Searching for Steele

2013 ,    »  -   45 Comments
Ratings: 8.19/10 from 129 users.

It's ten years since America invaded Iraq. Ten years and over 120,000 dead. Among them over 4,400 American soldiers. Back then, US administration funded a deadly, paramilitary force to fight those threatening the American presence. It was a decision that helped fuel a sectarian civil war that ripped Iraq apart. At its height, three years later, 3000 bodies a month were showing up on the streets of Iraq. This is a story of James Steele - the man the Pentagon sent in to help organise and train those paramilitary squads.

He's a veteran of America's so called "dirty wars" stretching back to Vietnam and El Salvador. This man was so important to the Pentagon that the then Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld saw fit to forward his personal memos to the president and vice president.

Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency. After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the special police commando (SPC) membership was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups such as the Badr brigades. A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding.

The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, implicate US advisers for the first time in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse.

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45 Comments / User Reviews

  1. iStateOfMind3 iii

    I have heard a lot about this guy, not a pleasant man at all.

  2. 1concept1

    I haven't heard of him? He's a bruit!

  3. iStateOfMind3 iii

    The Guardian released a documentary on youtube about him not so long ago. I would imagine Syria would be the place to find this guy these days.

  4. DigiWongaDude

    Great Doc! Rant time...

    There are lies and deceit...and then there's Rumsfelt, Bush and Chenney. I shudder just looking at them. Of course they knew, of course they were lying. But that's ok [sarcasm] because they believed in what they were doing and 'you can't handle the truth!'. Friggin mad men.

    I truly believe they think that...that they lie and torture and kill and dumped dead bodies out on the street to spread fear amongst those who would rise send a message about the 'might' of the U.S. and we just can't understand that. We just don't have the stomach for war. They are doing the things we could not, so we should be grateful.

    Well I'm not grateful, and you (Americans) should be disgusted at what is said and done in your names, with a straight face. These are war crimes by anyone's measure! Bringing effing peace to the world?
    Wake up!

    48:55 ...within months of entering the White House, President Obama issued a statement saying "We've been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past".

    ...yet, today, without shame and with a selective memory, the drums of war are beating. Here we go again?

    0:20 "It's harder to end a war than begin one." - Obama...

    Hands up anyone...ANYONE...who thinks Assad would have been stupid enough to use chemical weapons?


  5. Bob Trees

    What a scumbag! The only reason he and others "succeeded" around him was for all the money and resources thrown at them. If they had to work like the people they were battling, they would have been dog meat in hours!!!!

  6. Arthur Brooks

    James Steele lives in Bryan, Texas. Figures. The George Bush 41 Presidential Library is down the block in College Station, Texas home of the "Fighting Texas Aggies" and according to them in the late 60's the last bastion of democracy.

  7. Arthur Brooks

    If there is something worse than a psychopath without a conscience it fits these people.

  8. DigiWongaDude

    Agreed! It's like, if you can explain away good and evil as 'nonsensical concepts', then you can be evil and feel quite good about it.

    I was really hoping some might come back at my post with the belief/assertion that Assad used the chemical weapons...I really wanna get some perspective on this.

  9. bringmeredwine

    Hey Digi,
    I don't know for sure if Assad used chemical weapons, but I do know if the US bombs Syria all hell will break loose, and innocent civilians will die.
    Oh, this world is a mess! Let the Muslims sort out their own problems!!!

  10. bringmeredwine

    All hell is gonna break loose in Palestine, Israel and North America.
    The States have been ignoring atrocities for years!
    Why the sudden interest?

  11. Pysmythe

    It doesn't take a whole lot for me these days to believe political leaders are capable of some pretty monumentally self-defeating moves.... But I do know I haven't yet seen any conclusive evidence that Assad has actually made one... Nor, as a U.S. citizen, do I ever expect to.

  12. Pysmythe

    Was this thing a template for John Clark? Tom Clancy would've loved it.

