Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Pentagon Has Been LYING About Iraqi Civillian Death Tolls All Along. The Numbers Are Out Now And MUCH WORSE Than We Imagined.

U.S. Quietly Issues

Estimate of Iraqi

Civilian Casualties

NY Times
Published: October 30, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 29 - In the first public disclosure that the United States military is tracking some of the deaths of Iraqi civilians, the military has released rough figures for Iraqis who have been killed or wounded by insurgents since Jan. 1 last year.

The estimate of dead and wounded Iraqi civilians and security forces was provided by the Pentagon in a report to Congress this month.

It appeared without fanfare in a single bar graph on Page 23 of the document. But it was significant because the military had previously avoided virtually all public discussion of the issue.

The count is incomplete - it provides daily partial averages of deaths and injuries of Iraqis at the hands of insurgents, in attacks like bombings and suicide strikes. Still, it shows that the military appears to have a far more accurate picture of the toll of the war than it has been willing to acknowledge.

"They have begun to realize that when you focus only on the U.S. it gives the impression that the U.S. doesn't care about Iraqis," said Anthony H. Cordesman, a military expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research group in Washington. "In these kinds of political battles you need to count your allies, not just yourself."

According to the graph, Iraqi civilians and security forces were killed and wounded by insurgents at a rate of about 26 a day early in 2004, and at a rate of about 40 a day later that year. The rate increased in 2005 to about 51 a day, and by the end of August had jumped to about 63 a day. No figures were provided for the number of Iraqis killed by American-led forces.

Extrapolating the daily averages over the months from Jan. 1, 2004, to Sept. 16 this year results in a total of 25,902 Iraqi civilians and security forces killed and wounded by insurgents.

According to an analysis by Hamit Dardagan, who compiles statistics for Iraq Body Count, a group that tracks civilian deaths, about three Iraqis are wounded in the war for each one who dies. Given that ratio, the total Iraqi death toll from insurgent violence would be about 6,475, based on extrapolations of the military's figures.

"It strikes me as low," said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch in New York. More Iraqis are dying now in insurgent attacks than at American checkpoints or in American military operations, he said, but the numbers of Iraqis killed by Americans would still add to the overall total.

Indeed, the tally is lower than the 11,163 deaths of Iraqi civilians in the war during the same period counted by Mr. Dardagan's group, which draws its data from reports of deaths and injuries by news services, newspapers and other news outlets.

It is also lower than figures released by Iraq's Interior Ministry showing that 8,175 Iraqi civilians and police officers had been killed by insurgents from August 2004 through May 2005. Even so, the tallies show that the military has been recording Iraqi deaths by insurgents with some regularity since the first months after the invasion.

Continues on with a gov. buttboy trying to say how these numbers are just not well kept, its all just messy, it DOES NOT REALLY MEAN anything........

'he reacted to the.. attacks of Sept. 11, by becoming consumed with threats against the nation and his longtime desire to rid Iraq of Mr.Hussein'

"Although Mr. Cheney makes only three appearances in the indictment, the episodes tell a story of a vice president directly involved in an effort to learn about Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who emerged in 2003 as a critic of the way the administration used prewar intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq."

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Saddam accepted UAE exile plan to avert Iraq war-TV

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had secretly accepted a last-minute plan to go into exile to avert the 2003 Iraq war, but Arab leaders shot the proposal down, Al Arabiya television reported on Friday.

UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan made the proposal for Saddam to go into exile at an emergency Arab summit just weeks before the U.S.-led war began in March 2003.

But the 22-member Arab League, led by Secretary-General Amr Moussa, refused to consider the initiative.

"We had got the final agreement from the different parties, the main players in the world and the person concerned -- Saddam Hussein -- within 24 hours," Mohammed bin Zayed, deputy head of the UAE armed forces and crown prince of Abu Dhabi, told the UAE-based channel in a documentary.

"So we were coming to put facts on the table, and there would have been results had it been discussed," he said.

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak says in the documentary that the United States had signaled its support for the proposal.

The documentary says the Iraqi delegation at the summit in Egypt had been unaware of Saddam's "secret consent" to the plan, which Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri dismissed as "silly".

It was not clear why Arab opposition alone scuppered the arrangements, which Al Arabiya said would have seen Saddam go into UAE exile with a promise of protection from legal action.

Saddam and seven other senior figures under his rule this month went on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity over the killing of 148 Shi'ite men from the town of Dujail.

The United States led a coalition to topple Saddam, saying he was hiding weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found.

The war, an ongoing insurgency against occupying troops and the U.S.-backed authorities, and an explosion of crime amid the post-war disorder has cost thousands of lives.

Catch you later, heading down to Surfers Paradise with the family and the surf ski for some fun

Catch you later Down Under

Happy Birthday PC!!!

Our 27 Months of Hell

Joseph Wilson, the diplomat whose wife's name was leaked by Bush administration officials, makes his case for feeling vindicated by Friday's indictment of the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Wilson goes on to describe the, "two-year smear campaign orchestrated by senior officials in the Bush White House against my wife and me."

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SOS 'was written in blood' :


10/29/05 "Gulf Daily News" -- -- AN SOS written in blood on a prison cell wall spelled out the desperation of Bahraini Guantanamo detainee Juma Al Dossary.

It was his last resort after being continuously denied medical treatment as he grew increasingly ill in appalling conditions, he says in his handwritten diary of despair.

He claims he has been savagely beaten, tortured, sexually humiliated, fed bug-infested, rotten food and denied medical treatment, in a systematic campaign of abuse meted out for over three years.

His weight has dropped 30kg to 55kg and he is so weak he can barely stand, he says in the diary, written in July and just released to his lawyers by US authorities.

Mr Al Dossary says he regularly vomits blood, has heart and blood pressure problems, has fainting fits and suffers pains in his head, stomach and left arm - but has been persistently denied proper medical treatment.

The abuse has gone on since his arrest on the

Afghanistan/Pakistan border in December 2001, but took a new form after he complained about the conditions to his lawyer during a visit in March this year.

"In March this year I met my lawyer to discuss my case and I told him about all the torture and abuse that I went through here, but I didn't know that they were spying on us," he says in the diary.

"After the lawyer had left, a military man came to me and told me to forget about all that had happened to me and not to remember it or mention it again to anyone, otherwise I will not live in peace.

"After he left me, I was given spoiled food three times and when I complained I was told that this was what was provided for me. "Since then I have been sick." Mr Al Dossary says he sent his lawyer several letters to tell him about what happened, "but I don't know if he had received any of them".

At the end of March, two American interrogators and an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) questioned him.

"They were threatening me and yelling at me in the interrogation room, where they also took from me my belongings and letters from my family," he says.

The interrogators also allegedly spoke to the camp doctor to stop the special diet prescribed for Mr Al Dossary because of his stomach pain.

"They even stopped some of the treatment.

It has been sent by lawyers to the now dissolved Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, which has been co-ordinating a campaign for the release of six Bahrainis detained at Guantanamo.

Extracts detailing the allegations of abuse and Mr Al Dossary's despair were first published in the GDN yesterday. Bug-infested and rotten food became the specials of the day, making his health worse, says the 30-year-old, who has an 11-year-old daughter.

He describes how one evening in June this year he was given a plate of dinner, in which he found a dead scorpion.

"Since then I find bugs and cockroaches in my food," writes Mr Al Dossary.

At the end of June, Mr Al Dossary says he was bitten by a scorpion in his cell.

"I asked one of the soldiers to call the clinic, but no-one came until the morning, hours after I was bitten," he says.

"I had to squeeze out the poison myself and my leg became swollen and turned red.

"When the nurse finally came, I was given a painkiller and a tablet for the itch on my leg. "Now my health condition is worse. I vomit blood.

