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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Don't YOU DARE look away.



Catholic Nun Begins Sentence for School of Americas Protest

Nun protested military school where Latin American soldiers are trained; some soldiers accused of human rights violations.

By Kathleen Murphy

Religion News Service

Before going behind bars Tuesday (March 15), Sister Lelia "Lil" Mattingly said she expected jail would be cold and dreary compared to life in a convent. But the nun sentenced in connection with a protest in Georgia said her imprisonment follows Jesus' way, "to speak the truth to power and pay the consequences."

Mattingly, 63, reported Tuesday to the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution, a low-security prison in Danbury, Conn., that is home to 1,300 female inmates. She will serve a six-month sentence for trespassing on a U.S. Army base.

Mattingly is among 11 activists who have been sentenced to jail time for their part in a Nov. 21 demonstration at Fort Benning, Ga., that involved several thousand protesters.

Mattingly was arrested during the annual protest against the base's military school that has trained more than 57,000 Latin American soldiers, some of whom were later charged with human rights violations in their native countries.

A Maryknoll sister, Mattingly lived in Bolivia from 1971 until 1997 where she provided basic health care. She knew all four U.S. churchwomen raped and killed by security forces in El Salvador in 1980; two of those killed were Maryknoll nuns.

Mattingly said she tried to plant a cross inscribed with the names of Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan on the grounds of the school where the churchwomen's killers were trained.

"The only way I could do that is to cross over the line," Mattingly said. "They're just very beautiful people who were brave enough to be there where the danger was because the people were in danger, too. And it's like really believing in something that's important enough to die for, and that's been inspiring for me. I wouldn't be able to die, but I could go to prison."

In prison, Mattingly will sleep in a bunk bed, and her living situation will depend on whether she's assigned to Danbury's barracks-style prison camp or traditional cellblock housing.

Nicknamed "Club Fed," the facility is the place media empress Martha Stewart requested but didn't get. Inmates can take craft classes and use a baseball field and walking track. New York hotel queen Leona Helmsley served time there. Mattingly was allowed to bring her Bible when she reported to prison at 2 p.m., nothing else.

"I'm trying to prepare my soul," Mattingly said a week before entering confinement. She said she expected prison might put her in "situations of humiliation, of punishment," and confront her with "cases that will break my heart, such as mothers separated from their children."

"I call it my new mission," said Mattingly, "being a faith presence and having a love for people that I hope will be able to survive in this kind of an atmosphere."

Brian DeRouwen, 27, another protester who will serve 120 days at California's Taft Correctional Institute starting March 15, first met Mattingly the night before the demonstration at a meeting for those considering risking arrest by hopping the fence at the Army facility, formerly called the School of the Americas. The school is now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

"She has had many sisters and brothers murdered at the hands of graduates of the School of the Americas. She knew exactly what she wanted to do," said DeRouwen, a University of Dayton graduate student. "And with her beautiful meek voice, she was such a powerful voice for justice and dissent against this horrific system that tells lies, that says, `We're fighting for freedom while we're killing priests and nuns.'"

Training manuals used at the School of the Americas until 1991 advocated torture, execution and blackmail, according to a March 1992 U.S. Defense Department report. The school's defenders have said its courses do not teach abuse and that today's curriculum includes a human rights component. They say the school shouldn't be held responsible for the actions of some of its graduates.

Mattingly, originally from Louisville, Ky., said she sought to support Latin American people, to honor those killed by the School of the Americas' graduates, and to express her outrage at what the Bush administration "is doing to take a hold on dominating the world."

Mattingly visited Iraq in 2000. At her trial, she spoke against the "Salvador option," a reported CIA plan -- modeled on U.S.-supported death squads active in El Salvador in the 1970s and '80s -- to assassinate insurgency leaders in Iraq.

Her sentence will be up in time for another fall protest against the school. Each year, protesters mark the anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter in El Salvador in 1989 by Salvadoran army personnel.


---I say we let the good Sister have 20 minutes alone in a room with GW Bush...OR NEGROPONTE......NOW THAT..would be interesting...---
Arms inspector turned peace activist says get ready for the draft

Former United National Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter gained more prominence, or notoriety, for what he did after leaving that job. His blunt criticism of the war in Iraq, and in particular, the Bush administration’s policy in the Mid-East, has made him a hit on college campuses.

Ritter drew a large crowd and standing ovation at SUNY New Paltz last night by claiming, among other things, that the recent election in Iraq is a fraud. “Stalin had elections. Hitler had elections. Saddam Hussein had elections. Elections don’t bring democracy,” he said.

Not, Ritter argued, when it is the U.S. Military, not the people themselves that are running the election

Ritter contends that the Military is becoming less functional as a tool of an ambitious foreign policy that, he says, is headed for showdown with Iran, an adversary far more ominous than Iraq.

That, he says, will mandate the inevitable reinstitution of a draft. “A breakdown of our military’s ability to handle these adventures. Congress will be confronted with that and congress will have to take action. So, the blame will be thrust on the shoulders of congress, and the Bush administration will say ‘Well, we didn’t want this’. But, it had to happen.”

Ritter says he supports the U.S. Military, and those who serve, when they are defending America. What they are doing now, he says, is empire-building, based on a premise of lies.

The forum was organized by “Alternatives to Military” (ATM) on the eve of today’s planned rally at SUNY New Paltz, marking the second anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.

One of the organizers, Rebecca Rotzler, Deputy Mayor of the Village of New Paltz, says while they would love to end recruiting altogether at colleges, a more realistic goal is to give equal visibility to alternatives, including conscientious objection.


US troops have reportedly used
napalm-like weapons
 Posted by Hello

Journalists accuse US soldiers of targeting children
 Posted by Hello
Journalists tell of US Falluja killings

Thursday 17 March 2005, 13:41 Makka Time, 10:41 GMT

All is quiet in Falluja, or at least that is how it seems, given that the mainstream media has largely forgotten about the Iraqi city. But independent journalists are risking life and limb to bring out a very different story.

The picture they are painting is of US soldiers killing whole families, including children, attacks on hospitals and doctors, the use of napalm-like weapons and sections of the city destroyed.

One of the few reporters who has reached Falluja is American Dahr Jamail of the Inter Press Service. He interviewed a doctor who had filmed the testimony of a 16-year-old girl.

"She stayed for three days with the bodies of her family who were killed in their home. When the soldiers entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old brother and two sisters.

She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying anything. They beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head. After this her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers while shouting at them, so they shot him dead," Jamail relates.

Disturbing reports

Another report comes from an aid convoy headed up by Dr Salem Ismael. He was in Falluja last month. As well as delivering aid he photographed the dead, including children, and interviewed remaining residents.

Again his story does not tally with the indifference shown by the main media networks.

"The accounts I heard ... will live with me forever. You may think you know what happened in Falluja, but the truth is worse than you could possibly have imagined," he says.

He relates the story of Hudda Fawzi Salam Issawi from the Julan district of Falluja: "Five of us, including a 55-year-old neighbour, were trapped together in our house in Falluja when the siege began. On 9 November American marines came to our house.

'My father and the neighbour went to the door to meet them. We were not fighters. We thought we had nothing to fear. I ran into the kitchen to put on my veil, since men were going to enter our house and it would be wrong for them to see me with my hair uncovered.

"This saved my life. As my father and neighbour approached the door, the Americans opened fire on them. They died instantly.

"Me and my 13-year-old brother hid in the kitchen behind the fridge. The soldiers came into the house and caught my older sister. They beat her. Then they shot her. But they did not see me. Soon they left, but not before they had destroyed our furniture and stolen the money from my father's pocket."

Targeting media

Journalist and writer Naomi Klein has also come under attack for insisting that US forces are eliminating those who dare to count casualties.

No less than the US ambassador to the UK David Johnson wrote a letter to British newspaper The Guardian that published Klein's work, demanding evidence, which she then provided.

The first piece of evidence Klein sent to Johnson was that the hospital in Falluja was raided to stop any reporting of casualties, a tactic that was later repeated in Mosul.

"The first major operation by US marines and Iraqi soldiers was to storm Falluja general hospital, arresting doctors and placing the facility under military control.

US troops have reportedly used
napalm-like weapons

"The New York Times reported that 'the hospital was selected as an early target because the American military believed that it was the source of rumours about heavy casualties', noting that 'this time around, the American military intends to fight its own information war, countering or squelching what has been one of the insurgents' most potent weapons'.

The Los Angeles Times quoted a doctor as saying that the soldiers 'stole the mobile phones' at the hospital - preventing doctors from communicating with the outside world."

As Dahr Jamail reports from his online diary "doctors are now technically forbidden to talk to the media or allow them to take photos in Iraqi hospitals unless granted permission from the Ministry of Health and its US-adviser".

