Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Multinational force probes Baghdad death

The security firm which employed a guard accused of shooting dead an Australian resident in Baghdad has issued a statement expressing its deepest sympathy at what happened.

Unity Resources Group says a formal investigation into the incident is being carried out by the multinational force in Iraq.

Professor Kays Juma, 72, was shot dead at a security checkpoint in Baghdad last weekend.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says it is claimed the Australian resident was shot because he was in a car that failed to stop at the checkpoint.

Unity Resources Group says multinational forces and Iraqi police were also present at the checkpoint at the time.

The company says it is cooperating fully with Iraqi authorities and is in ongoing contact with Australian consular officials in Baghdad.

The Department of Foreign Affairs understands Professor Juma lived in Baghdad for most of the year with his Australian wife, Barbara.

His wife is now en route home.


There is still time, Go vote


The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy

The New York Times calls him "arguably the most important intellectual alive."

The Boston Globe calls him "America's most useful citizen"

He was recently voted the world's number one intellectual in a poll by Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines.

We're talking about Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the foremost critics of U.S. foreign policy.

Professor Chomsky has just released a new book titled "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy." [includes rush transcript]

To purchase a video/audio copy of any Democracy Now! broadcast, call 1 (888) 999-3877. or click here to visit our online store

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Eight Oil Workers Killed in Iraq

Thursday 30 March 2006

Gunmen have shot dead eight workers at Iraq's largest oil refinery in the northern town of Baiji, 180km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police say.

Another man was wounded when the gunmen ambushed the workers' minibus at a roadblock as it drove out of the refinery.

Baiji is a Sunni Arab city which has become rife with insurgent activity.

In December, the security threat forced officials to close the refinery, which processes 200,000 barrels of oil a day.

In other violence on Thursday, a woman lawyer was shot dead as she got out of a taxi in the southern city of Basra.

A US airman from the 447th Air Expeditionary Group was killed and another wounded when two roadside bombs exploded near Baghdad, the US military said.

Bush Wanted War

Go to Original

By Richard Cohen
The Washington Post

Thursday 30 March 2006

It is my firm belief that if, say, a few dozen people simultaneously did an Internet search for the words "Bush lied," computers all over the country would crash and the energy grid would buckle, producing a rolling blackout that would begin somewhere around Terre Haute, Ind., and end in Barnstable, Mass. So common is the statement "Bush lied" that it seems sometimes that I am the only blue-state person who does not think it is true. Then, last week, the indomitable Helen Thomas changed all that with a single question. She asked George Bush why he wanted "to go to war" from the moment he "stepped into the White House," and the president said, "You know, I didn't want war." With that, the last blue-state skeptic folded.

I would not go so far as to say that Bush wanted war from Day One in the White House, but there was plenty of evidence he had Saddam on his mind and in his sights from the very moment he got the news of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We have it from Richard Clarke, formerly the White House's chief anti-terrorism official, that within a day of the attacks Bush was inquiring if Saddam might have had a hand in them. When told no - "But, Mr. President, al-Qaeda did this," Clarke told him - it became instantly clear that this was not the answer Bush wanted. "'Look into Iraq, Saddam,' the president said testily," Clarke writes in his book, "Against All Enemies."

Similarly, Bob Woodward says in his book, "Plan of Attack," that not only was Bush fixated on Iraq, but by Thanksgiving of 2001, he already had told Don Rumsfeld to prepare a plan for the invasion of that country. "Let's get started on this," the president said, cautioning the defense secretary not to tell anyone. Rumsfeld said that eventually he would have to take CIA Director George Tenet into his confidence. "'Fine."' Woodward quotes Bush as saying - "but not now."

As for myself, I was told by a European intelligence official that after flying to Washington right after the 9/11 attacks, he was stunned to discover that talk had already turned to Iraq. This was particularly true at the Pentagon, where Paul Wolfowitz was obsessed with Iraq, and that seems to have been true of the White House as well. And now we know from various British accounts that close aides to Prime Minister Tony Blair recognized early on that Bush was going to go to war - and that Blair, his poodle at obedient heel, would follow along. More recently we learned - again from British sources - that even though Bush went back to the United Nations for yet another resolution condemning Iraq, he was determined to make war almost no matter what.

None of this necessarily means that Bush doctored US intelligence to make a purposely false case that Iraq was seething with weapons of mass destruction. There is plenty of evidence that others in the administration - Dick Cheney, in particular - exaggerated such that their pants must have caught fire, but nothing so far proved that Bush knew he was making a false case. Indeed, foreign intelligence sources were in agreement with Bush on Iraq's WMD and so were Clinton administration officials who had seen some of the same intelligence. Even within the Bush administration, critics of the war - and there were some - were just as convinced that Saddam had WMD. Colin Powell, you may recall, soiled his stellar reputation with a United Nations speech that is now just plain sad to read. Almost none of it is true.

There remains, though, the little matter of what was in Bush's gut - not his head, mind you, but that elusive place where emotion resides. It was there, in the moments after 9/11, that Bush truly decided on war, maybe because Saddam had once tried to kill George H.W. Bush, maybe because the neocons had convinced him that a brief war in Iraq would have long-term salutary consequences for the entire Middle East, maybe because he could not abide the thought that a monster like Saddam might die in his sleep - and maybe because he heard destiny calling.

Whatever Bush's specific reason or reasons, the one thing that's so far missing from the record is proof of him looking for a genuine way out of war instead of looking for a way to get it started. Bush wanted war. He just didn't want the war he got.

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Iraq "Escalating To The Worst": Sunnis Stashing Arms In Mosques, Organizing Fighters...

LA Times Megan K. Stack April 1, 2006 at 08:14 AM

When the "black shirts" come back, the neighbors of the mosque will be ready to fight.
The Sunni Arab men of the district have posted plainclothes spies on the corners to look out for suspicious strangers. They keep their cellphones close at hand, waiting for the ring that will call them to arms. When it comes, the men will pour from the surrounding homes, guns blazing.
Faced with the growth of Shiite militias such as the black-shirted Al Mahdi army and deadly abuses by the Shiite-dominated police forces, Sunnis in mixed-sect neighborhoods and cities throughout Iraq are stashing guns in their mosques and knitting themselves into militias of their own.

"We've made an agreement with the neighbors that if we have another attack, they'll pick up their weapons and fight the invaders," said Fares Mahmoud, deputy preacher of the El Koudiri Mosque here in the middle-class neighborhood of Arasat. "We are depending on the soul of the people to protect us."

Read the whole story here.

U.S. Copter Crashes South of Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. helicopter crashed southwest of Baghdad on Saturday, but the status of the crew was unknown, the U.S. military said.

A U.S. statement said the helicopter had been conducting a "combat air patrol" but did not give the type of aircraft, the number of crew members or the precise area where it went down.

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Nuke Expert: Some U.S. Officials Set on Hitting Iran

A growing number of high level American officials have already decided they want to attack Iran, according to one of the world’s leading nuclear proliferations experts.

Foreign Policy:

I used to think that the Bush administration wasn’t seriously considering a military strike on Iran, because it would only accelerate Iran’s nuclear program. But what we’re seeing and hearing on Iran today seems awfully familiar. That may be because some U.S. officials have already decided they want to hit Iran hard.

Does this story line sound familiar? The vice president of the United States gives a major speech focused on the threat from an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The U.S. secretary of state tells congress that the same nation is our most serious global challenge. The secretary of defense calls that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism. The president blames it for attacks on U.S. troops. The intelligence agencies say the nuclear threat from this nation is 10 years away, but the director of intelligence paints a more ominous picture. A new U.S. national security strategy trumpets preemptive attacks and highlights the country as a major threat. And neoconservatives beat the war drums, as the cable media banner their stories with words like “countdown” and “showdown.”


