Monday, 22 September 2008

Judy Benson: Wetlands - Nature's 'Horizontal Levees' - Blunt Storm Damage: Recent study puts a dollar value on their ability to protect coast Kevin G. Hall: Can You Trust A Wall Street Veteran with A Wall Street Bailout?

Paulson presided over one of the most profitable runs on Wall Street as chairman and chief executive officer of investment banking titan Goldman Sachs & Co. from 1999 until President Bush nominated him on May 30, 2006 to take over the Treasury Department.

Bernd Debusmann: Socialism US-Style and Ronald Reagan

"We do not support government bailouts of private institutions," [the 2008 platform of the Republican Party] said. "Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free market as the best tool to sustained prosperity and opportunity for all."

[...]

McCain's initial reaction to the unfolding crisis was a call for the establishment of a commission to find out what led to the crisis, a classic Washington insider's response. He could have started by asking Phil Gramm, until recently his economic guru and once thought a leading contender for the post of Treasury Secretary if McCain won the election.

[...]

Gramm was the driving force behind the two pieces of legislation at the bottom of the crisis -- the repeal, in 1999, of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act which had created a firewall between commercial and investment banking; and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000. The way the latter passed was extraordinary: 262 pages of dense language slipped into an 11,000-page omnibus bill on the Friday before the Christmas recess.

"The act freed complex derivatives from any regulation," said Michael Greenberger, who served in the Commodities and Futures Trading commission in the late 1990s. "It set the stage for the present mess and the problem is, no one knows how many of these instruments are still out there or who holds them."

Richard W. Behan: The $700 Billion Wall Street Bailout: One More Weapon of Mass Deception

The $700 billion of taxpayers' money, in the plan suggested by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, will buy enough of the toxic obligations to allow the companies to avoid bankruptcy. Not coincidentally a major beneficiary of the scheme will be the investment bank Goldman, Sachs. Mr. Paulson resigned as CEO of Goldman, Sachs to become Treasury Secretary in 2006, having amassed a personal net worth of $700 million during his 32-year tenure at the bank. (On average, $21.9 million per year.)

[...]

The distressed assets-that is the losses-can and should be absorbed by the executives, directors, and stockholders of the corporate banks and other institutions that propagated the financial firestorm. They can and should, as the dictates of the free market insist, stand accountable for their actions and accept bankruptcy. It is not the responsibility of the American taxpayers to shield them.

Chris Hedges: Fleecing What's Left of the Treasury

John McCain and Barack Obama know, after all, who funds their campaigns. The financial industry has given $22.5 million in the current election cycle to Obama and $19.6 million to McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Speakers at Academy Said to Make False Claims

The Air Force Academy was criticized by Muslim and religious freedom organizations for playing host on Wednesday to three speakers who critics say are evangelical Christians falsely claiming to be former Muslim terrorists.

The three will be paid a total of $13,000 for their appearance, some of it from private donors, said Maj. Brett Ashworth, a spokesman for the academy.

Members of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group suing the federal government to combat what it calls creeping evangelism in the armed forces, said it was typical of the Air Force Academy to invite born-again Christians to address cadets on terrorism rather than experts who could teach students about the Middle East.

"This stuff going on at the academy today is part of the endemic evangelical infiltration that continues," said David Antoon, a 1970 academy graduate and a foundation member.

Academic professors and others who have heard the three men speak in the United States and Canada said some of their stories border on the fantastic, like Mr. Saleem's account of how, as a child, he infiltrated Israel to plant bombs via a network of tunnels underneath the Golan Heights. No such incidents have been reported, the academic experts said. They also question how three middle-aged men who claim they were recruited as teenagers or younger could have been steeped in the violent religious ideology that only became prevalent in the late 1980s.

Prof. Douglas Howard, who teaches the history of the modern Middle East at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., heard Mr. Saleem speak last November at the college and said he thought the three were connected to several major Christian evangelical organizations.

"It was just an old time gospel hour --- 'Jesus can change your life, he changed mine,' " Mr. Howard said. "That is mixed in with 'Watch out America, wake up America, the danger of Islam is here.' "

Mr. Howard said his doubts about their authenticity grew after stories like the Golan Heights saga as well as something on Mr. Saleem's Web site along the lines that he was descended from the grand wazir of Islam. "The grand wazir of Islam is a nonsensical term," Mr. Howard said.

Arab-American civil rights organizations question why, at a time when the United States government has vigorously moved to jail or at least deport anyone with a known terrorist connection, the three men, if they are telling the truth, are allowed to circulate freely. A spokesman for the F.B.I. said there were no warrants for their arrest.

Israel launches deadly Gaza raids

The teacher, 38, was killed when a surface-to-surface missile hit a school in Beit Hanoun in a separate raid.

Seven Palestinians killed in IDF raid in Gaza; 7 Qassams hit Negev Israeli raids in Gaza leave seven dead Egyptian FM threatens to break Palestinians' legs if they breach border again

CAIRO, Egypt: Egypt's foreign minister said that no further violations of its borders would be tolerated in the wake of a 12-day breach of its frontier with Gaza and said anyone daring to cross would have their legs broken, the state news agency reported.

Related items:

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Bush asserts authority to bypass defense act

WASHINGTON - President Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill.

John Edwards to Quit Presidential Race

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Kathleen Newman & Barbara Ehrenreich: Bush Has Ignored the Working Poor and Failed to Address Growing Economic Inequality Newman on John Edwards:

"As far as I'm concerned he's the only candidate who has made the issue of poverty central. And this is why I am a supporter of his from the very beginning. he understands theses structural inequalities are not going to go away unless we attack the problem of poverty."

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Religious Leaders Assail Bush Agenda Antarctic Glaciers Melting More Quickly Big business says addressing climate change 'rates very low on agenda': Poll of 500 major firms reveals that only one in 10 regard global warming as a priority Margaret Thatcher told navy to raid Swedish coast

MARGARET THATCHER ordered the Royal Navy to land Special Boat Service (SBS) frogmen on the coast of Sweden from British submarines pretending to be Soviet vessels, a new book has claimed.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Biofuels a Lose-Lose Strategy, Critics Say

BROOKLIN - U.S. biofuels production is driving up food prices around the world, giving billions of poor people a very good reason to hate U.S. policy, say environmentalists.

Bush Opens Roadless Tongass National Forest to Logging Money Left Behind: Lincoln Elementary is among a small number of U.S. schools turning down Title I funds --- and gaining independence.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Scott Horton: The Illustrated President

George W. Bush is famous for his attachment to a painting which he acquired after becoming a "born again Christian." It's by W.H.D. Koerner and is entitled "A Charge to Keep." Bush was so taken by it, that he took the painting's name for his own official autobiography. And here's what he says about it:

'I thought I would share with you a recent bit of Texas history which epitomizes our mission. When you come into my office, please take a look at the beautiful painting of a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough trail. This is us. What adds complete life to the painting for me is the message of Charles Wesley that we serve One greater than ourselves.'

So Bush's description of "A Charge to Keep" struck me as very strange. In fact, I'd say highly improbable. Now, however, Jacob Weisberg has solved the mystery. He invested the time to track down the commission behind the art work and he gives us the full story in his forthcoming book on Bush, The Bush Tragedy:

'[Bush] came to believe that the picture depicted the circuit-riders who spread Methodism across the Alleghenies in the nineteenth century. In other words, the cowboy who looked like Bush was a missionary of his own denomination.

'Only that is not the title, message, or meaning of the painting. The artist, W.H.D. Koerner, executed it to illustrate a Western short story entitled "The Slipper Tongue," published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1916. The story is about a smooth-talking horse thief who is caught, and then escapes a lynch mob in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. The illustration depicts the thief fleeing his captors. In the magazine, the illustration bears the caption: "Had His Start Been Fifteen Minutes Longer He Would Not Have Been Caught."

Broadcast Exclusive: Abu Ghraib Whistleblower Samuel Provance Speaks Out on Torture and Cover-Up at U.S. Military Jail

He was the first intelligence specialist to speak openly about abuse at the prison and is the only Military Intelligence soldier listed as a witness in the Taguba report. Among the abuses he lists is the torture of a sixteen-year-old Iraqi boy in order to make his father talk. After Provance spoke out, the Army stripped him of his security clearance, demoted him and threatened him with ten years in jail.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife's Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?

This morning I'll be escorting my wife to the hospital, where the doctors will perform a caesarean section to remove our first child. She didn't want to do it this way -- neither of us did -- but sometimes the Fates decide otherwise. The Fates or, in our case, government employees.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The approximately three-kilometer-wide inbound traffic lane in the Strait of Hormuz is within Iran's territorial water Harold Bloom: "What We Are Seeing Is the Fall of America"

Media outlet owned by WMD manufacturer GE tries to block nuclear abolitionist Kucinich from Democratic debates

Friday, 11 January 2008

Gareth Porter: Official Version of U.S.-Iranian Naval Incident Starts to Unravel

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Robert Fisk: Darkness falls on the Middle East

In Beirut, people are moving out of their homes, just as they have in Baghdad

So where do we go from here? I am talking into blackness because there is no electricity in Beirut. And everyone, of course, is frightened. A president was supposed to be elected today. He was not elected. The corniche outside my home is empty. No one wants to walk beside the sea.

When I went to get my usual breakfast cheese manouche there were no other guests in the café. We are all afraid. My driver, Abed, who has loyally travelled with me across all the war zones of Lebanon, is frightened to drive by night. I was supposed to go to Rome yesterday. I spared him the journey to the airport.

It's difficult to describe what it's like to be in a country that sits on plate glass. It is impossible to be certain if the glass will break. When a constitution breaks -- as it is beginning to break in Lebanon -- you never know when the glass will give way.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Alberto Gonzales Heckled At University Of Florida Speech

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales delivered his $40,000 speech at the University of Florida last night. Gonzales' first stop on a nationwide college speaking tour got off to a very rocky start, as he had to endure shouts of "criminal" and "liar" throughout his speech.

Embattled former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was a few minutes into his speech Monday night when the first two protesters took the stage, their heads covered and hands tied behind their backs like Abu Ghraib prisoners.

This Modern World, 2007-11-19

Monday, 19 November 2007

American and Russian Publics Strongly Support Steps to Reduce and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

Large majorities of Americans and Russians favor taking nuclear weapons off high alert, sharply cutting the numbers of nuclear weapons, banning the production of weapons-grade nuclear material, and---once advanced methods of international verification are established---undertaking the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Prison system a costly, harmful failure: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of people in U.S prisons has risen eight-fold since 1970, with little impact on crime but at great cost to taxpayers and society, researchers said in a report calling for a major justice-system overhaul.

[...]

It recommends shorter sentences and parole terms, alternative punishments, more help for released inmates and decriminalizing recreational drugs as steps to cut the prison population in half, save $20 billion a year and ease social inequality without endangering the public.

But the recommendations run counter to decades of broad U.S. public and political support for getting tough on criminals through longer, harsher prison terms and to the Bush administration's anti-drug and strict-sentencing policies.

Related items (Public Opinion vs. Public Policy)

Amount of space required to transport the same number of passengers by car, bus, or bicycle. (Poster in city of Muenster Planning Office, August 2001) Amount of space required to transport the same number of passengers by car, bus, or bicycle. (Poster in city of Muenster Planning Office, August 2001). View Original

Friday, 2 November 2007

Bruce Schneier: The War on the Unexpected

We've opened up a new front on the war on terror. It's an attack on the unique, the unorthodox, the unexpected; it's a war on different. If you act different, you might find yourself investigated, questioned, and even arrested -- even if you did nothing wrong, and had no intention of doing anything wrong. The problem is a combination of citizen informants and a CYA attitude among police that results in a knee-jerk escalation of reported threats.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

The man who knew too much

He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court.

US aid to Pakistan tapered off when the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan. Dejected and impoverished, in 1987 Pakistan's ruling military responded by selling its nuclear hardware and know-how for cash, something that would have been obvious to all if the intelligence had been properly analysed. "But the George HW Bush administration was not looking at Pakistan," Barlow says. "It had new crises to deal with in the Persian Gulf where Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait."

As the first Gulf war came to an end with no regime change in Iraq, a group of neoconservatives led by Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Donald Rumsfeld were already lobbying to finish what that campaign had started and dislodge Saddam. Even as the CIA amassed evidence showing that Pakistan, a state that sponsored Islamist terrorism and made its money by selling proscribed WMD technology, was the number one threat, they earmarked Iraq as the chief target.

When these neocons came to power in 2001, under President George W Bush, Pakistan was indemnified again, this time in return for signing up to the "war on terror". Condoleezza Rice backed the line, as did Rumsfeld, too. Pakistan, although suspected by all of them to be at the epicentre of global instability, was hailed as a friend. All energies were devoted to building up the case against Iraq.

[...]

At first Barlow thought he was helping safeguard the world. "I just loved it," he says. His focus from the start was Pakistan, at the time suspected of clandestinely seeking nuclear weapons in a programme initiated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the father of Benazir. "Everywhere I looked I kept coming up against intelligence about Pakistan's WMD programme," Barlow says. "I thought I was telling them what they needed to hear, but the White House seemed oblivious." Immersed in the minutiae of his investigations, he didn't appreciate the bigger picture: that Pakistan had, within days of Reagan's inauguration in 1981, gone from being an outcast nation that had outraged the west by hanging Bhutto to a major US ally in the proxy war in Afghanistan.

Within months Barlow was out of a job. A small band of Republican hawks, including Paul Wolfowitz, had convinced the president that America needed a new strategy against potential nuclear threats, since long-term policies such as détente and containment were not working. Reagan was urged to remilitarise, launch his Star Wars programme and neutralise ACDA. When the agency's staff was cut by one third, Barlow found himself out of Washington and stacking shelves in a food store in Connecticut, where he married his girlfriend, Cindy. He was not on hand in 1984 when intelligence reached the ACDA and the CIA that Pakistan had joined the nuclear club (the declared nuclear powers were Britain, France, the US, China and Russia) after China detonated a device on Pakistan's behalf.

Soon after, Barlow was re-employed to work as an analyst, specialising in Pakistan, at the Office of Scientific and Weapons Research (OSWR). The CIA was pursuing the Pakistan programme vigorously even though Reagan was turning a blind eye - indeed, Reagan's secretary of state, George Schultz, claimed in 1985: "We have full faith in [Pakistan's] assurance that they will not make the bomb."

Back on a government salary, Barlow, aged 31, moved to Virginia with his wife Cindy, also a CIA agent. From day one, he was given access to the most highly classified material. He learned about the workings of the vast grey global market in dual-use components - the tools and equipment that could be put to use in a nuclear weapons programme but that could also be ascribed to other domestic purposes, making the trade in them hard to spot or regulate. "There was tonnes of it and most of it was ending up in Islamabad," he says. "Pakistan had a vast network of procurers, operating all over the world." A secret nuclear facility near Islamabad, known as the Khan Research Laboratories, was being fitted out with components imported from Europe and America "under the wire". But the CIA obtained photographs. Floor plans. Bomb designs. Sensors picked up evidence of high levels of enriched uranium in the air and in the dust clinging to the lorries plying the road to the laboratories. Barlow was in his element.

[...]

Trawling through piles of cables, he found evidence that two high-ranking US officials extremely close to the White House had tipped off Islamabad about the CIA operation. Furious, Barlow called his superiors. "The CIA went mad. These were criminal offences," Barlow says. The State Department's lawyers considered their position. They argued that an inquiry would necessitate the spilling of state secrets. The investigation was abandoned just as Reagan made his annual statement to Congress, testifying that "Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device."

[...]

Congressman Stephen Solarz, a Democrat from New Jersey, demanded a closed congressional hearing to vet the intelligence concerning Pakistan's bomb programme. Barlow was detailed to "backbench" at the meeting, if necessary offering advice to the White House representative, General David Einsel (who had been chosen by Reagan to head his Star Wars programme). An armed guard stood outside the room where the hearing was held.

Barlow recalls that Solarz got straight to the point: "Were Pervez and ul-Haq agents of the Pakistan government?" Without flinching, Einsel barked back: "It is not cut and dried." It was a criminal offence to lie to Congress, as other hearings happening on the same day down the corridor were spelling out to Colonel Oliver North, the alleged mastermind behind Iran-Contra. Barlow froze. "These congressmen had no idea what was really going on in Pakistan and what had been coming across my desk about its WMD programme," he says. "They did not know that Pakistan already had a bomb and was shopping for more with US help. All of it had been hushed up."

Then Solarz called on Barlow to speak. "I told the truth. I said it was clear Pervez was an agent for Pakistan's nuclear programme. Everyone started shouting. General Einsel screamed, 'Barlow doesn't know what he's talking about.' Solarz asked if there had been any other cases involving the Pakistan government and Einsel said, 'No'." Barlow recalls thinking, " 'Oh no, here we go again.' They asked me and I said, 'Yes, there have been scores of other cases.' "

[...]

Later that year, Reagan would tell the US Congress: "There is no diminution in the president's commitment to restraining the spread of nuclear weapons in the Indian subcontinent or elsewhere."

[...]

When he was commissioned to write an intelligence assessment for Dick Cheney, defence secretary, giving a snapshot of the Pakistan WMD programme, he thought he was making headway. Barlow's report was stark. He concluded that the US had sold 40 F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in the mid-80s - it had been a precondition of the sale that none of the jets could be adapted to drop a nuclear bomb. He was convinced that all of them had been configured to do just that. He concluded that Pakistan was still shopping for its WMD programme and the chances were extremely high that it would also begin selling this technology to other nations. Unbeknown to Barlow, the Pentagon had just approved the sale of another 60 F-16s to Pakistan in a deal worth $1.4bn, supposedly with the same provison as before.

