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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Frist blames CNN for low Republican poll numbers

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) appeared on CNN's American Morning to explain why the Senate is spending time on issues like flag burning while polls indicate that the American people are more concerned about Iraq and the economy.

CNN host Miles O'Brien asked Frist why recent polls show that show 54% of Americans will vote for Democrats in the upcoming elections while only 38% planned to vote for Republicans. Frist explained that the people's concerns were being addressed by the Republican Senate but told O'Brein those were the sort of issues "you may not cover and others may not cover."

O'Brien defended CNN, "We are covering but I think there is -- a lot of what you say there -- Americans are not hearing that particular message. As the majority leader, isn't that part of your job?"

Frist replied, "Well, you know, it's part of my job and your job and your whole coming into this was, again, saying Harry Reid that we are spending all of our time on marriage -- which is important. That we're spending all of the time on flag without mentioning what we've done of the floor for six weeks. Iraq, the war on terror, making you safer... where's your coverage of that? What you do is concentrate on things that are spun to you from the other side of the aisle and that's why that message doesn't get out."

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Afghan clerics call for new religious police

I dont think we can say we have won this war can you?

"A council of Islamic clerics is pressing the Afghan government to re-establish a religious police force to make sure Shariah law is obeyed.

The proposal will be referred to parliament for consideration, government spokesman Mohammad Asif Nang said on Saturday.

The Department of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice was disbanded after the toppling of the Taliban in 2001.

Previously, its officers patrolled the streets, punishing men for not sporting beards and women for not wearing the burqa, an all-concealing traditional robe with built-in mesh over the eyes."

Link Here

Enron) The bankers, the big deal and the taint of scandal

On 6 August 1999, David Bermingham sent an email to his boss. Bermingham, part of a team working for a US division of NatWest bank, was disgusted. 'I would describe it as three hours at a Leonard Cohen concert' was his summation.

He was talking about a complex financial transaction involving NatWest and the now-disgraced energy trader Enron - a deal that, seven years later, would come back to haunt him and two of his colleagues in spectacular fashion.

The deal would open up the sepulchral world of high finance and cause a bitter legal rift stretching across the Atlantic. The characters involved would be immortalised in a novel and become causes celebres for an unlikely union of human rights groups and City slickers. It would paint a vivid, ugly picture of the underside of corporate banking - a high-octane world of lapdancing, bumper bonuses and cut-throat rivalry stretching from Houston to the Square Mile.

Up until the autumn of 2001 it had been Coulbeck's job to focus on NatWest's American balance sheet. 'He was on the credit side,' says someone who knew him. 'It was his job to approve things. It was a very senior role.' Coulbeck had been reported missing by his wife, Susan, five days before his body was discovered. It is understood he left a suicide note and had made a previous attempt on his life.

Shortly before he apparently hanged himself, Coulbeck, who was 53 and retired from banking in 2004, was captured on CCTV dumping rubbish sacks at a tip in east London. There is speculation the bags contained documents relating to the Enron affair, which friends have suggested rested heavy on his mind although these claims have not been confirmed.


Feingold defends Israel's attack response

To Bad Fiengold, I wondered where you would stand on this issue, it is a very important one. Am I wrong or did Hezbollah capture these soldiers in their territories. All this carnage and death because of two soldiers, I dont think so, not at all.

SATURDAY, July 15, 2006, 4:29 p.m.
By Craig Gilbert
Feingold defends Israel's attack response

Platteville - U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold today defended Israel's right to protect itself amid the escalating conflict along its borders, saying, "I don't think any country is going to let their soldiers be kidnapped, transported, killed ... without a serious response."

Feingold said he would not second-guess "whether that response was exactly as it should be."

Said Feingold: "My hope would be that Israel would use as much restraint as possible .... It's in Israel's interest and the interests of peace. But I do think Israel has not only a right but also a responsibility to respond to the Hezbollah attack

When a constituent at the Wisconsin session criticized both the Palestinians and the Israeli government for taking a "dysfunctional" approach to the conflict and said the U.S. needed to "lean on Israel" to change its behavior, Feingold offered a different view.

"There's blame to go around for everybody," he said, but he argued that Israel had been acting constructively in recent years and blamed Hezbollah, Iran and Syria for provoking the current crisis.

Arab League head: Mideast peace process 'dead'

Saturday, July 15, 2006; Posted: 3:01 p.m. EDT (19:01 GMT)

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- The Middle East peace process is "dead," Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said on Saturday.

"Certain powers have given Israel every capacity to do whatever it wishes," and that had hit hopes for peace, he told a news conference after a heated meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, Egypt.

Only the United Nations Security Council had the power to do anything about the crisis now, he said.

"The council of ministers invites the Security Council to meet to study the Arab-Israeli conflict in all its aspects because of the failure of all efforts related to the peace process," Reuters quoted Moussa as saying.

Foreign ministers from 18 Arab League nations held the emergency, closed-door meeting to address Israel's attacks on Lebanon and on the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

Israel's campaign in Lebanon began when Hezbollah militants based there abducted two Israeli soldiers and killed three others during a raid into Israel Wednesday. Israel vowed to free the soldiers.

Gaza is Israel's second front in its operation to rout what it sees as terror groups. On Saturday, its forces pushed deeper into Gaza in retaliation for Hamas' kidnapping of an Israeli soldier last month.
On the Lebanese front, Israeli warplanes struck key ports, the capital Beirut and the border area near Syria to cut off all routes in and out of the nation. Hezbollah launched scores of rockets from Lebanon into Israel on Saturday, the fourth day of violence.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Saturday declared the attacks had had turned his country into a "disaster zone".

Siniora calling for an immediate cease-fire and international help to stop attacks from what he called Israel's "war machine," according to CNN's translation.

He said Israel was "punishing all Lebanese collectively, with their actions lacking any moral or legal legitimacy."

U.S. President George W. Bush, speaking from St. Petersburg, Russia, as he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, blamed Hezbollah for the violence and called on Syria to exert its influence to persuade the Shiite group to stop attacks on Israel.

Link Here

Influential Hispanic Voters “Are Dissatisfied With Both Political Parties”...

Associated Press STEPHEN OHLEMACHER July 15, 2006 at 04:32 PM
READ MORE: Blue State

Before California's Republican governor tried to get tough on illegal immigrants in the 1990s, the state had supported GOP candidates in all but two presidential elections since World War II.

California has been a solid blue state ever since the attempted crackdown, in part because of a backlash by the growing number of Hispanic voters.


Parents Circle Cease-Fire Now!

The Israeli-Palestinian Families Forum calls to stop the dangerous escalation by ceasing fire immediately.

Following the severe events in which Israelis and Palestinians get killed, injured and hurt every day, the Palestinian-Israeli Families Forum issue a cry to both sides to cease fire immediately.

Boaz Kitain , the Israeli general manager of the Forum and a bereaved father: "We are paying the most painful price of this lasting conflict. Every time we hear about another death on the Palestinian side or the Israeli side, it breaks our hearts. We are calling in this joint statement to both sides to cease fire immediately and unconditionally. Ceasing fire is essential to stop the killing, and rapprochement and agreements are the solution in the long run."

Khaled Abu Awad, The Palestinian general manager of the Forum and a bereaved brother: "The lasting use of force as a way to end the conflict causes killing of innocent on both sides and increases the animosity. We, the hurting victims of this conflict, who are crying over our dead, call: "No more! Cease fire now! Negotiations must start without delay!"

Partners in Pain - Partners in Hope.

The Parents' Circle - The Families ForumBereaved Families supporting peace, reconciliation and tolerance.

This statement was released to the press on Thursday the twenty second of June 2006.

*The photo was taken from Walla.co.il

Parents Circle

Worldwide Alarm...

