Thursday, January 21, 2010


If you want your piano tuned, make sure that the piano tech isn’t tone-deaf. Listening to the conservative Democrats and Republicans analyze the results of the special election in Massachusetts was like listening to karaoke night at a tone-deaf bar. The mainstream media has a new Palinesque crush. His name is Scott Brown.

The Democrats may have lost because they weren’t listening to ‘The People.’ But it wasn’t because congress was ‘too far left’ as the Senator from Jello, Evan Bayh D-IN, stated. It wasn’t because people rejected President Obama or the president’s ‘agenda’ of change as Fox News opinionator Sean Hannity said. This wasn’t even a victory for the Tea Baggers who poured money into the Brown campaign from around the country. Democrat Martha Coakley lost to Republican Scott Brown for different reasons entirely.

Senior Brown adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told the turning point for Brown was the Dec. 30 JFK ad. “After that, it was like riding a rocket ship for 2 ½ to 3 weeks till today.” Brown called himself a candidate who drew his inspiration from JFK and characterized himself as a moderate and a believer in compassionate and smart government. He wasn’t running as a Tea Bagger and denied even knowing what the Tea Party movement was-despite having an official Tea Party fundraiser.

As far as this being a referendum on Obama, that can’t be because even as the Coakley campaign tanked, Obama’s approval rating was running around 50%. It wasn’t the Obama agenda either. CNN reported exit-polling data that revealed voters were frustrated with the ‘pace of change’ meaning the ‘change’ they voted for was not happening fast enough. The frustration of independent and Democratic voters with the pace of change also reflected a frustration with ‘compromise’ vs. ‘leadership’.

People don’t want mealy-mouthed ass-kissers like Evan Bayh or chinless elephant fluffers like Joe Leiberman–they want Roosevelt-like leadership that may, indeed, steamroll the Republicans in congress but—hey—so WHAT??? Polling data shows the only group voters hate more than Democrats are the Republicans, so who is going to give a rat’s ass what Mitch McConnell boo-hoos about?

Finally, this cannot have been a referendum on Health Care because Massachusetts has a public care system with mandatory purchase requirements that covers 97% of the state’s population. Moreover, a majority in the United States and in all regions support a more liberal Health Care bill than the ones offered in either the House or Senate!

Howard Dean and Blogger Jason Linkins provided some well-tuned analysis that Democrats and the White House should heed. Dean pointed out on NPR and later on MSNBC that maybe it is a good thing the Senate now has one less Democrat because it will force the White House to provide the leadership that has thus far been lacking in health care reform and other issues like banking reform.

As long as the White House set the goal of a Super Majority 60 votes, it was weak with compromise and void of leadership. Direction was provided by the Myth of the 60 and not the Leadership of the one for whom the people voted last November. So now, perhaps, the Obama White House will be forced to find its voice and get tough and, yes, roll the recalcitrant if need be.

If this had been a goal of George W. Bush, Healthcare Reform would have been law last fall-with or without the support of the opposition.

Democrats should forget Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu, Lieberman and Bayh; there are 53 or 54 good, solid Democratic votes to advance the progressive agenda; all we need is the Leadership of one. Now is the time to lead.

FDR passed critical aspects of New Deal legislation with LESS THAN 48 votes (Alaska and Hawaii were not states so a Supermajority in 1933 would’ve required 58 votes)! The National Industrial Recovery Act passed 46-39 in 1933. Stop already with the BS Super Majority goal. People are DYING every day from a lack of health insurance.

Linkins turned some much-needed attention to Coakley herself and the listless campaign she conducted in pursuit of what must surely have looked like Royal Decree—what with all the talk about the “Kennedy Seat” and the filial pious decree of the Kennedy Family and Widow. So Martha took a vacation that contributed to Brown’s surge and eschewed retail campaigning like a vegan turning her nose up at a can of Spam. As Linkins relates it:

To me, this quote from Coakley, responding to a Boston Globe reporter asking her if perhaps she hasn’t been too passive, sums up her entire campaign:

“As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?” she fires back, in an apparent reference to a Brown online video of him doing just that. “This is a special election. And I know that I have the support of Kim Driscoll. And I now know the members of the [Salem] School Committee, who know far more people than I could ever meet.”