"Once I even vomited blood in a bucket and spilled it outside the cell and in front of a soldier, to explain to him that I was sick.

"He said he would talk to the clinic but, as usual, without any results.

"When I do complain to the clinic, they give painkillers only called Motrin, which has side effects that cause ulcers and harms the liver, kidney and stomach." Mr Al Dossary says he could hardly stand due to his weakness and dizziness.

In one incident, after vomiting blood, he says he used the blood to write on the wall of his cell: "I am sick and I need treatment."

Mr Al Dossary said his blood pressure fell to 90/50 and his heart beat rate was also low.

Mr Al Dossary tells how his condition worsened after he took part in a hunger strike in June this year, which ended the following month.

The prisoners were protesting conditions in the camp and demanding immediate trials or release.

Some have since launched a second hunger strike, saying nothing was done. Mr Al Dossary is listed by US authorities as an "enemy combatant".

They claim he went to Afghanistan in November 2001 as a member of Al Qaeda and that he was at Tora Bora, where Osama bin Laden was thought to be in hiding.

Mr Al Dossary allegedly crossed the border into Pakistan in December 2001 without any documentation and surrendered to Pakistani authorities.

Lawyers representing the Bahraini six say their best hope for freedom is if Bahrain reaches a deal with the US, as other countries have done.

Bahrain says it is "making progress" in talks aimed at bringing home the detainees.

The other five Bahraini detainees are Essa Al Murbati, Salah Abdul Rasool Al Blooshi, Adel Kamel Hajee, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Abdulla Majid Al Naimi.

Copyright © 2004, Gulf Daily News

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Open Letter To The "honorable" Dick Cheney :

By Nolan K. Anderson

10/29/05 "ICH " -- -- Mr. Cheney, now that the United States has almost completely destroyed its own reputation, value system and integrity in the eyes of the world, you are proposing to influence enough lawmakers into re-making even a theoretical positive image of the United States into that of a third rate, third world junta-controlled fascist state, complete with all the inherent trappings of torture, terror and tyranny that makes these regimes feared and loathed around the world. (Quite an objective for any tyrant). Even with the stigmas of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram, Diego Garcia and Falluja fresh in the minds of the world, you are attempting to legitimize the gutting of the Geneva Convention and the U.N. Convention Against Torture by placing the barbaric tool of torture in the hands of a few “CIA sadists” to justify pursuing an unjustified war started and pursued by you and your president.

The 38 percent of the American population, which presently supports you and your leader’s actions, will keep dwindling as the suffering caused by body bags and missing body parts reaches closer and closer to their living rooms. But, by the time they realize that your need for the use of torture will never stop at the shores of the United States, it will be as late for THEM as for any conscript purchased from an Afghan war lord and designated for “CIA squeezing”.

By a recent vote of 90 to 9 in the United States Senate an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill was written and sponsored by a former Viet Nam POW who can vouch for the value of torture as a tool of intelligence gathering. So far as we Americans know, Senator McCain never yielded to the pressures of torture to reveal information that would be of value to the enemy during his 5 years as a POW. Do you think Senator McCain is the only person in the world who will not give information valuable to the enemy even under torture and without hope of release from his tormentors? Oh, yes, I know you have a wealth of information to the contrary in the dark recesses of the hidden world of the CIA torture archives and the archives of extraordinary rendition torture chambers around the world. General Pinochet's DINA files could convince one that torture can be used to “break” anyone. And, I have no argument with that thesis. However, there is a difference between “breaking” a person mentally/physically and gaining useful information.

There is a price for everything. What is the price for being considered a “third rate, third world junta-controlled fascist state, complete with all the inherent trappings of torture, terror and tyranny”? So long as you can’t be defeated, there would appear to be no real price to be paid because no one can hold you to account. But, we had to cede the mantle of invincibility when we “so heroically advanced to the rear” – just as the French had done - in Viet Nam. Since then, we have contented ourselves with attacking such “giants” as Grenada, Panama and now Iraq. Grenada and Panama went as planned; but, Iraq is turning into a PR nightmare to spin as a victory. As the Romans learned, “there never was a horse that couldn’t be rode nor a cowboy that couldn’t be throw’d”. The image of our “invincibility” has not convinced the “insurgents” not to fight us even considering our Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo and Bagram. They see us for what we are – weak and unprincipled – as defined by our politicians and our policies.

So, as you can gather, I am against torturing prisoners for any reason – for the simple reason that I have no interest in being considered as barbaric as those we label as terrorists. If we can’t defeat them in a “fair” war that follows the rules of civilized nations that thousands of American heroes have died to define, then what is the value of “victory”? Oh, I know. Each war is different. We have to adapt our strategies to those of our enemies who use torture as a deterrent, to intimidate and as a means of gathering intelligence. Yes, I know, we have to fight them on their level. Well, we a fighting them on their level and we aren’t winning!

Nolan K. Anderson is a retired engineer and a veteran of Korea who was once a “conservative” until he found there was nothing left to conserve.

He may be reached at nkanders@tds.net

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Scooter Meet José Padilla

Remember Guantanamo, Remember Abu Grahab, the main offenders of no trials no rights and torture

Suddenly, Bush Embraces Right of Fair Trials


When President Bush was confronted by reporters as he left the White House for Camp David following the announcement of the five indictments of, and the resignation of Vice President Dick Cheney chief of state I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, he offered up a lame comment, which at the same time exposed him as a grotesque hypocrite.

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Government for and by the dead

By Robert Fisk

For as someone who has to look at the eviscerated corpses of Palestine and Israel, the murdered bodies in the garbage heaps of Iraq, the young women shot through the head in the Baghdad morgue, I can only shake my head in disbelief at the sheer, unadulterated, lazy bullshit - let's call a spade a spade - which is currently emerging from our great leaders.

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All the Vice Presidents Men

FOCUS Juan Cole: All the Vice President's Men

The ideologues in Cheney's inner circle drummed up a war. Now their zealotry is blowing up in their faces.

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For full coverage of the CIA leak investigation, go to our Special Coverage Page.

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Body Counts

The Washington Post reports today that an old Vietnam-era practice is making a comeback in Iraq:

Eager to demonstrate success in Iraq, the U.S. military has abandoned its previous refusal to publicize enemy body counts and now cites such numbers periodically to show the impact of some counterinsurgency operations.

The revival of body counts, a practice discredited during the Vietnam War, has apparently come without formal guidance from the Pentagon's leadership. Now we've known that the military has been using body counts as a metric of success in Iraq since Newsweek's Christopher Dickey reported it back in May of this year. But all trends seem to suggest that this is now the formal answer to Donald Rumsfeld's concern, in a memo he wrote in October 2003:

Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?Just count the corpses, maybe. William Arkin recently reported that the Pentagon is planning to unveil new "metrics software" that will try to break these questions down into raw numbers and "calculate" success.

Better than having no metrics at all, one would imagine, but Arkin sees shades of Vietnam: "Commanders and analysts will be pushed to produce the right numbers to show 'progress.' Units will be mandated to 'report' measurable data lest progress is not being properly shown." Or, as Conrad Crane, director of the military history institute at the U.S. Army War College, put it somewhat more pithily, "[T]he numbers got so wrapped up with career aspirations that they were sometimes falsified."

But that's sort of the least of the concerns here. The evidence is also good that worshipping at the altar of body counts actually increased the number of civilian atrocities in Vietnam, as suggested in the Toledo Blade's 2003 investigation of the elite "Tiger Force" platoon, which ended up going insane and killing everything that moved:

After arriving, the battalion - including Tiger Force - moved to the Song Ve Valley, a remote, fertile basin in the center of the province. The goal of the military was to stop the 5,000 inhabitants from growing rice - food that could feed the enemy. But with deep ties to the land, many villagers refused to leave. That’s when Tiger Force members joined other battalion soldiers in what became a grisly routine: Shooting villagers who stayed in their hamlets. Mr. Stout said commanders were counting the executed civilians as enemy soldiers to help boost "body count." In Vietnam, the measure of success was the number of enemy soldiers killed - not the taking of land, say military historians.

