International Briefs

Indypendent Staff Sep 11, 2008

The Other September 11ths

As the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks were commemorated in New York and Washington, D.C., other September 11ths were marked around the world. Thirty-five years ago on Sept. 11, 1973, Chilean General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in a U.S.-backed coup. The coup led to a 30-year dictatorship and the disappearances of more than 3,000 Chileans. On Sept. 11, 1990, the Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack was assassinated by U.S.-trained security forces. Mack had been documenting the destruction of rural indigenous communities in Guatemala. And on Sept. 11, 1977, Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa, was brutally beaten in the back of a police van. The anti-apartheid leader died in the early morning hours of Sept. 12.

FBI: Neo-Nazis Infiltrating the U.S. Military

A new FBI report reveals white supremacist leaders have been encouraging neo-Nazis to infiltrate the military in order to recruit and receive training. And the military — pressed for new recruits — appears to be turning a blind eye. The report details more than a dozen recent criminal cases involving active duty personnel engaging in extremist activity. Tom Metzger, leader of the White Aryan Resistance, recently said, “Now they are letting everybody in … . I would say that 10 percent of Army and Marines — they are not in the Navy and Air Force so much — are racist extremists of some variety.” The U.S. Army’s own investigators found that commanders repeatedly terminated inquiries into soldiers with openly racist connections. An U.S. Army report from 2007 details how the investigation of a suspected leader of an Alaskan white supremacist group was halted because the soldier was mobilized to deploy to Iraq.

Contaminated Water in Iraq Leads to Cholera Outbreak

The Iraqi province of Babil declared a state of emergency Sept. 8 after ten people died from an outbreak of cholera. Contaminated water supplies have become a major problem for Iraqis since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The head of Baghdad’s water authority, Sadeq al-Shammari, says half of the city of six million lacks drinking water. Regular power outages are disrupting water supplies and sewage facilities. More than two-thirds of Baghdad’s sewage flows directly into the water supply.

Questions Raised Over “Suicide” of Female Soldier in Iraq

The parents of U.S. Army Private First Class LaVena Johnson are continuing to call for a congressional probe into the death of their daughter, in Iraq in July 2005. The Army declared her death a suicide even though the 19-year-old had abrasions all over her body, a broken nose, a black eye, burned hands, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals and a bullet hole in her head. Her body was found inside a tent belonging to the military contractor KBR. Questions have also been raised about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of several other female soldiers in Iraq, which deaths have been ruled to be from “non-combat-related injuries” or suicide.

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