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Saturday, June 03, 2006

NYT: Invoking Secrets Privilege Becomes Popular Legal Tactic of Bush Adm.

Published: June 4, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 3 — Facing a wave of litigation challenging its eavesdropping at home and its handling of terror suspects abroad, the Bush administration is increasingly turning to a legal tactic that swiftly torpedoes most lawsuits: the state secrets privilege.

In recent weeks alone, officials have used the privilege to win the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a German man who was abducted and held in Afghanistan for five months and to ask the courts to throw out three legal challenges to the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program.

But civil liberties groups and some scholars say the privilege claim, in which the government says any discussion of a lawsuit's accusations would endanger national security, has short-circuited judicial scrutiny and public debate of some central controversies of the post-9/11 era....


While the privilege, defined by a 1953 Supreme Court ruling, was once used to shield sensitive documents or witnesses from disclosure, it is now often used to try to snuff out lawsuits at their inception, (William G. Weaver, a political scientist at the University of Texas at El Paso)and other legal specialists say....


Under Mr. Bush, the secrets privilege has been used to block a lawsuit by a translator at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sibel Edmonds, who was fired after accusing colleagues of security breaches; to stop a discrimination lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Sterling, a Farsi-speaking, African-American officer at the Central Intelligence Agency; and to derail a patent claim involving a coupler for fiber-optic cable, evidently to guard technical details of government eavesdropping....

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(22,000) Vets Warned of Possible Exposure to Virus (AIDS


The Associated Press
Saturday, June 3, 2006; 1:35 AM

MILWAUKEE -- More than 22,000 veterans who underwent prostate biopsies at veterans' hospitals across the country are being warned that improperly sterilized equipment may have exposed them to deadly viruses.

Officials said Friday it was unlikely someone could get infected by the equipment, and no patient is known to have been sickened.

Still, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs decided to offer free blood tests as a precaution after officials in Maine questioned whether the cleaning procedure was thorough enough, said VA spokesman Jim Benson.

The prostate biopsy equipment includes a probe that, if improperly cleaned, could retain traces of body fluids containing the viruses that cause hepatitis or AIDS.

Since April, the VA has alerted patients of potential inadequacies with the biopsy cleaning procedure at 21 medical centers in 18 states, plus Puerto Rico.

So far, about 7,000 vets contacted the VA after receiving the letter and about 2,000 have been tested, Benson said.

"It's too soon to have any information on their test results because each of the potential diseases we might be worried about require not only initial tests but confirmatory tests as well," Benson said. "Right now our first priority is getting information out to every veteran."

Dennis Maki, an infectious disease expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the prostate examination technique involves inserting a stainless steel scope about the diameter of a pencil into the rectum. Then doctors use a hollow needle to draw a sample from the prostate gland.

The standard sterilizing procedure called for the equipment to be flushed with a disinfecting solution, but officials grew concerned that blood and fecal residue might remain unless the tube were physically scrubbed as well.

It's possible but unlikely that someone could get infected that way, said Michael Erdmann, chief of staff of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

"We're concerned for the safety of our patients, but really, the odds are really quite low," he said.

The problem wasn't manpower so much as cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer that didn't specify the need for a brush, Erdmann said.

The equipment was made by B-K Medical Systems in Denmark. Company officials from neither B-K nor its Massachusetts-based parent company, Analogic, immediately returned phone calls by The Associated Press on Friday.

Michael O'Rourke, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said he was satisfied with the VA's response. "I don't know what more they can do," he said.

Peter Gaytan, the director of veterans affairs for the American Legion, said his group is reaching out to veterans to make sure the VA has addressed their concerns.

"What the American Legion wants to make sure is that this mistake isn't the responsibility of overworked VA staff, and if it is, they need to hire more people," he said.

On the Net:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.va.gov/

Soldier gives wounded CBS reporter his Purple Heart

BERLIN — A CBS reporter injured in Iraq now has a Purple Heart at her bedside at a U.S. military hospital after a young American soldier gave her his citation in a sympathetic gesture, the network said.

Kimberly Dozier, 39, was seriously injured in a car bomb blast Monday while covering a story on Memorial Day in Iraq. Her camera crew, Britons Paul Douglas and James Brolan, were killed in the attack, along with a soldier, Capt. James A. Funkhouser Jr., and an Iraqi translator.

She was flown Tuesday to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where she was still in critical but stable condition on Friday, CBS said. Her breathing respirator has now been removed, and she has been able to talk with family and visiting CBS colleagues, the network said in a statement.

“A young American soldier came up to Kimberly’s brother Michael and told him that he had met Kimberly in Iraq two years ago after he had been wounded with shrapnel in his arm,” CBS said without identifying the soldier. The soldier had his Purple Heart with him, and he told Michael that he’d like Kimberly to have it because, he said, she’s suffered as much as any soldier. That Purple Heart is now beside Kimberly’s bed.”

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FOCUS: Larry Johnson | Earplugs, Marines, and Haditha

Larry Johnson travels in Iraq, where he meets with soldiers who are heading to Haditha and offers that "We must also accept that Americans as a whole share some responsibility for the actions of these soldiers. We sent them to war. We put them square in the middle of the battle. We cannot simply sit idly on the sidelines clucking our tongues over the awful thing that was done."

Link here

US blocking international deal on fighting Aids :

Britain distances itself from Bush administration - Negotiators try to salvage package at UN summit

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UK journalists call for Yahoo boycott:

The union representing journalists in the UK and Ireland has called on its 40,000 members to boycott Yahoo in protest at the company's reported assistance to the Chinese authorities in cracking down on pro-democracy activists.

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British police reportedly searching for "dirty" bomb :

British police are refusing to comment on media reports that they are looking for a "dirty" bomb after their raid on a house in east London failed to uncover a device. They have mounted a close guard over a man in hospital whom they shot during the raid.

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Charley Reese : George Washington Had It Right:

By Charley Reese

06/03/06 Information Clearing House" -- -- Have you ever thought how peaceful and prosperous we would be if our national leaders had followed the advice of George Washington in his "Farewell Address"?

For starters, we would not be hopelessly in debt, and there would not be so many Americans buried in national cemeteries and in distant lands. Nor would we be as hated as we are today in so many countries, where new polls show people not only dislike American foreign policy and the American government, but are now deciding they don't like the American people.

Washington's recommended policy can be summed up as armed neutrality, the same policy Switzerland practices. While the rest of the world participated in a slaughterhouse during the 20th century, the Swiss remained at peace.

Washington was a very wise man. He said that no country can be trusted beyond its own self-interests. He said that habitual friendship toward a foreign country is as dangerous as habitual enmity. The policy of America should be trade with all but entangling alliances with nobody. The quarrels and vendettas in other parts of the world were none of our business, he said. As far as trade goes, all countries should be treated equal, with no favors granted to any of them.

He warned against foreign influence, calling it a poison to republican government. While he was no doubt thinking of the French, his advice applies to Israel. No foreign country should be allowed to influence American policy because that country will always seek to influence policy to favor its interests, not ours. If we followed Washington's advice, the only thing we would be sending to the Middle East would be oil tankers and tourists.

We could build a military force that could deter attacks on this country for a fraction of the cost we spend on trying to maintain an empire with about 745 military bases in 120 foreign countries. The only people who might attack us are a gang of terrorists, and, of course, our massive military machine is not equipped to deal with them.

As for domestic policy, Washington said the best way to preserve the union was to obey the Constitution and to never tolerate any branch of government usurping the Constitution's power. He said that a republican form of government required a virtuous people, and since religion is the best way to instill virtue in the masses, anybody who was an enemy of religion was an enemy of republican government.