Mr. Stout said in July he spotted a sign posted in a command center in the valley with a tally of the dead enemy soldiers: 600. But the numbers of weapons seized totaled only 11. "Most of the dead people were civilians."There's no reason to think that soldiers in Iraq are currently shooting up civilians to foster the illusion of success, but frankly, this isn't the sort of possibility you really want to flirt with. The Pentagon from all appearances still doesn't keep track of Iraqi civilian casualties in the country, and it isn't exactly meticulous in sorting out who was actually killed in this or that latest bombing raid.

Posted by Bradford Plumer on 10/24/05 at 10:12 AM

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Worried about Bird Flu


Train accident kills 100

More than 100 people have been killed after a passenger train toppled into swirling floodwaters in southern India.
Train crash toll rises to 77
Train topples into floodwaters

Some Recent Trafficking Cases in U.S.

By The Associated Press

October 29, 2005, 12:29 PM EDT

Some recent human trafficking cases prosecuted by law enforcement authorities in the United States:

* Authorities in California arrested more than 40 people this summer for allegedly conspiring to smuggle scores of South Korean women into the country to work as prostitutes. Some of the women allegedly paid $16,000 each to be smuggled and were expected to repay their debts by through prostitution earnings.

* Federal officials in Florida last year reported that a 14-year-old Mexican girl was held captive in a trailer and forced to have sex with as many as 30 men a day. Her only possession was a teddy bear.

* Women as young as 14 were smuggled into the United States from rural Honduran villages and put to work in three northern New Jersey bars, drinking and dancing with customers to repay the smugglers, who beat the women if they objected, according to a federal indictment in July. Some of the women were raped by the smugglers, and those who became pregnant were forced to take abortion-inducing drugs so they could stay on the job.

* A now-separated couple from Egypt were charged in February with holding a girl from their country as a slave in their Irvine, Calif., home, forcing her to work under harsh conditions for no pay. Authorities said the girl, now in foster care, was forced to sleep in the garage, which had no light or ventilation, was forbidden from playing outside and never allowed to attend school or see a doctor in two years with the family.

* A Litchfield, N.H., couple were sentenced last year to six years in prison for forcing Jamaican laborers to work in their tree-cutting business. Timothy Bradley, 43, and Kathleen O'Dell, 48, were convicted of taking the workers' passports and visas, lying to them and reneging on promises about pay and housing.

* A Berkeley, Calif., landlord and restaurateur, Lakireddy Bali Reddy, was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison in 2001 for smuggling teenage girls from India for sex and cheap labor. Reddy came under investigation after a 17-year old girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an apartment he owned

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Groups Target Human Trafficking in U.S.

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U.N. Poverty Expert Finds New Orleans "Shocking"


"The people in New Orleans and the worst affected areas were very poor and what you have to do is a social responsibility of the federal, state and local governments," he said.

"Budget questions should be resolved. If the United States wasn't the richest country in the world, I'd say international aid should come in. But I don't have to say that for the U.S.," he said.

Sengupta plans to reveal his findings before a United Nations panel in April. He does not know what the council will do with his report -- perhaps draw up a resolution -- but he wants the world to know what he saw and heard, he said during a meeting at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, 8470 Goodwood Blvd.


"My whole intent is to understand. I don't think I would have understood the extent of the calamity until coming here," Sengupta said. "What is more shocking is that two months later, my impression is that New Orleans is untouched … debris is not cleared. … Relief work in New Orleans is not what I expected with the richest country in the world. Why should it take so much time?"

much more at link above

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Future Perfect

Friday, 28 October 2005
This is the full version of a very truncated column that was published in the Oct. 28 edition of The Moscow Times. Due to a transmission error on my part, more than half of the column did not make it through to the paper. Apologies to any MT readers out there.

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2007 -- Calvin J. Hooper was sworn in today as the 49th President of the United States in a quiet ceremony that many hope will put an end to a tumultuous period that has seen the inauguration and resignation of five chief executives in the 12 months since former president George W. Bush fled the country for exile in Saudi Arabia.

Hooper's ascent to the presidency has been meteoric, to say the least. Two weeks ago, he was a part-time city councilman in Salt Lick, Tennessee (pop. 1300). But following the indictment of most recent president Ken Mehlman on racketeering charges for his alleged involvement in the Jack Abramoff-Tom Delay crime ring, a frantic search of computer records found that Hooper was the only elected Republican official in America who had neither been paid off by the ring nor was complicit in the so-called "Nurembergate Scandal," the wide-ranging government conspiracy to launch a war of aggression against Iraq on false pretenses. More than 1,427 Republican officials have been convicted in the two ongoing investigations, and a further 927 are now under indictment, including former presidents Dennis Hastert, Colin Powell, Karen Hughes and Scott McClellan.

Once located, Hooper was quickly named to fill the Congressional seat vacated by Tennessee Representative Zach Wamp, who was forced to resign after being indicted in the Abramoff-DeLay probe. Hooper was then immediately elected Speaker of the House, which made him second in line to the presidency, as the vice presidency has been left vacant since the conviction of former veep Dick Cheney in one of the first Nurembergate trials in early 2006. Upon Mehlman's resignation, Hooper became president.

He was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, in what is likely to be the judge's last official act. Roberts has been indicted for conspiracy to facilitate torture and perverting the course of justice, and is expected to resign after his arraignment hearing next week. The charges stem from a ruling Roberts made as an appeals judge in 2005, when he approved Bush's "military tribunal" system, an illegal, unconstitutional scheme that gave the president the arbitrary power to dispose of captives in the Terror War -- and every U.S. citizen as well -- as he saw fit, outside all existing legal norms and protections. Roberts was actively negotiating with the Bush team for a slot on the Supreme Court at the time of the ruling. It is now alleged that his elevation to the court was a political payoff for his dubious decision on the now-discredited and outlawed tribunal system.

Hooper 's inauguration was held in the banquet room of the Georgetown Ramada Inn, the only venue in Washington willing to host the event after the previous year 'sfive inaugural ceremonies left behind millions in unpaid debts following the sudden resignations of the indicted presidents. Hooper pledged to build "a new era of honesty and lawfulness in government, a new policy of constructive engagement with the global community, and a new sidewalk in front of my mama'shouse." The latter was "the main reason I got into politics in the first place," the new president told an inaugural crowd estimated at 35-40. Although he has been on the Salt Lick council for three years, Hooper has to date been unsucessful in getting the sidewalk repaved. "Let's see 'em try to palm us off with hot tar and gravel now," he exulted at the inaugural. "It better be solid cement from Mama's yard all the way down to the feed store."

The new president received immediate pledges of bipartisan support from Democratic leaders. "We think the American people want unity and closure in these difficult times," said Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. "They don't want us to take partisan political advantage of the Republicans'little spot of bother." The quiet, consensus politics of the opposition party is a carry-over from the 2006 mid-term elections, when, to the astonishment of most experts, the Democrats failed to retake Congress, despite the fact that 85 percent of the Republican incumbents were either in jail, under indictment or had joined Bush's so-called "holy remnant" of exiles in Medina. Some attributed the Democrats' lackluster showing to the official campaign slogans the national party adopted in 2006: "The War: We Can Do It Better" and "Corporations: What'sNot to Like?"

