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Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Razing of Falluja

This page will be updated as information is available - check back...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
News about Falluja for Americans
Knight Ridder headline:
Fallujah: From insurgent stronghold to 'safest city in Iraq'

Here are the opening paragraphs (which is all most Americans read, if they bother to go beyond the headlines - which are apparently written for George Bush to scan - and Knight Ridder knows it)...

Piles of rubble still line the streets here, but a few shops have opened on the main drag, schools are finally in session and a compensation program to help families rebuild made some token initial payments this month.
Four months after the assault on Fallujah, in the center of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, American forces working to rebuild the city say they're seeing some progress, albeit limited, in a city that's still blockaded and under a curfew.

Even a little progress is an important development in a city that's been a major test for the American presence in Iraq.

See? It was a difficult and terrible situation, but through hard work and consideration of the people's sovereign needs, we are rebuilding Falluja.
And if you have any real interest in Falluja, you might actually make it all the way to the bottom of the article where you'll find these paragraphs...

And while Marine units adopt and help rebuild schools such as the Palestine School for Boys and Girls, some students aren't able to get through the checkpoints to make it into the city for class, said gym teacher Sulaiman A. Ali Al-Mohamadi.

The southern half of the city is still without electricity. Water service, though now extended to almost all areas, is limited because residents can't power the pumps that bring the water into their homes, said Navy Lt. Chris Lankford. Only 1,000 of the 13,000 telephone subscribers before the war have had their service restored.

For businesses, the security checkpoints on the perimeter of the city are a particular hardship. Fallujah used to be less than an hour's drive from Baghdad. Now, people wait for hours in line, submitting to searches and fingerprinting. Only Fallujah residents and contractors working on reconstruction projects can enter the city.

"Baghdad is the source of the goods we need," said spice dealer Haji Abbas. "I was going and coming from Baghdad almost daily. Now I can't. The checkpoints and the long lines make transportation costs extremely high and this makes my spice prices relatively high ... and Fallujah residents need money to fix their homes. The last thing they need is a shortage of goods and high prices."

So far, only 40 families have received compensation payments, out of an estimated 25,000 who suffered damages. American officials say the program is being run by the local government, which is still in disarray.

The article doesn't even mention how many Fallujans still reside in tents outside the city because the "damages" were total destruction of their homes. But that 40 out of 25,000 families receiving compensation, and 1,000 of 13,000 who have telephone service, the lack of water and electricity should give you some idea. Here are a great number of links to stories that provide information.
And how about Knight Ridder's summation starter....

Some are happy for a break in the violence, even at the price of their freedom.
How very American of them!
"We can't do business here," said Ali Muhammed Hussein, as he waited with his elderly father to receive a compensation check. "It's the safest city in Iraq because it's a prison."
Now for the Falluja section of 7th Fire's Iraqi Resistance Report from Arab sources:
Three US troops reported killed by Resistance roadside bomb in al-Fallujah Sunday afternoon.

An Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded by a US column in the ash-Shuhada neighborhood of al-Fallujah at 5:30pm Sunday afternoon local time. The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the bomb virtually totally destroyed a Humvee killed three US troops and wounded two more. An official statement by the police said that a roadside bomb on the street leading to the al-Anbiya’ Mosque was responsible for the blast that left five SU troops “killed or wounded.”

Resistance car bomb in al-Fallujah Sunday evening.

An Iraqi Resistance car bomb exploded in the ash-Shukr area of northern al-Fallujah at about 6pm Sunday evening. The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the extent of casualties as a result of the blast was unclear.

Resistance activity in al-Fallujah on Sunday.

Six 120mm mortar rounds into the as-Su’dad school in the al-Jurayfi neighborhood of al-Fallujah but the extent of losses was unclear.

An Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded near the al-Firdaws Mosque, killing three Iraqi puppet troops, Mafkarat al-Islam reported.

An Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded in the al-‘Askari neighborhood of the city by a patrol of the puppet so-called Iraqi national guard. Witnesses told Mafkarat al-Islam that a number of guardsmen were killed or wounded.

Iraqi Resistance forces battled Iraqi puppet “national guard” troops near the as-Siddiqiyah Bridge in the al-Khalidiyah district on Sunday afternoon. The Resistance forces fired BKC rockets killing two puppet guards and wounding three more, Mafkarat al-Islam reported.
If Falluja is the safest city, you might not want to know what's happening elsewhere. But go ahead and have a scroll through the report.

Who had the Weapons of mass destruction, do we never learn from the past Posted by Hello


-- Dahr Jamail
 Posted by Hello
The Blood of Children Stains our Flag
A Readers Commentary 04/04/03

by M. A. Luttrell Sr.
The NetArchitect

How will they write the History of the Destruction of the Children of a foreign land?

When the children of the Original American Colonies took up arms, to avoid being "Liberated" by the British, and sold into slavery for the King of England we looked upon them as Warriors, Americans, Soldiers in the making. When the Children of Scotland defended their farms from the English Invaders, they were looked upon by their people as True Scots, and the Children of True Patriots. When the children of Iceland rose up and began using the cover of night to slaughter the foreign warmongers come to take their homes, their parents, their lands, their lives, they were looked upon as Valiant, and Children of Heathen gods, until the Althing of the year 1000 when their own Council sold them out to the "invaders". When the Children of Palestine defend their dead parent's homes from destruction by an American bulldozer driven by an Israeli Soldier, with their dying breath, they are martyrs, children of an Arab god. When the Russian Children defended their homes from Invasion by the "Invaders from a foreign shore", it was written as patriotic. What do these children have in common? None of them wanted to live under the rule of a foreign land, and like Patrick Henry, perferred Liberty or Death, but not bondage to a race of Invaders.

I have seen the images of Innocents slain. Images which the mainstream media refuse to publish for fear of an uprising so great in America, that the current American regime would fall in a day. Slain by faceless bombs with things written on them that even WE dare not repeat, right here in the Land of the Free, for fear of being thought a traitor, a madman, or politically incorrect. Children slaughtered by grown men and women in the name of "liberation"? Will our children be so brave I wonder? Will they defend Our Homes if we are invaded? And will they defend our homes from an invasion from within our own country, by flak-jacketed, jackbooted thugs?

I have not heard from my Son, a 101st Airborne Ranger since the day the conflict in Iraq arose, and I wonder if he is there... if he is dead, lying in some foreign morgue, or worse, while the government plays hide and seek with the bodies and the numbers, rounds up more to send to battle, to "liberate" more starving Arab souls from sanctions, starvation, sin, disease and death. I wonder if he will come home with his head held high, medals on his chest, free of any missing body parts, or will he just come home in parts, will he come home at all, is he even gone. I would know if there were any "press" in this land with the balls to report the truth, but for now I wait.

How will history look upon us, we, who did not have the power to Oust our own leader, in this land where our own children are beaten, arrested, and gunned down by those with grandiose dreams of false authority and little conscience. How will they record the words and works and deeds of those who have had Stolen from our homes by Socialist "workers" Our Own Flesh and Blood because our homes were dirty, or our children played outside on a summer's day. Children stolen because of the color of their hair and eyes, and sold over the internet to the highest bidder, (and then more of our monies, extorted through purchase, they are paid, as well as pay the state a Bouns/Bounty of up to $8,000.00. per child "liberated from bad parents")

Never again in my lifetime, to my grandchildren's grandchildren, will we of the United States of America, be free to roam the earth upon which we were born as Sovereign People, without fear of death. How will history speak of us? Will it write us down as a generation "at risk"? How will we be seen in the light of the next generation, by our children's children, when they are forced to live under laws we did nothing to abolish, under a regime of facism we did nothing to destroy, as slaves to an American Aristocracy, we did nothing to diminish?

History, as they say, is written by the Victor, taught by the posterity of the victorious, to the children of the "liberated." What will they teach our Children's Grandchildren about Our Generation? Will they teach this as the darkest days of U.S. History, when even our own children were "liberated" because they were "at risk" of being harmed? What account shall we give to the Historians, as to the reasons we did not protect them, from a System designed to indoctrinate them into Communism, Facism, and Socialism?

How will you be remembered?

For when all is said and done, and the last curtain falls upon the stages of our lives, only the ones who remember us, will be there to tell the Truth.