All of that is pointless now, because we no longer have a republic — or a virtuous population, for that matter. We have an empire. We have a federal government that does nothing more than pay lip service to the Constitution, if that. Elections are decided by money, not by the people. Greed, self-indulgence and commercial entertainment seem to be the main motivations of a goodly number of our people. We will, as all empires have, bleed ourselves in foreign wars and domestic tyranny until we collapse. President Bush is a heck of a lot closer to Nero than he is to George Washington.

Too bad, because we could be such a happy place if we had sense enough to mind our own business and to elect men and women who would obey the Constitution. We have no legal authority, no moral authority and certainly no divine authority to interfere with the internal affairs of any other nation. It should not matter to us what kind of governments other people have or what their cultures are. There is nothing in the Constitution to authorize the federal government to tax Americans and then write checks to foreign countries. There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the president to take us to war. That is a power reserved exclusively to Congress. The Constitution also requires a warrant based on probable cause before the government can spy on us or search our homes and businesses.

Americans ought to read their Constitution, if for no other reason than to see what kind of government they are missing. It's written in very plain English and is easy to understand.

© 2006 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Charley Reese: No War With Iran:

If we allow the Bush administration to drag this country into a war with Iran, we should all burn our voter-registration cards and go ahead and admit that we are no longer worthy of being citizens of a self-governing republic.

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'Bad behavior' holding US troops back from conquering Kabul:

Its Friking ARROGANCE that is what it is, ARROGANCE BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE WEAPONS, LIKE THEIR CORRUPT COMMANDER IN CHIEF, THEY HIDE BEHIND THEIR WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, CHICKEN SHITS. And they expect to be welcomed with open arms and roses strewn in the streets.

It is an average afternoon in a suburb of Kabul -- a convoy of US military trucks belts down the road. From atop a Humvee, a helmeted and heavily armed soldier gestures aggressively at a civilian driver, who can do nothing but meekly pull over and let them pass.

The issue came to a head on Monday when a heavily loaded US military truck ploughed into several civilians cars, unleashing a day of riots in the worst violence the city has seen since the Taliban were toppled in 2001.

Link here

Requiem for the Faith-based Greenback

By Mike Whitney

The great dollar sell-off has begun in earnest, although to a large extent, it is being concealed from the public.

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Afghan Massacre : The Convoy of Death

Video DocumentaryIn Afghanistan,

filmmaker Jamie Doran has uncovered evidence of a massacre: Taliban prisoners of war suffocated in containers, shot in the desert under the watch of American troops.

Click here to view Real video

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Afghan Massacre: Convoy of Death is a 2002 documentary by Irish documentary filmmaker Jamie Doran about war crimes committed on Taliban soldiers in November 2001 after they had surrendered to America’s Afghan allies after the siege of Konduz. It shows eyewitnesses relating how people were transported in containers for several days, some of them suffocated, others died when the containers were fired upon "in order to make holes for the air to get in" - this was later alluded to in the Turkish movie Valley of the Wolves. US military and CIA agents were present. Mass graves of thousands of victims were found by the United Nations but no official investigation took place.

Return to Ishaqi: The Pentagon's Shaky Self-Exoneration

By Chris Floyd

It seems that the Pentagon, that veritable fount of veracity, has probed itself for the alleged execution-style slaying of civilians in Ishaqi, and found that the operation -- which left 11 civilians dead, including five children under the age of five -- was in fact an exemplary feat of arms, strictly by the book.

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Canadian police say they have foiled a major "al Qaeda-inspired" bomb plot against targets in Canada.

Canadian police on Saturday said they have prevented a major al Qaeda-inspired terror plot to attack targets in southern Ontario. Twelve adults and five young people were arrested, authorities said.

The detained suspects were followers of a "dangerous ideology inspired by al Qaeda," intelligence chiefs said.


Suspects named
'They intended a terrorist attack'

Link Here

Liking George Bush

by Missy Comley Beattie


I am pretending to support George Bush. I am walking around the apartment, pretending to support this man who will be president for almost two more long years. Oops, I had a little slip there, because if I’m pretending to really, really like the president, then I have to also pretend that almost two years will go by too quickly.

I’m saying aloud, “Of course, we had to carpet bomb Iraq and kill thousands of men, women, and children.”

Just think of all the Iraqis who posed a threat to my freedoms. My God, some of those women were pregnant, about to give birth to little Iraqis who would grow up to be big Iraqis who would be jealous of my freedoms.

I received an e-mail recently from someone who doesn’t like my writings—a person ripping me because, thanks to George W., I have the freedom to sit in front of my ‘word processor’ and criticize. So, I’m pretending that the e-mailer is absolutely right. Those Iraqis, most assuredly, were planning to take away my freedoms to write and criticize George Bush. So, I, indeed, should be grateful to the president and the person who wrote to remind me that I need to look within, have an epiphany, and show my unwavering support for the man who is protecting my freedoms.

I’m also thinking I’d better support George W. if negotiations with Iran fail and the president decides to drop a tactical nuclear weapon there to protect my freedoms. After all, some of those Iranians might, in, say, ten or twenty years, develop the kinds of WMD that we threaten the rest of the world with and put my writing room (and me) in their sights. I don’t want to be vaporized. Nooooo. I don’t want any of my fellow Americans seeing a mushroom cloud rising above what used to be Manhattan.

Thus, I’m having a very persuasive talk with myself. A debate. I’m going over the pros and cons. And the more I think about the reasons to like George Bush, the easier it becomes to watch him on television. The easier it is to listen to him speak. The easier it is to welcome his saying he regrets ‘bring ‘em on’ and other cowpoke lingo (or is this just average Joe jargon?) and appreciate that he strives to use more ‘sophisticated’ language. I’m beginning to admire the man who obviously values self-improvement. I mean look at what he’s just said about convincing Iran to stop its uranium enrichment program: “if they continue their obstinance, if they continue to say to the world, ‘we really don’t care what your opinion is,’ then the world is going to act in concert.” He’s sounding pretty urbane (how about that word, concert?) so, I have to toast this president with a “bring it on” affirmation.

Yes, yes, yes, ooh, ah, I feel like Meg Ryan in that fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally. Now, that was some fine acting. I’m going to practice by saying, “They’re jealous of my freedoms.” Over and over, maybe, emoting a little more each time. I’ll practice this in the mirror.

Finally, if I can completely convince myself I support George W. Bush, not only will I be able to get through the next almost two years with less stress, I’ll be able to add Oscar-quality actor to my accomplishments

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she has been writing political articles.

NewSpeak For The New World Order -

Kent Welton:

Let no Democracy determine your Efficiency. Let us count your votes. Let us appoint your leaders. We will tell you who they will be.

*NewSpeak For The New World Order - What You Must Hear Every Day

The Mantra of Globalization, A catechism for your Neo-slavery - What you must see and hear every day. Newspeak for the New World Order.

“Anyone Have a Clue What We’re Defending?”,

No More Corporate Soldiers...Ever Again
Mark S. Tucker

Has corporatism eaten enough of your soul yet to wake you up? If not, be content to let your children die gruesomely on foreign soil, because that’s what’s killing them. This little article doesn’t even come close to my sentiments, but it’s a start.

Stacy Bannerman | Empty Boots and Baby Shoes

General Chiarelli, second in command in Iraq, stated his belief that it's important for troops to "take time to reflect on the values that separate us from our enemies." Stacy Bannerman wonders when will our soldiers have time for this reflection if in the past few years they have spent more time deployed than stateside.