"Officials at the OSD kept pressurising me to change my conclusions," Barlow says. He refused and soon after noticed files going missing. A secretary tipped him off that a senior official had been intercepting his papers. In July 1989, Barlow was hauled before one of the Pentagon's top military salesmen, who accused him of sabotaging the new F-16 deal. Eight days later, when Congress asked if the jet could be adapted by Pakistan to drop a nuclear bomb, the Defence Department said, "None of the F-16s Pakistan already owns or is about to purchase is configured for nuclear delivery." Barlow was horrified.

[...]

Barlow still would not give up. His almost pathological tenacity was one of the characteristics that made him a great analyst. With no salary and few savings, he found a lawyer who agreed to represent him pro-bono. At this point, more documents surfaced linking several familiar names to Barlow's sacking and its aftermath; these included Cheney's chief of staff, Libby, and two officials working for Wolfowitz. Through his lawyer, Barlow discovered that he was being described as a tax evader, an alcoholic and an adulterer, who had been fired from all previous government jobs. It was alleged that his marriage counselling was a cover for a course of psychiatric care, and he was put under pressure to permit investigators to interview his marriage guidance adviser. "I had to explain to Cindy that her private fears were to be trawled by the OSD. She moved out. My life, professionally and personally, was destroyed. Cindy filed for divorce."

Barlow's lawyers stuck by him, winning a combined inquiry by the three inspector generals acting for the Defence Department, the CIA and the State Department (inspector generals are the equivalent of ombudsmen in Britain). By September 1993, the lead inspector, Sherman Funk, concluded that the accusation of treachery was "an error not supported by a scintilla of evidence. The truth about Barlow's termination is, simply put, that it was unfair and unwarranted." The whole affair, Funk said, was "Kafka-like" - Barlow was sacrificed for "refusing to accede to policies which he knew to be wrong".

It seemed Barlow had been vindicated. However, when the report was published it had been completely rewritten by someone at the Pentagon. Funk was appalled. When Barlow's lawyers called the Pentagon, they were told it was the department that had been exonerated. Now it was official: Pakistan was nuclear-free, and did not have the capability of dropping a bomb from an American-supplied F-16 jet and the reputation of the only man who claimed otherwise was destroyed. Later, Barlow's lawyers would find his brief to Cheney had been rewritten, too, clearing Pakistan and concluding that continued US aid would ensure that the country would desist from its WMD programme.

The Pentagon officials who were responsible for Barlow's downfall would all be out of government by 1993, when Bill Clinton came into the White House. In opposition they began pursuing an aggressive political agenda, canvassing for war in Iraq rather than restraining nuclear-armed Pakistan. Their number now included Congressman Donald Rumsfeld, a former Republican defence secretary, and several others who would go on to take key positions under George Bush, including Richard Armitage, Richard Perle and John Bolton.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz headed the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which concluded in July 1998 that the chief threat - far greater than the CIA and other intelligence agencies had so far reported - was posed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea: the future Axis of Evil powers. Pakistan was not on the list, even though just two months earlier it had put an end to the dissembling by detonating five nuclear blasts in the deserts of Balochistan.

It was also difficult not to conclude that Islamist terrorism was escalating and that its epicentre was Pakistan. The camps that had once been used to train the US-backed mujahideen had, since the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, morphed into training facilities for fighters pitted against the west. Many were filled by jihadis and were funded with cash from the Pakistan military.

It was made clear to the new president, Bill Clinton, that US policy on Pakistan had failed. The US had provided Islamabad with a nuclear bomb and had no leverage to stop the country's leaders from using it. When he was contacted by lawyers for Barlow, Clinton was shocked both by the treatment Barlow had received, and the implications for US policy on Pakistan. He signed off $1m in compensation. But Barlow never received it as the deal had to be ratified by Congress and, falling foul of procedural hurdles, it was kicked into the Court of Federal Claims to be reviewed as Clinton left office.

When the George Bush came to power, his administration quashed the case. CIA director George Tenet and Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, asserted "state secrets privilege" over Barlow's entire legal claim. With no evidence to offer, the claim collapsed. Destroyed and penniless, the former CIA golden boy spent his last savings on a second-hand silver Avion trailer, packed up his life and drove off to Bear Canyon campground in Bozeman, Montana, where he still lives today.

Even with Barlow out of the picture, there were still analysts in Washington - and in the Bush administration - who were wary of Pakistan. They warned that al-Qaida had a natural affinity with Pakistan, geographically and religiously, and that its affiliates were seeking nuclear weapons. Some elements of the Pakistan military were sympathetic and in place to help. But those arguing that Pakistan posed the highest risk were isolated. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were in the ascendant, and they returned to the old agenda, lobbying for a war in Iraq and, in a repeat of 1981 and the Reagan years, signed up Pakistan as the key ally in the war against terror.

Contrary advice was not welcome. And Bush's team set about dismantling the government agency that was giving the most trouble - the State Department's Nonproliferation Bureau. Norm Wulf, who recently retired as deputy assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, told us: "They met in secret, deciding who to employ, displacing career civil servants with more than 30 years on the job in favour of young, like-thinking people, rightwingers who would toe the administration line." And the administration line was to do away with any evidence that pointed to Pakistan as a threat to global stability, refocusing all attention on Iraq.

The same tactics used to disgrace Barlow and discredit his evidence were used again in 2003, this time against Joseph Wilson, a former US ambassador whom the Bush administration had sent to Africa with a mission to substantiate the story that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material to manufacture WMD. When Wilson refused to comply, he found himself the subject of a smear campaign, while his wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA agent. Libby would subsequently be jailed for leaking Plame's identity (although released on a presidential pardon). Plame and Wilson's careers and marriage would survive. Barlow and his wife, Cindy's, would not - and no one would be held to account. Until now.

When the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress in 2006, Barlow's indefatigable lawyers sensed an opportunity, lodging a compensation claim on Capitol Hill that is to be heard later this month. This time, with supporters of the Iraq war in retreat and with Pakistan, too, having lost many friends in Washington, Barlow hopes he will receive what he is due. "But this final hearing cannot indict any of those who hounded me, or misshaped the intelligence product," he says. "And it is too late to contain the flow of doomsday technology that Pakistan unleashed on the world."

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike

Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Seymour M. Hersh: Is the Administration's new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism? US Generals 'will quit' if Bush orders Iran attack

Monday, 26 February 2007

US Economy Leaving Record Numbers in Severe Poverty

The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen.

A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 - half the federal poverty line - was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.

The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Top Prosecutor, Lobbyist Bought Home

The prosecutor, Sue Ellen Wooldridge, bought a $1 million vacation home on Kiawah Island, S.C., with ConocoPhillips Vice President Donald R. Duncan, nine months before agreeing to let the company delay a half-billion-dollar pollution cleanup. It was one of two proposed consent decrees Wooldridge signed with ConocoPhillips just before resigning last month.

The third buyer of the beachshore getaway was former Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles, the highest-ranking Bush administration official targeted for criminal prosecution in the Jack Abramoff corruption probe.

In one of her last acts, Wooldridge signed proposed consent decrees with ConocoPhillips, one delaying the required installation of $525 million in pollution controls at nine refineries and the other dealing with a Superfund toxic waste cleanup.

Last April, Wooldridge, Duncan and Griles bought a $980,000 home in a gated community at Kiawah Island. Records from the Charleston County Auditor's office obtained by the AP list Duncan as a 50 percent owner of the home and Wooldridge and Griles as 25 percent owners.

[...]

Griles, now an oil and gas lobbyist, began dating Wooldridge while he was her boss at Interior. He was the department's No. 2 official from July 2001 to January 2005, behind only former Secretary Gale Norton. He and Duncan, ConocoPhillips' chief Washington lobbyist, both served on President Bush's presidential transition team.

Wooldridge and Griles have known each other at least since the first year of the Bush administration in 2001, when Wooldridge became deputy chief of staff and counselor to Norton. Bush appointed Wooldridge as Interior's top lawyer in June 2004.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Humans blamed for climate change

Global warming is "very likely" to have been caused by human activity, the leading international body studying climate change said in a report today.

Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Saturday, January 27 2007

Gonzales Appoints Political Loyalists into Vacant US Attorneys Slots

Among those dismissed were Carol Lam of San Diego, whose office won a bribery conviction against then-Rep. Randolph "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., and prosecuted several members of San Diego's city council. The Cunningham case is ongoing.

Also ordered to resign was Kevin Ryan, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, who was overseeing high-profile investigations into steroids use by major league baseball players and the backdating of stock options by Apple Inc., and other firms.

Related items

Friday, January 19 2007

Paul Krugman: Surging and Purging

Last month, Bud Cummins, the U.S. attorney (federal prosecutor) for the Eastern District of Arkansas, received a call on his cellphone while hiking in the woods with his son. He was informed that he had just been replaced by J. Timothy Griffin, a Republican political operative who has spent the last few years working as an opposition researcher for Karl Rove.

Mr. Cummins's case isn't unique. Since the middle of last month, the Bush administration has pushed out at least four U.S. attorneys, and possibly as many as seven, without explanation. The list includes Carol Lam, the U.S. attorney for San Diego, who successfully prosecuted Duke Cunningham, a Republican congressman, on major corruption charges. The top F.B.I. official in San Diego told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Ms. Lam's dismissal would undermine multiple continuing investigations.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Administration Leaving out Important Details on Iraq

[...] the president's account understates by at least 15 months when Shiite death squads began targeting Sunni politicians and clerics. It also ignores the role that Iranian-backed Shiite groups had in death squad activities prior to the Samarra bombing.

Blaming the start of sectarian violence in Iraq on the Golden Dome bombing risks policy errors because it underestimates the depth of sectarian hatred in Iraq and overlooks the conflict's root causes. The Bush account also fails to acknowledge that Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite groups stoked the conflict.

President Bush met at the White House in November with the head of one of those groups: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. SCIRI's Badr Organization militia is widely reported to have infiltrated Iraq's security forces and to be involved in death squad activities.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recited Bush's history of events on Thursday in fending off angry questioning from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., about why Rice had offered optimistic testimony about Iraq during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in October 2005.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Eric Lichtblau and Mark Mazzetti: Military Is Expanding Its Intelligence Role in US

The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.

Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions receiving the letters usually have turned over documents voluntarily, allowing investigators to examine the financial assets and transactions of American military personnel and civilians, officials say.

Stephen Foley: Shock and Oil: Iraq's Billions & the White House Connection

Last week The Independent on Sunday revealed that a BearingPoint employee, based in the US embassy in Baghdad, had been tasked with advising the Iraqi Ministry of Oil on drawing up a new hydrocarbon law. The legislation, which is due to be presented to Iraq's parliament within days, will give Western oil companies a large slice of profits from the country's oil fields in exchange for investing in new oil infrastructure.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Carol Rosenberg: Official Calls for Boycott of Law Firms Representing Detainees

A Defense Department official has stirred up a maelstrom in the American legal community by calling on U.S. corporations to boycott law firms whose attorneys represent suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Public Inaction Dismays Watada: Officer faces court-martial for refusing Iraq deployment

"Could it be that ... many people don't care about the illegality of this war?" Watada asked students and others who packed a hall at Seattle Central Community College. "It is my belief that the American people have relinquished their responsibility."

Scientists Prepare to Move Doomsday Clock Forward

"The major new step reflects growing concerns about a 'Second Nuclear Age' marked by grave threats, including: nuclear ambitions in Iran and North Korea, unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere, the continuing 'launch-ready' status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the U.S. and Russia, escalating terrorism, and new pressure from climate change for expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks," the release reads.

Rice Says Bush Authorized Iranians' Arrest in Iraq

Friday, 12 January 2007

EU Urged to Lead on Human Rights as U.S. Loses Moral Authority

With U.S. credibility undermined by the use of torture and detention without trial, the European Union must fill the global leadership void on human rights, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thursday in releasing its World Report 2007.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Molly Ivins: Stand Up Against the Surge

Anyone who wants to talk knowledgably about our Iraq misadventure should pick up Rajiv Chandrasekaran's "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone." It's like reading a horror novel. You just want to put your face down and moan: How could we have let this happen? How could we have been so stupid?

As The Washington Post's review notes, Chandrasekaran's book "methodically documents the baffling ineptitude that dominated U.S. attempts to influence Iraq's fiendish politics, rebuild the electrical grid, privatize the economy, run the oil industry, recruit expert staff or instill a modicum of normalcy to the lives of Iraqis."

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on January 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!" m

Saturday, 23 December 2006

New German Community Models Car-free Living Iraqi Hopes Dim Through Worst Year of Occupation Richest 2 Percent Own Half the World's Wealth

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Pinochet Dies

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ON 30th ANNIVERSARY OF ARGENTINE COUP: NEW DECLASSIFIED DETAILS ON REPRESSION AND U.S. SUPPORT FOR MILITARY DICTATORSHIP

The documents record Washington's initial reaction to the military takeover. "I do want to encourage them. I don't want to give the sense that they're harassed by the United States," Secretary of State Kissinger ordered his staff after his assistants warned him that the junta would initiate a bloodbath following the coup. According to the transcript, Kissinger's top deputy on Latin America, William Rogers, told him two days after the coup that "we've got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long."

Chile and the United States: Declassified Documents relating to the Military Coup, 1970-1976 CIA Intelligence Report Tied Pinochet to Letelier Assassination CHILE: 16,000 SECRET U.S. DOCUMENTS DECLASSIFIED THE SECRET PINOCHET PORTFOLIO: FORMER DICTATOR'S CORRUPTION SCANDAL BROADENS THE CASE AGAINST PINOCHET: EX-DICTATOR INDICTED FOR CONDOR CRIMES NIXON ON CHILE INTERVENTION: WHITE HOUSE TAPE ACKNOWLEDGES INSTRUCTIONS TO BLOCK SALVADOR ALLENDE LIFTING OF PINOCHET'S IMMUNITY RENEWS FOCUS ON OPERATION CONDOR

Friday, 3 November 2006

Canadians Believe Bush is a Threat to Peace: Poll British Believe Bush Is More Dangerous Than Kim Jong-il

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Report: Germany Suspected US Prison Abuse Early in Balkans

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

WWF: Humans Far Outstripping Planet's Resource-Replacement Rate

"We are in serious ecological overshoot, consuming resources faster than the Earth can replace them," WWF International Director General James Leape said. "The consequences of this are predictable and dire."

Eventually, ecological assets, such as forests and fisheries will be harvested to such a degree that they might disappear altogether. In 2003, 25 percent more natural resources were used than the Earth could sustainably replenish, the report said.

According to the WWF, humanity's ecological footprint -- measuring the area of biologically productive land and sea required to provide all the resources used and absorb waste -- has more than tripled between 1961 and 2003.

Biennial report on the state of the natural world

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Bush hails 'tough' UN action on North Korea nuclear test Human rights concerns fail to staunch flow of UK arms: China tops list with £70m of exports in one year as military sales soar to blacklisted regimes US 'plot to force out Hamas' Nuclear proliferation: The Axis of Anxiety: The UN has agreed sanctions against the newest and least predictable of nuclear powers. North Korea said this amounted to 'a declaration of war'. So who will blink first? By David Usborne and Raymond Whitaker Ambush: How one interview blew apart Blair's disastrous foreign policy: The General was no innocent abroad. His comments were born of frustration at the Prime Minister's failure to stick to an agreed timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. By Francis Elliott Guantanamo guards 'boast about abuse': Troops at Guantanamo Bay routinely hit detainees, and then bragged about it afterwards, according to a US military lawyer Patrick Cockburn: War and Resistance in Iraq: an exclusive extract from his new book

Saturday, 14 October 2006

The British Officer Said: 'We Are Now Just Another Tribe' A Global Call to Stand Against Poverty One Eye on the Polls

Friday, 13 October 2006

Documents Reveal Scope of U.S. Database on Antiwar Protests Climate Change Inaction Will Cost Trillions: Study

Failing to fight global warming now will cost trillions of dollars by the end of the century even without counting biodiversity loss or unpredictable events like the Gulf Stream shutting down, a study said on Friday.

Book: Bush Aides Called Evangelicals 'Nuts'

A new book by a former White House official says that President Bush's top political advisors privately ridiculed evangelical supporters as "nuts" and "goofy" while embracing them in public and using their votes to help win elections.

British TV Journalist Was 'Unlawfully Killed' by US Forces in Iraq Britain's Top Soldier Sparks Storm with Call to Withdraw from Iraq Soon U.S. Neo-Cons Call For Japanese Nukes, Regime Change

Encouraging Japan to build nuclear weapons, shipping food aid via submarines, and running secret sabotage operations inside North Korea's borders are among a raft of policy prescriptions pushed by prominent U.S. neo-conservatives in the wake of Pyongyang's nuclear test.

U.S. Army Plans for Current Iraq Troop Level to 2010 Iraq: The Reality

The overthrow of Saddam Hussein was supposed to bring them freedom democracy and peace. But murder, kidnap and lawlessness have become the facts of life for the people of Iraq. In an exclusive extract from his new book, Patrick Cockburn describes the terrifying disintegration of a nation

Gaza Sliding into Civil War: Economic crisis worsens clashes between Hamas and Fatah

Saturday, 6 October 2006

Experts Warn of an Accidental Atomic War: Nuclear missile modified for conventional attack on Iran could set off alarm in Russia

A Pentagon project to modify its deadliest nuclear missile for use as a conventional weapon against targets such as North Korea and Iran could unwittingly spark an atomic war, two weapons experts warned Thursday.

Russian military officers might misconstrue a submarine-launched conventional D5 intercontinental ballistic missile and conclude that Russia is under nuclear attack, said Ted Postol, a physicist and professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Pavel Podvig, a physicist and weapons specialist at Stanford.