Napalm-like weapons

Allied to this are various reports of the US using napalm and napalm-like weaponry in Falluja.

Jamail recounts: "Last November, another Falluja refugee from the Julan area, Abu Sabah, told me: 'They (US military) used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud. Then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them.'

"He explained that pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burned peoples' skin even when water was dumped on their bodies, which is the effect of phosphorous weapons, as well as napalm."

The reports of the use of napalm in civilian areas are widespread, as are many other frightening allegations.

The attacks on the hospitals and medical facilities in Falluja are also in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions.

But as Richard Perle, a senior adviser to US President George Bush said at the start of the Iraq war: "The greatest triumph of the Iraq war is the destruction of the evil of international law."


Jamail recounts: "Last November, another Falluja refugee from the Julan area, Abu Sabah, told me: 'They (US military) used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud. Then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them.'

"He explained that pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burned peoples' skin even when water was dumped on their bodies, which is the effect of phosphorous weapons, as well as napalm."

The reports of the use of napalm in civilian areas are widespread, as are many other frightening allegations.

The attacks on the hospitals and medical facilities in Falluja are also in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions.

But as Richard Perle, a senior adviser to US President George Bush said at the start of the Iraq war: "The greatest triumph of the Iraq war is the destruction of the evil of international law."




This has been done in my name and the anger raging in me I cannot describe

HAHAHAHAHA...And AMEN Posted by Hello

What CNN REFUSES to tell you.

-----RUMMY...You will NEVER be able to run far enough or fast enough...JUSTICE DEMANDS YOUR ATTENTION...AND A POUND OF FLESH..------

On March 1, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First filed a historic lawsuit, Ali et al. v. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense of the United States of America, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (the defendant's home state).

In all forms of media, there has been minimal coverage of the very existence of this legal action, and even less of the precisely documented charges, including the defendant's violations of American and international laws and the consequences of his continuing lawlessness.

The ACLU claims that, "Along with his subordinates, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized, ratified and failed to stop the unlawful treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Secretary Rumsfeld had the power to formulate policies relating to the treatment and interrogation of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, was directly and personally involved in setting interrogation rules, and exercised his power to allow illegal practices, namely, the torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. . . .

"[Rumsfeld] knew that his subordinates were torturing detainees in U.S. custody and violated his duty as a commander to punish the perpetrators or otherwise prevent further acts of torture."

The lawsuit states: "Defendant Rumsfeld has not been held accountable for his acts, omissions and failures of command. To this day, Plaintiff victims of Rumsfeld's policies, practices, patterns and actions have received no redress for their injuries." (Emphasis added.)

The eight plaintiffs in the suit were imprisoned in the U.S. detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is the story of the lead plaintiff, Arkan Mohammed Ali, 26 years old. For 11 months, July 2003 through June 2004, he was held at various locations in Iraq, including the Abu Ghraib prison. These are some—not all—of the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments" he received:

"Beating him into unconsciousness during interrogations, using hands, feet, chains and weapons . . . repeatedly locking [him] for several days in a wooden coffin-like box, sometimes after stripping him naked and tying a hood over his head; urinating on [him] intentionally to humiliate and degrade him;

"Detaining [him] in a 'silent tent' for days at a time, during which he was denied sleep and dragged face-down along the ground and severely beaten by soldiers whenever it appeared he might be falling asleep; subjecting [him] to multiple death threats, including . . . threats to transfer him to Guantánamo where he was told soldiers could kill detainees with impunity . . . approaching [him] with a sword and threatening to slaughter him . . . denying [him] food and water for long periods."

Like the seven other plaintiffs, Ali was finally released without charges, but was threatened "by [a U.S. official] specifically telling him that if he ever reported or discussed the abuse he and others suffered in detention, the U.S. government would find him and he would never see his family again . . . "

From what the president has assured are "humane" conditions, Ali presently suffers "pain in the kidneys, colon and urinary tract . . . severe scars on his arm from stabbing and burning . . . severe depression, frequent severe nightmares . . .

"As a result of his continuing injuries, Plaintiff Arkan M. Ali has been unable to maintain employment and his personal relationships with his family and others have deteriorated."

The lawsuit against defendant Rumsfeld emphasizes that in 1999, this country, in its initial report to the U.N. Committee Against Torture, declared that:

"No official of the [U.S.] government, federal or state, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture.

"Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture. United States law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on ground[s] of exigent circumstances . . . " (Emphasis added.)

This lawsuit against Rumsfeld also quotes the U.S. Army Field Manual 34-52, which unequivocally states that U.S. policy and binding international treaties "expressly prohibit acts of violence or intimidation, including physical or mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to inhumane treatment as a means of or aid to interrogation. Such illegal acts are not authorized and will not be condoned by the U.S. Army." (Emphasis added.)

The army manual also forbids "forcing an individual to stand, sit or kneel in abnormal positions for prolonged periods of time" and "any form of beating."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is the head of the chain of command of the U.S. Army, and his commander in chief is George W. Bush, who, in a secret, still classified directive soon after 9-11, authorized the CIA to send suspected terrorists to countries known for torturing prisoners. Democratic congressman Edward Markey of Massachusetts has demanded that the president declassify this directive that clearly violates both U.S. law and treaties this country has signed. According to our rule of law, why are Rumsfeld and Bush not being subpoenaed by Congress to account for their unabated lawlessness?

Books For Soldiers


Books For Soldiers is a soldier support site that ships books, DVDs and supplies to deployed soldiers and soldiers in VA hospitals, via our large volunteer network.

If you have old, but usuable books or DVDs sitting around, collecting dust, why not send them to a soldier for a big morale boost?
Many of our volunteers have received email and letters from the soldiers they have adopted.

Help us out, help the troops out, mail them your books.


Creepy Creepy Creepy Posted by Hello

Art For Boys. Posted by Hello

What Military Leaders say.

Army vice chief of staff Cody worried about future of all-volunteer military

By Jon R. Anderson, Stars and StripesEuropean edition, Saturday,

March 19, 2005

WASHINGTON — The Army’s vice chief of staff says he’s been losing sleep lately over the future of the all-volunteer force.

“What keeps me awake at night is what this all-volunteer force will look like in 2007,” Gen. Richard Cody told lawmakers recently on Capital Hill.
It’s a concern others should share, he says.

“I think it ought to keep all of you awake,” he told a gathering of reporters Wednesday.

Nearly 31 years since it replaced the draft Army of both world wars, Korea and Vietnam, the all-volunteer force is facing its first real test, Cody said.

“This is the first time we’ve taken the all-volunteer force into an extended fight,” Cody said. “It’s not a Kosovo, it’s not a Bosnia, it’s not a [Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping mission] in the Sinai,” he said. “It is a war. On any given day, we have 156,000 soldiers for 12 months in a combat zone, as well as — still — all those other commitments.”

It’s a pace that could be crippling, he said.

“I worry about the soldiers with their second and third tour by ’07 since 9/11,” Cody said.

Indeed, for the first time since Vietnam, the sheer volume of operations means even relatively junior troops are already becoming veterans of multiple combat tours. Soldiers who served as privates in the 3rd Infantry Division as it invaded Iraq, for example, are now returning to Iraq as corporals and sergeants.

The all-volunteer force was born on July 1, 1973, in the wake of years of protest against the draft during the war in Vietnam. Ever since, the Army has traded orders to serve for “Be all you can be” and, more recently, “Army of One” advertising campaigns to convince young Americans to raise their right hands and wear the uniform.

But two years into the war in Iraq, recruiting efforts are beginning to show cracks.

For the first two months of the year, both Army and Marine Corps recruiters have failed to meet their quotas to sign up new volunteers.
Selling service

“That, correctly so, is a concern,” Gen. Peter Pace, the vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff told Pentagon employees Friday during a town hall meeting.

While he said more recruiters and advertising dollars are being thrown into the mix to help tilt the balance, Pace encouraged everyone in uniform to help in the effort.

“All of us should be talking about the value of service to country,” Pace said. “Not just about military service to country, but about young folks finding a niche in this society where they can serve the country for some time, in my mind, pay back a little bit what they’ve gotten from this country.”

Cody agrees. And key for convincing young folks is what he calls the “influencers.”

“We’re seeing right now mothers and fathers and school teachers and other influencers that maybe are not talking about service to this nation,” Cody said. “So, when you say, ‘Army, you have a recruiting problem,’ I say, ‘America, you have a recruiting problem.’”

In the end, says Cody, it comes down to simple questions like, “What kind of Army do you want to have? Is service to this country important to you?”

Stretching the force

For those already in uniform, Cody said the Army must do a better job of providing good housing and basic quality of life, especially as the service adds 30,000 soldiers to its active ranks and 70,000 troops now forward-based in Europe and Asia are repositioned back to the United States.

