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Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Hariri Assassination Investigation: Are Those Who Pulled the Trigger Pulling the Strings?

Interview with Jürgen Cain Külbel conducted by Silvia Cattori.
Jürgen Cain Külbel, born in 1956 in Berlin, graduated in Criminology, is among those honest and courageous investigative journalists who are ready to undergo great sacrifices in order to contribute to the search for truth and the respect we owe our readers. Reading his book, as well as his responses given here to Silvia Cattori, he clearly shows that the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri had as its objective the destabilization of the region in order to create a Middle East that conforms to the interests of the United States and Israel.

New evidence suggests America fermented sectarian hatred in Iraq

Roads to Iraq

A new released study by "Rand study", conducted on behalf of the US Air Force, suggests that Sunni, Shiite and Arab, non-Arab divides should be exploited to promote the US policy objectives in the Muslim world: In addition to the ideological differences noted above, certain divisions cut across the Muslim world and have implications for U.S. interests and strategy: Sunnis and Shi’ites. The majority of Muslims are Sunni. Shi’ites, who number about 15 percent of the world’s Muslims, are dominant in Iran and are politically excluded majorities in Bahrain and the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, as they were in Iraq prior to the removal of Saddam. The United States may have an opportunity to align its policy with Shi’ite groups, who aspire to have more participation in government and greater freedoms of political and religious expression....

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Turkey Hosts Conf. on Iraq Sunnis

Dalia Al-Hadidi, IOL Correspondent

Muslims worldwide will pour on the Turkish city of Istanbul in mid-November to voice their solidarity with Iraqi Sunnis, who are the subject of systematic racial killings at the hands of death squads and militants. "The Istanbul conference is the first event to discuss how to support the Iraqi people in general and the Sunnis in particular," Abdul-Rahman Al-Nuaimi, Secretary General of the International Campaign Against Aggression and the organizer of the event, told IslamOnline.net Friday, September 15. He said the two-day meeting will seek to draw attention to the suffering and discrimination of Sunnis in Iraq...

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US: Defense and oil company executives reap windfalls from Iraq war

Since September 11, 2001, and the Bush administration’s initiation of the "war on terror," inequality in the US has grown at a rapid rate and to grotesque proportions. The criminal nature of war on Iraq is reflected in every facet of American life, least surprisingly of all in the enormous fortunes of the ruling elite. Indeed, the current war, the most privatized in history, is viewed by a wide range of corporate executives and investors as an open-ended outsourcing opportunity...

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Imperialism 101 - The USAddiction to War, Mayhem and Madness -- Part II

Stephen Lendman

...The daily toll of death and destruction from the ongoing endless conflict is unknown precisely, but even honest conservative estimates are appalling and shocking despite efforts by the Pentagon to suppress them. The British Lancet earlier reported by their "conservative assumptions" an Iraqi toll of about 100,000 "excess deaths" post March, 2003. They then updated their earlier estimate (three years later) to a now likely 300,000. Other assessments place the number far higher, up to 500,000 according to one estimate a few months ago. Whatever the true number, the US inflicted disaster on Iraq and its people is one of epic proportions in all respects. It's destroyed a once prosperous nation and left in its wake today a surreal lawless armed camp wasteland with few or no essential services like electricity, clean water, medical care, fuel or most anything else needed for sustenance or survival. It shows up in Baghdad's morgue that can't cope with the number of corpses it gets daily while those still living can't get desperately needed care at hospitals that can't provide it...

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Retroactive Immunity? Bush on the Ropes


The Bush administration's full-court press against the Constitution is on, with the president getting closer to Senate, and possibly full Congressional approval of his warrantless spying program by the National Security Agency, and with a lobbying campaign on to get his program for kangaroo courts and life-time detention without trial for terror "war" detainees approved by Congress. It's staggering to see this happening after a federal court just ruled that NSA spying without a show of probable cause is a violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment, and after the US Supreme Court just ruled that Bush was in violation of the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of POWs for refusing to treat the detainees at Guantanamo in accordance with US and International Law...