"Any launch of a long-range nonnuclear armed sea or land ballistic missile will cause an automated alert of the Russian early warning system," Postol told reporters.

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Israeli Group Calls Power Plant Attack a 'War Crime' Forests Worth Far More Alive Than Dead

Boreal forests provide 250 billion dollars a year in ecosystem services like reducing atmospheric carbon and water filtration, but which have gone unacknowledged by governments and industry, experts say.

Governments need to begin accounting for those services before allowing timber, oil and gas and mining to carve up the world's remaining northern forests, argues the Edmonton, Canada-based ecological economist Mark Anielski.

Media Critic Takes on Major TV Networks

Mainstream media outlets are tools of America's most powerful corporations, media critic Jeff Cohen - who formerly worked for CNN, MSNBC and Fox News - told an audience of roughly 50 people in Salomon 001 last night.

Corporate leaders are concerned with protecting their power and reputations, while leaders at major news networks focus on maximizing ratings rather than delivering "real journalism," said Cohen, who worked as a weekly panelist at Fox News, a co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" and a senior producer at MSNBC before leaving the mainstream media in 2003.

Since corporations' interests are aligned with the interests of conservatives, conservative opinion dominates "hopelessly imbalanced" television networks, Cohen said, adding that corporate pressure caused journalists to "utterly fail the country" leading up to the war in Iraq.

Hundreds Turn Out to Hear Views of Former CIA Analyst

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Cluster Bombs Imperil Southern Lebanon: Pose huge threat to reconstruction, UN agency says Most Iraqis Want US to Leave Now White House Blocked Report Tying Global Warming, Stronger Hurricanes

Sunday, 17 September 2006

Ultimately, the U.S. will attack Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Bush defends demands for CIA 'torture' power Robert Fisk: The US military and its cult of cruelty

In the week that George Bush took to fantasising that his blood-soaked "war on terror" would lead the 21st century into a "shining age of human liberty" I went through my mail bag to find a frightening letter addressed to me by an American veteran whose son is serving as a lieutenant colonel and medical doctor with US forces in Baghdad. Put simply, my American friend believes the change of military creed under the Bush administration - from that of "soldier" to that of "warrior" - is encouraging American troops to commit atrocities.

IRS Orders All Saints to Yield Documents on '04 Political Races EPA Plans to Close Labs, Drop Scientists and Reduce Oversight Afghanistan: U.S. 'Handed Off a Mess' to NATO Forces

Friday, 15 September 2006

US to cut funds for two renewable energy sources Lawyer Says FCC Ordered Study Destroyed Gaza's poor struggling to survive in the face of an economic blockade

Though she wasn't expecting visitors, Itidal al-Nazli, 35, was happy to display the sparse contents of her refrigerator. Despite the daily and lengthy interruptions to electricity supply since the Israelis bombed Gaza's only power station in early July, it's where she still stores the more perishable food for her family of 10 children. Yesterday morning, after the family had breakfasted on two large potatoes and an aubergine donated by a kindly neighbour, it contained six rather shrivelled peppers, a bag of coffee, three olives in a bowl, a bag of charcoal, and three bags containing crusts of bread.

Republican senators revolt over terror suspects' rights From Alaska to Australia, The World is Changing in Front of Us IAEA Says Congress Report on Iran's Nuclear Capacity is Erroneous and Misleading World has 10-Year Window to Act on Climate Warming - NASA Expert Even in Winter, Arctic Ice Melting Reclaiming The Issues: Islamic Or Republican Fascism?

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Hizbollah rocket attacks on Israelis 'war crimes'

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Junk Culture Killing Childhood: Experts IDF Commander: We Fired More Than a Million Cluster Bombs in Lebanon As America Mourned, the Impact of the 'War on Terror' Was Felt Worldwide New Data Erases Doubt on Storms and Warming

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

ABC 9/11 Docudrama's Right-Wing Roots

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Former ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith says that two months before the U.S. invaded Iraq, George W. Bush did not know that there were two major sects of Islam in Iraq. According to Galbraith, a year after giving his "Axis of Evil" speech, Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, who described to him what they thought the consequences might be if Saddam Hussein were taken out of power.

According to Galbraith, it became clear to them that Bush had no clue that there were Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq. The Iraqi American consultants explained the situation to him, and his response was: "I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!"

Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon

This report documents serious violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Lebanon between July 12 and July 27, 2006, as well as the July 30 attack in Qana. During this period, the IDF killed an estimated 400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and that number climbed to over 500 by the time this report went to print. The Israeli government claims it is taking all possible measures to minimize civilian harm, but the cases documented here reveal a systematic failure by the IDF to distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israeli pilots 'deliberately miss' targets: Fliers admit aborting raids on civilian targets as concern grows over the reliability of intelligence CNN RELIABLE SOURCES: Coverage of War in the Middle East (Transcript)

One of the things that is going on, according to some U.S. military analysts, is that Israel purposely has left pockets of Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, because as long as they're being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon.

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Dozens more die as air strikes continue

The Israeli offensive continued as international sources told the Guardian that the Bush administration had given Israel a one-week window to attack Hizbullah before it would join international calls for a ceasefire.

United States to Israel: you have one more week to blast Hizbullah: Bush 'gave green light' for limited attack, say Israeli and UK sources

The US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources.

An Israeli bomb in Lebanon

Friday, 14 July 2006

Noam Chomsky: U.S.-Backed Israeli Policies Pursuing "End of Palestine"; Hezbollah Capture of Israeli Soldiers "Very Irresponsible Act" That Could Lead To "Extreme Disaster" Israel intensifies Lebanon offensive Lebanese Tremors Rock Syria Beirut under Siege as Israel Attacks from Air and Sea Bush's Indifference Drives Conflict Ehoud Olmert donne son feu vert pour de nouvelles attaques au Liban

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Rumor: Israel Tells Condi Rice to "Back Off"
Bush photo with hand gesture President Bush answers reporters' questions during his meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, not pictured, in the Oval Office of the White House Wednesday, July 5, 2006 in Washington. President Bush said Wednesday the failure of North Korea's long-range missile test does not lessen the need to push the communist regime to give up its nuclear weapons program.(Charles Dharapak - AP)

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Bush Urges Leaders to Unite Vs. N. Korea Washington is Losing 'War on Terror': Experts

In May the influential US magazine Foreign Policy and a Washington-based think-tank questioned 116 leading US experts -- a balanced mix of Republicans and Democrats -- on the progress of the US campaign against terrorism.

Among others, they consulted a former secretary of state, two former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and dozens of the country's top security analysts.

The result? Eighty-four percent believe the United States is losing the "war on terror," 86 percent that the world has become a more dangerous place in the past five years, and 80 percent that a major new attack on their country was likely within the next decade.

[...]

For Leslie Gelb, president of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, the unity of views expressed by those questioned reflects a deeply critical attitude towards the administration of President George W. Bush.

"It's clear to nearly all that Bush and his team have had a totally unrealistic view of what they can accomplish with military force and threats of force," he said.

Other experts questioned the very nature of the US campaign.

"It was a doomed enterprise from the very start: a 'war on terror' -- it's as ridiculous as a 'war on anger'. You do not wage a war on terror, you wage a war against people," said Alain Chouet, a former senior officer of France's DGSE foreign intelligence service.

[...]

The United States "have fallen into the classic terrorist trap -- they're lashing out at the wrong targets," causing collateral damage that boosts the cause of their opponents, he said.

Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA's Osama Bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, agreed that Washington was acting as its own worst enemy in the fight against Islamic terrorism.

"We're clearly losing. Today, Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and their allies have only one indispensable ally: the US' foreign policy towards the Islamic world."

Palestine: Hamas besieged

"I've never seen a government put under such pressure: we're being squeezed out of existence. There's no time to breathe or think," said Dr Aziz Dwaik in Ramallah. He is the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and knows the West well, having two MAs and a PhD from universities in the United States. He continued: "If the West wants Hamas to fail, OK. But it won't serve international peace and prosperity because it risks radicalising the Palestinians. The region will pay the price."

Monday, 3 July 2006

Bush urged to intervene after Castro's death

Thursday, 15 June 2006

Top court upholds no-knock police search
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, left, and White House Counselor Dan Barlett, ride in a military helicopter wearing helmets and flak jackets for a trip from Baghdad International Airport to U.S. Embassy in the Greenzone Tuesday, June 13, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq. Snow and Bartlett traveled with President Bush who made a surprise visit to Baghdad. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

How Israel's Jewish terrorist became a victim Global Image of the US Is Worsening, Survey Finds

Favorable views of the United States dropped sharply over the past year in Spain, where only 23 percent said they had a positive opinion, down from 41 percent last year, according to the survey. It was done in 15 nations, including the United States, this spring by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

Other countries where positive views dropped significantly include India (56 percent, down from 71 percent); Russia (43 percent, down from 52 percent); and Indonesia (30 percent, down from 38 percent). In Turkey, only 12 percent said they held a favorable opinion, down from 23 percent last year.

Keeping Iraq's Oil in the Ground 30 die in Afghan fighting before offensive Crackdown on Baghdad begins: New security operation aims to 'enable Iraqis to live in peace' EU and US "Partners in Crime" on CIA Flights: Amnesty International Call for sanctions after beating of Three Gorges dam activist Fu Xiancai

Reporters Without Borders urged China's foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, to intervene in the case of Fu Xiancai, an activist opposed to the Three Gorges dam who was left paralysed from a beating after giving an interview to foreign journalists.

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Many Iraqis dismiss Bush visit as stunt Doctors forbid roles in harsh interrogations

The 544-member house of delegates, which sets policy for the leading U.S. physicians group, voted at its annual meeting to approve a seven-page report that outlined a physician's duty "as healer" not to take any part in interrogating prisoners.

A New "Perle Harbor" - Richard Perle reveals US War Plans in the Iranian Theater House Approves $94.5 Billion for Iraq War and Katrina Aid

The House-Senate compromise bill contains $66 billion for the two wars, bringing the cost of the three-year-old war in Iraq to about $320 billion. Operations in Afghanistan have now tallied about $89 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.

PM: IDF is still most moral army in world

"The IDF is the most moral army in the world, which had never directed a policy of harming innocent civilians, and is not doing so today."

Related items:

Monday, 12 June 2006

Global military spend hits $1.12 trillion: report

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - U.S. spending in Iraq and Afghanistan helped push up global 2005 military expenditure by 3.5 percent to $1.12 trillion, a research body said on Monday.

Global warming may already be a killer

Earth's rising temperatures may be a precipitating factor in the extinctions of dozens of tropical frog species.

Friday, 2 June 2006

stopsleeping.com is now officialssay.com! For more info on the idea behind officialssay, please see the following interview with journalist Robert Fisk, who coined the term "Officials Say" in the sense used here.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Iran Proposal to U.S. Offered Peace with Israel

The two-page document contradicts the official line of the George W. Bush administration that Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel and the sponsorship of terrorism in the region.

Monday, 13 March 2006

Former top judge says US risks edging near to dictatorship: Sandra Day O'Connor warns of rightwing attacks: Lawyers 'must speak up' to protect judiciary

She pointed to autocracies in the developing world and former Communist countries as lessons on where interference with the judiciary might lead. "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

The War Dividend: The British Companies Making a Fortune Out of Conflict-Riven Iraq

British businesses have profited by at least £1.1bn since coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein three years ago, the first comprehensive investigation into UK corporate investment in Iraq has found.

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Donald Rumsfeld Makes $5 Million Killing on Bird Flu Drug Iraq: The Reckoning: What Have We Achieved Three Years On from Shock and Awe?

In December and January, daily oil production was around 1.1 million barrels a day, the lowest since May 2003, when President Bush declared major combat operations at an end. Before 2003, oil output was 2.5 million barrels a day. Ironically, revenue has risen to about $2.5bn a month, because world oil prices have shot up, at least partly because of the situation in Iraq.

Death of the World's Rivers: Disaster warning from UN as investigation reveals half of the planet's 500 biggest rivers are seriously depleted or polluted Pollution Soaring to Crisis Levels in Arctic: Scientists plead for action to save poles from 'tipping point' disaster

Saturday, 18 February 2006

Global warming may already be a killer

Earth's rising temperatures may be a precipitating factor in the extinctions of dozens of tropical frog species.

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

Fear of U.S. Drove Iran's Nuclear Policy

Tuesday, 31 January 2006

US savings rate sinks to lowest since Great Depression

Americans spent $42bn (£24bn) more than they earned last year, turning the annual US savings ratio negative for the first time since the Great Depression.

Bush says only US can secure world peace

President George Bush insisted last night that, despite its difficulties in Iraq, America would not retreat from the world, arguing that US leadership " is the only way to secure the peace". Isolationism and protectionism, he warned in his annual State of the Union address, led ultimately only " to danger and decline."

Nearly Half of Iraqis Support Attacks on U.S. Troops, Poll Finds

WASHINGTON - A new poll found that nearly half of Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and most favor setting a timetable for American troops to leave.

The poll also found that 80 percent of Iraqis think the United States plans to maintain permanent bases in the country even if the newly elected Iraqi government asks American forces to leave. Researchers found a link between support for attacks and the belief among Iraqis that the United States intends to keep a permanent military presence in the country.

The world according to George W Bush

Monday, 30 January 2006

James Carroll: Is America Actually in a State of War?

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Dilip Hiro: The Rise of Political Islam: The Palestinian Election and Democracy in the Middle East

Put all of this together and you have what looks like a single phenomenon sweeping the region. However, focus on these developments one by one and what you see is that the reasons for Islamist advances are not only different in each case but particular to each country.

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman: The Gospel of Work vs. the Gospel of Wealth

Sunday, January 8 2006

Excerpt from 'A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror'

Thursday, 5 January 2006

The man who bought off Washington: Lobbyist's guilty plea set to expose bribery scandal at the heart of US political system Anger as Britain admits it was wrong to blame Iran for deaths in Iraq NSA Destroyed Evidence of Domestic Spying Lobbyist ties could keep DeLay out of leadership: GOP aides say his links to the scandal-ridden Abramoff make him a liability Surveillance Court Is Seeking Answers: Judges Were Unaware of Eavesdropping End This Evasion on Permanent Military Bases in Iraq

Wednesday, 4 January 2006

US sees coalitions of the willing as best ally

Building on its experience in Iraq, the Bush administration says it wants to be able to form "coalitions of the willing" more efficiently for dealing with future conflicts rather than turning to existing but unreliable institutional alliances such as Nato.

"We 'ad hoc' our way through coalitions of the willing. That's the future," a senior State Department official said in a briefing this week that reflected Washington's search for alternatives to the post-second world war global architecture in the new era of its "war on terror".

CIA 'ignored Iraqi weapons evidence'

The Bush administration is facing new charges over its handling of pre-war intelligence, with a book alleging that the CIA ignored a mass of evidence gleaned from Iraqi weapons scientists, months before the 2003 invasion, that Saddam Hussein had abandoned his WMD programmes.

According to the book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, Sawsan alHaddad, sister of an Iraqi nuclear scientist, was one of 30 foreign-based Iraqis who agreed to contact relatives supposedly working on weapons development. Every one reported that the programmes did not exist.

"Don't they know there is no nuclear programme?," her brother told her. The nuclear programme had been dead since 1991. "We don't have enough spare parts for our conventional military, we can't even shoot down an aeroplane, we don't have anything left," she reported him saying. A month later the national intelligence estimate on Iraq's alleged WMD was issued, stating that Iraq was "reconstituting its nuclear programme".

Files Say Agency Initiated Growth of Spying Effort CDI Space Security Update 1.2006 ~ Jan. 5, 2006

Friday, 30 December 2005

German media: U.S. prepares Iran strike

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Lobbyist Abramoff's `Equal Money' Went Mostly to Republicans

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President George W. Bush calls indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff ``an equal money dispenser'' who helped politicians of both parties. Campaign donation records show Republicans were a lot more equal than Democrats.

Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats.

Cheney Argues for Nixon-Era Powers: Watergate eroded presidential clout; VP comments fuel firestorm in U.S.

Sunday, 11 December 2005

Israel readies forces for strike on nuclear Iran

Saturday, 10 December 2005

Naomi Klein: The US has used torture for decades. All that's new is the openness about it

Monday, 28 November 2005

Moyers Has His Say: Former Now host on media bias and his feud with former CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson

If reporting on what's happening to ordinary people thrown overboard by circumstances beyond their control and betrayed by Washington officials is liberalism, I stand convicted.

Monday, 7 November 2005

JAMES BAMFORD: The Man Who Sold the War: Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war Master mind

BOSTON - Three weeks ago, Prof. Noam Chomsky was voted the most important public intellectual in the world today. About 20,000 people took part in the poll, which was conducted jointly by a British monthly called Prospect and the Washington-based Foreign Policy. The 77-year-old linguist received 4,827 votes, nearly twice as many as the runner-up, the Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco (2,464). (For the full list, see www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/intellectuals/results.) Given Chomsky's criticism of intellectuals, it is not clear whether the outcome of the vote is a compliment to him, or an insult.

Monday, 8 August 2005

Exclusive: Secret Memo--Send to Be Tortured

Aug. 8, 2005 issue - An FBI agent warned superiors in a memo three years ago that U.S. officials who discussed plans to ship terror suspects to foreign nations that practice torture could be prosecuted for conspiring to violate U.S. law, according to a copy of the memo obtained by NEWSWEEK. [...] This memo appears to be the first that directly questions the legal premises of the Bush administration policy of "extraordinary rendition" -- a secret program under which terror suspects are transferred to foreign countries that have been widely criticized for practicing torture.