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Seven Questions: What's Next for Iraq?

Posted on Apr. 1, 2006

An Arabic-speaking U.S. reporter in Iraq talks about the all-but-certain collapse of the country, and urges American policy makers to make friendly overtures towards Iran.

Foreign Policy:

FOREIGN POLICY: What does the current stalemate over the appointment of a prime minister say about the political process in Iraq, and whether the tensions on the ground can be discussed and eased at a political level?

Nir Rosen: I think it shows just once more that events inside the Green Zone have really no relation to what happens on the street in Iraq. They are bickering among themselves about how to create a government. But outside the Green Zone, they wouldn’t last a minute, not one of these leaders, they would immediately be killed. Events inside the zone have been a big theater:

What it does show is that they can’t even cooperate at a political level. Meanwhile, their militias are already fighting each other, whether they are Kurdish, Shia, or Sunni. It shows there is no hope of any political rapprochement. Not that that would have an impact on the ground, because on the ground it is the militia leaders who are in charge. Every neighborhood has its own little army, every mosque has its own little army, that’s where the power lies in Iraq, with the guys with the guns on the street.


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Jill Carroll forced to make propaganda video as price of freedom

By Dan Murphy Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

CAIRO - The night before journalist Jill Carroll's release, her captors said they had one final demand as the price of her freedom: She would have to make a video praising her captors and attacking the United States, according to Jim Carroll.

In a long phone conversation with his daughter on Friday, Mr. Carroll says that Jill was "under her captor's control."

Ms. Carroll had been their captive for three months and even the smallest details of her life - what she ate and when, what she wore, when she could speak - were at her captors' whim. They had murdered her friend and colleague Allan Enwiya, "she had been taught to fear them," he says. And before making one last video the day before her release, she was told that they had already killed another American hostage.

That video appeared Thursday on a jihadist website that carries videos of beheadings and attacks on American forces. In it, Carroll told her father she felt compelled to make statements strongly critical of President Bush and his policy in Iraq.

Her remarks are now making the rounds of the Internet, attracting heavy criticism from conservative bloggers and commentators.

In fact, Carroll did what many hostage experts and past captives would have urged her to do: Give the men who held the power of life and death over her what they wanted.

"You'll pretty much say anything to stay alive because you expect people will understand these aren't your words," says Micah Garen, a journalist and author who was held captive by a Shiite militia in southern Iraq for 10 days in August 2004. "Words that are coerced are not worth dying over."

Shortly before her release, her captors - who refer to themselves as the Revenge Brigade - also told her they had infiltrated the US diplomatic compound in Baghdad, and she would be killed if she went there or cooperated with the American authorities. It was a threat she took seriously in her first few hours of freedom.

Carroll worked at the Wall Street Journal's Washington office in early 2002 when that paper's reporterDaniel Pearl was abducted and beheaded in Pakistan. "Many of her colleagues knew him and it was very emotional in the office,'' Jill told her father. "She had that memory in the back of her head while she was being threatened."

In making their last video, Mr. Carroll says her captors "obviously wanted maximum propaganda value in the US. After listening to them for three months she already knew exactly what they wanted her to say, so she gave it to them with appropriate acting to make it look convincing."

Jill Carroll will undoubtedly speak for herself once she's had time to recover from her ordeal and spend time with her family. But her friends and colleagues say she made it clear that she's no friend to those who kidnap or harm civilians.

Those who encountered Carroll in a professional context repeatedly praised her fairness and compassion, as demonstrated by some of the thousands of letters the Monitor has received in her support.

"Her professionalism and objectivity were unparalleled within the media community," Capt. Patrick Kerr, a Marine public affairs officer who got to know Carroll last December, when she spent a month with a Marine unit in Western Iraq, said in an e-mail. "I saw her in Husaybah, on the Syrian border, in early December shortly before I returned to the States. Aside from being very personable and down-to-earth, what really struck me was Jill's bravery. She seemed to fit right in with the marines and Iraqi security forces," he wrote in January.

The Monitor's editor, Richard Bergenheim, says that "none of us - except perhaps her personal friends and family - know what Jill's views are about the war in Iraq. But we do know that they did not color her reporting for the Monitor. She covered a wide spectrum of people in Iraq and that is part of what made her reporting valuable."

On the evening of March 29, her captors brought her written questions in Arabic, and asked her to translate them into English for the video. Though they promised her freedom in exchange for cooperating, she didn't believe them, as she'd been promised freedom many times in the past, she told her father.

But that evening, during the first attempt at producing the video, the power went out. They finished up the next morning, shortly before she was dropped off in a Baghdad neighborhood and pointed to the offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), which then contacted friends and the US government.

Mr. Garen, who was forced to make a propaganda video by his own captors, says that "I said the US should 'stop the massacre' in Najaf - and they weren't my words, and I felt very uncomfortable saying them," recalls Garen. He says he tried to change some of the text he was fed but "that was very risky."

Garen's book "American Hostage," co-authored with his wife Marie-Helene, recounts his experience, and in the process of researching it he delved into the methods and motives of kidnappers, particularly ones with political agendas. "The point of taking hostages is to get them to make propaganda statements," he says. "The job of a civilian hostage... is to stay alive."

On Thursday, the International Woman's Media Foundation announced that Carroll had won its Courage in Journalism Award. Judy Woodruff of PBS and the Foundation's awards chair wrote: "Her courage and example are an inspiration to us all, especially at a time when journalists are under threat in many parts of the world, and particularly Iraq, for simply trying to cover stories vital for us all to know."

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Editor: Carroll 'Emotionally Fragile'

The new face of apartheid: J. Kenneth Hackwell:

Are they going to let this asshole, steal another election, where the hell are the friking democrat party, to deal with this slimeball and besides that what the hell is wrong with the bloody people of Ohio, if this is allowed to happen, then they deserve exactly what they get, as far as I am concerned, no one can be that braindead after what happened in the 2004 Presidential Election.
March 30, 2006

The most unprincipled and opportunistic man in the history of Ohio, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, stands poised to claim the Republican primary for governor. Blackwell and his far-right theocratic “rapture-ready” Christian dominionists will doom the Buckeye State to further despair.

It should come as no surprise that the Free Press is the only newspaper in Ohio willing to out Blackwell for appearing before white supremacists in the secretive Council on National Policy. Blackwell understands power; he understands that there’s plenty of money in putting a black face on the new politics of high-tech Jim Crow. Blackwell also understands that in order for his strategy to succeed, he must convince a significant number of black ministers to join him in his open bigotry against gays and lesbians.

This is simply the old apartheid politics of divide and conquer. Blackwell wants to rule the new Buckeye State Bantustan.

Blackwell’s recent trip to Cleveland to appear before members of the United Pastors Mission at the Antioch Baptist Church seemed to be scripted by Karl Rove. Blackwell – the notorious co-chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Committee, who was shameless and blatant in his partisan suppression of minority and poor voters while mugging for the camera and claiming he was just like “Gandhi and King” – told the big lie. He blamed the suppression on black voters in Columbus on the likeable but lame William Anthony, Chair of the Franklin County Democratic Party and the County Board of Elections.

So distressed was Anthony that the Franklin County Dems actually issued a stinging rebuke entitled, “Blackwell Breaks the Ten Commandments.” Anthony understated the obvious when he called Blackwell’s outrageous lie a “deceitful misdirection.”

“Franklin County and many other counties throughout the state did not have nearly enough voting machines because Ken Blackwell mismanaged the HAVA-implementation process from the start. The only HAVA funds spent in Franklin County during 2004 was Gene Pierce’s no-bid contract. No HAVA money was spent on voting machines,” the Franklin County Democratic Party charged.

