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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Republicans Sneak In War Bill Allowing US Military Bases in Iraq

The House and Senate are now null and void, in America

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congressional Republicans killed a provision in an Iraq war funding bill that would have put the United States on record against the permanent basing of U.S. military facilities in that country, a lawmaker and congressional aides said on Friday.

The $94.5 billion emergency spending bill, which includes $65.8 billion to continue waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is expected to be approved by Congress next week and sent to President George W. Bush for signing into law.

As originally passed by the House of Representatives, the Pentagon would have been prohibited from spending any of the funds for entering into a military basing rights agreement with Iraq.

A similar amendment passed by the Senate said the Pentagon could not use the next round of war funding to "establish permanent United States military bases in Iraq, or to exercise United States control over the oil infrastructure or oil resources of Iraq."

The Bush administration has said it does not want to place any artificial timelines on a U.S. presence in Iraq and that it wants to begin withdrawing troops when Iraqi security forces are better able to protect the country. But it has not ruled out permanent bases in Iraq.

While the Pentagon does not necessarily plan to use any of the emergency funds to establish a permanent military presence in Iraq, congressional Democrats wanted Congress to be on record against such a long-term military arrangement.

Doing so, they argued, could help overcome Middle East fears that the United States intended to control the region militarily, at least in part to oversee foreign oil reserves.

"The perception that the U.S. intends to occupy Iraq indefinitely is fueling the insurgency and making our troops more vulnerable," said Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat who won House approval of her amendment on permanent bases. Continued...

Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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BUSBY/BILBRAY ELECTION IN DOUBT: Uncounted Ballots Reported by Registrar is Decreased by 2000, but Number of Votes in Busby/Bilbray Race Increases by 8000!
I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for this. There always is. As ever, it underscores the need for verifiable elections, and begins to remind us that the folks who...

I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for this. There always is.

As ever, it underscores the need for verifiable elections, and begins to remind us that the folks who give a damn about this down there in San Diego County better damned well be keeping an eye on the chain of custody for those paper ballots and "paper trails" as they are being theoretically "counted" by the SD County Registrar of Voters.

According to this web page from the SD County's Registrar of Voters office, as of 5pm last night, the number of uncounted absentee and provisional ballots in the entire county of SD has decreased by 2,000 from the reported 68,500 that were announced as "still to be counted" on election night.

The number of votes in the now-questionable Busby/Bilbray U.S. House (CA-50) special election, however, has been increased by 8,000 votes.

Since the number of votes in the CA-50 race is a smaller subset of the total votes within SD County, one would think that if 2,000 absentee or provisionals were counted for the entire county, the number of votes in CA-50 might go up by a fraction of that number. Instead, they've gone up by 8,000, according to the county's website!

So far, I've been unable to get any comments from "quotable sources" at the Registrar's office on the reported updates. Very few in the office, apparently, are allowed to speak on record to the press for some reason.

As mentioned, no doubt there's a perfectly good explanation for all of this. Right? It's just that you and I may never know it. And, if we do, the election officials will likely never have to prove that their explanation -- or the veracity of their reported vote counts -- is valid. To anybody.

Link Here

Count All the Votes in the 50th

I love my country, but...
Holy toledo.

20 Amazing Facts About
Voting in the USA
by Angry Girl

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.

13. Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election Systems when it was bought by Diebold. Even though he had been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree, Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was largely responsible for programming the optical scanning software now used in most of the United States.

14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here: www.bbvdocs.org/videos/baxterVPR.mov.)

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.

NOTE: Please copy the above list and distribute freely!

Link Here

FOCUS | Iraqi Raises Questions on al-Zarqawi Death

US officials have altered their account of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, saying he was alive and partly conscious after bombs destroyed his hideout, but a man who lived near the scene of the bombing, told AP Television News on Friday that he saw US soldiers beating an injured man resembling al-Zarqawi until blood flowed from the victim's nose.

Link Here

Voting Machine Programmer A Convicted Felon

So Called Convicted Felons can't vote in America, Yet a convicted Felon can programme your voting machines, and have a key to the commutor room. DEMOCRACY AND HYPOCRACY IN ACTION.

Sunday, November 21 2004 @ 02:49 PM EST

Contributed by: Lise This has been out since December of 2003. I would not normally do this, but I feel it's so important that this information get out, that I'm going to quote a big chunk of a longer article. I'll make the main point in a nutshell -- the man who programmed Diebold's voting systems is a convicted felon who specializes in computerized theft. He has done time. It' really not funny.

From Bev Harris, Black Box Voting:

In King County, an individual named Jeffrey Dean obtained a contract to program the voter registration system. According to sources within the King County elections office, Dean also had a key to the computer room, the passcode to the GEMS computer, and 24-hour access to the building. Dean sometimes urged upgrades to new, uncertified software right before elections.

So here’s a man with access to our personal information and access to the programs that count 800,000 votes. He also had involvement with the Windows CE operating system used by the touch-screens:

From: Ian S. Piper, October 20, 2001: “I don’t know the outlook for implementing WinCE 3.0. Jeff Dean would be the person to make an inquiry to on that matter.

From: Larry Dix, October 20, 2001: “ Can anyone other than Jeff give an update on this? Any idea when CE will be available ...”

Jeffrey Dean was largely responsible for programming the 1.96 version of the optical scan software, which is used not just in Seattle, but throughout the U.S. (1.96.4 was certified in May 2003).

From: Jeff Dean, 23 Feb 2001: “What we are doing is certifying a firmware release that is backward compatible with the 1.94, 1.95 spider’s web of uncertified features currently in use ... let’s get 1.96 tested and certified.”

Jeffrey W. Dean was the senior vice president of Global Election Systems and a director of the company in 2000 and 2001. He had access not only to King County, but to the entire suite of optical scan software used in 37 states, and the security-sensitive Windows CE program for the touch-screens. Jeffrey Dean had access to our votes, but what he is not allowed to have is access to handling any checks.

That is because his criminal sentence for twenty-three counts of felony Theft in the First Degree forbids him to handle any checks, now that he has been released from prison. According to the findings of fact in case no. 89-1-04034-1:

“Defendant’s thefts occurred over a 2 1/2 year period of time, there were multiple incidents, more than the standard range can account for, the actual monetary loss was substantially greater than typical for the offense, the crimes and their cover-up involved a high degree of sophistication and planning in the use and alteration of records in the computerized accounting system that defendant maintained for the victim, and the defendant used his position of trust and fiduciary responsibility as a computer systems and accounting consultant for the victim to facilitate the commission of the offenses.”

Diebold told The AP wire that Dean left the company when they took over, but in fact, Diebold retained him as a consultant:

From: Steve Moreland, 4 Feb 2002: “I am pleased to announce that effective today, John Elder will be assuming the role of General Manager of the Printed Products department of Diebold Election Systems, Inc. John brings a wealth of knowledge along with a passion for success to this role which will be essential as we strive to gain market share and improve profitability. Jeff Dean has elected to maintain his affiliation with the company in a consulting role, reporting to Pat Green. The Diebold Election Division management team greatly values Jeff’s contribution to this business and is looking forward to his continued expertise in this market place.