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Courage to Resist National Newsletter:

GI Resistance Movement Continues to Grow!
"I started to think ... what's it really for? I was willing to die for my country. I thought I was going over there to defend my country. But that's not what I was doing," Anderson said . "There are no weapons of mass destruction. Innocent people are being killed every day. It's a war about money -- to keep money in rich people's pockets. There is no way I can believe in that. I still believe in my country, but I can no longer be a part of the Army or that war." ...

Bush PR Campaign: Back to the Basics

Ramzy Baroud*

Removed from reality, self-consumed and desperate, the Bush administration went on another PR offensive, in what is considered the "third most major public relations effort" in the last year. In his first of a series of speeches, the president spoke of a world where pre-emptive wars are crucial to prevent the encroachment of terrorists, that "abandoning" Iraq would leave Americans at risk, where the terrorists would operate "in the streets of our own cities." "The war we fight today is more than a military conflict," he told a group of veterans at an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City on Aug. 31. "It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century."...

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Call It What It Is - Bush Wants to Torture People

It's so annoying to read mainstream press articles where they dance around what the real issue is on "terror suspect interrogations." They use every euphemism in the book. Bush seeks "clarity" on interrogations. Bush wants "wider leeway" in interrogations. Bush wants "tougher interrogations." Tougher interrogations, my ass. Bush wants to torture people. Every single person writing those stories knows what this is really about. They are so queasy about writing the word down on paper, but they're perfectly willing to have a legitimate debate on whether we should actually do it. That makes no sense. I wish the late Sam Kinison was around now to shout at the reporters, "Say it!!! Just say it!!!!" It's torture...

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As a kid, George Bush used to blow up frogs with firecrackers just for fun. He'd stuff them with firecrackers, light the fuse and throw them up in the air and watch them blow up. At other times he'd shoot them with BB guns.

Violent acts toward animals have long been recognized as indicators of a violent psychopathology that does not confine itself to animals. Studies have convinced sociologists, lawmakers, and the courts that acts of cruelty toward animals deserve our attention. They can be the first sign of a violent pathology that includes humans. Considering George Bush's preoccupation of sentencing criminals to death, creating illegal wars, and a complete silence about the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians his war has caused (more deaths than the gassing of Kurds by Saddam Hussain), Americans might want to question the motives behind Bush's inhumane acts.

If frogs could vote, George Bush would never have been president.

Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Friday, 15 September 2006

How many more families of resistant fighters can we produce Hmmmmmmm, Welcome to Georgies LIBERATION of Iraq.

Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice

...In a dispatch posted at 11:02am Makkah time Friday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that Iraqi puppet "National Guard" killed nine boys and wounded eight others who were playing on Thursday. The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported eyewitnesses as saying that an Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded by puppet "National Guards" near the as-Su’dud School in central al-Fallujah, destroying a military pickup and killing four puppet "Guards." The puppet troops then opened fire indiscriminately, around the area cutting down the boys who were playing ball nearby, the oldest of whom was 16. Seven boys died on the scene, two passed away later as a result of their wounds and another eight were injured by the puppet "Guards" gunplay, according to a medical source in al-Fallujah...

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WSJ and Toensing: I Outed Plame (Here We Go Again

David Corn

This canard has been previously advanced by other conservatives--all to absolve Novak and the actual leakers (mainly Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, not Richard Armitage).


Memo to Democrats: Stop Buying into the GOP Framing on Iraq

READ MORE: Iraq, Tim Russert, Dick Cheney, 2006, Hillary Clinton, Disney

Dick Cheney's answers to Tim Russert on Sunday revealed that he has a very clear picture of what completing the mission in Iraq would look like: "Victory in Iraq will be a situation in which there is a viable government representative of the people of Iraq... It'll be an Iraq that is not a threat to the United States in terms of being a safe haven for terrorists.

It'll be an Iraq where al-Qaeda has been pretty well eliminated, where in fact the Iraqis are able to govern and deal with the difficult political situations, obviously, that exist inside Iraq, given their history. Those are all things that need to happen, and I think we're well on the way to doing it."

Given his sunny assessment (loved that his response to the Iraqi prime minister visiting Iran was a chipper, "It's a neighbor."), if the VP had had more time he might have added that completing the mission in Iraq would include purple unicorns taking sips from the Euphrates, and Sunnis and Shiites flying hand-in-hand down the streets of Baghdad on magic carpets on their way to that happiest place on earth, Disney Fallujah.

