your questions.
And we'll note Duenas nearly in full as well due to the fact that there is a feeling among veterans participating in this site's survey that blindness is an injury that's just not covered.
Dr. Michael R. Duenas: The AOA with more than 36,000 members in over 6500 communities nationwide shares your commitment to serving America's veterans including those blinded and vision disabled. In fact, many years ago the AOA proudly supported the creation of the Veterans Health Administration Optometry Service and during the more than a quarter of a century.since its inception the Optometry Service evolved into providing the majority of primary eye care and low vision rehabilitation services to our nation's veterans. Today we proudly off our support for HR 536 -- 5360, I'm sorry. This act is much needed in the special needs housing program. We believe that it is an important program that provides a vital link for our disabled veterans and helps them gain a sense of normalcy as they adjust to civilian life and a new disability. The AOA shares the Committee's concern that visual acuity standard is in need of refinement and today I would like to make three points regarding those refinements. First, as you know, the current law excludes coverage to many disabled veterans who are legally blind because it sets the threshold four times higher than the legal definition of blindness. HR 5360 will fix this lasting problem and will ultimately help our wounded warriors. The AOA, as such, supports the proposed modified standard visual acuity elegibility to include visual acuity of 20/200 as opposed to a four times worse requirement of 5/200. Secondly, through the VA optometry service, hundreds of highly trained doctors of optometry provide a critical array of high quality care, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation so as not to deny benefits for blinded, disabled veterans that used assisted medical technologies, the AOA believes that the qualified statement of best corrected needs further refinement. Without additional modification, the act could exclude legally blind veterans using special medical prescribed, low vision devices such as mounted telescopes, reverse telescopes and other special medical equipment. These devices are not considered standard glasses and are not standard, corrective lenses. Third, the AOA believes that the current definition of blindness contained in HR 5360 may not fully relate field loss to the equivalency of visual acuity loss in each eye. This determination of funcitonal equivalency is important and as such the AOA recommends that the language defining legal blindness should be consistent with the commonly used and recognized definition of legal blindness which is referenced in our written statement. Therefore the AOA recommends that the final language of the Veterans Housing Improvement Act of 2010 read as proposed in our statement submitted for the record.
In the written statement, the recommended final language reads:
Section 101(b)(2)(A) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking "5/200 visual acuity or less" and inserting "20/200 visual acuity or less, the better eye with the use of a standard correcting lens. An eye which is accompanied by a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees shall be considered for purposes in this paragraph as having a central visual acuity of 20/2000 or less."
We'll note this exchange on why the blindness definition needs to be altered.
Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: Dr. Zampieri, if we could start with you, can you just explain in layman's terms the different between the 5/200 standard and the 20/200 standard?
Thomas Zampieri: Yes, the 5/200 is what a blind individual at five feet would be able to see versus a normal vision person would be able to see the same thing at 200 feet. And the 20/200 is the accepted standard for legal blindess and so, 20 feet, a blind individual, for example, would be able to see something on the eye chart that, again, somebody with normal vision at 200 feet would be able to see. And so all fifty states define legal blindess as 20/200 and Social Security and ironically VBA's 20/200 for determination of 100% service-connected for blindness. And so this would hopefully answer your question, but it would make it all standardized.
Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: So you're not aware of anywhere else -- so you've just indicated even with the other VA programs, they're using the 20/200 standard for purposes of calculating disability, service connected disability.
Thomas Zampieri: Correct.
Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: But, as far as you're aware, the only place where the 5/200 standard is still being used within government, within industry is -- within the profession -- is in the specially adapted housing program?
Thomas Zampieri: Right. In fact, ironically when the HR 797 was being worked on, I stumbled into the Senate version of that bill four years ago -- I actually tried to correct this 5/200 in the adaptive housing. I'm not sure how it got left out. But anyway, I think somebody on that side had realized that it was this other area and I wish it had been fixed all at once. But, yeah, this is the only place I know of in the VA's regulations where 5/200 is being applied.
