War Journalists Labeled Spies, Unprivileged Belligerents. That’s What A New Pentagon Manual Calls Some War Reporters

 

imageedit_3_4673052415First published on August 26, 2015

By | on August 26, 2015

By Lorra B. Staff Writer

US defense Secretary, Ash Carter, is being asked by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) to amend a new Pentagon manual that is labeling war journalists as spies, unprivileged belligerents and saboteurs.

Is this new manual an indication the U.S. government is openly marking journalists who challenge Washington’s objectives?

An open letter was published by RWB to Carter about the Law of War Manual. The manual has infuriated reporters “for saying war reporters may be held liable for ‘engaging in hostilities’ or spying, sabotage and similar acts behind enemy lines’,” according to The Guardian.

The War Manual, was published on June 24 and is 1,176 pages of revisions, the first revisions since 1956.

The revisions include terminology marking journalists stating “in general, journalists are civilians,” and that in some instances these reporters may be viewed as “unprivileged belligerents.”

But what does unprivileged belligerents really mean? Well, ‘unprivileged belligerents,’ according to veteran war corresponded Don North, simply replaces the term ‘unlawful combatants’ and that journalists, therefore are looked upon as nothing more than those in the ranks of Al Qaeda.

Based on this assessment, broad interpretation and hazy wording, journalists could not only be asked to leave military bases but they could also be detained for perceived wrongdoings.

Secretary General Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders stated, “This terminology leaves too much room for interpretation, putting journalists in a dangerous position.”

“Liking journalistic activity to spying is just the kind of ammunition certain repressive countries like Iran, Syria and China would seek out to support their practices of censorship and criminalization of journalists.”

Columbia Journalism Review’s managing editor, Vanessa Gezari, stated, “It’s very threatening. I believe it contradicts at least the spirit of customary battlefield relationships, if not the letter. The relationship between journalists and combatants has always been complicated. The way the language about spying is placed in there is alarming to me in that is says, ‘journalism is a lot like spying’ and then it leaves that to people to make up their own mind. It gets at the commonalities but not the differences.”

The craftily worded manual sets journalist in a whole new category. Journalists will not be classified as either civilian or soldier and therefore have no protections. The manual states that ‘like other civilians, civilian journalists who engage in hostilities against a State, may be punished by that State after a fair trial.”

The “relaying of information,” according to the new manual, may be construed as such an act.

Governments, according to the manual, “may need to censor journalists’ work or take other security measures so that journalists do not reveal sensitive information to the enemy.”

Censor journalists’ work? Really? This does not sound like the ‘America The Free’ I remember. Press freedoms are vitally important to America remaining free. Without them we will become no better than a dictator state.

When the Pentagon begins to crack down and round-up all journalistic work to be reviewed and possibly censored then we will be playing in a whole new ball game and not one for the betterment of American citizens.

Will we become nothing more than the New China or New Russia? When we begin to censor and impede on journalistic freedoms then we start chipping away at the very fabric this great nation was built on. Just where that chipping will lead is a road I, for one, don’t wish to travel.

By Lorra B.

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Exposed: Obama’s Secret Side Deals With Iran

dIn A move that has raged the GOP, President Obama has made secret side deals with Iran.

According to the Associated Press, a side deal was made between Iran and the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency allowing Iran to use its own inspectors to inspect a location accused of building nuclear arms. It is usually the U.N. who inspects such sites, so why not this site?

“International inspections should be done by international inspectors,” stated Ed Royce, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman. “Period.”

It was a document seen by AP that brought this issue to light and that has the Republican lawmakers angered. Already very critical of Obama’s Iran Deal because it is basically built recklessly on trust alone with the Iranians, the GOP finds this new development imprudent.

It was the Obama Administration who insisted it would depend on reliable scrutiny over the Iranian sites in question. Not only the GOP but many of us want to know why, then, are the Iranians inspecting their own sites?

House Speaker John Boehner stated, “President Obama boasts his deal includes ‘unprecedented verification.’ He claims it’s not built on trust. But the administration’s briefings on these side deals have been totally insufficient—and it still isn’t clear whether anyone at the White House has seen the final documents.”

“Worse,” according to ESHRAF, “Obama didn’t even reveal the existence of these secret side deals to Congress when he transmitted the nuclear accord to Capitol Hill. The agreements were uncovered, completely by chance, by two members of Congress — Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — who were in Vienna meeting with the U.N.-related agency.”