Leading Democrats also lauded Hooper'sintention to "stay the course" in the war. Democratic Senator Joe Biden of Delaware urged Hooper to send "at least 100,000 more troops" to the MEWZ (the Greater Middle East War Zone), which now encompasses Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the West Bank. Biden said the extra soldiers could be gathered from the vast, roaming mobs of homeless people dispossessed by the draconian 2005 Bankruptcy Bill championed by Biden on behalf of the credit card companies headquartered in his state. These "Joeboes," as they are now called, could fill up to 10 new divisions for front-line duty, Biden said.

Meanwhile, the ex-leader whose panicky flight set off the spiraling chaos that has engulfed the American political system was sanguine about the latest imbroglio. "These pretenders come and go, but one day soon I will return to reclaim my birthright," Bush said in a phone interview from his cubicle at the headquarters of the BinLadin Group, where he now works as a junior market analyst. The wealthy Saudi family, which helped launch Bush in business in the 1970s, took him in after his indictment for war crimes last year. On his days off, Bush holds court with his "remnant" at the Medina Starbucks, where he signs "executive orders" prepared by Karl Rove, plots geopolitical strategy with Condi Rice and occasionally launches "pre-emptive" food fights against nearby tables of "suspected terrorists."

"Tell Hooper to leave my stuff alone," Bush said just before his supervisor told him to get back to work. "I got some pretzels in my desk that better be there when I get back."

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Saudi boy, 14, faces execution

Hell yeah Georgie your Human Rights,

Brian Whitaker
Saturday October 29, 2005
The Guardian

A 14-year-old boy is facing execution in Saudi Arabia after being found guilty in a flawed trial of murdering a three-year-old girl, Human Rights Watch said yesterday. The girl, Wala abd al-Badi, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in a park in the eastern city of Dammam last year.

Saudi press reports said the boy, identified only as Ahmad al-D, told police during interrogation that he killed the girl because her father had hit him and he thought she had stolen his toys.

But Human Rights Watch said: "At every stage of the investigation, detention, trial and sentencing, the Saudi authorities violated Ahmad's due process rights as well as international legal protections for children. He had no legal assistance or representation during interrogation, detention and trial. Press and police accounts also throw into question his psychological stability and his ability to participate in his own defence."

The boy told an online newspaper he confessed to the murder only after police questioned him for a third time because "my strength dwindled and I lacked the capacity to refuse

Cheney Did It

Friday, 28 October 2005
As Josh Marshall points out, it's plain as day, it's in the indictment: Cheney told Libby that Plame was an operative -- in the highly sensitive Counterproliferation Division -- and not the simple desk jockey "analyst" of right-wing fantasy. Marshall nails it: "Libby's a long-time national security hand. He knows exactly what CPD is and where it is. So does Cheney. They both knew."

Cheney, says the indictment, got Plame's particulars directly from the CIA. So there you have it. Cheney got the goods; he gave them to Libby, who, as we've been told for years in fawning profiles, is Cheney's strong right arm, his "Karl Rove," an aide mind-melded with his boss. Libby knew exactly what to do with this information: days later, he was doling it out to his pet reporters. And all of this occurred in the context of a now-confirmed White House effort to discredit Joe Wilson.

So now we know for sure. There was a leak revealing the identity of secret CIA operative working to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And the source of this high-treasonous leak was the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney. (Or should we just call him, Judy Miller-style, "a former Nixon White House aide"?) It is highly doubtful that Cheney will ever be punished for this crime -- but at least we know. At least this one little fragment of the truth has emerged from the slag-heap of Bushist lies.

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Indictment Shows How Aggressively Cheney’s Office Sold War And Attacked Critics…

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 - Vice President Dick Cheney makes only three brief appearances in the 22-page federal indictment that charges his chief of staff, I.

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Tip Of The Iceberg…

Associated Press JOHN SOLOMON 10.28.05
[...] Libby is considered Cheney's alter ego, a chief architect of the war with Iraq. A trial would give the public a rare glimpse into

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The Smoking Gun: Read The Indictment Here...

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAHolding a Criminal TermGrand Jury Sworn in on October 31, 2003


Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide was indicted today on perjury, false statement, and obstruction of justice charges in connection with a special counsel's probe into the leaking of a CIA officer's identity. A copy of the five-count felony indictment returned against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, can be found below. The 55-year-old Libby, a White House power and proponent of the Iraq war, allegedly committed the crimes when questioned by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald before a federal grand jury. During two appearances under oath, Libby was questioned extensively about his contact with several reporters prior to published disclosures about Valerie Plame Wilson, the CIA operative. While not charged today, Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's chief political adviser, remains under scrutiny by Fitzgerald, who reportedly plans to continue his probe of the 2003 leak (the original grand jury panel's term expired today). Libby today resigned his White House post as a result of the criminal charges, which were handed up in U.S. District Court in Washington. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine if convicted of all counts.

Libby Indicted In CIA Leak Case>>>> Link Here

Russert and Libby: The Show That Caused the Fury

The Government charges in Lewis Libby's indictment:

On or about July 10, 2003, LIBBY spoke to NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert to complain about press coverage of LIBBY by an MSNBC reporter. LIBBY did not discuss Wilson’s wife with Russert. (page 7, Paragraph 20.)

Right after the indictment was released to the media, Tim Russert told MSNBC viewers that Lewis Libby called him that day to complain about a reporter's comments on a cable show.
He did not identify the reporter or the show.

A little sleuthing on Lexis-Nexis turned up this Hardball transcript for July 8, 2003. The reporter is Chris Matthews, who repeatedly states that the Vice President's office had the CIA send Joseph Wilson to Niger. Here are the revelant portions of the transcript

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An Influential Bush Insider Used to Challenges

Published: October 29, 2005
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 - Among the capital's power elite, I. Lewis Libby Jr. has studiously avoided the limelight in adopting the low-keyed, tight-lipped demeanor of his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney.

So cautious is Mr. Libby, a lawyer trained at Columbia University, that he counseled other staff members not to take notes or speak to reporters, two former aides said Friday. But he met periodically with journalists and regularly jotted notes that he kept in a three-ring binder, giving himself the option of tearing out stuff he did not want to keep.

These exceptions to his own meticulous rules of discretion may ultimately come back to haunt Mr. Libby, who resigned Friday after being formally accused of repeatedly lying and obstructing justice during an inquiry into the unmasking of a Central Intelligence Agency officer.

In the White House constellation of advisers, Mr. Libby, 55, was not just any aide. Known by the nickname Scooter, he had the exalted position of being a full member of President Bush's inner circle. In fact, he exercised more influence than senior vice-presidential aides in previous administrations, holding three pivotal jobs at once: assistant to the president, chief of staff to the vice president and Mr. Cheney's national security adviser.>>>cont

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Cheney's Top Aide Indicted For Perjury, Lying, Obstruction of Justice, Rove Still Under Investigation...

White House Scrambles To Insulate Bush…

Fitzgerald: National Security Was At Stake, Damage Done...

Tip of the Iceberg… 30 Years Max Sentence, $1.25M Max Fine... Libby Was Cheney's Eyes and Ears… First WH Aide Indicted In 130 Years… Novak Still Won't Talk… Unidentified “Official A” Leaker Confirmed As Rove…Sen. Orrin Hatch: “These Are Very Serious Charges”... GOP Rep. Shays: “Americans Don't Like To Be Lied To”… Sen. Reid: Indictment Suggests “A Senior White House Aide Put Politics Ahead Of Our National Security And The Rule Of Law”... GOP Rep.: “Very Disappointed” In Vice President And The President…

A White House That Reacts With Stealth And Deception Using Journalists To Undermine Critics…

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Valerie Plame, the Spy Who Got Shoved Out Into the Cold

By Richard Leiby
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 29, 2005; C01

What's ahead for Valerie Plame?

