Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, February 26, 2005

hahahahaha I just had to Posted by Hello

Another pipeline Posted by Hello


Soldier shocked by pupils' letters

Gary Younge in New York
Thursday February 24, 2005
The Guardian

A teacher has apologised for letters sent by his sixth-grade students to an American soldier, accusing the US military of killing civilians and destroying Iraqi mosques in a futile war on terror.
Alex Kunhardt sent the letters to Private Rob Jacobs for a social studies assignment. Pte Jacobs, who is serving 10 miles from the North Korean border, said his excitement at getting the letters from the Brooklyn schoolchildren turned to shock as he read them.

One of the letters from the 11- to 12-year-old pupils, stamped with a smiley face, said the soldier might have been risking his life for his country, but then asked: "Have you seen how many civilians you or some other soldier killed?"

Another read: "I feel that you are being forced to kill innocent people. Iraq never attacked us, if Bush cared so much about this country then we would be out there trying to find Osama bin Laden. Bush calls this war the war on terrorism. What terrorism? Name one terrorist from Iraq ... I know I can't."

Most letters did include support for the troops, but few were completely uncritical. A Muslim boy wrote: "I know your [sic] trying to save our country and kill the terrorists but you are also destroying holy places like mosques."

Another stated: "Bush thinks he's brave ... in his safe little white house with as many guards as he thinks he needs." He concluded with: "By the way, when you shoot someone, is it great or horrible?"

Pte Jacobs, 20, told the New York Post: "It's hard enough for soldiers to deal with being away from their families, they don't need to be getting letters like this. If they don't have anything nice to say, they might as well not say anything at all." Pte Jacobs added that the letters were demoralising.



U.S. helicopter down in S. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier died and a second was wounded when a military helicopter crashed on Saturday while conducting a training exercise in South Korea, officials said.

The Apache helicopter, used by the 2nd Infantry Division, went down in a training area at about 11:20 a.m. local time (9:20 p.m. Friday ET), U.S. military officials said.

Only two people were on the helicopter. The wounded soldier was being treated at a nearby hospital, authorities said.

Training exercises were suspended while an investigation was conducted into the cause of the crash, military officials said. The name of the soldier who died was not released.



Blast hits Baghdad supermarket
Al-Zarqawi aides arrested

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two Iraqi civilians were killed and a third was wounded Saturday when a suicide car bomber targeted -- but missed -- a U.S. military convoy in western Baghdad, Iraqi police said.

The explosion occurred about 8:55 a.m. local time (12:55 a.m. ET) near a supermarket on the al-Adil highway road, only a few meters away from the convoy, police said. There were no U.S. casualties.

Besides the civilians killed and injured, three civilians' cars were damaged, authorities said.

Iraq attacks target police
Other attacks killed eight people on Friday, a day after a string of attacks targeting Iraqi police.

A U.S. Marine was killed in action Friday while conducting security and stability operations in Iraq's al-Anbar province, military officials said.

The marine was assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, authorities said early Saturday. No further information was released.

A roadside bomb exploded in the town of Tarmiya as a convoy passed, killing three Task Force Baghdad soldiers and wounding nine, a spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division said. Tarmiya is about 20 miles north of Baghdad.

Another Task Force Baghdad soldier died Friday in "non-battle injuries."



Forces: U.S. & Coalition/Casualties

There have been 1,663 coalition troop deaths, 1,491 Americans, 86 Britons, seven Bulgarians, one Dane, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Hungarian, 20 Italians, one Kazakh, one Latvian, 17 Poles, one Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 17 Ukrainians in the war in Iraq as of February 25, 2005. (Graphical breakdown of casualties). The list below is the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen whose families have been notified of their deaths by each country's government. At least 11,069 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. The Pentagon does not report the number of non-hostile wounded. For a historical look at U.S. war casualties, click here. To view casualties in the war in Afghanistan, click here.

A - B | C - D | E - H | I - L | M - O | P - T | U - Z


Whooooooooops they forgot the one Australian, bad move CNN edition

Sorry Cristy and Kimmy 1 compared with 1,491 I guess we have just been lucky thank the lord, But I always catch the omission, but we down under are always omitted I have always noticed that on all cable and media from America, and it really pisses me off big time always has


Gallery Photos of the voting In Iraq



Allawi forms new bloc to vie for Iraqi prime ministry
Move challenges Shiite-led alliance's nomination of al-Jaafari

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- In a sign that political jockeying for the job of Iraqi prime minister isn't over, Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi on Wednesday named a new coalition to challenge Ibrahim al-Jaafari for the post.

At a news conference with other supporters, Allawi indicated his backing is broader than the list he fielded in January's election, but he didn't provide details.

On Tuesday, the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance announced the candidacy of al-Jaafari, leader of the religious Dawa Party. (Al-Jaafari profile)

The United Iraqi Alliance won 140 seats, a slim majority in the 275-member National Assembly, in last month's election, and it must share power because a two-thirds vote is needed to form a government.

Allawi's Iraqi List placed third behind the United Iraqi Alliance and a Kurdish coalition, winning 40 seats.

Referring to Allawi's new alliance, Kassim Dawood, Iraq's national security adviser and a member of the Iraqi List, said, "This coalition represents the democratic coalition which will work ... to create a united Iraq, where all human values ... flourish -- the values of social justice, the values which we inherited from our Islamic heritage and the values which match with experiences of other nations."

Negotiations among various parties that earned seats in the elections are under way. It is not known whether Allawi would be willing to accept other jobs in the new government.

Officials from the Kurdish alliance that placed second in the election said they expect to meet with al-Jaafari and other prime minister candidates to discuss their concerns.


Wow your prez must be really pissing himself at the moment, thing are getting away from him

The games begin, Al-Jaafari will not do, no no no this will not be, I will not allow it.

'River Blitz' launched around Ramadi
Crackdown follows more than 50 deaths during Shiite holiday

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. and Iraqi forces launched an anti-insurgency operation Sunday in Ramadi and other cities along the Euphrates River, adding an 8 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew and other security measures, the U.S. military said.

Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, said the Iraqi government had asked U.S. forces to "increase our security operations ... to locate, isolate and defeat" insurgents operating from the area.

The push, dubbed "Operation River Blitz," is a "purely routine" activity aimed at bringing order and stability, an Iraqi interior ministry official told CNN.

Ramadi, provincial capital of Anbar province and considered a stronghold of Sunni Muslims who once backed Saddam Hussein, is 60 miles west of Baghdad and 30 miles west of Falluja. U.S. forces took Falluja back from insurgents in a devastating show of force late last year.

"Ramadi has been an ongoing problem for some time for the Iraqi government, but there is nothing new or extraordinary about the military operations in the area," the Iraqi interior ministry official said.

The official said that no area of Ramadi has been sealed off. He said security in the area was tough because of difficulties recruiting police officers.

Forces involved in the operation will set up checkpoints and screen vehicles, a statement from the U.S. military said



7 dead in Iraq attacks
Al-Zarqawi aides arrested

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Attackers killed seven people -- including three U.S. soldiers -- in separate attacks in the Baghdad area on Friday, a day after a string of attacks targeting Iraqi police.

A roadside bomb exploded in the town of Tarmiya as a convoy passed, killing three Task Force Baghdad soldiers and wounding nine, a spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division said. Tarmiya is about 20 miles north of Baghdad.

Another Task Force Baghdad soldier died Friday in "non-battle injuries."

The incidents bring the number of U.S. troops killed in the war to 1,491.

Three Iraqis were killed in an attack in southeast Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

A roadside bomb killed one person around 9:40 a.m., the military said in a statement, and Iraqi police and Task Force Baghdad members cordoned the area.

Then, "a terrorist fired into the crowd with an unknown weapon," killing two and wounding two, the statement said. The attacker then fled.

In Iskandariya, a restive town in northern Babil province 30 miles south of Baghdad, three masked gunmen fired on a car carrying employees of the al-Hurra television network Friday morning, killing the driver, police said.

"Three masked terrorists" drove up next to the car carrying al-Hurra staff and opened fire, killing the driver instantly, police said.



Israeli police: Four dead in Tel Aviv bombing
As many as 65 injured in suicide blast

TEL AVIV, Israel (CNN) -- Less than three weeks after Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to a cease-fire amid newfound optimism about the Mideast peace process, a suicide bomber attacked a nightclub in a popular beachfront area of Tel Aviv late Friday night, killing four people and wounding at least 65 others, according to Israeli police and emergency services.

At least three of the wounded were considered severely injured and at least three others were critically hurt, Israeli emergency services spokesman Yoni Yagodozsky said.

In the wake of the bombing, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon consulted Saturday with his defense minister and security services on what response to make.

But Israel "remains committed" to the cease-fire reached with Palestinian Authority officials in Egypt on February 8, said Ra'annan Gissin, a spokesman Sharon

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held an emergency meeting of his security officials in Ramallah, Palestinian sources said.

He also released a statement pledging that Palestinian authorities would do everything they can to track down those responsible for the attack.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the Palestinian Authority condemned the bombing in the "strongest possible terms," and he urged "all sides to exercise restraint."

• Special Report: Land of conflict
• Video: Bombing outside Tel Aviv nightclub



Hizbollah 'behind' Israel attack
From correspondents in Ramallah
February 27, 2005

INITIAL investigations show that Hizbollahwas behind a suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv which killed at least four people, a senior Palestinian security source said today.
In Beirut, the Lebanese guerrilla group denied any role in the bombing and called the accusations "a provocation".
"All the information that we have until now from interrogations show that Hizbollah is involved in the operation," said the Palestinian source, who is closely involved in the investigation.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had earlier said that a "third party" opposed to his peacemaking with Israel appeared to have a hand in the attack, but he stopped short of naming Hizbollah – which is backed by Syria and Iran.

Hizbollah said in a statement in Beirut: "Hizbollah unequivocally denies the accusations pointing towards its supposed role in the Tel Aviv operation and considers them devoid of any truth and a type of provocation of Hizbollah by the Zionist entity."

Israeli and Palestinian officials have said recently that they believe Hizbollah has been trying to encourage such attacks in order to sabotage peacemaking.



NATO plane hits Kabul terminal
From correspondents in Kabul
February 26, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

A MILITARY transport aircraft from the NATO-led peacekeeping force slid off the runway at Kabul airport Saturday, sustaining minor damage after hitting a terminal building, an official said.

There were no casualties but the plane, a C-130, was damaged and grounded for repair, NATO spokeswoman Major Karen Tissot Van Patot told reporters in Kabul.
She said the aircraft "struck and hit one of the buildings of the terminal at Kabul Airport – there were no injuries... and only minor damage to the aircraft."

It was unclear how many personnel were on board the plane at the time of the accident and whether the plane was taking off or landing.

The accident occurred while the plane was on the ground and an investigation was pending, she said, declining to give any further information.

NATO-led peacekeepers are operating in the capital Kabul and some northern provinces under a United Nations mandate to helping the Afghan authorities with security.

As part of its operations, the 8,000-strong force operates two C-130 transport aircraft and nearly a dozen helicopters.

Kabul Airport, one of the biggest air facilities in the war-shattered country, suffered serious damage during 23 years of war and lacks a radar facility, although NATO is considering equipping the airport with one.



Brothers of disco suicide bomber arrested
From correspondents in the West Bank
February 26, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

THE Israeli army today arrested the two brothers of the Palestinian suicide bomber who attacked a Tel Aviv disco, during an incursion into a village near Tulkarem, on the West Bank, security sources and witnesses said.

The attack late Friday, which left four dead and 50 wounded, was the first suicide bombing inside Israel since November 1.
The Israeli army made an incursion into the village of Deir al-Ghoussoun, east of Tulkarem, where it imposed a curfew and arrested the two brothers of 22-year-old suicide bomber Abdallah Badrane

A cell of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a Palestinian militant group loosely affiliated to the mainstream Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to AFP.



Japan admits 15th mad cow case

From correspondents in Tokyo
February 26, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

JAPAN confirmed Saturday its 15th case of mad cow disease since 2001, saying a Holstein born in the northern main island of Hokkaido had tested positive for the brain-wasting disease.

The 102-month cow was tested for mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), when it developed arthritis after stumbling, the farm ministry said in a statement.
Japan is the only Asian country to have confirmed cases of mad cow disease which decimated Britain's cattle industry in the 1990s.