Diebold also cannot say that the voting machines it built had nothing to do with Jeffrey Dean. Though Diebold actually purchased Global Election Systems in January 2002, they contracted to build machines for Global in 2001. This was because Diebold had loaned money to Global, planning to buy the firm, and Global had sold 500 machines that it did not have the liquidity to manufacture.

While in prison, Jeffrey Dean met and became friends with John Elder, who did five years for cocaine trafficking. At the time of this writing, Elder is still on Diebold’s payroll; in fact, he manages a division and oversees the printing of both ballots and punch cards for several states. Punch cards, remember, can also be rigged, by selectively die-cutting so that some chads dislodge more easily than others. Diebold’s printing division also bids on printing for Sequoia.

King County contracts the mailing of its absentee ballots out to Elder’s division, and Elder’s division subcontracts with a firm called PSI Group Inc. to sort the incoming absentee ballots — the most high-risk security point for absentee ballots. You see, we know how many absentee ballots we send out, but we have no idea how many are filled out and sent back in, especially if they pass through a middleman before being counted by elections officials. The elections division may tell you they count the ballots before outsourcing for precinct sorting, but in major metro areas, up to 60,000 ballots arrive in a single day and they are simply not staffed for this. It makes no sense to count ballots by precinct and then send them out for sorting.

According to a 2001 SEC document, our felon friends had contracted for absentee and ballot processing for the following counties:

King County Records and Elections-Ballot Production 7/15/98
King County Records and Elections-Absentee Process 7/10/98
Fresno County Elections-Ballot Production 2/28/99
Fresno County Elections-Absentee Process 2/28/99
Tulare County Elections-Ballot Production 9/03/99
Los Angeles Elections-Absentee Process 8/01/00
Santa Clara County Elections-Absentee Process 9/12/00
Sacramento County Elections-Absentee Process 9/05/00

Purchase Orders based upon Spectrum's ballot
production and absentee Statements of Work
Santa Barbara County
San Luis Obispo County
Marin County
Lassen County
Siskiyou County
Humboldt County
Trinity County

Jeffrey Dean was released from prison in August, 1995 and Elder was released in November 1996. In their prison release documents, both wrote that they had lined up employment at Postal Services of Washington, Inc., the firm that sorts 500,000 mail-in absentee ballots for King County.

Jeffrey Dean, when released from prison, had $87 in his inmate account. He was ordered to pay $385,227 in restitution for his embezzlements. For most of us, this would be a crushing financial blow, and we would find it difficult to bankroll a business, yet somehow Dean (and his wife, Deborah M. Dean) managed to become the owners of Spectrum Printing & Mailing. In 2000, Dean’s printing and mailing firm was purchased for $1.6 million by Global Election Systems.

So when we try to find out what software is actually authorized, we get the buffalo shuffle. We’ve got a cocaine trafficker printing our ballots, an embezzler programming our voting system, and our absentee ballots are being funneled through a private company that hires people straight out of prison.

I don’t believe there is a certification program in existence that can protect us from inside access. We need criminal background checks and robust, fraud-deterring audits.

Read the rest here: Embezzler Programmed System To Connect Ballots To Voter by Bev Harris

Link Here

Three Guantanamo Inmates

AMERICA!WHERE HAVE YOU GONE? The question needs to be asked, are you so sure they weren't just tortured to death?

Associated Press JENNIFER LOVEN June 10, 2006 at 02:52 PM

Three detainees at Guantanamo Bay committed suicide in what apparently was a joint pact to protest the U.S. military prison that holds suspected terrorists, a senior administration official said Saturday.

They are the first deaths reported at the detention center in Cuba, where the United States is holding about 460 men on suspicion of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Held indefinietly without due proces, released without apology, tortured, humiliated and caged.

This is Mr Bush' compassionate conservative administration.

Shamefull Amerika.


Concern Growing Over U.S. Troops' Ammo

As American troop casualties in Iraq continue to mount, concern is growing they may be outgunned. That includes new questions about the stopping power of the ammunition that is used by the standard-issue M-16 rifle.

In a fierce exchange of gunfire, one insurgent was hit seven times by 5.56 mm bullets, reports CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. It took a shot to the head with a pistol to finally bring him down. But before he died, he killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded seven more.

"The lack of the lethality of that bullet has caused United States soldiers to die," says Maj. Anthony Milavic. Milavic is a retired Marine major who saw three tours of duty in Vietnam. He says the small-caliber 5.56, essentially a .22-caliber civilian bullet, is far better suited for shooting squirrels than the enemy.

In last week's Marine Corps Times, a squad leader said his Marines carried and used "found" enemy AK-47s because that weapon's 7.62 mm bullets packed "more stopping power."

Link Here

Bush's Approval Up On Zarqawi's Death, But It May Not Last


Bush's Approval Up On Zarqawi's Death, But It May Not Last

For one day at least, President Bush was more popular than he's been all year.

The president's lagging poll numbers got a swift boost from Thursday's news that U.S. warplanes had killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted-terrorist in Iraq.

Polling done on Thursday for the IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index gave Bush a 44.2 rating, up from 39.1 in the prior days of June and 38.9 in May. The last time the Index reached this level was in December, when it hit 44.3.

Link Here

US Made al-Zarqawi an "Enemy to America's Liking"

By Patrick Cockburn The New Zealand Herald
Saturday 10 June 2006

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a little-known Jordanian petty criminal before he became the Islamic fundamentalist fanatic denounced by the United States in 2003 as an insurgent leader of great importance.

His status enabled him to recruit men and raise money to wage a cruel war, mostly against Iraqi civilians.

In one macabre innovation, he staged beheadings of Westerners - including Ken Bigley and Eugene Armstrong - which were then put on the internet.

Zarqawi's death in an airstrike by American F-16s on a house north of Baghdad is important in Iraq because he was the most sectarian of the Sunni resistance leaders, butchering Shiites as heretics as worthy of death as foreign invaders.

His chosen instrument was the suicide bomber. The targets were almost invariably young Shiite men desperate for work and queuing for jobs as policemen or soldiers.

President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed news of his death but, paradoxically, among those most pleased by his elimination may be the other insurgent leaders. "He was an embarrassment to the resistance," said Iraqi commentator Ghassan al-Attiyah.

"They never liked him taking all the limelight and the Americans exaggerated his role."

Zarqawi's rise was attributable to the US in two ways. His name was unknown when he was denounced in 2003, by Secretary of State Colin Powell before the UN Security Council as the link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

There was no evidence for this connection and Zarqawi did not at that time belong to al Qaeda. But to Muslims, Powell's denunciation made Zarqawi a symbol of resistance to the US. It also fitted Washington's political agenda that attacking Iraq was part of the war on terror.

The invasion gave Zarqawi a further boost. Within months of the overthrow of Hussein, Iraq's Sunni Arab community of five million appeared united in opposition to the occupation. Armed resistance was popular and for the first time Sunni militants known as the Salafi had a bedrock of support in Iraq.

The next critical moment in Zarqawi's career was the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003. Previously, US military and civilian spokesmen blamed everything on the former Iraqi leader.

No sooner was Saddam captured than the US spokesmen began to mention Zarqawi's name in every sentence. It emerged this year that the US emphasis on Zarqawi as the prime leader of the Iraqi resistance was part of a carefully calculated propaganda programme.