“The net result is going to have 100,000 more soldiers back in the continental United States on the active side,” said Cody, adding that existing bases will have to be expanded to handle the influx.

This comes, he said, even as the Army has had to mortgage base maintenance accounts to help fund the war in Iraq.

The Army he said has cut base funding by 30 percent. Four weeks ago, however, Army leaders decided to tighten their belt in other areas and have come up with about $3 billion to reduce the base maintenance shortfall to 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the basic tools of the trade have taken a beating as well.

Cody said the Army has lost 79 aircraft, three companies worth of tanks, and three companies worth Bradley Fighting Vehicles over the past three and half years of non-stop combat that began with the invasion of Afghanistan.

“This fight,” Cody said, “has taken a toll.”

If left unchecked, he said, that toll could have dire consequences.

“If we as a country don’t show our appreciation — and that appreciation is really in how well we resource them, how well we take care of the families, how well we get the balance right so that we can give some predictability into the Guard and Reserves as well as into our active force — then I think we will have stretched this all volunteer force.

While Cody stopped short of warning that the military could have to return to a draft, some experts say that may not be too far over the horizon.

Close to breaking

Some corners of Congress have already been calling for a draft for more than a year now.

New York Rep. Charles Rangel, a Democrat, introduced legislation last year calling for exactly that. Although his bill made no headway, the issue continues to receive debate as the war in Iraq drags on.

“The all-volunteer force is close to breaking right now,” said retired Maj. Gen. Edward Atkeson, now a prolific author on military affairs and a senior fellow at the Institute of Land Warfare. “When it does break, that’s when you’ll see the draft come back.”

Atkeson said cracks are already showing with the use of stop loss to keep troops in beyond their active contracts and massive reserve mobilizations.

“The worst-case scenario is that things just continue as they are.”


---God be with our brave soldiers...Since they are being commanded by idiots and evil, God have mercy on us all.---

Art For Girls. Posted by Hello


The Perfect Terrorist Plan To Level The Twin Towers Created In 1976

By Greg Szymanski

Exclusive to American Free Press


Our own U.S. Army devised a plan commissioned by Congress to bring down the WTC using commercial airliners and box cutters as weapons.

The laundry list of terrorist warnings handed to the Bush administration prior to 9/11 makes the President and others look like "bumbling idiots or a bunch of conniving criminals" responsible for the mass murders at the Twin Towers and in Afghanistan and Iraq.

These are the harsh words of Timothy McNiven, an outspoken critic of the President's handling of 9/11 and a 29-year U.S. Defense Department operative still under contract with the government.

He says not only did the Bush administration purposely ignore Al Q'aida in the months preceding the WTC attacks, but the situation is even more disturbing, considering his military unit way back in 1976 devised a mock terrorist attack of the Twin Towers exactly like what occurred on 9/11.

McNiven, who first went public in an affidavit included in a 9/11-related federal conspiracy (RICO) lawsuit filed against Bush and others in 2004, claims his unit was ordered to create the "perfect terrorist plan" using commercial airliners as weapons and the Twin Towers as their target.

The publicized version of the study, commissioned by Congress, was to identify security lapses and submit corrective measures to lawmakers. However, McNiven claims the real purpose of the study was to brainstorm how to pull off the perfect terrorist attack using the exact same 9/11 scenario.

The study, commissioned to C-Battery 2/81st Field Artillery, U.S. Army, stationed in Strassburg, Germany in 1976, specifically devised the scenario of the Twin Towers being leveled by Middle Eastern terrorists using commercial airliners and even plastic box cutters to bypass security.

To silence critics, McNiven has successfully passed a credible lie detector test regarding his participation in the study as well as other specific orders given to him by his superiors in case of a real attack on the Twin Towers.

The head of the 1976 mock terrorist plan was Lt. Michael Teague of Long Island, who McNiven says was given specific orders by higher-ups in the military to use the Twin Towers as the terrorist target.

McNiven said he has been unable to contact Lt. Teague, but was interested in his opinion now that "the 9/11 attacks happened the way we planned them in 1976."

"I remember Lt. Teague changed the scenario of the supposed study from a 100 story building to the Twin Towers," recalled McNiven, emphasizing that Lt. Teague was acting on specific orders from unknown superiors.

"He then said he thought it was very strange to be asked to devise a plan to blow up your own home town. But as I watched the Twin Towers really collapse on the morning of September 11th, I realized I was watching the very same thing we devised in the 1976."

Since that ominous realization, McNiven has devoted his entire life to alerting the American public about the similarities between 9/11 and the 1976 study without much success, his story basically being ignored by politicians and the mainstream media.

"Why am I doing this? Why have I spent every waking hour trying to bring this story to the American people?" asked McNiven, claiming he still is following a strange direct military order given to him more than 25 years ago.

"During the course of the terrorist plan we were devising, I made the statement to Lt. Teague that if the WTC was ever attacked like we planned, I'd go public. I was then physically assaulted and told never to reveal anything we were doing regarding the Twin Towers."

However, about a week later a strange turn of events occurred. For no apparent reason, McNiven claims his superiors completely changed their minds.

"I was given the direct order that if the Twin Towers were ever attacked the way we discussed in the 1976 study, I was to do everything in my power to bring the similarities to the attention of the American people.

"I have no idea why they changed their minds, but I was then emphatically told that this order was never to be rescinded - never - because those who would rescind it, would be the very same people who turned against the American people."

Besides taking a lie detector to verify his story, McNiven has made public a detailed list of about 40 names of those individuals who took part in the mock terrorist plan, including Col. Robert Morrison, Maj. Joe Dipiero, Sgt. Middleton, Sgt. Arroyo and many others.

"There were also people from the Defense Department and the CIA who were monitoring the study, but I wasn't able to get their names," he added.

Some of McNiven's most recent assignments with the Defense Department include work on the Northwest Drug Task Force and various other drug smuggling and weapons trafficking cases.

March 9, 2005

"If the people knew what we had done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us." (George H.W. "Poppy" Bush)

Support American Free Press


---let me repeat that...."I have no idea why they changed their minds, but I was then emphatically told that this order was never to be rescinded - never - because those who would rescind it, would be the very same people who turned against the American people." ---

Art For Everyone Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005


Conspiracy To Commit Suicide

Mysterious deaths weaken the ‘left-wing media’ myth

Brent Battle

opinion columnist

A common misconception some are led to believe is that the mainstream press has a liberal bias.

Those ascribing to the “liberal bias” myth believe the press will take any attempt to tarnish the President and other right-wingers credibility and reputations.

If this were so, surely they would’ve picked up on the suspicious suicides of people pointing fingers at our government leaders — Hunter S. Thompson, Gary Webb, Terrance Yeakey and Margie Schoedinger.

Ironically, all four lives ended before evidence could be presented calling out the political heads involved in corruption and scandals.

The night before Thompson’s death, he told his friend at the Toronto Globe he had been working on a book regarding the Sept. 11 attacks being a controlled demolition — strategically placed explosives.

He claimed “hard evidence” gathered proves the buildings were not brought down by planes and was afraid he might be “suicided.”

In our own state, former Oklahoma City Police Officer Terrance Yeakey was one of the first responders to the Murrah Building bombing on April 19, 1995.

He was working on presenting evidence to the public about the bombing being a government cover-up, but he was found dead in a field in El Reno.

The report claimed he slit both his wrist, stabbed himself in both sides of the jugular, then walked from his car a mile and a half and shot himself.“

The bullet entered the upper temple on the right side and exited below the upper jaw bone on the left side, meaning the gun would have been pointed in a downward angle - a most unlikely way for a person bent on suicide to hold a gun,” according to the Spotlight, an Internet news source.

One witness said the inside of Yeakey’s car looked like someone had slaughtered a pig.

Gary Webb, who died last December, was working on a book about the government cover-up of CIA drug smuggling in the 1980s. His findings will be highlighted in the film “American Drug War” by Alex Jones.The clip he will use is from a special by MSNBC on the drug-smuggling featuring Webb. Following Webb’s mysterious death, no follow-up story has been made by MSNBC.

The only hole in the story noticeable on the surface was how Webb managed to shoot himself in the head twice.

Like Thompson and Yeakey, Webb’s friends and family saw no indication he was a man about to end his own life. In addition, none of them left suicide notes. In fact, Thompson, Yeakey and Webb were working on something monumental.

The most interesting death thus far is the alleged suicide Margie Shoedinger, the only woman who has accused President Bush of sexual assault.

After Shoedinger died on Sept. 22, 2003, the only news organizations to run this story were the one in her local town and the “New Nation” in London, a very small circulated paper. The story has gone virtually unnoticed, completely blacked out from the public eye.