Israel Orders “Special Measures” For Northern Cities…Lebanese PM Says Country Is ‘Disaster Zone’…Arab League Says Mideast Peace Process Is ‘Dead’… European Nations Plan Evacuations For Thousands… Lebanon Calls For Cease-Fire…Israel Hits Lebanon-Syria Border…Warns Hezbollah May Strike Tel Aviv…Bush Blames Hezbollah…Oil Prices Rise, Stocks Prices Fall…

Associated Press July 15, 2006 at 12:30 PM

Witnesses said Israeli aircraft attacked central Beirut Saturday for the first time in a four-day offensive, striking a lighthouse and the capital's seaport.

In Lebanon's northernmost city, Tripoli, witnesses said Israeli helicopters carried out the deepest strike yet into Lebanon, firing four missiles into the city's port area and hitting grain silos.


Israeli Immunity for Genocide

Andrea Howard, Axis of Logic

Having no concept of the Rule of Law and no sense of humanity or morality, Israel continues its Genocidal adventure in Palestine. Violating every crime of war and human rights known to man – with the tacit approval and complicity of the International Community – the military might of Israel collectively targets a civilian population and the infrastructure of a nation. This is an Army, complete with warplanes and missiles, tanks and munitions, armored vehicles, landmines, RPGs, and a multitude of automatic weapons, targeting a civilian population. Israel has collectively targeted, and is collectively punishing, 1.4 million Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. The most densely populated place on the planet, the Gaza Strip has 1.4 million people crowded into a mere 146 sq miles – that is 9,712 people per square mile. The unemployment rate is approximately 50% with 81% of the population in poverty...

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Reality vs. Kabuki Two Sign Posts in Iraq


...It is difficult to find anything in Iraq that points to a successful restoration of an Iraqi state. The Iraqi Government's ongoing attempt at "national reconciliation" seems to hold little promise because that government is a creature of a foreign occupier and remains under its control. Nothing illustrated that fact better than the immediate American veto of the Iraqi Government's desire to offer amnesty to resistance fighters who have killed American troops. Obviously, such amnesty would have to be part of any deal with the resistance. That would be true even if the resistance were losing; it is all the more so when the resistance is winning. Winners seldom surrender and allow themselves to be put on trial. In the end, the Iraqi resistance, in all its many dimensions, represents reality, "flip-flops on the ground." Iraq's government and state security forces, in contrast, are kabuki. And no kabuki performance goes on forever...

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Author of Iran insignia lie invited to White House as 'expert'

Sherwood Ross, Middle East Times

Canada's National Post has apologized for running a fabricated story that Iran passed a new law requiring Jews to wear a yellow insignia. Oddly enough, or maybe not so odd at that, the author of this deceit, Iranian exile journalist Amir Taheri, was invited to the White House on May 30 as one of a group of "Iraq experts" to consult with US President George W. Bush. We learn of the peculiar background of those Bush calls upon for counsel from Larry Cohler-Esses, whose article on Taheri appeared in the July 3rd issue of The Nation, a liberal American weekly. Taheri concocted the story for Benador Associates, an American PR firm operating out of D.C. that suckered National Post into running it...

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International Action Center statement:

International Action Center

The blood in Gaza and Lebanon is on George Bush's hands. The bombs, shells and missiles now pounding Lebanese and Palestinian cities and villages, wiping out entire families and leaving hundreds of thousands without power or water, are made in the U.S. So are the planes and cannons that launch them. The Israeli attack on Gaza and the sovereign state of Lebanon is part of Bush's war against Iraq--part of a decades-long war against the Arab people and the people of the Middle East. The Bush regime pays the bills for the Israeli war machine and has given it a green light to go to war. And it is using the Israeli-created crisis as a pretext for attacks on Syria and Iran...

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US, Israel push world to brink of world war

Larry Chin, Online Journal Associate Editor
In unleashing an all-out Middle East war with the bombing and blockade of Lebanon, and mounting escalations involving all surrounding countries in the region (Iran, Syria), Israel has committed an act of naked aggression and open fascism that easily rivals the worst acts of Hitler’s Third Reich. In the space of mere hours, the world has been collectively incited, provoked, and dragged into an all-out war that is on course towards potential nuclear super power conflict (...) The entire world knows that only the US can stop it. The Bush administration won’t. It has only not even bothered to script words that sound like diplomacy, it has purposely congratulated Israel, which has spectacularly executed the shared 9/11-created policy of presumptive unilateral war against "terrorists" (all political opponents are "terrorists")...

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WayneMadsen Report

July 15/16, 2006 -- William H. Lash III is the second high-ranking former African-American official and Harvard alum in the George W. Bush administration to die under suspicious circumstances within the last year. Thursday night, Fairfax, Virginia police responded to an domestic incident at the McLean, Virginia residence of Lash, who served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance. He served in the position from 2001 to 2005 and was responsible for a special task force that assisted companies in securing contracts in U.S.-occupied Iraq.

Lash, who was 45 and a New Jersey native, was a high-powered Washington attorney who served a counsel to the U.S. International Trade Commission during the Reagan administration. Before and after leaving the Bush administration, he taught law at George Mason University. According to today's Washington Post, police were called a little before 10 p.m. by Lash's wife, Sharon Zackula. She claimed she and Lash had a dispute and she ran from their home. The story claims that sometime between "shortly before 10 p.m." and 9:55 p.m., police obtained a warrant for the arrest of Lash for domestic assault. Police arrived at 9:55 p.m. at Lash's front door. The police then knocked on the door for ten minutes before they heard two gunshot wounds from inside the home. Police then used bullhorns to ask Lash to phone them. Police also instructed neighbors to turn off all their lights and go to their basements. That decision prevented any witnesses from noticing anyone fleeing the scene of the shooting.

At 1:00 a.m., Friday morning, police sent a robot unit into the home. It was not until 3:50 a.m., almost six hours after the shooting was heard, that police discovered the bodies of Lash and his 12-year old autistic son dead in a first floor bedroom from gunshot wounds to the upper body. Police claimed that Lash shot his son and then himself. Neighbors and colleagues expressed shock at the news, all saying that Lash showed no signs of tension or depression and that was very devoted to his son.

Lash was also an adviser to the corporate public relations firm Brunswick Group, LLC, a U.K.-based firm that once employed Clinton State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin as a director of its political affairs unit. Brunswick has been known by a number of names, including Lincoln Research Ltd. Its holding company is based in the Channel Islands. Brunswick represents the Royal Bank of Scotland and paid 5,000 pounds to the Labor Party in return for its clients to receive tickets to dine with top Labor politicians. Two recent incidents involve Brunswick's Royal Bank of Scotland client and the cash payments to the Labor Party. On July 12, Neil Coulbeck, a Royal Bank of Scotland officer and a witness in the Enron case, allegedly committed suicide in an East London park. Also, Tony Blair's chief Labor Party fundraiser, Lord Michael Levy, was arrested in a police investigation of the sale of peerages and royal honors in return for political donations.

Sharon Zackula is an attorney with the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). Last September 7, Eric Miller, a prominent African-American attorney who had served as Assistant Chief of Litigation for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was found partially burned and beaten to death in his automobile parked in a seedy neighborhood in Washington. Colonel Ted Westhusing, the U.S. Army's top ethics expert and West Point professor, was found dead in a Baghdad trailer of a supposed self-inflicted gunshot wound while investigating contract fraud by U.S. Investigations Services. Last month, Phillip Merrill, Dick Cheney's handpicked head of the U.S. Export-Import Bank at the time of dubious loans to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq supposedly committed suicide with a shotgun and threw himself into the Chesapeake Bay with an anchor tied around his legs.

Editorial note: How many more suspicious deaths will it take before Americans wake up to the fact that their country has been taken over by a criminal syndicate that involves the Bushes and Cheneys and their close friends and business partners?