I grieve for our nation, and the untold suffering that will be wrought. As history has shown, you can possess the greatest armaments in the world, but if your cause and motives are not right, only catastrophe will result.

"Jack Walters, March 8, 2003"


Friday, March 25, 2005

Democracy Now!

Naomi Klein Reveals New Details About U.S. Military Shooting of Italian War Correspondent in Iraq
New details are emerging about the killing of the Italian agent who saved her life. We speak with independent journalist Naomi Klein, who just returned from meeting with Sgrena in Rome.



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In Rome, journalist Giuliana Sgrena has been released from a military hospital where she was being treated for a gunshot wound she suffered when US forces shot up the car bringing her to freedom after a month being held hostage in Iraq. The head of Italy's Foreign Military Intelligence Nicola Calipari was killed in the attack when he shielded Sgrena from the bullets.
Yesterday, Italian newspapers reported that the justice minister has asked U.S. authorities to release the car so it can be examined by Italian ballistics experts. The papers said the request came after the U.S. command in Iraq reportedly blocked two Italian policemen from examining the car.

Naomi Klein, award-winning journalist and author of "Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines" of the "Globalization Debate and No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies." She just met with Giuliana Sgrena in Rome.

Patriotism Is Nonpartisan

Challenging a Mistaken War Can Take More Courage than Fighting One.

by George McGovern

03/25/05 "The Nation" - - There is a notion abroad in American politics, carefully crafted by its proponents, that is both disturbing and false. It is especially disturbing to me personally because it is frequently associated with my campaign for the presidency in 1972. The notion is that my party, and especially its standard-bearer of ’72, are not interested in the defense and security of America. Nor, according to this notion, do we care about marriage and the family, the sacredness of human life and the things of the spirit. Perhaps my views are outdated, but I have always assumed that every American cares about these values; consequently, they are not issues for partisan exploitation.

What is the truth as I see it?

First and foremost, I have believed since childhood that my country is the greatest nation on the face of the earth. Never once during my long years as a public servant did I drive down Pennsylvania Avenue to my office at the US Capitol—past the majestic memorials to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln—without experiencing the genuine thrill of knowing that I worked for the US government and its citizens. One of my young daughters observed to a playmate as we drove by the Capitol one evening long ago, “That’s my daddy’s office.”

There has not been a day in my life that I would not have proudly sacrificed that life in the defense of America. Following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, as a college sophomore, I promptly volunteered for the Army Air Corps and flew thirty-five missions as the pilot of a B-24 bomber. Half of the bomber crews flying with me did not survive the war, including my navigator and dear friend Sam Adams of Milwaukee. That was a terrifying, destructive war, but I have never experienced an hour of regret over my part in helping to smash Hitler’s ruthless war machine. America had no honorable course except to halt the worldwide, murderous aggression of the Axis powers—including the unspeakable Holocaust that murdered 6 million Jews.

When I entered the US Senate in 1963, eighteen years after World War II, America was involved in a vastly different kind of war in the jungles of Vietnam. I was convinced that our leaders had embarked on a course that, however well intentioned, could only end in disaster. Over the next decade I sounded the alarm against what I believed was a tragedy for the young Americans dying in the Southeast Asian quagmire, a tragedy for the people of America and a tragedy for the people of Vietnam, whose country was devastated and 2 million of whom were killed. That war became the central issue of my successful bid for the presidential nomination and the subsequent campaign in which I was defeated by the incumbent President, Richard Nixon.

Had I lost the courage to resist the enemy that I had demonstrated in World War II? The truth is that it took more courage as a junior senator to stand up in the Senate and challenge the war policy of our government in Vietnam than it did to fly combat missions in World War II. My first warnings against our deepening involvement in Vietnam were delivered when public opinion polls in South Dakota were reporting that 80 percent of my constituents supported the war. I assumed that this spelled defeat for me in the next election—a one-term senator.

But looking back on those early years after eighteen years in the Senate and as a presidential nominee, I am as proud of my effort to stop the needless slaughter in Vietnam as I am of my participation in World War II. In both cases, I was guided by patriotism and love of my country. But men who had never known a day of military combat worked ceaselessly—especially in 1972—to paint me as a weakling unwilling to defend the nation. Of course, I did not stand alone in opposing the looming disaster in Asia. Such senators as Fulbright, Mansfield, Church, Gruening, Morse, Nelson and Hatfield were adamantly against the war. But I was also seeking the presidency, which made me a special target of the war exponents.

Another factor that made me a convenient punching bag was my effort to curtail some aspects of the Pentagon budget that appeared to be wasteful and needless. I frequently quoted President Eisenhower’s great farewell address, in which he warned of the mounting power of “the military-industrial complex” and its unwarranted influence in our society. It seemed to me then, as it does today, that more is required for the defense and security of America than simply giving over what this year will be half of the federal discretionary budget to the Pentagon. But here again, a senator risks the political danger of being branded as weak on defense if he applies the same common-sense examination to military spending that is applied to other sources of American strength, such as healthcare, education, the environment or full employment.

It was also politically troubling to critics that my maiden speech in the Senate forty-two years ago was aimed at our government’s policy of isolating and boycotting Cuba—a self-defeating policy we still pursue. No such policy was pursued toward the Communist giants—Russia and China. Somehow our strategists thought it wise to seek détente with Moscow and recognition of China as a “most favored nation” trading partner—which, of course, it was given—but unwise to build such a relationship with our little Cuban neighbor. What have we been so fearful of in Cuba—their cigars and rum? Or is it the oratory of Fidel Castro, who has outlasted nine American Presidents of both parties? Is common sense dead when it comes to our Cuba policy? Or is this the best way to carry Florida at election time?

Old-fashioned American liberals such as I are accused not only of being weak on defense but also weak on marriage and the family, the work ethic and reverence for religious faith. I resent such groundless political slurs. After all, I hold the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I have been happily married to the same woman for sixty-one years and am the father of five children and ten grandchildren—all of whom I love dearly, including dear, deceased Terry. As the son of a Wesleyan Methodist clergyman, I dare say that my life has always been enriched and guided by the Judeo-Christian ethic. Nothing has influenced my philosophy more than the Hebrew prophets and the Sermon on the Mount. Beyond this, I have worked hard at useful tasks throughout my life and thank God I still have the health and motivation to continue that work schedule at the age of 82. Of course, I share one of my father’s oft-quoted biblical lines: “All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

So many challenges face us at home and abroad that we should not waste time, tolerance and good will debating which politician loves America most ardently, which one is most devoted to marriage and the family and which one is closest to the Almighty. I’ve never known a political leader in either party who was disloyal to America, or who scoffed at marriage and the family, or who disrespected God and religious faith. Republicans and Democrats alike are pro-American, pro-freedom, pro-life, pro-family and pro–God Almighty. When we are sworn into public office, we all place our left hand on the Bible while raising our right hand and swearing to uphold the Constitution. It is worth noting that this sacred ceremony requires each of us to use both arms—a left wing and right wing!

Recently, the officers and enlisted personnel of Ellsworth Air Force Base at Rapid City, South Dakota, in the magnificent Black Hills under the shadow of Mount Rushmore, named a B-1 bomber “The Dakota Queen”—the name of the B-24 bomber I flew in World War II, so titled in recognition of my wife, Eleanor. After a moving ceremony attended by Eleanor and me, one of the junior officers said to me, “Senator, I don’t know whether it bothers you to be called a left-wing liberal, but just remember, a plane can’t fly without both a left wing and a right wing!” That is the kind of common sense that prompts my admiration and to which I say Amen and God bless us one and all—even those of God’s children who are unmarried, or have deeper love for those of their own sex than of the opposite sex. In the Methodist parsonage where I was reared I was taught that we should be cautious about judging one another. Such judgments are more properly left to the Almighty rather than to the political hustings and the quest for partisan advantage.

© The Nation

I do admire this man always have very much so, but i think he is wrong I think evil lives in the white house, why is it that the evil are elected and not the men of true valour.
Missing WMD Report
The Nation, April 11, 2005
by David Corn

When is a priority not a priority? When it's after the election.