Link Here

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? John Kerry

Stacy Bannerman

Which begs the question: If you support the troops, can you name one? If not, why aren't you signing up to become one? With an increasing number of Americans opposed to the war in Iraq, why aren't we doing anything about it? Why aren't our Representatives? It smacks of hypocrisy to ask our soldiers to do what we, from the comfort of our couches or the halls of Congress, won't. Namely, to align our morals with our actions.

If Congress waits until November to act, it is likely that 350 or more US soldiers will die, along with countless Iraqi children, women, and men. Since March 2003, on average, over two service men and women and nearly 20 Iraqi citizens have been killed in each day of the war.

Perhaps when what's left of the troops on the ground in Iraq are done with their values training, they can all come home and teach us. Until then, I suspect that the poem I wrote while participating in the Bring Them Home Now Tour (September, 2005) as a member of Military Families Speak Out, will continue to be relevant:


I am so tired of standing at memorials for soldiers; tired of weeping for the victims of this war.

I am tired of watching parents plant crosses for their dead children, day after day after godforsaken day.

I am tired of placing flowers in empty boots and baby shoes; of the way my body shakes at the first readings of the names that were added to the casualty count this week.

What's wearing me out is bearing witness to this war. This foreverness of death, and the unrelenting loss.

It drains my spirit to meet the widow's eyes; to watch the fathers falter, falling to their knees. Christ, that makes me weak.

To stand at the lip of the mouth of a grave that will never get enough

catching mothers tears, a nation driving by the dead, is exhausting to my soul.

I am deathly tired today.

John Kerry Then: Hear Kerry's Historic 1971 Testimony Against the Vietnam War

Coulter hires Bush recount lawyer to defend against voter fraud allegations

RAW STORYPublished: Friday June 2, 2006

Conservative cover girl Ann Coulter has hired a White House connected lawyer who represented Bush/Cheney in the 2000 election recount battles to defend against possible felony charges for voting illegally in a February election, according to an item from a Florida newspaper.

"Conservative pundit and best-selling political writer Ann Coulter has hired a white-glove, White House-connected law firm to fight allegations she voted illegally in February's Town of Palm Beach election," Jose Lambiet writes for the Palm Beach Post (link).

"And the attorney from the Miami-based Kenny Nachwalter firm is no stranger to Palm Beach voting," Lambiet notes. "Marcos Jimenez — who was, along with the more famous Olson, one of the lead attorneys who fought for George W. Bush's side in the 2000 presidential election snafu here — was assigned to Coulter."

Jimenez served as U.S. attorney for Florida's Southern District, appointed by President Bush in April of 2002 to a four year term which ended last year (link).

Excerpts from the Palm Beach Post article:
A poll worker reported to his supervisors that he saw Coulter try to vote in the precinct closest to her Palm Beach home. But when she was told the address on her voter's registration was elsewhere, Coulter ran out instead of correcting it and ended up voting in a precinct that wasn't hers. Knowingly voting in the wrong precinct in Florida is a felony.

Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson gave Coulter until April 30 to explain what happened, but she has yet to answer his registered letters. Now with Jimenez, Kelly said, officials will wait "a few more weeks" before starting a procedure that could strip Coulter of her right to vote here and refer the case to State Attorney Barry Krischer for possible prosecution.
Brad Blog has more on Coulter's legal troubles.

Frank Rich: Supporting our troops over a cliff

Published: Saturday June 3, 2006

Americans should feel "guilty" because the Bush Administration "has asked no sacrifice of civilians other than longer waits at airline security," while our troops go to war in Iraq so "we can party on," writes Frank Rich in his column slated for the Sunday edition of The New York Times, RAW STORY has learned.

"For all the politicians' talk about honoring those who serve, Washington's record is derelict: chronic shortages in body and Humvee armor; a back-door draft forcing troops with expired contracts into repeated deployments; inadequate postwar health care and veterans' benefits," Rich writes. "And that's just the short list."

Rich also slams President Bush's campaign for a federal marriage amendment while the war drags on ("...we are planning an indefinite stay of undefined parameters," according to Rich).
"Though the amendment has no chance of passing, Bush apparently still thinks, as he did in 2004, that gay-baiting remains just the diversion to distract from a war gone south," Rich writes.

Excerpts from Rich's column:
...Nothing, including the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Haditha, has shaken American affection for the troops. Nothing should. These men and women go to war so we can party on...We've even been rewarded with a prize that past generations would have found as jaw-dropping as space travel: a wartime dividend in the form of tax cuts.

"It shocked me that the country was not mobilized for war," said Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who retired after his stint as a commander in Iraq and became an outspoken critic of Donald Rumsfeld. He told The Wall Street Journal that "it was almost surreal" that the only time some Americans "think about the war is when they decide what color magnet ribbon to put on the back of their car."

Should we feel guilty? Yes. The sunshine of last weekend, splendid as it was for a cookout, could not eradicate the dark reality that we keep sending our troops into a quagmire. At Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, the president read a poignant letter that 1st Lt. Mark Dooley, killed by a bomb last September in Ramadi, wrote to his parents. What Bush did not say was that now, nine months later, insurgents rule Ramadi...

9-year-old Haditha survivor wants culprits executed

Putting a Face to the Outrage.

AP - Sat Jun 3, 1:01 PM ET
BAGHDAD, Iraq - An Iraqi whose brother and other relatives were killed in a U.S. attack on a suspected terrorist hideout north of Baghdad condemned a military investigation Saturday that cleared forces of wrongdoing. A 9-year-old survivor of an alleged massacre by U.S. forces in the western city of Haditha, meanwhile, demanded that those responsible be executed, as anger mounted over accusations that Iraqi civilians have been killed by Americans without provocation.

Link Here

Iraq says will press on with own Ishaqi probe Reuters

Graphic pics show murdered civilians...

Can anyone tell me the difference about what Sadam is being tried for, and these outrages that Bush and his administration has permitted to happen. I say let Georgie and his Administration of Goons, all of those involved in this illegal war and occupation of lies and corruption, be tried in Iraq exactly the same way Sadam is being tried in Iraq for WAR CRIMES. AND MAYBE JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED FOR ALL

Iraq lawyer blasts U.S. reaction to deaths

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 20 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A lawyer who had several relatives among 24 Iraqis allegedly slain by U.S. Marines last fall and is representing kin of other victims complained in a videotape Saturday that American compensation paid to the families was inadequate.

Khaled Salem Rsayef also said U.S. officers accused him and other relatives of lying when they recounted the shootings in their first meeting with the military after the Nov. 19 deaths in the western town of Haditha. He did not say when they met.

In interviews taped Friday by an AP Television News cameraman, 9-year-old survivor Iman Walid Abdul-Hameed demanded that those responsible be executed.

"Because they hurt us, we want the Americans to be executed," Iman said, wearing a violet-colored striped shirt, matching pants and headband while sitting on a couch at a relative's home. She was reluctant to speak at first, but was eventually persuaded by her relatives.

The girl lost her parents, a brother, grandparents and two uncles in the incident. Another brother, Abdul-Rahman, who was 6 at the time, and a sister, Asia, who was 5 months old, survived. Iman and Abdul-Rahman were slightly injured.

"We did not do anything to them," Iman said of the Marines who allegedly killed unarmed civilians after becoming enraged when a comrade died in a roadside bombing.

The deaths in Haditha and two other incidents involving allegations of wrongful killings have put the U.S. military on the defensive, drawing charges from Iraqis that American troops show little regard for the lives of innocent people.