Lost in the din of the leak scandal that has consumed Washington is the very personal impact on the willowy blond CIA operative at its center. Plame, 42, wife of former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson, has become the most famous spy in the world, but her career has been derailed. It appears likely she will leave the CIA, some acquaintances say, but she hasn't publicly signaled her plans.

Plame, the mother of 5-year-old twins, recently told a friend, Jane Honikman, that she intends to retire from the agency where she has worked for 20 years. "She really wants to be with her kids -- that's her plan, to be that mom," said Honikman, founder of a postpartum depression support network in which Plame has been active.

Although Plame has been under "tremendous stress" as the subject of global publicity and political spin, Honikman added, "she has a good sense of humor still and a wonderful, charming ability to look on the bright side." Several friends say she was devastated by the disclosure of her name in July 2003, but she went on with her life: She and Wilson circulated socially, took weekend walks along the C&O Canal and went to church. At events where media were present, Plame unfailingly smiled and exchanged pleasantries.

She has never granted an interview, effectively gagged by the CIA, whose guidelines require employees to clear media contacts and publications. But she hasn't been totally averse to publicity. She once posed for a Vanity Fair photograph in her husband's Jaguar, ala Grace Kelly, wearing sunglasses and a headscarf. For many critics of her media-savvy husband, that offered proof enough that she was out to capitalize on her notoriety -- further fodder in an affair that has become as highly politicized as any other White House scandal.

Wilson, whose credibility and qualifications have come under withering Republican fire ever since he went public about his CIA-sponsored trip to Niger and criticisms of the Iraq war, said yesterday in a statement: "While I may engage in public discourse, my wife and my family are private people. They did not choose to be brought into the public square, and they do not wish to be under the glare of cameras. . . . This case is not about me or my family, no matter how others might try to make it so."

Plame, the daughter of an Air Force colonel and an elementary school teacher, was recruited by the CIA at 22, shortly after graduation from Pennsylvania State University. She was in the 1985-86 class of CIA officers trained at "The Farm" near Williamsburg, where the curriculum included learning to drive under fire, blowing up cars and handling an AK-47.

Her career postings are classified, but she was one of the elite clandestine spies -- an officer with nonofficial cover who works overseas in business or other jobs and has no diplomatic protection if detected or arrested.

In 2006, she will have 20 years with the agency. As such she qualifies for retirement but would not receive full benefits unless she stays with the agency until age 50.

After she was named in a syndicated column by Robert Novak, Plame had no chance of working again in her chosen field, her friends say, and the strain of remaining at the agency has taken its toll.

"For all intents and purposes out at the CIA, she's like a leper . . . she's radioactive," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and acquaintance of Plame's who was in her officer training class. "There are instances where some people at headquarters have shunned her. In other cases they don't know what to say. It's like someone whose child has died: What do you say to them?

"There are a variety of things she could have done at the agency. She could have become a station chief overseas and run espionage operations. It has destroyed her life on that front. What is she supposed to do now, wear a button saying, " 'Hi, I work for the CIA'?"

Wilson and his lawyer, Christopher Wolf, would not comment on Plame's plans. But Wolf -- who has also been the couple's next-door neighbor for seven years -- said: "She was absolutely devastated by this on lots of levels. . . . Valerie was by definition the ultimate private person. She didn't seek any publicity or any acclaim or any thanks for her work."

After the outing, said Wolf, "her career was over, she knew it was over, and certainly her contacts were put in jeopardy . . . and her family was put at risk."

Last winter, Plame drafted an op-ed article to explain her role in her husband's Niger trip, but the agency would not permit her to submit it for publication. "While I would love to share Valerie's article with readers, so long as her agency refuses to allow her to defend herself, there is nothing she or I can do," Wilson wrote in the recently issued paperback edition of his bestseller "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies That Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity."

In the book he quoted a CIA response to Plame telling her "publication of your article has the potential to affect your ability to perform your official duties and the agency's ability to perform its mission." As long as she remains in the CIA -- and even beyond retirement -- national security restrictions would typically apply if she wrote, say, a memoir.

Wilson and Plame, who were married in 1998, live in the District's Palisades neighborhood in a spacious home with a back-deck view of the Washington Monument. Their son and daughter are in kindergarten. (Wilson has another grown set of twins from an earlier marriage.) Before Novak's column, neighbors and friends had no clue she was a spy -- they knew her as a "consultant" in the energy business.

"She's going to be a huge asset no matter what she does," said Plame's friend Honikman, founder of Postpartum Support International, a group the CIA officer contacted for help in overcoming her own severe bout with postpartum depression. "She's too smart a woman . . . and would maximize whatever opportunities lie ahead."

Plame served as executive director of a local postpartum support chapter but had to resign because "it was too much stress" after she was outed, Honikman said. "She had to stay focused on herself and her family." Honikman added, "I admire her for the incredible strength she has shown to endure this."

There is no indication that yesterday's indictment of vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby will end Plame's time in the public firestorm. By late afternoon, Republicans were on television trying to reopen debate on just what Plame did at the CIA and how covert the woman really was.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Prosecutor Subpoenas MoveOn.org Director

By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer
Fri Oct 28, 7:25 PM ET

A Texas prosecutor has subpoenaed the head of a liberal activist group and records of political contributions from mostly Republican state judges in advance of a hearing Tuesday to decide who should preside over former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's criminal case.

Prosecutor Ronnie Earle on Friday subpoenaed Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org, a liberal group that took an active role in the last presidential campaign and generally opposes Republicans and their policies.

DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, requested the removal of state Judge Bob Perkins because the judge has made 34 contributions since 2000 to Democratic and liberal groups, including MoveOn.org, which has waged a campaign against DeLay. Perkins' largest contribution was a $1,000 donation to the Travis County Democratic Party in 2002.>>>cont

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As treason sleeps comfortably in OUR White House...

The Betrayal Of The Greatest Empire Ever Known Is Breaking WIDE Open

Indictment doesn't

clear up mystery at

heart of CIA leak


By Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - At the heart of Friday's indictment of a top White House aide remain two unsolved mysteries.

Who forged the documents that claimed Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in the African country of Niger?

How did a version of the tale get into President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, even though U.S. intelligence agencies never confirmed it and some intelligence analysts doubted it?

Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who found no substance to the alleged deal during a CIA-sponsored trip to Niger, accused Bush in July 2003 of twisting the intelligence.

Shortly thereafter, the identity of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, a covert CIA officer, was leaked to journalists, igniting special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's probe.

The FBI has been investigating the clumsy forgeries, which first surfaced in Rome in October 2002, for two years, but has made little progress, four U.S. government officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation continues. Those officials blame a lack of cooperation from Italy. A spokesman for the Italian Embassy in Washington denied that.

But a weeks-long review by Knight Ridder has established that:

-Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, and people close to it, repeatedly tried to shop the bogus Niger uranium story to governments in France, Britain and the United States. That created the illusion that multiple sources were confirming the story.

The CIA had begun receiving intelligence reports based on the same forgeries in October 2001, but they could not be confirmed. Copies of the fake documents suddenly surfaced at a critical point in the White House's fall 2002 campaign to take the country to war in Iraq.

The CIA eventually determined that the earlier reports were "based on the forged documents" and were "thus ... unreliable," a presidential commission on unconventional weapons proliferation said in March.

-State Department intelligence analysts and some in the CIA discounted the uranium story. But White House officials, working through a back channel to one CIA unit, seized on the tale, and it was included in Bush's case for war.

The following is a chronology of events that led up to the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. It's based on interviews and on reports by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the presidentially appointed panel on weapons intelligence.

Oct. 15, 2001 - The CIA received the first of three top-secret reports from a foreign intelligence service - which intelligence officials said was Italy's SISMI - that Niger planned to ship tons of uranium ore, or yellowcake, to Iraq.