Linkins went on to note that with unemployment in some parts of Massachusetts reaching 17%, the Democratic Party failed to connect with the plight of their constituents and-hence-their frustration. Coakley didn’t get it. You may engender resentment among the voting demographic that can’t pay their bills or put food on the table if you go on a reported three week+ Caribbean vacation during the final stretch of the campaign instead of standing in the cold outside Fenway Park.

So here is what I take away from the Coakley debacle and pass on to the Democratic Party:

Know thyself;

To thine own self be true….NOW, GROW A PAIR!

Set your goal at 50 plus Vice President Biden’s tie breaking vote.

Tweak the bill and include a STRONG public option that will commence October 1, 2010. Pass healthcare reform via reconciliation like George W. Bush rammed through his tax cuts-TWICE! By November 2012, even the Tea Baggers will appreciate and defend their new-found health coverage.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist - Learning From Europe -
The New York Times
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January 11, 2010
Op-Ed Columnist
Learning From Europe

As health care reform nears the finish line, there is much wailing and rending of garments among conservatives. And I’m not just talking about the tea partiers. Even calmer conservatives have been issuing dire warnings that Obamacare will turn America into a European-style social democracy. And everyone knows that Europe has lost all its economic dynamism.

Strange to say, however, what everyone knows isn’t true. Europe has its economic troubles; who doesn’t? But the story you hear all the time — of a stagnant economy in which high taxes and generous social benefits have undermined incentives, stalling growth and innovation — bears little resemblance to the surprisingly positive facts. The real lesson from Europe is actually the opposite of what conservatives claim: Europe is an economic success, and that success shows that social democracy works.

Actually, Europe’s economic success should be obvious even without statistics. For those Americans who have visited Paris: did it look poor and backward? What about Frankfurt or London? You should always bear in mind that when the question is which to believe — official economic statistics or your own lying eyes — the eyes have it.

In any case, the statistics confirm what the eyes see.

It’s true that the U.S. economy has grown faster than that of Europe for the past generation. Since 1980 — when our politics took a sharp turn to the right, while Europe’s didn’t — America’s real G.D.P. has grown, on average, 3 percent per year. Meanwhile, the E.U. 15 — the bloc of 15 countries that were members of the European Union before it was enlarged to include a number of former Communist nations — has grown only 2.2 percent a year. America rules!

Or maybe not. All this really says is that we’ve had faster population growth. Since 1980, per capita real G.D.P. — which is what matters for living standards — has risen at about the same rate in America and in the E.U. 15: 1.95 percent a year here; 1.83 percent there.

What about technology? In the late 1990s you could argue that the revolution in information technology was passing Europe by. But Europe has since caught up in many ways. Broadband, in particular, is just about as widespread in Europe as it is in the United States, and it’s much faster and cheaper.

And what about jobs? Here America arguably does better: European unemployment rates are usually substantially higher than the rate here, and the employed fraction of the population lower. But if your vision is of millions of prime-working-age adults sitting idle, living on the dole, think again. In 2008, 80 percent of adults aged 25 to 54 in the E.U. 15 were employed (and 83 percent in France). That’s about the same as in the United States. Europeans are less likely than we are to work when young or old, but is that entirely a bad thing?

And Europeans are quite productive, too: they work fewer hours, but output per hour in France and Germany is close to U.S. levels.

The point isn’t that Europe is utopia. Like the United States, it’s having trouble grappling with the current financial crisis. Like the United States, Europe’s big nations face serious long-run fiscal issues — and like some individual U.S. states, some European countries are teetering on the edge of fiscal crisis. (Sacramento is now the Athens of America — in a bad way.) But taking the longer view, the European economy works; it grows; it’s as dynamic, all in all, as our own.

So why do we get such a different picture from many pundits? Because according to the prevailing economic dogma in this country — and I’m talking here about many Democrats as well as essentially all Republicans — European-style social democracy should be an utter disaster. And people tend to see what they want to see.

After all, while reports of Europe’s economic demise are greatly exaggerated, reports of its high taxes and generous benefits aren’t. Taxes in major European nations range from 36 to 44 percent of G.D.P., compared with 28 in the United States. Universal health care is, well, universal. Social expenditure is vastly higher than it is here.