July 15/16, 2006 -- EXCLUSIVE TO WMR. Our U.S. intelligence sources in Lebanon have exclusively reported to us the extent of Israel's Blitzkrieg attack on Lebanon, which has destroyed most of the country's critical infrastructures. Beirut International Airport's newly-restored terminal, where many passengers, including Americans, were stranded after the Israelis carpet bombed the runway during flight operations, was bombed in the latest Israeli attack. Israel has turned Lebanon into another Iraq -- there is no electricity and airports, roads, and bridges have been knocked out across the country. Israel has even bombed small ports preventing civilians from escaping to Cyprus. CNN and other Israeli lobby-influenced broadcasters are understating the number of civilian casualties in the repeated Israeli attacks. CNN's Washington bureau is editorially controlled by Wolf Blitzer, a one time employee of the Jerusalem Post and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). According to our U.S. intelligence sources, the numbers of dead are in the hundreds. In south Lebanon, Israeli planes bombed three vans carrying families after they were turned away from a UN outpost while seeking protection. A total of 23 people were killed, including nine small children. The Israeli attacks have been described by various sources in Lebanon as "sub-human," "monstrous," and "animalistic." Our intelligence sources phoned us before what they believe will be the targets of the next wave of Israeli attacks against the nation's telecommunications networks, including cell phone towers and exchanges.

The Israel regime is acting with the full approval of the Bush administration, both regimes that are totally beholden to neo-con interests intent on throwing the entire Middle East into a firestorm of destruction and death.

Israel systematically turning Beirut and the rest of Lebanon into another Iraq.


Israel airstrikes hit Lebanese ports, including Beirut, Junieh and Tripoli, sources say.

Abu Aardvark: "Pro-American Regimes Just Want This Crisis To Go Away...

The Only Thing Which These Regimes Like Less Than Hizbollah These Days Is Their Own Publics"...

Abu Aardvark Posted July 15, 2006 04:06 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush, John Bolton, Israel

Flipping between al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya this morning before my conference, I saw non-stop coverage of the escalating Israeli war in Lebanon (not just Hizballah, it doesn't work that way).

Al-Jazeera especially was in full crisis mode – complete with the tagline and theme music.

Smoldering buildings, explosions, images of bloodied civilians – those visuals dominated the viewing experience. Nobody could miss the message encoded in the sequencing of one of the al-Jazeera news briefs: bloodshed and burning buildings in Lebanon; then Gaza; then clips of Bush and Rice; and then – as the final scene and the coup d’grace – the Security Council deliberations on the Qatari resolution condemning Israel's use of disproportionate force receiving 10 votes in support… followed by John Bolton raising his hand to veto. The narrative there is hard to miss.

Read Whole Story

Billmon: "Israel Is Losing This War The Same Way It ‘Lost' The October 1973 War"...

Billmon July 15, 2006 at 04:07 PM

Three days in, and it looks like Israel is losing the war.

Not militarily, of course -- The IDF could turn Lebanon into a parking lot if it wanted to, and if it's willing to take enough casualties it can probably push Hezbollah away from the Israeli border and suppress the rocket attacks (or at least most of them.)


Top Iraq General: "We're Closer To The Beginning Than We Are To The End Of All This"...

LA Times Peter Spiegel July 15, 2006 at 05:06 PM

It seemed like a routine question, one that military leaders involved in prosecuting the war in Iraq must ask themselves with some regularity: Is the U.S. winning?

But for Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff known for his straight-shooting bluntness, it proved a hard one to answer.

During a Capitol Hill briefing for an audience mostly of congressional aides, Schoomaker paused for more than 10 seconds after he was asked the question -- lips pursed and brow furrowed -- before venturing:

"I think I would answer that by telling you I don't think we're losing."

It was a small but telling window into the thinking of the Army's top uniformed officer and one of the military's most important commanders: Despite the progress being made by the new Iraqi government and the continuing improvement of local security forces, the outcome in Iraq, in many ways, is growing more uncertain by the day.

"The challenge ... is becoming more complex, and it's going to continue to be," Schoomaker mused. "That's why I'll tell you I think we're closer to the beginning than we are to the end of all this."

Read the entire article here.

The Hornets’ Nest Kicked Open By The Iraq Invasion Is Now Swarming In The Middle East…

Gary Hart

READ MORE: Iraq, Dick Cheney, 2006, Afghanistan, 2008, Israel, Saddam Hussein

Sometime in the fall of 2002, I likened a U.S. invasion of Iraq to "kicking open a hornets' nest." I predicted that, if the Iraqis decided to fight in the cities, our casualties would be between five and ten thousand U.S. troops at least. Now, U.S. casualties exceed 20,000.

But the "hornets' nest" I predicted was not just an interminable and
intractable U.S. occupation of Iraq. It was wider war in the Middle East. The larger hornets' nest is now swarming.

By our justified overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, though unsuccessful decapitation of al Qaeda, we removed a thorn in Iran's side. By removing Saddam Hussein, we removed a thorn in Iran's other side.

But, inadvertantly and ignorantly, we empowered Iran to undertake a major intervention on behalf of the Shiite majority in Iraq. In response to our insistence that Iran not develop any nuclear capability, Iran and Syria have emboldened Hezbullah in Lebanon to energize Israel's formidable military and Hamas to do the same.

The U.S. is fighting a two front war with Afghanistan and Iraqi insurgents. Israel is fighting a two front war with Lebanon and the Palestinians.

Wouldn't you think this would be exactly the time when the nation's wisemen, those neoconservative idealists who saw the great American empire imposing democracy on the Middle East at the point of a bayonet, who secretely envisioned Iraq as our military base in the region, to be heard from? Of course, I mean Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Steven Cambone, and so many triumphalist others so present on the talk shows in early 2003. Haven't seen much of them recently.

Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are left to manage the disaster. You don't hear either one of them linking their arrogant decisions four years ago to the disaster unfolding in the Middle East.

We have some lessons in democracy to be learned here at home. Democracy does not work without accountability. Today there is no accountability in American democracy.

On the other hand, perhaps there will be in 2006 and 2008...if the Democrats recapture conviction and courage.

p.s. And, by the way, how do you like $4 a gallon gasoline?

Link Here

Israel Attacks Central Beirut…Says Iran Helping Hezbollah…

Israel Declares State Of Emergency…Lebanese PM Says Country Is ‘Disaster Zone’…Arab League Says Mideast Peace Process Is ‘Dead’… European Nations Plan Evacuations For Thousands… Lebanon Calls For Cease-Fire…Israel Hits Lebanon-Syria Border…Warns Hezbollah May Strike Tel Aviv…Bush Blames Hezbollah…Oil Prices Rise, Stocks Prices Fall…

Associated Press July 15, 2006 at 12:30 PM

Witnesses said Israeli aircraft attacked central Beirut Saturday for the first time in a four-day offensive, striking a lighthouse and the capital's seaport.

In Lebanon's northernmost city, Tripoli, witnesses said Israeli helicopters carried out the deepest strike yet into Lebanon, firing four missiles into the city's port area and hitting grain silos.


Putin Lashes Out At Bush: “We Certainly Would Not Want...The Same Kind Of Democracy As They Have In Iraq”...

About time someone, told the fool the truth. Even if it is Putin for Gods sake, after all there is no difference, between the two of them, they both manipulate their Govts and their people

Think Progress July 15, 2006 at 01:14 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush, Iraq

During a press conference today at the G8 summit in Russia, President Bush told President Vladimir Putin that Americans want Russia to develop a free press and free religion "like Iraq." To laughter and applause, Putin responded: "We certainly would not want to have same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, quite honestly." CNN's Ed Henry called it a "tough jab."