It uncovered its first case in September 2001 and soon afterwards introduced measures to screen every cow which is slaughtered for consumption.

Japan halted imports of US beef in December 2003 after a cow infected with BSE was discovered in the US state of Washington. Before then, it was the top export market for US beef.

Farm minister Yoshinobu Shimamura said Friday Japan would work towards lifting the ban to prevent retaliation from Washington, where 20 senators have threatened sanctions unless Japan resumes buying US beef.

On February 4 Japan confirmed its first citizen to die from mad cow disease but said the man had contracted the condition in Britain, which has seen most cases.



Arnie admits past steroid use
From correspondents in Washington DC
February 26, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

AS a young body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger used experimental steroids on doctors' recommendations, the movie-star-turned California governor admitted in a television interview today, calling for a youth ban on steroids.

"That's what we did in those days," the star of Terminator said, quizzed on the American ABC network's News This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
"But I would strongly recommend that people do not take drugs."

Asked on the ABC News program, due to air fully on Sunday, if he had regrets about using steroids, he replied: "No, I have no regrets about it, because at that time, it was something new that came on the market, and we went to the doctor and did it under doctor's supervision.

"We were experimenting with it, it was a new thing."

The California governor said that, "absolutely" he planned to advance his own steroid legislation, after his veto of a bill that required high school coaches to teach student athletes the dangers of steroids.

Schwarzenegger said he vetoed the bill because performance enhancing food supplements had been included alongside steroids.

"It's ludicrous to forbid this for a student to take. Because if you take a protein food supplement that is made out of milk protein, out of milk, or out of soybean, or out of liver or fish that has maybe 90 percent protein, they will enhance your performance.

"That's what you need in order to get strong, is protein."

The California governor said he would seek a ban on steroids, but without food supplement restrictions.

"Of course, we want to keep the sport clean. It says, 'body-building', not 'body-destroying'.

"But people should take food supplements, people should be able to take the vitamins and all of the nutritious stuff that is available, but stay away from drugs."



Evangelicals to target abortion clinics
From correspondents in London

February 26, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

A MILITANT evangelical Christian group plans to target pregnant women and medical staff at abortion clinics in Britain, taking their cue from US anti-abortion groups, a newspaper reported Saturday.

A member of parliament will make a written statement to the House of Commons next week calling on Home Secretary Charles Clarke to investigate the activities of Christian Voice, The Times newspaper reported.
Adopting the tactics of fundamentalist Christians in the United States, Christian Voice pickets buildings and displays the home addresses and phone numbers of its targets on the internet, it said.

The group, led by Stephen Green, gained notoriety when it circulated the home addresses and telephone numbers of senior BBC figures when the musical, Jerry Springer The Opera', was screened on BBC Two last month.

Some people on the list received calls threatening them with bloodshed.

The musical features a nappy-wearing Jesus who admits he is "a bit gay".

Green, 53, told The Times that his next target is abortion clinics.

"The taking of innocent blood brings judgment on our land and cries to Heaven for vengeance," he was quoted as saying.

"The presence of abortion centres in our towns is iniquitous. They should be shut down. It would not take much: just a few prayer vigils outside clinics," he said.


These so called Christian, make me want to pute, put them on the front line of their War in Iraq, bet they voted for that in an instant


China's Quiet Rise Casts Wide Shadow

East Asian Nations Cash In on Growth

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, February 26, 2005; Page A01

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Bespectacled and mild-mannered, Leong Kai Hin is every bit the professor. He teaches economics at a Kuala Lumpur university and seems most at home behind his computer grazing for statistics.

But Leong is off on a new project that, according to his assessment, says a lot about where East Asia is headed. In partnership with a mainland Chinese friend, Leong is organizing a strawberry importing business, hoping to cash in on Malaysia's hunger for juicy berries and the ability of Chinese farmers to grow them cheaply.

Leong's out-of-character leap from the classroom into competitive business, he says, is just a small example of rapidly expanding economic activity generated across East Asia by China's 9 percent annual growth. From Japan southward to Indonesia, companies and governments have come to rely on China as a market for vital exports -- from palm oil to semiconductors -- and a source for the imports that delight local business people .

With stronger economic ties between East Asian countries and China has come a rise in Beijing's political and diplomatic influence, according to a variety of sources in China and the region. Treading softly but casting a big shadow, they say, China has emerged as an active and decisive leader in East Asia, transforming economic and diplomatic relationships across an area long dominated by the United States.

The shift in status, increasingly clear over the past year, has changed the way Chinese officials view their country's international role as well as the way other Asians look to Beijing for cues. In many ways, China has started to act like a traditional big power, tending to its regional interests and pulling smaller neighbors along in its wake.



Suspect in BTK Killings Arrested in Kansas

The Associated Press
Saturday, February 26, 2005; 1:00 PM

WICHITA, Kan. -- Police said Saturday they have arrested a man they believe is the notorious BTK serial killer who terrorized Wichita throughout the 1970s and then resurfaced about a year ago after 25 years of silence.

"The bottom line: BTK is arrested," Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams said at a news conference in Wichita with some of the victims' family members.

BTK investigator Lt. Ken Landwehr identified the suspect as Dennis Rader, a 59-year-old city worker in nearby Park City, who was arrested Friday at his suburban home.

The BTK killer -- a self-coined nickname that stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill" -- had been linked to eight killings committed between 1974 and 1986. Police said Saturday they have attributed two more slayings to BTK, from 1985 and 1991.


Sunny and Doc will be happy


Iran-Russia nuclear deal delayed

Last-minute hitches forced Iran and Russia to postpone the signing of an agreement to supply Iran with fuel for its first nuclear reactor Saturday.

The two countries top nuclear officials were due to sign the agreement, a deal stronlgy opposed to by the U.S., Saturday morning, a day after President Bush and President Putin were to hold a summit.

The deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Mohammad Saeedi, attributed the postponement to differences over the delivery time of the first shipment of fuel and the launch of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Saeedi said the deal may be signed Sunday in Bushehr, the southern town where Iran's first reactor was built, using Russian help.



Iraqs government close to capturing rebel leader

The Iraqi interim government announced on Friday the arrest of a man it described as a key figure in the country's most feared rebel group and expressed confidence that the capture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was very close.

Word of the capture came as a U.S. patrol was attacked killing three American soldiers and wounding nine in Tarmiyah, about 20 miles north of the capital.

In Haqlaniyah, 85 miles northwest of Baghdad, residents said U.S. military vehicles equipped with loudspeakers were driving through town offering $25 million for information leading to the arrest of al-Zarqawi.

"We are very close to al-Zarqawi, and I believe that there are few weeks separating us from him," Iraq's interim national security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie said.



Seven held over Tel Aviv bombing

Seven Palestinians are held by Israeli and Palestinian security forces over Friday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.



USS Cole attack verdicts upheld

A Yemeni appeals court has upheld a death sentence, and commuted another, over the bomb attack on the USS Cole, which killed 17 US sailors in 2000.
Suspected ringleader Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, currently in US custody, will receive the death penalty.

But Jamal Mohammed al-Badawi will only serve 15 years in jail, the court said.

Three others are to serve between five and 10 years; a fourth sentence was commuted from eight to five years.

In October 2000, two attackers rammed the destroyer with a small boat laden with explosives in the port of Aden.

The attack was blamed on Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

'Un-Islamic verdict'

Saturday's court session in the capital Sanaa was held under strict security.

Streets near the courthouse were blocked and several armoured vehicles and military jeeps armed with machine guns surrounded the building.

Defendants and their families shouted "Allahu Akbar" [God is Greatest] after the ruling.



Third 'gorilla breast' woman sues

A third woman hired to look after a gorilla is suing her Californian ex-employer for allegedly ordering her to show her breasts to the animal.

Koko the gorilla can understand 2,000 words of spoken English

Iris Rivera says Gorilla Foundation boss Francine Patterson told her to bare her nipples as a way of bonding with the gorilla, Koko.

Two other women, Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller, made similar allegations last week in their own legal action.

The Gorilla Foundation, based in San Francisco, strongly denies the claims.

Ms Rivera was an administrative assistant there until she resigned last month.

She is seeking unspecified damages from the foundation for alleged sexual and disability discrimination, invasion of privacy and violation of US labour laws.

'Disagreeable duty'

Ms Alperin and Ms Keller, who were fired from their jobs, are seeking damages of more than $1m (£528,000) for wrongful dismissal, outstanding overtime pay and sexual discrimination.


hahahahahaha it could only happen in the Americas I think


How long can Bush get away with lies?

February 25, 2005


As the criminal, sinful war in Iraq enters its third year, the president goes to Europe to heal the wounds between the United States and its former allies, on his own terms of course. The White House propaganda mill will hail it as another victory for the president and ignore the fact that most Europeans still consider the war dangerous folly and the president a dangerous fool.

One hears new rationalizations for the war on this side of the Atlantic. After the hearings on Secretary of State Rice, a Republican senator, with all the self-righteous anger that characterizes many such, proclaimed, "The Democrats just have to understand that the president really believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." This justification is not unlike the one heard frequently at the White House, "The president believed the intelligence agencies of the world."

Would it not be much better to have a president who deliberately lied to the people because he thought a war was essential than to have one who was so dumb as to be taken in by intelligence agencies, especially those who told him what he wanted to hear?

It is also asserted that the election settled the matters of the war and the torture of prisoners. These are dead issues that no longer need be addressed. Yet the president received only 51 percent of the vote and carried only one more state than the last time (picking up New Mexico and Iowa and losing New Hampshire). This is a validation of the war and of prisoner abuse? This is a mandate to do whatever he wants to do and whatever the leadership of the evangelical denominations want? A percentage point and a single state are a mandate for more war? Never before in American political history!


They have done a pretty good job of getting away with it for this long


U.S. Says 'Thousands' of Missiles Missing

WASHINGTON (Feb. 25) - It has been known for years that thousands of light and lethal shoulder-fired missiles are in black-market circulation. What is not known is exactly who has them and whether many have fallen into the hands of terrorists or criminals.

A worrisome puzzle, it explains why the United States and Russia signed an agreement Thursday to cooperate in destroying surplus Soviet-era SA-7s and other portable anti-aircraft missiles. The smallest of these are durable, relatively cheap and easy to smuggle.

The United States also has understandings with several other countries, including Nicaragua, Bosnia, Cambodia and Liberia, for Washington to provide technical assistance or money to destroy anti-aircraft missiles.

The State Department estimates that about 1 million shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles have been produced worldwide since the 1950s. The number believed to be in the hands of "nonstate actors,'' such as terrorist groups, is "in the thousands,'' the department says.



Top U.S. General Sees Lasting Iraq Insurgency

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) - The insurgency in Iraq (news - web sites) is not likely to be put down in a year or even two since history shows such uprisings can last a decade or more, the United States' top military commander said on Friday

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said that in the past century, insurgencies around the world have lasted anywhere from seven to 12 years, making a quick fix to the problem in Iraq unlikely.

"This is not the kind of business that can be done in one year, two years probably," said Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council here.

Myers was filling in for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who was scheduled to address the group but became ill after a long trip to Europe.

Myers said, however, that recent elections in Iraq were a sign that insurgents were not succeeding in their efforts to strike fear in the Iraqi people. American television was full of images in January of Iraqis whose fingers were stained with indelible ink after casting their ballots.


Lots and lots of money for Bush and his Corporations while the country goes into bankrupcy


Oil Pipeline Destroyed in Northern Iraq

February 26, 2005 — Saboteurs blew up an oil pipeline in northern Iraq in the latest attack against the country's vital petroleum industry, while a roadside bomb killed two people in the capital, officials and witnesses said.

The U.S. military also said Saturday that a soldier had died during a sweep for insurgents west of Baghdad.

The violence came one day after the government announced the arrest of a man it described as a key figure in the country's most feared terrorist group, and a top official said the noose was tightening around the group's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The pipeline connecting oil fields in Dibis with the northern city of Kirkuk about 20 miles away was blown up late Friday, an official of the state-run North Oil Co. said on condition of anonymity. He said repairs would take at least four days.