A dubious letter from Zarqawi was conveniently discovered. One internal briefing document quoted by the Washington Post records Brigadier General Kimmitt, then-chief US military spokesman: "The Zarqawi psy-op programme is the most successful information campaign to date."

The US campaign was largely geared towards the American public, aiming to establish that the invasion of Iraq was a reasonable response to the September 11 attacks.

This meant it was necessary to show that al Qaeda was strong in Iraq and play down the fact that this had happened only after the invasion.

In an increasingly anti-American Arab world, hostility from the US made it easy for Zarqawi to develop his own organisation and finance it.

The siege of Fallujah in April 2004 and the storming of the city by US Marines in November led to al-Tawhid wal-Jihad - whose name was later changed to al Qaeda's Organisation in Iraq - becoming a powerful force. The suicide bombing campaign had already begun in November 2003 and from the beginning was directed against Shiites as much as foreign troops or officials.

Zarqawi's war was devised to have the maximum political impact. Actions such as the beheading of foreign captives made him an enemy to America's liking.

Although US military officials admitted that few insurgents were non-Iraqi, Zarqawi's Jordanian origins were useful in suggesting that the insurrection was orchestrated outside Iraq.

There were always going to be sectarian and ethnic differences between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds after Saddam's overthrow. But he also did much to deepen sectarian hatred by killing Iraqi Shiites whenever he could.

This destabilised the Iraqi Government.

It also made his anti-Shiite fanaticism increasingly acceptable.

His death may lessen Shiite-Sunni sectarianism but it probably comes too late. In the savage civil war taking place in Diyala, the province where he was killed, Iraq's communities hunt each other down and those in the minority are forced to flee, fight or die.

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When Will We Ever Learn?

Cindy Sheehan

...It's time to join us to stop allowing our government to give those orders to kill innocent Iraqis in the name of fighting a "global war of terror" - which is just another name for "corporate colonialism" (honestly, instead of patriotic emblems on their uniforms, our troops should have corporate logos all over them, like NASCAR drivers. Tanks should have a big "Exxon" symbol painted right on their sides, this would make more sense!). It's time to look at our country's knack for arming and training dictators and terrorists like Saddam and Osama and oppressing other countries for profit and demand that this violent behavior stop....

continua / continued

The Zarqawi Show - A Pantomime For Children Of All Ages

Isn't that the truth.

Joe Quinn, Signs of the Times

Have you ever seen the effects of a 500lb bomb? Have you ever seen the effects of two? Generally, such bombs will obliterate everything in the immediate vicinity leaving a large crater at the site of the bombing and cause extensive damage over a wide area. Take the opportunity to watch the video on CNN of the bombing. Notice the extent of the massive explosion (...) An abrasion on his cheek and a cut on his forehead and above his left eye. All of which leads us to conclude that either 'al-Zarqawi' really was a super human Islamic terrorist or someone in the US government thinks we are all very, very stupid...

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Thinking the Unthinkable

Felicity Arbuthnot
...And when factions in high places, allegedly threatened Times columnist, Matthew Parris's wealthy friend, prepared to pay a ransom for Maragaret Hassan, were it demanded, in to a state of terror for the safety of his family; confiscated Paul Bigley's communication equipment, when he was fighting for his brother's life and telephoned this correspondent demanding broadly: shut the f ... up about Margaret Hassan, was it because the decision to do nothing had been made and humanity and drawing attention to the real people behind the names muddied the planned spin?

Unthinkable, of course. Oh, and of course, conspiracy theorists might wonder if those mobile 'phones were infact traced and a decision made to simply do nothing. As this is being written news of another 'breakthrough' hits the airwaves, another: ' Ladies and gentlemen,' we got 'im' moment. The slaughter of innocents at Haditha, Ishaqi and elsewhere, vanished from the news. Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, killed in Sulamainiyah, then Mosul, Al Quaim and Fallujah, has been definitively killed in Hibhib, near Baquba. Margaret Hassan's tragedy sort of sorted and the man who allegedly killed Ken Bigley, sorted again (...)

'How is it Zarqawi's body remains intact as if he died in his bed'? asked one resident. Paul Bigley, having hired tireless investigators in to his brother's death stated to this writer and in the Independent: ' I would not be surprised if Ken and Margaret's bodies weren't in some refrigerator in Washington to be produced at an opportune moment'. Unthinkable...

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Ramadi attacked ...

Imad Khadduri, Free Iraq

...A full scale American attack on Ramadi has commenced and fierce fighting is taking place in most districts of Ramadi. American helicopters withdrew from the area after one of them was hit by Resistance fire but was not downed. American fighter planes are now taking part in the offensive...

Imad Khadduri, Free Iraq

June 10, 2006Islam Memo: (Tuesday June 6, 2006 at night) "The American occupation forces have besieged the city of Ramadi from all sides, including the Euphrates river and the Warrar irrigation canal.
The occupation forces have dispersed hundreds of American soldiers around Ramadi and have prevented any entry or exit from it. It has also cut off all electricity supplies to the city as well as drinking water facilities and has closed down all petrol stations.
The Islam Memo correspondent reported that the occupation forces have shelled medical supply stores, closed down all medical clinics and confiscated all medical supplies therein.
Jet fighters have been streaming over the city, as well as helicopters.
Three Islam Memo correspondents have dispersed throughout the city in order to continue to relay the news of the impeding offensive."
Islam Memo: (Wednesday June 7, 2006 at night) " Iraqi sources are anticipating that the attack of the American occupation forces against Ramadi may not materialize after several Sunni officials in the government had issued threats that they will resign from their positions in the government and from parliament if the American attack on Ramadi does take place."
Islam memo: (Friday June 9, 2006, 6 at night) "American forces, supported by tens of military vehicles and hundreds of soldiers, have joined in the fierce battles that has been raging between Resistance fighters and the occupation forces.
Islam memo correspondent reported an increase in the intensity of the fighting as American air force jets and helicopters have joined in the fighting.
The correspondent reported that four American military vehicles have been destroyed so far with a number of dead and injured American sildiers. He pointed out that American soldiers have forced their way into many homes and have positioned sniper positions on their roof tops.
The Stadium and Officers districts have witnessed very intense fighting between the Resistance fighters and the occupation forces during the past half an hour."
Islam memo: (Friday June 9, 2006, 7 at night) " The American occupation forces has called upon the Resistance fighters in Ramadi who are engaging them to drop their weapons and surrender.
Islam memo correspondent reported that giant loudspeakers announced the following: "To all armed men, your Amir has died, and there is no need anymore for you to fight. Therefore, drop your weapons and surrender to the American and Iraqi forces and we promise that we shall not harm you".
The correspondent reported that the response to these American calls was immediate as many mortar and RPG shells started to bombard the occupation forces concentrations in the Stadium district and the Governorate building."
Islam Memo: (Saturday June 10, 2006, 9 at morning) " A full scale American attack on Ramadi has commenced and fierce fighting is taking place in most districts of Ramadi. American helicopters withdrew from the area after one of them was hit by Resistance fire but was not downed. American fighter planes are now taking part in the offensive."