The exchange was an vivid example of how our strategic failures in Iraq undermine our moral authority and influence throughout the world.


Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East


This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience

Click here to view. QuickTime

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Lebanese security forces say 15 civilians killed when Israeli

Israel, Hezbollah violence flares
Sources: 15 die in airstrike on Lebanon minibus

Police: Gunmen dressed in army uniforms kidnap head of Iraq Olympic committee, at least 30 co-workers, in Baghdad.

FISK: From my home, I saw what the 'war on terror' meant

An Israeli plane dropped a bomb on to the home of a Shia Muslim cleric. He was killed. So was his wife. So were eight of his children. One was decapitated. All they could find of a baby was its head and torso which a young villager brandished in fury in front of the cameras. Then the planes visited another home in Dweir and disposed of a family of seven.

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BREAKING: DNC's Voting Rights Institute issues statement calling for 'manual count' of all ballots in Busby/Bilbray ele

Indeed, in the recent Iowa primary elections, held on the same day as the California CA-50 election, as many as nine Republican races had their results reversed after a manual hand count of optically-scanned ballots revealed that the original machine count had declared the actual winners to have been losers in their races. Only a hand count would have revealed the erroneous count.

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Ministry of Health report on toxic Israeli weapons confirmed by Gaza City

Ministry of Health report on toxic Israeli weapons confirmed by Gaza City
Director of Public Relations at Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital, Dr. Juma Al Sakka, confirmed the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s report from earlier this week which stated that Israeli forces are using toxic weapons in the Gaza Strip.

The doctor spoke on Thursday, giving the death count at 85 Palestinians in the Strip since the latest Israeli attack began. Among the dead are 34 children under the age of 13. And as of Thursday afternoon, 300 Palestinians are injured.

Dr. Al Sakka told Voice of Palestine Radio that the Israeli army is using new types of non-conventional weapons against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the recent attacks. He said, “They are targeting the Palestinian body with unconventional weapons and with that comes a phenomena we have not seen before in any Israeli bombardment we have lived through for many years.”

He continued, “The hospital is central and sees almost all cases of injuries and deaths as a result of Israeli against the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. These Israeli bombings are entering the body and fragmenting, causing internal combustion leading to up to fourth degree internal burns, exposing the bone, and affecting the tissue and skin.”

The doctor added, “These tissues die, they do not survive, which obliges us to perform arm or leg amputations, and there are fragments which penetrate the body and do not show up on X-rays. When entering the body they spark like a combustion firearm, but not chemically. They seem radioactive.”

Dr. Al Sakka revealed that the Israelis completely destroyed by the lab which would help in diagnosing such cases. “We no longer have the ability to make these examinations on phenomena that we see is not normal.”

Link Here

NYT Recieves Letter Containing Suspicious White Powder — And A Bank Records Editorial

Reuters Gawker Posted Friday July 14, 2006 at 05:05 PM

The eighth floor of the New York Times building has been evacuated after today receiving a letter containing a suspicious white powder and a copy of an editorial addressing the bank records controversy with a red "X" through it, in an episode reminiscent of the anthrax-letter scare of late 2001. The handwritten envelope was addressed simply to "The New York Times" and was postmarked from Philadelphia with no return address. The man who opened the envelope was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure, according to Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis. Investigators are currently on the scene and staffers have been instructed not to enter the eighth floor.

Let's see what Melanie Morgan thinks about this.
Related: Electrocute Bill Keller! No, hang him! [Salon]
UPDATE: It's not anthrax.

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NY Times Editor Admits Paper Made Mistakes In Run Up To War: “I Would Have Paid A Lot More Attention To The People On The Board Who Had Doubts”...

Editor and Publisher Joe Strupp July 14, 2006 at 03:55 PM

When Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. first raised the question of a job change for Gail Collins in 2001, she was afraid he was going to fire her. "I was at a party and he was there," Collins, then an Op-Ed columnist, recalled. "He whipped around and said, 'do you like your job? Would you give it up?' "

The result, of course, was just the opposite. Instead of being fired, she was promoted, becoming the paper's first female editorial page editor and replacing Howell Raines, who went on to a short, tumultuous reign as executive editor.


Israeli Terrorist Forces Use New Unconventional Weapons Killing Body Cells, Exposing Bones, Causing Amputations


Director of Public Relations at Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital, Dr. Juma Al Saqqa, confirmed the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s report from earlier this week which stated that Israeli forces are using toxic weapons in the Gaza Strip. The doctor spoke on Thursday, giving the death count at 85 Palestinians in the Strip since the latest Israeli attack began. Among the dead are 34 children under the age of 13. And as of Thursday afternoon, 300 Palestinians are injured. Dr. Al Saqqa told Voice of Palestine Radio that the Israeli army is using new types of unconventional weapons against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the recent attacks. He said, "They are targeting the Palestinian body with unconventional weapons and with that comes a phenomena we have not seen before in any Israeli bombardment we have lived through for many years."...

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When a war is not a war (unless the media says it is)

William Bowles, I'n'I

...So back to the war that’s not a war. The most obvious thing about media coverage is the fact that without exception the MSM has accepted the version put about by the Israeli government, that its barbarous assault on Lebanon was in 'retaliation’ for a Hizbollah attack on Israel. But does anyone really believe this? Well yes, the MSM does and it has done a very good propaganda job on behalf of the Zionist goverrnment in pushing this lie. Only one story made a reference to a report that the Israeli soldiers were captured by Hizbollah forces on the Lebanese side of the border. So what is going on here? Not only has the massive military assault on Gaza not had the (alleged) desired result of getting the return on the soldier captured during the military raid on the Israeli post, it has hardened the Palestinian resistance. I contend that the attack on Lebanon is an attempt to divert attention away from the slaughter going on in the Occupied Territories where now it seems the Occupation Army is murdering entire families. So great is the slaughter that even the pro-Israeli Western media has been finding it difficult to ignore. There are also credible reports of Israeli use of chemical weapons against the civilian population, also not reported in the Western media....

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Armed Honour: How to Stop Rape in Iraq

Richard Marsden, The Business of Emotions

...The USA thinks it is entitled to invade and plunder an innocent country, rape and murder its people, and get away with it. The rape of Abeer, the rape of Iraq. The part contains the whole. An American soldier imposes his will on an Iraqi girl. The American military imposes its will on Iraq society. Both acts are motivated by the same wretched morality which bestows the same feeling of entitlement. Steven Green is no "bad apple". He's typical fruit of a bad society, one morally indifferent to what is being done in its name in Iraq. Nor should he be made a scapegoat. War brutalises both sides to a conflict, albeit in different ways. Every man knows that he is capable of rape—in certain circumstances. When armed young men know they can both die tomorrow and act with impunity they are liable to rape. This excuses them not at all. It extends responsibility to those who placed them in that hellish situation in Iraq. If the five soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division are guilty of this crime, so too is the entire chain of command, all the way up to Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice and Bush...

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Corporate Media Faithfully Spins Lebanese Mass Murder

Kurt Nimmo

If you watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc., ad nauseam, and you are a retard when it comes to real history (in this sense, most Americans are retards), you will believe the disgusting lie that poor little "democratic" Israel is simply responding to Arab terrorism when it kills 60 or more civilians in Lebanon, targets civilian infrastructure, bombs roads and bridges, thus trapping frightened residents in towns where they can expect to share the fate of the Palestinians, who are under siege for the sin of demanding Israel stop treating them as "drugged cockroaches" and "beasts on two legs," as Israeli leaders have called them. If you watch the corporate media and have allowed your higher mental facilities to be swamped by incessant pro-Israel propaganda, chances are you believe poor little Israel has "entered" Lebanon as a last ditch effort to stop Arab terrorism. In fact, Israel has messed with Lebanon for decades...