Insurgents regularly target Iraq's oil infrastructure, cutting exports and denying the country funds that are badly needed for reconstruction.

In Baghdad, insurgents detonated a roadside bomb in the west of the city, killing two civilians. Their slumped bodies could be seen in a small white car, its windshield smashed in the blast.



Arkansas GOP's election fine negotiated to $400,000 for violations of campaign finance law during the 2000 election 2/26



Aal-Jaafari claims influential Shiite cleric endorses him for PM

NAJAF, Iraq (AP) - United Iraqi Alliance candidate Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Friday that Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has endorsed his nomination for prime minister



Iraqi forces reportedly capture al-Zarqawi' s key aide

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraqi forces have captured a key aide to Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who leads an insurgency affiliated with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, the government said Friday.

The man, identified as Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaymi, also known as Abu Qutaybah, was captured during a Feb. 20 raid in Anah, about 255 kilometres northwest of Baghdad, a government announcement said.

"Abu Qutaybah was responsible for determining who, when and how terrorist network leaders would meet with al-Zarqawi," the government said.



U.S. soldiers killed, wounded in explosion

TARMIYAH, Iraq (AP) - Attackers ambushed patrolling U.S. troops north of Iraq's capital on Friday, killing three U.S. soldiers and wounding eight others, the military said.

Lt.-Col. Clifford Kent, a spokesman for the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, said "a U.S. patrol was hit by an IED," or improvised explosive device, the term used by the military to describe a homemade bomb. "There are three soldiers killed and eight soldiers wounded."

Witnesses said the attack took place around midday in Tarmiyah, 35 kilometres north of Baghdad.

Two residents, including an Associated Press reporter who rushed to the scene after the blast, saw about a dozen U.S. soldiers laying on blood-splattered ground after the attack.

"I was heading to our house. . . . There was a group of American soldiers walking in the road while around five Humvees were parking behind them," said Waleed Nahed, 35, who lives in the area. "I heard a very loud explosion and I saw bodies flying."

He added that he was about 200 metres away and "I think there were explosives hidden among the palm trees overlooking the street."



Turkish bestseller describes war against America

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - It's the year 2007, and U.S. troops in northern Iraq fire on a group of Turkish commandos, setting off a war between the two NATO allies.

U.S. tanks quickly pour across the Iraqi border into Turkey, annihilating Turkish forces while U.S. warplanes target Istanbul. A Turkish agent, acting on his own initiative, exacts his revenge. He detonates a nuclear bomb in a park in Washington that levels the U.S. capital.

Turkey's new hot-selling novel is Metal Storm, and although it is pure thriller, it highlights the deep fears that many Turks harbour that the U.S. invasion of Iraq will put the decades-long allies on a collision course.

The mood of suspicion has become so serious that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a meeting with Turkish leaders earlier this month, raised concerns about the negative image of the United States in Turkey, diplomats said.

The book is "fiction but in Turkey everyone is questioning whether there will eventually be a conflict between America and Turkey," Cem Kucuk, an editor at Timas Yayinlari, the book's publisher, said in an interview Tuesday.



Heart victim family plan to sue Jackson

Dan Glaister in Los Angeles
Saturday February 26, 2005
The Guardian

Michael Jackson faces further legal action, from the family of a woman who died after she was moved in hospital, apparently to make way for the singer when he took ill on the way to court last week.

Manuela Gomez Ruiz, 74, who had had a heart attack that day, was in the main trauma room at the Marian medical centre in Santa Maria, California, when Mr Jackson developed "flu-like symptoms".

She was moved to a smaller room when Mr Jackson arrived, her family said. She suffered two more heart attacks and died.

Her daughter Maria Elena Ortiz told ABC News: "He walked in. When I saw him, he was walking unassisted."

She had protested to hospital staffthat her mother should not be moved, but they had not answered her.

"I said: 'My mother just had a heart attack and I think it's more critical than a stomach flu.' They didn't say anything."

Mr Jackson's time in hospital delayed the selection of a jury for his trial on charges of child molestation and conspiracy involving extortion, kidnapping and false imprisonment.



US abortion row hots up with court fight over medical records

Julian Borger in Washington
Saturday February 26, 2005
The Guardian

The Kansas state attorney general has demanded the medical files of women who have had late-term abortions for potential criminal investigations, it was reported yesterday.

In the latest escalation of America's abortion war, attorney general Phill Kline, a conservative Republican, has argued he needs to see the files for investigations involving underage sex and child abuse.

But he also hinted he will investigate doctors carrying out late-term abortions, beyond the 22nd week of pregnancy, which are illegal in Kansas except when they are performed to prevent substantial and irreversible harm to the pregnant woman.

Abortion rights supporters believe the country's right-wingers are pursuing an incremental strategy ultimately aimed at criminalising abortions altogether, and that this is simply the latest step in that campaign.

The Kansas ban was passed in 1998, but a doctor practising in the state, George Tiller, has continued to carry out hundreds of late-term abortions each year, claiming they are legal under the exemption.



Iraq looks for light to beat dark forces

US takes the brunt as power cuts play into the insurgents' hands

Rory Carroll in Baghdad
Saturday February 26, 2005
The Guardian

Fumbling in the dark for her kerosene lamp, the room silent without the hum of the fridge or the television, Hamdia Naief was not sure whether this era should be called pre-industrial or post-Saddam.

A school caretaker, she lives with her husband in a middle-class district of east Baghdad with leafy avenues, satellite dishes and air-conditioning systems. But four hours out of six are without electricity. Their flat has few windows, to minimise the summer heat, and with no power there is no light, so the couple spend most of the day in gloom. "We can't really afford the kerosene so we try not to use the lamp much," Mrs Naief said. A power surge burnt the motor in their fridge and the oven does not work, so they cook non-perishable food on a stove on the floor. It has been this way since the invasion in March 2003. The caretaker's husband, Abdul Timimi, cursed the world in general and the Americans and Iraqi authorities in particular. "It's worse all the time."



Nineteen die in Taliban attacks

Nine Afghan soldiers died as Taliban rebels ambushed a vehicle in Helmand province. Ten Taliban fighters were killed in Khost as Afghan and US troops responded to another ambush.
AP, Kandahar



Gallop claims election victory


WESTERN AUSTRALIA'S Labor leader Geoff Gallop has declared victory in the state election, thanking the electorate for giving him a second term in office.

"Ladies and gentleman, it has been a great privilege to be premier of this great state of Western Australia and I thank the people of Western Australia for voting (with) confidence in my government for another term," Dr Gallop told a party gathering in his Victoria Park electorate last night.

After thanking the state's voters for their part in the democratic process, Dr Gallop – flanked by his wife Bev – also thanked his political opponent Colin Barnett.

"Can I wish Colin, Lyn and his family all the best for the future and I know how hard it will be for them tonight and I am thinking of them," he said.

In a speech frequently interrupted by enthusiastic applause, Dr Gallop said that over the past four years he had presided over a good government, but he believed it could be stronger



Beazley seeks briefing on Iraq troops


THE federal opposition wants a briefing on the government's decision to deploy an extra 450 troops to Iraq.

Prime Minister John Howard has announced Australian troops would be sent to southern Iraq to guard Japanese engineers in the wake of the Netherlands' decision to withdraw its troops.

The Opposition this week raised concerns, citing the Defence Department's annual report, that Australian troops were under-prepared and ill-equipped for the deployment.

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said today he had written to Mr Howard seeking a formal briefing on the move.

"The Opposition is concerned about the safety of Australian troops, especially in view of comments from senior department officials and reports of deficiencies in equipment and levels of preparedness raised in the Defence



Trial set for captain accused of killing badly-injured Iraqi

By Kevin Dougherty, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Saturday, February 26, 2005

The court-martial of a 1st Armored Division captain accused of murdering an Iraqi man last year is set to begin March 28, according to Army officials.

If coverage of the preliminary hearings last fall is any indication, the trial of Capt. Rogelio M. Maynulet should generate great interest among servicemembers and the media. Some view the case as “an act of mercy” to a dead or dying man, while Army prosecutors maintain it was murder.

Maynulet is charged with premeditated murder and dereliction of duty relating to the May 21 death of a man believed to be associated with the insurgency campaign against U.S. troops. At the time of the incident, Maynulet commanded Company A, 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, and was viewed by many superiors as a rising star.

“Captain Maynulet maintains his innocence, and I think that the court members will reach the right and just verdict,” Capt. Will Helixon, the lead defense attorney, said in a telephone interview Friday.

The trial will be held in the courtroom on Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Germany.

Maj. Michael Indovina, a division spokesman, said the proceedings are expected to last several days.



$9B Goes Missing In Iraq
Huge Sum Disappears Without A Trace
Helen Thomas, Hearst White House columnist

POSTED: 12:41 pm EST February 24, 2005

Profiteering from the Iraq war is not a surprise, especially in light of the Bush administration's pandering to the military-industrial complex.

But some Democratic lawmakers are concerned that profiteering may have achieved stratospheric dimensions in the case of the $9 billion that is missing from the sale of Iraqi oil. This money was to have been used for humanitarian aid and reconstruction for Iraq.

It seems no one is watching the store. The fund was transferred to Iraqi government ministries, which lacked the proper financial controls, security and staff to keep close tabs on the money flow.

Nevertheless, the Democrats would like to prod the Bush administration to show its concern over the loss. You can do a lot with $9 billion, but it's only a drop in the bucket in terms of spending in Iraq. The war there is costing the United States more than $50 billion a year.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has led the move to seek accountability for the missing funds after Stuart W. Bowen, the special inspector general appointed by the U.S. occupation authority, reported the disappearance last Jan. 30.

The audit spurred the Democratic Policy Committee -- which serves as a clearinghouse for all Democratic offices on Capitol Hill -- to hold hearings Feb. 14 on the management by the Coalition Provisional Authority of billions in Iraqi oil revenue.

The panel found that no banking system was implemented in Iraq, although "a lot of dinars and American dollars" were in circulation. The money was stashed in the basement of CPA headquarters and released from time to time to contractors.

The Democrats have also asked U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to convene a grand jury to look into the problem.



The Handover That Wasn't

Before his departure, CPA chief Paul Bremer issued 100 Orders to dramatically restructure Iraq's economy to fit free-market ideals. And no Iraqi, including future elected officials, can undo them

The U.S. occupation of Iraq officially ended on June 28, 2004 , in a secret ceremony in Baghdad. Officially, "full sovereignty" was handed from the Americans to the Iraqi Interim Government. But it was clear from the start that this was sovereignty in name, not in deed. First, there is the continued military occupation: 138,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines, plus 20,000 troops from other countries and an estimated 20,000 contractors, all fully under U.S. control and immune to Iraqi laws. Equally debilitating, however significantly less well reported upon, is the continued political and economic occupation by the Bush administration and its corporate allies.

The most important tools being used by the Bush administration to maintain varying degrees of economic and political control in Iraq are the 100 Orders enacted by L. Paul Bremer, III, head of the now defunct Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) before his departure. It was thought that the "end" of the occupation would also mean the end of the Orders. Instead, in his final Order enacted on his last day in the country, Bremer simply transferred authority for the Orders over to the new Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi. For his part, Allawi – a thirty-year exile of Iraq with close ties to both the CIA and British Intelligence Services – is considered America 's new man in charge of Iraq .



Lucrative security job draws officer to Iraq
Mendocino County man uses vacation time for 60-day stint with private contractor
Saturday, February 26, 2005

Leaving the security of his routine on the North Coast for unknown dangers in the desert, a veteran Mendocino County law enforcement officer is heading to Iraq this weekend to join a well-paid private army that is increasingly used to carry out military duties for the United States.

"I want to help people. I would love to see a Middle East in which everyone is free," said Bob Nishiyama, commander of the multiagency Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force.

On Sunday, Nishiyama, 53, flies to Jordan, where he'll connect with others working for Virginia-based MVM Inc. before heading to Iraq for 60 days.

MVM is a global security company formed 24 years ago by former Secret Service agents. It has more than 4,300 employees and security contracts with government agencies around the world, including with the U.S. State Department. The company reported $165 million in revenue in 2003



Graham offers sobering assessment on Iraq

Associated Press Writer

South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, back from a weeklong journey overseas, offered the sobering assessment Friday that American troops will be in Iraq for years and casualties are likely for some time to come.

