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Saturday, February 19, 2005

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ReBelle Daily Dispatch

55 Dead in Eight Iraq Suicide Bombings

Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Eight suicide bombers struck in quick succession Saturday in a wave of attacks that killed 55 people as Iraqi Shiites marched and lash themselves with chains in ritual mourning of the death of the founder of their Muslim sect 14 centuries ago. Ninety-one people have been killed in violence in the past two days.

For the second year running, insurgent attacks shattered the commemoration of Ashoura, the holiest day of the Shiite religious calendar, but the violence produced a significantly smaller death toll than the 181 killed in twin bombings in Baghdad and the holy city of Karbala a year ago.

With majority Shiites poised to take control of the country for the first time in modern Iraqi history, the interim government and Shiite politicians vowed the bloodshed would not cause the nation to spiral into civil war.

The suicide bombings were attempts "to create a religious war within Iraq. Iraqis will not allow this to happen, Iraqis will stand united as Iraqis foremost, and Iraq will not fall into sectarian war," Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie, the national security adviser for the interim government, told The Associated Press.

"The bombings on Shiite mosques and shrines on Ashoura by terrorists that call themselves Muslims are in fact actions by terrorists only attempting to spill even more Muslim blood by encouraging sectarian violence," he said.

The Saturday carnage was the deadliest of any day since last month's elections for a new national assembly in which the Shiite ticket, the United Iraqi Alliance, won 48 percent of the vote in Iraq's first democratic balloting. The alliance was expected to name its candidate for prime minister in the coming days.

As the violence ravaged the country, a five-member U.S. Congressional delegation including Sen. Hillary Clinton the New York Democrat, met with Iraqi government officials in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

"The fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure," Clinton told reporters.


----UMMMM EXCUSE me Senator Clinton....I would beg to differ....The casualy count would indicate that the INSURGENTS do NOT know they have FAILED.--------



BREAKING: Request for new hearings with Riceby saint Thu Feb 17th, 2005 at 15:43:20 PSTThis is going to be a quick and dirty diary so, I apologize now- my day's almost done but I wanted to get this out there. From TruthOut, Rep. Henry A. Waxman; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney are calling for new hearings to ascertain EXACTLY who knew what, when, and whether this administration has continued to lie about warnings involving 9/11. You can see the full text of the letter to Tom Davis, Chairman Committee on Government Reform.

Wide ranging excerpts to follow- with the real kicker at the end:


----Congress is about to have another go at Condi...Get that lying bitch!!!! OMG I wish every damn day I could question that lying skank. Gitmo style interrogate her. Where did Boxer go?, she has a rematch to prepare for!---
---And on a personal note..DailyKos You guys are AWSOME !---

A not slacking Friday…. First Negroponte, now Abrams

'A second sequence of lies was spawned on October 5, 1986, when Sandinista soldiers shot down a small plane carrying three Americans ferrying weapons to the Contras in southern Nicaragua from the CIA-controlled Illopango air base in El Salvador. The plane’s two American pilots were killed in the crash, but its cargo kicker, Eugene Hasenfus, survived. Captured by the Sandinistas, he quickly admitted his role in the operation and stated that he believed the entire effort was controlled by the CIA and sanctioned by the U.S. government.

The discovery of the flight sent U.S. officials into a panic, for it held the potential to reveal to the world that the United States was in fact guilty of exactly the crime for which it had so thunderously denounced Nicaragua—that of using the territory of one nation to aid rebels in another for the purposes of government subversion. The plane was one of several operated by Project Democracy, the named coined by North for the effort to secretly deliver aid to the Contras. Once the operation was shut down, CIA operatives were ordered to fly the remaining planes in Project Democracy’s "little air force," as North called it, to a remote airfield, where bulldozers had dug a large pit.

As North wrote in his 1991 memoir, "The planes were pushed into the pit, covered with explosives, and blown up. The remaining wreckage was saturated with fuel and then cremated. The fire burned for days. When the smoke finally cleared, the charred remains were buried. . . . One might call it the ultimate cover-up."


---Have you ever wondered why south of the border of the USA there is a whole string of 3rd world countries...?...No I am being serious....Have you ever wondered?...I will tell you why...For the better part of half a century the C.I.A. at the direction of the Government of the U.S.A has been doing dirty little quiet wars all over the place..Some are not so quiet as the mass graves scream at anyone who listens. If you are thinking..WTF is Christy talking about?...I will clear it up..its very simple actually....The U.S Government 'officially' supplies support for puppet democratic dictators..WE arm thier soldiers...As this is occurring the C.I.A is setting up base camps in the jungles and ARMING THE REBELS....WE are arming BOTH the governments AND the rebels that fight them....But..you ask...WHY would we do that?...That is also very simple...While they kill each other in constant warfare WE rape thier resouces and pick up some VERY cheap land... BUT , but , you ask...isn't that illegal and INSANE?....Simply put...Yes it is both ILLEGAL and INSANE and one day we will pay a terrible price for it.----

Bush Needs To Look At Self Before Making Threats
Foreign Policy Reeks Of Piety

Helen Thomas, Hearst White House columnist
POSTED: 6:16 pm EST February 18, 2005

President George W. Bush should look into the mirror before giving orders and threatening other nations.

His militant foreign policy reeks of piety and is selectively threatening to several nations.

Fortunately he is still guided by the art of the possible, and that does not include Iran and North Korea at this time.

Syria is another story -- weaker, more vulnerable and easier to push around.

At a news conference Thursday, Bush demanded that Syria end its occupation of Lebanon, but he stopped short of accusing Syria of assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. An investigation to assign blame is under way.

It would also help if Bush were to practice what he preaches. His orders to Syria might carry more weight if the United States were not occupying Iraq, digging in for the long haul with reported plans for more than one dozen permanent military bases there.

He also is denouncing Iran and North Korea for pursuing nuclear arms, while the United States is studying a new generation of nuclear battlefield weapons and bunker busters.

Furthermore, Bush decries the terrorists who "target innocent civilians," while conveniently forgetting that the United States has dropped tons of bombs on Iraq since launching its invasion nearly two years ago.

The refusal of the Bush administration to count the Iraqi dead makes it easier to overlook that sad toll.


---OMG you Go Helen Thomas! Tell it like it is momma!...This is a goody goody I highly recommend it!---


Newsletter Criticizing Bush Plan Censored

A federal government union newsletter denounces Bush's plan to privatize social security.

Under a union contract since 1978, the federal government is obligated to distribute the newsletter to the union's 7500 members.

The Bush administration ignores the contract and refuses to distribute the newsletter criticizing Bush.

So far par for the course censorship and illegal behavior by the administration.

But get this for hypocrisy of the nth order: the Bush administration is referring the matter to the Labor Department's inspector general for possible criminal prosecution


Agency tries to halt union newsletter attacking Bush plan> for violating federal anti-lobbying laws. Yep, the Bush administration is horrified, yes horrified that public money might in any way be used to influence public policy.

This is of course the same administration that puts newspaper and radio columnists on payroll to push its agenda and announced plans last month to use Social Security Administration employees to convince the public that Social Security is in a crisis and needs private accounts to fix things.

This censorship of union newsletters is nothing new; in December 2002, the Bush folks blocked distribution of a newsletter with a cartoon mocking Bush's tax policies as favoring the wealthy. The union forced the department to distribute the newsletter after the union won a ruling that the government had illegally broken the union contract. So the plea that distributing the newsletter is illegal policy lobbying is the newest ploy to justify its censorship of public employees unions.

Read the whole piece at the link above. Nothing highlights the complete censorship engulfing the federal government than this suppression of even the smallest dissident voice by federal employees.




The 'Jeff Gannon' story

It illustrates the far superior success of right-wing bloggers over lefties in getting mainstream media to jump on news

Saturday, February 19, 2005

T hose inclined to accept right-wing mythology about the "left-wing mainstream media" should consider for a moment the sensational story of fake White House reporter "Jeff Gannon."

Never heard of him? That's not surprising. Mainstream news outlets have scarcely touched it. Yet it's been raging for weeks on left-leaning Web sites, which so far have been unable to elevate the story beyond the blogosphere.

Bloggers on the right, by comparison, have enjoyed spectacular success getting the supposedly leftist media to heed and advance their journalistic agenda. This creates a fertile new issue for industry researchers: Why is it that Internet bloggers on the left, compared with those on the right, have so much less demonstrable influence on mainstream journalism?

The "Jeff Gannon" story is a case in point. Try to imagine this scenario: John Kerry wins the presidency and appoints a press secretary who grants a White House press pass to a fake reporter with a fake name representing a fake news outlet. And what if this "Jeff Gannon," whose real name is James Guckert, gets called upon daily to lob softball questions at White House briefings?

And what if it turns up that Gannon/Guckert has an eyebrow-raising connection to the investigation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame?
And what if Gannon/Guckert was involved in setting up Web sites promoting homosexual prostitution? And what if racy nude photos of him start flooding the Internet?

The only thing imaginary about this scenario was the part about Kerry being president. Had it been Kerry whose aide allowed Gannon/Guckert such access to the president, just think of the furor. Conservative Web jockeys, in tandem with talk-radio shouters, would have created a frenzy thrusting the sordid story onto front pages across the land. At the very least, President Kerry's press secretary would be out of a job.


---Bloggers getting their much deserved Appluase...The investigative bloggers on this Gannon thing will be the next wave of those we trust for news...I think a few of those bloggers are some of the best writers I've ever seen....I believe the main stream media has lost its credibility FOREVER...I will never trust them again.----


Look and bear witness.

Go here to see the real time counter keeping track of the cost of the Iraqi war in dollars..It is shocking. It also allows you to compare the mounting cost to the true cost of other American programs.

The real cost in lives will never be able to be measured.



Ignorance may be bliss, but it's also dangerous

Three weeks later, I'm still waiting for a good explanation of what Jeff Gannon was doing in the White House. And for you to be upset about it.
Gannon is the fellow who made himself memorable during last month's presidential news conference by asking about Democratic pessimism regarding the nation's economy.

Specifically, he asked if President Bush could work with ``people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality.''