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US may have kidnapped families of Iraqi detainees

Raw Story

American forces in Iraq have been accused of kidnapping the families of detainees as an interrogation tactic, RAW STORY has learned. A story in today's edition of Salon suggests that the kidnapping method may have been used systematically in the course of intelligence gathering through interrogations in the Iraq war. Salon added that Members of Congress including Rep. Christopher Shays, a Republican of Connecticut, have issued a subpoena to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to hand over documents on the matter. They are due at 5 PM today...

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Iraq After Halliburton

Pratap Chatterjee, Special to CorpWatch

The Pentagon has taken an important first step by canceling the contract for Halliburton 's military logistics contract in Iraq and putting it up for open bid. Halliburton has only itself to blame for shoddy managment, over-charging and thumbing its nose at military investigators. In our three alternative annual reports on Halliburton , CorpWatch has uncovered innumerable cases of incompetence and corruption: for example torching brand-new $85,000 Mercedes trucks and charging $100 for a bag of laundry. U.S. taxpayers have paid Halliburton some $20 billion for such work supporting the administration's "war on terrorism" over the last five years. At the end of the day, they have been cheated out of hundreds of millions of dollars in unsupported costs and overcharges that the military auditors have disputed, but that the Pentagon has paid anyway. If the administration's sudden change of heart is really about fiscal responsibility, it should demand that money back. Today Halliburton has completed the major tasks for which it was hired, primarily building of five major military bases in Iraq...

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When Torture Isn't Good Enough

Booman Tribune
Some of you may recall reports from Iraq which described the egregious tactic of US troops kidnapping the family members of detainees in order to "assist" the interrogation process. At the time we were informed this was a only a limited effort, and that all such family members detained were people who were known to be guilty of aiding the insurgents. As we know all too well by now, such "official" remarks are often a flat out lie to cover up systematic abuses. Salon's David Benjamin has a story up that reveals the use of kidnapping family members of detainees in Iraq by US forces is the standard operating procedure for many interrogations (...) Yes, there's nothing like the threat of having your daughter or wife raped by American soldiers to loosen one's tongue. Why, I'd say anything they wanted me to say, I'd sign any confession put before me, if my wife or daughter was in the hands of foreign troops who had occupied my country (...) And what works with daughters and wives can work equally as well with sons: In a hearing before Shays' Government Reform subcommittee last February, Provance testified that the Army had retaliated against him. Provance also made the disturbing allegation that interrogators broke an Iraqi general, Hamid Zabar, by imprisoning and abusing his frail 16-year-old son. Waxman was shocked. "Do you think this practice was repeated with other children?" he asked Provance. "I don't see why it would not have been, sir," Provance replied. Zabar's son had been apprehended with his father and held at Abu Ghraib, though the boy hadn't done anything wrong."....

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Middle East: Cradle Or Graveyard Of The Empire?

Ardeshir Mehrdad, Countercurrents.org

...One can understand US-Iran relations with such a definition of the current place and role of diplomacy. On the one hand the United States has placed Iran at the heart of the 'axis of evil' and openly declared war against it. On the other hand, when the US deemed it useful for its long term ends, the administration has made contact with rulers of the Islamic Republic regime, notably before military attacks against Afghanistan and Iraq, engaging them in such plans. The aim behind such contacts was principally to seek the support of Iran's Islamic regime to defeat resistance in these countries and to help the establishment of an order favorable to the United States. Whenever the Islamic regime has responded positively to such approaches (usually in secret and through intermediaries) and done whatever was asked of it -- interceding or spying - the ultimate response has been more or less the same: the Iranian regime is aggressive and unmemorable and remains a threat to international security. As long as such a regime exists, it is a danger and a threat, even if they do everything they are told, there will be no "amnesty"...

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Friday, July 14, 2006

After Supreme Court ruling against military commissions

Patrick Martin, WSWS

White House officials and congressional leaders have begun intensive discussions on how to evade the Supreme Court’s June 29 ruling in the Hamdan case, which struck down the Bush administration’s military commissions for prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and said that the prisoners were entitled to humane treatment under Article Three of the Geneva Conventions. At Senate and House committee hearings this week, Justice Department and Pentagon officials urged Congress to pass legislation that simply ratifies the military tribunals as they were established under an executive order issued by Bush four years ago. At the same time, leading senators held talks at the White House on the procedures to be employed at the tribunals, which would include hearing evidence obtained from "coercive interrogation," a euphemism for torture...

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From Gaza, with Love

My visit to Attar Family 11.7.2006

Dear all

I feel emotionally strained, after visiting the Attar family, in Beit Lahia village North of Gaza, it was my second visit, I went there with 2 of my colleagues with some little presents for the kids, 50 kids received little parcels donated from MECA for peace (USA people).

The Israeli army reoccupied the village, for continuous 3 days, it was part of its military operation in Gaza, during these three days, the army made great damage into this family 3 storey building, before occupying it, to use the roof as a base for snipers, 40 members of this extended family were kept in one room, unable to go out for 3 continuous days, with no water no electricity, I was told, that the whole family were forced to get out of their house, they stayed in the very hot afternoon sun, for 4 hours at least,infront of their house, then they were kept in that room, for three days, I met 40 children ,5 at least are infants and a twins, feeding those babies was big problem(you can see some of the photos in previous bog).

I met 7members of this family, with visual impairment disability,

It broke my heart, when I asked the grandfather of this extended family, why do you think they have chosen your home? He answered me simply, I only have children and people with special needs, I am soft target, he did not know that his house position is strategic location for snipers, it lies on a hill that overview the whole village, it is just right place for snipers,
One of the small girls hold my hand, and said: look there, we were in the sun for long period, next to the donkey place, it was hot I was thirsty, my baby brother was crying, and I was terrified, I wet my pants,

What happened with this family is happening everyday in Gaza, with different shapes, those children will suffer from PTSS, and waiting for years ahead to be healed, as an outcome the hatred will grow, inside themselves, with painful memories, I handed the gifts to the kids, telling them it is from American people who care, and thinking of you, they are not the American government that helps this army to have free hand in our country,

I always think of the safety of the Israeli kids and civilians, and I am totally against hurting civilians, but I do believe that the comparison of suffering is unfair, and not objective, I have an offer for Israel to send 1.5 million Israelis to live in Gaza, under those circumstances!!!!!!!
, Any way both of us suffer, it is an outcome of injustice and occupation

In love and solidarity

Ps while writing, my daughter shouted with joy, electricity is on, we did not have power for continuous 24 hours. and another family in the middle of Gaza is appealing via the local radio for help, they are trapped with the same situation of attar family and ,a woman gave birth while under siege

Link here

Serpent's Egg

Chris Floyd .

..The tacit acceptance of neo-Nazis in the military is part of a broader pattern at work in the Bush imperium: the "mainstreaming" of right-wing extremism in U.S. society, an alarming development well documented by journalist Dave Neiwert on his Orcinus blog. White-power advocates once stuck on the lunatic fringe now appear on network television as respected spokesmen on the "immigration question." High-profile Bush-backers in the mainstream media -- Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh and other gasbags -- routinely tout "fantasies" of ethnic cleansing, concentration camps and death for "traitors," i.e., anyone who opposes the hard-right line. Bush himself has openly embraced religious extremists like the "Dominionists," whose rabid doctrines of Christian nationalism are scarcely distinguishable from the religious perversions that undergird most neo-Nazi philosophies...

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Wit and Wisdom of Tony Snow

Tony Snow: It’s Important Israel Tries To “Limit As Much As Possible The So-Called Collateral Damage, Not Only On Civilians But Also On Human Lives”…

Associated Press TOM RAUM July 14, 2006 at 05:00 PM
READ MORE: Tony Snow, George W. Bush, Israel

President Bush rejected Lebanon's calls for a cease-fire in escalating Mideast violence on Friday, saying only that Israel should try to limit civilian casualties as it steps up attacks on its neighbor.