So if there were anything to the economic assumptions that dominate U.S. public discussion — above all, the belief that even modestly higher taxes on the rich and benefits for the less well off would drastically undermine incentives to work, invest and innovate — Europe would be the stagnant, decaying economy of legend. But it isn’t.

Europe is often held up as a cautionary tale, a demonstration that if you try to make the economy less brutal, to take better care of your fellow citizens when they’re down on their luck, you end up killing economic progress. But what European experience actually demonstrates is the opposite: social justice and progress can go hand in hand.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Sunday, January 10, 2010

AlterNet: Cerberus Capital: Literally Blood-Sucking the Poor to Make Their Billions
Cerberus Capital: Literally Blood-Sucking the Poor to Make Their Billions
By Mark Ames, AlterNet
Posted on January 9, 2010, Printed on January 10, 2010

Wall Street vampires. Lately, a lot of Americans, including myself, have used the bloodsucking monsters as a metaphor to describe the Wall Street billionaires who rule us, and who are ruining us. Like so many awful stories of the past few years, it turns out that these Wall Street vampire-billionaires really exist, literally. Like all vampires, they live in remote castles, and they feed themselves by luring poor, desperate humans into their dens, hooking them into blood-pumping machines and sucking out their plasma for mind-boggling profits.

Cerberus Capital, one of Wall Street’s most notoriously ruthless leveraged-buyout firms (or “private equity firms” in PC-speak), recently made a $1.8 billion killing on its human plasma investment, a company called Talecris. Talecris was purchased for a mere $82.5 million just four years earlier, meaning Cerberus made 23 times its investment on human plasma. This was accomplished by the most savage, heartless means possible: by paying peanuts to impoverished human plasma donors, who increasingly come from Mexican border towns to blood-pumping stations set up on the American side, jacking up the price of plasma by restricting supply (a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission accused Cerberus Plasma Holdings of “operat[ing] as an oligopoly”), and then selling the refined products to the most desperately ill—patients suffering from hemophilia, severe burns, multiple sclerosis and autoimmune deficiencies. The products cost so much—one, IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) cost twice the price of gold as of last summer—that American health insurance companies have been dropping or denying their policyholders in increasing numbers, endangering untold numbers of people.

Tomas Asher, chairman of a company that trades in plasma, described the business this way: "It's like selling hog bellies or wheat or beef. It gets sold all over."

Profiting from ruined American lives is nothing new to Cerberus. (The company takes its name from the legendary three-headed attack dog of Greek legend who guards the gates of Hell, making sure no condemned soul ever escapes. How appropriate.) Cerberus is the same shady fund that bought Chrysler and GMAC in 2007 and drove them into the ground, blamed everything on unions (even after firing 30,000 Chrysler employees), and dumped the companies onto American taxpayers—but only after lining up tens of billions in taxpayer-funded bailout funds. Cerberus is led by some of the most aggressive "free market" Republicans of our time. The chairman of Cerberus is former Treasury Secretary John Snow, who oversaw the destruction of America’s economy while serving under Bush from 2003 to 2006, bragging during his tenure, "We are the envy of the world."

Snow bragged again in 2007 after Cerberus acquired Chrysler, "Over 25 years ago, when Chrysler faced bankruptcy, it turned to the United States government for assistance. Today, Chrysler again faces new financial challenges. But it is private investment stepping in to inject much-needed support." A year later, Snow was running around Washington begging and screaming for government handouts.

Joining Snow as international chairman for Cerberus is former Republican Vice President Dan Quayle, the pampered imbecile who couldn’t spell “potato” correctly. Two more perfect vampires couldn’t have been invented than Quayle and Snow for the America of the Bush Era—peanut-brained, sleazy jerks.

The top vampire in Cerberus is the fund’s founder, billionaire Stephen Feinberg, a major Republican Party campaign donor with a hardcore fetish for Harleys and big guns. Supposedly Feinberg was very uncomfortable with taking all those socialism-esque billions from American taxpayers. The New York Times described him as "a longtime free-market enthusiast and a Republican who never envisioned himself needing the government for help.”