U.S. authorities are investigating the killings in Haditha and another town, but on Saturday cleared U.S. troops of wrongdoing in the deaths of up to 13 Iraqis in a village north of Baghdad. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said U.S. troops responded appropriately to an attack by insurgents during a raid in Ishaqi on March 15. A roadside bomb hit a U.S. convoy in Ishaqi on Saturday, wounding two U.S. soldiers.

The director of Haditha General Hospital told AP Television News the 24 victims in that city included eight women and five children. Walid Abdul-Khaleq al-Obeidi said the victims mostly had chest and head wounds and were delivered to the hospital by Marines about 14 hours after witnesses said the last gunshot was heard at the death scene.

One body was charred, al-Obeidi added. That was believed to be Iman's father, Walid Abdul-Hameed, who witnesses said was burned to death after a grenade was thrown into his room.

Rsayef, the lawyer, said that during the first meeting between families of the Haditha victims and U.S. military officers, the Americans told the families that the 24 deaths were caused by the roadside bomb and by "terrorists."

"We had a heated argument," he said.

He said the U.S. officers also said during the meeting that they had no objection to TV news teams visiting the Euphrates River town to report on the deaths.

"In reality, they did not make good on their promises and sealed off the town for a month after the shootings," said Rsayef, who had a brother and sister-in-law, an uncle, an aunt and several cousins among the 24 killed.

Despite blaming insurgents for the killings, the U.S. military gave the families $2,500 for each person killed in the incident about a month later, except for four brothers, all of fighting age, he said.

"When I received the compensation money, I found out that it was $2,500 for each victim," Rsayef said. "I told them that it's a small sum that does not match the magnitude of the disaster."

He noted that Libya's government paid millions of dollars in compensation to the families of the Lockerbie airline bombing victims. "Is American blood worth more than Iraqi blood?" he asked.

In an off-camera conversation with the cameraman, Iman, the 9-year-old survivor, told of hiding under a bed for hours after the shootings. She said Marines finally found her and initially took her for dead when they pulled her out.

The Marines later flew her and her brother Abdul-Rahman to a nearby hospital for treatment of their minor wounds. They were later moved to a Baghdad hospital.

The AP Television News tape showed walls pockmarked with bullet holes inside a stone house belonging to those killed. A dusty TV set with an apparent bullet hole in one corner sat on the floor, and furniture was piled up to the side in the house.

At the time of the incident, the Marine Corps said 15 civilians had been killed in Haditha from a roadside bombing and a Marine firefight with insurgents. It said eight insurgents also were killed.

According to U.S. lawmakers recently briefed by Pentagon officials, the deaths followed the killing of a U.S. Marine by a roadside bomb aimed at a military convoy Nov. 19. Angry Marines stormed nearby homes, killing the occupants, and also killed as the passengers of a taxi, the lawmakers said.

The New York Times said Saturday that commanders learned within two days that civilians in Haditha were killed by gunfire and not a bomb, quoting a senior Marine officer it did not identify. The officer said officials had no information suggesting the civilians had been killed deliberately and saw no reason to investigate further.

In addition to the Haditha case, U.S. authorities are investigating seven Marines and a Navy medic for possible murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges in the April 26 shooting death of an Iraqi man in Hamandiya.

On Thursday, Iraq said it was launching its own probe into the Haditha killings, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sharply criticizing the conduct of U.S. troops in Iraq.

His comments were unusually harsh, suggesting to some that he might be using the incident to bolster his image as a national unity leader at a time of rising sectarian tensions. Al-Maliki is a Shiite, while the Haditha victims were Sunni Arabs, the minority that is the backbone of Iraq's insurgency.

An adviser to al-Maliki, Adnan al-Kazimi, denied Saturday that the announcement was a public relations exercise, saying an Iraqi investigation into the killings was popular among all Iraqis.

Al-Maliki will announce the makeup and mandate of the investigating committee in the next few days, al-Kazimi told The Associated Press. It will be made up of officials from the ministries of defense, interior and human rights and will report directly to al-Maliki, he said.

The findings of U.S. investigations into the killings are to be made available to the Iraqi government, with only the parts pertaining to security of U.S. forces withheld, he said.

The Haditha incident and others have underlined the immense pressure on U.S. troops in Iraq. They are often isolated from Iraqis by language and culture, are away from their families for months at a time, and are fighting a phantom enemy with little sympathy or help from civilians.

Many Iraqis, on their part, see the Americans and other foreign troops as occupiers who are after the country's oil wealth and accuse them of having little regard for their lives.

Caldwell, the general who is spokesman for the U.S.-led multinational forces in Iraq, said Saturday that allegations U.S. troops are using undue force are a blow to the credibility of the coalition.

"The behavior of our forces is a key component in the overall success of our mission," he told Arab journalists. "The credibility of our coalition forces is too valuable a commodity to squander needlessly. Every incident and allegation, no matter how small, strikes a blow against that credibility."

Link Here

Ku Klux Klan Leads Anti-Immigration March...

Montgomery Advertiser June 2, 2006 at 11:04 PM

A Ku Klux Klan group led an anti-immigration march in Russellville on Saturday without incident, but not without opposition.

The event began with about a 10-minute march by 50 people, including about a dozen robed Klansmen, to the front of the Franklin County Courthouse. Russellville police estimated that between 300-400 people attended the rally, including onlookers.


Conservatives Say Bush's Gay Marriage Ban Is Pandering...

Mind Boggling, In these times. Can anyone tell me

what is wrong with this picture?

New York Times JIM RUTENBERG June 3, 2006 at 08:50 AM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

President Bush is beginning a major push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, part of a new campaign to appease cultural conservatives who say he and his party abandoned their issues after the 2004 elections.

Mr. Bush plans to declare strong support for the amendment -- scheduled for a vote in the Senate next week -- in his radio address on Saturday, and at an event at the White House on Monday with conservative activists and religious leaders, White House officials said Friday.


General Says Senior Officers After Haditha Killings Would "Have To Know This Thing Stunk"...

It will be no different than the U.S. raid in Ishaqi, The outcome will be no different at all. No other words for it but OBSCENE

New York Times DAVID S. CLOUD and ERIC SCHMITT June 3, 2006 at 09:37 AM

Marine commanders in Iraq learned within two days of the killings in Haditha last November that Iraqi civilians had died from gunfire, not a roadside bomb as initially reported, but the officers involved saw no reason to investigate further, according to a senior Marine officer.

The commanders have told investigators they had not viewed as unusual, in a combat environment, the discrepancies that emerged almost immediately in accounts about how the two dozen Iraqis died, and that they had no information at the time suggesting that any civilians had been killed deliberately.


Rapid Expansion Of Federal DNA Databank Under Scrutiny...

Washingtonj Post Rick Weiss June 3, 2006 at 09:37 AM

Brimming with the genetic patterns of more than 3 million Americans, the nation's databank of DNA "fingerprints" is growing by more than 80,000 people every month, giving police an unprecedented crime-fighting tool but prompting warnings that the expansion threatens constitutional privacy protections.

With little public debate, state and federal rules for cataloging DNA have broadened in recent years to include not only violent felons, as was originally the case, but also perpetrators of minor crimes and even people who have been arrested but not convicted.


Iraqi Gunmen Kill Russian Embassy Worker, Kidnap Four Others...

New York Times SABRINA TAVERNISE June 3, 2006 at 02:36 PM

Gunmen ambushed five Russian Embassy workers as they were shopping near their residence in western Baghdad on Saturday, killing one and kidnapping the others in the kind of bold attack that has become common in many parts of the capital.