The unusually partisan phrasing prompted reporters and liberal groups to ask the same question: Who is this guy?

Well, it turns out that Gannon is not really Gannon. James Guckert says he prefers that pseudonym for ''commercial'' reasons.

It also turns out that a company he owns is the registered owner of several sexually suggestive Web addresses. Hotmilitarystud.com, to name just one.

Most curious of all, though, is that it turns out he is not really a reporter, at least not if that term still denotes a disinterested observer of events. Rather, Guckert writes for a website, talonnews.com, which is linked to another site, GOPUSA.com. That site serves, as you might gather, to promote the Republican Party.


---I just keep thinking today..They ARE waking up...The People are starting to stir now. Thank God, my countrymen AWAKE AWAKE!..Let these troubled times be met and passed into the peace only the enlightened can bring. It is a slow stir but it is definately catching on....----


Limbaugh to visit Afghanistan with US aid official

18 Feb 2005 01:40:10 GMT
Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is expected to visit Afghanistan with the top U.S. aid official to spotlight America's aid work there, officials said on Thursday.
Political commentator Mary Matalin, a former White House aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, will also be on the trip. She said she was not being paid to go and would pay her own way to Dubai but she believed the U.S. government would cover the cost of her visit to Afghanistan from there.

The Bush administration has come under sharp criticism for the Education Department's payment of $240,000 to conservative commentator Armstrong Williams to tout President George W. Bush's education plan.

Spokesmen for Limbaugh were not immediately available to comment.


---I want to know, can reporters being paid to deliberately distort the truth at the behest of our leaders...can these reporters be subjected to charges of TREASON?...ANYONE...?---


Gannon attended White House Christmas parties -- but who invited him?

Former Talon News Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent Jeff Gannon (aka James D. Guckert) attended at least two invitation-only events in Washington, D.C.: the 2003 and 2004 White House press Christmas parties .

Gannon has been discredited by numerous charges -- most notably that he is a Republican activist who has reproduced sections of Republican Party and White House materials verbatim in his own "news reports," and not a true news reporter. So the question arises: who invited Gannon to these exclusive events?


---He was not only invited to the parties someone passed this little whoring bastard STATE SECRETS....AGAIN.....TREASON....WHO's whore was he?...Thats the only thing left to learn.----

Lebanese get civil war warning

By Alistair Lyon

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has said that popular agitationagainst Syria's grip on Lebanon after the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariricould plunge the country back into civil war.Opposition leaders are urging Lebanese to join a peaceful "independence uprising" tofree their country from Syria's military and political dominance, intensifying a war of wordsafter Hariri's assassination in a huge bomb blast on Monday."God forbid, if the roof collapses, it collapses on all of us," Nasrallah told at least100,000 Shi'ite Muslims gathered on Saturday for Ashura, the most solemn event in theircalendar."Today we are responsible for a nation that came out of the civil war ... but we faceacute problems, especially this year and in the past few months," the black-turbanedcleric said."As Lebanese, we have no choice for remedying our crises and problems except todiscuss and meet, even if we are angry and tense," he said. "We must not repeat themistakes of the past."


---Please God if you have not turned from us , I BEG of you to have mercy on the innocent and change the hearts of the warmongers and the wicked...----



Five U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq Attacks

Fri Feb 18, 2:31 PM ET

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Five U.S. soldiers were killed in separate guerrilla attacks in Iraq the U.S. military said Friday, three in or near the northern city of Mosul, one north of Baghdad and the fifth south of the capital.

The deaths brought to 1,119 the number of U.S. troops killed in action since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

In the latest incident Friday, one soldier was killed and two were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. military base north of the town of Diwaniya, about 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, the military said.


----There is something VERY WRONG about this story...LOOK AT THE TOTAL CASUALTY NUMBER THEY GIVE.....SOMETHING is VERY off with our dead and wounded numbers....Rossi lets work on this some more..Your last email had a good idea about these numbers we should explore our options here.-----


Israel's Sharon Speaks to Arab Press

CAIRO, Egypt - In his first interview with an Arab newspaper since taking office, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he understood the costs of war and was willing to make painful concessions for peace — though not at the price of his country's security.

Sharon told Egypt's daily Al-Ahram, an independent but pro-government newspaper, that if calm prevailed between the Israelis and Palestinians, the sides could soon begin political negotiations toward a final settlement.

The two-hour interview was conducted in Hebrew in Sharon's office in Jerusalem and published in Arabic in the newspaper's Saturday editions. It seemed aimed at softening Sharon's image in the Arab world as the peace process picks up momentum.

"Generals are always seen as people who want wars. The truth is otherwise," Sharon said, according to a translation of the Arabic by The Associated Press. "I think it is important ... for our generation who lived through it all to really take over the mission of pushing the peace process."

Sharon said his participation in all of Israel's wars gave him a deeper understanding of the importance of peace than other politicians who talk about peace but do not have his experience.


-----Notice how he DID NOT say his former participation in all of Isreals wars had given him the nickname 'The Butcher',,And thats just what OTHER ISREALIS call him..If Sharon HONESTLY wanted to make a 'painful concession', he could start by telling his snipers to quit putting bullets into the heads of 3 year old Palestinian girls sitting at thier dinner tables...----


Published on Friday, February 18, 2005 by USA Today


US Troops Say it's Hard to Get Medical Care
by Dave Moniz

WASHINGTON — National Guardsmen and reservists who are injured on active duty face daunting and sometimes insurmountable hurdles to get medical care, soldiers and military officials told a congressional panel Thursday.

The troops described an Army bureaucracy that loses track of wounded reservists, drops medical coverage before some are healed and often inflicts hardships on families.

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, described the problems injured Guardsmen and reservists face as "the equivalent of financial and medical friendly fire."

The panel heard sometimes-emotional testimony from Guard soldiers who have been wounded in battle and administrators responsible for helping them navigate the medical system.

Gregory Kutz, a Government Accountability Office official who helped prepare a new report on deficiencies in Guard and reserve benefits, said that the Army has made improvements in treating Guard and reserve soldiers since 9/11. Still, he said, "many problems remain."


----To Our Soldiers both home and away...I love you guys and I appreciate every single day I have lived as a free woman. I am so sorry that our government has betrayed you----


The Other Reality
It's a good thing


I went to the Conservative Political Action Conference this year. Otherwise I never would have known that, despite the findings of the authoritative David Kay report and every reputable media outlet on earth, the United States actually discovered weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, vindicating all of George W. Bush's pre-war predictions. The revelation came not from some crank at Free Republic or hustler from Talon News, but from a congressman surrounded by men from the highest echelons of American government. No wonder the attendees all seemed to believe him.The crowd at CPAC's Thursday night banquet, held at D.C.'s Ronald Reagan Building, was full of right-wing stars.

Among those seated at the long presidential table at the head of the room were Henry Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, Dore Gold, foreign policy advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and NRA president Kayne Robinson. Vice President Dick Cheney, a regular CPAC speaker, gave the keynote address.

California Rep. Chris Cox had the honor of introducing him, and he took the opportunity to mock the Democrats whose hatred of America led them to get Iraq so horribly wrong."America's Operation Iraqi Freedom is still producing shock and awe, this time among the blame-America-first crowd," he crowed.

Then he said, "We continue to discover biological and chemical weapons and facilities to make them inside Iraq." Apparently, most of the hundreds of people in attendance already knew about these remarkable, hitherto-unreported discoveries, because no one gasped at this startling revelation.




Kids Say the Darndest, Most Stalinist Things
By Bill MaherBill

Maher is the host of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher."
February 18, 2005

A new survey found that a majority of high schoolers think newspapers should not be allowed to publish without government approval. And almost one in five said that Americans should be prohibited from expressing unpopular opinions. Lemme tell you little darlings something: This is my livelihood you're messing with, so either learn the Bill of Rights or you don't deserve Social Security.

Now, to those of you who think I'm overreacting: Yes, I understand that when you're in high school you're still very young and that no one really cares what kids say anyway — it's not like priests are dating them for their brains. But the younger generation is supposed to rage against the machine, not for it; they're supposed to question authority, not question those who question authority.

And what's so frightening is that we're seeing the beginnings of the first post-9/11 generation — the kids who first became aware of the news under an "Americans need to watch what they say" administration, the kids who've been told that dissent is un-American and therefore justifiably punished by a fine, imprisonment — or the loss of your show on ABC.

President Bush once asked, "Is our children learning?" No — they isn't. A more appropriate question might be, "Is our teachers teaching?" In four years, you can teach a gorilla sign language. Is it too much to ask that in the same amount of time a kid be taught what those crazy hippies who founded this country had in mind?



Negroponte's Blind Spots

George W. Bush’s choice of John Negroponte to be the first U.S. intelligence czar signals that Washington is heading down the same road that has led to earlier American intelligence failures and controversies – from politicizing analysis to winking at human rights abuses.

Though Washington insiders expect Negroponte’s nomination to sail through the Senate, one question that might be worth asking about his tenure as U.S. ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s is: "Were you oblivious to the Honduran military’s human rights violations and drug trafficking, or did you just ignore these problems for geopolitical reasons?"

It seems that Negroponte either oversaw a stunningly inept U.S. intelligence operation at the embassy in Tegucigalpa – missing major events occurring almost under his nose – or he is someone ready to tolerate atrocities – including torture, rape and murder – while slanting intelligence reporting to please his superiors in Washington.


---Hitler also installed torturers, murderers, rapists and sadists into place...Then something so shocking happened it is even to this day hard to comprehend.---


North Korea 'U-turn' on US talks

A North Korean official has said his government no longer wants even bilateral talks with the United States over its nuclear weapons programme.

Pyongyang had been demanding direct negotiations with the US for two years.

Earlier this month, North Korea confirmed it had nuclear weapons and withdrew from discussions with its neighbours and the US.

The US and Japan on Saturday urged North Korea to resume the six-party talks, expressing their concerns.

Pyongyang said earlier it would stay away from the talks for an "indefinite period" and "bolster" its nuclear arsenal.


