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This particular book—or rather, set of books—is every edit made to a single Wikipedia article, The Iraq War, during the five years between the article’s inception in December 2004 and November 2009, a total of 12,000 changes and almost 7,000 pages.
It amounts to twelve volumes: the size of a single old-style encyclopaedia. It contains arguments over numbers, differences of opinion on relevance and political standpoints, and frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes “Saddam Hussein was a dickhead”.
This is historiography. This is what culture actually looks like: a process of argument, of dissenting and accreting opinion, of gradual and not always correct codification.
And for the first time in history, we’re building a system that, perhaps only for a brief time but certainly for the moment, is capable of recording every single one of those infinitely valuable pieces of information.
Tag Archives | Iraq
Amnesty International recently reported that it believes 30,000 people are currently held in Iraqi jails, and the same kinds of abuses that went on under Saddam and American forces are still going on. From Al Jazeera:
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Amnesty’s 59-page report, titled “New Order, Same Abuses: Unlawful detentions and torture in Iraq,” highlights the case of several men who were subjected to torture or who died in prison.
Among them was Riad Mohammed Saleh al-Oqaibi, arrested in September 2009 and held in a detention facility in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone before being transferred to a secret detention facility elsewhere in the capital.
“During interrogation, he is said to have been beaten so hard on the chest that his ribs were broken and his liver damaged,” the report noted. “He died on 12 or 13 February as a result of internal bleeding.”
According to the rights group, methods of torture used against detainees include beatings with cables and hose-pipes, breaking of limbs, piercing of the body with drills and psychological torture in the form of threats with rape.
William Blum writes on Killing Hope:
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“They’re leaving as heroes. I want them to walk home with pride in their hearts,” declared Col. John Norris, the head of a US Army brigade in Iraq.
It’s enough to bring tears to the eyes of an American, enough to make him choke up.
Enough to make him forget.
But no American should be allowed to forget that the nation of Iraq, the society of Iraq, have been destroyed, ruined, a failed state. The Americans, beginning 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, killed wantonly, tortured … the people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up … an army of young Islamic men went to Iraq to fight the American invaders; they left the country more militant, hardened by war, to spread across the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia … a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again.
Police scuffled with demonstrators in Ireland's capital, Dublin, as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived at a bookstore to sign copies of his memoirs. A shoe, eggs and other projectiles were thrown toward Blair as he emerged from his car, but they did not hit him. At one point, a policeman and demonstrator crashed to the ground as officers struggled to control the protesters, who were demonstrating against Blair's actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East. The protesters were heard chanting "Tony Blair: war criminal" as his car arrived at Eason's book store.
You can’t drop massive amounts of depleted uranium on a nation without causing severe radiation poisoning. It’s one of the worst legacies of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and criminally under-reported by the embedded media. The fallout is starting to be noticed now, however, as reported by the Centre for Global Research:
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The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.
According to the authors of a new study, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,” the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945.
The epidemiological study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH), also finds the prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah to be many times greater than in nearby nations.
Jeff Stein writes on the Washington Post’s SpyTalk:
During planning for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group kicked around a number of ideas for discrediting Saddam Hussein in the eyes of his people.
One was to create a video purporting to show the Iraqi dictator having sex with a teenage boy, according to two former CIA officials familiar with the project.
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“It would look like it was taken by a hidden camera,” said one of the former officials. “Very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session.”
The idea was to then “flood Iraq with the videos,” the former official said.
Another idea was to interrupt Iraqi television programming with a fake special news bulletin. An actor playing Hussein would announce that he was stepping down in favor of his (much-reviled) son Uday.
“I’m sure you will throw your support behind His Excellency Uday,” the fake Hussein would intone.
The US military says it is trying to retrieve the original video tapes of a controversial helicopter attack on a group of people in Iraq in 2007. Footage of the attack was published on the internet by the website WikiLeaks. Two of those killed were Reuters news agency employees whose cameras were mistaken for weapons, the US says. The Pentagon has not questioned the video's authenticity but says it cannot make a complete verification until the original tapes have been located. "We're attempting to retrieve the video from the unit who did the investigation," US Central Command spokesman Capt Jack Hanzlik was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.