Last July, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a much-anticipated report on the prewar intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The study concluded that the intelligence community -- led by the CIA -- had "overstated" and "mischaracterized" the intelligence on Iraq's (nonexistent) WMDs. The massive report repeatedly detailed instances when the intelligence services botched the job by ignoring contrary evidence, embracing questionable sources and rushing to judgments that just happened to fit the preconceived notions of the Bush Administration. "What the President and the Congress used to send the country to war was information that was...flawed," declared Pat Roberts, the Republican chairman of the committee. Jay Rockefeller, the committee's senior Democrat, noted that the report outlined "one of the most devastating...intelligence failure in the history of the nation."

But the committee's report did not cover a crucial area: how the Bush Administration used -- or abused -- the prewar intelligence to build support for the Iraq invasion. Roberts claimed his committee was hot on that trail: "It is one of my top priorities," he said. The problem, he explained, was that there was not enough time before the November election to complete the assignment. Rockefeller took issue with that and complained that the "central issue of how intelligence was...exaggerated by Bush Administration officials" was being relegated into a "Phase II" investigation that would not begin until after the election. A Democratic committee staffer said that such an inquiry could easily be completed within months.

Still, Roberts succeeded in his transparent effort to kick that inconvenient can down the road. (Imagine the headache for the Bush campaign if news stories appeared before the election reporting that the committee had found Bush had stretched an already stretched truth.) Now -- with Bush re-elected -- Roberts no longer considers Phase II a priority. In mid-March, Roberts declared further investigation pointless. He noted that if his committee asked Bush officials whether they had overstated or mischaracterized prewar intelligence, they'd simply claim their statements had been based on "bum intelligence." Roberts remarked, "To go though that exercise, it seems to me, in a postelection environment, wedidn'tt see how we could do that and achieve any possible progress. I think everybody pretty well gets it."

Gets what, precisely? The evidence is strong that Bush and his aides overstated the overstated intelligence. One example: Bush claimed that Iraq possessed stockpiles of biological weapons, yet the CIA reported only that Saddam had an active biological weapons R&D program. (It turns out he had neither stockpiles nor an active program.) The question is, How and why did Bush and his lieutenants come to exaggerate exaggerations? And just because the answer is obvious doesn't mean an investigation is unwarranted.

While Roberts has dismissed the need for Phase II, Rockefeller has been trying to push the investigation forward. But the committee has not yet bothered to interview any Administration officials about the use of prewar intelligence. The committee also appears to be stymied by obstacles it encountered last year while pursuing a matter to be included in the Phase II inquiry: the actions of the Office of Special Plans. The OSP was a neocon-linked, maverick intelligence shop in the Pentagon set up to search for intelligence (good or bad) to support the case for war. Phase II was supposed to determine whether the OSP had operated appropriately. But when committee staff were probing the OSP last year, people connected to it began hiring lawyers and clamming up, and the committee had a hard time prying documents from the Pentagon. "We received documents up to a point," comments a Rockefeller aide. "Then it stopped. The issue for us became whether we wrapped up the investigation on the basis of what we got, or do we try to get more information?" Roberts, however, has signaled he's no longer interested in the OSP inquiry. "We sort of came to a crossroads, and that is basically on the back burner," he said recently. So stonewalling works.

It would not tax the committee to compare the prewar assertions of Bush officials with the intelligence it had been provided. Apparently the commission Bush appointed last year (under pressure) to examine WMD intelligence has not been performing this task. The preliminary signs are that this commission, due to issue a report soon, will focus on inadequacies of intelligence related to present and potential WMD threats, such as Iran and North Korea.

When the intelligence committee released its report last summer, I asked Roberts if the public and relatives of US troops killed in Iraq deserved to know "whether this Administration handled intelligence matters adequately and made statements that were justified." He replied, "I have made my commitment, and it will be done." His promise was -- oh-so shocking! -- nothing but a maneuver to protect Bush's backside. Rockefeller and other Democrats are insisting Phase II be carried out. But Bush may benefit from the attempted cover-up. A President doesn't have to worry about troubling answers if no one asks the questions.

16 dead in Iraqi violence
25/03/2005 - 15:17:39

The death toll in two attacks in Iraq has risen to 16 today.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden white car near the central city, killing 11 Iraqi police commandos and injuring 14 other people, including two US soldiers.

And in Baghdad, gunmen killed five female translators working for the US military.

The translators “were heading home when gunmen driving two cars sprayed them with machine-gun fire,” said police Captain Ahmed Aboud. Both attacks took place on Thursday night.



Statement regarding the Courageous Resister Award
Sunday, August 8, 2004
After reading the official letter on the Courageous Resister Award along with the list of past recipients, my first reaction was that of embarrassment - I see that so many people have sacrificed so much in their very own ways of resistance- Recipients and otherwise have spent decades in prison, have devoted their whole lives to resistance, have been executed for resisting, for standing up to authority, for not conforming, for struggling for peace and justice.
 Posted by Hello

Camilo was released from prison on
February 15!
 Posted by Hello

Where was your president when this man was doing time he served with honour your president was AWOL for how many day. Go figure You suck George Bush AWol Posted by Hello
Words From Camilo
Any of these writings may be reprinted for public use.

Regaining My Humanity
Statement regarding the Courageous Resister Award
Letter to Peace Abbey
Letter to his friend, Ximena (from Iraq)
Letter to his brother, Carlos (from Iraq)
A Prayer from Iraq
Regaining My Humanity
NOTE: "This essay is edited from statements I wrote in prison, and from my conscientious objector claim." -CEM.

I was deployed to Iraq in April 2003 and returned home for a two-week leave in October. Going home gave me the opportunity to put my thoughts in order and to listen to what my conscience had to say. People would ask me about my war experiences and answering them took me back to all the horrors—the firefights, the ambushes, the time I saw a young Iraqi dragged by his shoulders through a pool of his own blood or an innocent man was decapitated by our machine gun fire. The time I saw a soldier broken down inside because he killed a child, or an old man on his knees, crying with his arms raised to the sky, perhaps asking God why we had taken the lifeless body of his son.

I thought of the suffering of a people whose country was in ruins and who were further humiliated by the raids, patrols and curfews of an occupying army.

And I realized that none of the reasons we were told about why we were in Iraq turned out to be true. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. We weren’t helping the Iraqi people and the Iraqi people didn’t want us there. We weren’t preventing terrorism or making Americans safer. I couldn’t find a single good reason for having been there, for having shot at people and been shot at.

Coming home gave me the clarity to see the line between military duty and moral obligation. I realized that I was part of a war that I believed was immoral and criminal, a war of aggression, a war of imperial domination. I realized that acting upon my principles became incompatible with my role in the military, and I decided that I could not return to Iraq.

By putting my weapon down, I chose to reassert myself as a human being. I have not deserted the military or been disloyal to the men and women of the military. I have not been disloyal to a country. I have only been loyal to my principles.

When I turned myself in, with all my fears and doubts, it did it not only for myself. I did it for the people of Iraq, even for those who fired upon me—they were just on the other side of a battleground where war itself was the only enemy. I did it for the Iraqi children, who are victims of mines and depleted uranium. I did it for the thousands of unknown civilians killed in war. My time in prison is a small price compared to the price Iraqis and Americans have paid with their lives. Mine is a small price compared to the price Humanity has paid for war.

Many have called me a coward, others have called me a hero. I believe I can be found somewhere in the middle. To those who have called me a hero, I say that I don’t believe in heroes, but I believe that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

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.

I say without any pride that I did my job as a soldier. I commanded an infantry squad in combat and we never failed to accomplish our mission. But those who called me a coward, without knowing it, are also right. I was a coward not for leaving the war, but for having been a part of it in the first place. Refusing and resisting this war was my moral duty, a moral duty that called me to take a principled action. I failed to fulfill my moral duty as a human being and instead I chose to fulfill my duty as a soldier. All because I was afraid. I was terrified, I did not want to stand up to the government and the army, I was afraid of punishment and humiliation. I went to war because at the moment I was a coward, and for that I apologize to my soldiers for not being the type of leader I should have been.

I also apologize to the Iraqi people. To them I say I am sorry for the curfews, for the raids, for the killings. May they find it in their hearts to forgive me.

One of the reasons I did not refuse the war from the beginning was that I was afraid of losing my freedom. Today, as I sit behind bars I realize that there are many types of freedom, and that in spite of my confinement I remain free in many important ways. What good is freedom if we are afraid to follow our conscience? What good is freedom if we are not able to live with our own actions? I am confined to a prison but I feel, today more than ever, connected to all humanity. Behind these bars I sit a free man because I listened to a higher power, the voice of my conscience.