The ambush occurred on the same day that a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb at the main market in the southern city of Basra, killing at least 15 people and wounded 30, The Associated Press reported.


Hurricane Halliburton

May 15th, 2006

CorpWatch and its partners today released an alternative annual report on Halliburton titled:

"Hurricane Halliburton: Conflict, Climate Change and Catastrophe." The new report was prepared in association with Asociacion Civil Labor in Peru, Environmental Rights Action Nigeria (members of the Friends of the Earth International network), HalliburtonWatch and the Oil & Gas Accountability Project.

Link Here

Afghanistan, Inc.: A CorpWatch Investigative Report

May 2nd, 2006Fariba Nawa, an Afghan-American who returned to her native country to examine the progress of reconstruction, uncovers some examples of where the money has (and hasn’t) gone, how the system of international aid works (and doesn’t), and what it is really like in the villages and cities where outsiders are rebuilding the war-torn countryside. Click here to download the complete report.

Australia Reaps Iraqi Harvest

Marc MoncriefApril 4th, 2006United Nations sanctions against Saddam Hussein may have failed to end his regime but they succeeded in enriching both the Iraqi dictator and corporations able to manipulate the scandal-ridden world body's Oil-for-Food program. Among the profiteers was the Australian Wheat Board, a former state-owned monopoly, which funneled over $200 million into Saddam's coffers even as the “Coalition of the Willing” was preparing for invasion.

The Bush Family's War Profiteering

George W. Bush kept his some of his promises; those that he made to his campaign contributors.


Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his ...

The CIA, a Bush Family Fiefdom.

Special Report
Galloway tongue-lashes Coleman; committee documents show Bush political friends and family paid Oil-for-Food kickbacks to Saddam Hussein

Corporate Watch Iraq Contractors

Something very interesting that Randy Rhodes was commenting on, that had not crossed my mind before, that Americas military forces and the coalition forces are over there to protect the contractors. CHECK OUT::::: CORPORATE WATCH. Org IRAQ CONTRACTORS

Forces in a big pawn game?

Link Here

CorpWatch : Iraq Contractor Accused of Offshore Shell Game
Former managers working for Custer Battles, a high-profile private security company in Iraq, are accusing the firm of using companies in the Cayman Islands ...www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11575 - 33k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : Iraq Contractor Claims Immunity From Fraud Laws
A Virginia judge has been asked to decided whether or not Custer Battles, an upstart security company assigned to guard Baghdad airport, had defrauded its ...www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11763 - 27k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : US: Attorney Pursues Iraq Contractor Fraud
Lawyer uses Civil War-era law to go after frims for corruption, but Bush administration won't help.www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13506 - 25k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : IRAQ: Contractor Charged in Baghdad Badge Scam
A military contractor returning from Iraq was charged yesterday with distributing identity badges that control access to Baghdad's heavily fortified Green ...www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=12649 - 21k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : Iraq: Contractors Implicated in Prison Abuse Remain on ...
More than two months after a classified Army report found that two contract workers were implicated in the abuse of Iraqis at a prison outside Baghdad, ...www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11282 - 23k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : Iraq: Contractors Fall Through Legal Cracks
Three civilian employees who allegedly participated in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners have yet to face any disciplinary action, their employers said Monday, ...www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=10808 - 24k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : IRAQ: Contractor Suit Opens Doors
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for the wrongful death of security contractors. Experts warn it could set off a flood of litigation other private ...www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11784 - 23k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : IRAQ: Contractors and Military in 'Bidding War'
The US military has hired private companies at a cost approaching $1 billion to help dispose of Saddam Hussein's arsenal in Iraq. That spending has created ...corpwatch.org/article.php?id=12518 - 16k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : Marines Jail Contractors in Iraq
Tension and confusion are on the rise in Iraq after a group of American security contractors were thrown in jail under suspicion for shooting at the US ...www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=12349 - 35k - Cached - Similar pages
CorpWatch : Iraq: Contractors Put Reconstruction On Hold
Many of Iraq's reconstruction projects are being put on hold after a spate of foreign kidnappings and attacks on convoys in Baghdad grounded foreign and ...www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=10610 - 23k - Cached - Similar pages >>>cont

and on and on and on it goes


In a War Zone, Battling to Keep the Contractors Honest and on Track
When it comes to assessing and improving the creaky infrastructure of Iraq, half the battle is won simply by going to take a look.

Slide Show: Keeping Contractors Honest in Iraq

Link Here


Movie Review

'The War Tapes' Provides a Soldier's-Eye View of the Days Over There


Whatever your opinion of the Iraq war, Deborah Scranton's documentary is sure to challenge your thinking and disturb your composure.

Link Here

A perfect summation

(From Rossis earlier postings)

"The crimes of the U.S. soldiers in Iraq are as inevitable as the crimes committed by soldiers in imperial armies throughout history. The conquered people refuse to accept their fate. They rise up, they form resistance organizations. They take up arms and conspire to oust the foreign occupiers. They are then branded as terrorists and criminals by the Empire. To the extent that they enjoy popular support among the indigenous population, the population itself is considered “suspect” by the occupiers.

Civilians thus become a danger. Children and young teenagers can become the “enemy.” The vehicles carrying expectant mothers to the hospital can thus become a threat because they must travel quickly, too quickly for the comfort of the occupying soldiers who are fearful of car bombs. "

Art For Boys

Reuters journalist freed in Iraq after 12 days (had covered Haditha murders)

US authorities considered him a "security threat" after he interviewed survivors after the March incident in Haditha.
By Alastair Macdonald

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi journalist working for Reuters was released from U.S. military custody at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad on Thursday after 12 days in detention.

Ali al-Mashhadani, 37, was arrested by U.S. Marines in his home town of Ramadi on May 20 when he went to a U.S. base to retrieve Reuters telephones taken from him earlier that week.

He spent five months in U.S. custody last year before being released without charge in January.

Though again no specific allegation or charge was leveled against him, U.S. officials said last week he was held as a security threat. Marines interrogated him intensively about his work as a journalist in the restive Sunni province of Anbar.


Among Mashhadani's recent stories was reporting from the town of Haditha in March. Following Time magazine's revelation of accusations that U.S. Marines shot dead 24 civilians there in November, he filmed fresh interviews with local officials and residents that were widely used by international media.

Link Here

Iraq war will hurt GOP in fall elections, pollster says


June 2, 2006

MACKINAC ISLAND – The war in Iraq has become so unpopular that it could cost Republicans control of Congress, statehouses and governor races around the country, national pollster John Zogby said Friday.

He said 70% of voters believe the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction, adding, “I have never seen a number like that since I’ve been polling.”

He said 68% of voters believe the war in Iraq wasn’t worth the loss of American lives. He added, “Americans want their wars to be won, they want it won quickly and their troops home and out of harms way.”

Zogby offered a sweeping view of the political landscape to the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac policy conference, which wrapped up Friday afternoon.

Zogby, considered one of the country's top pollsters, said Gov. Jennifer Granholm faces a difficult re-election campaign, but could benefit from a national Democratic landslide.

“It’s not a good time to be governor anywhere,” he said. "But Republicans are swimming upstream, they have a hell of a lot of work to do in what could be a big Democratic year."

But he cautioned: “The Democrats have no program on any issue, they have nothing to say that matters to anyone in the United States today."