What Feinberg did envision was callously taking control of Chrysler, stripping it down and making a killing off of it, as he coldly noted in an early 2008 memo to his investors: “We do not need to be heroes to earn a good return on the investment in Chrysler," he wrote. "We do not need to transition the car industry or even to return Chrysler to a much stronger relative position in the U.S. car market in order to be successful."

After Feinberg siphoned away billions of taxpayer dollars to pay off his bad investments, he told reporters, "From the day we bought it, we worked hard to improve it." Patriotism, not profit, he bleated: “I love this country. I feel it’s been great to me. I had a great chance."

To understand how Cerberus has profited from human blood and misery, here's some background: the United States is one of just a handful of nations around the world where companies can legally pay humans for their blood and then sell it for a profit. Human plasma is a particularly valuable component of human blood—it’s harder to extract, and can be used to manufacture all sorts of expensive therapeutic products. The market for human plasma products has swelled from just $2 billion in 1988 to over $12 billion per year, and according to a recent Morgan Stanley report, it’s a fast-growing business.

Despite all the billions that Wall Street’s vampires earn from plasma, the hapless humans whose veins they milk make barely a pittance—$30 dollars or so for spending an hour hooked up to a pumping machine that sucks the blood, sifts out the valuable plasma through a cold-filtering process and reverse-pumps the debased, icy blood back into the plasma donor's veins.

It’s such a miserable way to make cash that Cerberus and its fellow oligopolists have resorted to setting up plasma-sucking franchises along the U.S.-Mexico border, which have mushroomed like Starbucks Coffee did in the '90s. In the latter part of 2009 alone, Cerberus-owned Talecris opened four new plasma-milking factories, plastering the Mexican side of the border with advertisements promising easy cash, and parking special plasma-farm buses on the American side of the border to haul their human cargo to those milking dens not within walking distance of the Rio Grande.

Last summer, a newspaper reporter followed an unemployed 46-year-old Mexican manager from his border town to the pumping station in Brownsville, Texas, which has the highest poverty rate of any city in America:

"After entering the United States, Castillo didn’t have to walk far to sell his plasma. A few hundred feet up International Boulevard from the border, the IBR Plasma building sits on Washington Street, across from a Duty Free shop. The plasma centre still looks very much like the bulk second-hand clothing store it used to be, though long white vertical blinds now hide what goes on behind its windows. Inside, the waiting room is divided into two sections marked by sheets of paper taped to the wall: one for 'new donors' and another for 'return donors.' This was Castillo’s first visit, which meant he could make $30—about 400 Mexican pesos. Signs in Spanish and English offered an additional $10 to those who recruited other donors.

"Castillo lay in the big soft chair, he said, while they inserted the needle and his blood started pumping out. It was cycled into a machine that spun the red cells from the liquid, as if squeezing whey from curds. The whey, the watery plasma, was stored in a big plastic bag, while the red blood cells were periodically reinjected into his arm. While he laid there, he later told me, he wondered about what his plasma was really worth—and where it would end up. Castillo is an educated man with a degree in business administration; before coming to Brownsville he had done some research and found, among other things, that in Mexico donating plasma for money is illegal—as is the case in much of the rest of the world."

You might think that America would be ashamed of being the world’s top vampire nation. But actually, to the faux-market freaks like Cerberus Capital’s honchos, it just means locking in profits and locking out competition. Thomas Hecht, who heads a plasma products distribution company in Montreal, quipped: "The U.S. is the OPEC of the plasma business. You know what that stands for: the Organization of Plasma Exporting Countries."

But Cerberus is more than just about sucking people’s blood and government handouts. Stephen Feinberg also loves killing deer. In fact he loves shooting deer so much that, like the old Gillette commercial, he bought America’s guns 'n’ ammo industry. Two years ago, Cerberus bought Remington, America’s oldest firearms manufacturer, and since then they’ve snapped up companies making everything from bullets to silencers, which they’re combining into a new firearms monolith called Freedom Group. The free-marketeers at Cerberus are all about freedom.

Luckily for Cerberus, weapons are “flying off the store shelves,” thanks to all the paranoia about Obama "socialism," fed by all the bailout money that rightwing billionaires like Cerberus have looted. Sales have also been boosted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—in other words, more government handouts for the billionaires, now that they own the guns ‘n’ ammo business. It’s all going so well that Cerberus is planning a huge IPO this year for Freedom Group, which should net another massive payout.