While I was confined in total segregation, I came across a poem written by a man who refused and resisted the government of Nazi Germany. For doing so he was executed. His name is Albrecht Hanshofer, and he wrote this poem as he awaited execution:

The burden of my guilt before the law
weighs light upon my shoulders; to plot
and to conspire was my duty to the people;
I would have been a criminal had I not.

I am guilty, though not the way you think,
I should have done my duty sooner, I was wrong,
I should have called evil more clearly by its name
I hesitated to condemn it for far too long.

I now accuse myself within my heart:
I have betrayed my conscience far too long
I have deceived myself and fellow man.

I knew the course of evil from the start
My warning was not loud nor clear enough!
Today I know what I was guilty of…

To those who are still quiet, to those who continue to betray their conscience, to those who are not calling evil more clearly by its name, to those of us who are still not doing enough to refuse and resist, I say “come forward.” I say “free your minds.”

Let us, collectively, free our minds, soften our hearts, comfort the wounded, put down our weapons, and reassert ourselves as human beings by putting an end to war.

Body Double

Even as the president was supporting his brother, Florida governor Jeb Bush, and congressional Republicans in "defending the culture of life" in the Schiavo case, doctors in Houston were pulling the breathing tube from the throat of an ailing infant.

By Chris Floyd

The boy suffocated within seconds, legally killed -- against the wishes of his anguished mother -- in accordance with a draconian law signed as a "cost-saving" measure by the state's former governor: George W. Bush. Continued
Iraq’s Parliament: New Farce

By Ghali Hassan

03/24/05 "ICH" - - Despite calls to demonstrate kind of independence, the so-called Iraq’s ‘national assembly’ met inside the fortress of the “Green zone”. Western media hailed the first meeting as another “historic” moment in Iraq’s road to ‘democracy’. In Iraq, the story is of a widespread dismay and anger that the elections have not produced any change on the ground or even a new “government”. The same expatriate quislings, just more divided on sectarian line than before the elections, are gathered to discuss their new positions. They met in the shadow of US forces to announce that their symbiotic relation with the Occupation will continue, and that the US forces will stay in Iraq to protect them and terrorise the Iraqi people. It was anything, but a democratic parliament. It was a US theatrical show with Iraqi puppets playing as actors.

The US is slowly achieving its original aim of dividing Iraqis in order to justify prolonged Occupation of Iraq and siphoning its resources. The New York Times reported on March 17, 2005 that interviews of Iraqis “indicated in particular a striking sense of disillusionment among [Iraqi] Shiites . . . [and] suggested a hardening of the sectarian divisions that were visible in the election”. From the beginning the US played the sectarian card to destroy the unity of the Iraqi people. The Kurds, who have been used by foreign powers time and again, are the tools for this deliberate policy.

With new veto power granted to the Kurds under the US-crafted and unconstitutional Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), the law laid down by former US Proconsul Paul Bremer, Iraq has been divided into one small Iraq in the north and a bigger Iraq to the south. The TAL gave the Kurds, who make less than 12 percent of the Iraqi population, a 27 percent of the seats in the new ‘national assembly’. The US-crafted power allows the Kurds to derail any democratic solution, let alone an end to the Occupation in Iraq. So, the Kurds veto in Iraq is the US card. It can be accurately compare with the US veto card at the UN. Further, the TAL is also forms the blue print for any new Iraqi constitutions. In other words, Iraq self-determination is the hostage of the US. The Iraqi people have no say in the affairs of their country. This is the reason for the ongoing wrangling and haggling over the forming of the new fictitious “government”.

Diving Into falluja

To Hell and Back with Documentary-Maker Mark Manning

by Nick welsh

03/24/05 "Santa Barbara Independent" - - Deep sea diver turned documentary filmmaker Mark Manning asked if I had six minutes to spare — a strange request, considering we’d already spent two hours talking about Manning’s recent trip to Falluja, the heart of Iraq’s bloody Sunni triangle. Six minutes more was nothing, so Manning queued up a short video of footage he’s shot in Iraq and hit play. Accompanied by the Tom Waits lament “Day After Tomorrow,” the screen filled with images of bombed-out buildings, dead animals, uniformed men with guns, twisted metal, heaps of rubble, and everywhere children — a Greek chorus of flat-eyed Fallujan kids, bearing not so much silent witness as unspoken accusation. Manning said it was the searing looks from the kids that disturbed him most. More than once, recounted Manning, he had to look away — and this after traveling thousands of miles and risking his life to look at the war in Iraq through their eyes.

Disregarding howls of protest from concerned friends and family members, Manning set out January 10 on a three-week journey that took him from sunny Santa Barbara to the burned-out remains of the insurgent stronghold of Falluja, where four American civilian contractors were dragged from their cars in March 2004 and killed on the bridge spanning the Euphrates River. The assembled crowd then burned their bodies and hacked them to pieces, hoisting their blackened body parts into the air for the world to see. “I wanted to talk to the hardest, worst-case guys,” Manning explained.
“That’s why I went to Falluja.”


Sandbagged at Home

For the past two years, Manning has been making a documentary, American Voices, crisscrossing the United States and asking hundreds of Americans if they could explain why, exactly, the U.S. is at war with Iraq. He was profoundly disheartened, he said, by the lack of facts and accurate information out there. Very few of the people he interviewed could back up their opinions with facts. Even worse, he realized, neither could he. That’s when he decided he had to see what life was like on the receiving end of Operation Enduring Freedom. “As an American citizen,” said Manning, “I felt personally responsible for what happened to the people of Falluja. We live in a democracy. In our democracy, my government is conducting a military operation over there in my name. To me, it doesn’t get more direct than that.”

Manning is perhaps the only American citizen, outside the employ of a major news agency, to have embedded himself in Falluja for the sake of information. It’s not the sort of thing most people — crazy or not — would contemplate, but as one friend noted, Manning “is crazy brave.” One longtime diver buddy said, “Mark’s always had big ideas and big balls, but to go to Falluja, unarmed? That’s crazy.” Manning’s own assessment of his Falluja mission amounted to a shrug: “I don’t know what you know about diving for the oil industry, but sometimes it gets a little hairy down there.”

Life in Iraq, by contrast, is always hairy. Manning spent most of his time in Falluja holing up first in a vacant house formerly occupied by American snipers, then on a farm outside town with Fallujan refugees. Manning traveled to Baghdad during the country’s historic election, then spent five days in Jordan. He credits both his ability to get around the region — and his daily survival — to Zarqa, a remarkable Iraqi woman who served as Manning’s guide through the war-torn country. (For her protection, Zarqa is not her real name.) Manning was shot at three times, detained twice, nearly kidnapped once, and said he had guns pulled on him so many times he lost count. He grew a beard, dressed in a kafia, and learned to live life as an Iraqi. “You learn that when you wake up in the morning, you don’t know if you’ll live long enough to see the sun set,” he said. “I came to peace with that.” Manning decided not to carry a weapon, instead relying on Zarqa and his stated mission of relief work to see him through.

By delivering medical supplies to Iraqi refugees, Manning said he was able to conduct dozens of interviews — videotaped clandestinely — amassing some 25 hours worth of tape. Speaking with Iraqi citizens - men, women and children - who’d witnessed firsthand the fury of war, Manning asked: “What do you want to tell the American people? How can there be peace between our countries? What has your life been like since the war began?”

Their answers, Manning said, were nearly always the same: Peace was possible, the Iraqis told him, but time was running out. American citizens, said the Iraqis, need to wake up to what their government is doing. Manning was told grisly accounts of Iraqi mothers killed in front of their sons, brothers in front of sisters, all at the hands of American soldiers. He also heard allegations of wholesale rape of civilians, by both American and Iraqi troops. Manning said he heard numerous reports of the second siege of Falluja that described American forces deploying — in violation of international treaties — napalm, chemical weapons, phosphorous bombs, and “bunker-busting” shells laced with depleted uranium. Use of any of these against civilians is a violation of international law.