In a memo forwarded to a senior FBI lawyer on Nov. 27, 2002, a supervisory special agent from the bureau's behavioral analysis unit offered a legal analysis of interrogation techniques that had been approved by Pentagon officials for use against a high-value Qaeda detainee. After objecting to techniques such as exploiting "phobias" like "the fear of dogs" or dripping water "to induce the misperception of drowning," the agent discussed a plan to send the detainee to Jordan, Egypt or an unspecified third country for interrogation. "In as much as the intent of this category is to utilize, outside the U.S., interrogation techniques which would violate [U.S. law] if committed in the U.S., it is a per se violation of the U.S. Torture Statute," the agent wrote. "Discussing any plan which includes this category could be seen as a con-spiracy to violate [the Torture Statute]" and "would inculpate" everyone involved.

Intel officials estimate that more than 100 terror suspects have been rendered to foreign countries by the CIA under a classified directive signed by President George W. Bush after 9/11.

A Pentagon spokesman said the Defense Department does not engage in renditions, but officials have confirmed that 65 detainees have been transferred from Guantanamo for further detention or prosecution by foreign governments, including 29 to Pakistan, seven to Russia, five to Morocco and four to Saudi Arabia -- countries the State Department criticizes for practicing torture.

Saturday, 30 July 2005

'Doomsday' plan approved for House

WASHINGTON -- Congress approved a plan yesterday that would quickly replace members of the House in the event many die in an attack or disaster.

The so-called doomsday bill would require special elections within 49 days if more than 100 of the House's 435 members were killed.

Monday, 25 July 2005

John Pilger: Blair Is Unfit to Be Prime Minister Bush Met With Judge Roberts One Day Before Crucial Ruling on Guantanamo Military Tribunals Roberts Listed in Federalist Society '97-98 Directory: Court Nominee Said He Has No Memory of Membership

Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has repeatedly said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization's 1997-1998 leadership directory.

Having served only two years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after a long career as a government and private-sector lawyer, Roberts has not amassed much of a public paper record that would show his judicial philosophy. Working with the Federalist Society would provide some clue of his sympathies. The organization keeps its membership rolls secret, but many key policymakers in the Bush administration are acknowledged current or former members.

Roberts has burnished his legal image carefully. When news organizations have reported his membership in the society, he or others speaking on his behalf have sought corrections. Last week, the White House told news organizations that had reported his membership in the group that he had no memory of belonging. The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Associated Press printed corrections.

Police say more innocents could die in bomb hunt Recidivism Senate to Vote on Repealing Estate Tax The Roberts Court? Shots to the Heart of Iraq Bush Aide Learned Early of Leaks Probe

Sunday, 24 July 2005

John Roberts' rule: Reach for the top Intellect, discipline, savvy have served nominee since youth Defying U.S. Efforts, Guerrillas in Iraq Refocus and Strengthen For Bush, Effect of Investigation of C.I.A. Leak Case Is Uncertain

Saturday, 23 July 2005

CIA Leak Investigation Turns to Possible Perjury, Obstruction Poll: Six in 10 Americans expect new world war: 60 years after WWII, U.S. public, Japanese differ on global conflict Congress Report: TSA Broke Privacy Laws

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Transportation Security Administration violated privacy protections by secretly collecting personal information on at least 250,000 people, congressional investigators said Friday.

How the United States Marked the 3rd Anniversary of the Downing Street Memo

Hundreds of people were turned away today as capacity crowds packed public forums in U.S. cities to discuss the Downing Street Memo and related evidence that President Bush lied about the reasons for war. Halls were filled to capacity and beyond in LA, Oakland, Seattle, Detroit, Northampton, New York, and elsewhere, for events led by Congress Members, including Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, John Conyers, and Maurice Hinchey.

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Amira Hass: On the slope of Jewish democracy

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is not dividing Jerusalem. Neither is Minister Haim Ramon. They have simply found a faster and more efficient way than those tried before to get rid of tens of thousands of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem - after the process of robbing them of their lands for the benefit of the Jewish residents has been exhausted.

Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Ray McGovern: Why "White House v. Wilson/Plame" Matters Iraq role driving terror, UK warned

Monday, 18 July 2005

Lawrence Korb: Americans: Cut Pentagon spending

It's fashionable for pundits to point to polls and claim the public is ignorant, ill-informed or apathetic. But an illuminating new survey released last Monday shows that -- though citizens may indeed be confused about specific issues -- they are clear about one federal agency whose budget should be cut.

Did Iraq invasion bolster extremism? Studies: War radicalized most foreign fighters in Iraq

Saudi and Israeli studies show that most foreign fighters were not terrorists before Iraq war.

Tube bombs 'linked to Iraq conflict'

Think tank says war boosts al-Qaida

Blair dismisses connection

Straw rejects war link to bombings

Friday, 15 July 2005

What May Come After the Evacuation of Jewish Settlers from the Gaza Strip: A Warning from Israel

We believe that one primary, unstated motive for the determination of the government of the State of Israel to get the Jewish settlers of the Qatif (Katif) settlement block out of the Gaza Strip may be to keep them out of harm?s way when the Israeli government and military possibly trigger an intensified mass attack on the approximately one and a half million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, of whom about half are 1948 Palestine refugees.

Civilians bear brunt of Iraqi insurgency

Iraqi civilians and police officers are being killed by insurgents at a rate of more than 800 a month - one an hour, according to new figures released by the interior ministry.

Saturday, 9 July 2005

Fox News slammed over 'callous' line

Friday, 8 July 2005

Robert Fisk: The Reality of This Barbaric Bombing

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Who's Watching the Watch List? Donation Brought Access to DeLay

Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Bush, the obstacle to a deal on global warming

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Bill Moyers: A Moral Transaction G8 Countries Defying Arms Embargoes, Says Report

Arms supplied by G8 countries are being used by regimes that violate human rights, impoverish their people and fight their neighbors, a report by leading development agencies and campaigners warns today.

The G8 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US - account for 84% of all worldwide arms supplies, according to the report, published by Amnesty, Oxfam, and the International Action Network on Small Arms and titled The G8: Global Arms Exporters. (.pdf)

Tuesday, 21 June 2005

How Warming Is Changing the Wild Kingdom Gov't Collected Data on Airline Passengers

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Revealed: How Oil Giant Influenced Bush: White House sought advice from Exxon on Kyoto stance

Thursday, 17 March 2005

Bush Names Iraq War Architect Paul Wolfowitz to Head World Bank

First of all I think people are first I appreciate the world leaders taking my phone calls as I explain to them why I think Paul will be a strong President of the World Bank. I said he's a man of good experiences. He helped manage a large organization, World Bank's a large organization. The Pentagon's a large organization. He's been involved in the management of that organization. He's a skilled diplomat, worked at the State Department in high positions as Ambassador to Indonesia, where he did a very good job representing our country, and Paul is committed to development. A compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job in the World Bank and that's why I called leaders of countries and that's why I put him up.

Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Company's Work in Iraq Profited Bush's Uncle: William H.T. 'Bucky' Bush earned $450,000 on stock options with defense contractor ESSI. The Secret Genocide Archive Bush and Chirac reopen wounds Doomed to fail

"Freedom is on the march," Mr. Bush has said. Unfortunately for the United States, North Korea and Iran don't see it that way. And if America keeps marching, it could very well be in the direction of a nuclear apocalypse.

Tuesday, 22 February 2005

Dr Annabelle Lukin: Grammar and ideology in reporting war

Thursday, 10 February 2005

No Place to Hide: Award-Winning Journalist Robert O'Harrow Goes Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society White House Queried on Media Policy: Web-site Reporter Using Pseudonym Allowed in Briefings As Union Nears Win, Wal-Mart Closes Store U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings: More than 200 Fish and Wildlife researchers cite cases where conclusions were reversed to weaken protections and favor business, a survey finds The Battle of the (Bush) Bulge: Why Did the 'NYT' Kill Its Story?

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Outsourcing Torture: The Secret History of America's "Extraordinary Rendition" Program George Monbiot: Fraud and Corruption: Forget the UN. The US Occupation Regime Helped Itself to $8.8b of Mostly Iraqi Money in Just 14 Months

Sunday, 6 February 2005

Apocalypse Now: How Mankind is Sleepwalking to the End of the Earth

Floods, storms and droughts. Melting Arctic ice, shrinking glaciers, oceans turning to acid. The world's top scientists warned last week that dangerous climate change is taking place today, not the day after tomorrow. You don't believe it? Then, says Geoffrey Lean, read this...

Thursday, 3 February 2005

UK climate meeting calls for action: Researchers discuss 'dangerous' change as global-warming fears grow.

"Major investment" is needed to help people mitigate and adapt to global warming. So say the 200 top climate scientists, and a handful of economists and politicians, assembled this week at Britain's Met Office.

Thursday, 27 January 2005

Max Boot: Digging Into Seymour Hersh: You don't have to scratch too deeply to find an enormous reservoir of left-wing bias. Bush and Kerry Renew Debate on Health Care

During last year's presidential campaign, President Bush and Senator John Kerry laid out sharply contrasting visions for improving health care. That clash continued today, as Mr. Kerry called for repealing tax cuts for the most affluent Americans to pay for providing insurance for all the nation's children, and Mr. Bush spoke of the benefits that information technology promises for improvements in care and efficiency.

Across Baghdad, Security Is Only an Ideal

Starkly put, Baghdad is not under control, either by the Iraqi interim government or the American military.

Odd Detour Disturbs Terror Jury

Some of the jurors in the terrorism trial of the lawyer Lynne F. Stewart complained yesterday that they had felt threatened on Tuesday when their van driver took an unexpected turn outside court. He steered through a crowd of news camera crews and then rolled down his window to shout at a cluster of Ms. Stewart's supporters, they told the judge.

Kennedy Calls On Bush to Begin Troops Pullout Soon Anti-Vote Violence in Iraq Is Intensifying, Latest Data Show Oil Firms Fund Climate Change 'Denial'

Lobby groups funded by the US oil industry are targeting Britain in a bid to play down the threat of climate change and derail action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, leading scientists have warned.

Woolsey, 24 Dems, Ask Bush to Withdraw GIs

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, led 24 other Democratic co-sponsors in introducing a resolution in the House Wednesday calling on President Bush to begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

Global Warming is 'Twice as Bad as Previously Thought'

Global warming might be twice as catastrophic as previously thought, flooding settlements on the British coast and turning the interior into an unrecognizable tropical landscape, the world's biggest study of climate change shows.

Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Cat and mouse game over Iran

New York, NY, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force is playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Iran's ayatollahs, flying American combat aircraft into Iranian airspace in an attempt to lure Tehran into turning on air defense radars, thus allowing U.S. pilots to grid the system for use in future targeting data, administration officials said.

"We have to know which targets to attack and how to attack them," said one, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Controversial Attorney General Nominee Squeaks Past First Vote

WASHINGTON - Riding over opposition from its Democratic members, the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday voted 10-8 to send the nomination of Attorney General-designate Alberto Gonzales to the full Senate for confirmation, possibly as early as next week.

Researchers from some of Britain's leading universities used computer modeling to predict that under the "worst-case" scenario, London would be under water and winters banished to history as average temperatures in the UK soar up to 20C higher than at present.

Torture Treaty Doesn't Bar 'Cruel, Inhuman' Tactics, Gonzales Says

WASHINGTON -- Alberto Gonzales has asserted to the Senate committee weighing his nomination to be attorney general that there's a legal rationale for harsh treatment of foreign prisoners by U.S. forces.

Rice Confirmed Despite Dems' Criticisms

WASHINGTON - Condoleezza Rice won confirmation as secretary of state Wednesday despite blistering criticism from Senate Democrats who accused her of misleading statements and said she must share the blame for mistakes and war deaths in Iraq.

A Degrading Policy

ALBERTO R. GONZALES was vague, unresponsive and misleading in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Bush administration's detention of foreign prisoners. In his written answers to questions from the committee, prepared in anticipation of today's vote on his nomination as attorney general, Mr. Gonzales was clearer -- disturbingly so, as it turns out. According to President Bush's closest legal adviser, this administration continues to assert its right to indefinitely hold foreigners in secret locations without any legal process; to deny them access to the International Red Cross; to transport them to countries where torture is practiced; and to subject them to treatment that is "cruel, inhumane or degrading," even though such abuse is banned by an international treaty that the United States has ratified. In effect, Mr. Gonzales has confirmed that the Bush administration is violating human rights as a matter of policy.

Writer Backing Bush Plan Had Gotten Federal Contract

In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families.

"The Bush marriage initiative would emphasize the importance of marriage to poor couples" and "educate teens on the value of delaying childbearing until marriage," she wrote in National Review Online, for example, adding that this could "carry big payoffs down the road for taxpayers and children."

But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president's proposal. Her work under the contract, which ran from January through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the HHS official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and conducting a briefing for department officials.

Tuesday, 25 January 2005

Torture in Iraq Still Routine, Report Says: Detainees Beaten, Hung by Wrists, Shocked by Security Forces, Rights Group Finds

BAGHDAD, Jan. 24 -- Twenty months after Saddam Hussein's government was toppled and its torture chambers unlocked, Iraqis are again being routinely beaten, hung by their wrists and shocked with electrical wires, according to a report by a human rights organization.

Friday, 21 January 2005

World Media: Bush Inaugural a Jolt

Thursday, 20 January 2005

A Nuremberg Lesson: Torture Scandal Began Far Above 'Rotten Apples.' Max Boot: Necessary Roughness: Terrorists don't rate Geneva protections. Bernie Sanders: Ground Control to Mr. Bush U.S. Contractor Slain in Iraq Had Alleged Graft: The weapons dealer had accused officials in the Defense Ministry of a kickback scheme. World fears new Bush era: Blair urges more consensual US approach as poll shows unease in 18 out of 21 nations Bush Bad for Global Peace, US Image, World Believes From the 'Axis of Evil' to the 'Outposts of Tyranny': As her appointment is confirmed, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice identifies the six miscreant states that will be the target of American foreign policy efforts to 'spread democracy'

Wednesday, 19 January 2005

Ohio's GOP Attorney-General Launches Revenge Attack on Election Protection Legal Team Why the Hawks are Circling Over Iran

As George W Bush prepares for a second term, his administration is setting its sights on Iran. But, Rupert Cornwell reports, a new foreign policy adventure could be disastrous

Tuesday, 18 January 2005

Rice, Obama meet at historic crossroads: King legacy noted as senator grills cabinet nominee Polls: Bush Not Backed on Iraq War Fearful US TV Networks Censor More Shows

The panic that is gripping American TV bosses facing a puritanical backlash or exorbitant government fines has today extended to a cartoon series and a BBC drama.

A Televisual Fairyland: The US Media is Disciplined by Corporate America into Promoting the Republican Cause

On Thursday, the fairy king of fairyland will be recrowned. He was elected on a platform suspended in midair by the power of imagination. He is the leader of a band of men who walk through ghostly realms unvisited by reality. And he remains the most powerful person on earth.

New Intelligence Reports Raise Questions About U.S. Mission in Iraq

WASHINGTON - A series of new U.S. intelligence assessments on Iraq paints a grim picture of the road ahead and concludes that there's little likelihood that President Bush's goals can be attained in the near future.

UN Unveils 10-Year Plan to Lift 500 Million Out of Misery Bush Opts for Costly Bash in Wartime: FDR Scaled Back Event, but There's No Clear Precedent

WASHINGTON -- Jubilant Republicans are descending on a nippy Washington for President Bush's second inaugural on Thursday, an affair of celebrations and protest, pomp and a predicted high temperature of 35 degrees.

Beneath the festivities surrounding the 55th presidential inauguration, there is a current of unease. Washington is capital of a nation at war, with 150,000 Americans serving in Iraq and 18,000 in Afghanistan. So far, more than 1,500 military personnel have been killed in the two countries, with more than 10,000 wounded.

Some critics have suggested scaling back Thursday's inaugural, which will cost $40 million in privately raised funds for the parties, parade, dinners and entertainment events. It will cost tens of millions of dollars more in public money for an unprecedented security effort that will involve about 6, 000 people who will cordon off a large chunk of downtown.

New Dissent Tactics Will Mark Bush Inaugural

Gordon's protest is part of an economic boycott, called Not One Damn Dime, that will attempt to enlist thousands of like-minded citizens from Massachusetts and beyond to halt all purchases on inauguration day.

Iraq Violence Spreads to 'Safe' Areas

Monday, 17 January 2005

SEYMOUR M. HERSH: THE COMING WARS: What the Pentagon can now do in secret.

George W. Bush's re-election was not his only victory last fall. The President and his national-security advisers have consolidated control over the military and intelligence communities' strategic analyses and covert operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda for using that control--against the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism--during his second term. The C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon put it, as "facilitators" of policy emanating from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well under way.

"This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone," the former high-level intelligence official told me. "Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah--we've got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism."

U.S. Gathering Nuclear Intelligence Inside Iran for Possible Strike: New Yorker Bush Faces New Breed of Policy Protesters Big Companies' Inauguration Donations Raise Eyebrows

WASHINGTON - Large corporations, many of which have enormous regulatory and policy interests in Washington, are paying for most of President Bush's inauguration.

Home-Made Biofuels Are Best, Group Says Even Bush's Most Loyal GOP Soldiers Alarmed by Strain on Troops Hotel Journalism Gives American Troops a Free Hand As the Press Shelters Indoors

"Hotel journalism" is the only phrase for it. More and more Western reporters in Baghdad are reporting from their hotels rather than the streets of Iraq's towns and cities. Some are accompanied everywhere by hired, heavily armed Western mercenaries. A few live in local offices from which their editors refuse them permission to leave. Most use Iraqi stringers, part-time correspondents who risk their lives to conduct interviews for American or British journalists, and none can contemplate a journey outside the capital without days of preparation unless they "embed" themselves with American or British forces.