One would assume if the media in this country hates Bush and Republicans so much, they would run more stories like these. But that is the lie being spread on television and radio — that a “liberal media” bias truly exists.

Isn’t it strange those deeply involved in the mainstream press, like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, are saying there is a liberal bias?

Most importantly, we should be asking ourselves who controls the mainstream news and what exactly constitutes “news worthy.” Last week the news organizations couldn’t stop talking about Martha Stewart and Michael Jackson. Who cares?

“They’re gonna make it look like suicide,” Thompson told his friend at the Toronto Globe. “I know how these bastards think.”

Brent Battle is an opinion columnist at The Daily O’Collegian. He can be reached via e-mail at drmmr02bpa@hotmail.com

---The Woman Marge Shoedinger ALSO claimed she would be 'SUICIDED' before her death. She even said so in one of 4 VERY interesting lawsuits she filed against SITTING PRESIDENT G W BUSH...Do Not Believe It?...GO GOOLE IT...And welcome to HELL---
The Trials of Tony Blair
03/14/2005 @ 8:52pm

LONDON -- George Bush's favorite European is having a hard time emulating the American president's strategy of exploiting the war on terror for political gain.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose willingness to go along even with the most illegitimate and dangerous of Bush's mad schemes has made him a hero to American conservatives, is paying a high price for being what his countrymen refer to as "Bush's lapdog."

Blair's attempt to enact a British version of the Patriot Act created a political crisis last week. Day after day, Blair battled with dissidents from his own Labour Party in the British House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as the country's opposition parties, over basic civil liberties issues. While Blair eked out a victory in the Parliament, he repeatedly failed to win the approval of the House of Lords, where his own mentor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, one of the country's leading legal minds, sided with the foes.

Only after Blair's aides agreed to several concessions -- including a Parliamentary review of the so-called "Prevention of Terrorism Act" in one year, which opposition leaders correctly described as a "sunset clause" -- did the measure win approval after bitter all-night sessions of both chambers.

"The Great Terrorism Debate of 2005" has already become the stuff of legend: how the government steamrollered opposition in the Commons only to see the proposals rejected by the Lords four times in 24 hours; how members struggled to sleep in all available spaces around Westminster as both houses dug in and sat through the night; and how they stuck resolutely to their positions until the final breakthrough," observed the Scotland on Sunday newspaper.

The British human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy, who sits in the House of Lords as Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws and led the opposition to Blair's Ashcroft-like assault on basic legal rights, explained after the battle was done that, "This was not about the law. It became a trial of political strength."

Blair's trials are not done.

Last week's newspaper headlines brought more bad news for the prime minister. It was revealed by London's Independent that Blair apparently violated the official code of conduct for Cabinet ministers by failing to share the full advice of the country's Attorney General on the legality of the Iraq war with his own Cabinet. Clare Short, a member of the Cabinet prior to the start of the war, issued a statement in which she declared that the Cabinet had been "misled" and that support for military action against Iraq had been obtained "improperly,"

The news came as Britain's national Stop the War Coalition was busily organizing mass demonstrations against British involvement in Iraq to take place on March 19. Tony Benn, a former Labour Party Cabinet minister who has split with Blair on the war issue told me, "This will be one of the largest demonstrations since the war began, perhaps the largest, and it will confirm that their remains a hearty opposition to Tony Blair's decision to follow George Bush into war."

This is all bad news for Blair as he prepares for an election that is likely to be called for May 5.

"The 'Iraq effect' is still there on the doorstep, Labour officials report from the election front line. The issue is wider than military intervention, with some voters expressing concern they have 'lost' their Prime Minister to foreign affairs and others seeing 'Iraq' as shorthand for their loss of trust in Mr. Blair," explains Andrew Grice, political editor for The Independent. "The real 'Iraq effect' will be measured May 5."

One of the most fascinating tests could come in Blair's own parliamentary constituency of Sedgefield, in the north of England. A coalition of prominent members of parliament who have argued for the impeachment of Blair on the question of whether he deceived the House of Commons -- as Bush has been accused of deceiving the US Congress -- is working with some of the country's most prominent cultural figures, including musician Brian Eno, one of Britain's most widely respected public intellectuals, to find a single challenger for Blair. The idea is that all opposition parties, as well as Labour dissidents, would unite behind a celebrity anti-war candidate who would turn the local election into a referendum on Blair's policies.

If the move succeeds, it is possible that Blair's Labour Party could be returned to power without Blair.

While that prospect remains a long shot, it is delicious enough to have been taken seriously by the British media and some of the most thoughtful young members of the House of Commons.

Says Adam Price, a Welsh member of Parliament who is active in the move to identify a Blair challenger: "The critical thing is to find a candidate who is a national figure who encapsulates in their personality the message about trust and the need to restore public confidence in the political process."

Dear Operation Truth Supporter,

As a loyal OpTruth supporter, we wanted to give you advance notice of a groundbreaking report that will be issued this weekend by Operation Truth. The first-ever review of the war based entirely on feedback from the Troops, an "After Action Review," will be published on our website this Sunday.

WHAT: Read It Straight from the Troops: "After Action Review"
WHEN: Sunday Morning, March 20th
WHERE: Our website, www.optruth.org

Operation Truth has combed through hundreds of stories submitted by our Veteran members and organized them into an After Action Review, examining what has gone well, what has not, and what needs to change. The report is straight from the Troops, unedited and uncensored.

We want you, our supporters, to read it first and tell your friends!
Thank you for continuing to support the Troops.


Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq War Veteran
Executive Director
Operation Truth

Support Our Troops. BRING THEM HOME. Posted by Hello

Art For Christy Posted by Hello

YIKES Posted by Hello

The Black Out

Now posted on www.watchingthewatchers.org

When I realized how we were being betrayed; and the whys' of it, there were so many days I did not even want to turn on my TV or my computer because I KNEW there were things happening I did not want to even know about, much less BELIEVE.

The people watching Fox news or CNN, they do not want to believe either. So they don't. It is just that simple. And that devastating.

The name of our troubles will be remembered as, 'The Black Out.'

When I try to speak to my nieghbors, or my friends, I am so very often met with a blank look. Or worse. Flat out hostile people who REFUSE to discuss facts. I do not ask for TRUTH, I only ask for the facts, so I can judge the truth of something myself...Yet those facts are being CONSTANTLY distorted by our press. What is NOT being discussed is enormous and vast.

The result has ones I love so dearly, spouting lies so untrue; I cringe at the gaping void before us. A yawwing cavern. The personal impact of it is hard to describe.

All in all, it used to leave me with feelings of such bitterness and fear, that sometimes I truely did forget that hope does exist. It is that anger at the death of hope that spurrs me again to reach out even when I swear my heart can not take any more. I do not want to know the things I know. Yet I HAVE to know.

It is that anger that changed my life forever. The sheer mass of it is what propelled me to find out what in the hell IS going on. It is that anger that keeps me at it, day after day, determined to NEVER let this happen again.NOT IN MY NAME.

Every day, I sprint from bed to turn on the TV. I turn on my computer every morning, within minutes of awakening. This is NOT something I do out of anger.

I do it out of a sheer, desperate hope.

Every morning, I want so badly to turn on my TV and be informed, 'Its over...There will be no more unnatural death...those who committed TREASON are now locked away, never to harm us again.'

Oh, how I dream of that day. It is decidedly a new twist on 'The American Dream'.

Until I am dead, I will never give up that one giddy moment of hope I feel right before I turn on CNN; only to be betrayed yet again. My afternoons may be troubled, and my nights now seem darker than ever, BUT I still have that ability to hope. For that I am grateful. But it truely brings me almost no comfort at all.

How can I tell my beloved country men that our nation has been gutted, and is now but a ghost of her former self? How do I make them believe the FACTS ARE RELEVENT? How do I tell them the very mother that birthed us, is now violated and hungry at our feet?

For Americans right now, we are on that tight rope with the only this question in our minds...If I look down will I fall?

The answer is YES. YOU WILL FALL.

You will fall into a void of utter chaos. You will hear and see terrible things. You will find the innocent dead at your feet. You will hear the scream of bold lies clawing at you until there is nothing left but lies. The helplessness will make the terrifying fall seem uncontrolled, even unrealisticly gentle at times.

Yes, you will fall.

You will fall from grace. Your pride will be ripped from you and replaced by uncomfortable facts. Your judgement will be ridiculed, resisted and finally CONDEMMENED. The truth of what we have become will catch you in thorny arms, that will not slow your velocity one bit; but, it will cut out your heart.

And when your long fall is over you will collapse and awaken to a dark place as jagged and hard as any you could imagine.The only thing untouched will be your very soul. The rest of you will be stunned by horror.