‘I wanted to talk to the hardest, worst-case guys. That’s why I went to Falluja.’ — Mark Manning

Shocking stuff, but Manning’s biggest surprise came after he’d returned home to the United States. Arriving in San Francisco late on the night of February 11, Manning and Natalie Kalustian, a close friend and filmmaking partner, crashed at the Oceanside Motel on 46th Avenue. The next morning, after a stroll near Baker Beach, they returned to their car to find one of the windows smashed. Expensive camera and computer equipment lay in plain view, but only Kalustian’s purse was gone. Inside the purse, Manning said, were keys to their motel room. And when Manning and Kalustian returned to the motel, he recounted, someone had broken into their room. Even though there was jewelry and more film equipment lying about, he said, none of it was touched. In fact, said Manning, none of the suitcases had even been opened. The only thing missing, Manning said, was the big bowling-ball shaped bag containing his camera — and all his taped interviews.

At that time, Manning had not been back in the United States for more than 10 hours.

The next day, Manning said, a mysterious man contacted them to arrange a meeting, claiming he had the stolen purse. Manning and Kalustian went to a spot near 6th and Mission as instructed, where they were met by a man who appeared to be a “full-on street bum,” Manning said. After returning the purse, the man pulled Manning to one side, opened his wallet, and flashed what Manning estimated was $5,000 worth of $100 bills. According to Manning, the “bum” winked at him and said, “Look in my eyes. I have the eyes of a former sniper. You thought you had the goods on George Bush, didn’t you? You’ve been sandbagged, boy.”

Manning said he has received more phone calls and mysterious emails from the man since returning to Santa Barbara, but holds out little hope of getting the missing tapes back. He’s most worried, he said, that whoever stole his tapes might seek to make examples of the Fallujans who spoke to him. “I risked my life to get those interviews,” he said, “and I saw the level of fear in the people I talked to.”


Manning can be contacted via his Web site at conceptionmedia.net


Italians will not be the only ones to remember you as a Hero. You were a very brave man. WE WILL find out what happened to you. But tonight, I mourn for your widowed wife and your children. What a terrible loss to bear
 Posted by Hello
Special Report

Bush administration clears US troops in slaying of Calipari and wounding of Sgrena

By Wayne Madsen

Online Journal Contributing Writer

March 15, 2005—The Bush administration took specific legal steps that cleared a U.S. Special Forces assassination team in Iraq from any future criminal proceedings arising from their assassination of Italian SISMI intelligence number two man Nicola Calipari.

Calipari, the deputy head of SISMI and an experienced Iraqi expert, was accompanying freed hostage Giuliana Sgrena to Baghdad International Airport when their Toyota Corolla was fired on by well-trained U.S. sharpshooter assassins. Calipari was on the phone to the office of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome, where his wife also works, when he was shot in the head. Sgrena and the driver, a Carabiniere officer, were injured in the attack.

Pentagon officials claim the car was speeding past a checkpoint and that shots were fired only into the engine block. The Italians claim the interior light in the car was on, the car was traveling at only 30 miles per hour, and prominently displayed the Italian flag. Italian intelligence officials also believe that the Americans identified the Italian vehicle because National Security Agency systems had intercepted Calipari's cell phone signals and triangulated its specific location.

The legal protection for the American assassination team stems generally from the refusal of the Bush administration to recognize the International Criminal Court (ICC), but more recently and specifically from a new counterintelligence doctrine outlined by National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle Van Cleave, who was once a member of Ronald Reagan's National Security Council staff. That strategy, announced by Van Cleave at a March 5 speech at Texas A&M University in College Station, calls for "attacking" foreign intelligence services by using counterintelligence operations. The immunity from ICC jurisdiction, the new counterintelligence strategy, the Pentagon's approval of special assassination teams in Iraq and elsewhere, as well as approval of a CIA "Worldwide Attack Matrix," now authorizes U.S. military forces and intelligence agents to assassinate those deemed a threat to the United States.

Calipari and Sgrena, according to well-placed Italian sources, had irrefutable evidence of U.S. war crimes in the siege of Fallujah, involving the use of napalm, mustard gas, and nerve gas. Sgrena works for the Italian daily, Il Manifesto.

Calipari's intelligence collection efforts and previous hostage rescue missions in Iraq were supplemented by assistance from the Vatican's own intelligence services, which maintained close ties to Eastern Catholic members of Saddam's government, including former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. Calipari's brother is a well-connected monsignor in the Vatican Secretariat.

Calipari maintained liaison with Iraqi resistance fighters, who were formerly members of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard, to secure Sgrena's release. This did not sit well with the Bush administration.

According to Italian sources, the ex-Republican Guard members have worked with Italian intelligence to combat the alleged al Qaeda and Abu Musad Al Zarqawi "terrorists" who took Americans, Italians, and others hostage. The Bush administration and its neo-conservative architects of the Iraq war do not want it widely known that the Iraqi resistance is split between ex-Republican Guards, who have worked with the Italians, and fanatic Islamists.

The U.S. hit team wanted to kill Calipari and Sgrena because they had intimate knowledge of the Iraqi resistance and how some loyalists of the U.S.-supported Iraqi regime may have cooperated with the alleged Zarqawi forces to seize Western hostages and decapitate them on videos for propaganda purposes. Many of the beheading videos show masked men who do not appear to be extremist Muslim Iraqis or even Arabs from their build, stance, sporting of jewelry, and, in one case, speaking Russian.

According to Italian sources, the ex-Republican Guardsmen view the alleged Zarqawi and his alleged al Qaeda allies as "monsters," but also know that the ex-Republican Guard members, many of whom are secular Muslims, had nothing to do with the hostage taking and beheadings as often claimed by neoconservatives in the Bush administration.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based journalist and columnist, and the co-author of "America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II."


Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Iranian Threat: The Bomb or the Euro?

By Dr. Elias Akleh

03/24/05 "AMIN" - - Iran does not pose a threat to the United State because of its nuclear projects, its WMD, or its support to "terrorists organizations" as the American administration is claiming, but in its attempt to re-shape the global economical system by converting it from a petrodollar to a petroeuro system. Such conversion is looked upon as a flagrant declaration of economical war against the US that would flatten the revenues of the American corporations and eventually might cause an economic collapse.

In June of 2004 Iran declared its intention of setting up an international oil exchange (a bourse) denominated in the Euro currency. Many oil-producing as well as oil-consuming countries had expressed their welcome to such petroeuro bourse. The Iranian reports had stated that this bourse may start its trade with the beginning of 2006. Naturally such an oil bourse would compete against London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), as well as against the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), both owned by American corporations.

Oil consuming countries have no choice but use the American Dollar to purchase their oil, since the Dollar has been so far the global standard monetary fund for oil exchange. This necessitates these countries to keep the Dollar in their central banks as their reserve fund, thus strengthening the American economy. But if Iran — followed by the other oil-producing countries — offered to accept the Euro as another choice for oil exchange the American economy would suffer a real crisis. We could witness this crisis at the end of 2005 and beginning of 2006 when oil investors would have the choice to pay $57 a barrel of oil at the American (NYMEX) and at London’s (IPE), or pay 37 Euros a barrel at the Iranian oil bourse. Such choice would reduce trade volumes at both the Dollar-dependent (NYMEX) and the (IPE).

Many countries had studied the conversion from the ever weakening petrodollar to the gradually strengthening petroeuro system. The de-valuation of the Dollar was caused by the American economy shying away from manufacturing local products — except those of the military -, by outsourcing the American jobs to the cheaper third world countries and depending only on the general service sector, and by the huge cost of two major wars that are still going on. Foreign investors started withdrawing their money from the shaky American market causing further devaluation of the Dollar.

The keen observer of the money market could have noticed that the devaluation of the American Dollar had started since November 2002, while the purchasing power of European Euro had crept upward to reach nowadays to $1.34. Compared to the Japanese Yen the Dollar had dropped from 104.45 to 103.90 yen. The British pound climbed another notch from $1.9122 to $1.9272.

Economic reports published at the beginning of this month (March) had pointed towards the deep dive of the American economy and to the quick rise of the deficit up to $665.90 billion at the end of 2004. The worst is still to come. These numbers worried the international banks, who had sent some warnings to the Bush administration.