---Kim Jong Il is an insane liar. He wont talk to us anymore because he knows that Bush cannot be trusted because he is ALSO AN INSANE LIAR. And let the games begin. I hope we survive this stupid stit.---


Initiative To Probe Contractors For Fraud

Announcement Comes After Sentencing of Former Boeing CFO
By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, February 19, 2005; Page E01

Federal prosecutors yesterday announced a broad initiative to combat procurement fraud as former Boeing Co. chief financial officer Michael M. Sears was sentenced to four months in prison for illegally recruiting an Air Force official to the aerospace giant.

A Pentagon investigative unit is already looking at senior officials who have left the Defense Department within the past four years to work at defense contractors to see if there are potential criminal conflicts, law enforcement officials said.


--- Between Boeing and Halliburton we are being robbed BLIND.---


Secretary of State proposes changes of elections laws

Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.The Secretary of State's office on Wednesday proposed changing election law to give Florida voters more privacy at their polling sites next year and give those who cast provisional ballots a week to prove their eligibility, instead of two days.The measures would also establish the secretary, an appointee of the governor, as the ultimate referee when disputes arise from different interpretations of election law by county supervisors.

The proposals appear to give the secretary sweeping powers and could create a showdown with the 67 county supervisors. They were also not run past the Republican leaders of the Florida House and Senate.

Ion Sancho, the Leon County elections supervisor and frequent critic of interference from the governor's office in the elections process, did not return a call from The Associated Press to comment on the proposals Wednesday."They want to control the election process," Sancho told the Orlando Sentinel. Sancho has previously criticized Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Glenda Hood for ignoring pleas for more flexibility on setting up early voting sites, and failing to call for a paper trail for counties that use electronic voting.


---Jeb you can bet your brothers sins will take you down as well. By the time WE The People are fully awake...The entire Bush family will be tainted FOREVER.----


Bush's Iraq Coalition Shrinking

Fri Feb 18,11:31 PM ET
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Sometimes it's hard to know who your friends are — even if they're helping you fight a war. President Bush who hopes to coax more Iraq support from European allies next week, used to boast that some 50 nations had joined the United States in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, a public listing is nowhere to be found.

One thing, though, is clear: The coalition is shrinking. "I expect to see the coalition countries begin paring down their forces as they complete their contributions," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told the House Armed Services Committee this week.

While a current list of coalition countries — those helping out in Iraq with troops, equipment, monetary or political support — is not easy to come by, there is a public listing of the countries that have actual troops in Iraq. These 20-plus countries, which have combat and support forces in Iraq under the command of Gen. George Casey Jr., make up the multinational force.

Daniel Goure, a Defense Department official in the first Bush administration, said current Bush officials apparently decided to start talking about a "multinational force" instead of a "coalition" to avoid questions about which countries were in or out.

"They're anticipating what is coming down the road," Goure said. "It's an acceptance of the fact that countries are going to be withdrawing."
Also, by formally listing only the countries that have troops in the multinational force, the administration can avoid identifying countries that don't want to make their contributions known to the world, Goure said.


---OHHHH We have SECRET allies now....?...How interesting..wonder if there is any allies on that list named Saudi Arabia...or mabey an Isreal?..VERY VERY interesting...----


Ann Coulter puts her foot in her mouth again


Ann Coulter appearing on Hannity & Colmes with Michael Brown had this to say about Blacks and the Democratic party

Coulter: ..the closest black to Bill Clinton was his secretary Betty Currie...
Brown: How did you get that Ann?

Colmes: What are you talking about...

Some more dialogue from Ann...

Colmes: Wasn't there a guy named Brown who was black and head of the DNC at one time?

Brown:...I think you're right about that, I think maybe Ann needs..

Coulter tries to bail herself out, but lies in doing so.

Coulter: Is he a black women? I think I said the closest black women to Bill Clinton was Betty Currie..

Brown: Alexis Herman

Coulter: Who is Alexis Herman?

Brown: You said who is Alexis Herman?

Hannity takes her to break.

Alexis Herman was the first African American to become the secretary of labor.


---This woman makes me want to take a shower ever time I hear her name or her voice. When I actually have the misfortune of seeing her longish horse like face I truely want to claw out my own eyes.---


Editorial: Phony journalist/Pimping for the White House

February 18, 2005 ED0218A

Heard about the Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert muck-up in Washington? If you are an aficionado of the blogs, you've heard plenty. They're having a field day with it. But underneath all the fun lies a serious problem that hasn't got its due from the mainstream press: This White House employs a lot more kinds of fakery than the budgetary smoke and mirrors described in the editorial above.

Here's a summary: For more than two years, a reporter named Jeff Gannon turned up at White House briefings and press conferences, where he asked softball questions with a decidedly pro-Bush bent. For example, at President Bush's Jan. 26 press conference, Gannon asked how Bush could work with lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Hillary Clinton, "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality."

Well, it turns out that "Jeff Gannon" is really Jim Guckert, and he was a reporter for an online outfit called "Talon News," which was associated with the online group GOPUSA. com, owned by Texas Republicans. It also turns out that Guckert, in addition to reporting for a phony Web site, has no real journalism training and is a $200-an-hour gay prostitute. He ran numerous Web sites like militaryescortsm4m. com. The photos of Gannon that were displayed on those Web sites left nothing to the imagination about his physical attributes.

So the question becomes, just how did this character get White House press credentials, despite supposed post-Sept. 11 security requirements? Bruce Bartlett, a conservative columnist who worked in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, says that "if Gannon was using an alias, the White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover." In other words, the White House wanted him at those briefings and wanted him to ask his softball questions, most likely to divert attention when legitimate reporters were getting too pushy.





Australians hunted over Harir d

Twelve people wanted over the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri are believed to be in Australia.

By AP02/18/05 "SMH" - - Lebanon's Justice Minister Adnan Addoum said authorities had contacted Interpol in Sydney over the departure from Beirut to Australia of 12 men - most bearded - on Monday, the day of the bombing that killed Hariri and 16 others.Addoum said the 12 were among 14 men with Australian citizenship who tried to leave Lebanon, but two missed the flight for unknown reasons. Their whereabouts are unknown.Interpol has agreed to interrogate the 12 in relation to the killing, Addoum said, adding that three have agreed to come forward.Addoum did not elaborate and it was unclear what connection, if any, the men might have had in the attack.No credible claims of responsibility have emerged, but the interior minister has said a suicide bomber backed by "international parties" may have killed Hariri.Some also suggest rogue Syrian intelligence operatives or factions among Lebanon's different religious groups may be responsible.Reports earlier this week said Australian authorities were helping Lebanon investigate the murder.


Bombings kill at least 42 in Iraq on Shiite holy day; most were suicide attacks

BAGHDAD (AP) - Eight suicide bombings and other insurgent attacks across Iraq on Saturday killed at least 42 people, including a U.S. soldier, a Ministry of Defence official said, as Shiite Muslim worshippers celebrated their holiest day of the year.
The steady stream of attacks included suicide bombings, mortars and gunmen, defence ministry official Capt. Sabah Yasin said.
At least eight suicide bombers staged attacks in and around Baghdad, targeting religious gatherings and Iraqi checkpoints. An Associated Press count of the dead from those attacks totalled 24, but many more explosions were audible in the capital throughout the day.
In one of the deadliest attacks, a suicide bomber blew up his car at an Iraqi army checkpoint in Latifiya, 30 kilometres south of the capital, killing nine Iraqi soldiers, said Yasin.
The attacks occurred as a five-member U.S. congressional delegation, including Senators Hillary Clinton (D - N.Y.) and John McCain (R - Ariz.), met with Iraqi government officials in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.


Israel's Sharon speaks to Arab media for first time, hoping to shed hawk image

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - In his first interview with an Arab newspaper since taking office, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he understood the costs of war and was willing to make painful concessions for peace, though not at the price of his country's security.
Sharon told Egypt's daily Al-Ahram, an independent but pro-government newspaper, that if calm prevailed between the Israelis and Palestinians, the sides could soon begin political negotiations toward a final settlement.
The two-hour interview was conducted in Hebrew in Sharon's office in Jerusalem and published in Arabic in the newspaper's Saturday editions. It seemed aimed at softening Sharon's image in the Arab world as the peace process picks up momentum.
"Generals are always seen as people who want wars. The truth is otherwise," Sharon said, according to a translation of the Arabic by The Associated Press. "I think it is important ... for our generation who lived through it all to really take over the mission of pushing the peace process."


North Korea no longer interested in direct nuclear talks with U.S., report says

BEIJING (AP) - North Korea no longer wants direct negotiations with the United States to ease the nuclear standoff, China's state news agency Saturday cited a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman as saying, as a top Chinese official met the communist country's No. 2 leader


Demonstrators in Rome march to press for release of Italian hostage in Iraq

ROME (AP) - Thousands of people marched in Rome on Saturday to demand the release of a kidnapped Italian journalist, days after she was seen in a video pleading for Italians to pressure their government to withdraw the country's troops from Iraq.


Hizbollah cools down anti-Syria rhetoric

The head of Hizbollah Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday that anti-Syria rhetoric could plunge the country back into civil war. The religious leader was speaking at a rally in Beirut to mark Ashoura, one of the most religious days for Muslim Shiias.


U.S. army to investigate killings of Afghans

Following the revelations in Friday's New York Times of several U.S. soldiers being under investigation over a February 11th incident outside a military base at Shindand in western Afghanistan; the American military announced Saturday it will be investigating the shooting deaths of two Afghans by their soldiers.
The paper quoted the base commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Ashton Hayes, as saying the two Afghan victims were ordinary villagers, not Taliban or al Qaeda suspects, and compensation of $2,000 had been paid to their families. A spokesman for the U.S. military in Kabul confirmed the incident was under investigation. "This incident has happened; coalition forces were involved," said Major Steve Wollman. "It is under investigation." http://www.aljazeera.com/me.asp?service_ID


El Baradei says U.S. involvement in Iran talks essential

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, Mohamed El Baradei has called on the U.S. to join the European lead diplomacy talks with Iran. El Baradei's call comes in the wake of talk of a possible U.S. military strike on Iran which many in Washington have not ruled out.