"The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.


Bush's options limited in worsening Mideast crisis

Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:06pm ET
By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration, having stayed mostly on the sidelines during the latest Middle East crisis, now faces the threat of a broader regional conflict with few options for defusing it.

Distracted by the war in Iraq and preoccupied with Iran and North Korea, the U.S. government kept its distance as Israeli forces struck the Gaza Strip in recent weeks after Palestinian Hamas militants kidnapped an Israeli soldier.

But with fighting expanding to the Israel-Lebanon front and threatening to spread further, some Middle East experts say Washington's hands-off policy has only made matters worse.

"Disengagement has contributed to a deterioration of the situation and has put the United States in a position where it doesn't have the same kind of leverage it used to," said Dennis Ross, Middle East envoy under former President Bill Clinton.

Friends and critics alike have started calling on President George W. Bush, in Russia for a Group of Eight summit, to urgently revive Washington's role as regional peace-broker. Some are urging him to name a personal envoy like Colin Powell, his former secretary of state.

They fear that otherwise the violence could spiral out of control, drawing in Syria and Iran. Israel and the United States accuse the two of complicity in this week's raid by Lebanese Hizbollah fighters who captured two Israeli soldiers.

But Bush has limited room to maneuver diplomatically at a time when his administration is already overstretched on the foreign policy front.

UNCHECKED BY U.S. Continued...

Next >
© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Novak Says Plame/Wilson Suit Will Be Dismissed

Novak Says Plame/Wilson Suit Will Be Dismissed www.wilsonsupport.org

In an interview to be aired this weekend on Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," Bob Novak says that the civil suit Plame and her husband brought against Vice President Cheney, his former aide and White House adviser Karl Rove probably will probably be thrown out.

MR. HUNT: - for the last word. Valerie Plame and her husband have filed a suit against Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove, one of your sources, the indicted Cheney aide, Scooter Libby. What are you going to do if they try to haul you before that trial and get you to identify the one you source you haven't identified?

MR. NOVAK: Well, that would be the whole question of whether I would even adhere to a subpoena. I am sure there will be motions to throw this suit out of court. the lawyers I talk to say that this is a very unusual case, and I think that the Wilsons may have trouble maintaining this suit; not having it thrown out.

MR. HUNT: A number of people who would defend not only your right to publish a column but say, hey, there was - (inaudible) - still ask, why was it necessary to identify her and the fact that she was a CIA operative.

MR. NOVAK: When I talked to the primary source on a long - hour-long interview about - covering many things, I got into the question, which was the hot story of the time, of the ambassador's mission to Niger. And in the course of it I said, why in the world would they send - would the CIA send Joe Wilson there? He has not an intelligence background, he hasn't had any contact in Africa for a long time. I just know then that he is also an anti-Bush partisan. So my source said, well, his wife, who works for the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA suggested it.

Link Here

Democrats Pull Ad With Flag-Draped Coffins

Can you believe it, they friking caved, to the trash in the White House that have used the dead of 9/11 as their own personal propaganda for the War and Occupation in Afganistan and Iraq

What a disgusting bunch of whimpy capitulators!

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Democrats pulled an Internet ad that showed flag-draped coffins Friday after Republicans and at least two Democrats demanded it be taken down on grounds the image was insensitive and not fit for a political commercial.

The ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called for a "new direction" and displayed a staccato of images, including war scenes, pollution and breached levees as well as a photograph of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay doctored to look like a police mug shot

.The campaign committee replaced the ad with a radio commercial that targets Rep. John Hostetler, R-Ind., for opposing an increase in the minimum wage. Democrats have made a minimum wage increase a central theme of this year's election.

Democrats had featured the video ad for nearly two weeks on the DCCC Web site where it had gone largely unnoticed until Republicans began objecting to it this week. On Thursday, more than a dozen Republicans, many with military backgrounds, called on DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., to apologize. Democratic Reps. John Spratt of South Carolina and Chet Edwards of Texas asked Emanuel to pull or alter the ad.


Palestinians Stream Into Gaza From Egypt

Hundreds of Palestinians Stream Into Gaza From Egypt After Militants Blow a Hole in Border Wall >>> cont

Link Here

Karachi blast kills Shia leader

A prominent Shia cleric has been killed in a suicide bombing in Karachi in southern Pakistan, officials say.

Shia leader Allama Hassan Turabi died in hospital after the attack, which also killed one of his relatives.

Mr Turabi was approaching his house when the bomber approached him and detonated his device.

Karachi has been the scene of bloody clashes between Sunnis and Shias since the 1980s. Mr Turabi had survived a previous attempt on his life in April.

"Allama Turabi is dead," Salahuddin Haider, a spokesman for the Sindh provincial government, was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

Police said the attacker was killed in the blast and parts of his body were found at the scene.

Two of Mr Turabi's security guards were also wounded in the explosion.

Pakistan has a history of sectarian violence, especially between the majority Sunni and minority Shia Muslim communities.

In April, Mr Turabi condemned a bomb attack that killed dozens of Sunni Muslims at a prayer ceremony in Karachi.

That same month, he narrowly escaped death when his car was hit by a remote-controlled bomb.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/07/14 14:00:06 GMT

Ex-Bush Aide Fatally Shoots Son, Himself

Gunfire at McLean Home Followed Fight With Wife

By Tom Jackman and Stephanie McCrummen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, July 15, 2006; B01

A former Bush administration official, after arguing violently with his wife Thursday night, shot and killed his 12-year-old son inside their McLean home, then turned a shotgun on himself and committed suicide, Fairfax County police said.

William H. Lash III, 45, was an assistant secretary of commerce from 2001 until last year, then returned to teach at George Mason University Law School in Arlington, where he had begun as a professor in 1994. His wife, Sharon K. Zackula, fled the house before the shootings, and police said yesterday they were not sure what ignited the murder-suicide in a first-floor bedroom.

Friends and neighbors described Lash as devoted to his only child, William H. Lash IV, who was autistic. Will Lash had just completed sixth grade at Haycock Elementary School in the Falls Church area, Fairfax school officials said. The father and son could often be seen side by side on the swing set in their back yard, one neighbor said, and the pair often attended Washington Nationals baseball games.

Police said they had not been summoned this year to the blue expanded Cape Cod-style home on Pathfinder Lane in the West McLean neighborhood. There was no record of any domestic complaints. Neighbors said the family kept a low profile.

But shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday, police said, Lash and Zackula had a dispute and Zackula ran from the house and called police. Zackula was not hurt, but the dispute was physical enough that police later obtained a warrant charging Lash with domestic assault, Officer Richard Henry said.

Lash never knew about the warrant. When three or four officers arrived at 9:55 p.m., Henry said, they knocked on several doors but got no answer. Within 10 minutes, while trying to decide their next move, the officers heard two gunshots from inside the house, Henry said. >>>cont

Link Here

White House leak damaged CIA counter-proliferation network that even adversely affected a member of Congress.

July 14, 2006 -- Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, former covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, spoke at a press conference this morning on their filing yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC of a eight count, 23-page civil complaint against Vice President Dick Cheney, presidential adviser Karl Rove, indicted Cheney former Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and ten unidentified White House officials and political operatives identified as "John Doe" defendants.

The Wilsons contend in their suit that senior Bush administration officials conducted a secret whispering campaign to discredit and "punish" Wilson and also leaked the classified CIA employment of Valerie Plame Wilson. The Wilson defense team decided to file the suit a day before the statute of limitations would expire from the three year anniversary of columnist Robert Novak's original column that leaked the name of Mrs. Wilson and her Brewster Jennings & Associates non-official cover company.

White House leak damaged CIA counter-proliferation network that even adversely affected a member of Congress.