In a separate letter, Anthony, who has been more reluctant to criticize Ken Blackwell than Franklin County Board of Elections Director, Republican Matt Damschroder, wrote: “I will be the first to concede that Franklin County had a woefully inadequate amount of voting machines for the type of voter turnout we experienced in 2004…Boards of Elections throughout Ohio were at your mercy while waiting for your office to create and implement a coherent strategy to approve HAVA-compliant vendors and then allocate funding to counties to purchase new voting machines.”

Anthony accused Blackwell of invoking the race card: “I find it particularly odious and offensive that you insist on singling me out because I am a black man. You have used my race to publicly attack me before (on a nationally broadcast program), but now I am demanding that you cease and desist.”

"I refuse to allow you to use me as a stalking horse to deflect criticism away from your actions as Secretary of State, especially as you attempt to court African American voters in your gubernatorial race,” Anthony wrote.

Republican Damschroder recently confirmed to the Free Press that it was Blackwell who directed that the votes of 356 people who were at the right precinct, but were wrongly given a provisional ballot by pollworkers, were not counted in the 2004 election. Two-thirds of these were in the inner city among poor and minority voters.

Hamilton County Board of Election documents obtained by the Free Press and analyzed by Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips, as part of an ongoing Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism (CICJ) investigation of the 2004 presidential election, indicate that 95.12% of the 3,342 rejected provisional ballots in that county came from the city of Cincinnati. Only 34% of Hamilton County voters, and virtually all African American voters, were from the city, where Kerry received 68% of the vote. The white suburbs constituting 66% of all the county voters, and where Bush received 64% of the vote, only had 5% of provisional ballots rejected. Blackwell’s directive for counting provisional ballots had a disparate impact on African American voters, when he ordered all Boards of Elections for the first time in Ohio history to only count votes that were in the right precinct, even if the voter was at the right polling site.

In Lucas County, newly obtained data indicates the massive racist nature of the voter challenges in the city of Toledo. There were 930 challenged voters in Lucas County, 810 of them were from Toledo. While only 62% of all the voters were from Toledo, where Kerry received 68% of the vote, 87% of the challenged voters came from the city. The greatest number of challenged voters in Toledo came from four predominantly African American wards, where Kerry received 86% of the vote. While these four wards constituted only 7.8% of all Toledo voters, fully 40% of all the challenges were in these wards. Blackwell’s record of presiding over one of the most racist elections in U.S. history has helped propel him into a reported 11 point lead in the Republican primary for governor in a recent Dispatch poll.

Even with that lead, Blackwell’s not taking any chances. In another frightening and blatantly partisan move, Blackwell, who personally negotiated the deal with Diebold for new machines in 47 of Ohio’s 88 counties, has ordered that all the access cards to the notoriously hackable e-voting machines be centralized in his office. With the May 2 primary looming, Blackwell issued a directive ordering all computer access cards to be sent to him before the primary “so the security codes can be changed,” according to the Columbus Dispatch. Even Republicans are critical of this undemocratic power grab. Linda S. Stutz, a Republican and Director of the Van Wert County Board of Elections, told the Dispatch, “I just feel very strongly there’s a problem here.”

Let’s see. A well-known criminal with no respect for democracy seizing all the access cards just prior to the primary? No wonder the Secretary of State is known as J. Kenneth Hackwell in the voting rights community.

Bob Fitrakis is the co-editor of Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? with Harvey Wasserman (www.freepress.org) and co-counsel with Cliff Arnebeck in the Alliance for Democracy suit against the Hocking County Board of Elections.

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Elections & Voting

Why did J. Kenneth Blackwell seek, then hide, his association with super-rich extremists and e-voting magnates?

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
Online Journal Guest Writers
Mar 14, 2006, 00:56

The man who stole the 2004 election for George W. Bush -- Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell -- has posted a picture of himself addressing the white supremacist ultra-right Council for National Policy (CNP). He then pulled the picture and tried to hide his participation in the meeting by removing mention of it from his website, kenblackwell.com.

First discovered by a netroots investigator (uaprogressiveaction.com), Blackwell's photo at the CNP meeting was found on Blackwell's website on Monday, March 6. Then it mysteriously disappeared.

Blackwell has ample reason to hide his ties to the CNP. When the Free Press investigated the CNP and its ties to the Republican Party, Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates told the paper that the CNP included "a former Ku Klux Klan leader and other segregationist policies."

Berlet emphasizes that these "shocking" charges are easy to verify.

Berlet describes CNP members as not only traditional conservatives, but also nativists, xenophobes, white racial supremacists, homophobes, sexists, militarists, authoritarians, reactionaries and "in some cases outright neo-fascists."

Some well-known figures affiliated with the CNP include Rev. Jerry Falwell, anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly and the Rev. Pat Robertson. But it's the lesser-known CNP mainstays that are more indicative of the organization's politics. They include:

Richard Shoff, a former Ku Klux Klan leader in Indiana.

John McGoff, an ardent supporter of the former apartheid South African regime.

R.J. Rushdoony, the late theological leader of America's "Christian Reconstruction" movement, which advocates that Christian fundamentalists take "dominion" over America by abolishing democracy and instituting Old Testament Law. Rushdoony's Reconstructionalists believe that "homosexuals . . . adulterers , blasphemers, astrologers and others will be executed," along with disobedient children.

Reed Larson, head of anti-union National Right to Work Committee.

Don Wildmon, TV censorship activist and accused anti-Semite.

Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver North, Major General John K. Singlaub and other principals from the Iran-Contra Scandal.

Investigative reporter Russ Bellant, author of Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party; The Religious Movement in Michigan Politics; and The Coors Connection, told the Free Press that the "membership of the Council comprises the elite of the radical right in America."

Blackwell is not the only Ohio Republican with ties to white supremacists, according to Bellant. He found ties between Senator George Voinovich and members of fascist groups formerly from Eastern and Southern Europe living in the Cleveland area.>>>cont

Feds investigate GOP candidate
Ohio attorney general running for governor against Ken Blackwell

Christy who the friking hell is running against the guy? or isn't there a democrat running against him?

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Vision Quest

By Chris Floyd

The war aims of the Babylonian Conquest have always been obvious to anyone who concentrates on the operational reality of the action, ignoring the ludicrous cornball about democracy and security that Bush dishes out to gull the rubes back home.

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Ignorance by Content and Omission

By Charles Sullivan

Little by little the minds of the people have been poisoned by propaganda and it is called nourishment. As a result the more noble traits of our culture are incrementally dying. Through the judicious use of lies and distortions the people are deceived into supporting the atrocities of war and conquest that are committed in their name.

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A Man’s Word

By Monica Benderman

My husband, Sgt. Kevin Benderman, chose to no longer participate in war. He followed the Army regulations, filed a Conscientious Objector application, and acted honorably every step of the way. His unit commanders chose to punish him for not allowing them to control him with their threats, and my husband went to jail simply because his commanders had no integrity, no honor and no respect for the very constitution they had given a sworn oath to uphold.

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William F. Buckley: Bush Will Be Judged On Iraq War "Failure"...

Bloomberg March 31, 2006 at 10:42 PM

READ MORE: George W. Bush, Iraq
William F. Buckley Jr., the longtime conservative writer and leader, said George W. Bush's presidency will be judged entirely by the outcome of a war in Iraq that is now a failure.

``Mr. Bush is in the hands of a fortune that will be unremitting on the point of Iraq,'' Buckley said in an interview that will air on Bloomberg Television this weekend. ``If he'd invented the Bill of Rights it wouldn't get him out of his jam.''

Buckley said he doesn't have a formula for getting out of Iraq, though he said ``it's important that we acknowledge in the inner councils of state that it (the war) has failed, so that we should look for opportunities to cope with that failure.''