Rarely, if ever, has a war been covered by reporters in so distant and restricted a way. The New York Times correspondents live in Baghdad behind a massive stockade with four watchtowers, protected by locally hired, rifle-toting security men, complete with NYT T-shirts. America's NBC television chain are holed up in a hotel with an iron grille over their door, forbidden by their security advisers to visit the swimming pool or the restaurant "let alone the rest of Baghdad" lest they be attacked. Several Western journalists do not leave their rooms while on station in Baghdad.

U.S. Terror War 'Over-Reaction,' Top Judge Says Gives Criminals Special Status

The American-led war on terrorism is a threat to international justice and a challenge to the rule of law in the 21st century, says one of the world's most eminent jurists.

"Sept. 11 led to a major overreaction by politicians in many countries," said Richard Goldstone, the first chief prosecutor at the war crimes tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

"In dictatorships their actions don't matter, because we don't expect any respect for human rights. But in a democracy we are handing victory to terrorists if we change our way of life and abandon human rights."

Sunday, 16 January 2005

Report: U.S. Conducting Secret Missions Inside Iran

Saturday, 15 January 2005

China Promotes Another Boom: Nuclear Power Snow, where'd you go? Many wondering what happened to Europe's winter US 'should not rule out torture'

The outgoing head of the US Department of Homeland Security has said torture may be used in certain cases in order to prevent a major loss of life.

Friday, 14 January 2005

Green Groups Hope Suit Forces U.S. Hand on Warming FCC Chair Orders Investigation into Williams' Deal with Bush Administration

Washington - The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission ordered an investigation Friday into whether conservative commentator Armstrong Williams broke the law by failing to disclose he was paid by the Bush administration to plug the president's education agenda. The investigation relates to provisions that require disclosure of such arrangements, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in a brief statement.

Thursday, 13 January 2005

Israeli army kills Palestinians in Gaza

Israeli occupation forces have killed two Palestinians, including a man who was driving his pregnant wife to hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian hospital and security sources said.

Military Court Hearing Ends for SEAL Iraq a New Terror Breeding Ground: War created a haven, CIA advisers report.

Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

Wednesday, 12 January 2005

Nominee Criticized Over Post-9/11 Policies

Michael Chertoff, President Bush's nominee to be secretary of homeland security, is widely hailed for his intellectual heft and tireless work habits as a federal prosecutor and judge. But he also faces criticism as an architect of some of the most controversial elements of the Bush administration's domestic war on terrorism that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Compare and Contrast: Rathergate vs. Saddam's WMD - A Quantitative Comparison
Rathergate Saddam's WMD
Investigation recently concluded? Yes Yes
Use of highly questionable supporting documents? Yes Yes
Central claims disproven? No Yes
Media spread questionable information? Yes Yes
Number of firings resulting from investigation 4 0
Number of high-profile reassignments resulting from investigation 1 0
Number of wars started using flawed justification 0 1
Cost to American taxpayer $0.00 ~$150,000,000,000 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of American soldiers killed as a result 0 1,357 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of British soldiers killed as a result 0 76 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of other non-Iraqi allied soldiers killed as a result 0 84 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of Iraqi policemen killed over last 4 months as a result 0 1,300+
Number of Iraqi civilians killed as a result 0 10,000-100,000+
Number of al-Qaeda training camps destroyed as a result 0 0
Number of terrorist plots against the US foiled as a result 0 0
Percentage of Iraqi people who view the US as "occupiers" as a result no data available 92%
Saddam Hussein removed from power as a result? No Yes
Saddam's torture chambers shut down as a result? No No
Iraqi people enjoying freedom as a result? No No (as of 1/12/05)
US's reputation severely damaged as a result? No Yes
US's military stretched thin as a result? No Yes
Posts mentioning story on NRO's "The Corner" 10 0
Advantage blogosphere? No Please
Alpinists' ice-dreamy mountains melting away

Where there was once cold, hard ice, there is now dirty slush and crumbling rock.

From the peaks and slopes of many of the world's most challenging mountains, ice and snow are dripping away, reshaping the century-old sport of alpinism and disquieting longtime mountain climbers.

Bush Appoints Arch-Conservative Claude Allen As Chief Domestic Policy Adviser

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Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Witness: CIA, SEALs Beat Iraq Prisoners

SAN DIEGO - A former Navy SEAL says he saw fellow SEALs and CIA officials kick, choke and eye-gouge detainees at a U.S. military base in Iraq.

For Honduras and Iran, World's Aid Evaporated Is Al Qaeda Just a Bush Boogeyman?

"The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear," a three-hour historical film by Adam Curtis recently aired by the British Broadcasting Corp., argues coherently that much of what we have been told about the threat of international terrorism "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media."

Nature: A Real Moral Value

Despite the rejection of some of Bush's worst environmental initiatives, the White House still hasn't learned that it's sailing against the public tide.

Iraqi Victim Says U.S. Torture Worse That Saddam

FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) - A former inmate at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison forced by U.S. guards to masturbate in public and piled onto a pyramid of naked men said on Tuesday even Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein did not do such things.

FAIR on Bush Admin Funding of Armstrong Williams: "The Government Is Running a Domestic Propaganda Operation Secretly Targeting The American People" Allawi group slips cash to journalists

The electoral group headed by Iyad Allawi, interim Iraqi prime minister, yesterday handed cash to journalists to try to ensure coverage of its press conferences, in a throwback to Ba'athist-era patronage ahead of parliamentary elections on January 30.

Monday, 10 January 2005

U.S. tried to bury pollutant study, group says: NRDC challenges report on rocket fuel in drinking water

WASHINGTON - A new report from the National Academy of Sciences raises by 20 times the amount of rocket fuel pollution in drinking water considered "safe," but environmentalists Monday accused the government of influencing the report's findings.

[...]

"Scientists at the EPA, in state agencies, and in academia have all concluded that very low levels of perchlorate threaten the health of babies," said NRDC scientist Jennifer Sass. "Scientists should not be strong-armed by unqualified, partisan bureaucrats and corporate polluters to skew the evidence."

The NRDC said federal agencies had tried to influence the report's conclusions and published documents that it said showed just how extensive the government's attempts were.

"The Defense Department's job is to protect Americans, not threaten our health, but these documents show that it is conspiring with its contractors and the White House to twist the science and avoid cleaning up a chemical that threatens our children's health," said NRDC lawyer Erik Olson.

"We've never seen such a brazen campaign to pressure the National Academy of Sciences to downplay the hazards of a chemical, but it fits the pattern of this administration manipulating science at the expense of public health," the NRDC said.

Inaugural Security Draws on Latest Technologies

D.C. police plan to erect roadblocks and screen pedestrians around an area covering more than 100 square blocks in the center of official Washington. People will have to pass through at least one of the 22 checkpoints along the parade route and through metal detectors.

[...]

Some people will be watched closely even before getting near a police checkpoint. Metro Transit Police officers have been trained to identify suspicious riders by looking for certain characteristics and patterns, such as people who avoid eye contact or loiter in the stations.

Metro Officers Keep a Keen Eye on Riders

Metro police officers are using new behavioral profiling techniques as they patrol subway stations, identifying suspicious riders and pulling them aside for questioning.

John Pilger: The other tsunami

The west's crusaders, the United States and Britain, are giving less to help the tsunami victims than the cost of a Stealth bomber or a week's bloody occupation of Iraq. The bill for George Bush's coming inauguration party would rebuild much of the coastline of Sri Lanka. Bush and Blair increased their first driblets of "aid" only when it became clear that people all over the world were spontaneously giving millions and that a public relations problem beckoned. The Blair government's current "generous" contribution is one-sixteenth of the £800m it spent on bombing Iraq before the invasion and barely one-twentieth of a £1bn gift, known as a soft loan, to the Indonesian military so that it could acquire Hawk fighter-bombers.

On 24 November, one month before the tsunami struck, the Blair government gave its backing to an arms fair in Jakarta, "designed to meet an urgent need for the [Indonesian] armed forces to review its defence capabilities", reported the Jakarta Post. The Indonesian military, responsible for genocide in East Timor, has killed more than 20,000 civilians and "insurgents" in Aceh. Among the exhibitors at the arms fair was Rolls-Royce, manufacturer of engines for the Hawks, which, along with British-supplied Scorpion armoured vehicles, machine-guns and ammunition, were terrorising and killing people in Aceh up to the day the tsunami devastated the province.

Is the U.S. Organizing Salvador-Style Death Squads in Iraq? "The Salvador Option": The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration's battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success--despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras. There is no evidence, however, that Negroponte knew anything about the Salvadoran death squads or the Iran-Contra scandal at the time. The Iraq ambassador, in a phone call to NEWSWEEK on Jan. 10, said he was not involved in military strategy in Iraq. He called the insertion of his name into this report "utterly gratuitous.")

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Marjorie Cohn: Dear Mr. Gonzales

You have been rewarded for your unflinching loyalty to George W. Bush with a nomination for Attorney General of the United States. As White House Counsel, you have walked in lockstep with the President. As Attorney General, you will be charged with representing all the people of the United States. Your performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday verified that you will continue to be a yes-man for Bush once you are confirmed.

In the face of interrogation by members of the Committee, you waffled, equivocated, lied, feigned lack of memory, and even remained silent, in the face of the most probing questions. Your refusals to answer prompted Senator Patrick Leahy to say, "Mr. Gonzales, I'd almost think that you'd served in the Senate, you've learned how to filibuster so well."

Sunday, 09 January 2005

Torture and International Human Rights: A roundtable discussion with Francis Boyle, Michael Mandel, Liz Holtzman, H. Victor Conde, and Mark Levine

Boyle: As I just argued at Fort Stewart Georgia in the court martial proceedings for Sgt. Camilo Mejia for desertion, the accountability here goes directly up the chain of command under the terms of the US Army Field Manual 27-10. Specifically, paragraph 501 makes clear that commanders who have ordered or knew or should have known about war crimes and failed to stop it are themselves guilty of war crimes. If you look then at the public record, it is clear that Gens. Sanchez and Miller ordered war crimes and both should be relieved of command immediately: abuse of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions. As for General Abizaid, the overall commander of US forces in Southwest Asia, he admitted in his Senate hearings that he should have known about the war crimes at Abu Ghraib, so basically he's already incriminated himself under the rules of the US Army Field Manual 27-10 In addition, above Abizaid you have Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Again my reading of the public record including the Taguba and Red Cross reports is that they either knew or should have known about all these war crimes. Indeed, if you read the ICRC report, - and as I testified under oath and under cross-examination (and was not contradicted) at the Mejia court-martial proceedings, - the widespread and systematic nature of these abuses rise to the level of crimes against humanity, going all the way up through the chain of command. Culpability also extends to Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence General William G. Boykin and Defense Undersecretary Stephen Cambone, who reports directly to Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. And through this line it appears to me that Rumsfeld is culpable, because he was at Abu Ghraib last fall. Indeed, Sy Hersch's New Yorker article on Abu Ghraib claims with good substantiation that he was totally aware and even signed off on the use of techniques which are clearly torture. Rumsfeld was given a tour by Brig. General Janet Karpinski, who was supposed to be in charge of the prison-although she said nothing when she was prohibited from accessing certain areas of it-and so she's also accountable. It's important to understand that the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Regulations of 1907, the U.S. Army Field Manual, all mandate that a criminal investigation be opened. And how President Bush, as Commander in Chief would be accountable under Field Manual 27-10 precisely because he is Commander in Chief of the US armed forces under the US Constitution. We know the White House knows this because if you read White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales's memo, he specifically tries to exempt the US from the Geneva Conventions for Guantanamo and Afghanistan. You can see that Gonzalez was afraid of Bush and others being held directly accountable. Moreover, because Powell dissented, we know there was a debate about this, so Bush had to have been aware of the implications of what was being done, which is also backed up by the memos from Ashcroft. These memos have been unearthed by Newsweek. So ultimately what we have here are people at the highest levels of the chain of command guilty of ordering or not preventing torture, which is both an international crime against the Geneva Conventions and the Torture Convention and a domestic crime as well. What we have then is a conspiracy among the aforementioned individuals to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. Let me add one more thing that's very important to remember: The principles set forth in 27-10 of personal criminal accountability for war crimes goes back to the Nuremburg Charter, Judgments and Principles derived from the post-World War II trials of Nazi war criminals. Similar principles of criminal accountability were applied by the United States to the Japanese Imperial War criminals.

Congress passes `doomsday' plan

WASHINGTON - With no fanfare, the U.S. House has passed a controversial doomsday provision that would allow a handful of lawmakers to run Congress if a terrorist attack or major disaster killed or incapacitated large numbers of congressmen.

``I think (the new rule) is terrible in a whole host of ways - first, I think it's unconstitutional,'' said Norm Ornstein, a counselor to the independent Continuity of Government Commission, a bipartisan panel created to study the issue. ``It's a very foolish thing to do, I believe, and the way in which it was done was more foolish.''

U.S. Troops Kill Iraq Civilians in Botched Strikes German's Claim of Kidnapping Brings Investigation of U.S. Link

Friday, 7 January 2005

Chile: Pinochet's son interrogated Chile finds fake Pinochet passports Ex-dictator Pinochet put under house arrest Key Pinochet records seized

Thursday, 6 January 2005

Pinochet under house arrest Kate Zernike: Newly Released Reports Show Early Concern on Prison Abuse Senator Boxer: Why I Must Object Mark Danner: We Are All Torturers Now

At least since Watergate, Americans have come to take for granted a certain story line of scandal, in which revelation is followed by investigation, adjudication and expiation. Together, Congress and the courts investigate high-level wrongdoing and place it in a carefully constructed narrative, in which crimes are charted, malfeasance is explicated and punishment is apportioned as the final step in the journey back to order, justice and propriety.

When Alberto Gonzales takes his seat before the Senate Judiciary Committee today for hearings to confirm whether he will become attorney general of the United States, Americans will bid farewell to that comforting story line. The senators are likely to give full legitimacy to a path that the Bush administration set the country on more than three years ago, a path that has transformed the United States from a country that condemned torture and forbade its use to one that practices torture routinely. Through a process of redefinition largely overseen by Mr. Gonzales himself, a practice that was once a clear and abhorrent violation of the law has become in effect the law of the land.

Wednesday, 5 January 2005

Scott Ritter: Rude awakening to missile-defense dream

The NMD system being fielded to counter the SS-25, and any similar or less sophisticated threats that may emerge from China, Iran, North Korea, and elsewhere, will probably have cumulative costs between $800 billion and $1.2 trillion by the time it reaches completion in 2015.

However, the Bush administration's dream of a viable NMD has been rendered fantasy by the Russian test of the SS-27 Topol-M. According to the Russians, the Topol-M has high-speed solid-fuel boosters that rapidly lift the missile into the atmosphere, making boost-phase interception impossible unless one is located practically next door to the launcher. The SS-27 has been hardened against laser weapons and has a highly maneuverable post-boost vehicle that can defeat any intercept capability as it dispenses up to three warheads and four sophisticated decoys.

Monday, 3 January 2005

Former Military Leaders Oppose Gonzales Nomination NRDC: Nuclear Notebook: U.S. nuclear forces, 2005 Blind in Baghdad

Last November the United States began its pre-Iraqi election offensive with a full-scale assault on Falluja, then said to be the center of the resistance to the coalition occupation and the Iraqi interim government. With newly trained Iraqi government troops showcased in the attack, U.S. commanders intended to break the back of the resistance. Instead, Falluja furnished additional evidence that the United States still does not comprehend the nature of its adversaries.

Rethinking doomsday

Loose nukes, nanobots, smallpox, oh my! In this age of endless imagining, and some very real risks, which terrorist threats should be taken most seriously?

Planning to deceive: How the Defense Department practices the fine art of making friends and influencing people.

The early years of the George W. Bush administration, with the war on terrorism, the face-off with Iraq, and the confrontation with North Korea, have required it to be concerned with the perceptions of foreign leaders and publics.

Last year's attempt to organize efforts to influence those perceptions--the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence--came to an abrupt end due to unfavorable publicity. But perception management efforts have continued--not surprisingly, since such efforts have a long history.

South Korea's nuclear surprise: As more and more countries adopt the IAEA's Additional Protocol, all kinds of nuclear secrets will come spilling out. Currently under the microscope: South Korea.

Sunday, 2 January 2005

Long-Term Plan Sought For Terror Suspects

Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries, according to intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials.

20 December 2004

Rejecting torture

Tuesday, 14 December 2004

Tracing Pinochet's millions to a U.S. bank

But Contreras was less certain about funds that Riggs held for his former boss, Pinochet, whose accounts are among those at the center of a sweeping money-laundering investigation of the bank. The sums involved - as much as $8 million, according to an assessment by the U.S. Senate - have left even Pinochet's staunchest allies wondering about their origin.

[...]

As Chile's strongman from 1973, when he overthrew Salvador Allende, an elected president, to 1990, Pinochet presided over a purge of political opponents and the creation of a police state.

But he also laid the foundations for what has become Latin America's most stable and promising economy - all, as the general's supporters have claimed, without stealing a dime.

In the United States, however, Senate investigators published a lengthy report in July that detailed multimillion-dollar accounts that Pinochet and his wife, Lucía, held at Riggs. The funds were disguised and moved around the globe for years with the cooperation of Riggs officials, Senate investigators said, even after he was detained in London in 1998 and held under house arrest on accusations by a Spanish court of human rights abuses and genocide.

Regulators fined Riggs $25 million this year for failing to comply with bank secrecy laws, and a criminal investigation of the bank and its executives for possible money-laundering is under way at the Justice Department. No Riggs officials have been charged with wrongdoing, although a former executive is the subject of a grand jury investigation of possible bank fraud.