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Anatomy of a Lie: The Zarqawi Psy-Ops, and an opportune death

DelicateMonster, Daily Kos

...I suspect that his convenient death (real or otherwise) is being desperately hyped by a psy-ops campaign largely geared towards the American public. Originally, Zarqawi was used to show that al Qaeda and the foreign 'terrorists' element were strong in Iraq. He has now evolved into an ad hoc diversion from the slaughter at Haditha. Don't believe me? Fine. When's the last story you read about Haditha?...

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Neocon Prince of Darkness Sighted at Bilderberg Meeting

Kurt Nimmo

According to Megan Gillis, writing for the Ottawa Sun, the Straussian neocon "Prince of Darkness," Richard Perle, is in Ottawa, possibly to attend the Bilderberg Group meeting held there, along with the standard fare of neolibs and globalists, including "David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Queen Beatrix of Holland, former N.B. premier Frank McKenna and a host of other bigwigs," as Gillis puts it. As Perle is a prime shaker and mover behind the "clash of civilizations" agenda to "reshape" the Muslim Middle East (that is to say, shock and awe it, by way of bunker-buster and depleted uranium, into submission), it makes perfect sense for him to be on the Bilderberger roster, especially now that Iran is next up on the target list. It appears the globalists are at odds on Iran...

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Is this picture from Haditha, Iraq?

Truth about Iraqis

Iraq? No. Try Gaza. Picture of one of three children, part of a family picnic on the beaches of Gaza, killed courtesy of the Israeli military. A total of 10 were killed. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for an investigation into the deaths after the Bush administration refused to condemn the attack. Remember Haditha...

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Aide to GOP Rep. Reaped Millions From Lobbying Firm

A senior aide to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) received nearly $2 million in departure payments from a Washington lobbying firm when he returned to Capitol Hill to work for Lewis, who is now under federal investigation for ties to that firm.

Link Here

Italian Fashion Group Sues Wal-Mart For Selling Counterfeit Handbags

Reuters June 10, 2006 at 11:17 AM

Italian fashion group Fendi S.R.L. sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT - news) in U.S. federal court on Friday, accusing the world's largest retailer of selling counterfeit handbags and passing them off as genuine at its Sam's Club warehouse stores.

Sam's Club stores in California, New York, Florida and other states sold knock off handbags, wallets and key chains that were identified as "genuine" Fendi products, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.


Homeland Security Blames Drastic Funding Cuts For DC On Region's ‘Lack Of Innovation'...

Washington Post Mary Beth Sheridan June 10, 2006 at 11:41 AM
READ MORE: Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security sharply cut the Washington region's anti-terrorism funding in part because its grant application was among the weakest nationwide -- with one proposal scoring so low that money cannot be drawn without federal permission, officials said.

The region's spending proposals were less innovative and less likely to produce sustained, high-impact results than those submitted by other cities, DHS officials said. The application ranked in the bottom 25 percent of those submitted by urban areas from across the country.


NY Times: The Blogosphere Now For The Left What Talk Radio Has Been For The Right...

New York Times ADAM NAGOURNEY June 10, 2006 at 08:38 AM

If any more proof were needed of the rising influence of bloggers -- at least for the Democratic Party -- it could be found here on Friday on the Las Vegas Strip, where the old and new worlds of American politics engaged in a slightly awkward if mostly entertaining clash of a meeting.

There were the bloggers -- nearly a thousand of them, many of them familiar names by now -- emerging from the shadows of their computers for a three-day blur of workshops, panels and speeches about politics, the power of the Internet and the shortcomings of the Washington media. And right behind them was a parade of prospective Democratic presidential candidates and party leaders, their presence a tribute to just how much the often rowdy voices of the Web have been absorbed into the very political process they frequently disdain, much to the amazement, and perhaps discomfort, of some of the bloggers themselves.



Nine stars spared the axe
From: By Richard Clune
June 11, 2006

THE Nine Network's expensive stars have been quarantined from cost cutting while their news and current affairs shows undergo a makeover modelled on the successful Fox News network in the US.

Behind Nine's announcement of the sacking of 20 per cent of its news and current affairs staff is a two-pronged plan to improve profitability and ratings, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

Although new Nine CEO Eddie McGuire broke the news to staff, the strategy was hatched by his bosses, PBL chief executive John Alexander and deputy chairman Chris Anderson.

Mr Alexander is a fan of Fox and its formula of strong personality-driven shows, live debates and news crosses.

It is expected Jana Wendt's Sunday program, set to lose most of its reporting staff, will be the first to adopt the new look. Ms Wendt, who is paid around $500,000 a year, is said to be unhappy with the proposed changes.

Today, which like Sunday is losing the ratings war with Seven, is also in line for a revamp although host Jessica Rowe, on $400,000 a year, is safe for the time being. Nine is also planning to adapt cost-saving ideas based on proposals outlined by Mr Anderson two years ago.

Producers have been told they will have to share more resources, and crews will have to work across news and current affairs shows in the new system. There will be more live broadcasts and less packaged television.

In the long term, the PBL board is also believed to be planning the sale of Nine's Willoughby headquarters, freeing up hundreds of millions of dollars.

New digital broadcasting facilities would be built, but in a cheaper location.

The loss of 100 jobs, most of them in news and current affairs, is designed to shave $15 million off Nine's $130 million news and current affairs budget.

Sources said the Packer family had always demanded Nine make profits of at least $200 million a year and the cuts were necessary following the loss of advertising share and the ratings challenge by Seven. Last week's announcement was a blow to many Nine staff who had supported Mr McGuire's appointment as CEO.

They have now split into two camps: those who know they are safe and those who know their jobs are slated to go.

There was dismay that Mr McGuire made the announcement just before jetting off to Germany to host an expensive World Cup Footy Show special and after paying $2.6 million for the Beaconsfield miners' story.

"It isn't a good look; it's shocking timing," one employee said.

Those at the staff meeting to hear Mr McGuire deliver the bad news said he was flat and struggled to sell the new vision for the network. "Everyone knew he was selling us a s*** sandwich and pretending it was strawberry jam," one staffer said. "Up until then, most people thought Eddie was running the place."

News and current affairs chief Mark Llewellyn, who was demoted because of the appointment of Bulletin editor Garry Linnell, is said to have left the meeting before Mr McGuire finished speaking.

A Nine spokeswoman said: "No one likes delivering bad news but, sometimes, hard decisions have to be made."

Gerald Stone, former executive producer of 60 Minutes, said it was a sad day for Nine.

"What it suggests to me is that Nine is simply one of the pack. You can't cut that many people out and expect it to distinguish itself in news and current affairs," he said.

Seven's news and current affairs chief, Peter Meakin, who left Nine in 2003, said the scale of the changes would never have happened under Kerry Packer.

"Jana is going to look pretty lonely on Sunday with these sorts of cuts. It looks to me like they've thrown in the towel."

Diebold Lobbyist Donates $10,000 to Blackwell Campaign

June 10, 2006, 11:56 AM

COLUMBUS (AP) -- Forty-nine of the 85 people who this year have given Ohio secretary of state Kenneth Blackwell the maximum $10,000 allowed an individual donor have done so since May 2. Members of Cincinnati financier Carl Lindner's family led the way by combining for $90,000. The maximum-donor list also includes Mitch Given, who is a registered lobbyist for Diebold Election Systems, one of the vendors of voting machines for election boards in Ohio.