SISMI was behind similar reports in Britain and France. Paris never put any stock in the reports, according to two European officials. London has stood behind its statement that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa.

February 2002 - Cheney and other officials asked the CIA to find out more.

Some CIA and Pentagon analysts were impressed with the reporting. But the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was skeptical. Its analysts noted that France controls Niger's uranium mines and argued that Iraq wouldn't risk being caught breaking U.N. sanctions.

The CIA station in Rome was skeptical of the reports from the start.

Feb. 21 - Wilson traveled to Niger at the CIA's request to investigate the purported uranium deal. He said he found nothing to substantiate the allegation. Neither did two other U.S. officials who investigated.

March 8 - The CIA circulated a report on Wilson's trip - without identifying him - to the White House and other agencies.

Sept. 9 - With the White House's public campaign against Iraq in full swing, Nicolo Pollari, head of SISMI, met with then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley at the White House. Hadley later took the blame for including the false Niger allegation in Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech.

National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said Thursday that the meeting was a 15-minute courtesy call and that no one could recollect talk about yellowcake.

Oct. 1 - U.S. intelligence agencies sent the White House and Congress their key prewar assessment of Iraq's illicit weapon programs, which said Iraq was "vigorously" trying to buy uranium ore and had sought deals with Niger, Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The State Department's INR dissented in the report.

Oct. 5 - Then-CIA Director George Tenet advised Hadley to drop a reference to Niger from the draft of a nationally televised speech that Bush was to give on Oct. 7 because the "president should not be a fact witness on this issue" as "the reporting was weak." The sentence was removed.

The CIA then wrote the White House that "the evidence (of a uranium ore deal) is weak. One of the two mines cited by the source of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine cited by the source is under the control of the French."

Oct. 9 - An Italian journalist for the Rome magazine Panorama, owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a supporter of the Iraq war, gave the U.S. Embassy a copy of the purported agreement by Niger to sell yellowcake to Iraq.

The journalist, Elisabetta Burba, reportedly received the documents from Italian businessman Rocco Martino, who has connections to SISMI.

The Italian government has denied any connection to the forged documents.

The embassy forwarded a copy to the State Department. It raised the suspicion of an INR nuclear analyst, who noted in an e-mail that the documents bear a "funky Emb. Of Niger stamp (to make it look official, I guess.)"

Jan. 13, 2003 - The INR nuclear analyst told other analysts that he believed the Niger documents were forgeries.

Jan. 16 - The CIA finally received copies of the forged French-language documents. It sent them back to the State Department to be translated.

Jan. 17 - A CIA analytical unit known as WINPAC (Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control) said in a secret assessment that there was "fragmentary reporting" on Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium from "various countries in Africa."

Sometime in late January, Robert Joseph, a senior White House staffer, and Alan Foley, the head of WINPAC, agreed that Bush could refer to the uranium claim in his State of the Union speech, but he should cite a public British report.

Jan. 28 - Bush delivered the State of the Union.

Feb. 5 - Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the U.N. Security Council on the threat from Iraq but didn't repeat the yellowcake allegation.

March 3 - The International Atomic Energy Agency told the United States that the documents were forgeries after an expert used the Google search engine to identify false information.

July 6 - In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Wilson wrote that his failure to confirm the alleged uranium deal led him to conclude that the Bush administration "twisted" some of the intelligence it used to justify the war.

July 14 - Syndicated columnist Robert Novak identified Plame in a column.

Treasonous liars and warmongering murderers

By Sheila Samples

What attorney in his or her right mind would take on the mission of defending a gaggle of treasonous liars and warmongering murderers against the clearly stated, time-tested legal boundaries of the United States Constitution? Is there an attorney so ignorant of Constitutional law or so loyal to George W. Bush that covering his sorry ass trumps all reason, dignity, democratic principles or truth?

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2,000 US Troops Dead in Iraq: One Survivor Tells His Story

I went to fight in Iraq to get revenge for 9/11... I found out Bush had led us into a war that was immoral and totally wrong

From Ryan Parry in Kansas City, Missouri

BRAVE Tomas Young saw it as his patriotic duty to join the Army three days after 9/11.

Tomas, 25, wanted revenge on the terrorists who murdered nearly 2,750 people in the Twin Towers.

But on his first mission in Iraq - and before he had fired a single bullet in anger - he was left paralysed from the chest down after being shot in an ambush.

Now his anguish at never being able to walk again has turned to anger that he and thousands of others are being sent to fight an immoral war for George Bush.

As America this week mourned its 2000th victim of the war, Tomas said: "I joined the Army to exact some sort of retribution on what happened to us, whether it be going to find Osama bin Laden or to get al-Qaeda.

"I joined to get back for what happened. Nothing more, nothing less. But so far there have been 2,000 dead American soldiers and some 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians.

"That's certainly a lot more than we lost on September 11. What has happened in Iraq is wrong."
Tomas, now confined to a wheelchair, is bitter that his Government's lies got him to enrol.

And he is frustrated Mr Bush will not listen to the American public and withdraw the troops.

He said: "From the start I didn't see a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but when Bush first said, 'Weapons of mass destruction', I bought into that a bit.

"However, when that reason became more and more bulls**t I started to fall off the bandwagon.
"It became clear they didn't have any strong connection and that's when I started to snap."
PROUD: With mum before war

THE young Army specialist is contemptuous of his President's attempts to justify the conflict.

"Bush kept coming up with reason after reason that was proving to be wrong," Tomas said. "It reminded me of when I was naughty as a kid.

"Mom would find out my first excuse wasn't true, so I'd make up a second and third until I would finally admit what I'd done and take my whupping."

His opposition to the war hardened soon after he was sent to Iraq with the 2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry regiment in March 2004.

The soldier, of Kansas City, Missouri, recalled: "I was saying, 'See these oil fires? This is why we're here, guys. We're not defending freedom'. I realised my reasons for joining were being twisted."

The day that would alter his life forever came on April 4.

He and his colleagues were sent to guard a rescue mission in Baghdad's Sadr City district.

He found himself one of 25 troops crammed into a truck meant to hold 18. Tomas said: "The truck was beaten up.

"It was supposed to have a canvas cover and armour on the sides. It didn't have either.

"Space was so tight that I had my legs folded and was lying on my back so more people could get in.

"I was meant to have my M16 aiming off the side but I couldn't get enough room to pivot it around and shoot if I needed to."

Although the rescue mission went smoothly, his truck later came under attack from rooftop snipers armed with AK47s.

Tomas said: "They opened fire and myself and three or four others got shot. It was like shooting fish in a barrel."LOVING: Tomas and wife Brie

HE was hit under the shoulder blade and the bullet severed his spinal cord, paralysing him instantly.

"I went numb," he recalled. "I dropped my M16 and my fingertips were tingling. It was like a shock through my body. I went rigid.

"I remember looking at my hands and trying to will them to grab my M16, but couldn't get them to move. I tried to yell but all I could get out was a horse-whisper."

A second shot tore into his knee. He scarcely felt it.

Tomas was eventually airlifted to hospitals in Kuwait, Germany and, finally, Washington DC.

He was constantly sedated and recalls little. But he remembers the emotional moment he came round and saw his mother, Cathy Smith.

"I'm a mommy's boy," he admitted. "I don't care how tough you are, when you see your mom after what I've been through you start to cry."

Last Saturday, Staff Sgt George Alexander, 34, became the 2,000th US soldier killed in the conflict.

He had been hit by a roadside bomb in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, five days earlier.
GRIM TOLL: George Alexander

The death was viewed as a grim landmark by America's growing anti-war movement.

Now Tomas is determined to ensure it is one of the last.