Peres: Israel to evacuate from Philadelphi corridor

Vice president Shimon Peres announced Friday that Israel is preparing to withdraw from the road along the Egypt-Gaza border known as the 'Philadelphi corridor'.


New U.S. files detail detainee abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan

Photographs of uniformed U.S. forces in Afghanistan posing with hooded and bound prisoners during mock executions were damaged to avoid a repetition of the Abu Gharib scandal in Iraq, according to new Army papers released Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union.
ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said that "It's increasingly clear that members of the military were aware of the allegations of torture and that efforts were taken to erase evidence, to shut down investigations and to humiliate the detainees in an effort to silence them,"
Also ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said that "These documents provide more evidence that abuse was not localized or aberrational, but was widespread and systemic. They also provide further evidence that at least in some cases the government is not aggressively investigating credible allegations of abuse,


US, Japan share security worry
From correspondents in WashingtonFebruary 20, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

THE US and Japan today declared Taiwan a common security issue.The move came amid concerns over China's military build up and threat to invade the island if it declares independence.
The two allies for the first time acknowledged that easing tensions in the Taiwan Strait was part of their "common strategic objectives".
A joint statement was released after a top ministerial meeting in Washington of the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee.


Clinton, Bush meet tsunami victims
By Griffin Shea in Baan Nam Khem, ThailandFebruary 20, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

FORMER US presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush said today they were seeking billions more dollars in US donations to meet long-term needs of tsunami-stricken countries after visiting a Thai fishing village.They warned that while an unprecedented $US7 billion ($8.9 billion) in post-tsunami aid had been raised to date, as much as $US5 billion ($6.4 billion) more was needed for reconstruction across the Indian Ocean.
Affected nations needed "$US11 or $US12 billion ($14bn-$15.3bn) to restore homes, rebuild wells, sanitation facilities (and) the economic infrastructure", Mr Clinton said.
"What we have to do now is not to forget these people and places when all the cameras are not there



An overseas report from a U.S. military hospital in Germany about how the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center has treated more than 20,000 service members wounded from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Five U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq Attack

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Five U.S. soldiers were killed in separate guerrilla attacks in Iraq (news - web sites), the U.S. military said Friday, three in or near the northern city of Mosul, one north of Baghdad and the fifth south of the capital.
The deaths brought to 1,119 the number of U.S. troops killed in action since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
In the latest incident Friday, one soldier was killed and two were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. military base north of the town of Diwaniya, about 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, the military said.
Earlier Friday, a soldier was killed and two were wounded in a car bomb blast about 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital, the military said in a statement.
The other incidents happened Thursday. In the first, a car bomb exploded next to a U.S. army patrol in Mosul, killing one soldier and wounding three.


Sen. Clinton Says Iraq Insurgents Failing

BAGHDAD, Iraq - As 55 people died in Iraq (news - web sites) on Saturday, the holiest day on the Shiite Muslim religious calendar, Sen. Hillary Clinton (news - web sites) said that much of Iraq was "functioning quite well" and that the rash of suicide attacks was a sign that the insurgency was failing.
Clinton, a New York Democrat, said insurgents intent on destabilizing the country had failed to disrupt Iraq's landmark Jan. 30 elections.
"The concerted effort to disrupt the elections was an abject failure. Not one polling place was shut down or overrun," Clinton told reporters inside the U.S.-protected Green Zone, a sprawling complex of sandbagged buildings surrounded by blast walls and tanks. The zone is home to the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy.


Journalist group calls US to account over Iraq Dominic TimmsFriday

February 18, 2005 The US government was today accused of hiding behind a "culture of denial" over the deaths of at least 12 journalists who are alleged to have perished at the hands of the US military in Iraq.
Re-igniting the debate that US soldiers deliberately "targeted" journalists during the Iraqi occupation, a press freedom body called on the US to take "responsibility" for its actions in the country.
Responding to what it said was the "hounding out" of the CNN news chief, Eason Jordan, the International Federation of Journalists called on the US administration to come clean over its "mistakes" in the region.
Since US, British and other soldiers first began Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003, more than 70 journalists have been killed in the country.
The IFJ said that at least 12 journalists had met their deaths at the "hands of US soldiers", including the killings of Taras Protsyuk of Reuters and Jose Couso of Spain's Telecinco after US tanks opened fire on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.
The US military claimed the tanks had been responding to small arms fire coming from the hotel, which housed journalists who were non-embedded with military forces, but later withdrew the claim saying: soldiers fired at "what was believed to be an enemy firing platform and observation point".
Almost a year after journalists' groups first demanded it, a US military investigation into the attack found that "no fault or negligence" could be attributed to US soldiers.


Clash over 'Kurdish veto' looms in Iraq:

A law promulgated during the US-led occupation of Iraq, which governs how the country's new constitution is to be written, has been largely rejected by members of the United Iraqi Alliance, which has a majority of seats in the new parliament.


U.S. military killed two Afghan civilians near air base close to Iranian border:

The U.S. military is investigating why American troops fatally shot two civilians outside a base near Afghanistan's western border with Iran, officials said Saturday.


Questioned men 'happy to help'
By Vera Deva19feb05

THE 10 Lebanese Australians questioned by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) over the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister were innocent people who did nothing but support Rafiq Hariri, an Australian Lebanese community leader said today.But New South Wales Lebanese Muslim Association vice-president Keysar Trad said the 10 men were more than happy to volunteer information to the AFP and praised officials on their attempts to find the culprits.
The AFP said last night it had cleared 10 men who were investigated as part of its inquiries into the Beirut bombing that killed Mr Hariri on Monday.
Lebanon's Justice Minister Adnan Addoum said yesterday authorities had contacted Interpol in Sydney over the departure from Beirut to Australia of 12 men on the day of the bombing that killed Mr Hariri and 16 others.
Mr Addoum said the 12 were among 14 men with Australian citizenship who tried to leave Lebanon. Two missed the flight for unknown reasons.


Veteran of dirty wars wins lead US spy role

: He is tainted by his time between 1981 and 1985 in Honduras, a country that was being used as a launchpad for the illegal US-backed war waged by the contras against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The Honduran military was accused of taking part in torture and extra-judicial killings.


Ray McGovern: Hail, Hail The Gang's All Here

: The appointment of John Negroponte to be director of National Intelligence is the latest evidence that President Bush is strengthening his cabinet's capacity to mislead Congress and trample civil liberties. Ray McGovern, 27-year veteran of the CIA, examines the meaning of the Negroponte appointment and the dark trend it confirms.


When Real News Debunks Fake News
By Frank Rich The International Herald Tribune
Saturday 19 February 2005

New York - The prayers of those hoping that real television news might take its cues from Jon Stewart were finally answered on Feb. 9, 2005. A real newsman borrowed a technique from fake news to deliver real news about fake news in prime time.
Let me explain.
On "Countdown," a nightly news hour on MSNBC, the anchor, Keith Olbermann, led off with a bit in the classic style of Stewart's classic "Daily Show": a rapid-fire montage of sharply edited video bites illustrating the apparent idiocy of those in Washington. In this case, the eight clips stretched over a year in the White House briefing room - from February 2004 to late last month - and all featured a reporter named "Jeff." In most of them, the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, says "Go ahead, Jeff," and "Jeff" responds with a softball question intended not to elicit information but to boost President George W. Bush and smear his political opponents. In the last clip, "Jeff" is quizzing the president himself, in his first post-inaugural press conference of Jan. 26. Referring to Harry Reid and Hillary Rodham Clinton, "Jeff" asks, "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
If we did not live in a time when the news culture itself is divorced from reality, the story might end there: "Jeff," you'd assume, was a lapdog reporter from a legitimate, if right-wing, news organization like Fox, and you'd get some predictable yuks from watching a compressed video anthology of his kissing up to power. But as Olbermann explained, "Jeff Gannon," the star of the montage, was a newsman no more real than a "Senior White House Correspondent" like Stephen Colbert on "The Daily Show." Yet the video broadcast by Olbermann was not fake. "Jeff" was in the real White House, and he did have those exchanges with the real McClellan and the real Bush.


February 18, 2005

Afghan refugees return to their tents after receiving supplies from U.S. soldiers near Kabul. Aid workers and officials sounded alarm bells over a looming humanitarian crisis in western Afghanistan saying they feared up to 1,000 children may have died during severe winter weather.


Bomb warning for aid workers

18:45 (AEST) TERRORISTS appear to be planning a bomb attack on foreign aid workers in Indonesia's tsunami-devastated Aceh region, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today.


Hillary Clinton visits Iraq with US senators

BAGHDAD (AFP) - US senator Hillary Clinton (news - web sites), wife of former president Bill Clinton (news - web sites), was in Baghdad as part of a delegation from the US Congress led by senator John McCain that met Iraqi and US military leaders.
Clinton, who along with McCain has often criticized US management of the Iraq (news - web sites) conflict, said that after meeting the country's prime minister as well as the US commander in charge of training and equipping Iraqi forces, her impression was one of "cautious optimism."
"Cautious because there are so many challenges, cautious because there are neighbours of Iraq that are not necessarily enthusiastic about the success of the Iraqi people in creating and sustaining a multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy," she told reporters


Ark. Votes Against Church-State Proposal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The state House on Friday voted against affirming the separation of church and state in a resolution brought by a legislator who said he was fed up with a religious undertone at the Capitol. The House voted 44-39 against the proposal. Only two Republicans voted for it, and one of them, Rep. Jim Medley, said he had intended to vote no but didn't get to his machine in time to change his vote. Democratic Rep. Buddy Blair said he offered the measure because he was tired of conservative colleagues "making every issue into a religious issue." "It's unbelievable to me. They have just voted against the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of the state of Arkansas," Blair said. http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-church-and-state,0,4924875,print.story?coll=sns-ap-nation-headlines

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ReBelle Daily Dispatch

Dahr Jamail: 'News about Iraq goes through filters'

How is it that more than 40 percent of Americans still believe Iraq has weapons of mass destruction even though President Bush personally has admitted there are none?