Graham vowed to push to increase the size of the military, attracting recruits through bonuses and benefits. But, he said, there is no need for a draft.



Powell criticises Iraq troop levels and rift with Europe
By Robin Gedye
(Filed: 26/02/2005)

Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, has for the first time publicly criticised troops levels in Iraq and spoken of the rifts between himself and Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, that undermined his role as architect of American foreign policy.

Mr Powell, in his first interview since resigning last November, also told The Telegraph of his "dismay" at the deterioration in relations between America and Europe and of his "disappointment" with France.

While holding back from blaming Mr Rumsfeld by name for the problems that eventually persuaded him to resign, Mr Powell showed that much of the innuendo and leaks surrounding his volatile relationship with the defence secretary had been well-founded.

Admitting that Mr Rumsfeld's controversial plan to fight the war with limited troop numbers had been an outstanding success, Mr Powell said the "nation building" that followed had been deeply flawed.

There had been "enough troops for war but not for peace, for establishing order. My own preference would have been for more forces after the conflict."

Mr Powell said he had warned President George W Bush over dinner in August 2002 that the problem with Iraq was not going to be the invasion but what followed.



Colin Powell: 'I'm very sore'
(Filed: 26/02/2005)

This is the first real interview I've given," says Colin Powell. "I want to let time pass."

Until last month, the most successful black public servant in the history of America was George Bush's Secretary of State, who tried to steer his nation's foreign policy through the storm that has scarcely abated since September 11 2001.

On the previous occasion that I interviewed General Powell - in December of that year - we sat in the tense, time-bound confines of the State Department, with worried officials running in and out looking at their watches. Today, we are in a surprisingly modest office in the building of the Armed Forces Benefits Association in Alexandria. In the clear sun of early spring, the great public buildings of Washington are distantly visible across the Potomac.

We are a long way from the centre of power.

Washington rumour says that Colin Powell is a disappointed man. Although he had made his job available to the President, he apparently did not expect his offer to be taken up. It is particularly irritating for him, the rumour continues, that he goes and Donald Rumsfeld, his sparring partner at the Defence Department, stays. The most prominent moderate in the Administration, it is said, has lost out.

Perhaps. But Colin Powell is too much the gentleman to express any disappointment. At 67, and with huge offers for his thoughts, speeches and advice coming in, he is relaxed. His old friend, Margaret Thatcher's former private secretary Charles Powell (pronounced "Pole"), is present, and Colin (pronounced "Coalin") is chatty and at ease.



Iraq's liberation comes with a ballooning price tag:

Bush never addressed the question of cost. From the start, the administration has been, and continues to be, evasive about the costs of war in Iraq.



Paul Martin insists U.S. must consult Canada before firing missiles:

The top American envoy to Canada - Paul Cellucci - says Canada would be "outside of the room" while the U.S. decided whether to fire at incoming missiles.



US deficits risk crash: Treasury
David Uren and Roy Eccleston
February 25, 2005

PETER Costello's closest adviser fears the US is heading for a devastating financial crash that could ravage Australia's economic growth.

As the Reserve Bank considers raising interest rates at its board meeting next Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Ken Henry likened the flood of money pouring into the US to support its budget and current account deficits to the stockmarket's dotcom bubble of the late 1990s.

Were it suddenly to stop, there would be shockwaves felt throughout the world's economies.

The financial crash feared by Dr Henry would involve a sharp fall in the US dollar and a bond market sell-off, which would push up US and world interest rates.

This would hit US economic growth and, as a result, cut Chinese exports of manufactured products to the American market. In turn, this would threaten the boom in Australian mineral exports to China.

Fears that the world economy is in grave danger are growing in the major financial capitals.

The International Monetary Fund, which is responsible for stability of the world economy, also warned yesterday of a sudden collapse.

IMF managing director Rodrigo de Rato said urgent combined international action was required to head off the dangers.

The main cause of concern is the fact the US is running a trade deficit of about $US600billion ($760billion) and a budget deficit of about $US430billion for 2005.

US imports are almost 50per cent greater than the country's exports, with the deficit being financed by international central banks and funds managers.



Aussie official: U.S. dollar may collapse

A top Australian treasury official is warning of a global financial tsunami if there is a U.S. dollar and government bond sell off.

Treasury Secretary Ken Henry compared the flood of money pouring into the United States to support its budget and current account deficits to the stock market's dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, the Australian reports.

If money stops pouring into the United States, it would hit the U.S. economy, cut Chinese exports and lead to the end of Australia's booming mineral exports to China.

Ramifications would also hit all other parts of the world economy.

Henry is just the latest in a string of recent voices warning about a possible dollar collapse. The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday urgent combined international action is required to head off such a danger.

Washington is running a budget deficit of $430 billion and a balance of trade deficit of $600 billion.



Putin loses his smile after lecture from Bush on democracy
By Andrew Osborn in Bratislava
25 February 2005

President George Bush subjected Russia's Vladimir Putin to a public lecture on the fundamentals of democracy yesterday, injecting a chill into a relationship that has - until now - been characterised by bonhomie.

Meeting in the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, Mr Bush emerged from a three-hour meeting with the Russian President joking and smiling and full of warm words. But his frequent references to "Vladimir" and the "fella" were peppered with targeted criticism of the state of democracy in Russia with which the more hawkish members of his administration are said to have lost patience.

An unsmiling, visibly irritated Mr Putin squirmed as he listened to Mr Bush tell a press conference he had been told that Washington had "concerns about Russia's commitment in fulfilling" the "universal principles" of democracy. "Democracies always reflect a country's customs and culture, and I know that," Mr Bush said. "Yet democracies have certain things in common; they have a rule of law, and protection of minorities, a free press, and a viable political opposition."



Why are we welcoming this torturer?

Europe is tacitly condoning the Bush regime's appalling practices

Victoria Brittain
Thursday February 24, 2005
The Guardian

George Bush is this week having an extravagantly orchestrated series of meetings with Europe's leaders, designed to show a united front for the creation of democracy around the world. Tony Blair talks of our "shared values". No one mentions the word that makes this show a mockery: torture.

It is now undeniable that the US administration, at the highest levels, is responsible for the torture that has been routine not only, as seen round the world in iconic photographs, at Abu Ghraib, but at Guantánamo Bay and Bagram. Meanwhile, in prisons in Egypt, Jordan and Syria (and no doubt others we do not know about), Muslim men have been tortured by electric shocks to the genitals, by being kept in water, by being threatened with death - after being flown to those countries by the CIA for that very purpose.

How can it be that not one mainstream public figure in Europe has denounced these appalling practices and declared that, in view of all we now know of cells, cages, underground bunkers, solitary confinement, sodomy and threatened sodomy, beatings, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, mock executions and kidnapping, President Bush and his officials are not welcome? Perhaps it's not surprising given the British army's own dismal record in southern Iraq. Why has no public figure had the honesty to admit that the democracy and freedom promised for the Middle East are fake and mask US plans to leave Washington dominant in the area? And why does no one say publicly that what is really happening in the "war on terror" is a war on Muslims that is creating a far more dangerous world for all?



U.S. Blocked from Getting Reporters' Phone Records

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Thursday lost a bid to obtain telephone records of two New York Times reporters in a major free speech battle over journalists' rights to keep their sources secret from prosecutors' probes.

The phone records related to newspaper articles written about government probes into Islamic charities during the fall of 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks on America. Prosecutors wanted to uncover the identities of government sources that might have given information to the reporters.

U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet ruled that the phone records are protected from disclosure by a reporter's privilege under the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

The ruling was made in a New York Times' lawsuit aimed at blocking prosecutors from obtaining the phone records of reporters Judith Miller and Philip Shenon. The case was filed last year in Manhattan federal court.

"The court has balanced the interests of the free press and the government," Sweet said. "That balance requires maintaining the secrecy of the confidential sources of Miller and Shenon."

The newspaper said the disclosure of the phone records would not only constitute an unacceptable violation of the reporters' privacy but would also likely reveal the identities of dozens of confidential sources who are of no relevance to the government's investigation.



Body of an Iraqi Journalist Found in Mosul

26 February 2005 | 14:20 | FOCUS News Agency

Mosul. A body of an Iraqi woman journalist Raied Mohamad Vazan, kidnapped on 20 February, was found, RBK reports. According to her husband, she was shot dead in the head. Vazan was working for a local TV station in Mosul. The reasons for her kidnapping are still unclear.



Art For Girls Posted by Hello

Because it AIN"T REAL NEWS, unless you have a Jackson story... Posted by Hello

Bush and Angina Cheney For Boys.... Posted by Hello

ReBelle Daily Dispatch

How long can Bush get away with lies?

As the criminal, sinful war in Iraq enters its third year, the president goes to Europe to heal the wounds between the United States and its former allies, on his own terms of course. The White House propaganda mill will hail it as another victory for the president and ignore the fact that most Europeans still consider the war dangerous folly and the president a dangerous fool.

One hears new rationalizations for the war on this side of the Atlantic.

After the hearings on Secretary of State Rice, a Republican senator, with all the self-righteous anger that characterizes many such, proclaimed, "The Democrats just have to understand that the president really believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." This justification is not unlike the one heard frequently at the White House, "The president believed the intelligence agencies of the world."


---Amazing because we here in America feel he is a dangerous fool as well...If more than two people call you a horse..You may need to go out and buy a saddle just in case.----


Lipstick Fascism
Posted by James Wolcott

Arabs of course are fair game on talk radio and the trash punditry, of which Ann Coulter is stringbean queen. Presumably Helen Thomas's very ancestry, about which I know nothing, makes her an incipient terrorist threat, though presumably commando call boy Jeff Gannon would have been coiled to pounce into action if the octegenarian made any sudden violent moves. Coulter's typically crass wisecrack is the cartoonish version of the hostile profiling of Arabs and Muslims being conducted all over the neoconservative right, as typified by Michelle Malkin's pioneer work to excuse the Japanese internment in order to justify the preemptive incarceration of Muslims and other suspicious elements.


---When it comes to Coultergiest..My very anti- death penalty mind keeps repeating..BURN HER BURN HER...BURN HER ALIVE...WHY?...Not because she is stupid...BECAUSE SHE IS A TRAITOR.....NO ONE can be that wrong THAT often without deliberate intent.---


Justice Dept. Opposes Bid to Revive Case Against F.B.I.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 - The government has told a federal appeals court that a suit by an F.B.I. translator who was fired after accusing the bureau of ineptitude should not be allowed to proceed because it would cause "significant damage to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

Lawyers for the government said in a brief filed with the court on Thursday that the suit could not continue without disclosing privileged and classified information.

The translator, Sibel Edmonds, was a contract linguist for the bureau for about six months, translating material in Azerbaijani, Farsi and Turkish. Ms. Edmonds was dismissed in 2002 after complaining repeatedly that bureau linguists had produced slipshod and incomplete translations of important terrorism intelligence before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Ms. Edmonds also accused a fellow Turkish linguist in the Washington field office of blocking the translation of material involving acquaintances who had come under suspicion and said the bureau had allowed diplomatic sensitivities with other nations to affect the translation of important intelligence.


---Ms Edmonds I truely hope you find justice and TAKE THEM ALL DOWN...Unlike that skank coulter, Ms. Edmonds will one day be considered a TRUE AMERICAN HERO....Don't know why?...HHMMM gee coulter don't either..Too damn bad ain't it.?...Try Googling Ms Edmonds name and welcome to hell.----


Clear Channel Posts $4.7 Billion Loss in Fourth Quarter

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: February 25, 2005
Filed at 6:55 p.m. ET

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Clear Channel Communications Inc. on Friday reported a loss of $4.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2004, all of it due to an accounting change to comply with federal regulations.

Excluding the charge, Clear Channel's earnings were $214.3 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2004, up 14.5 percent from the $187.2 million, or 30 cents per share, earned in the same quarter in 2003.


---HAHAHAHAHAHAHA..You mean georgie is THE ONLY ONE PROFITING FROM LIES ANYMORE?....HAHAHA..Oh ...What about angina cheney?....----


Romney links gay marriage, US prestige

Says nation cannot lead and allow legalization
By Michael Levenson, Globe Correspondent February 26, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY -- Speaking before an adoring audience of Utah Republicans last night, Governor Mitt Romney drew a link between America's prestige around the world and the legalization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.