It was President Obama who signed into law The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. This law unequivocally states that all materials and ‘annexes’ associated with the Iran Deal must be transmitted by the president to Congress. Well, it seems that the president has broken the law, one in which he wrote.

All of this aside, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is not sure what the disclosure has to do with the Iran Deal because, according to her, the disclosure relates to past military efforts and not any nuclear efforts moving ahead.

Pelosi stated, “I truly believe in this agreement.” If there were a vote today “the president’s veto would be sustained. But I feel very confident about it…We will sustain the veto.”

Before voting on the Iran deal Congress should be adamant about seeing the side deals. How many of us would buy a piece of land site unseen and just take the sellers word for it that the land was fertile, especially when that seller has a bit of a track-record for embellishments?

It will take a two-thirds vote in both houses to override the president’s veto, 45 House Democrats and 13 Senate Democrats.

Pompeo stated, “My mission in the next 45 days is to convince 45 House Democrats to override the veto. It’s a long climb, but this is important.”

Iran is getting ready to come into $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief. These relief moneys are based on negotiated agreements between Iran and IAEA that not one U.S. representative has viewed.

Is this wise, Mr. President? You may very well be putting our national security at great risk. “We need to see these documents in order to evaluate whether verification is ample to make such a big concession to the Iranians,” Pompeo said.

“No member of Congress should be asked to vote on an agreement of this historic importance absent knowing what the terms of the verification process are.”

First published on August 17.2015 by Lorra B.

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A Marine’s Epic Letter Blasts Michele Obama

imageedit_5_6572506416Michele Obama was invited by Tuskegee University to give the commencement speech this summer. With racial tensions high many believed her speech to be forceful yet fitting while others believed it to be nothing more than igniting a fire into an inferno.

The Washington Post, for example, stated that “Obama gave voice to the frustrations and hopes of African-Americans in this country. Her words were powerful and forcefully delivered without apology. Coming after what we have witnessed in Ferguson and Baltimore, Obama’s speech at the historically black institution has added resonance.”

ClashDaily, on the other hand, wrote, “Michele Obama just couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw some kerosene on the racial tension fire, but not everyone is so willing to simply let her get away with it.”

The full speech is below for you to watch and decide for yourself what you think about it. But, before you do, read a letter from Marine Soldier Mike Shepard who is a writer for the DC Gazette:

Mrs. Obama

It sickens me that I have to take time to write you this letter. I am a Marine who doesn’t recognize color because every color has lived and died for you. You live in a free country to blame your life on the color of another man’s skin. All colors have given their lives for an educated woman to have the freedom to be so ignorant. I don’t blame black people for the ignorance that comes from your mouth. I love all colors because I love all that God creates. I don’t have to like you to love you because we can’t always like the ones we love. Just because I don’t like you today doesn’t mean I can’t like you tomorrow. I don’t like you or your husband today because of what you’re doing to this country. Isn’t it funny how the truth always reveals itself in time. You and your husband never showed this side of yourselves in 2008 before he was elected.

You both live better than 99% of the people in this world because of this country. You said that you are for the first time proud to be an American. Well, I will tell you that most of us are ashamed of you. You and your husband have become millionaires off the people of this country, but demonstrate very little appreciation for all that we give. White, black, brown or indifferent millions have fought and died for you to have the freedom to say the ignorant things you say. You are educated, but clearly have very little common sense. You blame past generations of Americans for the troubles of a few. Stop blaming white people for your misery and take a look at yourself in the mirror. We are responsible for our own happiness and misery. The KKK is ignorance wrapped in a sheet while the Black panthers are raised on ignorance and hate. No different from the teaching of Islam thinking their race is better than all other men. God is love and creates every color to include everyone’s skin. To truly love God is to love all that He loves. For that I love you and pray that we all start taking responsibility for our own damned sins.

Martin Luther King had a dream that we would all live in the promise land. He is not remembered for being black. He is remembered for the love, and character he had within his heart. If you don’t like this country get on that plane and never come back. I will stay here and love all Americans, regardless of skin. I will love the beauty of what God created and stand tall with my American friends. Not because of their color but for the character and love they carry within. This country doesn’t owe you anymore than it owes me. So many have thanked me for my service and I will always be grateful. I pray that one day you and your husband might cause me to be grateful for yours.

You will never be remembered as the First Lady of Color but soon forgotten after you leave the White House. You nor your husband shall ever divide us. I wish you no harm, but pray you will take your troubles to a land you no longer hate. Hate shall come and go but His love shall last forever.