How is it possible that millions of Americans believe the recent election in Iraq showed that Iraqis are in favor of the ongoing occupation of their country? In reality, the determination displayed by the roughly 59 percent of registered voters who participated in the election did so because they felt it would bring about an end to the U.S. occupation.

How do so many Americans wonder why more Iraqis each day are supporting both violent and non-violent movements of resistance to the occupation when after the U.S. government promised to help rebuild Iraq, a mere 2 percent of reconstruction contracts were awarded to Iraqi concerns and the infrastructure lies in shambles?

It's because overall, mainstream media reportage in the United States about the occupation in Iraq is being censured, distorted, threatened by the military and controlled by corporations that own the outlets.



This Is NOT Democracy

Okay. All those who are currently making the claim that Iraq is now a free and democratic country and is no longer on our Axis of evil: A little word with you, please.

Try - PLEASE just try - to step out of your little box and think about this:

Just suppose that you turned on the news and there were reports blaring about four bombings in a major U.S. city. Doesn't matter which city - pick any. Three of those bombings were "suiciders" as Bush would call them. 29 Americans are killed. Scores more injured.

What would happen? A major lockdown of all operations in not just that city, but across America? Probably. Wall-to-wall news coverage? Absolutely. All flights grounded and all transportation venues blocked? You bet. Terror Alert set to Red? In a heartbeat.

America would be under seige. All commerce and life would grind to a halt. We would be in total chaos.

Snap out of it. This is exactly what happened today in Baghdad. And the crackheads who lead this country still insist that life is now a paradise for the Iraqis. There's something horribly wrong with our definition of "freedom."



Hurt Troops Often Denied Pay, Benefits

By John Hendren Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of Army Reserve and National Guard troops returning home after being wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone months without pay or medical benefits they were entitled to receive, military officials and government auditors said Thursday.

Because of a bureaucratic mistake, about 1,000 reservists and Guard members were removed from the active-duty rolls once home, even though their wounds entitled them to extended care, according to a Government Accountability Office study released Thursday.

"This is the equivalent of financial and medical 'friendly fire,' " Rep. Thomas M. Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee told military officials at a hearing.

The disclosures represent the latest in a list of problems confronting many returning war veterans, including shortages of physicians, a lack of mental healthcare and spotty medical treatment.



The wealth transfer scheme

Bush's budget uses deficit as excuse for massive transfer of wealth from poor to rich

Everyone saw this one coming. But that doesn't make it any better.

President Bush's FY 2006 budget proposal, unveiled in detail last week, is the other shoe dropping. It's not quite fair to say that this is a budget designed to reduce the deficit. There's still plenty of expansive spending; the Pentagon's budget increases again in this cycle, and pork for favored Republican projects still abounds.

But what it does do is use the deficit, created in four short years by this administration, as an excuse for targeting all the programs Republicans don't like. The Department of Education -- which Republicans once wanted to abolish -- takes a $4.3 billion hit. Money for health care, $1.7 billion in reduced or eliminated programs. $2.5 billion in agriculture. Half a billion in federal housing expenditures. Even aid to local and state law enforcement gets a $1.5 billion reduction.

Regulatory agencies from the EPA to the Forest Service will have to make do with less. Here in the Northwest, the effects will be profound.



Reporter exposed as GOP operative

Guckert linked to male escort sites, Va. orgy party: sources

By JOE CREA mailto:JCREA@washblade.com

Friday, February 18, 2005

Several members of Congress have intensified criticism of the White House’s media credentialing process and are demanding an investigation after a conservative reporter with dubious credentials was unmasked as working for a GOP political operative.

But the story of James D. Guckert, who worked under the alias "Jeff Gannon," took on a more salacious tone early this week, when gay activist John Aravosis provided evidence that Guckert had worked as a gay escort and posted profiles featuring nude pictures of himself on various Web sites, including MaleCorps.com and MeetLocalMen.com . Aravosis reported that Guckert’s profile on an escort site remained active until May 2003 — just before he began writing for Talon News.
Since the Aravosis report, two sources have confirmed to the Washington Blade that Guckert attended a December 1998 Christmas party near Leesburg, Va., that "always turns into an orgy toward the end."



Files suggest US troops tried to hide abuses

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff February 18, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A former Iraqi detainee told Army investigators that a US soldier forced him to sign a statement that he had not been abused even though American interrogators in September 2003 had dislocated his arms, beaten his leg with a bat, crushed his nose, and put an unloaded gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, according to newly released internal military documents.

In addition, a sergeant at a military camp in southern Afghanistan told an Army investigator in July 2004 that his unit erased a series of digital photographs showing guards beating detainees and aiming guns at hooded prisoners. The sergeant said the pictures were deleted after photos from the Abu Ghraib prison appeared in the media, out of the unit's fear that the pictures could spark a second wave of scandal.

The disclosures provide the first evidence that in both the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of war, soldiers involved in alleged abuse incidents may have sought to suppress evidence of their actions, muddying any inquiry into how pervasive the abuse of detainees was. Other documents released yesterday also suggest that while the military has said it is investigating all allegations of abuse, it is also closing many of the investigations on the grounds that no conclusion can be reached.



Fault Lines
By Dilip Hiro

An apt headline, summarizing the results of the elections to Iraq's 275-representative-strong National Assembly on January 30, would be: "No surprises, no upsets."

Given a large voter turnout in the Shiite majority areas and an even a larger one in the Kurdistan region, it was widely predicted that the Shiite- and Kurdish-dominated alliances would top the polls. They did. As expected, due to the widespread Sunni boycott of the election, the only Sunni-dominated list that managed to win any seats garnered just five -- one-eleventh of the seats that the Sunnis should have won.

Overall, the poll has exposed and sharpened the sectarian and ethnic fault lines in Iraqi society. At the same time, bolstered by a popular mandate, the new government seems set on a collision course with the American occupiers regarding the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.


Rumsfeld says US needs deep-penetrating nuclear bomb:-

Washington February 18, 2005 10:15:06 AM IST

The US needs a nuclear bomb that can hit targets buried hundreds of feet deep, a capability it does not have now, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said.

An earth-penetrating nuclear warhead is needed because many countries are burying targets underground and "we have no capability, conventional or nuclear, to go after them," Rumsfeld said testifying before the House Armed Services Committee here yesterday.

However, he said, what is involved now is a feasibility study and not development of a weapon, which Congress had opposed last year.

The goal of the feasibility study, he said, is to see whether the nation's nuclear weapons laboratories could come up with a concept for a warhead casting that could carry a nuclear device down through rock or hardened earth, keeping it intact to explode and destroy an underground facility.



Man 'blinded at Guantanamo'

17 February 2005

A British resident has been blinded in one eye by American military police at Guantanamo Bay, his lawyer claimed today.

Omar Deghayes' family appealed for the British Government to intervene and secure his release, almost 25 years to the day since his father was assassinated by Colonel Gaddafi's regime in Libya.

Mr Deghayes mother Zohra Zewawi, from Brighton, wept as lawyer Clive Stafford Smith described the injuries the detainee has allegedly suffered at the Cuban base.


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U.S. Patriot Act can eye Canucks

VICTORIA (CP) - The United States is willing to review a British Columbia report that concludes the U.S. Patriot Act has the power to eyeball private information about Canadians, Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said Friday.
The U.S., like Canada, is concerned about protecting the privacy rights of its citizens, but when it comes to fighting terrorists law enforcers need tools to get the job done, he said.
Cellucci made the comments following Friday's release of a report by B.C. privacy commissioner David Loukidelis who concluded private information about Canadians could be viewed by U.S. authorities despite Canadian attempts to thwart the probes.
"We live in an age of terror," said Cellucci in a telephone interview from Vancouver.
"We have to make sure law enforcement can protect us while at the same time protect privacy rights," he said.
Loukidelis said the long arm of the Patriot Act allows U.S. authorities to access the personal information of Canadians if it ends up in the United States or if it is held by U.S. companies in Canada.

None of us are safe ever again from you Patriot Act

Iraq suicide bombings

BAGHDAD (AP) - A series of explosions ripped through Baghdad and a nearby city Friday, killing at least 35 people and injuring dozens on the eve of Shiite Islam's most important holiday, officials said. It was the deadliest day since Iraq's landmark elections last month.
Suicide bombers attacked two Shiite mosques in Baghdad as Friday prayers were ending; another explosion occurred near a Shiite religious procession, and a third suicide bomber blew himself up at an Iraqi police and National Guard checkpoint in a Sunni neighbourhood.
On Friday evening, a car bomb exploded outside a Shiite mosque in Iskandariyah, 48 kilometres south of the capital, killing seven people and wounding 10, doctors said.
The attacks recalled bombings on the Ashoura holiday a year ago that killed at least 181 during the religious festival.
Two Americans were killed Friday in separate attacks, bringing to five the number of U.S. soldiers slain since Wednesday, the military said.
The bloodshed began when a bomber entered the vestibule of al-Khadimain mosque in the Iraqi capital's Doura neighbourhood and detonated his explosives as worshippers prayed, witness Hussein Rahim Qassim said.

I thought we went to liberate
We sure bought them plenty of death

Indonesian journalists missing in Iraq

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Two Indonesian journalists are missing in Iraq and a witness reported seeing them stopped by armed men, Indonesia's foreign ministry said Friday, but declined to say if the men were abducted.
The reporters were working for Indonesia's Metro TV, a 24-hour cable network, and went missing Tuesday. A witness said he saw their car stopped near the Iraqi town of Ramadi by armed men in Iraqi military uniforms, ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said. The government is sending a team to Iraq to seek additional information, he said.
Ramadi, about 110 kilometres west of Baghdad, has been a centre of insurgent activity in Iraq and the scene of frequent clashes between U.S. forces, their Iraqi allies and militants.
The car, driver and the two journalists have been taken to an unknown location. However, I will not use the word abduction yet," he told reporters.
"We are trying to ascertain the whereabouts of these two reporters and establish contact with them," he said. "It was reported that the people who stopped them were wearing Iraqi military uniforms."