''America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home," Romney said, calling the Supreme Judicial Court's legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts ''a blow to the family."

Hours after gay marriage supporters in Boston criticized him for his recent, strident criticism of same-sex marriage, Romney delivered a half-hour speech laced with references to religion, family values, and praise for Ronald Reagan's foreign policy. In the latest in his recent series of out-of-state political appearances, he smiled as Utah Republicans made fun of Massachusetts' liberal reputation in


----If Romney wanted to preach to the chior...He might wanna try someplace other than UTAH...See there this funny thing about that gay marrige amendment that would destroy LARGE parts of the Mormon way of life...Namely POLYGAMY...The Mormons are not as afraid of gays as they are afraid of the US Gov. also naming them as breakers of a FEDERAL LAW... Funny Funny Funny...----

White House Talk

Dan FroomkinWhite House Briefing Columnist
Wednesday, February 23, 2005; 1:00 PM

Dan Froomkin: Hi everyone. My column today was about some of the fault lines that have emerged during Bush's European trip. But I'm eager to respond to your questions and comments about anything White House-related. Bring it on.


Burlington, Vt.: Hi Dan -- When I heard it on the NPR news last night, I thought that the loud, spontaneous laughter after the president's "US won't attack Iran, but all options are still on the table" was rather a big deal, as you implied in today's column. Yet this morning NPR (and reportedly others) edited their broadcasts of the Bush quote, and the laughter was gone. If the reaction of Europe to our leader and our foreign policy is derisive laughter, I kinda think we ought to know. And now my question: Are you bringing home Belgian chocolates?

Dan Froomkin: I'm not on the trip myself, wasn't in the room, and suppose it's possible that the reason the laughter hasn't been widely reported (though it was mentioned in the New York Times and a few other places) was that the audience wasn't considered representative. (And it's quite possible the loudest guffaws were from the traveling press.)


----You mean they edited out anything that would make georgie look stupid?...No, No , REALLY i am shocked.---


Oil Pipeline Destroyed in Northern Iraq

February 26, 2005 — Saboteurs blew up an oil pipeline in northern Iraq in the latest attack against the country's vital petroleum industry, while a roadside bomb killed two people in the capital, officials and witnesses said.

The U.S. military also said Saturday that a soldier had died during a sweep for insurgents west of Baghdad.

The violence came one day after the government announced the arrest of a man it described as a key figure in the country's most feared terrorist group, and a top official said the noose was tightening around the group's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.


---GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!!!!!!!....oh wait...I'm a little behind ...----


Top U.S. General Sees Lasting Iraq Insurgency

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) - The insurgency in Iraq is not likely to be put down in a year or even two since history shows such uprisings can last a decade or more, the United States' top military commander said on Friday.

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said that in the past century, insurgencies around the world have lasted anywhere from seven to 12 years, making a quick fix to the problem in Iraq unlikely.

"This is not the kind of business that can be done in one year, two years probably," said Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council here.


---Is this not one of the cake-eaters who said our boys should be home for Christmas of 2004?..Oh thats right I forgot yall not only cancelled all leave and all discharges but you bastards have now gone and cancelled Christmas too...Let me guess.. YALL SUCK AT EMPIRE BUILDING....this is what happens when LITTLE men try to build BIG EMPIRES......----


U.S. Says 'Thousands' of Missiles Missing

WASHINGTON (Feb. 25) - It has been known for years that thousands of light and lethal shoulder-fired missiles are in black-market circulation. What is not known is exactly who has them and whether many have fallen into the hands of terrorists or criminals.

A worrisome puzzle, it explains why the United States and Russia signed an agreement Thursday to cooperate in destroying surplus Soviet-era SA-7s and other portable anti-aircraft missiles. The smallest of these are durable, relatively cheap and easy to smuggle.


---A WORRISOME puzzle...Gee, ya think?...Tell you what darlin, do not worry your pretty little head about it... We who lied to get into immoral wars, we will take care of all that WORRISOME stuff.....No, REALLY, it will be ok..Thank you and sleep well....----

--Pinche Putos---


US Army doles out $12m bonus to Halliburton

The US Army has approved $ 9.4 million ($12 million) in bonus payments to a Halliburton subsidiary on more than $US1 billion of work supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the Government has not approved the costs and terms of the contracts.

The Army Field Support Command said on Thursday that Kellogg Brown & Root's performance had been rated as excellent or very good on 14 task orders and it had therefore authorised interim "award fees". These amounted to $US5 million on $US392 million of logistics work in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, and $US4.4 million on $US758 million of logistics work in Kuwait for the war in Iraq.

Democrats in Congress have been critical of the Halliburton subsidiary's war effort contracts because they were awarded mainly without bidding. Dick Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive before he stood for the vice-presidency in 2000.


---Lets play the add game shall we?...If you say up-armored maybe ummmmm 40 humvees...HOW MUCH DOES THAT COST?....Anyone?....----

Art For Boys Posted by Hello

ReBelle Daily Dispatch

This Dispatch is dedicated to only one story.

The emphasis added is my own.

U.S. Military Death Toll in Iraq Approaches 1,500

Fri Feb 25,12:16 PM ET
By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military death toll is nearing 1,500 in the 23-month Iraq (news - web sites) war, with casualties easing in the weeks since the historic Jan. 30 elections but with little evidence the insurgency has been crippled.

The Pentagon (news - web sites) tally of military fatalities in Iraq released on Friday listed 1,480 U.S. deaths, including 1,130 killed in combat and 350 in nonhostile incidents such as vehicle and aircraft crashes. A further 11,069 U.S. troops have been wounded in combat.

U.S. military leaders said rebel attacks had declined since the parliamentary election, touted by the United States as a milestone of progress in Iraq. U.S. deaths have since slipped to about 60 percent of the rate for the three previous months.

February, with at least 51 troops killed so far, is on track for the lightest monthly U.S. death toll since last July. But experts said it was premature to say the situation had improved unalterably for the 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

"The war is basically stalemated as a military contest," said retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, a Boston University international relations professor.

Bacevich said the Pentagon still had not figured out the composition and organization of the insurgency, much less how to defeat it. The rebels cannot beat U.S. forces militarily although they can undermine their strength and cohesion, he added.


Cato Institute defense analyst Ted Carpenter said the recent level of U.S. casualties in Iraq resembled Soviet losses in Afghanistan (news - web sites) in the 1980s. Both wars pitted forces of an invading superpower against tenacious Muslim insurgents.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began in December 1979 and ended when the last Soviet troops were withdrawn in February 1989 after more than nine costly years fighting rebels aided by the CIA (news - web sites). The Soviet occupation force numbered roughly 115,000.

About 15,000 Soviet troops were killed in the war, with a monthly average of about 135 deaths and a yearly average of 1,622 deaths. A further 37,000 were wounded.

In the Iraq war, the U.S. military has suffered about 65 deaths per month -- about half the Soviet rate in Afghanistan -- with a yearly average of 774 deaths. Carpenter noted improvements in medical treatment and body armor had suppressed the number of U.S. deaths in Iraq, with many troops surviving wounds that may have been fatal in previous wars.

In November and January, the death toll for U.S. forces and coalition partners in Iraq spiked to rates rivaling Soviet losses in Afghanistan.

"Unless the U.S. either can crush the insurgency or negotiate an end to the insurgency, then we're going to see casualty rates similar to those that the Soviets suffered in Afghanistan," Carpenter said. "Though it's not like the Battle of Verdun in World War One (260,000 dead, 450,000 wounded), it's a slow bleed of the occupation army."

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said, "I don't find that there's a lot of value in trying to make those kinds of comparisons" between the Afghan and Iraq wars. Of the U.S. dead, Whitman said, "We mourn each and every loss and honor their courageous service."

November, which included the Falluja offensive, was the deadliest month of the Iraq war for U.S. forces, with 137 troops killed. Four British deaths raised the coalition toll to 141.

In January, 107 American troops were killed in a month spent securing the election -- the war's third-highest monthly U.S. death toll. Thirty-one troops died in one helicopter crash. The deaths of 20 soldiers from Britain and three other nations put the January coalition death toll at 127.

There is no official count of the number of deaths among Iraq's military, civilians and insurgents.


---Note what the Pentagon spokesman said...

Spokesman...funny...Because he is NOT a man. He is a BASTARD and a COWARD who is sending our sons to die AND FOR WHAT???



We will ALL burn for it.---

Amen Posted by Hello

Art For Girls Posted by Hello

Friday, February 25, 2005

A long way from home Posted by Hello


Specter Predicts Turmoil May Grow From Impasse
Senator Blames Both Sides for Stalemate on Judges

By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 25, 2005; Page A04

The Senate is headed toward turmoil unless it can resolve its bitter impasse over judicial nominees, a key Republican warned yesterday. But neither party showed signs of yielding as senators scheduled a hearing next week for one of the 10 appointees blocked last year.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), breaking from GOP orthodoxy that blames only Democrats, said both parties have allowed the battle over federal judgeships to escalate to a dangerous point where neither side is willing to back down. He said he is not sure Republicans have enough votes in the full Senate to confirm appellate court nominee William G. Myers III, but he will formally restart the contest by conducting a committee hearing Tuesday.



Capitol Hill Journal
Unrepentant Specter Is Finding Life Lonely in the Center

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 25, 2005; Page A04

On an otherwise quiet day on the Hill, 100 journalists and jostling photographers jammed the Senate TV studio yesterday for a sighting of that most exotic and endangered of species: a moderate in the United States Senate.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) seemed amused that he was the object of so much attention. "Must be a slow day in Washington," he said during a burst of camera clicks. But as a prominent Republican senator taking on his president, his party leaders and conservative interest groups -- as Specter did in a meeting Wednesday with Washington Post editorialists -- Specter could not have been surprised.

The senator did not backpedal during his lengthy news conference about the standoff over Bush's judicial nominees. "Both parties are at fault," he said, even scolding Bush for "unheard-of" recess appointments of judges rejected by the Senate. "Each side ratcheted it up, ratcheted it up. . . . So the question is, where do we go from here?"

The answer came swiftly: Nowhere.

Minutes after Specter's remarks, Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, arrived in the same room to offer his response. Asked if he, like Specter, would give his own party some of the blame for the standoff, Schumer demurred.



In Russian Media, Free Speech for a Select Few

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 25, 2005; Page A18

If President Bush thought he would receive support from Russian reporters when he raised the cause of free speech, he did not know much about the Kremlin press pool.

"What is this lack of freedom all about?" one Russian reporter challenged Bush during his joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday. "Our regional and national media often criticize government institutions."

Bush seemed surprised. "Obviously, if you're a member of the Russian press, you feel like the press is free," he replied. "You feel that way? That's good." Bush added, "That is a pretty interesting observation for those of us who don't live in Russia to listen to."

The exchange illustrated more about the state of freedom in Russia than met the eye. While Putin travels around with a contingent of reporters just as Bush does, the Kremlin press pool is a handpicked group of reporters, most of whom work for the state and the rest selected for their fidelity to the Kremlin's rules of the game. Helpful questions are often planted. Unwelcome questions are not allowed. And anyone who gets out of line can get out of the pool.



Group to Coordinate Attack on Bush Plan
Social Security Proposal Is Targeted

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 25, 2005; Page A19

The battle lines in the coming war over Social Security have finally been drawn with the creation last week of a new umbrella group that will coordinate attacks on President Bush's drive to create personal investment accounts.

At the urging of Democratic leaders in Congress, a few political campaign veterans have formed Americans United to Protect Social Security. The nonprofit organization with close ties to organized labor plans to raise $25 million to $50 million to pressure lawmakers to vote against Bush's proposal.

At Americans United to Protect Social Security, we are going to run a national campaign to defeat the president's privatization plan," said Brad Woodhouse, the group's spokesman and the former communications director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "The president and his supporters in Congress are messing with the third rail [of politics]; we're going to make sure they get zapped."

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees provided seed money of nearly $1 million. Other major players in the coalition include the AFL-CIO; USAction, a grass-roots issues network; and the Campaign for America's Future, an activist group that pushes issues from the perspective of the political left.