There were many bills covered in the written statements that were not covered in the hearing. For example, HR 4635 (not discussed on the first panel) is a bill introduced by House Rep Marcia Fudge and it reads, "To require lenders of loans with Federal guarantees or Federal insurance to consent to mandatory mediation." The bill has ten co-sponsors (Maxine Waters, Bob Filner, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Keith Ellison, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Kendrick Meek, Mary Jo Kilroy, Danny Davis, Betty Sutton and Alan Grayson). But the above are the ones the speakers chose to emphasize in their oral statements.
While the Subcommittee explored needed veterans issues, another one exploded in the press today. Luis Martinez (ABC News) reports, "The Army has announced major leadership changes at Arlington National Cemetery after an investigation determined that at least 211 graves may have been improperly marked or lack the necessary paperwork. Army Secretary John McHugh announced at a Pentagon briefing today that he was replacing cemetery superintendent John Metzler and placing his deputy, Thurman Higgenbotham, on administrative leave while some of his actions are investigated." Yeganeh June Torbati (New York Times) quotes McHugh stating, "That all ends today." David Martin (CBS Evening News -- link has text and should have video shortly) quotes McHugh stating, "There's simply no excuse and on behalf of the United States Army, on behalf of myself, I deeply apologize to the families of the honored fallen."
Pentagon Papers whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg was Scott Horton's guest for yesterday's Antiwar Radio. They're discussing Bradley Manning. Who? Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video.
Scott Horton: So there's this extraordinary story here, Dan, about the guy who supposedly, allegedly stole from the government -- if that's not an oxymoron -- video of the Collateral -- what became the Collateral Murder video as it was known, put out by WikiLeaks. And apparently he has been arrested and has been held by the military for at least the last couple of weeks. And they're saying is responsible for turning over another very important video of a massacre, this one in Afghanistan. And, although I think it's denied all around so far, the rumors are that he may hae even stolen and turned over to WikiLeaks as many as half -- as many as a quarter of a million State Dept cables at the highest level of classification. So we're all anxiously awaiting your comments, sir.
Daniel Ellsberg: Well I must say that I rise to the word "stolen" that you've used there a couple of times, as is commonly done. I was often described as having stolen the Pentagon Papers from the Defense Dept or the RAND Corporation and, in fact, as I got a legal education in this subject, having started as a layman and being one of the first people ever prosecuted for allegedly stealing information -- aside from leaking information, I discovered at that time it was very clear that you couldn't "steal" information, I had "copied" information. And, in fact, although there is a copyright law that's in almost all cases a civil law -- you know, you can sue for damages if copyrighted material has been =- has been copied, or misued, the government can't copyright information and for a very interesting reason. Information is seen as essentially the property of the people who are a part of this peculiar Constitutional system that was invented here. So there wasn't at that time any concept of stealing information at that point. Now as the electronic media has proliferated, I understand that the law has evolved in that respect and that they can make a case for stealing information. But in this case -- in any case -- he was copying information and putting it out and whether the government properly owns the information that War Crimes have been committed in Iraq or Afghanistan is, I would say, a very dubious proposition. Certainly it's not a clear cut legal proposition. So let's try to get away from the notion that he "stole" actually.
Scott Horton: Yeah. Well I think --
Daniel Ellsberg: That's information that we should have had in the first place. He copied it and didn't deprive the government. By the way, the reason as I understand it, that you didn't have a concept of "stealing" information in those days and perhaps not now was that stealing or theft is basically depriving an owner of the use or the value of property that he or she has and when you copy information you're not depriving the owner of any use of it. And that's certainly the case here.