Related items

Friday, 3 December 2004

ARMED DRONES ROLLING TO IRAQ

As soon as March or April, eighteen Talon robots armed with automatic weapons are scheduled to report for duty in Iraq, as part of the Army's Stryker Brigade.

Talon robot characteristics:

Armed robots soon marching to battle? The Return of PSYOPS: Military's media manipulation demands more investigation

The Los Angeles Times revealed this week (12/1/04) that the U.S. military lied to CNN in the course of executing psychological warfare operations, or PSYOPS, in advance of the recent attack on Fallujah. This incident raises serious questions about government disinformation and journalistic credibility, but recent discussions of the government's propaganda plans have excluded some valuable context.

Thursday, 2 December 2004

U.S. Psychological Operations: Military Uses Networks to Spread Misinformation Demand for Annan to resign over Oil-for-Food failures U.S. to Increase Its Force in Iraq by Nearly 12,000 ICRC to pursue US on Guantanamo issue

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

Red Cross Says "Torture" Occurring At Guantanamo Bay Red Cross President Plans Visit to Washington on Question of Detainees' Treatment U.S. Knew of Suspected Iraq Abuse in 2003 Abu Ghraib, Caribbean Style US senator calls on Annan to quit

Norm Coleman alleges ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was allowed to profit from the UN-backed scheme and that Mr Annan is ultimately responsible.

Related items:

U.N. staff show Annan support

United Nations, United States, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- More than 2,700 staff members of the U.N. Secretariat have signed a letter expressing their support for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Annan Getting Support at UN, White House Cautious U.S. Generals in Iraq Were Told of Abuse Early, Inquiry Finds

The investigation, by retired Col. Stuart A. Herrington, also found that members of Task Force 121 -- a joint Special Operations and CIA mission searching for weapons of mass destruction and high-value targets including Saddam Hussein -- had been abusing detainees throughout Iraq and had been using a secret interrogation facility to hide their activities.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror

WASHINGTON -- On the evening of Oct. 14, a young Marine spokesman near Fallouja appeared on CNN and made a dramatic announcement.

"Troops crossed the line of departure," 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert declared, using a common military expression signaling the start of a major campaign. "It's going to be a long night." CNN, which had been alerted to expect a major news development, reported that the long-awaited offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Fallouja had begun.

In fact, the Fallouja offensive would not kick off for another three weeks.

[...]

"Information is part of the battlefield in a way that it's never been before," one senior Bush administration official said. "We'd be foolish not to try to use it to our advantage."

Rwanda announces invasion of Congo Expand security council, says UN panel PM backs plan for security council reform Pentagon Denies Abuse Charges at Guantanamo

Tuesday, 30 November 2004

New York's HIV experiment

HIV positive children and their loved ones have few rights if they choose to battle with social work authorities in New York City.

Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo Enduring effects of war: Health in Iraq 2004

A recent scientific study has suggested that upwards of 100,000 Iraqis may have died since the 2003 coalition invasion, mostly from violence, mainly air strikes by coalition forces. Most of those reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children. Many thousands of conflict-related injuries were also sustained. Infant mortality has risen because of lack of access to skilled help in childbirth, as well as because of violence.

Iraq already had high child and adult mortality and there is an alarming recurrence of previously well-controlled communicable diseases including diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infections and typhoid, particularly among children. There is also a greater burden of noncommunicable disease, but a lack of resources, facilities and expertise to reverse the trends. The likely consequence will be an additional burden of preventable death and disability.

Behavioural problems such as family violence, child and spouse abuse and acts of public violence greatly increase in conflict and post-conflict situations. The aggregated effects of the psychosocial trauma suffered by Iraqi people create preconditions for further violence.

Friday, 26 November 2004

16,500 Remain Missing From Bosnia War

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

U.S. Operating Secret 'Torture Flights'

Sunday, 14 November 2004

US 'torture flights' stopped at Shannon US accused of 'torture flights'

Friday, 12 November 2004

Back behind bars

Thursday, 11 November 2004

Gonzales Is a Disastrous Choice

It didn't take long for President Bush to squander the opportunity provided by John Ashcroft's resignation as attorney general. Instead of replacing Ashcroft with someone of enough stature and independence to bolster the administration's commitment to the rule of law, Bush rushed to nominate his old confidant from Texas, White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales. Gonzales should face little trouble being confirmed as the nation's first Latino attorney general, and that's a shame. He is a terrible choice.

Fighting intensifies in Falluja

Wednesday, 10 November 2004

Anti-war protest in L.A. gets response with tanks

Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Troops storm Fallujah

The US military said Iraqi troops captured 38 people, including four foreigners when they swept into the first objective: Fallujah's main hospital, which the military and Mr Allawi said was under insurgent control.

Iraqi soldiers stormed through the facility, blasting open doors and pulling handcuffed patients into the halls in search of gunmen.

[...]

The US military said insurgents had been in control of Fallujah General Hospital - located on the west bank of the Euphrates - and were "forcing the doctors there to release propaganda and false information."

During the siege of Fallujah last April, doctors at the hospital were a main source of reports about civilian casualties, which were reported in the hundreds. Those reports generated strong public outage in Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world, prompting the Bush administration to call off the offensive. US officials insisted the numbers were overblown.

Hospital director Dr Salih al-Issawi said today he asked US officers to allow doctors and ambulances go inside the main part of the city to help the wounded but they refused. There was no confirmation from the Americans.

Dr al-Issawi denounced the US seizure. The Americans "thought that they would halt medical assistance to the resistance," he said from inside the city. "But they did not realize that the hospital does not belong to anybody, especially the resistance."

Monday, 8 November 2004

The E-Vote Factor: Kerry Conceded But Did He Really Lose?

Serious questions are being raised about the use of electronic voting machines in the 2004 presidential election. In an Ohio county, Bush mistakenly received some 3,900 extra votes. We speak Johns Hopkins University professor Aviel Rubin and investigative reporter Bev Harris.

US troops seize Fallujah hospital

Black smoke towered over besieged Fallujah today after US and Iraqi forces took control of a hospital and two bridges in a prelude to what could be a decisive assault on the rebel stronghold.

Saturday, 6 November 2004

What Moral Values? US strikes raze Falluja hospital

A hospital has been razed to the ground in one of the heaviest US air raids in the Iraqi city of Falluja.

Sunday, 31 October 2004

Voters claim abuse of electoral rolls

Friday, 29 October 2004

Study finds 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq since invasion, most from coalition forces

Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey

Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. We have shown that collection of public-health information is possible even during periods of extreme violence. Our results need further verification and should lead to changes to reduce non-combatant deaths from air strikes.

Iraq civilian toll 'more than 100,000' UK queries report of 100,000 Iraq civilian deaths 100,000 Civilian Deaths Estimated in Iraq (Washington Post, page A16) Study Puts Iraqi Deaths of Civilians at 100,000 (International Herald Tribune, printed in NYT) Conflict May Have Killed 100,000 Iraqis, Report Says Reporters Without Borders: United States ranks 23 in press freedom worldwide

Wednesday, 27 October 2004

Israel calls on UN to consider dismissal of rights expert

GENEVA (AFP) - Israel has asked the United Nations top human rights body to consider dismissing its expert on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, after he said the European Union must suspend trade ties with Israel, a senior Israeli diplomat said.

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

James Carroll: For Nuclear Safety, the Choice is Clear

Kerry is on record in this campaign as wanting to move in exactly the opposite direction. Across two decades in the US Senate, especially as a main supporter of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, Kerry has shown that he understands the urgency of turning the worst legacy of the Cold War back on itself.

Polling Truth: Don't Be Confused by the Tide of Contradictory Voter Surveys. Bush is in Trouble Bush Wants More Money for Iraq, Afghanistan: Report Embedded Reporter Saw No Explosives Search

NEW YORK - An NBC News reporter embedded with a U.S. army unit that seized an Iraqi installation three weeks into the war said Tuesday that she saw no signs that the Americans searched for the powerful explosives that are now missing from the site.

Reporter Lai Ling Jew, who was embedded with the Army's 101st Airborne, Second Brigade, said her news team stayed at the Al-Qaqaa base for about 24 hours.

"There wasn't a search," she told MSNBC, an NBC cable news channel. "The mission that the brigade had was to get to Baghdad. That was more of a pit stop there for us. And, you know, the searching, I mean certainly some of the soldiers head off on their own, looked through the bunkers just to look at the vast amount of ordnance lying around.

"But as far as we could tell, there was no move to secure the weapons, nothing to keep looters away."

Pentagon responds to missing-explosives report

The Pentagon said yesterday that 380 tons of missing explosives from an Iraqi munitions facility may have been moved before U.S. troops overran the area during the invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

[...]

A Pentagon statement said troops searched the Al Qaqaa site during and after major combat. They searched 32 bunkers and 87 other buildings, the Pentagon said, but found no weapons of mass destruction or any material under IAEA seal.

US plays down loss of explosives Tons of explosives gone missing: whose fault?

In several sessions with reporters, the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, alternately insisted that Mr. Bush "wants to make sure that we get to the bottom of this" and tried to distance the president from knowledge of the issue, saying Mr. Bush was informed of the disappearance only within the last 10 days. White House officials said they could not explain why warnings from the international agency in May 2003 about the stockpile's vulnerability to looting never resulted in action. At one point, Mr. McClellan pointed out that "there were a number of priorities at the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom."

UN expert decries global shame of rising numbers of hungry people

The Rapporteur states he is particularly concerned by the situation in Sudan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the occupied Palestinian territories and Cuba.

Mr. Ziegler calls for urgent action by Khartoum and Pyongyang to protect the citizens of their countries, and says the Israeli Government must respect its obligations as the occupying Power so that Palestinians enjoy the right to food. He also urges the United States "to refrain from unilateral measures that affect the right to food" of Cubans.

Increase in War Funding Sought: Bush to Request $70 Billion More

The Bush administration intends to seek about $70 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan early next year, pushing total war costs close to $225 billion since the invasion of Iraq early last year, Pentagon and congressional officials said yesterday.

Monday, 25 October 2004

Global ecological footprint, 1961-2001
U.N.: Explosives Missing from Former Iraq Atomic Site Humans consume 20% more natural resources than the earth can produce Lawmakers Disturbed by Report of Secret Transfers of Detainees: CIA purportedly moved prisoners out of Iraq, a possible violation of the Geneva Convention. Bush Exploits Suffering of 9/11, says Carter Massacre at Baquba: 49 Iraqi Soldiers Executed in Attack Designed to Send Message to US Bush Interior Dept. Pepper Sprays Top Cop

Theresa Chambers has become a poster child for the destruction of enduring American institutions. In this case, the National Park Service and the national monuments it protects.

Until last July, Theresa Chambers was the U.S. Park Service Chief of Police. She was responsible for security and public safety at U.S. National Parks and Monuments in urban centers, including the Washington Monument and the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials on the Washington Mall along with many other parks and monuments in the nation's capitol.

On December 2, 2003, Chambers was interviewed by a Washington Post reporter. She spoke candidly of the challenges the Park Service Police faced with stepped up demands for homeland security and declining Park Service budgets. "My greatest fear," she said, "is that harm or death will come to a visitor or employee at one of our parks, or that we're going to miss a key thing at one of our icons."

On December 5, 2003, the National Park Service stripped Teresa Chambers of her gun and badge and placed her on administrative leave for "violating federal rules" regarding the discussion of budgets and for "giving away critical public safety information."

Theresa Chambers decided to fight back. She challenged her dismissal, and as a result, was subjected to a nasty campaign of reprisal by political hacks within the Interior Department. Someone sprayed pepper spray, the noxious chemical weapon used to control violent criminals, into the open door of her office. The harassment included computer break-ins, planting false rumors, leaking misleading portions of confidential reports, and intimidating her supporters from speaking out.

U.N.: Explosives Missing from Former Iraq Atomic Site Kerry Demands Answers About Missing Explosives U.S. Is Said to Urge Its Iraqi Allies to Unite for Election Electronic Voting Raises New Issues Top Army Official Calls for a Halliburton Inquiry 'Peace with Honor' in Iraq The War Bin Laden Wanted New CIA Director Ruffles Agency How John Kerry Exposed the Contra-Cocaine Scandal

Sunday, 24 October 2004

Why America Has Waged a Losing Battle on Fallouja

Marines were on the verge of taking the city in April when politics intervened. U.S. misjudgment, disagreement and shifting strategy ended up fanning the flames of the Iraqi insurgency.

After Terror, a Secret Rewriting of Military Law U.S. Diplomat Killed in Baghdad Mortar Attack Detainees Secretly Taken Out Of Iraq Beyond the Call of Duty

Saturday, 23 October 2004

GOP Voter Drive Accused of Tossing Card Former Workers Dispute Bush's Pull in Project P.U.L.L. US Rejects World Calls to Join Russia in Ratifying Kyoto Pact Three Guantánamo 'Judges' Removed Due to Pentagon Bias Further Abuse at Abu Ghraib Detailed

Washington - Government documents made public Thursday provide fresh details about allegations of abuse by guards at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other detention facilities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

No Direct Evidence of Plot To Attack Around Elections WTC Rescue Hero Sues Bush and Others under RICO Statute Bush's story of his early work in urban program is disputed

HOUSTON -- President Bush often has cited his work in 1973 with a now-defunct urban program for troubled teens as the source for his belief in "compassionate conservatism."

Kyoto treaty to be binding after Russian ratification

Friday, 22 October 2004

Integrity of Florida Virtual Vote in Doubt Iraq Coalition Vanishes from White House Website Ancient City of Teotihuacan a Modern Battleground Between Conservationists, Wal-Mart Bush Faces Nuclear Fallout in Nevada Over £60bn Mountain of Radioactive Waste Three of Four Bush Supporters Still Believe in Iraqi WMD, al Qaeda Ties Senator Says Pentagon Unit Hyped Terror Tie Israel May Have Iran in Its Sights Iraq Evidence 'Manipulated,' Inquiry Finds

Washington - A controversial intelligence unit set up in the Pentagon provided skewed prewar analysis to support Bush administration claims that Saddam Hussein was an ally of Al Qaeda, an investigation by Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee has found.

The intelligence unit, run by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, shaded analytic judgments, ignored contrary evidence and sidestepped the CIA to present dubious findings to senior officials at the White House, the investigation concluded.

The report was released Thursday by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) after a 16-month inquiry conducted by Democratic staff members on the committee. Levin has been a persistent critic of Feith and the Bush administration on Iraq.

John W. Dean: The Coming Post-Election Chaos The Case That Kerry Cracked

As a senator, John Kerry was a tenacious investigator and exposed BCCI, an international criminal bank, and its murderous clients. The experience should serve him well in dealing with the international threats we face today.

Bush Supporters Still Believe Iraq Had WMD or Major Program, Supported al Qaeda

Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

Thursday, 21 October 2004

Climate Change Threatens World Aid Effort A Schoolgirl Riddled with Bullets. And No One is to Blame: Questions remain after Israeli unit commander is cleared of Palestinian pupil's death Consumption of Resources Outstripping Planet's Ability to Cope International Observer Team Urges Reforms in US Electoral Process Exclusive for Local Reporter: Ex-C.I.A. Chief Tenet Comes to Town

Addressing the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Wednesday night, George Tenet, former director of central intelligence, called the war on Iraq "wrong," according to Clark's article on Thursday, although it was unclear whether he meant the war itself or mainly the intelligence it was based on.

Bush Foresaw No War Casualties, Robertson Recalls Jonathan Schell: Invitation to a Degraded World Global warming effects faster than feared -experts

WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Recent storms, droughts and heat waves are probably being caused by global warming, which means the effects of climate change are coming faster than anyone had feared, climate experts said on Thursday.

[...]

"This year, the unusually intense period of destructive activity, with four hurricanes hitting in a five-week period, could be a harbinger of things to come," said Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

[...]

"The weather patterns are changing. The character of the system is changing," Epstein said. "It is becoming a signal of how the system is behaving and it is not stable."

Experts have long said that people are affecting the world's climate, and this is no longer in any real dispute. Fossil fuels such as oil, in particular, release carbon dioxide that forms a blanket that holds in heat from the sun's rays.

Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Lawmakers Prod CIA for Pre-9/11 Accountability Report Kidnapped: The Heroine Who Offered Hope for Iraq

Tuesday, 19 October 2004

The Strategy to Secure Iraq Did Not Foresee a 2nd War Sinclair Fires Washington Bureau Chief The Man Who Bought the Oil from Iraq

Houston - Billions of dollars of Iraqi oil had been sold under a United Nations program - and food and other goods bought with the proceeds - when Saddam Hussein decided in 2000 that he personally wanted a bigger cut of the action. Documents now suggest that at least one United States company acceded to that demand, paying surcharges that kept the oil flowing.

The action by the Coastal Corporation, which was founded by the Texas entrepreneur and oilman Oscar S. Wyatt Jr., is detailed in a formal Iraqi government tally of secret payments made from September 2000 to December 2003, when steps were taken by American and British officials to stop the surcharges.

Coastal, the only publicly traded American oil company on the list, is shown as having paid $201,877 in surcharges. It is a small piece of the $228 million in surcharges on oil sales that Mr. Hussein collected, largely from Russian companies, according to a Central Intelligence Agency report released last week.

The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket

Monday, 18 October 2004

High Court Orders Review of Texas Seats Sinclair Employee Decries Planned Program on Kerry Wanted Rebel Vows Loyalty to bin Laden, Web Sites Say Zbigniew Brzezinski: "The Neo-Conservative Formula Doesn't Work" Problems Reported with Some Florida Early Ballots Clerks Spill Bush v. Gore Details

Washington - The inscription on the front of the Supreme Court building says "Equal Justice Under Law," but the court's motto could just as easily be "What Happens Here, Stays Here." In a town where confidential information travels fast, the justices protect their internal deliberations fiercely - and, usually, successfully.