Zogby said his boldest prediction is that Hurricane Katrina, which demolished much of the Gulf Coast in 2005, could be more of a defining moment for the U.S. than the 9-11 terrorist attacks because the storm showed that neither big federal government nor federalism – greater state powers – can cope with large-scale disasters.

In other observations, Zogby said:

Iraq is the top issue for U.S. voters, immigration is second most important.

The economy is third most important nationally. Although economic indicators are generally good, working Americans worry about gas prices and about losing their health care coverage and pensions.

The unpopularity of the Iraq war has cost President George W. Bush and Republicans their grip on the issue of terrorism as “their ace in the hole.”

Bush is so unpopular he can’t help Republican candidates get elected this year. “I don’t think you’ll see him in Macomb County,” he said.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, are the only national Republicans who can transcend their party’s growing unpopularity.

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.

Link H ere

VA warns veterans of possibly contaminated biopsies

VA used unsterilized prostate probes

22,000 vets offered blood tests to check for AIDS, hepatitis virus infections

WH: It's “Hazy” But...Iraqi PM Didn't Mean To Say Haditha Deaths Were “A Horrible Crime”...

Associated Press June 2, 2006 at 07:28 PM

The White House on Friday sought to soften criticism by Iraq's prime minister over allegations that U.S. Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians in the western town of Haditha last November.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had told U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad that he had been misquoted. But Snow was unable to explain what al-Maliki told Khalilzad or how he had been misquoted.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Greg Grandin | The Swift Boating of America

"The corruption represented by Foggo, Wilkes, and Duke Cunningham is an integral part of what President Dwight Eisenhower termed the 'military-industrial complex,'" writes Greg Grandin. "And it goes hand-in-hand with war-making. If we didn't have an enemy to fight, how could we justify spending all that money on defense, not to mention on the hookers and poker that went with the lobbying parties?"

Link Here

Gunter Grass, Nobel Laureate, Flays Bush

Armed force is used by this superpower to defeat the terrorism it is itself responsible for," Gunter Grass says, citing Osama bin Laden, the by-product of American support for Afghan jihadists in the 1980s. "The war (on Iraq), deliberately started in blatant disdain of the laws of civilized societies, produces still more terror."

Link Here

Media Crimes Sanitize War Crimes in Iraq

Danny Schechter writes, "As events in Iraq continue to slip from bad to worse, the good news brigade is scrambling for new stories ('anything, give me anything') to shore up what's left of public support for a bloody war without end."

Link Here

The Logic of War Crimes in a Criminal War

By: Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Brian Becker
June 2, 2006

When U.S. marines carried out the savage and systematic execution of Iraqi families and small children in Haditha last November, it was initially reported as a “battle” with “insurgent casualties.” A photo of a kneeling Iraqi civilian moments before he was murdered was taken by a Marine using his cell phone camera. Other pictures of the corpses of small children, families lying in pools of blood in their homes, students gunned down in a taxi are all part of the documentary evidence.

The massacre in Haditha took place one year after a much larger massacre of civilians in Fallujah. Four to six thousand civilians are estimated to have been killed in Fallujah in November 2004, according to credible independent sources reporting from the ground. The truth of Iraq is that there were other massacres almost every week in between the events that have made Haditha and Fallujah famous cities: famous in the way no city wants to become well known throughout the world. The attack on the people of Iraq and ensuing occupation by the United States government has caused the deaths of well over 100,000 Iraqi people (the British medical journal, The Lancet, reported an excess of 100,000 dead eighteen months ago).

“Ethics Training” to Prevent Massacres

Now that the butchery in Haditha is making headlines in the United States, high ranking officials in the Pentagon as well as the President are promising an investigation. They have even announced “ethics training” for combat troops. The implication is that something unusual happened when unarmed civilians, including terrified small children and their mothers who were trying to shield them, were riddled with bullets by U.S. soldiers. Were they rogue soldiers lawlessly breaking ranks from an otherwise pristine mission aimed at liberating Iraqis? That is pure fiction. Those who criticize the management of the war are talking complete nonsense when they say that the actions of these Marines will make it “harder to carry out the mission in Iraq.”

The Haditha massacre will not make the Iraqis think differently about the United States or Bush. It will only confirm their view, an outlook shaped by the cruel, cold-hard reality of the past years.

A Routine Phenomenon

Just this week, on May 31, US soldiers in Iraq “killed two Iraqi women — one of them about to give birth — when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad." The AP reports that Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday. Jassim, the mother of two children, and her 57-year-old cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassan, were killed by the U.S. forces, according to police Capt. Laith Mohammed and witnesses. Her husband was waiting for her at the maternity unit of the hospital when Jassim, pregnant with their child, and her cousin were murdered.

Yesterday, the BBC disclosed new video evidence that U.S. forces massacred another group of Iraqi civilians in the town of Ishaqi in March. The story, carried by Knight-Ridder in March, and denied by the U.S. government thereafter, stated that U.S. troops had rounded-up villagers into a single room of a house and then “executed 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant.” BBC reported June 1 that of the eleven people murdered by U.S. troops, five were children. The soldiers then, “burned three vehicles, killed the villagers’ animals and blew up the house.”

In Afghanistan this week, large masses of people took to the streets throwing rocks at U.S. military vehicles following another incident in which U.S. military personnel raced through Kabul and then rammed passenger vehicles killing at least three people. A top Afghan police officer reported that U.S. soldiers then opened fire indiscriminately directly into the crowd killing at least four more people.

Rejecting the Disney Version of U.S. Foreign Policy

The perception of the U.S. in the Arab world is based on actual information and knowledge of the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan. The U.S. financing and support for the ongoing war waged by the Israeli military against the Palestinian people also contributes to the understanding of the U.S. role among the people of the Middle East. This perception is 100 percent different than the fantasy promoted in the United States. In the United States, facts are not allowed to stand in the way of the official legend.

All the mainstream media, the politicians and even some in the “peace movement” in the United States uphold the Disney version of U.S. imperialism: a fundamentally benign force, motivated by democratic values and a vision of freedom, that is suffering an unexplained outburst of criminality based on stress caused by poor management of the war. Haditha, and Fallujah before it, or Abu Ghraib, are registered as deviant behavior by out of control people. Conveniently they are all rank and file enlisted men and women. No Generals, Secretary of Defense or President need worry.

That every exposed crime is widely accepted to be “deviant” or aberrational in the United States is only a testament to the power of political indoctrination by the media and the government whose economic resources for “opinion-molding” are greater than that of any previous empire in human history.

The Perception of U.S. Imperialism from The Middle East

“The deaths in Haditha, a volatile town in western Iraq, have barely caused a stir in Iraq and much of the Arab world — where American troops are reviled as brutal invaders who regularly commit such acts,” writes AP reporter Hamza Hendawi, in a story filed on May 30, 2006.

The next day a dispatch from AP reporter Kim Gamel, reports the same sentiment, "People in Samarra are very angry with the Americans not only because of Haditha case but because the Americans kill people randomly especially recently," Khalid Nisaif Jassim said.

Closely connected by language, historical and geographic knowledge, and access to more comprehensive media reporting, the Arab people consider the entire war, including its unprovoked initiation by Bush on March 20, 2003, to be a criminal endeavor by large powers against a small but oil-rich nation. The racist character of the war itself is well recognized throughout the region. Having battled for a century against colonial and semi-colonial domination, the Arab people don’t derive their knowledge about the intentions of Britain or the United States from FOX News or the New York Times.