Americans United to Protect Social Security will be run by two longtime advisers to Senate Democrats. Its campaign manager is Paul Tewes, the former political director of the DSCC. Its general consultant is Steve Hildebrand, who ran the unsuccessful reelection campaign last year of Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), the former Senate minority leader.



Soldiers, child die in bombings
By Rory Mulholland in Baghdad
February 26, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

A ROADSIDE bomb has killed three American soldiers north of Baghdad, while 10 Iraqis have died in other attacks.

Nine other US soldiers were wounded, five of them "very seriously", when the Task Force Baghdad troops were hit by a roadside bomb while on patrol near the town of Tarmiya, the military said overnight.
Coinciding with news of the attack, Iraq's government said a senior aide to al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been arrested, along with a man who had acted as his driver.

Security forces in Iraq conducted a raid in Anah (in western Iraq) on February 20 resulting in the capture of Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaimi, aka Abu Qutaybah, a trusted lieutenant of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," it said.

He arranged safe houses and transportation for the Zarqawi network as well as passing packages and funds to Zarqawi himself, a statement said.

Security sources said that in addition to the latest attack near Baghdad on Friday, a US marine, two members of the Iraqi security forces, four civilians and four insurgents had been killed since Thursday.

The toll included two women and a child who were killed near the northern refinery town of Baiji when their car was blown up by a bomb that exploded just after a US army convoy passed, police said.



Afghan cold toll touching 500
by Sardar Ahmad in Kabul
February 25, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

US-led forces and international agencies stepped up aid efforts as officials said today at least 478 people, perhaps half of them children, had died in Afghanistan's bitterest winter for a decade.

American Black Hawk helicopters defied freezing conditions to swoop down on isolated villages in the worst affected western province of Ghor Thursday and deliver aid while cargo planes air dropped vital food supplies.
At least 214 children were confirmed dead from diseases caused by the icy weather according to Health Minister Amin Fatimie, who added that it was impossible to give a complete casualty toll

In Kabul, over the past 24 hours 400 children have arrived in hospitals, 69 of them were hospitalised, and three have died," Mr Fatimie said.

Most disease cases have been respiratory tract infections or whooping cough.

In Ghor, at least 192 people have died from illness, malnutrition and avalanches, deputy provincial governor Ikramuddin Rezaie said.

Ninety of those deaths were children and were also included in the toll given by the health minister.

Late last week, Afghan officials said at least 162 other people had been confirmed dead in avalanches, road accidents and collapsing mud-brick houses due to heavy snowfall across the country.

The full scale of what aid officials have warned could become a humanitarian crisis is difficult to determine because affected regions are almost completely cut off from the outside world.



US troops press security operation
From correspondents in Baghdad
February 25, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

US forces have pursued increased security operations throughout the Sunni Muslim rebel province of Al-Anbar, where the military says another Marine was killed yesterday,

Security sources, meanwhile, said five more people including two insurgents, had been killed in other incidents.
The marine from I Marine Expeditionary Force "was killed in action while taking part February 24 in a security and stabilization operation in Al-Anbar province," the statement said.

Operation River Blitz moved into its sixth day after a day of further bloodshed in which at least 23 people were killed in the war-wracked country.

The violence coincided with a poll in in the US that showed most Americans questioned on Iraq doubted US troops would soon be home, despite a belief the Iraqi elections would bring greater stability.

More than 54 per cent of respondents said US troops would remain in Iraq for at least two years, while 22 per cent said a US military presence would be needed for more than five additional years, up from 17 per cent in July.

Fifty-five per cent said it would be better to remain in Iraq until the situation was stabilised, but more Americans than ever, 47 per cent, said the decision to go to war was wrong, up from 44 per cent in January



Iraq troops may be gone longer
by Maria Hawthorne
February 25, 2005
From: AAP

THE latest deployment of Australian troops may be in Iraq for more than a year, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

Mr Howard said he hoped the 450-strong contingent would not have tp stay in the southern province of Al Muthanna beyond a year, but they could stay past 12 months.
But he ruled out sending any Australian troops to help the US dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons should the standoff not be resolved by negotiations.

"We are certainly concerned, very concerned about North Korea's nuclear ambitions," Mr Howard told Melbourne radio 3AW.

As to us providing any forces, that is simply not an issue ... I am not aware of any plans on the part of the US for it to become so therefore the ... issue simply does not arise."

Mr Howard said Australia was highly unlikely to send more troops to Iraq, but it could not be ruled out.

The Australian contingent announced this week will fill the void left by the withdrawal of 1400 Dutch troops who were protecting a Japanese engineering contingent in the relatively peaceful Al Muthanna province.

The initial plan was for a year-long commitment with a personnel rotation after six months.

Asked if the contingent could stay longer than a year, Mr Howard said: "I hope it won't be necessary but they could. I don't want to put it any stronger or weaker than that.



1161 WTC victims to stay unidentified
By James Bone in New York
February 25, 2005

THE families of more than 1000 victims of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre face the heartbreak of knowing their loved ones might never be identified, after the New York coroner's office announced it had exhausted its efforts to trace DNA from the thousands of body parts recovered from ground zero.

The office, which has tested almost 20,000 fragments of human flesh, blood and bone, has identified 1588 of the 2749 people reported missing when two hijacked airliners crashed into the twin towers in 2001.
But it said yesterday the remaining 1161 victims might never be identified unless new technology allowed DNA to be extracted from 9720 stored body parts.

We have exhausted the technology that is available to us today to make any further identifications," spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said. "All the remains have been freeze-dried and vacuum-packed so they do not deteriorate any further. So perhaps we will be able to extract DNA using new technology.

"We are never going to give up. We have promised the families that. We are calling it a pause."

The announcement means many families will have to accept that their loved ones disappeared as the towers crumbled into a pile of smouldering rubble that burnt for weeks.

"Unfortunately, there are 1161 of us who have never received a call from the medical examiner to get any kind of identification," said William Doyle, whose son Joey worked for financial group Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Centre.

Experts say that in order to make a DNA match, the coroner has to be able to extract a sample of 18 to 36 human cells, far less even than the residue left when a finger is rubbed on a glass slide.



U.S. will wait on Iran sanctions till June

U.S. diplomatic papers show that Washington will give the European Union only until June to stop Iran’s nuclear program before it seeks UN sanctions.

The U.S. will not press the International Atomic Energy Agency to send Iran’s nuclear case to the Security Council when the board meets next week, UN officials said.

But the next quarterly meeting in mid-June will differ.

According to Reuters, the draft position paper states that Washington will give EU-Iran nuclear talks until the June meeting to end Tehran’s nuclear program. If the talks fail, it will resume its campaign to make the IAEA send Iran’s file to the UN for possible sanctions.

The documents also showed that the U.S. wants IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei to report again on Iran’s nuclear program before the June meeting.



Briton saw detainees beaten to death in Afghanistan

A Briton who was detained in Guantanamo and Afghanistan said that he witnessed U.S. guards beating two detainees “so badly" that he believes it caused their death.

Moazzam Begg, 37, from Birmingham, was one of the four Britons freed last month from the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He said that he was tortured by U.S. guards and CIA officers in Afghanistan and was left tied up and hooded for several hours even though he suffers from asthma.

Begg was detained in February 2002 and was held at the Bagram air base near Kabul in Afghanistan before being transferred to Guantanamo in early 2003.

He said he was working on "humanitarian relief" when he was arrested. "I went to a country where people are a lot more impoverished and a lot more worse off, and I tried to help them if I could,"

The former law student and shop owner also said that he spent much of his detention in solitary confinement, often exposed to extreme cold and deprived of basic needs.



Iraq attacks kill more than 16

Security sources said on Friday that two Iraqi soldiers, four Iraqi civilians and four rebels have been killed since Thursday.

They identified the soldiers as Ahmed Mahmoud and Kahtan Ahmed, saying that they were killed by unknown gunmen Thursday night.

The sources also reported that two women and a child were killed near the northern refinery town of Baiji when a bomb exploded at their car just after a U.S. army convoy passed, police said.

In another development, Major General Peter Chiarelli, head of Task Force Baghdad and commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, said that there was still no fixed date for U.S. forces to hand over security to the Iraqi soldiers.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government said on Friday that they arrested a top aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, along with his driver.



Israel plans to build more West Bank homes

Israel's Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper said that the government plans to build more than 6,000 new homes in the West Bank this year and will authorize over 120 illegal outposts.

The newspaper's report was based on the 2005 working plan of the Israel Land Administration.

The daily said that the settlements' expansion would come at the same time of the planned pullout from the Gaza Strip.

According to Israel’s withdrawal plan, Jewish settlers and Israeli forces will leave all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip as well as four other enclaves in the West Bank.

The new plans will damage the "road map" peace plan which demands a halt to illegal outposts and settlement-building on land seized by Israel in 1967, which the Palestinians want for their future state.



Israeli jets violate Lebanese airspace

Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace on Thursday, drawing retaliatory anti-aircraft fire from the Lebanese army.

Police reported that Israeli planes flew at low altitude over coastal areas around the main southern port cities of Tyre and Sidon, and that Lebanese forces responded with anti-aircraft fire in their direction.

Beirut often complained to the United Nations about Israel's frequent violations of its air space.

The United Nations representative, Staffan de Mistura, has frequently denounced Israel for its continued violations of Lebanese airspace.

The airspace violations took place amid tense situations in the region following the Feb. 14 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, which has been blamed by the opposition on the Lebanese and the Syrian governments.

Both countries denied involvement in the attack, which took place in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

Israel plans air force 'umbrella' in Gaza



Iran rejects U.S. involvement in nuclear talks

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Thursday that Tehran doesn’t want the United States to join its nuclear talks with the European Union.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran does not see any reason why the United States should join the negotiations between the three European countries and Iran on its nuclear program," Asefi said.

France, Britain and Germany want to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for trade, security and technology benefits.

French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder demanded the U.S. President George W. Bush this week to participate in the EU negotiations with the Islamic republic.

On Wednesday, Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley said that the U.S. President will consider the EU approach of offering incentives to Iran, such as the membership of the World Trade Organization and selling it civilian aircraft.

But Iran, which strongly denies the U.S. claims that it is secretly developing an atomic weapons program, said that it opposes Washington’s involvement in its nuclear talks with the EU.



Israel upgrades top-of-range spy satellite

Israel is upgrading its top-of-the-range Ofek 6 spy satellite after its prototype failed to launch and fell into the Mediterranean Sea almost six months ago, the Israeli Yediot Aharanot daily reported on Wednesday.

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is developing the Ofek 7, which will have a precise radar system that enables it to target objects from a distance of 400 to 600 kilometers by night or day, regardless of weather conditions.

The ofek 6 was intended to expand the Jewish state's surveillance over its more distant enemies, particularly Iran, but it didn’t possess these advanced capabilities.

The daily also said that the new system, known as synthetic aperture radar (SAR), is similar to the radars uses by fighter planes and drones.

An IAI official was cited by Yediot as saying that "This satellite will provide us with 24-hour surveillance of enemy countries."

The Marker, the business supplement of the Haaretz daily, reported that Israel’s ministry of defense asked for an additional 400 to 600 million shekels (around 140 million dollars) to build two new observation satellites.



Pakistan warns U.S. against arms sale to India

Pakistan warned the United States against selling the Patriot anti-missile system to India, saying that the move would lead to an "arms crisis" and damage the ongoing peace process between the South Asian nuclear rivals.

Indian media reported that officials from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency made a technical presentation of the Patriot anti-missile system to Indian defense and foreign ministry officials earlier this week.

The Patriot system is used for defense against ballistic and cruise missiles and aircraft.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan said on Wednesday that any plans to go ahead with the arms deal would be "counter-productive".

"This would erode deterrance...this would send (the) entire region into a crisis mode," he said.

"You will have an arms race, an unintended arms race here which nobody wants and finally it would induce higher risk-taking," he said. "This we think is not in sync with goals of peace and security that we have in this region."

Khan also questioned New Delhi's intentions for buying Patriots, saying: "India has been pursuing rapprochement with China and a composite dialogue with Pakistan.