But in the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine, former Supreme Court law clerks from the court's 2000-01 term speak out - under cover of anonymity - about what they saw behind the scenes during the fateful case of Bush v. Gore.

That case, decided by a 5-4 vote, ended the contentious recount in Florida, thereby giving the presidency to George W. Bush.

Writers David Margolick, Evgenia Peretz and Michael Shnayerson recount the views of former clerks to liberal justices who opposed the ruling. Those clerks contend that the decision was an exercise in partisanship by conservative Republican justices.

Israeli Forces Destroy Homes to Clear Palestinians from Border

The Israel Defense Force (IDF), which regularly comes under fire along Gaza's southern edge from Palestinian armed groups, claims that the destruction is militarily necessary. Human Rights Watch found the IDF has made 16,000 people homeless over the past four years, regardless of whether their homes posed a genuine military threat.

[...]

"Israel's conduct in southern Gaza stems from the assumption that every Palestinian is a suicide bomber and every home a base for attack," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "This policy of mass home destruction leads to serious violations of international humanitarian law meant to protect civilians."

[...]

The report also criticizes Caterpillar Inc., the U.S.-based company that produces the powerful D9 bulldozer the IDF uses to destroy Palestinian homes and infrastructure. Human Rights Watch called on Caterpillar to suspend sales of D9 bulldozers, parts or maintenance services to the IDF so long as they use this machinery in illegal demolitions. The company should take steps to ensure that it does not knowingly sell its goods and services to customers that will use them to abuse human rights.

Sunday, 17 October 2004

Without a Doubt Broad Use of Harsh Tactics Is Described at Cuba Base U.S. Policy in Iraq Repeatedly Faulted in Recent Studies Report: Jeb Bush Ignored Felon List Advice

Saturday, 16 October 2004

Media Firm Accused of Dodging FCC Rules Fahrenheit 9/11 Denied Cable Access Fraud, voter registration problems, Electoral College -- Colorado could be next Florida Vowing Iraq Pullback, Polish Leader Wins Vote Fla. Has New Rule on Touch-Screen Recounts Liberal Christians Mobilize to React to Religious Right Five Churches, Hospital Bombed in Baghdad

Friday, 15 October 2004

The Polluted Planet: Alarm as Global Study Finds One-Third of Amphibians Face Extinction

They were the first animals with backbones to walk on land. They witnessed the rise and fall of the dinosaurs and were present at the birth of a bipedal ape who went on to become the most destructive species the planet has ever known.

Amphibians - frogs, toads, newts and salamanders - are among the longest surviving animals on earth, yet something dramatic now threatens that longevity. And mankind is responsible.

A global study revealed yesterday that almost a third of amphibians face extinction - and pollution is cited as the biggest cause. The three-year survey, involving 500 scientists from more than 60 countries, has found that a third of the 5,743 known species are threatened with being wiped out and at least 427 are so critically endangered that they could disappear tomorrow.

The animals are so sensitive to the man-made environment that scientists have likened them to the canary in a coal mine - songbirds that fell silent, killed in the presence of odourless gas. The latest and most comprehensive study of amphibians around the world has shown that for many species of frogs and their nearest relatives the singing has suddenly and inexplicably stopped - and the same bipedal ape is almost certainly responsible.

"This is a problem way outside what we know," said Simon Stuart of the World Conservation Union and leader of the study published in the online version of the journal Science.

Dr Stuart said: "This level of decline is ... extraordinary and serious because amphibians represent a very important part of the overall diversity of life. Since most amphibians feel the effects of pollution before many other forms of life, their rapid decline tells us that one of earth's most critical life support systems is breaking down."

Platoon Defies Orders in Iraq Paul Krugman: Block the Vote

Earlier this week former employees of Sproul & Associates (operating under the name Voters Outreach of America), a firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters, told a Nevada TV station that their supervisors systematically tore up Democratic registrations.

Thursday, 14 October 2004

Israel calls for ouster of UN food officer Karl Rove in a Corner

Karl Rove is at his most formidable when running close races, and his skills would be notable even if he used no extreme methods. But he does use them. His campaign history shows his willingness, when challenged, to employ savage tactics

Budget Gap Swells to Record $413 Bln Bush 'Not Concerned' About Bin Laden in '02 Five dead in Baghdad green zone blasts Sinclair's Plan to Air Kerry Film Angers Democrats: Abuse of Public Airwaves, Groups Say Bush AWOL As 250 World Leaders Reaffirm Women's Rights

WASHINGTON -- With the notable exception of U.S. President George W. Bush, more than 250 global leaders, including former President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, reaffirmed their commitment to a ten-year-old UN plan to ensure the rights of women around the world.

Jordanian official denies reports of CIA detention facility GOP Paid Firm Faces Voter Fraud Charge Jordan 'ghost' jail 'is holding senior al-Qa'eda leaders'

Wednesday, 13 October 2004

Group Says Bush Easy on Polluters A Republican Declares His Independence Blix says Iraq war stimulated terrorism Judge Holds Second Reporter in Contempt Computer Glitch Delays Routine Voter Machine Test CIA has 11 Al-Qaida suspects in Jordan facility CIA: No comment on report 11 Qaida suspects held in Jordan How Tax Bill Gave Business More and More Close ties at the Pentagon: The power, influence and bottomline of defense contractors has grown during the Bush presidency

Tuesday, 12 October 2004

U.S.: Detained al-Qaeda Suspects "Disappeared" James Baker's Double Life: A Special Investigation ERASING THE RULES, PART III: A facelift at the EPA

The Bush administration has committed itself to reshaping the EPA by staffing key regulatory posts with industry lobbyists and lawyers.

Dems Object to Airing of Anti-Kerry Film Paul Krugman: Checking the Facts, in Advance Security Scholars Say Iraq War Most Misguided Policy Since Vietnam

"We're advising the administration, which is already in a deep hole, to stop digging."

Barry Posen, the Ford International Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Gasoline Pump Price Highest Ever for October Higher Oil Cost May Hurt Japan, Cabinet Ministers Say (Update1) One-Quarter of Working Americans Live in Poverty, Study Finds N-Bomb Equipment 'Lost in Iraq' Israeli Army Chief 'Emptied His Magazine' at Girl in Gaza Nobel Winner: US Voters Hold Key to Ending Iraq War, Curbing Global Warming Bush Funds US Spying on Internet Chat Rooms

Monday, 11 October 2004

Tale

More than a thousand and one nights -three years - have elapsed since the Allied forces, along with Commandant Massoud's, got rid of the bloody Taliban theocracy for the Afghans and the whole world. The tale told this weekend of the half-full or half-empty ballot box is not the last in the tragic history of the "Kingdom of Impudence".

Surprise CO2 Rise May Speed Up Global Warming

The rate at which global warming gases are accumulating in the atmosphere has taken a sharp leap upwards, leading to fears that the devastating effects of climate change may hit the world even sooner than has been predicted.

A Doctrine Under Pressure: Pre-emption Is Redefined

Crrawford, Tex. - Under pressure to explain anew his decision to invade Iraq in light of a damaging report from the C.I.A.'s top weapons inspector, President Bush appears to be quietly redefining one of the signature philosophies of his administration - his doctrine of pre-emptive military action.

Sinclair: 'Attackumentary' = News Nuclear assets 'vanish' in Iraq 39 Million Americans in Working Poor Families Senate OKs $137 billion in corporate, special interest tax breaks Long an Iraqi Target, No U.S. Help in Sight: Complaints by soldiers under daily fire contrast sharply with White House and Pentagon statements. Major Assaults on Hold Until After U.S. Vote

Attacks on Iraq's rebel-held cities will be delayed, officials say. But that could make it harder to allow wider, and more legitimate, Iraqi voting in January.

Israeli Think Tank: Iraq War Distracted US, 'Created Momentum' for Terrorists

TEL AVIV, Israel - The war in Iraq did not damage international terror groups, but instead distracted the United States from confronting other hotbeds of Islamic militancy and actually ``created momentum'' for many terrorists, a top Israeli security think tank said in a report released Monday.

President Bush has called the war in Iraq an integral part of the war on terrorism, saying that deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein hoped to develop unconventional weapons and could have given them to Islamic militants across the world.

But the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University said that instead of striking a blow against Islamic extremists, the Iraq war ``has created momentum for many terrorist elements, but chiefly al-Qaida and its affiliates.''

Human Rights Watch: al-Qaida Detainees in US Custody 'Disappeared' Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh spills the secrets of the Iraq quagmire and the war on terror

There was more -- rumors of atrocities around Iraq that to Hersh brought back memories of My Lai. In the evening's most emotional moment, Hersh talked about a call he had gotten from a first lieutenant in charge of a unit stationed halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. His group was bivouacking outside of town in an agricultural area, and had hired 30 or so Iraqis to guard a local granary. A few weeks passed. They got to know the men they hired, and to like them. Then orders came down from Baghdad that the village would be "cleared." Another platoon from the soldier's company came and executed the Iraqi granary guards. All of them.

"He said they just shot them one by one. And his people, and he, and the villagers of course, went nuts," Hersh said quietly. "He was hysterical, totally hysterical. He went to the company captain, who said, 'No, you don't understand, that's a kill. We got 36 insurgents. Don't you read those stories when the Americans say we had a combat maneuver and 15 insurgents were killed?'

"It's shades of Vietnam again, folks: body counts," Hersh continued. "You know what I told him? I said, 'Fella, you blamed the captain, he knows that you think he committed murder, your troops know that their fellow soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Complete your tour. Just shut up! You're going to get a bullet in the back.' And that's where we are in this war."

Sunday, 10 October 2004

Rumsfeld: Pullout Not Likely Before Vote

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq - The United States may be able to reduce its troop levels in Iraq after the January elections if security improves and Iraqi government forces continue to expand and improve, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday.

The CIA 'old guard' goes to war with Bush Who Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? Bin Laden 'no longer top target'

COALITION commanders in Afghanistan have begun playing down the importance of Osama Bin Laden -- in sharp contrast to the statements made earlier this year that he would be caught by the end of 2004.

"From the Afghan point of view we don't want to focus too much on Bin Laden," said Major-General John Cooper, deputy commander of the American-led coalition forces.

The Siege

Going to war is never easy, but neither is being left behind

Scott Ritter: If you had seen what I have seen

The inspection process was rigged to create uncertainty over WMD to bolster the US and UK's case for war

It appears that the last vestiges of perceived legitimacy regarding the decision of President George Bush and Tony Blair to invade Iraq have been eliminated with the release this week of the Iraq Survey Group's final report on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The report's author, Charles Duelfer, underscored the finality of what the world had come to accept in the 18 months since the invasion of Iraq - that there were no stockpiles of WMD, or programmes to produce WMD. Despite public statements made before the war by Bush, Blair and officials and pundits on both sides of the Atlantic to the contrary, the ISG report concludes that all of Iraq's WMD stockpiles had been destroyed in 1991, and WMD programmes and facilities dismantled by 1996.

[...]

Saddam is gone, and the world is far worse for it - not because his regime posed no threat, perceived or otherwise, but because the threat to international peace and security resulting from the decisions made by Bush and Blair to invade Iraq in violation of international law make any threat emanating from an Iraq ruled by Saddam pale in comparison.

Saturday, 9 October 2004

Abuse by Iraqis 'astonished' guardsman: Staff Sgt. Kevin Maries of Salem says he was ready to fire when he saw guards beating captives, images he's still unable to shake GOP Dirty Tricks in Ohio? 'By God, We've Just Created the Iraq Syndrome!' Faulty 'No-Fly' System Detailed

The federal government's "no-fly" list had 16 names on it on Sept. 11, 2001. Today, it has more than 20,000.

The list, which identifies suspected terrorists seeking to board commercial airplanes, expanded rapidly even though the government knew that travelers were being mistakenly flagged, according to federal records. The records detail how government officials expressed little interest in tracking or resolving cases in which passenger names were confused with the growing number of names on the list.

Report Cites U.S. Profits in Sale of Iraqi Oil Under Hussein

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 - Major American oil companies and a Texas oil investor were among those who received lucrative vouchers that enabled them to buy Iraqi oil under the United Nations oil-for-food program, according to a report prepared by the chief arms inspector for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Pelosi Seeks Special Counsel for an Inquiry on DeLay

The House's top Democrat yesterday called for a special counsel to look into Majority Leader Tom DeLay's role in an embattled Texas political action committee, ratcheting up an ethics dispute that has gripped the House in the closing days of the 108th Congress.

Friday, 8 October 2004

James K. Galbraith: What Economic Recovery? Civil Rights Panel to Wait to Discuss Bush U.S. strike kills 11 at wedding in Iraq's Falluja Working for a Pittance

Coming next week are the results of a new study that shows - here at home - how tough a time American families are having in their never-ending struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. The White House, as deep in denial about the economy as it is about Iraq, insists that things are fine - despite the embarrassing fact that President Bush is on track to become the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs during his four years in office.

The study, jointly sponsored by the Annie E. Casey, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, will show that 9.2 million working families in the United States - one out of every four - earn wages that are so low they are barely able to survive financially.

U.S. strike kills 11 at wedding in Iraq's Falluja Feds seize Indymedia servers

The FBI yesterday seized a pair of UK servers used by Indymedia, the independent newsgathering collective, after serving a subpoena in the US on Indymedia's hosting firm, Rackspace. Why or how remains unclear.

Thursday, 7 October 2004

Bush's Crimes Against Nature The New York Times: The Verdict Is In Bush Administration in Denial about Lack of Iraq WMD: Kay Rocket Attack Hits Baghdad Hotel County prosecutors in Michigan reject request to charge Michael Moore

The harshest reaction came from the two Republican prosecutors, Antrim County's Charles Koop and Isabella County's Larry Burdick. Worthy and Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III are Democrats.

"Alleging that a person is attempting to buy votes is a serious allegation, and one that is taken seriously by this office. However, your request to prosecute Mr. Moore trivializes the intent of this section of the election code," Koop said Thursday in a letter to Greg McNeilly, executive director of the state Republican Party.

Burdick said he chooses "to devote our resources to prosecuting those who are delivering cocaine to our young people rather than underwear."

The Los Angeles Times: Is He a Dope?

Although neither group likes to say so, some Americans who support President Bush and many who don't support him have concluded over four years that he may not be very bright. This suspicion was not allayed by Bush's answers in the first presidential debate a week ago.

[...]

Does this man think through his beliefs before they harden into unwavering principles? Is he open to countervailing evidence? Does he test his beliefs against new evidence and outside argument? Does his understanding of a subject go any deeper than the minimum amount needed for public display? Is he intellectually curious? Does he try to reconcile his beliefs on one subject with his beliefs on another?

It's bad if a president is incapable of the abstract thought necessary for these mental exercises. If he is capable and isn't even trying, that's worse. It becomes a question of character. When a president sends thousands of young Americans to kill and die halfway around the world, thinking about it as hard and as honestly as possible is the least he can do.

Wednesday, 6 October 2004

Environmental Hogwash Terror Fears Only Card Bush Has To Play

Someday, President George W. Bush may have to explain why he really went to war against Iraq.

US vetoes resolution calling for Israeli halt to Gaza operations

The United States vetoed an Arab-backed UN Security Council resolution calling for a halt to Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Last night's vote in the 15-member Security Council was 11 in favour, one against, and three abstentions by Britain, Germany and Romania.

Tuesday, 5 October 2004

Media Matters? Poll Shows More than 4 in 10 Still Link Saddam to 9/11 Dear Mike, Iraq sucks Paul Krugman: The Falling Scales

Monday, 4 October 2004

MICHAEL TARAZI: Two Peoples, One State

Israel's untenable policy in the Middle East was more obvious than usual last week, as the Israeli Army made repeated incursions into Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the deadliest attacks in more than two years, even as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated his plans to withdraw from the territory. Israel's overall strategy toward the Palestinians is ultimately self-defeating: it wants Palestinian land but not the Palestinians who live on that land.

U.S. may be too quick to blame al-Zarqawi: Arab intelligence reports say U.S. too quick to solely blame militant for carrying out violence in Iraq Rumsfeld: Al-Qaeda-Saddam link is weak Marjorie Cohn: Kerry Hits Nail on Head

Sunday, 3 October 2004

U.S. Policies Stir More Fear Than Confidence

International terrorism has given rise to new ground zeros. Much of Europe and the world feel insecure, but a growing number of nations no longer look to the U.S. for leadership and sanctuary. The Bush administration's unilateralist policies in Iraq and its perceived aloofness have left it less trusted at a time of widening global vulnerability, according to polls and interviews in more than 30 countries.

Guantanamo has 'failed to prevent terror attacks'

Prisoner interrogations at Guantánamo Bay, the controversial US military detention centre where guards have been accused of brutality and torture, have not prevented a single terrorist attack, according to a senior Pentagon intelligence officer who worked at the heart of the US war on terror.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Christino, who retired last June after 20 years in military intelligence, says that President George W Bush and US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have 'wildly exaggerated' their intelligence value.

Christino's revelations, to be published this week in Guantánamo: America's War on Human Rights, by British journalist David Rose, are supported by three further intelligence officials. Christino also disclosed that the 'screening' process in Afghanistan which determined whether detainees were sent to Guantánamo was 'hopelessly flawed from the get-go'.

At Large, Material to make 15,000 Nuclear Bombs

Last night, Dr Frank Barnaby, a former Aldermaston nuclear weapons specialist who became director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, called the plans "an invitation to terrorists to go nuclear".

He says a group could easily make an atomic bomb from just four-and a-half pounds of the plutonium.