In the U.S. media, Iraq is treated as a low-intensity war. When U.S. soldiers are killed their deaths are accompanied by a small article. The fact that well more than 100,000 Iraqis have died does not merit blazing headlines. Iraqi suffering is minimized or usually attributed to “terrorists.” Thus, the people of the United States are shielded from that which the Arab people know all too well about the criminal character of the war of aggression.

Fallujah and Hue City, Vietnam

The issue of Fallujah is a case in point. Fallujah is emblematic of the war. It is well understood throughout the Arab world but treated like ancient history by the U.S. media.

On the eve of the assault on Fallujah, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition sent out an email to anti-war activists (November 7, 2004) under the headline: “Top U.S. Marine in Iraq Calls for Massacre in Fallujah.” It reported that Sgt. Major Carlton W. Kent gave an emotional pep-talk to 2,500 Marines who were poised to attack the city. The marines had just notified the people of Fallujah that any male between the age of 15-55 who dared go outside would be automatically killed. “You’re all in the process of making history,” the Sgt. Major exhorted his soldiers. “This is another Hue City in the making. I, have no doubt, if we do get the word, that each and every one of you is going to do what you have always done kick some butt.” (AP, November 7, 2004)

Evoking the events in Hue by U.S. officers, as a motivation for today’s troops, shows the macabre criminality inherent in imperialism’s war for conquest.

Hue was a city in South Vietnam that was a scene of horrific war crimes by military personnel when it was captured by U.S.-led forces in March 1968. U.S. Under-Secretary of the Air Force, Townsend Hoopes, admitted that Hue was left a “devastated and prostrate city. Eighty percent of the buildings had been reduced to rubble, and in the smashed ruins lay 2,000 dead civilians …” (Noam Chomsky’s forward to the papers of the 1967 International War Crimes in Vietnam Tribunal.)

The Machinery of Racism

How can 100,000 people die, how can children be murdered, how can the devastation and destruction of an entire society occur at the hands of the U.S. government without there being a huge outpouring of indignation and condemnation in the U.S. mass media, much less even acknowledgment by so many in the “loyal opposition”? Because the U.S. mainstream media is a corporate dominated propaganda machine that is part and parcel of the imperial establishment and shares its interests. It uses the instrument of racism, a tool that has been fine-tuned by the forces of militarism in the United States for nearly four centuries. The racist demonization of conquered and targeted people has been crafted with the idea of dehumanizing the victims so as to prevent the forging of human solidarity in opposition to the crimes of conquest and Empire. The mass media, always willing to exploit the emotional appeal of death and tragedy that occurs within the United States, can ignore or define the experiences of the people of Iraq as somehow less worthy, the death of Iraqi children as less agonizing, their lives less valuable.

Bush Proclaims that Iraq “is only the beginning” of Endless War

The day after the NY Times front page story revealing the graphic details of the Haditha massacre, George W. Bush said these words about the Iraq war to the West Point graduating class of 2006: “This is only the beginning. The message has spread from Damascus to Tehran that the future belongs to freedom, and we will not rest until the promise of liberty reaches every people, in every nation.” Reiterating his and Cheney’s theme that the U.S. is now engaged in “endless war,” Bush told the young cadets: “The war began on my watch, but its going to end on your watch.”

While Bush was exhorting the next generation of privileged military officers to enthusiastically embrace his imperial crusade, the reality is that this administration sees in every rank and file enlisted man and woman nothing more than pawns. For the working class youth who make up the bulk of the military, the Bush administration has only callous disregard. Bush is willing to send these young people to kill and be killed while it carries out vicious cut-backs in education, job training and veterans benefits. The rich are always ready to have the working class and poor people do their fighting and dying.

The crimes of the U.S. soldiers in Iraq are as inevitable as the crimes committed by soldiers in imperial armies throughout history. The conquered people refuse to accept their fate. They rise up, they form resistance organizations. They take up arms and conspire to oust the foreign occupiers. They are then branded as terrorists and criminals by the Empire. To the extent that they enjoy popular support among the indigenous population, the population itself is considered “suspect” by the occupiers.

Civilians thus become a danger. Children and young teenagers can become the “enemy.” The vehicles carrying expectant mothers to the hospital can thus become a threat because they must travel quickly, too quickly for the comfort of the occupying soldiers who are fearful of car bombs.

A Pertinent Revelation this Week: 50 Years After the Fact

In the Korean War, U.S. soldiers gunned down hundreds and possibly thousands of South Korean civilians as they tried to escape the horrors of war. For five decades, the Pentagon and each successive U.S. administration denied these facts. South Korean survivors who tried to press their claims against the United States were labeled traitors and North Korean spies and put into prison for many years. After the killings of No Gun Ri in July 1950 were exposed decades later in the U.S. media, the Pentagon even carried out an “exhaustive” investigation and concluded that the actions were those of inexperienced soldiers. “The deaths and injuries of civilians, wherever they occurred, were an unfortunate tragedy inherent to war and not a deliberate killing.... Soldiers were not ordered to attack and kill civilian refugees in the vicinity of No Gun Ri.” (Department of the Army Inspector General, No Gun Ri Review, Jan. 2001)

But just this week, as the Pentagon begins its new “investigation” into Haditha, a document has come to light that not only reveals the truth of the massacre of Koreans but that it was an act of official U.S. war policy. The day of the mass killings, the US Ambassador to South Korea sent a letter to State Department official Dean Rusk about the military decision arrived at a meeting on July 25, 1950 announcing that Korean war refugees would be shot if they approached US lines. The day after the decision the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment killed hundreds of civilians at No Gun Ri in South Korea.

The Logic of War Crimes

There was a military rationale for killing the civilians at No Gun Ri and in scores of other sites throughout Korea during the war. The U.S. soldiers could not tell whether the civilians were sympathetic to the North Koreans or whether they would permit North Korean soldiers into their midst.

The Geneva Conventions expressly prohibit the targeting of civilians under any circumstances. But the Pentagon had a bigger political concern than adhering to international law. The fundamental fear of the Pentagon and the White House in Korea, as it was in Vietnam and during the first and current war against Iraq, was that public opinion at home would turn against the imperialist adventure and tie the hands of the warmakers. The logic of their political calculus was that U.S. public opinion would turn against the war directly as a result of a large number of U.S. casualties. This thought took them to the next murderous conclusion: if civilians pose even a remote risk to U.S. soldiers it is better to shoot the civilians first and ask questions later. Dead Korean or Vietnamese or Iraqi civilians will not be as politically damaging back home as dead American soldiers.

There is one more side to the logic of war crimes. If the civilian population is sympathetic to the resistance fighters it is necessary to terrorize the civilians as punishment for providing aid or shelter to a guerrilla army. This is not a new story. The Japanese wiped out whole villages and nearly some cities in China as a warning against aiding the communist-led resistance during World War II. The Nazi's policy in Serbia was to kill one hundred Serbs for every German soldier killed by the resistance. Under the direction of John Negroponte, current Director of US Intelligence services, the Salvadoran military carried out large-scale massacres of peasant communities that were considered supportive of the FMLN resistance fighters in El Salvador during the 1980’s. In Vietnam, the CIA organized the Phoenix Program, a clandestine war that assassinated as many 50,000 south Vietnamese who were considered to be members or sympathizers of the National Liberation Front.