As you curl up there with the ghosts of those demanding justice from every shadow, you will find peace there. It will come as anger. Rightious anger. At times, peace can ONLY be found on the other side of war. The war within yourself will quiet. The anger will erase the fear.

When mans truth diverts from Gods truth, Gods truth will win out. EVERY TIME.

That anger will make you REACH OUT. As soon as you do hope will embrace you. For you are NOT alone. You were NEVER alone.
Many have already fallen. Some will NEVER rise again. If your soul remains intact, you will dream of a better day.

More and more are now going through this. AS A NATION, we were EACH afflicted in very, very, deep personal ways. The levels of depression, suicides, apathy, hostility, are all true indications of it. Even those who cannot see the tight rope they toe, they can sense it. And soon they will fall too.

The wieght of the dead is making even the most viciously blind among us bow. As more die and the blood turns into a river of never ending death, they will continue to instinctively curl up, thier stomaches twisting into knots. When death comes closer and closer, they will look down trying to find a way out of madness. Then they ,too, will fall. We ALL will.

Until the media quits betraying us, up IS down, white IS black, and FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. The confusion you feel was PLACED there by DESIGN.

The Black Out can more aptly be explained as 'The White Out'. So much death, so few answers. I wonder if we will ever be able to explain it to our children? I wonder if there is time, before the smell of death fouls thier lives too.? It is hard to know where to focus the anger of being betrayed.

Yet through it all, I must admit, my anger makes me hopeful. I REFUSE to believe it will always be this way. I will NEVER AGAIN stay silent. I will teach my children the same. And now that I know certain facts, I will never again let them lie to me.

To those who are in that fall or newly fallen I can only say to you welcome friend. I will tell you what I know and I will listen as you bring forth your news as well. Perhaps if we can avoid anymore lies that bring bloodshed, we can EVOLVE into something better. After all thats EXACTLY what the American Dream is. A dream of something BETTER.

To those of you around the world whom love us and are watching. I want you to know we ARE struggling right now to correct our course. But it is a PERSONAL STRUGGLE that must work its way to each of 250 million people (many of whom are still being lied too daily). AS OUR FRIENDS..I ask you REFUSE to fall with us. Resist our lies when you know them to be lies. Find us again in the aftermath of peace.

The American people will be awake soon. You simply can not fool all of the people all of the time. The magnitute of that truth is also bowing our people to the breaking point. I pray they find mercy as they cast off the blinders and tune into the screams. Every day there are more voices added.

No matter how hard CNN or Fox News tries to shut them up, they will continue to just scream louder. Only justice can quiet them.

The Black Out is simply not a big enough void to contain it all. Soon covering your ears won't help in the least. Only when we can find rock bottom, will we find solid ground. Only there can we rebuild what has been destroyed.

When America is awake, no matter how blind, Justice will awake within us. After all it is JUSTICE that is the very soul of America. LAW is the soul of freedom. Our very hearts will echo the hoof beats of Paul Revere.

The desire to live free burns in us all. The rightious anger has lit the fire, again.

And the Liars?..They will be consumed by the flames they sparked..as they deserve.

Christy Cole
Democrats for Wolfowitz
Senator Joe Biden isn't the only Democrat supporting Paul Wolfowitz for president of the World Bank.
by Stephen F. Hayes
03/16/2005 4:10:00 PM

TODAY SENATOR JOE BIDEN, vice chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading Democratic foreign policy voice in that body, voiced strong support for Paul Wolfowitz as President George W. Bush's choice to head the World Bank.

Biden described Wolfowitz, currently deputy secretary of defense, as a man with an "active and fertile mind" who believes in the work of multilateral institutions. Asked for his reaction to the selection, Biden responded with one word: "Solid."

He then elaborated. "Paul is a brilliant guy and a serious person. My differences with Paul relate to his assessment of what we would have to face in Iraq after the war." Wolfowitz's role as the chief intellectual architect of the Iraq war served as the basis for a question for President Bush at his morning press conference today from New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller.

She began: "Paul Wolfowitz, who was the-a chief architect of one of the most unpopular wars in our history-

Bush interrupted: "That's an interesting start."

Bumiller: "Is your choice to be the president of the World Bank. What kind of signal does that send to the rest of the world?"

Bush noted that he had called Silvio Berlusconi and other European leaders in advance of the announcement. "I explained to them why I think Paul will be a strong president of the World Bank. I've said he's a man of good experience." Bush added: "He's a skilled diplomat [who has] worked at the State Department in high positions. He
was ambassador to Indonesia where he did a very good job representing our country. And Paul is committed to development. He's a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job in the World Bank."

The position does not require Senate confirmation but depends on the approval of European leaders. Biden said he believes Wolfowitz will enjoy strong support in Europe. "I've had a lot of talks about Paul in European capitals. They know him as a serious intellectual and an engine of change."

Although some Democrats have criticized the selection, notably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, others have praised the pick. "I know him to be an extraordinarily intelligent, creative thinker who has the potential to do a good job at the World Bank," said Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, regarded as one of the Senate's most partisan members.

Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.


Its nice to know who vote with the Demicrats and who votes against them and Biden has certainly done that plenty lately
US Army seeks longer enlistments as recruitment falters
Posted 08:16pm (Mla time) Mar 17, 2005
By Maxim Kniazkov
Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia, United States of America -- The US Army has asked Congress to allow it to extend enlistment contracts offered to future soldiers by two years in order to "stabilize the force," as top defense officials warned that key recruitment targets for the year could be missed.
The request came as the House of Representatives on Wednesday put its stamp of approval on an 81.4-billion-dollar supplemental spending bill that contains new benefits for US troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the new money notwithstanding, Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Franklin Hagenbeck told a House subcommittee that yearly recruitment goals for the Army reserve and the National Guard were "at risk."

"In the manning area, we need Congress to change the maximum enlistment time from six years to eight years in order to help stabilize the force for longer periods of time," Hagenbeck went on to say.The appeal coincided with the release of a new congressional report that showed that the intensifying anti-American insurgency in Iraq and continued violence in Afghanistan were followed by a distinct drop in the number of volunteers willing to serve in the branches of the military that see the most combat.

The Army reserve and Army National Guard respectively met only 87 percent and 80 percent of their overall recruiting goals in the first quarter of fiscal 2005, according to the study by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

The Air Force Reserve attained 91 percent of its target, the Air National Guard 71 percent and the Navy Reserve 77 percent.

The shortfalls could potentially have a noticeable effect on units operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and surrounding areas because, according to defense officials, reservists and guardsmen make up about 46 percent of the total force deployed there.

Recruitment problems are beginning to dog even active duty units that have not experienced them in a long time.

The Marine Corps, whose reputation for efficiency and toughness has always helped it attract ambitious young men and women, missed its goal by 84 recruits in January and another 192 in February for the first time in 10 years, the GAO report said.

"There is no disputing the fact that the force is facing challenges," acknowledged Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Charles Abell.

The obvious cooling off in Americans' interest in military service is observed despite multiplying benefits and financial enticements offered by the Pentagon to those signing up for service.

The supplemental measure passed by the House, for example, increases the maximum service member group life insurance benefits from 250,000 dollars to 400,000 dollars.

The onetime death gratuity for combat fatalities received by family members is going up from 12,000 to 100,000 dollars.

At 150,000 dollars a pop, reenlistment bonuses paid to experienced Special Forces members are beginning to resemble Christmas paychecks on Wall Street, while one-time cash incentives for brand new recruits went up from 8,000 dollars to 10,000 dollars -- and to 20,000, if they agree to take one of the military jobs deemed hard to fill.

College scholarships, the principle reason why many young people join the military, have been boosted by the Army from 50,000 dollars to 70,000.

Still, Army reserve commander Lieutenant General James Helmly warned in January that with lengthy and grueling deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the reserve is rapidly turning into "a broken force" and may not be able to meet its operational requirements in the future.

Read more stories on this topic as well as view related video clips and sites.

Secret U.S. Plans For Iraq's Oil

By: Greg Palast
Reporting for BBC Newsnight

03/17/05 - "BBC" - The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.

Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protestors claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists."

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant Falah Aljibury says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d'etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

Secret sell-off plan

The industry-favored plan was pushed aside by yet another secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan, crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel. Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, flew to the London meeting, he told Newsnight, at the request of the State Department.

Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan's "back-channel" to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq's oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.

"Insurgents used this, saying, 'Look, you're losing your country, your losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable," said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.

"We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatization is coming."

Privatization blocked by industry

Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq's oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.

Mr Carroll told us he made it clear to Paul Bremer, the US occupation chief who arrived in Iraq in May 2003, that: "There was to be no privatization of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved."

The chosen successor to Mr Carroll, a Conoco Oil executive, ordered up a new plan for a state oil company preferred by the industry.

Ari Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatize Iraq's oil fields. He advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America should have gone ahead with what he called a "no-brainer" decision.

Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, "I would agree with that statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain."

New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper's Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favored by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004, Harper's discovered, under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas. Former US Secretary of State Baker is now an attorney. His law firm, Baker Botts, is representing ExxonMobil and the Saudi Arabian government.

View segments of Iraq oil plans at www.GregPalast.com/opeconthemarch.html.

Questioned by Newsnight, Ms Jaffe said the oil industry prefers state control of Iraq's oil over a sell-off because it fears a repeat of Russia's energy privatization. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, US oil companies were barred from bidding for the reserves.

Jaffe said "There is no question that an American oil company ... would not be enthusiastic about a plan that would privatize all the assets with Iraq companies and they (US companies) might be left out of the transaction."

In addition, Ms. Jaffe says US oil companies are not warm to any plan that would undermine Opec, "They [oil companies] have to worry about the price of oil."

"I'm not sure that if I'm the chair of an American company, and you put me on a lie detector test, I would say high oil prices are bad for me or my company."

The former Shell oil boss agrees. In Houston, he told Newsnight, "Many neo-conservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this that and the other. International oil companies without exception are very pragmatic commercial organizations. They don't have a theology."


Greg Palast's film - the result of a joint investigation by BBC Newsnight and Harper's Magazine - will broadcast on Thursday, 17 March, 2005.

You can watch the program online - available Thursday, March 17 after 7pm EST for 24hrs - from the Newsnight website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm
"To those who have called me a coward"

I say that they are wrong, and that without knowing it, they are also right.

They are wrong when they think that I left the war for fear of being killed. I admit that fear was there, but there was also the fear of killing innocent people, the fear of putting myself in a position where to survive means to kill, there was the fear of losing my soul in the process of saving my body, the fear of losing myself to my daughter, to the people who love me, to the man I used to be, the man I wanted to be. I was afraid of waking up one morning to realize my humanity had abandoned me."
- Sgt. Camilo Mejia -

Who served one year in prison for refusing to return to fight in Iraq. He was released from prison Feb. 15, 2005.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

US officials fudging Iraq army numbers
March 16, 2005

US commanders and Bush Administration officials are overstating the number of Iraqi security forces on duty, providing an inaccurate picture of the so-called training mission that is the US military's "exit strategy" in Iraq, a government audit agency has reported.

The Pentagon in its latest figures said 142,000 Iraqis had been trained as police and soldiers. But the Government Accountability Office said on Monday this figure included tens of thousands of Iraqi policemen who left their jobs with no explanation.

The office also said the State Department six months ago ceased providing auditors with information about the number of Iraqi troops issued flak vests, weapons and communications equipment.

The unreliability of the data coming from Baghdad made it difficult to provide an accurate accounting of the billions of dollars the US Government is spending to train and equip Iraq's army and police force, an official told a congressional committee.

"Without reliable information, Congress may find it difficult to judge how federal funds are achieving the goal of transferring security responsibilities to the Iraqis," Joseph Christoff, the office's director of international affairs and trade, told the House Government Reform subcommittee on international relations.

Although the Defence Department has conducted several internal evaluations of the US training mission in Iraq, the office is the first government agency to challenge as inflated the figures the Pentagon uses to chart the progress of Iraqi troops.

Specifically, the office criticised the Pentagon's decision to include in its totals of trained and equipped Iraqi troops "tens of thousands" of police officers absent without leave. The most recent Pentagon figures show nearly 82,000 Iraqis have gone through US police training.

"If you are reporting AWOLs in your numbers, I think there's some inaccuracy in your reporting," Mr Christoff said after the hearing.

The progress of the training mission has become a politically charged issue, with Democrats claiming the Bush Administration is misrepresenting the number of trained Iraqis at work.

During confirmation hearings for Condoleezza Rice to become Secretary of State, senators challenged her assertion the Pentagon had trained more than 120,000 Iraqi policemen and soldiers.

That number, they said, included more than 50,000 police officers who were given as little as three weeks basic training.

According to Pentagon figures, more than 142,000 soldiers and policemen have been trained and equipped.

The US has spent $5.8billion ($7.36 billion) training and equipping Iraqi forces since April 2003, and this week the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a supplementary budget request that includes an additional $5.7billion devoted to training.

Los Angeles Times


Art For Boys. Posted by Hello

Art For Girls. Posted by Hello
A Case to Answer on" high crimes and misdemeanors"

LONDON, March 17 (Xinhuanet)

-- A British lawmaker was on Thursday ordered to leave the House of Commons after refusing to withdraw comments that Prime Minister Tony Blair misled the lower house of parliament over the war on Iraq two years ago.

MP Adam Price said that Friday will be the second anniversary of the vote on going to war with Iraq and the "motion of impeachment (of Blair) is before us."

"There is compelling evidence that the prime minister misled this house in taking us to war," he said, "Isn't it high time we held him to account?"

Commons Speaker Michael Martin asked Price twice to "withdraw that remark" but Price said he was unwilling to do so, according to a Sky News report.

Then Martin said: "I ask you to withdraw from the chamber. Leave the chamber."

Price, who has commissioned a report called A Case to Answer on" high crimes and misdemeanors" in relation to Iraq, then left the House of Commons.

The last lawmaker to be thrown out was the Scottish National Party's Annabelle Ewing, who left after branding Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon a "backstabbing coward."

Under Commons Standing Order 43, the Commons Speaker is authorized to remove for the day anyone guilty of "grossly disorderly" conduct. Enditem

This Item is posted for Christy

March 16, 2005

USA Today is running a poll that says about 62-percent of Iraqis believe their country is headed in the right direction. Normally we would be happy to receive the news that Iraqis prefer the idea of burgeoning democracy to that of a dictatorship, but then we saw how the poll was presented:

"The poll, by the International Republican Institute (IRI), [is] due to be made public Wednesday... The IRI is a non-partisan, U.S. taxpayer-funded group that promotes democracy abroad."

A little research on the IRI turned up this information:

- All 24 of the organization’s board members, including its president, are Republicans.

- The IRI is the indirect product of a new agenda of democratic globalism spearheaded in the late 1970s by neoconservatives.

- The IRI came to fruition in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan proposed a new U.S.-led effort to promote free-market democracies around the world.

- George A. Folsom, IRI's president and CEO, was a member of the Bush-Cheney Transition Team.

- Millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money channeled through the IRI funded groups opposed to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez during the years preceding a failed April 2002 coup against the Venezuelan President.

- When it was falsely believed that the coup was successful, Folsom rejoiced over Chávez' removal from power. "The Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy in their country."

- The IRI supplied aid to opposition groups in Haiti.

So, we have a Republican-led and controlled group, one that perpetuates the Neo-con agenda of unilateral nation building, conducting a poll that serves its own interests by justifying the Iraq war as necessary means to a democratic society. Again, here's USA Today's presentation of the poll:

"The IRI is a non-partisan, U.S. taxpayer-funded group that promotes democracy abroad."

Infuriating? Yes. Dishonest? Possibly. Surprising? Hardly, especially considering the current culture of bought-and-paid-for-news-reports that are being disseminated by the Bush administration.

Is there nothing that can be done about this? Here's a start. Go to StopFakeNews.org to petition the FCC to investigate this flagrant abuse of the Free Press. And how about sending some letters to USA Today telling them to stop being shills and get back to doing what they do best: Making colorful graphs and pie charts.

Posted by msmoderator at March 16, 2005 07:45


Posted for Christy

Yup Posted by Hello

There is a good reason why Washington would want to discourage any focus on Fallujah at this time

 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Army Ignored Broker on Arms Deal

U.S. general supervised an Iraq contract that a slain American said was tangled in kickbacks.

By Ken Silverstein and T. Christian Miller
Times Staff Writers

03/15/05 "Los Angeles Times" - - Soon after interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi took office last summer, he announced plans to create a tank division for the new Iraqi army.

The $283-million project was supposed to display the power of Iraq's new government. But under the guidance of a task force overseen by one of America's top generals, it has become another chapter in a rebuilding process marked by accusations of corruption.

The U.S. contractor working on the project repeatedly warned the task force headed by Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus that a Lebanese middleman involved in the deal might be routing kickbacks to Iraqi Defense Ministry officials. But senior U.S. military officials did not act on the contractor's pleas for tighter financial controls, according to documents and interviews.

"If we proceed down the road we are currently on, there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail," the contractor, Dale Stoffel, wrote in a Nov. 30 e-mail to a senior assistant to Petraeus.

Eight days later, Stoffel was shot dead in an ambush near Baghdad. The killing is being investigated by the FBI, according to people who have been interviewed by the bureau.

Since then, senior U.S. military officials have continued to work with the middleman, Raymond Zayna, who has taken over part of Stoffel's contract, documents and interviews show.