Iraqi died in CIA interrogation

SAN DIEGO (AP) - An Iraqi whose corpse was photographed with grinning U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib died under CIA interrogation while suspended by his wrists, which had been handcuffed behind his back, according to investigative reports reviewed by The Associated Press.
The death of the prisoner, Manadel al-Jamadi, became known last year when the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. The U.S. military said back then that it had been ruled a homicide. But the exact circumstances of the death were not disclosed at the time.
The prisoner died in a position known as "Palestinian hanging," the documents reviewed by The AP show. It was unclear whether that position - allegedly used by Israel against Palestinian prisoners and which human rights groups condemn as torture - was approved by the Bush administration for use in CIA interrogations.
The spy agency, which faces congressional scrutiny over its detention and interrogation of suspects at the Baghdad prison and elsewhere, declined to comment for this story, as did the U.S. Justice Department.
Al-Jamadi was one of the CIA's so-called ghost detainees at Abu Ghraib - prisoners being held secretly by the agency.

I wont say it I will just keep it to myself:
I wonder how many of these terrorists have been eventually convicted by the courts

Charges reduced against Lynndie England in Iraq prisoner abuse case

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - U.S. military prosecutors have filed a new and reduced set of charges against army Pte. 1st Class Lynndie England in the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, cutting by more than one-half the sentence she could face if convicted.
The 22-year-old reservist who was photographed grinning in pictures of Iraqis in sexually humiliating positions was initially charged with 19 counts of abuse and indecent acts. Those charges could have put her behind bars for 38 years
But prosecutors at Fort Hood, Texas, where England's case has been sent for trial, submitted nine counts to the military court last week that together carry up to 16 1/2 years in prison, her legal team said Friday.
Prosecutors would not explain why so many counts were dropped.
"The best we can figure out, it looks like the new prosecutors in the case decided that these charges more accurately reflected her participation," said Richard Hernandez, her civilian defence lawyer.

Wonder what she is keeping to herself


Explosion outside mosque in southern Baghdad kills 30 and injures dozens

BAGHDAD (AP) - An explosion during Friday prayers outside a Shiite mosque in southern Baghdad has killed about 30 and injured dozens, a National Guard officer said.
There were unconfirmed reports of a second blast in the same area. The blast occurred in Baghdad's Dora neighbourhood near the al-Khadimain mosque, 1st Lt. Ahmad Ali said. Shiites are celebrating the Islamic holy month of Muharram and Saturday is Ashoura, the 10th day of Muharram and the holiest day of the year for them. The day marks the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, in a 7th century battle for leadership of the Islamic world.


Sorry You did not deserve to die this way
These people were not liberated

Accidental U.S. military deaths in Iraq have jumped during big troop rotation

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. troops in Iraq have suffered a rash of fatal vehicle accidents and other non-combat deaths in recent weeks, even as the number killed in insurgent attacks has declined.
Although details of recent accidents have not been made public, some officials believe the jump in their number can be explained in part by turbulence from the troop rotation that is now approaching its peak, with tens of thousands of troops arriving and like numbers going home.
"The sheer volume of soldiers on the ground and high volume of vehicular traffic may reflect a higher rate of individual accidents or non-battle injuries," said Maj. Richard Goldenberg, spokesman for the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York Army National Guard, which is commanding a mixed Guard/regular Army task force responsible for an area of north-central Iraq.
There currently are about 155,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the U.S. military command in Baghdad. That is the highest number of the entire war, including the initial invasion.

More sons and daughters, but not of the administrations
They died away from their families for what

Ex-journalism adviser in Iraq says U.S. officials put coverage on themselves
WASHINGTON (AP) - A journalist who helped Iraq form a new broadcast network in 2003 testified Monday that U.S. occupation officials were more interested in airing their own activities than stories essential to Iraqis.
Don North, who served as a U.S. government adviser to the Iraqi Media Network, said the network became an irrelevant mouthpiece for the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority.
The network was given "a laundry list of CPA activities" to cover instead of stories on security, the lack of electricity and jobs, said North, an independent journalist who has reported for National Public Radio and NBC.
North testified at a hearing of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, a party organization. Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, head of the panel, said Democrats had asked Republican-led Senate committees to conduct hearings on U.S. waste and missteps in Iraq but the Republican chairmen refused.
In addition to North, another former U.S. adviser in Iraq - Frank Willis - testified he thought he was in the Wild West in 2003 as he watched colleagues pull $2 million in fresh bills from a vault and stuff them in a contractor's gunnysack.
North told the hearing he wanted the Media network to be like the Public Broadcasting System in the United States. Instead, he said, U.S. authorities told him "we were running a public diplomacy operation" for the occupation government.
Willis testified that cash payments that weren't stuffed in sacks were made from a pickup truck that bore the name of Iraq's grounded airline. American authorities thought the vehicle would "meld into the environment," Willis, said.
Much of the money was Iraqi funds, Willis said.

When dont they cover there tails
Or have someone else take the fall

Turkish businessman taken hostage in Iraq two months ago released

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Kidnappers have released a wealthy Turkish businessman after holding him hostage in Iraq for two months, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Kahraman Sadikoglu, president of the Istanbul-based Tuzla Shipyard, was released late Monday, and flown to Baghdad after spending the evening at a British base in southern Iraq, a Foreign Ministry official said. He was scheduled to return to Turkey later Tuesday through Jordan.


Alleged al-Qaida sleeper agent Charkaoui leaves Montreal detention centre

MONTREAL (CP) - A suspected terrorist jailed on allegations that he is a sleeper agent for al-Qaida was released Friday on $50,000 bail after 21 months in detention.
Adil Charkaoui, 31, was driven out of the Riviere-des-Prairies detention centre by his lawyer. His family then drove up in a van and, in an emotional reunion, got out to kiss and hug him in the street. His young daughter carried a bouquet of flowers.
"I want to say thank you to all the people who helped me to have my freedom," Charkaoui told reporters. "People from coast to coast, from British Columbia, from Ontario and especially from Quebec . . . .
"I thank all the people that trusted me."
But Charkaoui won't enjoy total freedom. He'll have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and there will be limits on who he can contact.
The bracelet was not available at the time of his release and will be installed in coming days.
"We don't know exactly what the reason was," his lawyer Dominique Larochelle said. "I think they weren't exactly prepared, but they decided not to penalize Mr. Charkaoui."


Top U.S. military and intelligence officials warn of future terrorist acts

WASHINGTON (AP) - Speaking with one voice, President George W. Bush's top intelligence and military officials said Wednesday that terrorists are regrouping for possible new strikes against the United States.
They said the best defence was for Congress to approve the president's military and anti-terror budget. But some in Congress, including prominent Republicans, were questioning some of that spending. Offering few specifics on terror threats, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a House hearing that the government could reasonably predict attacks would come from terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and other means
Meanwhile, new CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee the Iraq war was giving terrorists experience and contacts for future attacks, and FBI Director Robert Mueller expressed worry that a sleeper operative in the United States may have been in place for years, awaiting orders for an attack.
"I remain very concerned about what we are not seeing," Mueller said in remarks he submitted to the senators.
Rumsfeld told the House Armed Services Committee that the proposed $419 billion defence US package for 2006 would set an ambitious course to "continue prosecuting the war and to attack its ideological underpinnings."
Again this is really becoming a broken record
What bad news is to come out, I wonder

Judge upholds designation of Missouri charity as terrorist backer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge on Friday upheld the government's designation of a Missouri charity as part of an international front group for al-Qaida.
The Islamic American Relief Association-USA had sued to challenge the October decision freezing its assets, saying it was an independent group unconnected with terrorism
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled the government had enough evidence to support its ruling that IARA-USA was part of an international charity linked to terrorism called the Islamic African Relief Agency.
Walton ruled in part based on his review of about two dozen pages of classified evidence that the government kept from lawyers for IARA-USA for national security reasons.
Federal authorities say the Islamic African Relief Agency and its affiliates gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to al-Qaida and helped with a $5-million fundraising campaign for another group founded by Osama bin Laden. A former IARA-USA regional director bought the satellite telephone and airtime used by bin Laden to plan the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.


Algerian man charged with lying about al-Qaida bomb plot to avoid deportation

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Federal prosecutors have charged an Algerian man with making up an al-Qaida bomb plot in an effort to avoid being deported.
Ahmed Allali, who was charged Wednesday, falsely claimed he knew members of the terrorist group and that he knew of a cell planning to detonate bombs in five major U.S. cities in early 2005, said Susan W. Brooks, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
Allali, who was ordered deported after entering the United States with a fraudulent passport in 1998, made up the story after his November arrest in Indianapolis on a deportation warrant, according to a probable cause affidavit. Late last year, Allali acknowledged he knew no one associated with a terrorist network, the affidavit said.
Brooks said the investigation of Allali's claims tied up hundreds of agents nationwide, diverting resources from other terrorist leads.
"A lot of taxpayer dollars devoted to a lie," she said.
Allali, 36, was charged with three counts of making false statements to federal investigators, a news release said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon M. Jackson said he faces possible prison time and a fine.


37 prisoners have died from torture at U.S. prison camps: human rights group

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A U.S. human rights group accused the United States on Thursday of torturing terror suspects at U.S. prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, alleging at least 37 detainees have died during interrogations.
The World Organization for Human Rights USA said an upcoming report by the U.S. government to the United Nations Committee Against Torture on its compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture is likely to sidestep torture committed during its war on terror, blaming the abuses on a few "aberrant individuals."
Morton Sklar, the organization's executive director, said there were legal memoranda issued at the highest level in the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Defence "justifying and encouraging the use of torture as a military necessity in time of war."
Brian Whitman, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defence, strongly disagreed with the allegations made by the Washington-based group
The word is Liberation, well these 37 are certainly liberated
To Bad they will never experience the feeling

Museum sees irony in U.S. government seizure of part of exhibit on state power

CINCINNATI (AP) - Fake passports created as part of an Austrian artist's exhibit have been confiscated by U.S. government authorities, Ohio museum officials said Tuesday.
Officials at the Contemporary Arts Center opened the display, portraying an imaginary country called State of Sabotage, as scheduled last weekend. They said they regard the seized items as works of art and are trying to persuade the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to return them to the artists.
The confiscation is ironic, considering the exhibit's focus on government powers including authority to issue documents to citizens, said museum director Linda Shearer.
"I think it says a lot about the condition of our world today, that everyone is understandably on the alert," Shearer said, adding the museum understands government officials were doing their jobs.
Museum officials said the art group's leader, Robert Jelinek of Vienna, didn't realize the items had been confiscated until he inspected his luggage last Thursday and found a Department of Homeland Security receipt for confiscated items.