The People of the United States Must Act to Stop Imperialist War

There is no investigation, no new training, or change in the way the war and occupation is administered that can stop massacres like Haditha, Fallujah and the day in and day out killings of Iraqis and destruction of their society. The only change that can bring about the hope of building a new future for Iraqis, one of self-determination and eventual peace, is to end the foreign occupation of Iraq and remove the invading army. Every day the U.S. and other troops remain in Iraq the situation grows more dire for the Iraqi people. We must demand that the troops be brought home now and reach out to our friends, families, co-workers and schoolmates to make this demand a powerful and undeniable force. The majority of people of the U.S. now oppose the war in Iraq - but at this very moment, many in the peace movement are urging that all focus turn towards the elections, just as they did two years ago. This is the road to irrelevance and it must be rejected.

The war in Vietnam was not ended because “better politicians” were elected. No one could assert that Richard Nixon was better than anything or anyone. What mattered was that millions of people used every avenue to intensify the mass struggle in the streets and in every community throughout the country. The Vietnamese people were clearly determined to fight until their homeland was free from foreign occupation. Ultimately, the U.S. soldier was only fighting to return to his or her home. The congruence of these factors and the ever-widening mass anti-war movement made the nearly genocidal conflict unsustainable for the Pentagon brass and the occupant of the White House. We must learn and re-learn these lessons and apply them to today. That is the challenge and obligation of the next period.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard is a civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice. Brian Becker is the National Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.

How They Stole Ohio

And the GOP 4-step Recipe to 'Blackwell' the USA in 2008Abracadabra:
Three million votes vanish

A Buzzflash Exclusive
June 1, 2006
By Greg Palast

[Heads up! Catch Robert Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and Greg Palast this Saturday on Air America's 'Ring of Fire' on the shoplifting of the last election … and the next one.]

This is a fact: On November 2, 2004, in the State of Ohio, 239,127 votes for President of the United States were dumped, rejected, blocked, lost and left to rot uncounted.

And not just anyone's vote. Dive into the electoral dumpster and these "spoiled" votes have a very dark color indeed.

In another life, I taught statistics. And these statistics stank: the raw data tells us that if you are a Black voter, the chance of you losing your vote to technical errors in voting machinery is 900% higher than if you were a white voter.

Any guesses as to whom those African-Americans chose for president on those junked ballots? Check Ohio's racial demographics, do the numbers, and there it is: Kerry won Ohio. And that, too, is a fact. A fact that could not get reported in the USA.

But the shoplifting of those votes in Ohio was just the tip of the theft-berg. November 2, 2004 was a national ballot-box bonfire. In total, over three million votes (3,600,380 to be exact) were cast -- marked, punched, pulled -- YET NEVER COUNTED. I'm not talking about the Ukraine or Uganda. I'm talking about the United States of America "with liberty and justice for all."

Well, not "all." The nine-to-one Black-to-White ballot spoilage rate is a national statistic -- not just an Ohio trick. Last year, I flew to New Mexico to investigate the 33,981 cast but not counted ballots of that state in the 2004 race. George Bush "won" New Mexico by 5,988 votes. Or did he? I calculated that, of the all the ballots rejected and "spoiled," 89% were cast by voters of color. Who won New Mexico? Kerry won -- or he would have, if they had counted the ballots.

But they didn't count them. And that was deliberate. It's in the plan. It's the program. And the program for 2008 is simple. Two million ballots were cast but not counted in the 2000 race. (Over half, 54%, were cast by African-American.) In 2004, the GOP kicked it up to THREE million. Get ready, these guys aim high: "four in '06" and "five in '08" looks to be their game plan.

How will they pile up five million un-voters in 2008? Let's start with the three million "disappeared" of 2004:

Step 1: "Spoiling" ballots -- 1,389,231 of them. In the vote-count game, these are called "undervotes" and "overvotes." You can recognize these lost ballots by their hanging chads, punch cards without punches (an Ohio specialty), paper ballots eaten by scanners, and touch screens that didn't know you touched them.

Step 2: Rejecting "provisional ballots"-- 1,090,729 in this pile. Voters finding themselves at the "wrong" precinct, or wrongly "scrubbed" from voter rolls get these back-of-the-bus ballots first inaugurated in 2002. In '04, provisional ballots were passed out like candy to voters in the poorest precincts. They handed them out -- then threw them away -- one million dumped in all. In Ohio, Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell changed state rules, allowing him to toss out the ballots of legal voters who cast ballots in the wrong precinct although these citizens were told their vote would count after confirming their registration.

Step 3: Not counting absentee ballots -- 526,420 of them. At least, that's what we figure from official stats. But it's anyone's guess how many mailed-in votes were dumped. (However, in one case, in Palm Beach, Florida, Jeb Bush's candidate for Elections Supervisor, Theresa LaPore, counted more absentee votes than absentee ballots mailed in. Not the brightest bulb in the vote-fix biz, that Theresa.)

Step 4: Scrub'm, Purge'm, Block'm. These are the voters who never got to vote at all. This group includes those who found their registrations were never entered on the voter rolls. In Ohio, about one-fourth of those registered by Jesse Jackson's 2004 voter drive, found their registrations delayed beyond the election date or lost.

Add to this un-voter group, those who were wrongly "scrubbed" from registries as "felons." For example, there was Bernice Kines, purged in Florida in 2004 because she was convicted of a felony on July 31, 2009. I repeat: 2009. There was something especially odd about the Ohio felon purge: ex-cons are ALLOWED to vote in that state, Mr. Blackwell.

How many lost their chance to vote by scrubbing, purging and blocking? That's anyone's guess, but one million would not be an unfair estimate -- and that's not included in the 3.6 million tally of ballots uncounted.

Was it deliberate? Oh my God, yes. I'd like you to take a look at the "caging" lists the Republican National Committee concocted to challenge voters with "suspect" addresses. It included page after page of African-American soldiers, like one Randall Prausa, shipped overseas. Mission accomplished, Mr. President?

And there's some new tricks for these old dogs. For the 2006 and 2008, the GOP is pushing new Voter ID requirements. Your signature won't be good enough anymore.

What's wrong with the new ID laws? This: in the 2004 election, 300,000 voters were turned away from the polls for "wrong" ID. For example, in the "Little Texas" counties in New Mexico, if your voter registration included a middle initial but your driver's license had none, you were kicked out of the polling station. Funny, but they only seemed to ask Hispanic voters. We should see the number of voters rejected for ID to quintuple by 2008 based on the new "voting reform" laws recently passed in several states.

Also, coming to a polling station near you: more caging lists, scrub lists, ID challenge lists and more. Exactly why do you think they are compiling those "War on Terror" and War on Immigration databases? Behind the 2000 felon purge lists and behind the 2004 caging lists were databases from the same companies that now have those homeland security contracts. Are they saving us from Osama -- or from Democrats?

I wish I could give you a book on a page, because information is our weapon: Turn on the lights and the cockroaches scatter. That's why I'm asking you to read RFK's article on the Theft of Ohio -- and GET ANGRY. Then read, "Armed Madhouse: … The Scheme to Steal '08' -- AND GET READY.
BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast is author of ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, The Scheme to Steal 'O8, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War -- out Tuesday. Or order it at www.ArmedMadhouse.com.

Also, check Bradblog.com and AirAmericaRadio.com for the audio of Janeane Garofalo, Brad Friedman and Randi Rhodes reading "Kerry Won" and other sections of Armed Madhouse.

Then belly up to the beast: Join Greg Palast and the Reverend Jesse Jackson (in Chicago), Amy Goodman (in New York), Bob Fitrakis (in Columbus) and others for the 24-city US/UK Armed Madhouse Class War Boot Camp meetings. They begin this Monday, sponsored by Ohio Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections, Operation PUSH, Oregon Voter Action, Activist San Diego and Pacifica Radio. For dates and locations, go to www.GregPalast.com
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