In a short statement, Mrs. Wilson said she and her former CIA colleagues trusted the government and "administration officials betrayed that trust." Christopher Wolf, the Wilsons' chief attorney, said that after today's press conference his clients will not be available to the media.

After Mrs. Wilson's name and identity of her cover company were revealed by the White House to the media, at least one CIA non-official cover agent monitoring Iran's nuclear weapons program was tortured and executed, according to our intelligence sources. In addition, WMR has learned that covert Iranian backchannels employed by a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of Plame's Brewster Jennings & Associates network were thoroughly compromised by the White House leak. The member of Congress, who, like Plame, had been an earlier CIA "non-official cover (NOC) energy consultant" in the Middle East during the late 1970s and early 80s, and who was familiar with the early weapons of mass destruction proliferation involving the A. Q. Khan network of Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, was compromised and he and his connections to the Brewster Jennings & Associates intelligence network and Iranian government contacts were made known to adversarial intelligence agencies. The staff of the member whose covert Iranian contact network was compromised was targeted and tainted with Jack Abramoff money, putting the U.S. Representative in extreme political jeopardy. >>>cont Press Statements.

-- www.wilsonsupport.org


Hezbollah drone batters Israeli warship

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer 51 minutes ago

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Hezbollah rammed an Israeli warship with an unmanned aircraft rigged with explosives Friday, setting it ablaze after Israeli warplanes smashed Lebanon's links to the world one by one and destroyed the headquarters of the Islamic guerrilla group's leader.

The attack on the warship off Beirut's Mediterranean coast was the most dramatic incident on a violent day in the conflict that erupted suddenly Wednesday and appeared to be careening out of control despite pleas from world leaders for restraint on both sides.

"You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war," Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a taped statement. He vowed to strike even deeper into Israel with rockets.

Israel again bombarded Lebanon's airport and main roads in the most intensive offensive against the country in 24 years. For the first time it struck the crowded Shiite neighborhood of south Beirut around Hezbollah's headquarters, toppling overpasses and sheering facades off apartment buildings. Concrete from balconies smashed into parked cars, and car alarms set off by the blasts blared for hours.

The toll in three days of clashes rose to 73 killed in Lebanon and at least 12 Israelis, as international alarm grew over the fighting and oil prices rose to above $78 a barrel. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency session on the violence, and Lebanon accused Israel of launching "a widespread barbaric aggression."

In addition to the fighting in Lebanon, Israel pressed ahead with its offensive in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, striking the Palestinian economy ministry offices early Saturday.

The ramming of the Israeli missile warship indicated Hezbollah has added a new weapon to the arsenal of rockets and mortars it has used against Israel. The Israeli army said the ship carrying several dozen sailors suffered severe damage and was set on fire. Several hours after the attack, the fire was put out and the ship was being towed back to Israel. Al-Jazeera TV said the Israeli military was searching for four missing sailors.

Despite fears the assault could bring down the Western-backed, anti-Syrian government of Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed the campaign would continue until Hezbollah guerrillas, who are backed by Syria and Iran, lose their near-control of southern Lebanon bordering Israel.

Olmert agreed in a phone call with U.N. chief Kofi Annan to allow U.N. mediation for a cease-fire — but only if the terms include the disarming of Hezbollah and the return of two Israeli soldiers whose capture by the Muslim guerrillas Wednesday triggered the fighting.

Hezbollah rained dozens of rockets on towns in northern Israel. One rocket hit a home in Meron, killing a woman and her grandson. Some 220,000 people in northern towns hunkered down in bomb shelters.

Nasrallah was not hurt after the Israeli missiles demolished his headquarters among two buildings in Beirut's southern neighborhoods, the militant group said. Three people died in the airstrikes.

The attack on the warship was apparently timed to coincide with Nasrallah's message on the militant group's television station. "The surprises that I have promised you will start now. Now in the middle of the sea, facing Beirut, the Israeli warship ... look at it burning," Nasrallah boasted.

Israeli military officials said the drone apparently was developed by Hezbollah. The Lebanese guerrilla group has managed to fly unmanned spy drones over northern Israel at least twice in recent years.

"If they kill us all, we will still not give them back the prisoners," said one resident, Nasser Ali Nasser, as palls of smoke rose from fuel depots hit farther south. "We have nothing left to lose except our dignity. We sacrifice ourselves for Sheik Nasrallah," he said.

President Bush, who has backed Israel's right to defend itself, spoke by phone with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora from a G-8 summit in Russia and "reiterated his position" that the Israeli attacks should limit any impact on civilians, White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

But the promise fell short of the Lebanese leader's request for pressure for a cease-fire.

Israel's campaign appeared to have a two-pronged goal. One was to batter Hezbollah and end its near control of the south on Israel's borders.

"We know it's going to be a long and continuous campaign and operation, but it's very clear. We need to put Hezbollah out of business," Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan told The Associated Press.

Israel's army chief, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, said Hezbollah has rockets that can reach as far as 43.5 miles or more, which would bring more Israeli cities, such as Hadera, within range.

The other goal was to seal off Lebanon by repeatedly striking its airport and main roads — including the coastal highway from north to south and the Beirut-Damascus highway, Lebanon's main land link to the outside world. At the same time, Israel was gradually escalating the damage to the country's infrastructure, painstakingly rebuilt since the civil war ended in 1990.

Israel holds Lebanon responsible for the capture of its two soldiers in a surprise Hezbollah raid; the Lebanese government insists it had nothing to do with the attack. However, Israel wants it to rein in the guerrillas, a move Lebanon has long resisted.

The level of damage inflicted by Israel appeared finely calibrated. For example, a missile punched a hole in a major suspension bridge on the Beirut-Damascus road but did not destroy it, unlike less expensive bridges on the road that were brought down. An Israeli strike hit fuel depots at one of Beirut's two power stations — sending massive fireballs and smoke into the sky — but avoided the station itself.

Throughout the morning, Israeli fighter-bombers pounded runways at Beirut's airport for a second day, apparently trying to ensure its closure after the Lebanese national carrier, Middle East Airlines, managed to evacuate its last five planes to Jordan. One bomb hit close to the terminal building.

Civilian casualties were mounting faster than during Israel's last major offensive in Lebanon, in 1996, an assault also sparked by Hezbollah attacks. In that campaign, 165 people were killed over 17 days, including 100 in the shelling of a U.N. base.

"We are on the right and we shall avenge every attack we endure," said Fadi Haidar, an American-Lebanese who swept up the shattered glass outside his store in south Beirut. "I have huge debts and now my store is damaged. ... But as time goes by, they will all realize that Sayyed Nasrallah is right and is working in the interest of Muslims."

There was some resentment that Hezbollah had dragged the Lebanese into another bloody fight with Israel. "As long as Hezbollah has its weapons and acts according to its leader's whims, there is pretext for Israel to keep on destroying Lebanon," said Ibrahim al-Hajj, a Christian shop owner in the southern village of Qleia.

AP correspondents Karin Laub and Josef Federman in Jerusalem, and Sam F. Ghattas and Zeina Karam in Beirut, contributed to this report.

Link Here

Gunships fire missile at hospital

From correspondents in TyreJuly 15, 2006

TWO Israeli helicopter missiles fell within 100 metres of a hospital in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre overnight, causing panic among patients and local residents, police have reported.The missiles landed in an orchard near to the Jabal Amel hospital, police said.

The attack shattered windows in the area and sent women and children fleeing their homes in their nightwear and taking shelter in the hospital basement.

There were no reports of any casualties as Israel embarked on a fourth straight day of attacks in Lebanon prompted by rocket attacks on Israeli territory and the capture of two Israeli soldiers.