Sen. Leahy: Bush's Wiretapping “Is 'Alice In Wonderland' Gone Amok

New York Times DAVID STOUT March 31, 2006 at 09:43 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

President Bush's once-secret surveillance program sparked a bitter debate today before the Senate Judiciary Committee over what kind of president George W. Bush has become and how he stands in history.

The committee met to consider a resolution by one of its members, Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, to censure the president over the surveillance program. The resolution was not voted on and is almost surely going nowhere, but it still had the power to ignite feelings.



God I love this dude, she or he makes me laugh and relax so much, just reading their posts.

Nerve ends tick in flicker book animation. One eye's closed in fear, anticipation. Will it stay shut? Will it ever open? What if? What if? Nerves.
- Bauhaus

I have liver cancer again. Don't worry, I've had it before. This time I'm sure I have it because I can feel my liver inside my body. I can't actually palpate it, and believe me, I've tried, but I can feel it in there when I walk around. But it might also be from sitting in my comfy computer chair with my knees up to my chest when I'm typing, searching websites or watching movies. So maybe it's an out of place rib. Or maybe I'm just crazy.
I'm pretty sure I'm a hypochondriac. I have been since I was little. I have had every disease and malfunction known to man. You name it, I've had it (twice.) This week alone I thought I had liver cancer, a tumor on my sternum (I still think I have that), lung cancer and AIDS. My mom is so used to me calling her in a panic that she doesn't even listen anymore. "MOM!!!!!!!! I have lukemia! I've had a bruise for 2 days and I don't know how I got it." My mom....."Oh yeah? What time are you bringing over the dog?" Not very comforting when you're convinced you're on your last legs, but as she says, if she ever really freaked when I told her one of my latest diseases I would REALLY lose it. She has learned to disregard all my medical claims, and only takes me seriously if there is blood involved or if I'm unconscious. My dad would have to see my death certificate before he'd agree I had something bad. His key phrase is "You're too young to have X." He's been using that since I was twelve (when I was convinced I had bone cancer.) I'm not getting any younger so it's not gonna hold water one of these days. But I assure you, when I'm sixty he'll still be saying that.

I went to the emergency room a few months back when I thought I was having a stroke. And I really thought I was having a stroke too. I had had this insufferable, monster headache for 3 days and it wasn't letting up. I went to work but they sent me home when I started mumbling about not being able to see out of one eye. Instead of going home, I drove (yes, drove) over to my mom's and nearly fell apart. She told me she'd drive me to the ER if I was really dying. I was really dying, so off we went.

When we arrived at the ER, the triage nurse assured me that I wasn't having a stroke ("You're too young for that" she said) and decided it was probably just a migraine but they would do a CAT scan anyway just to double check. As I lay in the ER exam room, awating to be wheeled to the CAT scan department, a nurse came in to assess my symptoms. "She's nuts" my mom happily told the nurse, smiling over the top of her Washington Post. "She thinks she's having a stroke." I was furious! This was a real medical emergency and my mom was laughing at me! Plus, this hypochondriasis is all her fault anyway. Everything is her fault. I'd get her later.

The nurse took my bloodpressure (it was high...see, stroke) and shined a light in my eyes. Then she started feeling around my neck and declared I had a swollen lymph node. Not realizing that she had just diagnosed me with AIDS (again) she left the room, saying someone would be in soon to take me to CAT scan. She smiled reassuringly over her shoulder and disappeared. I was already a disaster. My hands flew up and searched every last inch of my upper torso for the offending AIDS infected lymph node. None were found. I searched again. Still nothing. And believe me, I know the exact size of every lymph node on my body. If one were even 0.000000125 centimeters larger, I would know it. Relieved, I decided this nurse was inept and couldn't be trusted to give me a proper diagnosis. I made a mental note of this and went back to obsessing about my stroke.

Now I was really a mess. "I'm gonna die mom" I moaned. I fell back dramatically onto the gurnery on which I had been sitting straight up and even more dramatically tossed a limp arm over my eyes. I heard my mom turn the page of her WaPo. "What if they tell me I have an anurysm and they need to operate? This isn't the hospital I would want to have brain surgery in." I sighed deeply and felt a tear welling up in my right eye. I shuddered slightly and felt the lone tear slip down my cheek. "Would you shut the hell up" my mom said from behind her enormously engrossing paper. Then "Why in the hell do they have Faux News on in this place? People are already sick. I'm gonna go turn it off." She stood up, carefully folded her prescious WaPo and left the room, disappearing around the corner to see if she could turn off the obnoxiously loud TV out in the waiting area.

Just then the harbingers of bad news arrived to wheel me down to CAT scan. I pretended that I wasn't about to vomit from the fear of diagnosis and straightened out the blankets I had draped over my legs to keep myelf busy (and so they couldn't see me shaking). I stared straight up at the ceiling as they slowly wheeled me out of the exam room, through the ER and into the hospital itself. The smell of a hospital has always made me nervous and the various scents (diseases, cleaning products and.....death) overwhelmed me as I journeyed closer to my inevitable diganosis. I closed my eyes for the remainder of the trip. It was all too much for my poor self to take.

When we arrived in the CAT scan department, the girl who operated the contraption asked me what the problem was, equally out of morbid curiosity and the need to know what, exactly, she was scanning. "I'm dying of a stroke. Or an anurysm. They don't know which one yet" I feebly told her. She looked me over and smiled, "You look pretty young to be suffering from either one." She must have spoken to my father. She set me up on the sliding table (just sitting up caused my head to pound like a drum), put a helmet looking thingy on my head and slid me into the machine. Five minutes later it was over. I was worried I would go into cardiac arrest while in there (from the stroke) and they wouldn't be able to drag me out in time to save me. I was relieved when I was slid back out and reentered daylight.

Back to the ER exam room we went to await the results. While we were waiting to leave the CAT scan department, I listened as carfeully as I could to see if I could hear someone discussing my horrible diagnosis. The radiologists where in a little room to the left and I could see them in there looking at films. I wondered if mine was up there. Without hearing anything that sounded as if it pertained to me, I was wheeled back to the ER. I felt panic slowly start creeping back in. I had brain cancer now, I was sure of it. As we entered, I saw that my mom had returned from wherever the hell it was she had gone. "So you made it, huh?" she sneered as they wheeled me back in, my ashen face desperate with panic. I glared at her with brain tumor eyes. She sat back down and up went the WaPo again. After a few moments of silence (I was choking back tears) I said "Mom, what if I have brain cancer? What if the doctor comes through the door with another doctor, an oncologist? Mom, I swear I'll pass out if she comes in here with another doctor."

I was staring through teary eyes up at the ceiling, contemplating life as I knew it when I heard the crinkling of the WaPo. "So it's brain cancer now? When we got here it was a stroke. What made you decide it's brain cancer?" She was mocking me, I knew it. I was furious. As dramtically as possible, I tossed an arm over the railing of my deathbead (gurney) and turned my panic stricken face in her vile direction. Seething with hurt (and brain cancer) I hissed "You're making fun of me and I'm dying. What a bitch! You'll feel bad when that doctor comes in here with my films and an oncologist." She rolled here eyes and laughed at me (again) and sat back down. "You don't have brain cancer" she declared and went back to reading the paper.

I lay there staring up into eternity for what seemed like 5 hours. In reality, it was probably more like 20 minutes, but remember, I'm a hypochondriac. I was actually convinced they were gonna come in and tell me I had brain cancer. I thought I was gonna throw up. What other reason could there be for the delay in telling me my diagnosis? The doctor was probably confering with an oncologist at this very moment. Then I saw a form in the doorway and in came the doctor. My heart actually stopped for about 5 seconds then kick started itself. I felt the blood flush back into my extremities and into my face. I swallowed hard but the lump in my throat impeded the saliva and it bubbled back out onto my lips. I looked, I'm sure, like a crazy person. Deathly white face, trembling hands, giant dilated pupils and foamy spit all over my lips.