Kansas demands late abortion data

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has demanded that clinics hand over records of nearly 90 women who had abortions.
He is seeking the women's names, sexual history and medical details, saying he wants to investigate possible child rape or illegal abortions.

But the clinics involved accuse Mr Kline, an abortion opponent, of trying to launch a "secret inquisition".

They say he is "fishing" rather than investigating a specific crime and want the state Supreme Court to intervene.

Mr Kline began the inquiry in October but it only became public when the clinics filed an appeal against a court order to hand over the record



American media vs the blogs
By Kevin Anderson
BBC News, Washington

Bloggers. Truth-tellers or vigilantes? Trophy-hunters or watchdogs?
With the abrupt resignation of CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan, the American media are struggling with how to respond to bloggers.

Some see the bloggers as an explosion of free speech, a democratic counterbalance to media arrogance and a much needed call for greater transparency in the media, while others see bloggers as vigilante partisans bent on discrediting and destroying the media.


The furore was touched off after bloggers questioned comments Mr Jordan made at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland about journalists killed in Iraq.

At the forum, he said that he believed that several journalists had been targeted by the military.

He was quickly challenged by many at the forum who thought he was implying that it was official US policy to target journalists.

Mr Jordan qualified his statements saying that he was trying to differentiate between journalists who died as a result of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and those who were mistaken for the enemy



Extent of US abuse cases revealed

The US army says it is conducting more than 100 criminal investigations into claims of detainee abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Maj Gen Donald Ryder, in charge of US army detainee operations, said a further 200 such investigations had already been completed.

The military has been forced to reassess how it treats detainees after last year's Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Gen Ryder said the army had tightened its rules as a result.

The US army says it has opened 308 criminal investigations into allegations of abuse, more than 100 of which are still open.

Gen Ryder could not say how many soldiers had actually been prosecuted for abusing detainees.

His comments came after two British soldiers were found guilty at a court martial of charges relating to abusing Iraqi prisoners.

Daniel Kenyon, 33, was convicted of three charges and Mark Cooley, 25, of two following abuse at Camp Bread Basket, Basra, during May 2003.

Both the soldiers, and a third - Darren Larkin - who had admitted assault, will be sentenced by a UK military panel in Osnabrueck, Germany, on Friday.

New procedures

The US army confirmed on Wednesday that it was investing an alleged sexual assault on an elderly woman who was detained by coalition troops in Iraq.



In pictures: California mudslides

1 of 7
California is braced for a massive cleanup after heavy rains triggered mudslides that killed at least nine and destroyed dozens of homes.



Iran girl gets 100 lashes for sex

A teenage girl and two young men in Iran have been sentenced to lashes for having sex.
The court dismissed the girl's claim that she was raped. It said she had sex of her own free will, the official Iran Daily newspaper reported.

The girl was sentenced to 100 lashes because her accusations of rape and kidnap could have landed her partners a death penalty, the Tehran judge said.

Sex outside marriage is illegal in Iran and capital punishment can be imposed.

The young men in the case were sentenced to 30 and 40 lashes each.

Rights violations

The Iran paper quotes the girl, who has not been named, as confessing: "I trusted one of these young men, whom I got to know by phone, and went to his place.

"But because he betrayed me, I filed the case against him and his friend out of revenge."

International concerns continue to be raised about women's rights in Iran.

In December the UN General Assembly voted to censure Iran for human rights violations, including discrimination against women and girls.

Tehran rejected the criticism as propaganda.

Under Iranian law, girls over the age of nine and boys over 16 face the death penalty for crimes such as rape and murder, while capital punishment can be imposed in certain cases of illegal sexual relationships.



BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week: George W. Bush


Welcome back to the BuzzFlash.com GOP Hypocrite of the Week.

Our BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Year in 2004, George W. Bush, is receiving his first encore recognition in 2005 for his scripted warning to "Press Putin on Democracy in Russia."

Poor Pooti Poot, just a short time ago, Bush was looking into his eyes and seeing a soulmate. Now Bush is abandoning his erstwhile comrade to parrot the theme of liberty and democracy he loves to repeat so much abroad and suppress so much at home.

Although it's not that he's really for democracy abroad. In Germany for instance, a town meeting was canceled by the White House because the German government insisted that questions not be scripted and audience members not be pre-selected by the White House.

And as Bush traveled through Germany, he was careful not to rub shoulders with actual residents of Europe. A BBC report noted that as Bush sped along in his motorcade, it was "the strangest sight. There is nobody here. They've all been cleared away. It's almost totalitarian in its reach and efficiency: the motorways are closed, whole towns we pass on the way from Frankfurt airport have been cleared of people.

"Our German colleagues say everyone on the motorcade route was told to stay indoors. The result may be more secure but it is eerie nonetheless - a political meeting without any public involvement. Freedom on the march but no-one free to see it."

Yes, democracy works so well when there are no people to participate in it!



Canada refuses further role in missile defense
Thursday, February 24, 2005 Updated at 2:35 PM EST
Globe and Mail Update

The formal announcement Thursday that Canada will refuse any further participation in the controversial U.S. missile-defence shield was met with an immediate warning that Canada had given up its sovereignty.

Although Prime Minister Paul Martin said Canada would “insist” on maintaining control of its airspace, U.S. ambassador Paul Cellucci warned that Washington would not be constrained.

“We will deploy. We will defend North America,” he said.

“We simply cannot understand why Canada would in effect give up its sovereignty – its seat at the table – to decide what to do about a missile that might be coming towards Canada.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew made the Canadian decision public after months of equivocating by the Liberal government and days of denials that a decision had been made.

“After careful consideration of the issue, we have decided that Canada will not participate in the U.S. ballistic missile defence system,” Mr. Pettigrew said in the chamber of the House of Commons.

He insisted that the decision – which has reportedly left the Bush administration nonplussed – will not “in any way” hurt ties with the United States




One Man. Two Days. More Than 3 Million People Reached.

Bay Area/San Jose, CA With the announcement of the 1500th U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, a lone activist known as the Freeway Blogger will post 150 banners on Bay Area freeways protesting the war in Iraq and the failure to find Osama Bin Laden. This action will reach communities including Marin, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. The Freeway Blogger has posted over 2,500 hand-painted signs on California freeways since the war began.


3 GIs Killed In Roadside Bombing
Blast Occurred North Of Baghdad
Feb 25, 2005 9:29 am US/Eastern

A roadside bomb killed three U.S. soldiers and wounded eight others in an explosion in Tarmiyah, 20 miles northeast of Baghdad, CBS News Correspondent Cami McCormick reports.

McCormick said the device detonated while the soldiers were on foot patrol.

"I was heading to our house ... There was a group of American soldiers walking in the road while around five Humvees were parking behind them," said Waleed Nahed, 35, who lives in the area. "I heard a very loud explosion and I saw bodies flying."

He said he was about 200 yards way and believed explosives were hidden among the palm trees overlooking the street.

In other developments:

Iraqi forces captured the leader of an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist cell allegedly responsible for carrying out a string of beheadings in Iraq. The government identified the captured cell leader as Mohamed Najam Ibrahim. It said he was arrested in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, but gave no date for the arrest.

A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew up his car at police headquarters in Tikrit, killing at least 15 people in Saddam Hussein's hometown.

The suicide bombings and other attacks came as politicians negotiated behind the scenes to forge the alliances needed to win enough backing in the 275-seat National Assembly for the post of prime minister.



Aal-Jaafari claims Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric endorses him for PM

NAJAF, Iraq (AP) - United Iraqi Alliance candidate Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Friday that Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has endorsed his nomination for prime minister



Newspapers claim to have located Iraqi men depicted in army abuse photos

LONDON (AP) - The British military said Friday it would investigate allegations by five Iraqi men who say they are the prisoners featured in photographs showing abuse by British troops.



Pentagon announces rape allegations against U.S. troops in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon is investigating an allegation a U.S. soldier raped an Iraqi female prisoner while she was in custody, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Tuesday.

The allegation has not yet been substantiated, he said. He gave no details. Another rape allegation against a U.S. soldier was dismissed for lack of evidence, Whitman said.

They are the only two rape allegations that have been made against U.S. troops in Iraq, the spokesman said.

During testimony last week on Capitol Hill, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, were pressed for information about rape allegations against U.S. forces in Iraq. Rumsfeld promised to look into the matter and report his findings.



Suicide barrier for Golden Gate?

Officials hear from relatives of some who jumped
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Golden Gate Bridge officials Thursday moved closer to building a barrier to prevent people from jumping off the famous suspension bridge, where about 1,300 people have killed themselves since the landmark opened in 1937.

Officials voted to develop a plan and explore funding for the suicide barrier after hearing emotional testimony from friends and family of people who jumped off the iconic bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County.

The decision by a committee of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District still must be approved by the district's board of directors when it meets March 11.

All the nearly 20 people who testified Thursday urged committee members to erect the barrier.

"I don't want one more family member to go through this pain," said Terry Oxford of San Jose, whose 26-year-old daughter, Jennifer, jumped to her death last week. "She chose this bridge because it was accessible."

An average of 20 people a year commit suicide by pitching themselves over the bridge's 41/2-foot-high rail. Four have already done so this year.

"This is the place where the most preventable suicides occur," said Eve Meyer, executive director of San Francisco Suicide Prevention. "These are the most impulsive, least planned and least strategized suicides."

Building a suicide barrier on the bridge has been suggested for decades, but the idea gained momentum earlier this year when bridge officials learned that a filmmaker had filmed 19 people jumping off the bridge. Eric Steel told the bridge district he had intended to "capture the grandeur" of the bridge but ended up making a movie about its history of suicides.

Earlier this week, district staff members said it would take about two years and $2 million to develop a plan for the barrier and another two years to build it. The cost of the barrier depends on the design.


Three dead in disco suicide blast
From correspondents in Jerusalem

THREE people were killed and about 30 wounded today in a suicide attack in a seaside disco in Tel Aviv, Israeli public radio said.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a Palestinian militant group loosely affiliated to the mainstream Fatah movement, claimed responsibility in a telephone call the media.

Tel Aviv's police chief David Tsour said the attack took place at the entrance to the disco, called The Stage, and left about 30 wounded.

Ambulances were at the scene to evacuate the injured, several of whom were in shock, according to pictures shown on Israeli television.

The Palestinian Authority has condemned the suicide attack.



Australia bans Zarqawi group

A TERRORIST network blamed for much of the violence in Iraq was today added to Australia's list of banned organisations.

The Jordanian-born terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network was the 18th organisation to be listed under Australia's counter-terrorism laws, said a statement from the office of Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.

"The regulation was made to list the al-Zarqawi network as a terrorist organisation on the advice of competent authorities," it said.

The network, associated with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the bomb attack on an Australian military barracks in Baghdad last month.

Mr Ruddock said at the time of the attack that the al-Zarqawi group was very active and had previously made threats against Australia's interests.



France honours Vietnam pilots
From correspondents in Washington

SEVEN US pilots who flew secret missions in 1954 to help embattled French troops at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam have been awarded the French Legion of Honour.

The French embassy in Washington announced the tribute, with ambassador Jean-David Levitte saying: "We are celebrating the courage of these pilots who carried out numerous missions above Die Bien Phu."

The 57-day siege of French troops in 1954 was a tragic turning point in France's battle to preserve its colonial status in Indochina.

The role of 37 US pilots who took part at Dien Bien Phu, flying CIA-controlled planes temporarily bearing French markings, is little known.

US historian Erik Kirsinger researched the case for more than a year to establish the facts of the pilots' role, said Mr Levitte

Aside from the seven still-living pilots recognised by France, two others who died over Dien Bien Phu were also honoured by the French.



US soldier to be tried in murder of Iraqi civilian
24 Feb 2005 22:05:27 GMT

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier accused of shooting an Iraqi civilian last year and then trying to make it falsely appear like an act of self-defense will be tried in a military court on a murder charge, the Army said on Thursday.

Staff Sgt. Shane Werst, a 31-year-old combat engineer from El Toro, California, also has been charged with obstruction of justice. Werst faces up to life imprisonment without chance of parole if convicted, officials at Fort Hood in Texas said in a statement.

Maj. Gen. James Thurman, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, ordered a general court-martial following a pre-trial investigative hearing last month, according to the statement.