He is a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War movement and recently joined leading activist Cindy Sheehan at a demo outside Mr Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Her son Casey, 24, was killed in Baghdad on the same day Tomas was hit.

Tomas and wife Brie, 24, are now trying to look to the future and are thinking of having IVF treatment to start a family.

But he remains angry about the way the war changed his life. And he called on Mr Bush to stop others suffering in the same way.

"I'd probably be a little bitter even if the war was just," he confessed. "But the fact that I'm in this situation, compounded with the fact we went to an immoral war, makes it harder to accept.

"Bush led us into something that was wrong. He now needs to lead us out.

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Passing 2,000

By Celeste Zappala and Anne Roesler
t r u t h o u t Perspective

Friday 28 October 2005

The number of US soldiers killed in the Iraq War is passing the 2,000 mark.

The number is passing 2,000. Just a number? Perhaps ... In Iraq, another soldier teetered on consciousness, drew the last breath and was gone. And all the hopes that rode on him and all the prayers that followed him from all the people who loved him are done.

Somewhere in America, relatives will get phone calls asking them to come and sit with a father who is too numb to cry, pick up the children because the widow is inconsolable. They will be called to witness the agony of another American family who has lost their soldier to this reckless war. Somewhere in a funeral parlor, a small grieving group will quietly gather and shake their heads, and through bitter tears ask why this has happened to their friend. A brave and decent American will be laid in the ground, along with his or her future. Another family will mourn the empty chair at the holiday table and every celebration for the rest of their lives.

We belong to military families who understand the true costs of this war. Celeste's son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed on April 26, 2004, while protecting the Iraq Survey Group as they looked for the weapons of mass destruction - long after everyone knew there were none. Since his death, 1,280 more Americans have died in Iraq, along with countless Iraqis. Many more have been wounded in both body and soul. The justifications given for this war have been exposed as lies. But the litany of excuses is still repeated by the President: 9/11, links to al Qaeda, weapons of mass destruction. Somehow, the President's response to the daily death toll of Americans and Iraqis is to stay the course, while more and more Americans ask daily, Why?

For Anne, the war is an ongoing threat. Anne's son, a Staff Sergeant in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, has spent more than 550 days in Iraq since the invasion and is currently serving his third tour of duty there. Prior to his recent deployment, he said, "I don't know what the mission is; I haven't known for a long time." By the spring of 2003, he knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction. While he was angry that he'd been sent to a war based on lies, he hoped that he'd be part of something positive in rebuilding the country. He was in awe of being in Iraq, in the cradle of civilization, where even the dirt smells different. But things rapidly spiraled downward: "We've opened up a hornet's nest, and there's no putting them back." As the months passed, and he saw the futility of American troops being in Iraq, he couldn't wait to return home. "I'm tired of putting kids in body bags," he said.

Unfortunately, he was redeployed after only 7 months back in the US. Upon returning to Iraq he described the increasing chaos and not knowing who the enemy was. He returned from this tour a very different person than he'd been before. The war and the atrocities he'd witnessed took a heavy toll. It was only months before he was redeployed for the third time. Before he left, he said, "If I come home this time, it will take me years to get over it." It will indeed take this country and Iraq decades to recover from this war. President Bush says we must fight our enemies abroad in order to prevent them from harming US citizens at home, but who is the enemy, really? We are creating enemies in Iraq daily as we occupy the country and as Iraqis continue to die. Having our troops remain in Iraq is the equivalent of pouring fuel on a fire.

It is too late for the 2,000 families. They are forever tied by grief to the disaster that is the Iraq War. Saving the lives of those who are still serving or about to be sent to Iraq is the urgent mission of all military families who ask: how many more of America's sons and daughters should we sacrifice for a war based on lies? How many more should we allow to return home maimed and broken? How many more families will hear the worst news of their lives, before America says no, we will no longer quietly comply.

Anne's son wonders, Do the American people even care about us? Military Families Speak Out members do care, and that is why they speak out in support of the troops, the truth, and our responsibility as a nation to end this reckless war. The Administration says we can't get out yet. When will it be time? If Anne's son is the 2,010th to die, or the 2,020th or No. 2,100, will they, with nothing at risk, be able to look her in the eye and say that it was worth it?

Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the mother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, who was killed in Iraq in April 2004. Anne Roesler of Saratoga, California, is the mother of a soldier who is currently serving in Iraq. They are both members of Military Families Speak Out, an organization of over 2,500 military families opposed to the Iraq war. www.mfso.org.

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Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers to Senate Intelligence Panel

The Path Forward

Editor's Note: We have invited Senator Kerry to field questions on his statement below. We hope he is able to find time. -- Marc Ash, Executive Director - TO

By Senator John Kerry
Speech at Georgetown University

Wednesday 26 October 2005

A few weeks ago I departed Iraq from Mosul. Three Senators and staff were gathered in the forward part of a C-130. In the middle of the cavernous cargo hold was a simple, aluminum coffin with a small American flag draped over it. We were bringing another American soldier, just killed, home to his family and final resting place.

The starkness of his coffin in the center of the hold, the silence except for the din of the engines, was a real time cold reminder of the consequences of decisions for which we Senators share responsibility.

As we arrived in Kuwait, a larger flag was transferred to fully cover his coffin and we joined graves registration personnel in giving him an honor guard as he was ceremoniously carried from the plane to a waiting truck. When the doors clunked shut, I wondered why all of America would not be allowed to see him arrive at Dover Air Force Base instead of hiding him from a nation that deserves to mourn together in truth and in the light of day. His lonely journey compels all of us to come to grips with our choices in Iraq.

Now more than 2,000 brave Americans have given their lives, and several hundred thousand more have done everything in their power to wade through the ongoing internal civil strife in Iraq. An Iraq which increasingly is what it was not before the war - a breeding ground for homegrown terrorists and a magnet for foreign terrorists. We are entering a make or break six month period, and I want to talk about the steps we must take if we hope to bring our troops home within a reasonable timeframe from an Iraq that's not permanently torn by irrepressible conflict. >>> cont

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Texas Leads Nation in Household Hunger

By Associated Press

October 28, 2005, 10:12 PM EDT

AUSTIN, Texas -- A higher percentage of Texas households were at risk of going hungry over the past three years than in any other state, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Between 2002 and 2004, more than 16 percent of Texas households at some point had trouble providing enough food for all their family members, the USDA report said.

In nearly 5 percent of Texas households, at least one family member actually went hungry at least one time during that period because the household couldn't afford enough food. That's the fourth-highest rate in the country.

Nationwide, 11.4 percent of households were at risk of going hungry during that period, and 3.6 percent of U.S. households had at least one member go hungry, the USDA said.

The latest national figures were higher than in the previous three-year period. Between 1999 and 2001, an average of 10.4 percent of households were at risk for hunger, and an average of 3.1 percent of households experienced hunger.

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Bone Fragments Found Near WTC Said Human

Associated Press Writer

October 29, 2005, 1:50 AM EDT

NEW YORK -- Ten bone fragments discovered more than four years after the World Trade Center attacks on the rooftop of a nearby skyscraper are human, officials said Friday.

The pieces of bone, ranging in size from half an inch to two inches, were found on three days last month by construction workers sifting through gravel on top of the former Deutsche Bank building, officials said.

Parts of the trade center's south tower carved a huge gash in the 41-story building's facade when it collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001. Deconstruction of the building, which is known to be contaminated with asbestos, lead, and trade center dust, began in September.

The city medical examiner will try to identify the remains by extracting DNA and checking it against a database of World Trade Center victims, said medical examiner's spokeswoman Ellen Borakove.

"We're hoping to be able to create some profiles," she said.

Borakove said test results returned last week indicated the fragments were human. She said it was too soon too tell whether the remains came from one person or more than one.