The doctor held a chart in one hand and a beeper in the other. I looked towards the door again to see what the oncologist looked like. I bet he's gonna be asian. The doctor sat down on the little stool that was positioned directly in front of my obnoxious, uncaring mother. I continued staring at the door, awating the white coat of the oncologist to blow through at any minute. "Well Miss X, your films were fine. I think your migraine tensed up the muslces in your neck. The muslces pulling on the back of your head is what's causing you the pain. I'm going to prescribe you a muslce relaxer." My asshole mother laughed, outloud, and looked at me. I was stunned. I sat there, still awaiting the oncologist to burst in and say there had been a mistake and that I did, in fact, have a brain tumor. The doctor wrote me a prescription as I numbly sat up. "So I'm not having a stoke?" I sobbed? "You're too young to have a stroke" she said, placing the prescription in my grinning asshole mothers hands. "The nurse will be in to give you your discharge papers in a few minutes. I hope you feel beter. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call us." Then she turned and breezed out of the room, her lab coat billowing out behind her in her rush to see a SERIOUS case.

I started getting dressed and decided to ignore, for the moment, my coldhearted mother. I would deal with her obnoxiousness at a later date. Right now I had to focus on this latest diagnosis. So it's not a stroke or an anurysm or a brain tumor. Good. I was feeling better. I did a little "no brain cancer" dance and managed (painfully) to grin at the rude one as we strode out of the exam room and into the waiting room/reception area. I wrote the hospital a check for $100.00 (my sorry copay) and decided that was pretty cheap for a clean bill of health. We walked towards the slidding glass doors and stepped out into the afternoon sunshine.

"Where do you want to fill this prescription?" my mom asked. "Do you want to go back to your pharmacy and fill it?" I thought for a second. I couldn't go back in there after just telling them I was dying. That would be too anti-climatic. I had to let them worry about me. You know, suck up as much sympathy as possible. I'd tell them the diagnosis when they called later to see if I was still among the living. "No, we can go the pharmacy by my house" I said. As my mom drove, I looked out the window at the passing scenery. The sun was out and was warming my face as I gazed up at the clear December sky. Just then it hit me. The revelation struck me like a ton of bricks and I felt the wind sucked from my lungs. The world started to tilt on its axis and I thought I was going to faint dead away. For the second time in one day I felt my heartbeat stop. My hands clenched the armrest and I froze. Slowly, I turned towards my mom. She must have seen the panic in my eyes and noted the pallor of my complexion. "Now what's wrong?" she demanded. I opened my mouth, dry lips pulling slowly apart. My tongue felt huge in my mouth. I swallowed hard, trying to push the panic back down into my gut. "Mom....." I quivered, my voice barely audible over the terror, "what if they MISSED the brain tumor?"

posted by America Is Fucked at 3/29/2006 10:53:00 PM


The Liberty Bell should have gotten up and rolled as far away from this chrsito-fascist asshole as possible. Or a thunderous clap should have been heard as the bell split the rest of the way in protest. Rick Santorum (Douche Bag, Pennsylvania) stands for NOTHING the Liberty Bell is supposed to signify. He is a hatemongerer, a homophobe, a fascist and a rabid misogynist. He stands for the rich and the rich ONLY. The good people of Philadelphia (those not ducking gunfire from the current wave of violence that has swept the city) should have scrubbed the LIberty Bell with Clorox after his departure and fummigated the entire Constitution Center in which it's located. Philadelphia shouldn't allow Santorum within 10 miles of the birthplace of the Constitution. Santorum stands for NOTHING the Constitution gurantess us and, along with every other neo-con asshole, desires to see our Constitutional rights dissolved and George Bu$h installed as King. He defiles the entire area with his presence and insults the America people. Sorry, but I find this picture nauseating. I cannot wait for Santorum to go down in a flaming pile of necromantic sludge in November. That is unless Diebold has a "vote."

posted by America Is Fucked at 3/31/2006 12:14:00 PM

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Inquiry into secret guns-for-Iraq deal

BRITISH deal to equip the Iraqi Security Forces and army with Italian-made pistols without telling Coalition partners in Rome is being investigated by prosecutors in Italy. More than 20,000 Beretta-made weapons were trans-ported from Italy to Britain then sent on to Baghdad and Basra for distribution to Iraqis. The Times has learnt through the Freedom of Information Act that thousands of the Berettas were ordered and paid for by the Ministry of Defence.

Italian prosecutors have confirmed that they are investigating two shipments of Berettas delivered from Italy to Britain then sent to Iraq. The British Government has admitted to Parliament that it did not tell the Italians, who were part of the Coalition, about the re-exportation. Newspaper reports suggest that Beretta-type pistols have become available on Iraq’s black market, with some found in insurgents’ hands, a claim denied by the MoD.

One possible leakage point between Iraq’s new authorities and rebel fighters has emerged in a parliamentary answer. The MoD has admitted that it targeted members of a Shia militia to join the Iraqi Security Forces after Saddam’s overthrow. Italy has severe laws on arms exports. Beretta believed the Iraqi police, not the army, were to be the end user. The pistols were exported for the Coalition to use as “civilian weapons”, not “military weapons”. There are different versions of the pistol which for technical reasons are, under Italian law, classified differently. Those sent to Iraq were civilian models.

Oxfam, which campaigns against weapons proliferation, accused Britain of failing to impose adequate safeguards to stop pistols falling into the wrong hands; but the MoD said: “There is no evidence of Iraqi insurgents using Beretta semi-automatic pistols.” The flooding of Iraq with Berettas came as the insurgency grew and European public opinion hardened against the invasion. The Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq immediately after the fall of Saddam, needed small arms and ammunition for the new security forces, police, and ministries of oil and justice. Five companies, all from the US, won a competition to supply the order. Taos Industries, an Alabama company, was asked to provide 20,878 pistols.

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Roses For Helen Thomas

Hell Yes, Bravo, Bravo, and the chicken livered bush goons who threatened an 85 year old women, asking for honest answers to an illegal war and the mass killing of the innocent people of Iraq, get your butts over to Iraq and fight his criminal war, on the front lines, would definitely be preferable.

We honor Helen Thomas for asking the questions that affect all Americans!

Last year, internet activists showered Senator Barbara Boxer with their gratitude by sending her roses. We have showered Helen Thomas with the same gratitude by filling her office with roses.

Thank you Democratic Underground!

We raised enough money to send Helen 1200 roses in vases!
They arrived Thursday March 30th

Click here for more photos!

We also want to thank those volunteers who showed up and spent hours cleaning and arranging the roses. They have been called affectionately our "Rose Brigade". If you'd like to donate a few dollars to go towards their parking costs and a nice meal out, please click the button below. Any funds left over will be donated to Democratic Underground.

Thank you!

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A Message from Helen Thomas:
Blessed are the peacemakers. The bounty of beautiful roses from such
wonderful people has lifted my heart and will remain in my memory for the
rest of my life. Thank you for caring that others may live.
Helen Thomas
Columnist, Hearst Newspapers
March 31, 2006

After grilling Bush, Helen Thomas gets thousands of flowers

Thomas, the 85-year-old veteran White House journalist whose outspoken criticism of the Bush administration has drawn much hate mail from Bush supporters in recent years, said Friday that she was overwhelmed by the avalanche of roses.