So Cerberus profits on both ends: from the bailouts, and from the backlash against bailouts; from the wars against Muslim terrorists, and from the paranoia back home about an alleged socialist-Muslim-terrorist president.

Either way, the vampires have us where they want us.

Read more of Mark Ames at He is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond.
© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

AlterNet: Did U.S. Forces Execute Kids in Afghanistan?
Did U.S. Forces Execute Kids in Afghanistan?
By Dave Lindorff,
Posted on January 6, 2010, Printed on January 6, 2010

The Taliban suicide attack that killed a group of CIA agents in Afghanistan was big news in the U.S. over the past week. The attack took place on a base that was directing U.S. drone aircraft used to attack Taliban leaders. The airwaves and front pages were filled with sympathetic stories referring to the fact that the female station chief, who was among those killed, was the "mother of three children."

But the apparent mass murder of Afghan school children, including one as young as 11 years old, by U.S.-led troops, was pretty much blacked out in the American media. Especially blacked out was the claim by UN investigators that the students had not just been killed but executed, many of them after having first been rousted from their bedrooms and handcuffed.

Here is the excellent report on the incident that ran in the Times of London (like Fox News, a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication) on Dec. 31:

Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children

By Jerome Starkey in Kabul

American-led troops were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead.

Afghan government investigators said that eight schoolchildren were killed, all but one of them from the same family. Locals said that some victims were handcuffed before being killed.

Western military sources said that the dead were all part of an Afghan terrorist cell responsible for manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have claimed the lives of countless soldiers and civilians.

"This was a joint operation that was conducted against an IED cell that Afghan and US officials had been developing information against for some time," said a senior Nato insider. But he admitted that "the facts about what actually went down are in dispute."

The article goes on to say:

In a telephone interview last night, the headmaster [of the local school] said that the victims were asleep in three rooms when the troops arrived. "Seven students were in one room," said Rahman Jan Ehsas. "A student and one guest were in another room, a guest room, and a farmer was asleep with his wife in a third building.

"First the foreign troops entered the guest room and shot two of them. Then they entered another room and handcuffed the seven students. Then they killed them. Abdul Khaliq [the farmer] heard shooting and came outside. When they saw him they shot him as well. He was outside. That's why his wife wasn't killed."

A local elder, Jan Mohammed, said that three boys were killed in one room and five were handcuffed before they were shot. "I saw their school books covered in blood," he said.

The investigation found that eight of the victims were aged from 11 to 17. The guest was a shepherd boy, 12, called Samar Gul, the headmaster said. He said that six of the students were at high school and two were at primary school. He said that all the students were his nephews.

Compare this article to the one mention of the incident that appeared in the New York Times, one of the few American news outlets to even mention the incident. The article, which appeared on Dec. 28, focused entirely on the difficulty civilian killings cause for the U.S. war effort, and not on the allegations of a serious war crime:

Attack Puts Afghan Leader and NATO at Odds

By Alissa J. Rubin and Abdul Waheed Wafa

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The killing of at least nine men in a remote valley of eastern Afghanistan by a joint operation of Afghan and American forces put President Hamid Karzai and senior NATO officials at odds on Monday over whether those killed had been civilians or Taliban insurgents.

In a statement e-mailed to the news media, Mr. Karzai condemned the weekend attack and said the dead had been civilians, eight of them schoolboys. He called for an investigation.

Local officials, including the governor and members of Parliament from Kunar Province, where the deaths occurred, confirmed the reports. But the Kunar police chief, Khalilullah Ziayee, cautioned that his office was still investigating the killings and that outstanding questions remained, including why the eight young men had been in the same house at the time.

"There are still questions to be answered, like why these students were together and what they were doing on that night," Mr. Ziayee said.

A senior NATO official with knowledge of the operation said that the raid had been carried out by a joint Afghan-American force and that its target was a group of men who were known Taliban members and smugglers of homemade bombs, which the American and NATO forces call improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.'s.

According to the NATO official, nine men were killed. "These were people who had a well-established network, they were I.E.D. smugglers and also were responsible for direct attacks on Afghan security and coalition forces in those areas," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the issue.