The US government is doing a push back and trying to put out that Bradley Manning is some sort of 'wack job' as evidenced by Ellen Nakashima's Washington Post article this morning. Snitch Adrian Lano continues to attack Bradley and the US government would generally have swept up information* that Lano continues to circulate but Lano is not a 'loose cannon,' he is working with the government. So Ellen's provided with copies of instant messages -- and no one's supposed to wonder who makes copies of instant messages -- so that she can write: "Bradley Manning, 22, had just gone through a breakup. He had been demoted a rank in the Army after striking a fellow soldier. He felt he had no future, and yet he thought that by sharing classified information about his government's foreign policy, he might 'actually change something'." That, the government wants you to believe, is why Manning leaked. He was 'unstable.' Left unstated is the fact that Manning might be all the above (I have no idea) but he might be that because of what he was seeing, what he was being forced to cover up. "the US government would generally have swept up information*" is not an endorsement of that policy, it is merely noting that is the policy. Instead, they have allowed the snitch to question Bradley's sexuality, to drop hints here and there, etc. Supposedly a trial will take place. So why are you letting your snitch leak to the press? He's a snitch. He entrapped Bradley. That's demonstrated by the fact that he made copies of his I.M.s. (His entrapment does not mean Bradley is the leaker, just that he managed to get Bradley or someone to make certain statements.) The snitch keeps punching holes in his own story and it's a good thing for Bradley's defense that Adrian I-Lick Lano can't stop seeking press attention. This is from Justin Raimondo's "Free Bradley Manning!" (Antiwar.com):
Mr. Lamo is the archetypal creeper: previously known as the "homeless hacker," he was sleeping in bus stations and under bridges, earlier in his career, and logging on to computers stealing information and wrecking networks. Caught hacking into Lexis-Nexis, the New York Times, and other sites, he was "turned," and made the transition from hacker to "security expert" and, yes, self-described "journalist." What he was, and is, is a professional snitch, working for the feds -- I wonder how he paid off that $60,000 fine they slapped him with? -- while all the time proclaiming his "patriotic" motives in turning in Manning. According to various puff pieces appearing in Wired and on Cnet, Lamo "agonized" over the decision, but in the end patriotism won out:
"I wouldn't have done this if lives weren't in danger. He was in a war zone and basically trying to vacuum up as much classified information as he could, and just throwing it up into the air." Yes, lives were and are in danger -- the lives of Iraqis, Afghans, and other targets of our murderous rulers, whose war crimes are being committed in the dark. Manning's "crime" is that he exposed them to the light. Manning also reportedly is the source of a video showing the massacre of innocent civilians in Garani, Afghanistan, which Wikileaks hinted at having possession of but has yet to release. Most intriguing, however, is that according to Lamo, Manning claimed to have leaked 260,000 diplomatic cables to Wikileaks -- in effect, an inside history of recent US shenanigans around the world. Manning says the cables describe "almost criminal political back dealings." The "incredible things, awful things" he discovered "belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark corner in Washington, D.C."
We'll close with this from Military Families Speak Out:
Over Memorial Day Weekend, MFSO members spoke at commemorations and vigils from California to Maine and from Florida to Oregon with heartbreaking truth about the real impacts of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in their lives. For a round-up of MFSO participation in Memorial Day events, go here.
MFSO need your financial support to sustain our voices to keep the true consequences of these wars in the public consciousness!
In December, we wrote to you about the Charley Richardson Legacy Fund, set up to honor the leadership and vision of our founders, Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson, who is struggling with cancer. Today we write you again to let you know about an additional $5,000 matching gift that we have received.
Help us today and double your gift - your monthly or one-time donation now will provide much-needed support to uphold our voices and help build the movement needed to end these wars.
Make a contribution today and read the tributes to Charley and Nancy at www.mfsotribute.org.
Earlier in May, an ABC News / Washington Post poll found that a majority of Americans are again opposed to the Afghanistan war, with 52% saying it's not worth fighting. We need to build this majority! Thanks to your support MFSO continues to play a critical role in challenging the public's understanding and building the social movement that will bring our troops home now and fund their care instead of continuing misguided wars with no military solution.
Beyond the staggering physical and psychological toll these wars are taking, the financial impacts also continue to mount. As the costs of these wars soar past $1 trillion dollars, each and every town and city in the U.S. is doing with fewer services for health care, education and employment development. Your support is vital to sustaining MFSO's advocacy to ensure that those who have served their country and are fortunate to return are provided adequate services to help them in their paths back to wholeness and family stability.
It is these truths - the financial and human costs of these wars - that must be brought to the American people in order to inspire them to stand together and say No More!
Thank you for your support,
Deborah Forter, National DirectorMilitary Families Speak Outwww.firstname.lastname@example.org
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