The city has recovered 19,964 pieces of human remains from the trade center attack and identified 9,100 of them, Borakove said. Of the 2,749 people who died at the trade center, 1,152 victims have no identifiable remains.

The medical examiner's office has said that more sophisticated DNA technology may someday develop to help identify the remains. Until then, they will remain in city custody and will eventually be encased at the trade center memorial.

Mary Fetchet, whose son, Brad, died at the south tower of the trade center, said Friday the discovery reopens old wounds.

"It's just a reminder of the horrific nature of the event," said Fetchet. "When you talk about identification of bone fragments, it just brings you back to what really happened that day."

The former Deutsche Bank building was purchased by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. last year and is scheduled to be completely dismantled in 2007.

LMDC president Stefan Pryor said that after construction workers found the fragments, "our rigorous protocols automatically assume findings of this nature to be human remains and therefore require that they be treated with the utmost care, dignity, and respect."

The city inspected the entire building in the months following the attacks before turning it over to the building's owners, the LMDC said.

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Friday, October 28th, 2005

"If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."--Scott McClellan, September 29, 2003 (VIDEO)

Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's left arm, has been indicted on five counts and has resigned. If you believe Dick Cheney (and why wouldn't you?), Scooter is a patriot who has served America "with great distinction."

Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel investigating the CIA leak, says Libby lied repeatedly. The GOP, the White House and your Conservative Brother-in-law will all tell you that Libby's indictments are mere technicalities -- this excuse has no wings.

The President's apologists will also claim that even if the White House provided Valerie Plame's name to reporters, they may have done so without knowing her covert status. This talking point is almost believable because it presupposes a shocking level of incompetence in the White House. They would have had to discuss a CIA officer's identity with reporters without first checking the covert status of that officer.

(The right wing talking heads are also fond of saying that Ms. Plame's identity was not a secret but this, too, is whishful thinking: her employment was classified.)

The idea that the White House acts without forethought or malice works well alongside the forged Niger documents Bush used to invade Iraq. Pushed into a corner, Republicans would rather you believe that the administration's actions are merely incompetent and not criminal, as though an incompetent presidency is nothing to worry about.

While Scooter is, so far, the only person indicted, others are implicated and many are involved. Repeated lies are the hallmark of the Bush White House. Two years ago Scott McClellan uttered what may be the Bush administration's next big lie. He said:

"If anyone in this administration was involved in [the leak], they would no longer be in this administration."

Will George W. Bush turn McClellan into a liar? Or will those involved be fired?
Dick Cheney is involved. According to the indictments, he told Libby that Plame worked for the spy wing of CIA:

On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division.

LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.

"Official A" is involved. According to the indictments, an unidentified official told Libby that Robert Novak was writing a story about Wilson's wife:

"On or about July 10 or July 11, 2003, LIBBY spoke to a senior official in the White House (“Official A”) who advised LIBBY of a conversation Official A had earlier that week with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson’s wife was discussed as a CIA employee involved in Wilson’s trip. LIBBY was advised by Official A that Novak would be writing a story about Wilson’s wife."

Novak's story, of course, blew Plame's cover. So who is "Official A" and when will he "no longer be in this administration"? Fitzgerald won't provide the name, and the White House doesn't want to fire anyone, but it has been previously disclosed that Karl Rove spoke with Novak on July 8, 2003 regarding Plame's identity.

Cheney's new chief of staff (Scooter's replacement) also seems to be involved in the leak. Will he be fired?

An unnamed Under Secretary of State is involved in the leak. Who could that be and, if they're still in the administration, when will this person be fired?

Having endured a targeted attack on his family, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson is not celebrating the Libby indictments:

"Today is a sad day for America. When an indictment is delivered at the front door of the White House, the Office of the President is defiled. No citizen can take pleasure from that."

George W. Bush vowed to restore honor and dignity to the White House. He said Americans were tired of the scandals. If you believe the truth, his administration has lied and lied viciously and repeatedly. If you believe the lies, his administration is simply incompetent and should not be held accountable for its mistakes or to its promises.

Today's indictment of "Scooter" Libby is just the tip of the iceberg. The White House is taking on water and George W. Bush is arranging the deck chairs.

As it says on the Presidential seal, "E Pluribus Unum": Out of many, one.
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is one. There are many more.

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Media Matters for America

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Media Matters for America

Tip of the Iceberg

Cheney's top aide indicted on five counts;

Rove investigation continues

George W. Bush Must Come Clean

Scooter is to Cheneyas Cheney is to Bush

-- a political obituary

Dark Days at the White HouseUnited States of America v. I. Lewis Libby

"Libby was advised by the Vice Presidentof the United States that Wilson's wifeworked at the CIA"

Who is "Official A"?16 Words That Launched a WarWho Forged the Documents?

Libby Indictment Shows Campaign to Discredit Iraq War Critic

Rove is 'Official A,' Novak's 'indirect' source, lawyers say

Jason Leopold and John Byrne

Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove was the mysterious 'Official A' named in the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, lawyers close to the case have told RAW STORY.

Friday's indictment identified "Official A" as a "senior official in the White House who advised Libby on July 10 or 11 of 2003" about a conversation with conservative columnist Robert Novak about an upcoming column where Plame would be identified as a CIA employee. Novak's column ran Jul. 14, 2003.

Rove is expected to be identified in several newspapers Saturday. The Associated Press is also close to naming Rove as 'Official A.'

'Bush's brain' is not Novak's 'secret source.' He is, however, the senior administration official who said, "Oh, you know about it," when asked by the columnist about Wilson's wife sending him to Niger.

Novak wrote, "When I called another official for confirmation, he said: 'Oh, you know about it.'"

Rove's role in the case remains unclear. Those familiar with the investigation say that Rove remains in legal limbo and that Fitzgerald has not finished his inquiry into Bush's chief advisor's role.

Rove may be called on to testify against Libby in the latter's trial.

“This investigation is not yet over,” one of the lawyers in the case said. “You must keep in mind that people like Mr. Rove are still under investigation.”

In July, the Washington Post reported that Rove 'indirectly' identified Plame to Novak.

According to the Post, a lawyer familiar with the case "said that Novak showed up on a White House call log as having telephoned Rove in the week before the publication of the July 2003 column, which has touched off a two-year federal investigation and led to the jailing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who has refused to testify about her conversation with a source involved in the case."

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Al-Sistani may demand timetable

Iraq's top Shiite cleric might stage mass street protests if coalition doesn't comply.

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45 New Orleans cops fired for desertion

51 police dept members fired for leaving their posts before/after Katrina hit.

Link Here

Russia Calls Evidence in Oil-for-Food Report Forged

Russia Calls Evidence in Oil-for-Food Report Forged

Published: October 28, 2005
MOSCOW, Oct. 28 - Russian officials responded today to a report accusing companies and politicians here of paying hefty kickbacks in the United Nations oil-for-food program for Iraq by saying the documents cited as evidence are actually forgeries.

An independent committee, led by Paul A. Volcker, the former chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, released the 623-page report on Thursday after an investigation that cost $33 million. The report included a detailed chapter on Russian oil companies and their dealings with the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.

Following its release, the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, said that countries should use the report's conclusions to prosecute companies under their jurisdictions. Russia, along with France, had won preferential treatment under the oil-for-food program. It handled a third of all oil contracts from Mr. Hussein's government, first because Moscow supported Iraq politically and later, as Iraq became more desperate for money, because Russian oil companies began paying big kickbacks, the report said.

Oil industry analysts here have shrugged off the findings, noting that they probably will not lead to prosecutions in Russia, a country with enough money laundering and kickback scandals of its own.

The Russian minister of foreign affairs, Sergey V. Lavrov, remarked today he had not read the report, but said that at least some of the documents used to support the report's conclusions are counterfeits.

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