Blackwell's office approved Diebold's selection as a vendor and negotiated the price for the machines, although the counties chose the machines.

Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said the May 15 contribution came well after Diebold signed a contract with the state to provide the machines in February 2004 after bids were submitted by the vendors. LoParo also pointed out that Given lobbies for other companies and is a frequent contributor to GOP campaigns. Given also donated $10,000 to Betty Montgomery's campaign a week after she dropped out of the governor's race to run for attorney general.

"It's important to note that he did not contribute to Secretary Blackwell during the bidding process," LoParo said.

Messages seeking comment were left at Given's office and home.

When Blackwell discovered in April that his investment firm had acquired stock in Diebold, he ordered it sold immediately. He said his portfolio is operated like a blind trust, and that he only found out about the Diebold stock when his ethics disclosure statement was filed.

Forty-nine of the 85 people who this year have given Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell the maximum $10,000 allowed an individual donor have done so since May 2. Members of Cincinnati financier Carl Lindner's family led the way by combining for $90,000.

Blackwell got $430,000 from the Ohio Republican Party on the day of the primary. Ohio GOP chairman Bob Bennett, who didn't take sides in the primary, said he held back until he was certain Blackwell would win. The last-minute donation also means the party can give a similar amount for the general election, Bennett said.

Despite the considerable donations Blackwell by Republican heavy-hitters since he won the May 2 primary, he trails Democratic nominee Ted Strickland 2-1 in cash available for the November election, finance reports filed Friday showed.

Strickland raised $2 million during the April 12 to June 2 reporting period and had $2.6 million on hand. Blackwell, who spent more than $1.2 million late in his primary fight against Jim Petro, raised $2.2 million and had $1.3 million in his account with five months to go in the campaign. Petro raised $255,000 and spent $572,000 down the stretch.

Strickland, a U.S. House member from Lisbon, trounced little-known former state Rep. Bryan Flannery in the primary. Strickland received $365,000 from the Ohio Democratic Party on the day of the primary.

Twenty-six of the 91 donations of $10,000 Strickland has received have come since May 2. Maximum donors to his campaign included Peter Lewis of Cleveland, president of Progressive Corp., the nation's third-largest car insurer.

Strickland is seen as the Democrats' best hope for the office they haven't held since 1991, when former Gov. Richard Celeste finished his second term. Democrats expect to be more competitive this year because of an investment scandal that has tainted Republican Gov. Bob Taft's administration and a lobbying scandal in Washington.

Posted by PJS

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Link Here

'Embarrassing' email sent to Brown claims Bush was

How many day later, did he deem it fit to move his ass and see the destruction in New Orleans, no different than 9/11.
RAW STORYPublished: Friday June 9, 2006

An "embarrasing email" leaked by former FEMA head Michael Brown to CNN quotes President Bush as saying at a Cabinet meeting held shortly after Katrina that he was pleased that Brown was taking most of the heat for the federal government's roundly criticized response to the hurricane.

"I'd rather they beat up on him than me or Chertoff," President Bush allegedly said at the meeting, referring to the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. The sender also thanked Brown for "diverting hostile fire away from the leader."

CNN wasn't able to conclusively confirm that the email sent on September 7, 2005 came from the White House, but Brown said that it was sent to him by a high-level White House official, and the sender's email address ends with "eop.gov," as in "Executive Office of the President." The sender's name was blocked out by the network, as per Brown's request.

Full text of the email:

I did hear of one reference to you, at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. I wasn't there but I heard someone commented that the press was sure beating up on Mike Brown, to which the President replied, "I'd rather they beat up on him than me or Chertoff." Congratulations on doing a great job of diverting hostile fire away from the leader.

The email can be viewed at this link.

A White House spokesman told CNN that this was an old rumour and refused to comment on it.

"Some of the contents of the e-mail were first claimed in a column written by Brown's lawyer, Andy Lester, in the conservative publication, "Human Events," and subsequently picked up by news media, but until now, the existence of a written record has been unreported," reports CNN at its Situation Room blog (link).

CNN Conservative Host Glen Beck Is Latest To Compare Gore To Hitler...

Media Matters June 9, 2006 at 04:33 PM
READ MORE: Al Gore, Global Warming

On the June 7 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck became the latest critic to compare An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary film about former Vice President Al Gore's campaign to raise awareness of global warming, to the Nazis. Beck dismissed many of the conclusions drawn from the documentary, stating, "[W]hen you take a little bit of truth and then you mix it with untruth, or your theory, that's where you get people to believe. ... It's like Hitler. Hitler said a little bit of truth, and then he mixed in 'and it's the Jews' fault.' That's where things get a little troublesome, and that's exactly what's happening" in An Inconvenient Truth.

As Media Matters for America has previously noted, Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, called the film "propaganda" and added: "You don't go see Joseph Goebbels' films to see the truth about Nazi Germany. You don't want to go see Al Gore's film to see the truth about global warming."


Chavez Stages Mass War Games In Prep For Possible U.S. Invasion...

Reuters June 9, 2006 at 05:12 PM

The chaos of armed conflict rattled Venezuela's run-down harbor area this week as troops and residents practiced resisting a potential invasion that President Hugo Chavez says the White House has planned.

Mock foreign aggressors in Engesa tanks trundled past wrecked houses near the Caribbean coast, only to be greeted by an ambush of "resistance" fighters unleashing a barrage of gunfire and explosions that echoed through the neighborhood.


Friday, June 09, 2006

The Power of Nightmares: 1 11 111

This film explores the origins in the 1940s and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, and Neoconservatism in America, parallels between these movements, and their effect on the world today. From the introduction to Part 1:

"Both [the Islamists and Neoconservatives] were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. And both had a very similar explanation for what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today’s nightmare vision of a secret, organized evil that threatens the world. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful. " The Power of Nightmares, Baby It's Cold Outside.

Part 1 - Baby it's Cold Outside 64kbps 256 kbps mpeg2

Part 2 - The Phantom Victory 64kbps 256 kbps mpeg2

Part 3 - The Shadows in the Cave 64kbps 256 kbps mpeg2

Link Here

Congress Kills Ban On Permanent US Military Bases In Iraq...

They Lie so easily, welcome to permanent bases in Iraq America. They gave them their billions and the bases. Removed in conference committee.

Associated Press Richard Cowen June 9, 2006 at 11:12 PM
READ MORE: Iraq, Afghanistan, George W. Bush

Congressional Republicans killed a provision in an Iraq war funding bill that would have put the United States on record against the permanent basing of U.S. military facilities in that country, a lawmaker and congressional aides said on Friday.

The $94.5 billion emergency spending bill, which includes $65.8 billion to continue waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is expected to be approved by Congress next week and sent toPresident George W. Bush for signing into law.


Ban on permanent Iraq bases dies

Republican staffers pull provision after passage by House and Senate.

Murtha: If Dems Win In November, “I Have Decided To Run For The Open Seat Of The Majority Leader”...