Along with countering Cheney's claims that "we're well on the way" to achieving this "victory" and that Iraq is "better off "because of "what we've done to date" (as Jay Rockefeller did), Democrats need to make sure they don't undercut their strongest '06 issue by buying into the GOP's "we need to stay the course" framing on the war.

But that's exactly what Hillary Clinton did during the Senate debate on Don Rumsfeld, when she took to the floor and, in a single statement, showed why, despite everything that is going wrong in Iraq, Democrats aren't getting more traction on the issue.

"We went to war with the secretary of defense we had," she said. "Now is the time to complete the mission with a new secretary of defense that we need."

As a soundbyte it was a winner: pithy, sarcastic, and a nice callback of a Rummy classic.
But as a message it was a total loser: "..complete the mission." "Mission"? Labeling the directionless chaos in Iraq a "mission" gives it legitimacy and a sense of purpose it tragically lacks. It's a wholesale acceptance of the White House framing, playing into the notion that this is a mission that can, with a little perseverance, be "completed" -- and, indeed, that we are "well on the way" to completing.

Please tell us, Sen. Clinton: what mission are you talking about? Avoiding getting caught in the crossfire of a sectarian civil war? That's looking more and more like Mission Impossible. Bringing a stable democracy to Iraq? Even if we replace Rummy with a very young man with a lifetime in which to complete this mission, democracy won't be delivered at the end of a bayonet.

But Hillary was on a rhetorical mission -- using the term to describe Iraq four more times during her remarks, including the idea that by replacing Rumsfeld the Senate could "redeem this mission", and "give it a chance for success."

By linking the notion of mission, redemption, and success in Iraq to her criticism of Rummy was Hillary, as usual, trying to have it both ways? If so, it was, sadly, Mission Accomplished.

Link Here

IRS Investigates Church Over Anti-War Sermon...

Associated Press September 16, 2006 at 02:20 PM

The Internal Revenue Service has ordered a prominent liberal church to turn over documents and e-mails it produced during the 2004 election year that contain references to political candidates.

The IRS is investigating whether All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena violated the federal tax code when its former rector, Rev. George F. Regas, delivered an anti-war sermon on the eve of the last presidential election.


President Bush Is Marquee Name In Fall Elections Courtesy Of Democrats...

The New York Times Adam Nagourney September 16, 2006 at 01:30 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

From Rhode Island to New Mexico, from Connecticut to Tennessee, President Bush is emerging as the marquee name in this fall's Congressional elections -- courtesy not of his Republican Party but of the Democrats.

A review of dozens of campaign commercials finds that Mr. Bush has become the star of the Democrats' advertisement war this fall. He is pictured standing alone and next to Republican senators and members of Congress, his name intoned by ominous-sounding announcers, and Republican candidates are damned in the advertisements by the number of times they have voted with Mr. Bush in Congress.


Chavez To Iran's Ahmadenijad: "There Are Plans To Invade Iran...Under Any Scenario, We Are With You"...

Associated Press September 16, 2006 at 10:35 AM

Chavez also upstaged Raul Castro at a side meeting of the "Group of 15" developing nations while pledging Venezuela's support for Iran if it is invaded because of its nuclear dispute with the U.N. Security Council.

"Iran is under threat; there are plans to invade Iran. Hopefully it won't happen, but we are with you," Chavez told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Under any scenario, we are with you just like we are with Cuba," Chavez told Iran. "If the United States invades Cuba, blood will run. ... We will not have our arms crossed while bombs are falling in Havana or they carry Raul off in a plane."

Read entire article here.

UN Head: Most Middle East Leaders Feel Invasion Of Iraq Has Been “Disaster”...

BBC News September 16, 2006 at 10:05 AM

The UN secretary general has said that most Middle East leaders regard the US-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath as a disaster for the region.

Kofi Annan, speaking at a briefing following his recent tour of the region, said that the timing of any US withdrawal was now a key issue.


In Replay of Iraq, Battle Brews Over Intelligence on Iran

In an echo of the intelligence wars that preceded the US invasion of Iraq, a struggle is brewing over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program and involvement in terrorism. US intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Bush administration hardliners have manipulated information to portray Iran's nuclear program as more advanced than it is and to exaggerate Tehran's role in Hezbollah's attack on Israel in mid-July.