In its economical war Iran is treading the same path Saddam Hussein had started when he, in 2000, converted all his reserve from the Dollar to the Euro, and demanded payments in Euro for Iraqi oil. Many economists then mocked Saddam because he had lost a lot of money in this conversion. Yet they were very surprised when he recuperated his losses within less than a year period due to the valuation of the Euro. The American administration became aware of the threat when central banks of many countries started keeping Euros along side of Dollars as their monetary reserve and as an exchange fund for oil (Russian and Chinese central banks in 2003). To avoid economical collapse the Bush administration hastened to invade and to destroy Iraq under false excuses to make it an example to any country who may contemplate dropping the Dollar, and to manipulate OPEC’s decisions by controlling the second largest oil resource. Iraqi oil sale was reverted back to the petrodollar standard.

There is only one technical obstacle concerning the use of a euro-based oil exchange system, which is the lack of a euro-denominated oil pricing standard, or oil ‘marker’ as it is referred to in the industry. The three current oil markers are U.S. dollar denominated, which include the West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI), Norway Brent crude, and the UAE Dubai crude. Yet this did not stop Iran from requiring payments in the euro currency for its European and Asian oil exports since spring 2003.

Iran’s determination in using the petroeuro is inviting in other countries such as Russia and Latin American countries, and even some Saudi investors especially after the Saudi/American relations have weakened lately. This determination had also invited an aggressive American political campaign using the same excuses used against Iraq: WMD in the form of nuclear bomb, support to "terrorist" Lebanese Hezbollah organization, and threat to the peace process in the Middle East.

The question now is what would the American administration do? Would it invade Iran as it did Iraq? The American troops are knee-deep in the Iraqi swamp. The global community — except for Britain and Italy- is not offering any military relief to the US. Thus an American strike against Iran is very unlikely. Iran is not Iraq; it has a more robust military power. Iran has anti-ship missiles based in "Abu Mousa" island that controls the strait of Hermuz at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. Iran could easily close the strait thus blocking all naval traffic carrying gulf oil to the rest of the world causing a global oil crisis. The price of an oil barrel could reach up to $100. The US could not topple the regime by spreading chaos the same way it did to Mussadaq’s regime in 1953 since Iranians are aware of such a trick. Besides Iranians have a patriotic pride of what they call "their bomb".

America has resorted to instigate and encourage its military bastard, Israel, to strike Iranian nuclear reactors the way it did to Iraq. Leaked reports had revealed that Israeli forces are training for such an attack expected to take place next June. Israel is afraid of an Iranian bomb. Such an "Islamic" bomb would threaten Israel’s military hegemony in the Middle East. The bomb would extract some Israeli concessions and would create an arm race that would gobble a lot of Israeli defense expenditure. Further more the bomb would force the US to enter into negotiations with nuclear Iran that may limit Israeli expanding ambitions.



Posted by Hello
This is what he looks like Mr President if you have forgotten I know you did say he was a person of no interest to you
White House - AP Cabinet & State

Document: Bin Laden Evaded U.S. Forces

Tue Mar 22, 6:24 PM ET

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON - A terror suspect held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was a commander for Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (news - web sites) in the 1980s and helped the al-Qaida leader escape his mountain hide-out at Tora Bora in 2001, according to a U.S. government document

The document, provided to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information request, says the unidentified detainee "assisted in the escape of Osama bin Laden from Tora Bora." It is the first definitive statement from the Pentagon (news - web sites) that bin Laden was at Tora Bora and evaded U.S. pursuers.

Supreme Court Won't Hear Schiavo Case,

the Fifth Time they have declined to get involved

Friday, March 25, 2005

"We have the Congress of the United States

acting as if they can disregard

the Constitution in its entirety

to get the result it wanted."


Steve Weissman

Dead Messengers: How the US

Military Threatens Journalists

Part I | Part II

Part III | Part IV

Exhibit A

Posted by Hello
Poll: Evangelicals Oppose Gov't on Schiavo

Thu Mar 24, 8:33 AM ET

By The Associated Press

More than two-thirds of people who describe themselves as evangelicals and conservatives disapprove of the intervention by Congress and President Bush (news - web sites) in the case of the Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman at the center of a national debate

A CBS News poll found that four of five people polled opposed federal intervention, with levels of disapproval among key groups supporting the GOP almost that high.

Bush's overall approval was at 43 percent, down from 49 percent last month.

Over the weekend, Republicans in Congress pushed through emergency legislation aimed at prolonging Schiavo's life by allowing the case to be reviewed by federal courts. That bill was signed by the president early Monday.

Most Americans say they feel sympathy for family members on both sides of the dispute over the 41-year-old Schiavo, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll.

More than eight in 10 in that poll said they feel sympathy for Bob and Mary Schindler, parents of Schiavo, who want to keep her alive. And seven in 10 said they're sympathetic for Michael Schiavo, the husband of Schiavo who says she should be allowed to die.

The CBS News poll of 737 adults was taken Monday and Tuesday and the CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll of 620 adults was taken Tuesday. Both have margins of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Florida and local jurisdictions had their hands full trying to remove all of the debris generated by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. Debris caused flat tires, motor vehicle accidents, falling injuries and lacerations to CERT members and other FEMA employees. Other hazards included: Snakes, sunstroke or heat exhaustion, dog bites, and filthy standing water. FEMA passed out anti-bacterial hand cleaner and first aid kits. Each injury had to be reported to FEMA's Safety Department.
 Posted by Hello
State records show Bush re-election concerns played part in FEMA aid

Consultant predicted a `huge mess'

By Megan O'Matz & Sally Kestin
Staff Writers
Posted March 23 2005

As the second hurricane in less than a month bore down on Florida last fall, a federal consultant predicted a "huge mess" that could reflect poorly on President Bush and suggested that his re-election staff be brought in to minimize any political liability, records show.

Two weeks later, a Florida official summarizing the hurricane response wrote that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was handing out housing assistance "to everyone who needs it without asking for much information of any kind."

The records are contained in hundreds of pages of Gov. Jeb Bush's storm-related e-mails initially requested by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Oct. 13.

The governor's office finally released the documents Friday, after threat of a lawsuit by the newspaper.

Russian mobsters in control


RUSSIAN mafia groups have infiltrated almost every branch of the economy and are now a huge threat to state security, the Interior Minister said yesterday.

More than 100 organised criminal groups had tentacles stretching across regional borders and often far beyond the borders of Russia itself, Rashid Nurgaliyev told Parliament.
"Organised crime is one of the main threats to the country's national security," Mr Nurgaliyev said.

The mafia has taken control over some 500 key businesses.

"To various extents, criminal groups have penetrated most of the nation's key industries," Mr Nurgaliyev said.

'Dozens' of Aussies with terror links

Patrick Walters and Greg Roberts

March 24, 2005

UP to 80 people in Australia have trained or had close links with terrorist groups, including al Qa'ida, but most will probably never face prosecution.

ASIO director-general Dennis Richardson estimated yesterday that "probably less than 10 per cent" of those with links to al Qa'ida, Jemaah Islamiah and other terrorist groups would be charged with terrorism offences.

This was because relevant laws in Australia dealing with terrorist offences only came into force in July 2002, together with the added difficulty of gathering sufficient evidence to meet legal standards.

"I suspect it would be a similar story in most other countries," the nation's top spy said yesterday.

Five people have faced or are facing legal proceedings in relation to Australian terrorism laws.

Two groups claim Texas blast

From correspondents in Dubai

March 25, 2005

TWO Islamist groups have said they caused yesterday's explosion at a Texas oil refinery which killed 15 people but the FBI said there was no evidence of "any criminal or terrorist activity".

An unknown group, calling itself al-Qaeda Organisation for Holy War in the United States of America, said it would issue a detailed statement and video of the attack later.
The statement was posted on the internet today.

Another group, Army of the Levant, also posted an internet statement today claiming responsibility for the blast at the BP plant in Texas City, Texas.

It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the statements.

FBI spokesman Al Tribble in Houston, Texas, said there was no evidence of foul play at the BP refinery, the third largest in the United States.

"There's been no evidence of any criminal or terrorist activity," he said.

The FBI sent agents to the plant yesterday.

BP said today it could not pinpoint the cause of the explosion, but ruled out a terrorist attack on the complex. It was the third fatal accident at the plant in the last year.

14 dead, 1 missing in refinery blast
From correspondents in Texas City
March 25, 2005

THE 14 people who died in a massive explosion at BP's Texas City, Texas, refinery were contractors doing servicing work, officials said today.