"It sure beats the brickbats," she said, referring to hundreds of vitriolic e-mails she's received since last week's encounter with Bush. "Some of them attack you ad hominem and call you a traitor and ask if you've ever been to Iraq," she said. "I think it's the frustration of those who are angry with me and take it out in e-mail. I think there should be a logical debate, but maybe that's not possible during an ongoing war."

Thomas shared her roses with Hearst bureau chief Chuck Lewis and other colleagues and sent the bulk of them to wounded military personnel at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Asked about Bush's response to her pointed question about his Iraq policy, she said, "He could not answer my question. He kept referring to Afghanistan. He never articulated the reasons we're in Iraq. I don't think there's any justification for an unprovoked war against somebody who did nothing against us."

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Helen Thomas Documentary The life of infamous White House correspondent, Helen Thomas.

Annals of Liberation: The Morgue Run



... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...

Wednesday, 29 March 2006
Riverbend, the Anna Akhmatova of Iraq, bears witness once again to the fractured daily life of ordinary people in Baghdad. She has also been nominated -- quite justly -- for one of Britain's most prestigious non-fiction literary prizes, the Samuel Johnson award.Here's an excerpt from her latest post, "Uncertainty", after the jump:

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Feast of the Conquerors: George Bush's Civil War Victory Dance

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Once again we must take up the cudgels for President George W. Bush, who is being increasingly maligned for his alleged lack of strategic vision in Iraq. This chorus of petty carping from partisan dead-enders has been exacerbated of late by all the hand-wringing media reports about "civil war" breaking out among the ungrateful beneficiaries of the president's selfless crusade for peace and enlightenment in the Middle East.

These charges are, as always, pure bunkum. As we have often noted here before, Bush is pursuing a remarkably effective "win-win" strategy in Iraq, a highly flexible vision that is even now ripening to fruition. The savage militias, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, sectarian hatred and gruesome tortures that are turning Iraq into a howling moonscape of fear and chaos are but precision tools in the artful hands of the Leader, as he patiently crafts the ultimate victory.

The war aims of the Babylonian Conquest have always been obvious to anyone who concentrates on the operational reality of the action and ignores the ludicrous cornball about democracy and security that Bush dishes out to gull the rubes back home into giving up their blood and treasure on behalf of his tiny, tyrannical elite. The reality clearly shows that Bush had three primary objectives in launching the invasion. First and foremost was the transfer of large portions of the national wealth of Iraq – and the United States – into the coffers of his political cronies, corporate backers and family members. (Also here.) Second was the frantic acceleration of the long-running, bipartisan militarization of America, which is now almost wholly dependent on war and rumors of war to keep its heavily-mortgaged economy afloat. Third was planting a permanent military presence in Iraq to "project dominance" over the strategic oil lands and serve as staging areas for further operations in regime change and political extortion as needed. ("Nice little country you got there, Abdul; too bad if something, like, happened to it – you savvy? Now howzabout signing that free trade agreement already?")

None of these aims have been harmed in the slightest by Iraq's death spiral into civil war. The Bush Faction's war profiteering and fraud – on a scale surpassing anything ever seen in world history – has fueled a ruthless political machine that despite its growing unpopularity with the American people now controls all three branches of government and has overthrown the Constitution, openly declaring that its leader is beyond the reach of "judicial review, congressional oversight or international law," as the Washington Post reported – rather belatedly – this week. Swollen by the swag of aggressive war, the elite interests represented by the Bush Regime – oil, military-related industries and predatory venture capitalists like the Carlyle Group – have had their already inordinate sway over American society and policy increased by several magnitudes. They will remain ascendant for decades to come, no matter what happens in Iraq, or in any U.S. election.

Indeed, the murderous chaos that will inevitably spill across the region, and the world, from the collapse of Iraq will only mean more boffo box office for the fearmongers and warmongers of the Bush Faction – and even greater feasting for their oil barons, already gorged on record-breaking profits after just three years of bloodshed. The whack-a-mole "Long War" gleefully envisioned by the Pentagon will thus be extended indefinitely, bringing more militarization, more draconian "war powers," and further destruction of those pesky civil rights and constitutional liberties that hinder the elites in their exercise of raw power.

Civil war also enhances the prospect of permanent U.S. bases. The Sunni minority, once the most vociferous opponents of American occupation, now look – vainly – to U.S. forces as their last-ditch protection against the deadly militias of the Shiite majority. The Shiite-led government relies on U.S. military might to prop up the rickety state system imposed by American guns. The Kurds – busy ethnically cleansing their own enclave, as the WP reports, and imprisoning people for criticizing the corruption of Kurdish leaders, as the LAT reports – are happy for the Americans to plant vast, minatory fortresses down south to keep the troublesome Arabs in line. And so the permanent bases are being sunk deep into Iraqi soil; the Pentagon has already "authorized or proposed almost $1 billion" for bases in 2005-06, The Associated Press reports.

And if Iraq cracks apart completely – the "three-state solution" proposed by Leslie Gelb, doyen of that bastion of bipartisan Establishment wisdom, the Council on Foreign Relations – why, so much the better. It will be much easier to wangle basing agreements, oil deals, insider investments and those all-important arms contracts out of weakened mini-states struggling for survival than from a strong, unified nation looking out for its own interests.

As the gates of hell blow open in Iraq, the marvelous adaptability of Bush's strategy becomes apparent. When the promised "cakewalk" did not materialize, Bush shifted to the near-genocidal fury of the Fallujah assault and the systematic tortures of Abu Ghraib. When these tactics failed to quell the resistance, Bush gave the Pentagon the greenlight to arm, infiltrate and manipulate militias and terrorist groups, even to the point of goading them into action, the New Yorker reports. [See also "Fear Up Harsh."]If you can't have cake, then chaos might serve your turn just as well.

Civil war looks like a profitable gambit for now – except for all the pointless suffering, of course. But Bush has never cared about that. A true visionary, he keeps his eyes on the prize, on the only kind of "victory" he has ever sought in Iraq: loot and domination for his ruthless clique. Whatever happens next, they've already won.

Chris Floyd/A version of this column appears in the March 31 edition of The Moscow Times

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The Liberation of America Begins

Thursday, 30 March 2006

"If you start looking at them as humans, and stuff like that, then how are you going to kill them?"So says Jody Casey, a U.S. soldier who had just left military service and almost immediately joined a remarkable march of atonement, protest and patriotism led by Iraq Veterans Against the War, walking 130 miles from Mobile to New Orleans along with military families and survivors. (The full story is in the Guardian, via the indispensible Information Clearing House.)

Vets March on New Orleans - fluxview.com

This march, and the testimony of the soldiers, should be seen as part of the on-going liberation of the United States from the nihilistic militarism that has captured the nation's government – and its psyche.

Like the protests of Cindy Sheehan at Fortress Crawford last summer (see "The Fire Sermon: A Spark is Lit in the Texas Scrub"), the march is a milestone in what will certainly be a long and perilous struggle to reclaim and redeem the Republic.Honour these men and women.

They are fighting for you. Listen to their words, support their cause, and denounce at every turn the crimes of the liars and killers at the top who have brought our long-running infection of blind and brutal militarism to a fever pitch. Let the days of our shame and degradation be done with at last. Reclaim, renew and redeem the Republic!Excerpts from the Guardian after the jump:

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The Mess After Katrina

Seven months after Hurricane Katrina, many New Orleans residents are still largely without jobs, emergency housing, flood protection, mortgage relief, and health care. African-American residents have been hit especially hard by the slow recovery—a recent Gallup poll reported that 53 percent of black respondents had lost "everything" in the wake of Katrina, as compared to 19 percent of whites.