  13. DigiWongaDude

    1. Why is Israel so well protected by the West (in comparison to other Middle East countries)

    2. Why is Israel allowed to have nuclear weapons?

    3. Who are Israel's enemies?

    4. Who is Syria allied with in the Middle East?

    ...which goes full circle back to no. 1 continuously. I would seriously like some real answers to questions 1 & 2. I listen very carefully to the political rhetoric...I can read between the lines...Europe and the U.S. want Assad gone, and they are looking for any way they can to get that job done. And it will happen...sooner or later, Assad will be taken out. Then it's on to Iran. Why? Because it's part of the axis of evil? No. Because it's trying to arm itself with nuclear weapons? Hardly likely with all the international attention focused. Or is it...because it has threatened Israel?...

    I can tell you this: having watched Louie Theroux doc on Israel, they are treating the Palestines like sub humans. Totally racist and inhumane. So again, what is it with Israel??? Do the Jews in america pull the strings? I WANT TO KNOW???

    Two important things I've noted: 1) Saudi has offered to pick up the full bill of a U.S. attack (thereby quelling the masses who say 'we can't afford it') 2) Russia has stated it will defend Syria against a foreign attack [unless UN authorised].

    So why are they pushing (again) for a strike prior to UN sanctioning, in both UK and US governments, just as they did with Iraq? Could it be they know the rebels are guilty of using these weapons? I would say that is exactly why the are pushing.

  14. DigiWongaDude

    Based on the recent events of the past, absolute, conclusive evidence has to be laid out for thorough disclosure to the UN - no excuses, no national security walls. Why oh why was there no mandate for the UN inspectors to discover who used these chemical weapons? Who, really, 'controls' the UN process? Without the say so of the US, nothing in the UN gets done. Why, therefore, no mandate for blame? Surely because that would not be in the interests of certain parties. The whole campaign stinks to high heaven!

  15. Pysmythe

    Yeah, that's what I think. Obama is set to give a speech Tuesday night about this, and if unequivocal evidence against Assad is truly there, he had damned well better lay it out for the whole world to see, regardless. If there are intelligence assets on the ground threatened by such disclosure, get them out of harm's way ahead of time, if at all possible, or use redactions to try to protect them, if he is so hell-bent on doing this hypocritical bullsh-t; if there are technological capabilities threatened by such disclosure, well, I have to say, in light of the Snowden revelations, is there much of anything, at this point, that could come as much of a surprise to anyone? But obviously there are several things about this, among them, that, by now, any evidence the U.S. government offers as proof is rightly going to be viewed by everyone as highly suspect, however credible, and also, I think that the only reason they haven't already at least made the attempt is because that level of evidence doesn't, in fact, exist, despite the claim by some in the administration (e.g., Kerry) that it does. I think all we are going to see Tuesday is a lot of piss-poor moralizing from a morally-bankrupt, nearly completely incompetent leadership, heart-tugging words about gassed babies, and plenty of examples of such sickening, enraging, "patriotic" phrases as "the United States has always stood for..." etc., and retch. About the U.N. inspectors, I couldn't really say. Maybe they should've been given a mandate, but then maybe their capabilities don't allow for them to determine blame beyond question.

  16. DigiWongaDude

    As far as I'm concerned (and have seen) depleted uranium shells are chemical weapons. Can you imagine the uproar (that is non existent) had Saddam used depleted uranium on the west, without the west having done so. "Chemical Weapons Used By Saddam Against Allied Forces in Iraq"...guaranteed headline? ...too long perhaps ..."Saddam's Chemical Attacks!"

    Giving the UN inspectors a mandate would not technically oblige them to find the culprits. Instead it would oblige them to look for the culprits. Not giving them the mandate is akin to saying 'don't look'.

    Tuesday will surely be an interesting disappointment.

  17. docoman

    Interesting thoughts mate. Some questions I'd also like to know the answers to.
    I watched that Louis Theroux doc on Isreal as well, it was an eye opener. (gotta say I love Theroux's style, he gets away with asking questions I'd get punched if I asked :)
    I wouldn't be surprised if those pushing hardest to respond, want to get rid of the 'made in ....' stickers off a few weapons there too. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out the next few months.

  18. Gadea

    Is Agent Orange, Depleted Uranium, White Phosphorus,
    Atomic Bombs, any less or more lethal than a Sarin Gas?