An overnight search of rubble and twisted metal turned up no more bodies or injuries. The company was searching for one worker who checked out but remains unaccounted for, refinery manager Don Parus said.
"We have completed a comprehensive process of accounting for all of our people," Mr Parus said. All the dead worked for JE Merit, a subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., a major firm based near Los Angeles.

More than 70 workers were treated for injuries, and five were in "tough shape," Mr Parus said. At least 30 people outside the plant also sought treatment for lesser injuries, some caused by falling objects and shattered glass.

The nation's third-largest refinery, with a processing capacity of 470,000 barrels per day of oil, continued to produce petrol, plant spokesman Bill Stephens said.

Mr Stephens would not specify how much petrol was being produced, although he said the levels have "not really changed much" from those before the explosion and fire


Shebarshin maintains the U.S. is trying to gain control of the world's oil fields.

 Posted by Hello
U.S. using anti-terror war to control world oil reserves

3/23/2005 7:00:00 PM GMT

In an interview with a Russian paper, the former chief of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service Leonid Shebarshin said the United States is trying to establish a monopolizing control of the world's richest oil reserves using the pretext of it fighting "international terrorism".

Shebarshin who now heads the Russian National Economic Security Service consulting company, said that by using the anti-terrorist cause as a cover, the United States has occupied Afghanistan, Iraq and will soon move to impose their self-called "democratic order" on the Greater Middle East.

"The U.S. has usurped the right to attack any part of the globe on the pretext of fighting the terrorist threat," Shebarshin maintains.

Referring to a recent meeting between himself and an unnamed al-Qaeda expert at the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization in the U.S., Shebarshin said: "We have agreed that [al-Qaeda] is not a group but a notion."

"The fight against that all-mighty ubiquitous myth deliberately linked to Islam is of great advantage for the Americans as it targets the oil-rich Muslim regions," Shebarshin emphasized.

With military bases in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Shebarshin said, the United States has already established control over the Caspian region - one of the world's largest oil reservoirs

Top U.S. officials approved detainees “ghosting”

3/24/2005 7:50:00 PM GMT

Although top U.S. defense officials claimed that the CIA practice of keeping unregistered detainees at Iraq’s Abu Gharib prison was unauthorized, a new army report showed that the “ghosting” program was systematic and approved by three senior intelligence officials in Iraq.

Several other army reports and documents obtained by the Washington Post revealed that unregistered CIA prisoners were brought to Abu Gharib several times a week in late 2003, and that they were kept in a special row of cells.

Army police soldiers developed a rough system to keep track of such detainees with single-digit identification numbers, while others were held unidentified, hidden and unaccounted for.



Fischer 'allowed' to move to IcelandFischer 'allowed' to move to Iceland

Japan will let detained US-born chess legend Bobby Fischer move to Iceland which has granted him citizenship, refusing US demands to extradite him to the United States where he faces prison, news agencies said yesterday.

Jiji Press and Kyodo News said the Japanese justice ministry made the decision after Iceland presented documents showing Fischer was one of its citizens.

Fischer, now 62, was detained in July as he tried to fly out of Japan to the Philippines on an allegedly invalid US passport.

The chess legend, known for his outspoken criticism of the United States, faces 10 years in prison for defying US sanctions on Yugoslavia by playing a game there in 1992 amid the Balkan wars.

The parliament of Iceland, where Fischer played his most famous match in 1972, granted him citizenship on Monday as he looked set to be sent to the United States.


----God Bless You Bobby! You are STILL my hero. I don't give a damn what the US Gov. says. You still got more game then they! ....Checkmate!.---
U.S. bars Italians from examining victim’s car

March 23, 2005

Associated Press

ROME — The U.S. military command in Iraq has blocked two Italian policemen from examining the car in which an Italian intelligence agent was shot to death in Baghdad, a newspaper said Wednesday.
Corriere della Sera said that the policemen were about to leave when the Italian Embassy in Baghdad received an order from the U.S. command on Monday to abort the mission for security concerns.

The embassy in Baghdad reportedly alerted Rome authorities, who called off the trip.

The car, a Toyota Corolla, is reportedly still in American hands, at Baghdad airport where it was originally rented.

The Foreign Ministry in Rome declined comment on the report, while officials at the Italian Embassy in Baghdad could not immediately be reached. The U.S. military in Baghdad had no immediate comment.

Italian authorities say that examining the vehicle is key to assessing what happened on March 4, when U.S. troops opened fire on the car carrying secret service agent Nicola Calipari, another intelligence officer and journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who had just been released after a month of captivity in Iraq.

Calipari died on the spot, while the other two were wounded.

Prosecutors investigating the shooting have received photographs of the car, but they want to analyze bullet holes and other elements, according to Corriere.

Calipari’s killing outraged Italians and prompted Premier Silvio Berlusconi to demand that Washington provide an explanation. Italy agrees that the shooting was an accident but disputes some key elements of the U.S. account.

The U.S. military said that the vehicle was speeding and refused to stop, and that a U.S. patrol tried to warn the driver with hand and arm signals, by flashing white lights and firing shots in front of the car and into the car’s engine block.

Berlusconi said the car was traveling slowly at night and stopped immediately when a light was flashed at it, shortly before U.S. troops fired on the car. Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said the fire appeared to have hit the right side of the car.

Vowing to shed light on the incident, Washington has ordered an investigation into the shooting, to be led by a U.S. brigadier general with the participation of Italian officials. The joint commission is expected to release its findings by mid-April.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Jeb Bush seeks custody of Terri Schiavo

March 24, 2005 - 10:40AM

The parents of Amerian woman Terri Schiavo saw their options vanish one by one today as a federal appeals court refused to re-insert her feeding tube and the Florida Legislature decided not to intervene in the epic struggle.

Refusing to give up, Florida Governor Jeb Bush sought court permission to take custody of Schiavo.

The desperate flurry of activity came as President George W Bush suggested Congress and the White House had done all they could to keep the severely brain-damaged woman alive.

As of this afternoon, Schiavo had gone five full days without food or water; doctors have said she could survive one to two weeks.

Ten protesters were arrested outside her hospice for trying to bring her water.

"When I close my eyes at night, all I can see is Terri's face in front of me, dying, starving to death," Mary Schindler said outside the Pinellas Park hospice. "Please, someone out there, stop this cruelty. Stop the insanity. Please let my daughter live."

The Schindlers have vowed to take their fight to the US Supreme Court, which refused to get involved previously.

Schiavo's tube was pulled on Friday afternoon with a Florida judge's approval. By late yesterday, her eyes were sunken and her skin, lips and tongue were parched, said Barbara Weller, a lawyer for the Schindlers.

Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped briefly from a chemical imbalance believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder. Court-appointed doctors say she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery.

Her parents argue that she could get better and that she would never have wanted to be cut off from food and water. Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo, has argued that his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially, and a state judge has repeatedly ruled in his favour.

The battle played out on several fronts today.

A three-judge panel from the Atlanta-based 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the family early today, and hours later the full court refused to reconsider in a 10-2 vote.

Governor Jeb Bush and the state's social services agency filed a petition in state court to take custody of Schiavo and, presumably, reconnect her feeding tube. It cites new allegations of neglect and challenges Schiavo's diagnosis as being in a persistent vegetative state. The request is based on the opinion of a neurologist working for the state who observed Schiavo at her bedside but did not conduct an examination of her.

The Florida Legislature also jumped back into the fray, but senators rejected a bill that would have prohibited patients like Schiavo from being denied food and water if they did not express their wishes in writing. The measure was rejected 21-18.

The Legislature stepped in before, in 2003, and Schiavo's feeding tube was reinserted. But "Terri's Law" was later struck down by the state Supreme Court as an unconstitutional attempt to interfere in the courts.

The Senate vote today came after a bitter debate, with Terri Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, watching from the gallery above the floor.

Senate Democratic Leader Les Miller warned: "By the time the ink is dry on the governor's signature, it will be declared unconstitutional, just like it was before."

A lawyer for Michael Schiavo said he was pleased by what happened in the appeals court. But he was bothered that the governor was attempting to intervene again.

"They have no more power than you or I or a person walking down the street to say we have the right to take Terri Schiavo," lawyer George Felos said.

Meanwhile, President Bush suggested that he and Congress had done their best to help the parents prolong Schiavo's life, and the White House said it had no further legal options.