Link Here

Australians lost in a warzone

O00oohhhh Johnnie you Georgie Whore, our families are not going to be happy with you now, do you stand with Israel or what?

July 15, 2006
UP to 25,000 Australians are stranded in Lebanon as Israeli jets strafe the streets in a nation virtually cut off from the outside world.

With the Australian Embassy in Beirut shut, they are being forced to fend for themselves.
The battle between Israel and terror group Hezbollah has turned a traditional annual pilgrimage for thousands of Australian-Lebanese into a living nightmare.

Among those trapped were 70 teenagers from the Armenian Sydney Dance Company and their 10 chaperones.

The troupe was only stopping in Lebanon for two days after returning from a dance competition in Armenia.

As bombs rained down on the Lebanese capital, the dancers - average age 17 - have been told to stay in their rooms at the White Tower Hotel.

Half a world away, frantic parents are desperately trying to reach their children to ascertain their well-being.

Dance company president Reg Kolokossin's two sons, Peter, 16, and Garbis, 18, are among those trapped in their besieged Beirut hotel.

"Some parents here are comforted by the fact their children are telling them they are okay, but we are worried about the long term affects and how long they are going to be stuck there," Mr Kolokossin, whose three nieces are also stranded, said.

"None of us here have been getting any sleep. We are overcome with worry.

"We are hearing the American President talking about bringing in ships and helicopters to get their citizens out.

"We want to hear what our Government is going to do and how quickly they're going to do it to bring our children home."

Australian Muslim Doctors Against Violence president Dr Jamal Rifi fears for the safety of his sister Rajja Rifi, her husband Azam Allouche and their three sons Hilal, 12, Adam, 15 and Ahmed, 17.

"My sister hasn't been back to Lebanon since she moved here 20 years ago - she has spent the past six years planning this trip," Dr Rifi told The Saturday Daily Telegraph.

He spent several hours yesterday trying to contact his sister via telephone.

"We just can't get through. The other night we tried for four hours but the lines are constantly congested," he said.

Dr Rifi said his sister and her family were seeking refuge in northern Lebanon while plans were being arranged to get them out via Syria or Jordan.

"The problem with that is that the Australian Embassy is closed and they cannot get visas," he said.

He said, with major highways in the country closed, any plans to escape via the road network would be fraught with danger.

In Sydney, Arabic-speaking Australians with relatives stranded in Lebanon are inundating Arabic commercial radio station 2ME with their fears for loved ones.

Station general manager John Martin told The Saturday Daily Telegraph the network's 16 phone lines had been in "meltdown" since the crisis in Lebanon escalated.

He said listeners were desperate to know why the decision was made to close the Australian Embassy - effectively stranding thousands of Australians enjoying the northern summer.

He said callers had put aside religious differences to express their fears for their motherland and relatives caught up in the bloody violence.

"We have 16 phone lines and every one of them has been in complete meltdown all day," Mr Martin said.

"People are validly worried for their relatives."

For announcer Anis Ghanem, that fear is close to home, with his wife Jacqueline stranded in eastern Beirut.

"She went over late last month to visit her sick mother and was due back in two weeks," a worried Mr Ghanem said.

"I have been trying to get through to her for the past two days but because others are also trying to check on relatives, the lines are congested."

Link Here
Georgies lap dog

Israel didn't cause latest unrest: PM

The latest events in the Middle East are happening because of a Hizbollah incursions, not because of Israeli violations, Prime Minister John Howard says.

Mr Howard said he was appalled at the loss of life on both sides of the latest conflict but such incidents were fated to continue unless there were some basic understandings.

Israel has blockaded Lebanese ports and struck Beirut airport and two military airbases, expanding reprisals that have killed 53 civilians in Lebanon since Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers a day earlier.

Mr Howard took issue at whether the response to recent incidents was to condemn Israeli actions or not.

"This latest incident started because of the Hizbollah incursion into Israel against all of the resolutions of the United Nations, against all of the understandings now of international law," Mr Howard told ABC radio.

"Do I think it's appalling? Yes. I am other than totally appalled at the loss of life on both sides? It is terrible.

"Like every other world leader, I would like it to stop.

"But you will never have any kind of lasting settlement in this part of the world until two things are accepted - there is an absolute acceptance of Israel's right to exist in peace and be free of terrorist attacks, and there's an absolute commitment to the emergence of a Palestinian state."

Link Here

Vatican condemns Israel for attacks on Lebanon

Well what do you know they finally finally speak out. As far as I am concerned the friking Vatican and the Pope suck big time. I thought Iraq was a sovereign nation, I thought Palistine was a sovereign nation untill they where occupied, by Israel and America.

The Vatican on Friday strongly deplored Israel's strikes on Lebanon, saying they were "an attack" on a sovereign and free nation.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said Pope Benedict and his aides were very worried that the developments in the Middle East risked degenerating into "a conflict with international repercussions."

"In particular, the Holy See deplores right now the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and assures its closeness to these people who already have suffered so much to defend their independence," he told Vatican Radio.

Sodano said the Vatican condemned both "terroristic attacks" and military reprisals.

Link Here

U.S. Official Says Venezuela Has Close Ties to Terrorist States

U.S. Official Says Venezuela Has Close Ties to Terrorist StatesThursday, July 13, 2006WASHINGTON — A senior State Department official said Thursday Venezuela's leftist government is "increasingly out of step with the world," citing the country's support for Iraqi insurgents and its close ties with Cuba, Iran, North Korea and other "radical rogue regimes."

Frank Urbancic, the No. 2 official in the department's counterterrorism office, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez "roots for the terrorists" in Iraq who are fighting the elected government there.Testifying before the House International Relations subcommittee on terrorism, Urbancic said Venezuela has pledged to defend Iran in the event of military attacks.

It also has backed Iran, he said, against efforts by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency to curb Iran's suspected nuclear weapons development program.

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We Don't Rent Pigs

You're nearly a laugh, but you're really a cry... - Pink Floyd, "Pigs (Three Different Ones)"

Well, we don't rent pigs. I figured it's better to say it right up front - 'cause a man that does like to rent pigs is - is hard to stop. - Gus McCrae, Lonesome Dove

Germany has endured two major embarrassments this past week. First, their soccer team, favorites as the hosts of the World Cup, ultimately settled for third place. Then today, Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, with a grimace barely concealing her disbelief and chagrin, suffered the presence of the pork-obsessed narcissist who still poses as Our President.

As Israel rains death and ruin upon the helpless Lebanese over two kidnapped soldiers, as Bush's doppleganger in North Korea - a similarly deranged narcissist - shoots wannabe nukes into the Sea of Japan, as Japan itself considers military action in retaliation, as Baghdad rages and riots, as American soldiers continue to be demoralized, depleted, and as we have seen lately, dehumanized; as Mexicans protest in defense of democracy in ways we Americans are much too complacent to dare emulate... as we watch in a mix of despair and surreal disbelief, with only slight punctuations of relief provided by Colbert, Olbermann, or Stewart. And as we all wonder how much more can go wrong, and will go wrong...

"I thought you were going to ask about the pig."

In one smirking utterance - from a mouth that has spewed forth literally thousands of them in the past five and a half long, long years - in one self-absorbed, self-satisfied, smug, pinheaded... aw fuck it, I won't waste any more adjectives on him.

In one sentence, a motto for the world's unraveling was born.


Juan Cole's take on the Israel-Hizbullah conflict

Bush is aware that the "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon, of which he and the Wall Street Journal were so proud last year, is in danger of being undone. He politely asked the Israelis please not to bring down the Lebanese government, but that is probably as far as he dares go in an election year, given the support for Israel of his evangelical base....So this was Bush's big success in the Levant. It was as though a chef baked a lopsided wedding cake with a ticking bomb embedded in it, and declared it a culinary breakthrough. Now the bomb has gone off. More
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