Although the U.S. military initially insisted that the Iraqi government was in control of the project, e-mails obtained by The Times show that Petraeus' task force supervised it.

The case raises concerns about the U.S. commitment to accountability in projects involving Iraqi money. The inspector general for Iraq's reconstruction recently criticized the failure of the former U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority to properly account for $8.8 billion in contracts issued using Iraqi funds.

A $24.7-million payment on the contract that was supposed to go to Stoffel is unaccounted for.

Through a spokesman, Petraeus declined to be interviewed, referring inquiries to the Iraqi Defense Ministry. Ministry officials did not respond to requests for comment.

In January, Capt. Steve Alvarez, a spokesman for Petraeus' task force, said the arms contract was an "MOD [Ministry of Defense] matter."

"There really isn't much more to our involvement," he said.

Later, after being told about the e-mails indicating that task force officers were directing work on the contract, Alvarez said that "performance under this contract was of interest" to U.S. officials.

"Quite naturally, there were contacts and communications between [the task force] and the parties to the contract in order to coordinate," Alvarez said. He added that Petraeus "was never told of any improprieties."

The weapons deal took shape last year, after Allawi began pressing U.S. military officials for the formation of a tank brigade.

Although the U.S. did not consider the brigade vital to fighting the insurgency, Allawi saw it as a politically important demonstration to Iraqi citizens that the government was reconstituting its armed forces, an official with the U.S.-led coalition said. The Iraqis agreed to pay for an entire mechanized division at an estimated cost of $283 million.

Allawi wanted at least one tank brigade in place before the Jan. 30 national assembly election. The deadline put pressure on the U.S. military to deliver the tanks quickly.

Petraeus backed Stoffel, a weapons dealer with extensive experience in the Eastern European equipment used by the Iraqi army, as a man who could obtain and deliver the goods.

Stoffel had a long history of working with the U.S. government. He acted on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies to covertly buy foreign military equipment for research and testing by the U.S. military, documents show.

In a letter to Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan on July 20, 2004, Petraeus pledged to "fully support" Stoffel, who proposed to refurbish Iraq's tanks and personnel carriers and buy new equipment from Eastern European sources.

On Aug. 16, Stoffel's firm, Wye Oak Technology of Monongahela, Pa., signed a "broker's agreement" with the Defense Ministry, giving Stoffel the exclusive right to buy tanks and other equipment for the mechanized division on the ministry's behalf.

Stoffel was awarded the contract without competitive bidding. The contract was structured so that Stoffel was paid a percentage of the price of goods purchased — an arrangement barred by U.S. law but allowed in Iraq.

Iraqi Deputy Defense Minister Mashal Sarraf insisted on another unusual provision, according to sources with knowledge of the contract: He required that Stoffel conduct all financial transactions through middleman Zayna.

Sarraf did not respond to requests for comment made through the Defense Ministry.

In September, Stoffel signed a limited power of attorney allowing Zayna to "arrange financing and request banking guarantees" for the contract, records show. Zayna was to act as a broker between Stoffel and the Defense Ministry, reconciling invoices and disbursing payments.

Another Lebanese businessman, Mohammed abu Darwish, worked with Zayna's firm, General Investment Group, on the contract and participated in meetings with task force officials, e-mails and interviews show. In an unrelated case in September, the Pentagon barred Darwish from receiving future American contracts because of his alleged role in a scheme to defraud the U.S. of millions of dollars on a security contract in Iraq, according to a U.S. Air Force document.

Soon after he started work on the contract, Stoffel began to voice concerns about Zayna and his relationship with Iraqi defense officials, according to e-mails and interviews.

In conversations with military officials, Stoffel complained that Zayna was charging him a 3% fee on financial transactions. He suspected that a portion of the fee was being kicked back to the Defense Ministry. Stoffel also said Zayna was trying to force him to use certain subcontractors that he believed were secretly controlled by Zayna and Iraqi officials.

Asked for comment, Darwish referred questions to Zayna, saying that "the deal belongs to him." Efforts to reach Zayna were unsuccessful.

By October, the Defense Ministry had issued Zayna's firm $24.7 million in payment for the refurbishing work Stoffel had done, the contractor told military officials.

The money was never delivered to Stoffel, who in October began complaining to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad. He wrote letters, previously disclosed by The Times, to Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and a senior Pentagon official spelling out his suspicions about Zayna.

Stoffel also e-mailed U.S. Army Col. David Styles, Petraeus' assistant on the project. He asked Styles to have Petraeus intervene to stop millions of dollars being funneled without oversight through Zayna.

"There is no oversight of the money and if/when something goes wrong, regardless of how clean our hands are, heads will roll and it will be the heads of those that are reachable, and the people who are suppose to know better (US citizens, military, etc.)," Stoffel wrote in the November e-mail to Styles.

Stoffel's concerns were shared by an official with the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq who worked as an advisor to the Defense Ministry. On learning of Zayna's role in the contract, this official urged the ministry to suspend further payments. The official also had concerns about Stoffel, who had come under scrutiny for previous arms dealings unrelated to the Iraqi contract.

The official suggested that the Defense Ministry establish a clear audit trail on the use of the funds. However, the official noted that Styles was worried that additional accounting measures would cause delays.

Styles said the concern over accounting was "getting in the way," the official said. "It was a pretty big issue for Petraeus to get it done and delivered, and he was riding Styles hard."

In one e-mail, Styles referred to Stoffel and business associates as his "team." The e-mail describes orders to both Stoffel and Zayna on how to implement the contract, down to such mundane details as fixing an oil leak and having Zayna buy sets of tools.

Styles pressed Stoffel to draft a progress report for coalition and Iraqi officials to "get the advisors off our [backs] and ensure the uninterrupted flow of funds for the project."

Petraeus worked with top Iraqi officials to allow Stoffel access to bases across the country, according to a letter from Bruska Noori Shaways, the Defense Ministry's secretary-general.

"With the assistance, cooperation and support of Lt. Gen. David J. [sic] Petraeus and the U.S. company Wye Oak Technology, the Iraq Ministry of Defense has instituted and initiated" the program to create a mechanized division, Shaways wrote in September to Army Gen. George W. Casey, commander of coalition forces in Iraq.

Task force spokesman Alvarez initially said the U.S. military did not get involved in the contract dispute. "We were not aware of any U.S. military working with Wye Oak," Alvarez wrote in January. In response to follow-up questions from The Times, Alvarez acknowledged that Petraeus intervened with Iraqi officials after learning of problems with the contract.

"When told that there was a holdup regarding refurbishment of the armored vehicles, Lt. Gen. Petraeus did ask the ministry to get on with whatever they were going to do with the contract so that the stand-up of the mechanized brigade would not be delayed," Alvarez said.

By late November, Stoffel had returned to the United States to seek help in getting his payment. He asked Pentagon officials and Santorum's office to pressure the Iraqis to release the $24.7 million to him.

Stoffel suggested that an international accounting firm be brought in to supervise the contract's financial transactions and clear up questions about the missing money.

He warned of consequences if the money was not recovered.

"News of it will be on the front page under the photos of President Bush, [Defense Secretary Donald H.] Rumsfeld, me" and Petraeus' task force, Stoffel wrote to another military officer in early December. "Jobs will be lost and congressional hearings will be held."

U.S. military officials informed Zayna about the allegations of corruption, according to several people familiar with the matter. British Brig. Gen. David Clements summoned the parties to a Dec. 5 meeting in Iraq. Afterward, Clements ordered Zayna to release the money to Stoffel, sources said.

As of Dec. 8, Stoffel still had not received the money. That day, after he left the Taji military base outside Baghdad, his SUV was rammed by another vehicle. Stoffel and a business associate, Joseph Wemple, were cut down in a hail of bullets.

Another occupant of the vehicle apparently escaped unharmed, leading to suspicions among the victims' friends that he may have been involved in the attack.

About a week later, a previously unknown insurgent group, Brigades of the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility.

Since the killing, U.S. military officials have continued working with Zayna. He is doing construction work on a U.S.-controlled military base outside Baghdad related to the project, said officials with the U.S.-led coalition.

Stoffel's firm tried unsuccessfully to keep the contract. Wye Oak Technology sent a letter to U.S. and Iraqi officials on Jan. 25 saying it was prepared to resume work so long as "transparency and accountability" were established.

The U.S. military and Iraqi Defense Ministry have not responded. A Wye Oak official declined to comment.

Petraeus' task force has also pressed ahead with the creation of the mechanized division. The first brigade was operational just before the January election, and some elements of it are guarding Iraqi government buildings.

Coalition officials met in February with the Defense Ministry to try to track down the $24.7 million.

So far, they have had no luck accounting for the money.

Miller reported from Baghdad and Silverstein from Washington.