If you wish to find me I am now a writer for the DC Gazette. Also on Twitter @mshep08_mike …God bless you and Semper Fi

Mike Shepard

Watch the video: What are your thoughts?

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Rationing Drugs For Sick Veterans. Did The VA REALLY Plan To Do That?

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The Department of Veteran Affairs has known since January that the cost of medications was rising and that it would cause a tremendous financial loss. They have even discussed rationing expensive drugs “after asking Congress for $500 million to pay for the same drugs,” according to Washington Examiner.

VA officials have given Congress the notion that hospitals throughout the nation would be closed unless ‘swift action’ was taken.

Hepatitis C, one of the most expensive medications given to veterans, is one of the drugs the VA is allegedly planning to withhold from some veterans. The Hep C drug can be as much as $1,000 a pill, a price the pharmaceutical company, Gilead, believes to be fair considering what it cost for them to develop the treatments, Sovldi and Harvoni.

Hep C is caused by the HCV virus:

  • It is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
  • It can be a mild illness lasting a few weeks in up to 15% of individuals. • It can lead to chronic (lifelong) illness that can cause liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and liver cancer.
  • It is spread mainly through contact with the blood of an infected person.

Commendably, Gilead has already negotiated discounts for the VA, as much as 40%.

The VA, however, is still in need of funding, for Hep C drugs, and more but Congress doesn’t seem happy with the tactic the VA is using to go about getting this funding.

Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran told the Examiner,  “It’s another instance of the VA telling Congress, the Veterans committee and others about how, if we give them money, it would be spent, and then it’s a different plan once we give them the money.”

Moran went on to say, “If the VA tells us there’s a crisis and tells us to respond to that crisis, I would expect them to use the money as they told us they would. A question would be, then how are you spending the money if you are refusing to treat all the veterans that are suffering from this condition?”

Deputy VA secretary Sloan Gibson stated to the House Veterans’ affairs Committee that they “don’t expect to do any rationing of care with Hepatitis C.”

An internal plan, however, had already been made by the VA to do just that, according to the Examiner.

VA Employees had apparently warned Gibson of the possible financial issues in January but Gibson denies these allegations.

Chief VA financial officer, Kathleen Turco, according to Examiner, “dismissed those concerns on Jan. 21. Six months later, VA officials stood before Congress and claimed they were essentially blindsided by the largest budget shortfall in the agency’s history.”

The VA, once again, finds itself in the spot light and has some explaining to do. Rationing needed medications for our veterans…Really? VA, did you really plan to do that?

First published by Lorra B.

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1947 Partition|The Legacy of Fatima Jinnah, Mother of the Nation

The “Mother of the Nation” (Maadar E Millat), “The Lady of Pakistan”(Khatoon E Pakistan) are given titles to one of the finest Pakistani women who lived in history. Yes, I am speaking of Fatima Jinnah, the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and an active political figure in the movement for independence from the British Rule.

She was a leading, founding and instrumental figure in the Pakistan movement and the primary organizer of the All India Muslim Women Students Federation. Fatima Jinnah like her brother dedicated her whole life to the cause of Pakistan’s birth and its nation building. The Father of Nation Quaid E Azam was always accompanied by Fatima Jinnah, at each public appearance he made before and after partition. It is said that this siblings legacy, in particular of Fatima Jinnah’s unwavering support is the key to his success. When the All India Muslim League was being organized, she was taken on as a member of the Working Committee of the Bombay Provincial Muslim League, and worked in that capacity until 1947.  Paying tribute to her sister, the Quaid once said, “My sister was like a bright ray of light and hope whenever I came back home and met her. Anxieties would have been much greater and my health much worse, but for the restraint imposed by her.”

quaid-e-azam-and-fatima-jinnah-outside-the-pakistan-constituent-assembly

By profession she was a dental surgeon, biographer and stateswoman. After the untimely demise of Quaid E Azam, Fatima Jinnah despite her personal loss continued struggling for the betterment of the newly born country. She played a significant role in the settlement of Muhajirs in the new state of Pakistan. In those years, she focused on her literary projects, “Brother” is the name of the biography she wrote on the life of Quaid E Azam, but was held from publishing for many untold reasons. By the time it was published, pages from the book’s manuscript had vanished.

“If there was another leader in Pakistan today like Quaid and Fatima Jinnah Pakistan would be a heaven on earth. I had the good fortune to meet Miss Jinnah in February, 1959 when she very kindly attended a N.E.D. College sports function in Karachi. I found her to be a delightful personality with a lovely smile and full of positive encouragements for the young people.  How can one forget those moments when you are congratulated and asked to serve Pakistan well, now that is real leadership.”  A Pakistani engineer A.K accounts.