Now on DVD: The Passion of the Bush How the White House Embraced Disputed Arms Intelligence

In 2002, at a crucial juncture on the path to war, senior members of the Bush administration gave a series of speeches and interviews in which they asserted that Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear weapons program. Speaking to a group of Wyoming Republicans in September, Vice President Dick Cheney said the United States now had "irrefutable evidence" - thousands of tubes made of high-strength aluminum, tubes that the Bush administration said were destined for clandestine Iraqi uranium centrifuges, before some were seized at the behest of the United States.

Those tubes became a critical exhibit in the administration's brief against Iraq. As the only physical evidence the United States could brandish of Mr. Hussein's revived nuclear ambitions, they gave credibility to the apocalyptic imagery invoked by President Bush and his advisers. The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, explained on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

But almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.

The White House, though, embraced the disputed theory that the tubes were for nuclear centrifuges, an idea first championed in April 2001 by a junior analyst at the C.I.A. Senior nuclear scientists considered that notion implausible, yet in the months after 9/11, as the administration built a case for confronting Iraq, the centrifuge theory gained currency as it rose to the top of the government.

Senior administration officials repeatedly failed to fully disclose the contrary views of America's leading nuclear scientists, an examination by The New York Times has found. They sometimes overstated even the most dire intelligence assessments of the tubes, yet minimized or rejected the strong doubts of nuclear experts. They worried privately that the nuclear case was weak, but expressed sober certitude in public.

Saturday, 2 October 2004

Kerry Pulls Ahead of Bush in Newsweek Poll

Friday, 1 October 2004

On Many Foreign Policy Issues US Leaders and Public Agree, But Congress Votes to the Contrary

A new joint study of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (CCFR) and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland finds that the American public and American leaders?including senior Congressional staffers, administration officials, and leaders in business, labor, media and other areas? agree on many key foreign policy issues, but that Congress frequently votes contrary to this consensus. The study found American leaders misperceive the public position on these issues, especially when it comes to multilateral initiatives. Congressional staffers similarly misread their own constituents. At the same time, most Americans mistakenly believe that Congress as a whole and their own representative, vote consistent with their preferences. Steven Kull, director of PIPA comments, "What we have found are serious gaps in the democratic process when it comes to Congressional foreign policy."

Thursday, 30 September 2004

lobal Warming Is Expected to Raise Hurricane Intensity US is Retreating From International Legal System, Study Finds From Baghdad: A Wall Street Journal Reporter's E-Mail to Friends Protesters Prepare for Chase as Plutonium Ships Near UK

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

Bush cut some diesel pollution but let big ships keep spewing

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Standing amid the chaparral and avocado farms overlooking the Pacific, one of the top experts in protecting the air in this pastoral city gazes down on his region's most untouchable polluters.

Through a filament of haze they emerge: containerships long enough to ferry the Space Needle, some belching as much exhaust as 12,000 cars, cutting through the bay toward the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach.

"I count five," said Tom Murphy, environmental-assessment manager with the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. "And we've only been here 20 minutes."

Monday, 27 September 2004

Kennedy Says Bush Makes US More Vulnerable to Nuclear Attack Spy Imagery Agency Watching Inside US

BETHESDA, Md. -- In the name of homeland security, America's spy imagery agency is keeping a close eye, close to home. It's watching America. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, about 100 employees of a little-known branch of the Defense Department called the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency -- and some of the country's most sophisticated aerial imaging equipment -- have focused on observing what's going on in the United States.

Their work brushes up against the fine line between protecting the public and performing illegal government spying on Americans.

Roughly twice a month, the agency is called upon to help with the security of events inside the United States. Even more routinely, it is asked to help prepare imagery and related information to protect against possible attacks on critical sites.

For instance, the agency has modified basic maps of the nation's capital to highlight the location of hospitals, linking them to data on the number of beds or the burn unit in each. To secure the Ronald Reagan funeral procession, the agency merged aerial photographs and 3D images, allowing security planners to virtually walk, drive or fly through the Simi Valley, Calif., route.

Sunday, 26 September 2004

Al Qaeda Seen as Wider Threat

The network has evolved into a looser, ideological movement that may no longer report to Bin Laden. Critics say the White House focus is misdirected.

[...]

Officials say the terrorist movement has benefited from the rapid spread of radical Islam's message among potential recruits worldwide who are motivated by Al Qaeda's anti- Western doctrine, the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the insurgency in Iraq.

[...]

Intelligence and counter-terrorism officials said Iraq also was replacing Afghanistan and the Russian republic of Chechnya as the premier location for on-the-job training for the next phase of violence against the West and Arab regimes.

"In Iraq, a problem has been created that didn't exist there before," said Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere of France, dean of Europe's anti-terrorism investigators. "The events in Iraq have had a profound impact on the entirety of the jihad movement."

[...]

The Madrid bombings and arrests in Britain this summer highlight Europe's emergence as a danger zone. Long used by extremists as a haven for recruitment and planning attacks elsewhere, the continent now is believed to be a target itself, especially countries backing the Iraq war.

[...]

"Any assessment that the global terror movement has been rolled back or that even one component, Al Qaeda, is on the run is optimistic and most certainly incorrect," said M.J. Gohel, head of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a London think tank. "Bin Laden's doctrines are now playing themselves out all over the world. Destroying Al Qaeda will not resolve the problem."

[...]

Michael Scheuer, a senior CIA official, said in an interview that agents wound up "chasing our tails" to capture suspects and follow up leads at the expense of countering the rapid spread of Al Qaeda and the international jihad.

Scheuer, chief of the CIA's Bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, now plays a broader role in counter-terrorism at the agency. He is the author of "Imperial Hubris," a recent book that criticized U.S. counter-terrorism policy; the interview with him occurred before the CIA restricted his conversations with reporters.

[...]

The Al Qaeda movement now appears to be more of an ideology than an organization, spreading worldwide among cells inspired by the Sept. 11 attacks.

Adherents generally share a few basic principles: an overarching belief that Muslims must take up arms in a holy war against the Judeo-Christian West, a profound sense of indignation over the deaths of Muslims in Palestinian territories and Iraq, and a conviction that secular rulers should be replaced by Islamic governments.

[...]

The methods used in Casablanca and Madrid illustrate what a senior European counter-terrorism official described as "the most frightening" scenario: local groups without previous experience, acting with minimal supervision from an interchangeable cast of Al Qaeda veterans.

"By now we have no evidence, not even credible intelligence, that the Madrid group was steered, financed, organized from the outside," he said. "So that might be the biggest success of Bin Laden."

[...]

"Terrorist culture has been disseminated," said Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, director of France's intelligence agency. "Technical knowledge has spread."

Saturday, 25 September 2004

How Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power

Rumours of a link between the US first family and the Nazi war machine have circulated for decades. Now the Guardian can reveal how repercussions of events that culminated in action under the Trading with the Enemy Act are still being felt by today's president

Friday, 24 September 2004

Wal-Mart ends anti-Semitic book sale

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bowing to a barrage of complaints from Jewish groups, retail leader Wal-Mart Inc. has stopped selling "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," an infamous anti-Semitic tract long exposed as fake.

Anglican group calls for Israel sanctions

Campaigners inspired by boycott of apartheid South Africa

Thursday, 23 September 2004

EPA's chief under Nixon rips Bush on environment

Wednesday, 22 September 2004

Foreign Minister Shalom and Iraqi PM shake hands at UN Antarctic Glaciers Melting Faster - Study Bush's Mouthpiece Is Given an Earful

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

CNN's Dobbs Attacks Annan on Iraq War Legality Global Warming May Spawn More Super-Storms

Monday, 20 September 2004

U.S. Can Eliminate Oil Use in a Few Decades

Snowmass, Colo., September 20, 2004 - Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) today released Winning the Oil Endgame: Innovation for Profits, Jobs, and Security, a Pentagon-cofunded blueprint for making the United States oil-free. The plan outlines how American industry can restore competitiveness and boost profits by mobilizing modern technologies and smart business strategies to displace oil more cheaply than buying it.

Winning the Oil Endgame proves that at an average cost of $12 per barrel (in 2000 dollars), the United States can save half its oil usage through efficiency, then substitute competitive biofuels and saved natural gas for the rest - all this without taxation or new federal regulation.

Calling it an 'Illegal' War

Saturday, 18 September 2004

Iraq had no WMD: the final verdict

The comprehensive 15-month search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has concluded that the only chemical or biological agents that Saddam Hussein's regime was working on before last year's invasion were small quantities of poisons, most likely for use in assassinations.

Friday, 17 September 2004

Iraq: Storm over Annan's 'Illegal War' Comment Global Warming May Spur Fiercer Hurricanes, Say Experts Missing: A Media Focus on the Supreme Court

The big media themes about the 2004 presidential campaign have reveled in vague rhetoric and flimsy controversies. But little attention has focused on a matter of profound importance: Whoever wins the race for the White House will be in a position to slant the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court for decades to come.

Thursday, 16 September 2004

Iraq war illegal, says Annan

The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter.

Iraq War was Illegal and Breached UN Charter, Says Annan

Tuesday, 14 September 2004

It's Worse Than You Think: As Americans Debate Vietnam, the U.S. Death Toll Tops 1,000 in Iraq. And the Insurgents are Still Getting Stronger 'He's just sleeping, I kept telling myself'

On Sunday, 13 Iraqis were killed and dozens injured in Baghdad when US helicopters fired on a crowd of unarmed civilians. G2 columnist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who was injured in the attack, describes the scene of carnage - and reveals just how lucky he was to walk away

When pressed on whether he viewed the invasion of Iraq as illegal, he said: "Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal."

Secrecy in the Bush Administration

Rep. Henry A. Waxman has released a comprehensive examination of secrecy in the Bush Administration. The report analyzes how the Administration has implemented each of our nation's major open government laws. It finds that there has been a consistent pattern in the Administration's actions: laws that are designed to promote public access to information have been undermined, while laws that authorize the government to withhold information or to operate in secret have repeatedly been expanded. The cumulative result is an unprecedented assault on the principle of open government.

'Gates of Hell' are Open in Iraq, Warns Arab League Chief

CAIRO - Arab League chief Amr Mussa warned that the "gates of hell" had been opened in Iraq, as ministers from the pan-Arab grouping gathered for a meeting set to be dominated by the war-ravaged country.

The gates of hell are open in Iraq," Mussa said, voicing hope that Arab foreign ministers could "help Iraq through this crisis, reestablish sovereignty throughout the country and end the American occupation."

The Shortfall in Wages

For some reason, while national income has risen at a moderate rate during this recovery, workers' real salaries and wages have risen almost not at all. Instead, most of the increase in national income during this recovery has come in the form of profits. The portion of national income that goes to workers in the form of wages and salaries has hit an all-time low of less than 52%, as the following graph illustrates.

Monday, 13 September 2004

Experts Say Terrorists Regroup, See Lengthy War Powell: Unlikely WMD Stocks Will Be Found in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell, who made the case to the world that pre-war Iraq had stocks of chemical and biological weapons, said on Monday he now thought these will probably never be found.

Rumsfeld Confuses Saddam and Bin Laden Twice in Speech

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mixed up al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein twice in a speech on Friday about the so-called war on terror. In a speech to the National Press Club on the eve of the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Rumsfeld began by saying the world just before the attacks was not as serene as some people now suggest. He said: "The leader of the opposition Northern Alliance, Masood, lay dead, his murder ordered by Saddam Hussein, by Osama bin Laden, Taliban's co-conspirator." He was referring to Ahmad Shah Masood who was in opposition to the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan and was killed by al Qaeda two days before the Sept. 11 attacks. Later in responding to a question, Rumsfeld again confused Saddam and bin Laden in a discourse about how U.S. and coalition actions had made it more difficult for terrorists to operate. He said: "Saddam Hussein, if he's alive, is spending a whale of a lot of time trying to not get caught. And we've not seen him on a video since 2001." Rumsfeld continued: "Now, he's got to be busy. Why is he busy? It's because of the pressure that's being put on him," he added. The moderator later asked Rumsfeld if he had meant bin Laden, and the defense secretary replied: "I did. I meant we haven't seen Osama bin Laden."

Sunday, 12 September 2004

US Neo-Cons: Kremlin is 'Morally' to Blame for the School Massacre

WHY would a group of leading American neo-conservatives, dedicated to fighting Islamic terror, have climbed into bed with Chechen rebels linked to al-Qaeda? The American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC), which includes Pentagon supremo Richard Perle, says the conflict between Russia and Chechnya is about Chechen nationalism, not terrorism.

The ACPC savaged Russia for the atrocities its forces have committed in the Caucuses, said President Vladimir Putin was "ridiculous", claimed Russia was more "morally" to blame for the bloodshed than Chechen separatists and played down links between al-Qaeda and the "Chechen resistance".

Saturday, 11 September 2004

Report Shows Texas Oilmen are Major Donors to Swift Boat Group

Friday, 10 September 2004

Warming Trend Will Decimate Arctic Peoples, Report Warns CIA May Have Held 100 'Ghost' Prisoners

Thursday, 09 September 2004

Despair in Iraq Over the Forgotten Victims of US Invasion US Superpower Viewed Increasingly Badly in Europe

WASHINGTON - The power exerted by the United States in the world is viewed increasingly negatively in Europe, according to a study of transatlantic relations published by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo of Italy.

The survey showed that 58 percent of Europeans who live in Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey, desire a more independent approach for Europe on international security and diplomatic issues.

The 2004 survey also showed that 76 percent of Europeans express disapproval of current US foreign policy, an increase of 20 percentage points over the past two years.

"If this trend continues, we may be looking at a redefinition of the fundamentals of the transatlantic relationship from a first choice partnership to an optional alliance when mutually convenient," said Craig Kennedy, president of the German Marshall Fund.

Saddam's Generals Working as US Military Consultants Questions Raised About Bush Guard Service

Wednesday, 08 September 2004

The Chechens' American Friends: The Washington neocons' commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own

This harshness towards Putin is perhaps explained by the fact that, in the US, the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled "distinguished Americans" who are its members is a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusastically support the "war on terror".

They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be "a cakewalk"; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Center for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on NATO; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush's plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.

The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin's Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasizing the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic.

100 Children Die Daily in Iraq Growing Scientific Evidence of Global Warming Global warming alert

BRUSSELS - By the year 3000, Brussels will be a coastal capital and Antwerp will have disappeared into the sea, warned a report out on Wednesday.

The study into the effects Belgium could suffer from global warming was carried out by the Catholic University of Leuven (UCL) and was commissioned by the environmental group Greenpeace.

Fossils Reveal Direct Link Between Global Warming And Genetic Diversity In Wildlife Global warming a big problem, says Nobel laureate

ASHEVILLE - Scientists worldwide agree global warming is a real problem that will require expensive changes in how industrial societies use fuel, according to a Nobel Prize- winning chemist who will speak at UNC Asheville this week.

Sherwood Rowland of the University of California-Irvine shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for his research in the 1970s into the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer. He will be the featured speaker at UNC Asheville's seventh annual S. Dexter Squibb Distinguished Lecture Series in two public talks today and Friday.

Tuesday, 7 September 2004

US Death Toll Nears 1,000; Dozens Killed as Sadr City Erupts Again Terror Case Collapse Blow to Bush: Adds to List of High-Profile Losses Scientist: Extreme Weather Will Kill Millions Bush: OB-GYNs Kept from 'Practicing Their Love' New Iraqi PM a Longtime CIA Source

WASHINGTON - The new Iraqi prime minister, trying to stave off attacks by anti-American militants, has a long relationship with Washington as a trusted intelligence source, former officials say.

Ayad Allawi also helped British intelligence gather information about Saddam Hussein's regime during nearly three decades in exile. Once a member of Saddam's Baath Party, Allawi later formed the Iraqi National Accord to act as a conduit for defectors from, and sources in, the former Iraqi government.

Now Allawi heads the appointed Iraqi interim government struggling to assert its authority and its independence from the United States. Allawi has taken a hard line against militants, threatening them with military action while pressing for negotiations to have anti-government militias lay down their arms.

U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq Campaign Pass 1,000

Monday, 6 September 2004

Policy Let U.S. Hold Detainees in Secret, Military Officers Say White House Blocked Probe of Sept. 11-Saudi Link: Top US Senator Iraq Extends al-Jazeera Ban and Raids Offices Missile Defense to Tie US to Iraq, Afghanistan, Caspian, Experts Warn

Sunday, 5 September 2004

Saturday, 4 September 2004

Wal-Mart Upsets Cosmic Balance of Ruins: Protesters decry building of store near mysterious Mexican city of Teotihuacan as attack on heritage which could spoil rural valley US: Food Waste and Hunger Exist Side by Side Austrian Scholars Question Arnold's Homeland Remark

Friday, 3 September 2004

George Jr Sent Out of Texas by Father as a 'Drunken Liability' Bush by Numbers: Four Years of Double Standards Bush Leaves Out Complex Facts in Speech

NEW YORK - President Bush's boast of a 30-member-strong coalition in Iraq masked the reality that the United States is bearing the overwhelming share of costs, in lives and troop commitments. And in claiming to have routed most al-Qaida leaders, he did not mention that the big one got away.

Thursday, 02 September 2004

Flashpoints interview with Robert Fisk

It is very much the case in the United States that the failure of the media is intimately associated with the failure of governance and politics. (26:38)

A Father Gets Anti-War Message to the Floor: Escondido resident cracks GOP security Traces of Toxic Chemicals Found in Supermarket Food, Study Says

Wednesday, 1 September 2004

Navy's Use of Sonar Suspected in Near-Stranding of Whales: Hawaii incident intensifies debate on ocean noise FBI Seizes Computer from AIPAC Offices Spy Probe Scans Neo-Con Israel Ties Opium Trade Still Entrenched Across Desperate Afghanistan

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Last modified: Mon Sep 22 18:39:04 CDT 2008