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
AWOL in America:

Why Over 5,500 U.S. Soldiers Discharged Themselves

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

The Pentagon has estimated that since the start of the current conflict in Iraq, more than 5,500 U.S. military personnel have deserted. We speak with journalist Kathy Dobie who wrote the cover story for this month's issue of Harper's magazine titled "AWOL in America: When Desertion is the Only Option." Dobie says, "Some of them leave because they're unwilling to kill, some because of family and personal problems and some because of the unjust recruiting process." [includes rush transcript]

"AWOL, French Leave, the Grand Bounce, jumping ship, going over the hill-in every country, in every age, whenever and wherever there has been a military, there have been soldiers discharging themselves from the ranks. The Pentagon has estimated that since the start of the current conflict in Iraq, more than 5,500 U.S. military personnel have deserted, and yet we know the stories of only a unique handful, all whom have publicly stated their opposition to the war in Iraq, and some of whom have fled to Canada. The Vietnam war casts a long shadow, distorting our image of the deserter; four soldiers have gone over the Canadian border, looking for the safe haven of the Vietnam years, which no longer exists: there are no open arms for such refugees and almost no possibility of obtaining legal status. We imagine 5,500 conscientious objectors to a bloody quagmire, soldiers like Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, who strongly and eloquently protested the Iraq war, having actually served there and witnessed civilians killed and prisoners abused, and who was subsequently court-martialed, found guilty of desertion, and given a year in prison. But deserters rarely leave for purely political reasons. They usually just quietly return home and hope no one notices."
That is from the cover story of this month's issue of Harper's magazine titled "AWOL in America: When Desertion is the Only Option." It is written by journalist and author Kathy Dobie - she joins us today in our firehouse studio

Kathy Dobie, she wrote the cover story for Harper's magazine titled "AWOL in America: When Desertion is the Only Option."


Reference to Article Posted by Hello
Americans talking to themselves in Fallujah

Nigel Parry, Electronic Iraq, 9 January 2005

Although April and November 2004 will be remembered as the months of the massive U.S. military assaults on Fallujah, casual news watchers may be surprised to learn that as recently as January 7th U.S. Marines continued to battle insurgents in the city, even employing airstrikes against what the US Central Command (CENTCOM) termed "militant targets".

Strangely, there is limited focus in the media about the continued U.S. military actions in Fallujah. Visitors to CENTCOM's website, found at www.centcom.mil, will not find much more.

References to "Fallujah" are missing from recent reports on CENTCOM, although a "Camp Fallujah" byline appears at the beginning of some releases. The U.S. military terminology for "Fallujah" in vogue is apparently "Anbar Province", a large and unspecific area of 53,476 square miles (138,501 square kilometers), with a population over 800,000.

There is a good reason that the U.S. Administration would want to discourage any focus on Fallujah at this time. In the last weeks, residents who fled the fighting in the city have been beginning to return, and even those who have not lost family members are finding utter devastation of their former lives. Fallujah, under a strict dusk-to-dawn curfew, has no running water, sewage system, or electricity, and that's just the utilities.

In an interview with BBC News, acting director of the Falluja general hospital Dr Saleh Hussein Isawi reported what he found on entering the city on Christmas Eve:
I was there, inside the city - about 60% to 70% of the homes and buildings are completely crushed and damaged, and not ready to inhabit at the moment.

Of the 30% still left standing, I don't think there is a single one that has not been exposed to some damage.

One of my colleagues... went to see his home, and saw that it is almost completely collapsed and everything is burnt inside.

When he went to his neighbours' home, he found a relative of his was dead and a dog had eaten the meat off him.

I think we will see many things like this, because the US forces have cleared the dead people from the streets, but not from inside the homes.

Dazed Iraqis returning to the rubble following the US onslaught are having to suffer the additional indignity of full fingerprinting and retinal scans at US military checkpoints.

The Knight Ridder news service reported on 8 January 2005 that Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the senior U.S. ground commander in Iraq, has said that 40,000 residents — less than 20% of the city's population of 300,000 — have so far returned to the city. The Iraqi interim government puts the figure at 60,000.

Writing in a January 7th article on The Nations' TomDispatch.com, independent journalist Dahr Jamail described the devastation awaiting the returning refugees:
...three-quarters of [Fallujah] has by now been bombed or shelled into rubble, a city in whose ruins fighting continues even while most of its residents have yet to be allowed to return to their homes (many of which no longer exist). The atrocities committed there in the last month or so are, in many ways, similar to those observed during the failed U.S. Marine siege of the city last April, though on a far grander scale. This time, in addition, reports from families inside the city, along with photographic evidence, point toward the U.S. military's use of chemical and phosphorous weapons as well as cluster bombs there. The few residents allowed to return in the final week of 2004 were handed military-produced leaflets instructing them not to eat any food from inside the city, nor to drink the water.

In the coming weeks and months, we will learn more about what happened in Fallujah. The international human rights organisations will visit to research reports that will be published in a few months to little media interest. In the meantime, Marine Lt. Col. Scott Ballard reported to the New York Times' Erik Eckholm that:
The main domestic water lines will be fixed within weeks, though broken pipes to houses must be fixed one by one. For now, residents must take containers to plastic water tanks at 15 locations and carry what they can back home. Electricity may take a few months.

How can the destruction of the infrastructure of a city of 300,000 inhabitants, so severe that between 60-75% of structures are demolished and utilities will take months to reconnect, possibly create any sense of peace and security for its residents?

What has happened in Fallujah is a powerful example of the self-defeating insanity of the Bush Administration strategy in its "War Against Terror" — a war which doesn't seem to grasp the difference in terms of international legitimacy between acts of resistance against foreign occupation and acts of terrorism against civilians.

The Administration has no understanding of the most obvious fact — that true peace can only come to a situation in which people are not dealing with the basics of survival, where they have homes, utilities, and a sense of security. Peace has been pushed generations back in Fallujah.

America seems to think it can simply fix this, forgetting that the destruction of an entire city and way of life will leave bitter rubble in people's hearts for years to come. Marines on the ground who spoke to the Los Angeles Times' Tom Perry, "are confident that residents will come to accept that the destruction was necessary to rid Fallujah of the insurgents who had controlled the city."

One wonders if the 300,000 people in Fallujah will see it that way, or whether the far more likely consequence of increased support for the Iraqi resitance will be what the U.S. reaps from what it sowed in the city? Fallujah residents will have literally years to ponder this as they rebuild. We, on the other hand, will have forgotten about it in a few months. Such is exactly the same climate of ignorance that enabled 9/11. Almost 3,000 of our own dead, and yet — still — the blind lead the naked.

There are flickers of hope. In September 2004, the U.S. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense For Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics published The Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication, [PDF format, 1.8MB]. The report is eye-opening largely due to its author — an agency of the U.S. government — as the report finally grasps the obvious and highlights some very clear lines of cause and effect in the dynamics of the "War Against Terror".

Section 2.3 of the report states:
"What is the Problem? Who Are We Dealing With?"

The information campaign — or as some still would have it, "the war of ideas," or the struggle for "hearts and minds" — is important to every war effort. In this war it is an essential objective, because the larger goals of U.S. strategy depend on separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-Jihadists. But American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.

American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies.

Muslims do not "hate our freedom," but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.

Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that "freedom is the future of the Middle East" is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World — but Muslims do not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.

Furthermore, in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. U.S. actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self determination.

Therefore, the dramatic narrative since 9/11 has essentially borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars. American actions and the flow of events have elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims. Fighting groups portray themselves as the true defenders of an Ummah (the entire Muslim community) invaded and under attack — to broad public support.

What was a marginal network is now an Ummah-wide movement of fighting groups. Not only has there been a proliferation of "terrorist" groups: the unifying context of a shared cause creates a sense of affiliation across the many cultural and sectarian boundaries that divide Islam.

Finally, Muslims see Americans as strangely narcissistic — namely, that the war is all about us. As the Muslims see it, everything about the war is — for Americans — really no more than an extension of American domestic politics and its great game. This perception is of course necessarily heightened by election-year atmospherics, but nonetheless sustains their impression that when Americans talk to Muslims they are really just talking to themselves.

Sadly, whether the White House and Defence Department have read the report or not, the three months that have passed since its publication haven't exactly heralded any sea changes in U.S. policy on the ground in Iraq, or in Palestine for that matter. In the arena of international relations and foreign policy, America continues to do what she is most comfortable doing — talking to herself. Hopefully she will realise her mistake before the inevitable, ugly answer comes in response.

Related Links

Fallujah in Pictures -- Crisis Images publishes daily images of humanitarian emergencies worldwide that would not otherwise reach a broad audience.

Nigel Parry is a founder of Electronic Iraq and the Electronic Intifada.

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