Good for you, Keep them Honest Hopefully.

CNN June 9, 2006 at 04:33 PM
READ MORE: 2006, Rep. John Murtha

Rep. John Murtha, an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq, announced Friday that he would run for majority leader if the Democrats take over the House in the fall elections.

"If we prevail as I hope and know we will, and return to the majority this next Congress, I have decided to run for the open seat of the majority leader," Murtha said in a letter to his
Democratic colleagues.


Bush Overture To Iran Splits Israel, Neocons:

They argue that America's ultimate goal should be to change Tehran's theocratic regime.

Link Here

Hans Blix: Don't Forget Those Other 27,000 Nukes :

Almost all the talk these days is about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to states like Iran and North Korea, or to terrorists. Foreign ministers meet again and again, concerned that Iran has enriched a few milligrams of uranium to a 4 percent level.

Link Here

Families of Haditha victims may have been offered money:

Iraqi charges that the Marines offered hush money have also figured in a separate investigation of the shooting death of a disabled Iraqi man in the Baghdad suburb of Hamdaniyah on April 26.

Link Here


For Washington Women, Dinner With a Taste of Real Power

The president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, arrived in Washington yesterday for a meeting with women leaders. Bachelet is revered by women for insisting that fully half her Cabinet be made up of women.

Link Here

Soldiers Quit Army in Protest After Acquittal on Boy's Death

Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday June 9, 2006The Guardian

Two soldiers cleared this week of the manslaughter of a 15-year-old Iraqi in Basra in May 2003 are to leave the army in protest at their treatment.

Martin McGing and Joseph McCleary of the Irish Guards and a third soldier - Colour Sergeant Carle Selman now of the Scots Guards - were acquitted at a court martial of killing the teenager. Ahmed Jabar Karheem drowned after allegedly being forced into a canal to "teach him a lesson" for suspected looting.

During the hearing Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer, the army's senior legal officer for the invasion, told the military court in Colchester: "There was a total failure to plan for the occupation. There was only enough time to prepare for war, never mind the occupation."

Guardsman McCleary, of Bootle, said yesterday: "We were told to put the looters in the canal. I was the lowest rank, and we were always told we weren't paid to think. We just followed orders.

I don't know why the army went ahead with the prosecution ... We were scapegoats."
Guardsman McGing, of Oldbury, West Midlands, said he was bitter at being "hung out to dry" by the army.

Lord Goldsmith yesterday defended the decision to prosecute the soldiers, who waited three years for their acquittal this week. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "it was quite right to bring the case because there was sufficient and credible evidence of wrongdoing".

He added: "That was a decision of the independent army prosecuting authority ... If in the light of the view of these very experienced lawyers and prosecutors a decision had been taken not to prosecute, I think I would be sitting here equally trying to explain how it comes about that we hadn't actually put it to a court to make the decision."

However, he agreed that three years had been a long time for the case to come to court. The armed forces bill now going through parliament is designed to speed up and improve the military legal system.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence said there was no evidence British soldiers in Maysan province had killed an Iraqi child on Wednesday as they fired baton rounds at a crowd stoning them. According to local reports, a 13-year-old boy was hit and killed by British troops.

The soldiers were clearing an area around an improvised explosive device just south of Amara in south-east Iraq. More than 100 Iraqis gathered at the scene and started hurling stones at the troops. "Hospitals local to Amara have been contacted and they have not admitted any bodies or children recently," the MoD said.

Link Here

Coulter's phone number in Zarqawi's pocket? Ahhahahahahaha

After Long Hunt, U.S. Bombs Al Qaeda Leader in Iraq

Soldiers examined the debris of a safe house in Hibhib, north of Baghdad, where a United States attack killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. More Photos >

Wounded Zarqawi 'tried to escape'

ABU Musab al-Zarqawi was still alive and tried to escape from a stretcher when American troops reached his hideout where war planes had dropped two 500-pound bombs that killed him, the US military said overnight.


Kabul should have restored to it the dignity lost over the past 25 years :

We declare war. We bomb. We conquer. We then pretend to rebuild. But there is no rebuilding, just collateral damage. In Belgrade, Baghdad and Kabul, the last three cities assaulted by Britain in war, millions may be spent on aid, but buildings are left as piles of rubble.

Link Here

George Galoway on Al-Zzarqawi and the war crimes commited by Bush and Blair

Was Al-Zarqawi death used as cover for the release of the US State Dept Human Trafficking Report 2006?

The report admits that slave labor has been used by US Contractors and Sub-contractors in Iraq... indentured servitude paid for with US Tax dollars

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report
"Human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable and turn a commercial profit at the expense of innocent lives. The State Department's efforts to end this evil trade exemplify transformational diplomacy. We work with international partners to secure the freedom of those who are exploited and call on governments to be effective and accountable in prosecuting those who exploit.

The movement to end trafficking in persons continues to gain momentum, thanks to Presidential leadership, Congressional commitment, and support from innumerable faithbased, community, human rights, and women's groups, as well as from individual citizens. Thank you for joining this abolitionist movement on behalf of the world's most vulnerable citizens." --

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

The ReportIn addition to the HTML-based files listed below, this report is also available in PDF format as a single file [PDF: 7.08 MB]. To view the PDF file, you will need to download, at no cost, the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Link Here.

For the women of Iraq, the war is just beginning :

And the Thugs in the White House do not give a Shit, They have set the Iraqi Women and Daughters, lives back into the dark ages, Did they have that with Sadam I dont think so. Ladies and Daughters of Iraq are your lives better off today with the Illegal occupation of Georgie and his coallition.

Across Iraq, a bloody and relentless oppression of women has taken hold. Many women had their heads shaved for refusing to wear a scarf or have been stoned in the street for wearing make-up. Others have been kidnapped and murdered for crimes that are being labelled simply as "inappropriate behaviour".

Link Here

Troop Cuts in Iraq Won't Meet Goal This Year, Officials Say:

Senior administration and military officials now acknowledge that there is little chance the United States can reach the milestone of reducing American troop levels in Iraq to 100,000 by December, a goal that earlier in the year had seemed within reach.

Link Here

War Criminal Nation

By Paul Craig Roberts

Our elected "representatives" are so in thrall to the powerful military-industrial complex that no amount of American shame, pariah status and military defeat can shut off the flow of taxpayers' funds to the merchants of death.

Link Here

Zarqawi's end is not a famous victory

By Robert Fisk

So, it's another "mission accomplished". The man immortalised by the Americans as the most dangerous terrorist since the last most dangerous terrorist, is killed - by the Americans. A Jordanian corner-boy who could not even lock and load a machine gun is blown up by the US Air Force - and Messrs Bush and Blair see fit to boast of his demise. To this have our leaders descended. And

how short are our


Link Here

Bush Imposes Federal Law on States

Whose Country is it anyways.

Congressman Waxman releases a report evaluating how many times Congress has voted over the last five years to pre-empt state laws and regulations. Republican leaders in Congress and President Bush have repeatedly promised to respect the role of states as laboratories of democracy. But the report documents that there is a wide gulf between the rhetoric of Republican leaders in Washington and the actual legislative record.

Link Here

Cindy Sheehan | When Will We Ever Learn?