Militants blow themselves up after gunbattle with police in Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) - Two suspected Islamic militants blew themselves up with powerful bombs after an intense gunbattle with police in this southwestern Pakistani city, a senior police official said Friday. The two suspects were killed, but nobody else was hurt in the blasts.
The incident occurred before dawn Friday when dozens of policemen raided a house in Quetta after receiving a tip that "suspects were hiding there," police official Mohammed Shahban said.
The shootout occurred near the planned route for a procession Sunday of minority Shiite Muslims for the mourning period of Ashura, which is especially important for Shiites.
The identity of the slain pair was not immediately known, but Shahban said they suspect they had links with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group which has been accused by authorities of killing thousands of rival Shiite Muslim in recent years.
"We think these two men were from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and they were planning attacks against Shiites," he said, but gave no other details.


CIA contractor accused of abusing Afghan says he was following Bush orders
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A CIA contractor charged with beating an Afghan prisoner who later died was protecting the United States against terrorists and should not be prosecuted because he was following directives from President George W. Bush and his administration, his lawyers argued in filings released this week.
Lawyers for David Passaro, a former U.S. army Special Forces soldier from North Carolina who was hired as CIA contractor, also contend the alleged beating of Abdul Wali occurred outside the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.
Passaro's lawyer, public defender Thomas McNamara, filed his motion to dismiss the charges in December but the document was only made publicly available this week.
In it, McNamara points out Bush said Sept. 12, 2001, a day after terrorist attacks in the United States that resulted in the deaths of 3,000 people, the country "will use all our resources to conquer this enemy."
He also cites remarks by U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and White House officials that he argues immunize Passaro from prosecution.
McNamara wrote the laws under which Passaro was charged were "not designed for application to the front lines of battle."
Passaro was charged in June with four counts of assault, accused of beating Wali with his hands, feet and a flashlight as he tried to extract information about rocket attacks on U.S. forces.
Prosecutors said Wali died June 21, 2003, after two days of interrogations and beatings by Passaro. Three paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division will testify they witnessed the beating, prosecutors said. Passaro is not charged in Wali's death.
If convicted, Passaro could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.
A response filed by U.S. prosecutors remained under seal Friday. Assistant U.S. attorney James Candelmo has asked that a defence motion that argues U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over the case be rejected. Both he and McNamara have declined comment on the case.
NooooooooooNever I dont believe it

Blast suspect appears in British court, alleges torture in Pakistani custody

LONDON (CP) - A British man appeared in court Monday charged with conspiring to cause an explosion with six other men, who were arrested last year in an anti-terror sweep that uncovered more than half a tonne of potentially explosive fertilizer.
Salahuddin Amin, 29, was arrested last Tuesday as he arrived at Heathrow airport on a flight from Pakistan. He claims he was detained without charge for 10 months in Pakistan and tortured while in custody there.
Amin appeared at Bow Street Magistrates' Court for a brief hearing Monday and was charged under Section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883, which is part of ordinary criminal law.
He was jointly charged with Omar Khyam, Anthony Garcia, Nabeel Hussein, Jawad Akbar, Waheed Mahmoud and a youth who wasn't identified. The charge said they "unlawfully and maliciously conspired together and with Mohammad Momin Khawaja and with others unknown to cause by explosive substances an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the United Kingdom."


Chalabi poised to become leader
by Stephen Farrell
February 19, 2005

IN Iraq they say "Lil quta sabat arwaah" - the cat with seven lives. No matter how many times Ahmad Chalabi is knocked down, his enemies just cannot kill him off.Exiled, disgraced, convicted of fraud, branded a collaborator, overlooked in Iyad Allawi's interim Government, then rubbished and dropped by his Washington paymasters, the former exile remains widely disliked by many ordinary Iraqis.
Yet Mr Chalabi is poised to gain a top job in the new Shia-led government, and conceivably the prime ministership.
The victorious coalition was deadlocked yesterday over its choice of prime minister, with its 140 newly elected parliamentarians split between the favourite - Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the leader of the Islamic Dawa Party - and Mr Chalabi, who is the leader of the smaller Iraqi National Congress.
A vote is expected within two or three days. Even if Mr Chalabi fails to win the top job, he is likely to secure a cabinet post.
That would represent a remarkable comeback. The former Pentagon favourite supplied much of the faulty intelligence about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, upon which the White House based its case for war.
Nine months ago, Mr Chalabi's disgrace seemed complete. His Baghdad home was raided by Iraqi and US forces amid charges that he had passed US intelligence secrets to Iran.
Even detractors concede he is a brilliant political operator. "He's highly intelligent and works hard, restless and consumed by ambition," said Adnan Pachachi, a former colleague on Iraq's now defunct governing council.
Mr Chalabi is a secular Shia, and official results from Iraq's election released yesterday confirmed Shia and Kurdish domination of the 275-seat National Assembly.


Suspects flew to Australia
LEBANON is hunting six people who flew from Beirut for Australia, leaving traces of explosives on aircraft seats, hours after a powerful bomb killed former prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
"Six people left for Australia from Beirut airport a few hours after the attack and traces of TNT powder were recovered from the seats used by some of them," Justice Minister Adnan Addum said.
"These people have links with fundamentalist circles. I can't say more because of the demands of the investigation," he added.
One hitherto unknown Islamist group claimed it carried out Monday's bombing, saying it was in revenge for Mr Hariri's links with Saudi Arabia where security forces have killed members of extremist groups. It gave no proof of its involvement.
Lebanese officials have said the attack was probably carried out by a suicide bomber but some have speculated that, given the widespread damage and force of the blast, the explosives could have been planted under the road before Hariri's convoy passed.
Lebanon has called in Swiss experts and DNA experts to help with the inquiry.
Meanwhile in Beirut, banks and shops reopened for business after a three-day mourning period for Mr Hariri, whose murder in a massive bomb blast in Beirut on Monday sent shockwaves through the country and added to tensions with its political masters in Syria.

Whoops OMG there here Mr Howard!!!!!


Bush warns of Islamic alliance
by Roy EcclestonFebruary 19, 200

GEORGE W. Bush is calling on Europe to join the US in increasing pressure on Syria and Iran to reform, as the two Middle Eastern nations tout a new strategic Islamic alliance against US and Israeli "plots".With Tehran's alleged nuclear ambitions the new flashpoint in the volatile region, Mr Bush also warned that the US would support Israel in any military action against Iran.
At a press conference ahead of his visit to Europe next week, the US President promised to work with European leaders to produce a strategy to prevent Tehran developing a nuclear bomb.
But he gave no sign that the US would join Britain, France and Germany in its carrot-and-stick approach to Iran. US officials said the next move was up to Iran, to show it would permanently cease its uranium-enrichment program.
And in a development sure to be raised at Mr Bush's meeting with Vladimir Putin next week, Russia announced it would supply fuel to Iran for its Russian-built Bushehr nuclear plant, despite Washington's fear it could be used for a nuclear weapon. Iranian state television announced yesterday a 10-year deal would be signed next week and the first shipment of fuel would be delivered three months later.
All spent fuel is to be returned to Russia, but critics fear it could be reprocessed into bomb material.
Asked if he was worried about the prospect of an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent it acquiring a nuclear weapon, Mr Bush avoided the question but expressed sympathy and support for Israel's concerns.

I think I have heard this record before

Thousands flee as plague spreads
By Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva

AN outbreak of plague at a diamond mine in Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 61 miners and infected hundreds, sparking a panicked exodus of thousands of people.The World Health Organisation (WHO) today said it was dispatching a team of health experts this weekend to try to contain the highly contagious disease, which can kill its victims within 48 hours.
Many of the 7000 miners working in Zobia 300km north of Kisangani, Congo's third-biggest city, had fled since the outbreak began two months ago and could have spread the disease, the UN agency said.
"The epidemiological data is still incomplete, but we are sure there are at least 61 deaths. The main problem is that due to panic, maybe two-thirds of the population ran away from the mine," said Eric Bertherat, head of the WHO team.
There is a risk that some patients in incubation run away and maybe arrive in Kisangani. So it is very important to inform health care workers to alert them of the risk of admission of highly contagious patients."