To make things worse, according to the Brookings Institution, rebuilding has proceeded unevenly, and has exacerbated the racial and socioeconomic divides. "The [white, relatively upscale] French Quarter and Uptown, you see life basically as it was before the storm," said Matt Fellowes, a senior research associate at Brookings. "It's eerie, because life really is normal in those neighborhoods and then you cross over the Industrial Canal and enter the lower Ninth Ward or eastern New Orleans, and it looks like a bomb just went off yesterday." And it's possible that this is deliberate policy: Mike Davis has a piece in the Nation this week reporting that "mayor-appointed commissions and outside experts, mostly white and Republican, [are] propos[ing] to radically shrink and reshape a majority-black and Democratic city."

As many as 5,500 homes still need to be leveled in the lower 9th Ward alone., which means that a sizeable proportion of 9th Ward and Eastern New Orleans residents remain in temporary housing elsewhere around the country, and their displacement could have a lasting affect on the face of local politics. 500,000 African-American residents lived in New Orleans before Katrina; that number is now down to 200,000, which will drastically shift the balance of electoral power in the upcoming mayoral and city council elections. Nevertheless, this week a federal judge ruled that the elections will go on as usual, despite the fact that many former residents won't be able to participate.Bruce Gordon, President of the NAACP, appealed to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco on election matters:

For far too long in Louisiana's history, voting has not been a right afforded to black citizens. Historically, the extension of voting rights to black citizens in Louisiana has been strongly resisted, whether through literacy tests, poll taxes, or other formal and informal practices combined to keep black voting rates in the state low. The impact of Hurricane Katrina now threatens Louisiana's African-American citizens' voting right in equally devastating ways."Less than 10,000 of New Orleans’ 297,000 registered voters have requested absentee ballots and the city of New Orleans may be on the verge of electing its first white mayor in nearly 30 years.

Posted by Juliana Bunim on 03/31/06 at 10:20 AM

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Newly released documents show U.S. role in bloody Argentine coup

Newly released documents show U.S. role in bloody Argentine coup

If you have never seen the 1985 Argentine film, La Historia Oficial, you have missed not only a very fine film, but a riveting, unforgettable performance by Norma Aleandro, winner of the 1985 Cannes Best Actress award. The Official Story is about a history teacher whose well-placed husband is able to negotiate their adoption of a beautiful little girl. It turns out that the girl is the kidnapped daughter of one of the many "disappeared," some of whom were pregnant women whose babies were given to the families of government officials. Aleandro's character's slow realization of what has been going on in her country--and right under her nose--is almost too painful to watch.

Between 1975 and 1978, at least 22,000 people were murdered or disappeared in Argentina when a military junta took over the country. Last Thursday, the day before the 30th anniversary of this, Argentina's bloodiest coup, the National Security Archive released a series of declassified U.S. documents, as well as secret documents from Southern Cone intelligence agencies, that reveal detailed evidence of the atrocities committed by the junta.

One of the documents is a transcript of a staff meeting of then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In the transcript, then-Assistant Secretary for Latin America William Rogers advises Kissinger not to be in a rush to embrace the new regime in Argentina:

I think also we've got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long. I think they're going to have to come down very hard not only on the terrorists but on the dissidents of trade unions and their parties.

Kissinger's reply: "Whatever chance they have, they will need a little encouragement…because I do want to encourage them. I don't want to give the sense that they're harassed by the United States."

The Argentine military warned the U.S. Embassy that "some executions...would probably be necessary" and that they wanted to minimize any resulting problems with the United States.

U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Robert Hill wrote that "it is encouraging to note that the Argentine military are aware of the problem and are already focusing on ways to avoid letting human rights issues become an irritant in US-Argentine relations."

Some estimates of the "disappeared" are as high as 30,000. Around 500 babies were taken from their parents and given to other families.

Posted by Diane E. Dees on 03/28/06 at 11:20 AM

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The Dissappeared

In English. This website provides information about the “desaparecidos,” their histories, government information, and investigations that have gone on since the overthrow of the dictatorship in Argentina. Links are offered regarding further reading on the subject and to various human rights organizations.

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FOCUS | Cindy Sheehan: Casey Austin Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan writes: How many families has BushCo sent on this spiral of never-ending grief and pain? Tens of thousands of people here in America have been debilitated by their policies, and another country and its people lie in ruins for lies and deceit. How many families around the world have black holes in their lives that can't be filled by any light, but suck the light and life from the marrow of the fabric of those families?

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Mosul Slips Out of Control as the Bombers Move In

When the 3,000 men of the mainly Kurdish 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Iraqi Army go on patrol, it is at night, after the rigorously enforced curfew starts at 8 pm. Their vehicles, bristling with heavy machine guns, race through the empty streets of the city, splashing through pools of sewage, always trying to take different routes to avoid roadside bombs. "The government cannot control the city," said Hamid Effendi, an experienced ex-soldier who is Minister for Peshmerga Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

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Thom Hartmann | Today's Immigration Battle - Corporatists vs. Racists

The corporatist Republicans ("amnesty!") are fighting with the racist Republicans ("fence!"), and it provides an opportunity for progressives to step forward with a clear solution to the immigration problem facing America, says Thom Hartmann.

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US Cuts All Contact With Hamas-Led Government

The United States has suspended all contact with the Palestinian government led by Hamas.

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William Rivers Pitt | Plea in DeLay Case Snares Close Confidant

The third significant plea deal in the Abramoff/DeLay bribery scandal was announced today and Tom C. Rudy, DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, names Ed Buckham, DeLay's former chief of staff, as being a central player in the scandal.

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Church fires photog over Scalia picture: Freelancer pays for ‘right thing’

By Jessica Heslam
Friday, March 31, 2006 - Updated: 01:24 PM EST

A freelance photographer has been fired by the Archdiocese of Boston’s newspaper for releasing a picture of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia making a controversial gesture in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sunday.

Peter Smith, who had freelanced for The Pilot newspaper for a decade, lost the job yesterday after the Herald ran his photo on its front page. Smith said he has no regrets about releasing it.

“I did the right thing. I did the ethical thing,” said Smith, 51, an assistant photojournalism professor at Boston University.

Smith snapped the photo of Scalia flicking his hand under his chin after a Herald reporter asked the conservative jurist his response to people who question his impartiality on matters of church and state.

Smith wouldn’t give up the photo earlier this week but chose to release it when he learned Scalia said his gesture had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald. Smith, who was standing in front of the judge, said the Herald “got the story right.”

Smith said the Pilot had an obligation at that point “to bring some clarity to it.”

“I felt that same obligation,” Smith said. “I had to say what I knew and come forward with it..”

The weekly Catholic newspaper made a “journalistic decision” not to run or release the photo, said Archdiocese spokesman Terry Donilon. “Because he breached that trust with the editor, we will no longer engage his services as a freelance photographer,” Donilon said.

“It’s nothing personal,” added Pilot editor Antonio Enrique. “I need to try and find people I can trust.”

While news outlets from across the country sought Smith’s photo yesterday, the archdiocese said there’s no proof that Scalia uttered an obsenity in the church. Smith said Scalia said, “To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’ ” while making the gesture. That’s Italian for (expletive) you.

“It was pretty clear,” Smith said yesterday. A Herald reporter who was nearby did not hear that utterance.

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Shiite Ayatollah Ignores Letter From Bush

A letter from President Bush to Iraq's supreme Shiite spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was hand-delivered earlier this week but sits unread and untranslated in the top religious figure's office, a key al-Sistani aide told The Associated Press on Thursday.

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Iraqis face a more brutal life with each passing month

NYC TvNewsLIES.org

Terror and chaos reign, and the titanic challenge of ensuring political stability has barely begun to be addressed

TVNL Comment: Again we ask: Who exactly is better off without Saddam?