Link Here

Tortured logic:

The administration, apparently untroubled by this disagreement, is now asking Congress to declare that detainees who claim violations of the Geneva Convention may not have their day in court

Link Here

Judge orders prosecutors to turn over Padilla's medical records: -

A federal judge in Miami ordered prosecutors Thursday to turn over medical records for accused al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla, a move that could reveal details of his treatment during 3 1/2 years in military custody.

Link Here

Judge refuses to reinstate key Padilla terrorism charge:

The dismissed charge is important because it is the only one in the indictment that carries a potential life sentence.

Link Here

Mexico’s current version of democracy not sustainable :

American corporations backed Calderon's campaign heavily as he promised "incentives for foreign investment." Blinded by greed for easy profits to be made in Mexico, they set the stage for increased migration into the United States.

Link Here

European powers refuse to send more troops to Afghanistan:

In the face of dire warnings that the NATO-led occupation risks losing ground before a resurgence of support for the former Taliban regime, the major European members of the alliance have refused to send a single soldier.

Link Here

US moves to scuttle Arab plan for international peace conference:

The US is trying to block attempts by Arab countries to turn the UN Security Council into a key player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the upcoming General Assembly opening next week.

Link Here

Human Rights Watch: Don't Fire on Gaza Medics:

Israeli security forces launched attacks that harmed Palestinian medical emergency personnel and damaged ambulances on at least six different occasions in the Gaza Strip between May 30 and July 20, Human Rights Watch said today.

Link Here

U.S. Military Admit Defeat in Strategic Iraqi Province:

One top secret report by a Marine intelligence officer said there is no chance the U.S. military can end the insurgent violence or that a viable government can be set up in the area.

Link Here

Iraq: 7 U.S. Occupation Forces Soldiers Killed:

US military officials said insurgents have killed seven US servicemen and wounded dozens more in the past 48 hours across Iraq.

Link Here

No News Is Slow News

By John Pilger

The news that doesn't make the front pages or the BBC bulletins is 'slow news'. For example, the resistance to foreign power by the Palestinians, ordinary Iraqis and Afghans is 'slow news' while the internecine machinations of Bush and Blair is 'regular news'.

Link Here


Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the "War on Terror"

Video Documentary

The U.S. government-sponsored program of renditions is an unlawful practice in which numerous persons have been illegally detained and secretly flown to third countries, where they have suffered additional human rights abuses including torture and enforced disappearance.

Link Here

Three Italian soldiers indicted for civilian deaths in Iraq


Three Italian soldiers have been indicted by a military tribunal in Rome for the 2004 killing of four civilians in an ambulance in Iraq, the Italian media reported on Thursday. It is the first time Italian forces have been brought before justice for crimes committed against civilians since Rome deployed troops in Iraq in June 2003, the daily Corriere della Sera said. The tribunal refused to comment on the case when contacted by AFP...

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A Walk Through the Rubble Israel's Use of American Cluster Bombs


As the initial assessment and clean up of American cluster bombs, estimated at more than 130,000 unexploded bomblets across the south of Lebanon, gets underway, unanticipated findings are emerging: The breadth and depth of the problem with cluster bombs found in 498 locations in scores of villages as of September 9th was not expected. So far less than 4% have been disposed of, and 0 % of the villages in the south have been certified as safe for domestic or agricultural use by the United Nations ordnance disposal task force....

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Former Sandinista Leads in Presidential Poll

Former Sandinista Leads in Presidential Poll
From Times Wire Reports
September 15, 2006

Nicaraguan left-wing Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega has a 15-point lead over his nearest rival going into November's presidential election, a poll by Zogby International shows.

The survey showed 34% support for Ortega, a Cold War foe of the U.S. and former guerrilla who became Nicaragua's president after a 1979 revolution. His closest rival, right-winger Eduardo Montealegre, had 19%.

Under Nicaraguan law, a candidate needs 40% of the vote, or 35% with a minimum 5-point lead over the nearest rival, to avoid a runoff.