  19. Pysmythe

    For what it's worth, even IF Obama could come out Tuesday with irrefutable evidence, I wouldn't support military action, because this country has shot its wad all over the Middle East to no good effect for how long now? I say we stay out of it militarily for now, and if someone should be crazy enough to continue using such weapons, at least the attempt at a coalition ought to be much easier the next time around. In the meantime, there are other, better things that can be done, with or without the UN, the wishes of many in AIPAC and Israel be damned. The "new American century" ought to be something almost entirely opposed to what has been laid out... I see this country's future greatness or not as very largely dependent on whether or not it chooses to get serious about clean, renewable energy, above just about anything else I could think of, and certainly well above this adolescent penis-waving behavior that's going on now.

  20. bringmeredwine

    My guess is the Jewish 1 percenters around the world, and their tremendous political clout, are pulling the strings.
    I am not, however, blaming your average Jew, including my friends and neighbors. Many of whom do not support the appalling treatment of the Palestinians.
    And there are Israelis who refuse to join the army and would rather go to jail than commit atrocities.

  21. bringmeredwine

    Didn't "So Damn Insane" gas the Kurds?
    And did the world come to their rescue in righteous indignation?

  22. DigiWongaDude

    Pulling strings or exposing loopholes?

    Either way, Israel has found a loophole in the west's war on terrorism, to justify apartheid-like behaviour.

    ...and as such, they are attracting protection instead of condemnation. (opinion)

    Certainly, I agree with all you've said. Once you get past the analogies of Israel behaving like a spoilt child (and the like)...there is a glaring underlying current running through their policies. Policies I've seen before, close up...

    Policies of self determination, self preservation, self righteousness...which would be fine - what countries don't have these as virtues? But when carried out at the expense of others' well being, it quickly descends towards apartheid methodologies.

    When there is international outcry, but no real repercussions against apartheid-like engineering, appalling things appear out of the woodwork. Israel's ability to act with impunity, gives them a green light for those policies to fester.

  23. DigiWongaDude

    The US and its allies have used their energies in dark and fearful ways.

    Fear it is that has led them to this.

    ...I wonder if Obama has an illegitimate son somewhere out there in the desert, learning about the force during the Clone Gulf Wars...

    Nah, reality is no George Lucas movie.

  24. Pysmythe

    Myths denote truths. The Sith lords are in charge, that's the problem.

  25. roell29

    Well said.

  26. Plenum

    It's been ten years since the US invaded Iraq, and it was all a goddamnable, wretched, disaster.

  27. Lynley Ruth Butt

    That's because no consistent principled policies are proactively put in place that can consider the case for segments of a state that want self determination in a more autonomous but sheltering friendly set up. The UN has no power to even suggest the issue of the Kurds should be discussed only because it is anathema to even mention it to the central State establishments .
    I argue that if women and daughters were religiously given autonomous rights of consent to legal arrangements such as marriage and divorce , property rights, inheritance rights and economic self sufficiency with the bestowal of the Quran upon the Arabs.... By extension the same courtesy, morality and Liberty of choice should be legally and civilly applied to peoples citizenship rights. We are so behind, we drag back on our heels... The greatest deed after saving a life is to free a slave.... Has been religiously recited since the 7 th century...How far has the world absorbed that one.?

  28. Lynley Ruth Butt

    Nah, it goes much further back than Bin Laden. Abraham had an "illegitimate" son from Sarah's Non Jewish handmaiden princess and he almost literally abandoned and sacrificed both to the desert wastes at Mecca and the mercy of God...where a spring arose to nurture this further seeding off shoot .. until it was finally Sprouting green with the denied yet much anticipated "Comforter" holy prophet- messenger. Fear of what he put out there for all to read drove the establishment... Religious and Imperial order both, crazy,... but yet despite the bloody crusades at the very least The Dark Ages were banished and the mention of science and conscience as supreme ushered in both rebellion in the form of "the running dog of the prophet " Martin Luther and company, plus reformation and Renaissance.
    Then we had another wave of Imperialism and colonialism... So many wars for freedom. Because the prophet brought a rod of law like Moses and people knew that behind this was the awesome truth that oppression and aggressive repression are intolerable not only to man.. But to his only true graceful and merciful God while all that stands in the way of success are the ones who are" no gods".

  29. DigiWongaDude

    ...Hmm...I said Obama...not Osama (easily mixed up I know)...thanks for the info, but best I get back on topic. ;-)

  30. elizabeth wesley

    A lovely example of the Helgellian dialect. Create a problem; Watch and evaluate the reaction; (fear is important), then create the solution.
    The victims succumb to fear and their saviors take advantage of this.