Army Orders Further Involuntary Troop Call-Up

Wed Mar 23, 6:13 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army is ordering more people to serve in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites) involuntarily from a seldom-used personnel pool as part of a mobilization that began last summer.

They are part of the Army's Individual Ready Reserve, made up of soldiers who have completed their volunteer active-duty service commitment but remain eligible to be called back into uniform for years after returning to civilian life.

The Army, straining to maintain troop levels in Iraq, last June said it would summon more than 5,600 people on the IRR in an effort to have about 4,400 soldiers fit for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan after granting exemption requests for medical reasons and other hardships.

Lt. Col. Pamela Hart said on Wednesday the Army has now increased the number of IRR soldiers it needs to about 4,650, which means a total of about 6,100 will get mobilization orders.

The IRR differs from the part-time Army Reserve and Army National Guard, whose soldiers train regularly as part of units. People on the IRR have no such training requirements.

Hart also said 370 IRR soldiers had not reported to the Army by the date ordered and have not requested an exemption from service or a delay in reporting. Hart said none have been declared absent without leave, or AWOL, and the Army was trying to determine whether all of them actually had received their mobilization orders.

"We're giving them all ample opportunity to comply with their orders," Hart said.

The Army has approved 1,866 requests for exemptions or delays in reporting, Hart said.

There are about 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, but the number is slated to decline to about 138,000 this month. The Army has defended tapping into the IRR, saying it was a legitimate personnel tool to find soldiers in a time of need.

Army officials have said that they expect to launch a second round of mobilizations from the IRR this summer on the scale of the current round to provide soldiers for future force rotations into Iraq and Afghanistan


Art For Christy. Posted by Hello

Art For Boys. Posted by Hello

Would you trust this moron to protect your family in a time of war. I would rather protect my own family Posted by Hello
Sen. Lautenberg demands investigation:

Into who circulated talking points

On how Republicans could capitalize

On Terri Schiavo tragedy in Congress


Families in mouring

Posted by Hello
Out of the mould:
school killer's classic signs

By Mark Coultan,
Herald Correspondent in New York and agencies
March 24, 2005

Jeff Weise displayed all the warning signs. A troubled teenager with a liking for guns, trench coats and an attraction to Nazism, he fitted the mould of previous schoolyard killers.

Some reports suggest he had become isolated from school friends and had been made fun of at school - classic factors in America's all too familiar epidemic of school shooting rampages.

What triggered him to kill his grandfather, his grandfather's female companion, a security guard, a teacher and five students at Red Lake High on an Indian reservation in Minnesota is still unknown.

Although there is a temptation to think of these people as snapping, there was, as in many previous cases, no sudden moment of madness. Quite the opposite; the teenagers had carefully planned their actions and in some cases had told people what they intended to do.

The problem, of course, is sorting out the normal sullen teenager from the unhinged.

It is not clear if Weise, 16, had given notice of his intentions, although a posting under his name on a neo-Nazi Libertarian National Socialist Green Party website last April suggested he had been in trouble at school

"I'm being blamed for a threat on the school I attend because someone said they were going to shoot up the school on 4/20, Hitler's birthday, and just because I claim being a National Socialist, guess whom they've pinned?"

A month later he wrote:

"I try not to be aggressive in most situations, I'll use force if I have to, but I'm not about to go out and pick a fight. I'm mostly defensive, I'll defend myself if someone tries something but other than that I'm a peaceful person."

He also drew sketches of people shooting each other.

"It was mental stuff, it was sick," said a classmate, Parston Graves jnr. He said he saw one sketch, of a guitar-strumming skeleton accompanied by a caption that read "March to the death song 'til your boots fill with blood".

At the time of the shooting, Weise had been barred from the 350-student high school for an unspecified violation, and was being tutored at home by a travelling teacher.

His rampage was the worst school shooting since the Columbine killings in 1999.

The tragedy happened despite a greater awareness of the dangerous combination of a nation of angry teenagers and the ready availability of firearms.

But this time US gun laws could not be blamed, at least not to the extent of previous tragedies. Weise, whose father was reported to have committed suicide and whose mother is in a nursing home as a result of a car accident, apparently got the weapons from his grandfather, a local police officer. He also acquired a bulletproof vest and ammunition. He used his grandfather's car to drive to the school, where he killed the security guard and then proceeded into the corridors, smiling and waving.

One student, Sondra Hegstrom, described Weise waving at a student while pointing his gun and then swivelling around to shoot someone else. "I looked him in the eye and ran in the room, and that's when I hid," she told a newspaper.

"You could hear a girl saying, 'No, Jeff, quit, quit. Leave me alone. What are you doing?"'

On one website Weise complained about interracial mixing and black cultural influence.

"We have kids my age killing each other over things as simple as a fight, and it's because of the rap influence. Wannabe-gangsters everywhere, I can't go five feet without hearing someone blasting some rap song over their speakers.

"It's hard though, being a Native American National Socialist, people are so misinformed, ignorant, and close minded it makes your life a living hell, but I know if we achieve what we set out to, it will be worth it all."

Recent school and university shootings
Oct 1997 Pearl High School, Jackson, Mississippi: a 16-year-old kills his mother at home, then shoots dead two students at the school.

Dec 1997 Heath High School, West Paducah, Kentucky: a 14-year-old boy kills three students at a prayer meeting.

March 1998 Westside Middle School, Jonesboro, Arkansas: two boys, 13 and 11, set off a school fire alarm and kill four students and teacher as they leave.

May 1998 Thurston High School, Springfield, Oregon: a schoolboy kills two students and injures 22. His parents are later found slain in their home.

April 1999 Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado: two students kill 12 students and a teacher, then kill themselves.

March 2001 Santana High School, Santee, California: a 15-year-old youth kills two students. Granite Hills High School, El Cajon, California: a student opens fire, wounding five. He kills himself in jail five months later.

Jan 2002 Appalachian School of Law, Grundy, Virginia: a student who had been dismissed kills a dean, a professor and a student, and wounds three others.

Sept 2003 Rocori High School, Cold Spring, Minnesota: a student shoots dead two classmates.




In remembrance: American service members killed in Iraq
 Posted by Hello
Administration seeks dismissal of U.S. vets' suit
Government says claims over Gulf War torture threaten Iraq rebuilding

Los Angeles Times
Originally published March 23, 2005

WASHINGTON - Bush administration lawyers urged the Supreme Court yesterday to dismiss a lawsuit against Iraq brought by U.S. pilots and soldiers who were captured and tortured by Saddam Hussein's regime during the Persian Gulf War of 1991, saying the president believes it could hurt the rebuilding effort in Iraq.

Courts must defer to the president's determination that a nearly $1 billion damage award won by the former prisoners of war "would seriously undermine funding for the essential tasks of the new Iraqi government," Paul Clement, acting U.S. solicitor general, told the justices.

The case of the former POWs, due to be acted on by the court next month, has rankled some military and veterans groups. They say the administration is turning its back on those who fought in the Gulf War.

The 17 former POWs and their families sued Iraq under a 1996 law that opened the courthouse door to claims against terrorist states that practice torture, bombings and hijackings. They said they had been beaten, starved and subjected to electric shocks when they were held as prisoners by the Iraqis. Some emerged with broken bones as well as psychological injuries that have not healed.

The lead plaintiff, Lt. Col. Clifford Acree, was shot down by a missile Jan. 17, 1991. He ejected from his plane and suffered a neck injury. He was taken prisoner, was blindfolded and handcuffed, then beaten until he lost consciousness. His nose was broken, his skull was fractured and he lost 30 pounds during 47 days of captivity.

Two years ago, a judge awarded the POWs nearly $1 billion in damages and said the award could be paid with the frozen assets of Hussein's regime.

Shortly after, the Bush administration moved to have the verdict thrown out, saying it interfered with U.S. plans to rebuild Iraq.

The U.S. appeals court in Washington, siding with the administration, voided the judge's verdict last year. But the POWs appealed to the Supreme Court, saying Congress gave torture victims a right to sue "state sponsors of terror."

"Colonel Acree and our brave American servicemen were brutally tortured during the Gulf War, including having their bones broken and being starved. Yet the Justice Department continues to fight against them in court to deny their right to compensation as the law provides," said Paul Kamenar, senior counsel for the Washington Legal Foundation.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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