Cindy Sheehan wonders "why we, as Americans, so blindly follow our leaders down this path of violent destruction, and it has always been so ... Why do we allow our leaders to kill and oppress people in our names? Is it so we won't have to look at our own destructive behavior?"

Link Here

An update that unmasks the missing morality

By Joan Chittister, OSB

About eight weeks ago, I dedicated this column to the meeting of Iraqi-American women in New York City. (Iraqi women: Confused, maybe, but clear nevertheless) The problem with articles like that, of course, is that though they give us a filter through which we can view, interpret, and evaluate the hard news that plays on the front pages of our newspapers or on our newscasts, we are seldom able to follow up on either the people involved or the events to which they referred.

This week is different.

I got a letter from the office of the Global Peace Initiative of Women about one of the participants to the Dialogue of U.S.-Iraqi Women. This letter says better than I can what is going on there now, what the stakes are, what the effects have been of what we call “Operation Iraqi Freedom” -- and, most of all, what it highlights about our own situation in this country now.

The name of the Iraqi participant is being withheld -- for obvious reasons. According to a recent CNN report, more than 1,400 Iraqis have been killed this month, the deadliest month of the war for them so far.

The letter reads:

Dear Dena [Merriam, convener of the Global Peace Initiative of Women], Joan [Brown-Campbell, chairperson], and Joan [Chittister, co-chair]:

I finally called [one of the delegates to the GPIW] today, as we had not heard from her for a while. She was due to join us [for an upcoming event] but is now afraid to leave her family.

She has lost her uncle and nephew recently in a bombing and so there is tremendous grief in her family. They have decided to try to leave Iraq for another Arabic speaking country as they say it is much worse now than ever before.

Women cannot wear slacks now. They cannot drive. They must be veiled and the bombings and shootings have increased manyfold.

She said when they were here in the United States during the meeting things were so much better. But now it is impossible to live there. There is hardly electricity. There is talk of turning off cell phones and even the Internet for a month or two. She has been unable to access her e-mail for many days. And when she walks to her work each morning she now fears for her life.

She said that there is not one family in Iraq that has not faced a tragedy.

I am sorry to convey such sad news from Iraq.”

So now, think.

In this country, we are gearing up for mid-term elections in November and, finally, for another presidential election 18 months after that. In anticipation of those events, our political parties are preparing to launch the platforms and programs that they say are essential if this country is to remain “the leader of the free world,” “the city on a hill,” the democratic model of the planet.

Just this week, in fact, while Iraqis were dying by the dozens and a stream of U.S. soldiers and citizens were being air-lifted to Ramstein military hospital in Germany and Walter Reed Hospital in the United States, we were learning what the lynch pin of at least one of those campaigns will be.

According to the Republicans, at least, the single most important issue in the United States right now is same-sex marriage. In a society where more people seem to be trying to get out of marriage than they are trying to get into it.

Or, closer to the truth, maybe, the most important thing for the party in power is its ability to manipulate this issue to the forefront of the electoral agenda. If that can be done, of course, it will be possible to divert attention from other issues here like U.S. integrity in Guantanamo Bay, secret torture centers, military massacres of Iraqi civilians, the over-extension of presidential power, the moral necessity of the continuous deaths and wounding of U.S. soldiers, and the underlying question of what we are doing in Iraq in the first place.

The only question now is whether or not that strategy will work. Activity in the Senate this week, which was dominated by debate over a constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage, gives us a clue.

In the first place, amending a constitution ought by nature to be difficult. Otherwise, the Constitution can easily become just one more political football and its principles up for sale at the time of every presidential election.

In the second place, the amendment did not pass, but it could well leave senators embroiled in the process of explaining this particular vote rather than concentrating on all the others.

In the third place, even if it did pass Congress, years would be needed to get two-thirds of the voters in two-thirds of the states to finally amend the Constitution. Even laws against interracial marriage -- also seen later as simply bigotry based on “the law of God” -- never managed to become a constitutional amendment.

Clearly, this is not about amending the Constitution. The political strategists know that such a thing is close to impossible. But that does not mean that it is not a very clever ploy.

Designed to “energize the Republican base,” which we are apparently meant to believe is interested only in private sexual morality -- however important such questions are to us all -- it is surely doubly intended to blunt or squelch columns and questions like this one. Their hope is surely that those who dare to wonder aloud if this issue is really the most damning moral issue in the country at this time will themselves be targeted, smeared and branded “immoral” for doing so.

“Guilt by association” they call it in first-year college psychology classes.

The prospect is that fear for personal security, the engine that has driven this country for over five years now, will silence anyone who dares to weigh one value against another. Anyone who asks, in the face of such public concentration on matters of sexual conduct, what happened to the binding value of the other commandments in the Judeo-Christian tradition will be stigmatized as “irreligious” -- or worse.

While thousands die abroad on our behalf, and thousands of children here have no medical insurance, and hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens can no longer afford to drive the cars they need to get to jobs where they get no benefits, have no pensions, and have no assurance of welfare assistance when that work ends, I am convinced that the possibility of being branded is worth the risk.

Morality is certainly a major issue in the United States today. But what morality? All of it or only some of it?

From where I stand, the issue of same-sex marriage is not at the base of U.S. decline today. At the base of U.S. moral deterioration today is political oligarchy, corporate greed and the complete breakdown of the kind of morality that is not only social but civil and Christian. That kind of morality, unfortunately, we haven’t seen for years, even from some of our moralists.

Comments or questions about this column may be sent to: Sr. Joan Chittister, c/o NCR web coordinator. Put "Chittister" in the subject line. E-mails with attachments are automatically deleted.
For information about Sr. Chittister's other work visit her publisher: Benetvision

Link Here

“Every moment in Iraq is like this!”

Karen Button

My Iraqi colleague and friend Aishya is on the phone detailing names, ages and method of death for each of the victims of Haditha’s massacre by US troops last November. She tells me that from her interviews with survivors, there are certain details being incorrectly reported and she wants to correct them. She double-checked, she says, on a recent trip when she was bringing medical supplies to Haditha. As I scribble down the information, she pauses. "You know," she says, "this happens every day, of course. And what about the wedding party in Mukaradeeb the US murdered in 2004?" At least 45 people were killed by US troops in the attack near Al-Qaim in western Iraq. Pentagon officials denied a wedding was in procession, claiming instead that party-goers were "anti-coalition forces." "We need to get this information out," Aishya continues, "but let me tell you something that happened just the other day...

continua / continued

Pulling corpses out of the hat

William Bowles, I'n'I

There can be no doubt that the 'death’ of 'Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’ is part of a carefully planned disinformation campaign designed to divert attention away from the slaughter of Haditha (and elsewhere), a campaign that the corporate and state media have gleefully participated in. Indeed, 'al-Zarqawi' is itself a psy-ops programme in its own right, replete with faked letters of authenticity, fed to the press by the US military, which calls into question the source of the Internet videos of beheadings, and who is behind the wave of kidnappings and murders currently sweeping Iraq...

continua / continued


Mike Whitney
"Successive imperialist powers have shown that the bottom line in combating the hopes and dreams of ordinary people is to resort to spreading terror through the application of extreme violence." Max Fuller; "For Iraq, the 'El Salvador Option’ becomes Reality"