Werst was accused of fatally shooting Naser Ismail in the man's home in the Iraqi city of Balad in January 2004.

Prosecutors have said Werst took part in house raids for insurgents after a U.S. Army captain died in a mortar attack. Another U.S. soldier accused Werst of planting a gun on the victim's body to make the shooting look like an act of self-defense.

Werst also could face a reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and a dishonorable discharge from the military if convicted, officials said. No trial date has been set.



Italy probes possible CIA role in abduction:

An Italian prosecutor investigating the apparent kidnapping of a suspected Islamic militant in the streets of Milan served military authorities this week with a demand for records of flights into and out of a joint U.S.-Italian air base in northern Italy.



Ex-Soldier Kills Two of Wife's Young Kids
UPDATED - Friday February 25, 2005 7:39am

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - A former soldier fatally stabbed two of his wife's young sons with a hunting knife and wounded her three other children before committing suicide, police said.

Clarence L. Moore, 24, had a history of domestic violence, and police had responded to several domestic violence reports at the home he shared with his wife, Beverly. They were called back Wednesday to find Moore had attacked the children.

Cressa Matthews was visiting in the neighborhood when she heard Beverly Moore screaming and saw her collapse across the street from the house. When police arrived, a bleeding little girl came out into the front yard.

"She was all bloody and cut up," Matthews said, adding that Beverly Moore "kept asking, 'Did you get all five of my babies?'"

The family returned Wednesday, hours before Moore attacked the children. Moore served about two years as an Army parachute rigger at nearby Fort Benning before being given a general discharge last August. Military officials said he had not been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.



US Army pays Halliburton big bonus
Friday 25 February 2005,
2:24 Makka Time, 23:24 GMT

The US Army has awarded defence contractor Halliburton more than $9 million in bonuses for some of its work supporting the military in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

But the Army said performance-based bonuses had not been paid yet to Halliburton's Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) unit for dining services for US troops in those countries.

Military auditors have criticised those services as too costly and have asked the Texas-based company to justify its billing.

Halliburton and its subsidiaries have particularly been under scrutiny for over-billing some of its military contracts in Iraq.

The Pentagon has also been criticised for extending undue favours to the firm, once headed by US Vice-President Dick Cheney.

"Dining facilities costs questioned by the Defence Contract Audit Agency have not been included in Award Fee Boards but are scheduled to be addressed later," an army statement said on Thursday.


Halliburton has made billions out of US military deployments


Australia: former leading intelligence official exposes government lies
By Terry Cook
25 February 2005
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Like all regimes involved in criminal activity, systematic lying is now the modus operandi of the Howard government. It is a well-established fact that the government lied to parliament about “weapons of mass destruction” to create the pretext for Australian involvement in the criminal and illegal invasion of Iraq, and lied when it claimed that before the release of the horrific images of torture in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison it had no knowledge of the abuse of Iraqi detainees.

A damning interview with former Australian intelligence officer Rod Barton on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation current affairs program “Four Corners” has not only provided further proof of the government’s lies on the prisoner abuse issue; it has blown to pieces the claim made last year by Defence Minister Robert Hill that no Australian personnel were involved in the interrogation of Iraqi detainees. The “Four Corners” program, aired on February 15, was aptly entitled “Secrets and Lies”.

Last June 16, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib revelations, Hill told parliament that a thorough review by the Defence Department had confirmed that, “Australia did not interrogate prisoners, Australia was not involved in guarding prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, or any other prison”. Prime Minister John Howard supported and repeated the claims both in and outside parliament. Even before Hill’s so-called review, Howard had declared in a radio interview on May 28: “We were not involved in any interrogations. We did not witness interrogations.”

However, Barton told “Four Corners” reporter Liz Jackson that he had been involved in the interrogation of Iraq prisoners at Camp Cropper. The detention facility, according to Barton, held about 100 “high value” prisoners, including senior officials of the former regime and Iraqi scientists. Barton is a trained microbiologist who worked as a senior specialist advisor for the US Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which was dispatched to search for “weapons of mass destruction” (WMDs) in Iraq. Before that, he had been seconded from the Australian Defence Intelligence Organisation to work with the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix.

Barton said he had been “annoyed” by Hill’s June 16 statement because when responding to the Defence Department’s “review” questionnaire he had confirmed that he had been present at interrogations at Camp Cropper and had personally been involved in interviewing a senior Iraqi detainee. When Barton telephoned a high-ranking Defence Department official to object to Hill’s statement, he was told: “We regard that you did interviews and not interrogations.”



Professor criticizes U.S. foreign policy
By Barry Shatzman, STAFF WRITER

FREMONT — Stephen Zunes agrees with President Bush that democracy in Iran would be a good thing. He just finds it ironic that the country had a democratic government until 1953, when a CIA-led coup ousted it.
At Ohlone College's World Forum on Thursday, the University of San Francisco professor spoke about many ironies and contradictions in American foreign policy. Many of them, he said, led directly to terrorism.

Zunes spoke to more than 500 people at the college's gym, questioning the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Though Afghanistan was the only place where al-Qaida was living openly, he commented that the group had members scattered throughout world, and the hijackers came from a cell based in Germany.

"The U.S. did need to take decisive action," he said. "But why ... bombing of a war-torn country?"

Life in Afghanistan since the war, in which more Afghan civilians died than the number of people killed on 9/11, has only gotten worse, Zunes said.

With most of the country run by warlords, opium production is 20 times as high as before the war and growers receive government protection.

Diseases such as polio, scurvy and tuberculosis are rampant. Doctors Without Borders, a charity that stayed during the Soviet invasion and the reign of the Taliban, pulled out, saying it could not operate in safety. In addition, Zunes said, the Afghan human rights groups are now being ignored when they report problems.

"It is out of such failed states that terrorism flourishes and spreads," he said.

A similar situation exists in Iraq, he said.

More than 10,000 Iraqi citizens lost their lives in a war that was unnecessary because Iraq did not pose a threat to the United States, Zunes said.

But by attempting to link Iraq to terrorism, the administration not only was able to spend millions of dollars on reconstruction, but also was able to depict those against the war as being soft on terrorism, he added.

"One thing I noticed was that he did not mention oil even once," said Bill Parks, who teaches journalism at Ohlone.

Zunes said later that oil was less of a factor than the U.S. government's wanting control of key resources and geographic areas. Which, he said, is also a key reason why the United States has lost respect around the world.

"People are less tolerant of being pushed around. They want to be master of their own destiny," he said.

Ohlone's next World Forum, on the U.S.-China relationship and the changing global economy, will take place April 6.



Former UN chief weapons inspector warns of possibility of new arms race

25 February 2005

STOCKHOLM - Global nuclear disarmament is moving backward, and US plans to build new nuclear weapons could trigger another arms race, former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix warned Friday.

With countries like Iran trying to enrich uranium, North Korea claiming to have nuclear weapons of its own and the United States planning to develop bunker-busting nuclear weapons, “disarmament is in the backwater,” Blix said during a conference on arms nonproliferation.

“We’re moving backward rather than forward,” he said. “After the Iraq war, it seems that the ’family counselors’ have advised their friends to reassume their cohabitation” with nuclear weapons.

“What’s worrisome is whether the USA. has moved away from the stance they had about global disarmament,” said Blix, who now heads the Swedish-based Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission.

If the United States was to move forward with plans for new bunker-busting nuclear weapons, “there is a risk for rearmament instead of a continued global cooperation” for disarmament, he said.

The conference, organized by The Swedish Network for Nuclear Disarmament, brings together nonproliferation organizations looking to find new options for arms control, organizers said.

It is set to discuss an upcoming United Nations review conference for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty - the cornerstone of global efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons. Many fear the UN conference will be a step back from the 2000 conference that resulted in a 13-step program for disarmament.

“There is a concern that (the review conference) will be a flop,” said Frida Blom, head of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society. “We want to prevent that.”



Peace Movement Gears Up for Global Protests on War Anniversary
Katherine Stapp

NEW YORK, Feb 24 (IPS) - At Fort Bragg, the largest U.S. army installation in the world and home to the famed 82nd Airborne Division, the mood is not exactly buoyant.

''There are people here who are being deployed for the third time,'' said Lou Plummer, a veteran with a son on active duty. ''At least 50 people from the base have been killed in Iraq.''

The total U.S. death toll since the start of the war is now 1,480, according to Pentagon officials. As for the number of civilians killed, the British group Iraq Body Count estimates a figure between 16,000 and 18,000.

In a sign of mounting discontent, the military also concedes that about 5,500 servicemen have deserted, although Plummer believes the real number is probably much higher.

This picture is somewhat bleaker than the one painted a year ago by Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack, Jr., commander of the 82nd Airborne -- also known as ''America's Guard of Honour'' -- who brightly told reporters in Baghdad that ''we're on a glide-path toward success.''

''We have turned the corner, and now we can accelerate down the straightaway,'' he said in a Jan. 6, 2004 briefing. ''There's still a long way to go before the finish line, but the final outcome is known.''

Not so fast, say anti-war activists like Plummer, who is helping to organise a mass protest rally near the base in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Mar. 19 to coincide with the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion.

''The message is not 'bring them home after they fix stuff', it's 'bring them home now','' said Plummer, an active member of the national peace group Military Families Speak Out.

''Organising in Fayetteville requires sensitivity that you wouldn't need to have in a non-military town,'' he added. ''You have to respect people who oppose the war but are afraid to go public because they have a spouse in the military and could lose their benefits.''

Even so, he says that interest in his group -- which represents 2,000 military families -- and in the March anti-war events has been ''overwhelming''.

The Fayetteville rally is being conceived and planned by veterans and relatives of soldiers, with delegations coming from as far away as the Pacific island state of Hawaii.

Speakers will include Daniel Berg, the father of Nick Berg, a U.S. civilian beheaded in Iraq; Lila Lipscomb, the grief-stricken mother of a U.S. soldier featured in the Michael Moore film ''Fahrenheit 9/11''; and David Potorti, a peace activist whose brother died in the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York.

Last weekend, Plummer attended a conference in the southern state of Missouri that drew several hundred representatives of pacifist groups, former combatants, soldiers' families, and others from 35 U.S. states and Canada.



Rocket Fuel Chemical Found in Breast Milk of Women in 18 States
By Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Senior Writer

A toxic component of rocket fuel has been found in breast milk of women in 18 states and store-bought milk from various locations around the country.

The chemical, perchlorate, can impede adult metabolism and cause retardation in fetuses, among other things. It leaches into groundwater from various military facilities.

Previous studies have found perchlorate in drinking water, on lettuce, and in cows milk.

The new research, announced this week, suggests perchlorate is a bigger problem than thought, scientists said.

Texas Tech University researchers studied 36 samples of breast milk from women in 18 states and 47 samples cow's milk purchased from stores in 11 states. Every sample of breast milk contained perchlorate, as did all but one sample of dairy milk.

The highest levels were found in women from New Jersey, New Mexico, Missouri, Nebraska and California, in that order.



Judge Orders Florida Woman's Feeding Tube Removed
Fri Feb 25, 2005 05:21 PM ET
By Robert Green

CLEARWATER, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida judge on Friday ordered the feeding tube removed from a severely brain-damaged woman in three weeks, paving the way for her husband to allow his wife to die after a long court dispute with her parents.

Fifteen years to the day since a heart attack put Theresa "Terri" Schiavo into what some doctors call a persistent vegetative state, Circuit Judge George Greer ruled the feeding tube that keeps her alive should be removed on March 18.

That would give the parents time to appeal the ruling to higher courts, and their attorney immediately made clear they planned such appeals.

Schiavo, 41, has been at the center of a bitter seven-year legal fight that has become a rallying point for right-to-life activists, advocates for the disabled and proponents of the right to die.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, who is her legal guardian, says his wife had told him she would not want to live in such a condition. Her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, believe their daughter is in a "minimally conscious state" and say she could improve with treatment.

"I am very pleased that the Court has recognized there must be a finality to this process." Michael Schiavo said in a written statement. "I am hopeful and confident that the appellate court will also agree that Terri's wishes not to be kept alive artificially must now be enforced."

Greer, who ordered the feeding tube removed five years ago, said he would not grant any more stays in the case, but gave the Schindlers time to appeal the ruling.



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