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Pentagon Banned Soldiers From Wear Privately-Bought Body Armor... Attempt "To Cover Up The Billions Of Dollars Spent On Ineffective Body Armor"...

Associated Press March 31, 2006 at 08:49 AM
READ MORE: Afghanistan, Iraq

Soldiers will no longer be allowed to wear body armor other than the protective gear issued by the military, Army officials said Thursday, the latest twist in a running battle over the equipment the Pentagon gives its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army officials told The Associated Press that the order was prompted by concerns that soldiers or their families were buying inadequate or untested commercial armor from private companies -- including the popular Dragon Skin gear made by California-based Pinnacle Armor.


Censure Hearings... Former Nixon Aide: Bush "Cannot Simply Ignore A Law With No Consequences"...

Associated Press March 31, 2006 at 09:55 AM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

Former White House counsel John Dean, who helped push President Richard Nixon from office during the Watergate scandal three decades ago, heads to Capitol Hill on Friday to back an uphill attempt to censure

Dean, author of a book about Bush titled "Worse than Watergate," was to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of a resolution to rebuke Bush for a domestic spying program introduced secretly after the September 11 attacks.


FEMA: New Levees In New Orleans Do Not Meet Flood Standards, $6B To Fix...

The New York Times JOHN SCHWARTZ March 31, 2006 at 10:24 AM

New Orleans's levees do not meet the standards that the Federal Emergency Management Agency requires for its flood protection program, federal officials said yesterday -- and they added that the problem would take as much as $6 billion to fix.

FEMA has long based its flood planning on whether an area is protected against a flood that might have a 1 percent chance of occurring in any year, also known as a 100-year flood. Without that certification, the agency's flood maps have to treat the entire levee system as if it were not there at all, which means that people hoping to build in the affected areas might have to rebuild their homes at elevations of 15 or even 30 feet above sea level in order to meet new federal building standards.


Rice Concedes Errors in Iraq, Elsewhere

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer
1 hour, 49 minutes ago

BLACKBURN, England - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conceded Friday that the United States probably has made thousands of "tactical errors" in Iraq and elsewhere, but said it will be judged by its larger aims of peace and democracy in the Middle East.

The U.S. diplomat met loud anti-war protests in the streets and skeptical questions about U.S. involvement in Iraq at a foreign policy salon Friday, including one about whether Washington had learned from its "mistakes over the past three years."

Rice replied that leaders would be "brain-dead" if they did not absorb the lessons of their times.

"I know we've made tactical errors, thousands of them I'm sure," Rice told an audience gathered by the British foreign policy think tank Chatham House. "But when you look back in history, what will be judged will be, did you make the right strategic decisions."

She said she remains firmly convinced that it was the right strategic decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq three years ago, and that it required an invasion to do it.

Saddam "wasn't going anywhere without military intervention," she said.

Demonstrators organized marches to call America's top diplomat a war criminal and human rights abuser as she joined British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on a tour of his adopted northern England working-class home.

Rice said she was not surprised by the depth of opposition in Britain, President Bush's strongest ally in Iraq, to the war and other American policies.

"I've seen it in every city I've visited in the United States," Rice said earlier Friday. "People have strong views."

"People have the right to protest, that's what democracy is all about," Rice told reporters at a British aerospace plant. "I would say to those who wish to protest, by all means."

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Insurgents will win, says hostage

by Jay Deshmukh in Baghdad
April 01, 2006

US AUTHORITIES in Iraq guarded freed hostage Jill Carroll overnight after insurgents released her from nearly three months of captivity and published a video showing her praising them.

Insurgents, meanwhile, carried out a series of attacks killing eight people, five of them from one Shiite family.

US officials declined to say when the 28-year-old freelance journalist would go home to the United States.

Video footage posted on the Internet late Thursday showed Ms Carroll in an interview with her kidnappers before her release in which she praised Iraq's insurgents and even predicted their victory.

The circumstances under which she spoke were unclear.

"I think the mujahedeen are very smart and even with all the technology and all the people that the American army has here, they still are better at knowing how to live and work here, more clever," Ms Carroll said in response to a question.

Asked what she meant, Ms Carroll, who was snatched from a Baghdad street on January 7, answered: "It makes very clear that the mujahedeen are the ones that will win in the end."
The video showed her dressed in the same baggy clothes she was seen wearing after her release.
Ms Carroll also said she felt guilty being set free while many women remained imprisoned at Baghdad's US-run Abu Ghraib prison.

"It shows the difference between the mujahedeen and the Americans; it shows the mujahedeen are good people fighting an honourable fight while the Americans are here as an occupying force treating the people in a very bad way."

On Thursday afternoon, Ms Carroll, who worked mainly for the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor, was dropped off near the office of the Iraqi Islamic Party.

US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters that "no US person had made arrangement with kidnappers" for her release. He added that none of the kidnappers was in custody yet.

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Detainee Dies at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq

62 year old what the friking hell was he doing in Abu Ghraib in the first place. Why the Hell would you believe anything the military had to say even if they say they are investigating nothing will happen anyways. Whats another body coming out of Abu Ghraib to the White House.

Detainee Dies at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq
1 hour, 25 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A 62-year-old prisoner at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison died of an apparent heart attack, the U.S. military said Friday.

Detainees sharing the compound with the man notified guards that he was having difficulty breathing, a statement said. The prisoner died Thursday at the onsite medical facility after efforts to revive him, it said.

The military is investigating his death, a routine procedure, the statement said.

American soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners at the prison after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq three years ago.

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Obama rallies state Democrats, throws support behind Lieberman

HARTFORD, Conn. -- U.S. Sen. Barack Obama rallied Connecticut Democrats at their annual dinner Thursday night, throwing his support behind mentor and Senate colleague Joe Lieberman.
Obama wasted little time getting to that point, calling it the "elephant in the room" but praising Lieberman's intellect, character and qualifications.

"The fact of the matter is, I know some in the party have differences with Joe. I'm going to go ahead and say it," Obama told the 1,700-plus party members who gathered in a ballroom at the Connecticut Convention Center for the $175-per-head fundraiser.

"I am absolutely certain Connecticut is going to have the good sense to send Joe Lieberman back to the U.S. Senate so he can continue to serve on our behalf," he said.
Despite the camaraderie between the two, the crowd was clearly more receptive to Obama's remarks than Lieberman's speech about party unity and the potential for Democratic victories at the ballot box this fall.

In fact, scattered boos greeted Lieberman when he took the podium, and he had to stop three times during his remarks to shush the crowd so he could deliver key points.

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DNC gets involved in New Orleans election controversy


The Democratic National Committee is setting up a toll-free telephone line and will air spots on black radio stations in Atlanta, Houston and Baton Rouge to inform displaced New Orleanians of their voting rights.

The DNC is the latest group to get involved in the city's contested April 22 mayoral election. Besides the mayor's race, city council seats, tax assessors and other key city offices are up for grabs.

Black activists and civil rights groups claim that many evacuees living outside of New Orleans may find it hard to vote. They also have sought, so far unsuccessfully, to get satellite polling stations set up outside of Louisiana.


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(Corporate) Profits surge to 40-year high

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. corporate profits have increased 21.3% in the past year and now account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Strong productivity gains and subdued wage growth boosted before-tax profits to 11.6% of national income in the fourth quarter of 2005, the biggest share since the summer of 1966. See full story.

For all of 2005, before-tax profits totaled $1.35 trillion, up from $1.16 trillion in 2004 and just $767 billion in 2001.

Meanwhile, the share of national income going to wage and salary workers has fallen to 56.9%. Except for a brief period in 1997, that's the lowest share for labor income since 1966.

Profits have been so high because almost all of the benefits from productivity improvements are flowing to the owners of capital rather than to the workers.

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