George Bush is right; Iraq is "the central battlefield in the global war on terror". Regrettably, it is United States that is the main sponsor and supporter of that terror in the form of American-trained death squads. Death squad activity in Iraq now accounts for more than 1,000 casualties per month. The Baghdad morgue has become a conveyor-belt for American-generated carnage. Up to now, the US involvement in the killing has been effectively concealed by the mainstream media. Apart from infrequent reports on the internet, there is little information connecting the burgeoning death toll to America’s counterinsurgency operations. That changed on May 4, 2006 when Congressman Dennis Kucinich gave a speech on the floor of the House which linked the Bush administration to the death squad’s in Iraq. Reading from a long list of newspaper articles he had compiled, Kucinich provided a detailed account of America’s disturbing undercover war. Naturally, his speech was shunned by the major media and consigned to the memory hole...

continua / continued


Baghdad Burning

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

So 'Zarqawi' is finally dead. It was an interesting piece of news that greeted us yesterday morning (or was it the day before? I've lost track of time…). I didn't bother with the pictures and film they showed of him because I, personally, have been saturated with images of broken, bleeding bodies.

The reactions have been different. There's a general consensus amongst family and friends that he won't be missed, whoever he is. There is also doubt- who was he really? Did he even exist? Was he truly the huge terror the Americans made him out to be? When did he actually die? People swear he was dead back in 2003… The timing is extremely suspicious: just when people were getting really fed up with the useless Iraqi government, Zarqawi is killed and Maliki is hailed the victorious leader of the occupied world! (And no- Iraqis aren't celebrating in the streets- worries over electricity, water, death squads, tests, corpses and extremists in high places prevail right now.)

I've been listening to reactions- mostly from pro-war politicians and the naïveté they reveal is astounding. Maliki (the current Iraqi PM) was almost giddy as he made the news public (he had even gone the extra mile and shaved!). Do they really believe it will end the resistance against occupation? As long as foreign troops are in Iraq, resistance or 'insurgency' will continue- why is that SO difficult to understand? How is that concept a foreign one?

"A new day for Iraqis" is the current theme of the Iraqi puppet government and the Americans. Like it was "A New Day for Iraqis" on April 9, 2003 . And it was "A New Day for Iraqis" when they killed Oday and Qusay. Another "New Day for Iraqis" when they caught Saddam. More "New Day" when they drafted the constitution… I'm beginning to think it's like one of those questions they give you on IQ tests: If 'New' is equal to 'More' and 'Day' is equal to 'Suffering', what does "New Day for Iraqis" mean?

How do I feel? To hell with Zarqawi (or Zayrkawi as Bush calls him). He was an American creation- he came along with them- they don't need him anymore, apparently. His influence was greatly exaggerated but he was the justification for every single family they killed through military strikes and troops. It was WMD at first, then it was Saddam, then it was Zarqawi. Who will it be now? Who will be the new excuse for killing and detaining Iraqis? Or is it that an excuse is no longer needed- they have freedom to do what they want. The slaughter in Haditha months ago proved that. "They don't need him anymore," our elderly neighbor waved the news away like he was shooing flies, "They have fifty Zarqawis in government."

So now that Zarqawi is dead, and because according to Bush and our Iraqi puppets he was behind so much of Iraq's misery- things should get better, right? The car bombs should lessen, the ethnic cleansing will come to a halt, military strikes and sieges will die down… That's what we were promised, wasn't it? That sounds good to me. Now- who do they have to kill to stop the Ministry of Interior death squads, and trigger-happy foreign troops?

- posted by river

GI Special 4F7: Pentagon Scumbags At It Again - June 9, 2006

Wounded in the line of duty

Killed in action

Thomas F. Barton

The Pentagon is refusing to release data on how many soldiers have suffered brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.It says disclosing the results would put the lives of those fighting at risk.The data come from screenings of 1,587 soldiers at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and 9,000 at Fort Carson in Colorado.Army Medical Command spokesman Jaime Cavazos said Wednesday that the results of the tests represent "information the enemy could use to potentially make soldiers more vulnerable to harm." He declined to elaborate.Pentagon scientists and other health officials have already made public similar data from other installations.

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Political humor of the day

There's nothing whatsoever funny about brain injuries to U.S. soldiers, but this statement has to be new low in the absurd statements emanating from the U.S. government: The Pentagon is refusing to release data on how many soldiers have suffered brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan. It says disclosing the results would put the lives of those fighting at risk. Ri-i-i-i-ight. Because if they only knew the number was 10,453 and not just "a lot" they would surely redouble their efforts at setting IEDs...

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The dilemma of caring for wounded Iraqis

Propaganda and Haditha

Dahr Jamail and Jeff Pflueger , t r u t h o u t

Propaganda is when the Western corporate media tries to influence public opinion in favor of the Iraq War by consistently tampering with truth and distorting reality. It is to be expected. And it is to be recognized for what it is. On occasions when the media does its job responsibly and reports events like the November 19, 2005, Haditha Massacre, it must also be willing and able to anticipate and counter propaganda campaigns that will inevitably follow. It is to be expected that the responsible members of the media fraternity will stick to their guns and not join the propagandists. This piece is a summary of five most commonly deployed crisis management propaganda tactics which the State and Media combine that we can expect to see in relation to the Haditha Massacre. Listed in a loose chronological order of their deployment, the tactics are: Delay, Distract, Discredit, Spotlight and Scapegoat. Each of the five public relations campaigns will here be discussed in the context of the Haditha Massacre...

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Today in Iraq

Four contractors working for Army Corps of Engineers killed by roadside bomb The Huntsville, AL center where they were based operates the Coalition Munitions Clearing Program that is responsible for receiving, transporting, segregating and destroying captured or any other munitions posing a danger in Iraq, according to a Corps of Engineers news release. Second Lt. John Shaw Vaughan, 23, of Battle Mountain, Alaska, assigned to the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, killed in action in Mosul. The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on June 7, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV during combat operations...

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Enough about Ann Coulter: Answer the Jersey Girls questions about 9/11!

So much for Cable News, the only word for them is OBSCENE , From the other side of the world I Have listened to the Ghoules in the White House use 9/11 obscenely, to screw the people of America and to steal the 2004 election, WITH THE AID OF CABLE NEWS.

Dont like the truth, Huh CABLE NEWS.
Coulter on 9/11 Widows: "Never Seen People Enjoy Husband's Death ...
Ben Frank

Is anyone else outraged at all the attention that Ann Coulter is getting for attacking the Jersey Girls? How is it possible that everyone is talking about what Ann Coulter wrote, and no one is talking about what the Jersey Girls have to say? John Kerry wrote for Huffington post about how horrible it is that Ann is attacking them with the provocative headline "Shameless, but the Real Shame Is If We Don’t Act" No folks, he is not talking about acting on the very important issue of demanding answers to what the hell happened on to our air defenses on 9/11…he wants us to act by calling the media and telling them we don’t like Ann Coulter. Instead of jumping in to defend them from this insignificant hateful warmonger, I bet the Jersey Girls would rather have people pay attention to what actually happened on 9/11 and start answering their questions!...

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