New U.S. files detail detainee abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan

Photographs of uniformed U.S. forces in Afghanistan posing with hooded and bound prisoners during mock executions were damaged to avoid a repetition of the Abu Gharib scandal in Iraq, according to new Army papers released Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union.
ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said that "It's increasingly clear that members of the military were aware of the allegations of torture and that efforts were taken to erase evidence, to shut down investigations and to humiliate the detainees in an effort to silence them,"
Also ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said that "These documents provide more evidence that abuse was not localized or aberrational, but was widespread and systemic. They also provide further evidence that at least in some cases the government is not aggressively investigating credible allegations of abuse,"
The findings of military investigations into the abuse photographs were among hundred of recently released documents after the ACLU gained a federal court order through the Freedom of Information Act which allowed it to see the reports of the U.S. treatment of prisoners around the world.
Army spokesman Col. Joe Curtin said; "Simply put, we are accountable. We will take action and investigate when it (abuse) is reported. We take it seriously. And we'll bring those soldiers to justice who may have committed an offense,"
The investigation of the photographs in Afghanistan started after a CD was discovered in July during office cleanup. The pictures showed uniformed soldiers pointing guns at bound and hooded prisoners in the Fire Base Tycze in southern Afghanistan.
Other Army papers released Friday mentioned the case of an Iraqi prisoner, arrested in Tikrit in September 2003, who stated that U.S. forces in civilian clothes beat him in the stomach, broke his nose, hit his leg with a basketball bat, dislocated his arms and fired an unloaded pistol into his mouth.
The prisoner stated that a U.S. interrogator demanded him to confess to crimes and told him; "Today will be the last day in your life." He also said that the soldiers forced him to denounce his abuse claim to win his freedom.
The Army papers also show

Must have missed it on cable


BREAKING NEWS: Gannon reportedly knew about Iraq attack four hours before it happened

A news producer for a major network's local affiliate just told me that Gannon told the producer the US was going to attack Iraq four hours before President Bush announced it to the nation.According to the producer, Gannon specifically told them that in four hours the president was going to be making a speech to the nation announcing that the US was bombing Iraq. The producer told me they were surprised that Gannon, working with such a small news outfit, could have access to such information, but "what did you know, he was right," the producer said today. The producer went on to say that Gannon often had correct scoops on major stories, including information about Mary Mapes and the Dan Rather BUSH/AWOL scandal that this news outlet got from Gannon before any had the information publicly.
Wonder where he got his news
Treasury's Role in Illicit Iraq Oil Sales Cited Colum Lynch The Washington Post

Senator releases e-mail from parties involved in shipments banned by U.N.
United Nations - The Treasury Department provided assurances that the United States would not obstruct two companies' plans to import millions of barrels of oil from Iraq in March 2003 in violation of U.N. sanctions, according to an e-mail from one of the companies.
Diplomats and oil brokers have recently said that the United States had long turned a blind eye to illicit shipments of Iraqi oil by its allies Jordan and Turkey. The United States acknowledged this week that it had acquiesced in the trade to ensure that crucial allies would not suffer economic hardships.
But the e-mail, along with others released this week by Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Governmental Affairs panel's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, provides evidence that the Bush administration directly abetted Jordan's efforts to build up its strategic reserves with smuggled Iraqi oil in the weeks before the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003.


Veteran of Dirty Wars Wins Lead U.S. Spy Role By Duncan Campbell
The Guardian U.K

Written off by many after his role in Central America, John Negroponte's revived career hits a new high.
John Negroponte's nomination by President Bush yesterday to be his chief of intelligence represents the pinnacle of rehabilitation for a man who, for many people, will always be associated with US involvement in the "dirty wars" in Central America in the 1980s.
While Mr. Bush has restored to office other figures from that period of American history, none has been promoted to the same extent as the former ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, the UN and Iraq.
Mr. Negroponte, 65, was born in London, the son of a Greek shipping magnate who emigrated to New York during the second world war.
After Harvard law school, he began a diplomatic career that has spanned more than four decades and taken in some of the most challenging posts on three continents.
He has described his time as a political officer in Vietnam during the war in the 60s as a "career-defining experience". He only left the diplomatic service for a three-year stint with the New York publishers McGraw Hill, a "sabbatical" which ended when he became the US ambassador to the UN in 2001.
To his admirers, he is a powerful, experienced, charismatic figure of patrician bearing who has earned the trust of successive American administrations, whether they were led by Presidents Reagan, Bush senior or Clinton. He is often described as "the diplomats' diplomat" and credited with a steely determination in negotiations in eight foreign postings. With his wife, Diana, he adopted five children in Honduras.
To his detractors, he is tainted by his time between 1981 and 1985 in Honduras, a country that was being used as a launchpad for the illegal US-backed war waged by the contras against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The Honduran military was accused of taking part in torture and extra-judicial killings.

What's new with this Administration


Behind the Walls of Ward 54 By Mark Benjamin Salon.com

They're overmedicated, forced to talk about their mothers instead of Iraq, and have to fight for disability pay. Traumatized combat vets say the Army is failing them, and after a year following more than a dozen soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital, I believe them.
Washington - Before he hanged himself with his bathrobe sash in the psychiatric ward at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Spc. Alexis Soto-Ramirez complained to friends about his medical treatment. Soto-Ramirez, 43, had been flown out of Iraq five months before then because of chronic back pain that became excruciating during the war. But doctors were really worried about his mind. They thought he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving with the 544th Military Police Company, a unit of the Puerto Rico National Guard, the kind of unit that saw dirty, face-to-face combat in Iraq.
A copy of Soto-Ramirez's medical records, reviewed by Salon, show that a octor who treated him in Puerto Rico upon his return from Iraq believed his mental problems were probably caused by the war and that his future was in the Army's hands. "Clearly, the psychiatric symptoms are combat related," a clinical psychologist at Roosevelt Roads Naval Hospital wrote on Nov. 24, 2003. The entry says, "Outcome will depend on adequacy and appropriateness of treatment." Doctors in Puerto Rico sent Soto-Ramirez to Walter Reed in Washington, D.C., to get the best care the Army had to offer. There, he was put in Ward 54, Walter Reed's "lockdown," or inpatient psychiatric ward, where the most troubled patients are supposed to have constant supervision.

You can bet he is not one of the Bush Administrations Sons


Our Friends, the Torturers By Bob Herbert The New York Times

The United States has long purported to be outraged over Syria's bad behavior, the latest flash point being the possible Syrian involvement in the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri.
From the U.S. perspective, Syria is led by a gangster regime that has, among other things, sponsored terrorism, aided the insurgency in Iraq and engaged in torture. So here's the question. If Syria is such a bad actor - and it is - why would the Bush administration seize a Canadian citizen at Kennedy Airport in New York, put him on an executive jet, fly him in shackles to the Middle East and then hand him over to the Syrians, who promptly tortured him?
The administration is trying to have it both ways in its so-called war on terror. It claims to be fighting for freedom, democracy and the rule of law, and it condemns barbaric behavior whenever it is committed by someone else. At the same time, it is engaged in its own barbaric behavior, while going out of its way to keep that behavior concealed from the American public and the world at large.
The man grabbed at Kennedy Airport and thrown by American officials into a Syrian nightmare was Maher Arar, a 34-year-old native of Syria who emigrated to Canada as a teenager. No one, not even the Syrians who tortured him, have been able to present any evidence linking him to terrorism.
He was taken into custody on the afternoon of Sept. 26, 2002, and was not released until Oct. 5, 2003. He was never charged, and when he wasn't being brutalized, he spent much of his time in an unlit, rat-infested cell that reminded him of a grave.


'US not planning Iran attack'by Terence Hunt in Washington19feb05

THE US does not intend to attack Iran to crush its suspected nuclear weapons project, President George W Bush said today.He added, however, that "you never want a president to say never".
Mr Bush expressed hope that a European diplomatic initiative would persuade Tehran to abandon any such program.
In interviews with European journalists at the White House, Mr Bush was asked about an opinion poll showing that 70 per cent of Germans believe the US is planning military action against Iran.
"I hear all these rumours about military attacks, and it's just not the truth," Mr Bush, about to visit Europe to mend fences with allies, said.

Well Ill be a monkey uncle
Yeah Mr Bush I believe you
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx

Allies move in on top terrorist

Bigley's executioner 'holed up in Kirkuk' as death toll in Iraq resumes pre-election levels
The claim comes barely days after the Iraq's interim government said that it was close to catching the jihadist, whose group has been behind the beheadings of foreign hostages, including Briton Kenneth Bigley, and suicide bombings.
'He came to Kirkuk from Mosul,' a source in the Kirkuk police department told Reuters yesterday, speaking anonymously. 'There's a possibility that he might be captured at any moment.'
The claim follows the disclosure by Iraq's interior minister this month that Iraqi security forces were tracking Zarqawi and had recently come close to capturing him. 'We are following him,' said Falah al-Naqib. 'I think we missed him two or three times, but hopefully next time we will be able to capture him.'
The claims came as British officials poured cold water on hopes of substantial early withdrawal from Iraq, and suggested that Britain could be involved in Iraq for decades. It also followed an increasingly inevitable day of further violence across the country.


U.S. forces killed in Iraq

1,470 Americans confirmed dead, 1,119 troops; Five more killed today.
http://www.rawstory.com/ Christy go into this link: names and confirmations


Bush's Iraq Coalition Shrinking

WASHINGTON - Sometimes it's hard to know who your friends are — even if they're helping you fight a war. President Bush (news - web sites), who hopes to coax more Iraq (news - web sites) support from European allies next week, used to boast that some 50 nations had joined the United States in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, a public listing is nowhere to be found.
One thing, though, is clear: The coalition is shrinking. "I expect to see the coalition countries begin paring down their forces as they complete their contributions," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told the House Armed Services Committee this week.
While a current list of coalition countries — those helping out in Iraq with troops, equipment, monetary or political support — is not easy to come by, there is a public listing of the countries that have actual troops in Iraq. These 20-plus countries, which have combat and support forces in Iraq under the command of Gen. George Casey Jr., make up the multinational force.
Daniel Goure, a Defense Department official in the first Bush administration, said current Bush officials apparently decided to start talking about a "multinational force" instead of a "coalition" to avoid questions about which countries were in or out.


US soldiers to receive ecstasy to fight combat trauma

US soldiers traumatized by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares.
The US food and drug administration has given the go-ahead for the soldiers to be included in an experiment to see if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Scientists behind the trial in South Carolina think the feelings of emotional closeness reported by those taking the drug could help the soldiers talk about their experiences to therapists.
Several victims of rape and sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder, for whom existing treatments are ineffective, have been given MDMA since the research began last year.
Michael Mithoefer, the psychiatrist leading the trial, said: "It's looking very promising. It's too early to draw any conclusions but in these treatment-resistant people so far the results are encouraging."
"People are able to connect more deeply on an emotional level with the fact they are safe now."
He is about to advertise for war veterans who fought in the last five years to join the study.
According to the US national center for post-traumatic stress disorder, up to 30 percent of combat veterans suffer from the condition at some point in their lives.
Known as shell shock during the first world war and combat fatigue in the second, the condition is characterized by intrusive memories, panic attacks and the avoidance of situations which might force sufferers to relive their wartime experiences.
Mithoefer said the MDMA helped people discuss traumatic situations without triggering anxiety.
"It appears to act as a catalyst to help people move through whatever's been blocking their success in therapy."

This really had to mentioned a 2nd and 3rd and 4th time
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