Late 1960s was an era when dictators and religious zealots had gained power over political scene in Pakistan yet this noble, gracious and courageous lady did not hesitate to take on a military dictator in her later years. She returned to forefront of political life when she ran for the presidency of Pakistan as a candidate for the Combined Opposition Party of Pakistan (COPP). This had her opponent Ayub Khan furious whose dictatorship was in full swing.

He labeled her being pro-Indian and pro-American and accused her of an being an enemy of Pakistan.“They call her the Mother of the Nation,” sniffed Pakistan’s President Mohammed Ayub Khan. “Then she should at least behave like a mother.” What upset Ayub was that Fatima Jinnah looked so good in pants. The more she upbraided Ayub, the louder Pakistanis cheered the frail figure in her shalwar (baggy white silk trousers). By last week, with Pakistan’s first presidential election only a fortnight away, opposition to Ayub had reached a pitch unequaled in his six years of autocratic rule.”

Fatima Jinnah responded by proclaiming him to be a dictator. She started her rallies where it is said nearly 250,000 people turned out to see her in Dhaka, and a million lined the 293 mile route from there to Chittagong. Her train, called the Freedom Special, was 22 hours delayed to arrival because south Asian men hailed by  crowds at each station pulled the emergency cord and begged her to speak impromptu. It is said people waited hours on foot to catch a glimpse of Fatima Jinnah. Her greatest advantages were her legacy as a politically active founding member of the nation and being the Quaid’s sister who had detached herself from the political conflicts that had plagued Pakistan after its Founder’s death. But the sight of this dynamic lady moving in the streets of big cities, rural towns and on train stops of a Muslim majority country was both moving and unique. The crowds hailed her as their leader and called her the rightful heir of Quaid; the chantings of Mother of The Nation were heard far and wide. Her campaign generated tremendous public enthusiasm. She drew enormous crowds in all cities of East and West Pakistan In her rallies Jinnah argued that, by coming to terms with India on the Indus Water dispute, Ayub had surrendered control of the rivers to India. Fatima Jinnah lost the election but it was a narrow win for Ayub Khan attained by vote rigging. More over, it’s believed that had the elections been held via direct ballot, Fatima Jinnah would have won. The Electoral College consisted of only 80,000 Basic Democrats, who were easily manipulated. These have been the findings of historians, investigative media reports and this election did not conform to international standards.

Interestingly Fatima Jinnah defeated Ayub Khan in two of Pakistan’s largest cities, Karachi (Pakistan) and Dhaka (now Bangladesh). During the election campaign, Ayub Khan gathered support of “those Muslim Ulema who were of the view that Islam does not permit a woman to be the head of an Islamic state.” This sort of propaganda against a woman leader of her stature was uncalled for, but very commonly used resort by patriarchal and insecure men throughout history.

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Despite the fact that she lost the election, the importance of this election lay in the fact that a woman was contesting the highest political office of the country. The orthodox religious political parties, including the Jamaat-i-Islami led by Maulana Maududi, which earlier had repeatedly declared that a woman could not hold the highest office of a Muslim country also had modified their stance to support her Presidency candidature.

Through her life’s example and her battles with power hungry men, Fatima Jinnah laid the foundation for the women of Pakistan to aspire and follow into her footsteps.

There are three things common between this iconic lady and myself.

We both have been born in the city of Karachi.

We both aren’t scared to speak our mind.

We both believe sincerely in working for the glory of Pakistan.

Pakistan Zindabad!

First published on August 17.2015

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After Chattanooga Shootings And New Al Qaeda Threats, Navy To Arm Sailors At Reserve Centers

It was Thursday, July 16, when the gunman, 24 year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, opened fire killing 4 U.S. Marines and 1 Navy sailor and wounded 2 others in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Abdulazeez first opened fire at the military recruiting center and then moved on some 7 miles away to a U.S. Navy facility before he was killed by police. Now, Navy reserve centres throughout the U.S. will be arming its sailors, according to a statement made by officials.

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“The threat posed to military forces in the United States by homegrown violent extremists has increased.”

The FBI have warned that new threats are being made against our military and their families as Al Qaeda praises the Chattanooga killer for what is considered a job well done.

Although the consent to have trained sailors to protect the facilities is now in affect, the actual date the sailors will begin has not yet been determined. For all military, their families and the grieving families of the victims, the start date can’t be soon enough.

First Published Aug.11.2015 by Lorra B

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