  31. rudeboi

    Somehow killing thousands of people with hot lead is cool, but with gas not so cool. This is the world in which live.

  32. DigiWongaDude

    That's your first comment? I like you already ;-) lol. Welcome Roell29.

  33. DigiWongaDude

    Paraphrased from wiki: the US, concluded its destruction of their chemical weapons in Jan 2012...having destroyed 89.75% of the 31,100 metric tons of the stuff (the cost to the taxpayers is not mentioned).

    ...that means they have 3,188 tons remaining.

    If they are against their use internationally, why keep any of it? What are they going to do with it all? Sell it to Monsanto?

  34. awful_truth

    @rudeboi: Funny you say that. I just had this discussion with several friends yesterday, where I tried to convey the idea how we are told that bullets, and bombs are less evil than gas. Painfull death by any other means is still painfull death, but I guess that is how the governments manipulate the masses, and rally the troups when they want to attack yet another country who stands in the way of their new world order. There is no doubt that people (generally speaking) really are stupid!

  35. awful_truth

    @DigiWongaDude: No, they sell it to countries like Syria, and Iraq so they can justify attacking them at a later date of their choosing. (when they no longer tow the line for the new world order) By the way, the U.S doesn't want any other nuclear nations, but refuses to destroy their own. Since they spend more on conventional weapons than all other countries combined, is it any wonder that places like North Korea pursue nuclear power. (especially after what happened to Iraq - just a thought)

  36. awful_truth

    @Gadea: To answer your question, no they are absolutely not, but if you can brainwash the masses and get international support, than in the eye of world opinion, I guess they are.
    P.S: If they used Sarin Gas in grand theft auto, would they finally outlaw the game?

  37. DigiWongaDude

    Well this is of course quite plausible. But then...there are international bans for lots of things...surely it wouldn't be hard to ban the import/export of chemical weapons? (Maybe there are ways to get around any bans). I wonder how big a warehouse you'd need to house 3,188 tons of chemical weapons? Pretty big I'd say.

    When Saddam gave up his WMDs (before and after the first Gulf war), and then got attacked AGAIN, and then Gadaffi gave up his and got was these actions that prompted many countries to say "see what happens if you leave yourself defenceless?". But then...was it those countries saying that? Or was it the west saying that for them to justify pre-emptive strikes? I don't know.

  38. rudeboi

    I have grown tired of the discussion. People believe what they want anyway, while John McCain plays poker on his fancy hand computer.

  39. Mathew Scannell

    ha, yeah and i'm sure if they band it america would listen as they do with the rest of international law! the biggest, scariest rogue state around

  40. chard01

    120,000 died in Iraq, W.T.F. if you`d given them access to say Irish roads more would have died in vehicular incidents.Theres lies damned lies and statistics ..

  41. Guest

    One thing is for sure... Revenge is out of the Government and Religious order...

  42. Solomon S. Buyco

    Evil will not die with anyone but will always creeps up with relatives, especially with the "Graft and Corruption"... Religion with them will make your defenses up!

    But one thing is for sure... Revenge is out of the Government and Religious order...


    I'll tell you what they're saving it for: American citizens. It will be billed as a false flag, millions will die, the rich will get vaccines, and the perpetual war will continue.

    People here in the US are more than fed up. When 50,000 citizens of the state of Oklahoma openly say they will fight the Federal government with their guns and ingenuity - it's WAY past time for what is left of the US government at every level - to suck it up and start rationalizing wages.

    Until people here make enough to live on and save, the US Fucking A ain't going no where. And Senor Obama, well, let's just say whatever suck up in his administration said that $10.10 per hour was a good number, should be fired on the spot.

  44. gas_or_bullets

    I suppose bullets can be "controlled" and "directed" with intent towards the desired soon-to-be victim, whereas gas is at the whim of the wind and has an indiscriminate range. Lessons from the mustard gas used in the great war trenches. Either way it's not "cool" to kill...

  45. Keith

    Don't u guys understand? Some of this is necessary to get vital information. Yeah, stone of it is f***** up but im sure the information was well worth it

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