"When the raid took place they were armed and had material for making I.E.D.'s," the official added.

While the article in the New York Times eventually mentions the allegation that the victims were children, not grown men, it nonetheless begins with the unchallenged assertion in the lead that they were "men." There is no mention of the equally serious allegation that the victims had been handcuffed before being executed, and the story leaves the impression, made by NATO sources, that they were armed and had died fighting. There is no indication in the Times story that the reporters made any effort, as the more enterprising and skeptical London Times reporter did, to get local, non-official, sources of information. The New York Times reporters attributed the claim that the victims had been making bombs to an anonymous NATO source, even though there was no legitimate reason for the anonymity ("because of the delicacy of the situation" was the lame excuse offered). Indeed, the use of an anonymous source here would appear to violate the Times' own standards.

It's not that American newsrooms lacked the knowledge that a major war crime may have been committed. Nearly all American news organizations receive the AP news wire. Here is the AP report on the killings, which ran under the headline "UN says killed Afghans were students":

The United Nations says a raid last weekend by foreign troops in a tense eastern Afghan province killed eight local students.

The Afghan government says that all 10 people killed in a village in Kunar province were civilians. NATO says there is no evidence to substantiate the claim and has requested a joint investigation.

UN special representative in Afghanistan Kai Eide said in a statement Thursday that preliminary investigation shows there were insurgents in the area at the time of the attack. But he adds that eight of those killed were students in local schools.

Once again, the American media are falling down shamefully in providing honest reporting on a war, making it difficult for the American people to make informed judgments about what is being done in their name.

If the charges are correct -- that American forces, or American-led forces, are handcuffing their victims and then executing them -- they are committing egregious war crimes. If they are killing children, they are committing equally egregious war crimes. If they are handcuffing and executing children, the atrocity is beyond horrific. If true, this incident would actually be worse than the infamous war crime that occurred in My Lai during the Vietnam War. In that case, we had ordinary soldiers in the field, acting under the orders of several low-ranking officers in the heat of an operation, shooting and killing women, children and babies. But in this case we appear to have seasoned special forces troops actually directing the taking of captives, cuffing them, herding them into a room and spraying them with bullets, execution-style.

Given the history of the commanding general in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal -- who is known to have run a massive death squad operation in Iraq before being named to his current post by President Obama, and who is known to have called for the same kind of tactics in Afghanistan -- it should not be surprising that the U.S. would now be committing atrocities in Afghanistan. If this is how this war is going to be conducted, the U.S. media should be making a major effort to uncover and expose the crime.

On January 1, the London Times' Jerome Starkey, in Afghanistan, followed up with a second story, reporting that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is calling for the U.S. to hand over the troops who killed the students. Starkey quoted a "NATO source" as saying that the "foreigners involved" in the incident were "non-military, suggesting that they were part of a secret paramilitary unit based in the capital" of Kabul. He goes on to quote a "Western official" as saying: "There's no doubt that there were insurgents there, and there may well have been an insurgent leader in the house, but that doesn't justify executing eight children who were all enrolled in local schools."

Good enterprise reporting by the London Times and its Kabul-based correspondent. Silence on these developments in the U.S. media.

Meanwhile, it has been a week since New York Times reporters Rubin and Wafa made their first flawed report on the incident, and there has been not a word since then about it in the paper. Are Rubin and Wafa or other Times reporters on the story? Will there be a follow-up?

On the evidence of past coverage of these U.S. wars and their ongoing atrocities by the Times and by other major U.S. corporate media news organizations, don't bet on it. You'll do better looking to the foreign media.

By the way, given that we're talking about allegations of a serious war crime, it is important to note that, under the Geneva Conventions, it is a legal requirement that the U.S. military chain of command immediately initiate an official investigation to determine whether such a crime has occurred. One would hope that the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama, would order such an inquiry.

Any effort to prevent such an inquiry, or to cover up a war crime, would be a war crime in itself. We just had one administration that did a lot of that. We don't need another one.

Dave Lindorff is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the blog, This Can't Be Happening. A regular columnist for CounterPunch, he also writes frequently for Extra! and Salon, as well as for Businessweek, The Nation and Treasury & Risk Magazine.