Link Here

Original Post: One fifth of US rice contaminated with illegal GM strain


Up to one fifth of rice entering the EU is contaminated with an illegal genetically modified (GM) strain from the US. Those are the findings of the European Commission's own investigation into EU rice imports, following the admission in August by the US government that untested strains of GM rice had entered the food chain.

If that wasn't alarming enough, our own research has shown this rice has made its way into products available in German supermarkets. Coming just one week after we revealed how Chinese products containing another illegal and untested GM rice variety were available on supermarket shelves in the UK and Europe, these results illustrate the inability of the GM industry to control its own technologies.

Out of 162 shipments of US long grain rice examined by the Commission, 33 tested positive for a strain of rice produced by agribusiness giant Bayer. The rice, LL601 as it's officially known, has been engineered to be resistant to Bayer's own herbicides but it has not been approved for human consumption anywhere in the world. Currently, no varieties of GM rice have been approved for growing or consumption in the EU, although Bayer are trying to clear some of their other rice strains that have been approved in the US and Canada.

Illegal and untested

The rice was grown in the US in 2001 but only as a test crop and the effects on human health are unknown. Worrying, then, that it is now present on the shelves of Aldi Nord, a major German supermarket. Aldi Nord has since removed the affected products from its shelves but with Germany importing about 25 per cent of its rice from the US, the contamination could have spread much further.

Link Here

Mexico: Fox runs away because the people demand democracy.

Fox is going 170 miles north of Mexico to deliver the Mexican revolutionary should because he can't do it in the Zocalo in Mexico City, the site of the protests by the Mexican democracy movement of Lopez Obrador and the PRD, probable winners of the presidential election. The Mexican Senate voted unanimously that Fox deliver "the grito" in Mexico City just before Fox backed off and announced he was high tailing it out of town

Fox to deliver ´grito´ in Dolores Hidalgo
President moves annual celebration to
Guanajuato after protesters threaten ceremony

Wire services
El Universal
September 15, 2006

President Vicente Fox backed away from another showdown with Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Thursday, announcing that he wouldn´t hold the annual Independence Day celebration in the capital´s main Zócalo square to avoid protesters.

López Obrador and his supporters had vowed to upstage Fox by refusing to take part in Friday´s annual salute of "Viva Mexico!" delivered each year by the president. They are planning to take over the Zócalo for their own celebration, and some had feared clashes if pro-government revelers showed up.

Fox will move his ceremony to the small, central town of Dolores Hidalgo, 170 miles (270 kilometers) northwest of Mexico City, where Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo launched the first call for independence from Spain in 1810. The town is located in Fox´s home state of Guanajuato, a bastion of support for his conservative National Action Party (PAN).

Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal made the announcement shortly after the Senate voted unanimously to recommend that Fox not travel to the Zócalo.

Link Here

’Our top priority...

Joseph Cannon, Cannonfire

...should be to make sure that every man, woman and child sees this: Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes admits that Bush told him that capturing Osama Bin Laden is not "a top priority." Couple that with the older clip of Bush saying that he's not that concerned about Bin Laden...the recent news that Osama has a free pass in Pakistan...and all the revelations contained within the extremely important new documentary 911: Press for Truth (about which much more anon)......and you have an albatross that all of Rupert's men cannot hope to spin away from the G.O.P.'s neck...

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A taste for torture?

Can this insulting trash, be for real?
Joanna Bourke

Pain is titillating. In the so-called war on terror, it is easy to assume glibly that sexualised violence is so mainstream that it can no longer shock. But Steven Meisel's fashion photographs, published in the current issue of Italian Vogue, take the pornography of terror to another extreme. In his lavish fashion shoot, we are shown a world peopled by hyper-real security staff and a faux woman - skinny, toned, and modelling fantasy clothes and shoes. The heavily armed security personnel exude violence; the model oozes sex. In airports and on grimy city streets, she is depicted with her legs spread while uniformed men with phallic pistols and truncheons explore ways of abusing and torturing her. In other photographs, the model becomes the aggressor. This is fashion photography appropriated in the interests of the politics of torture and abuse. By fusing high fashion with the so-called war on terror, the photographs do more than simply give readers cheap thrills by their act of aesthetic transgression. The photographs endorse the very taboos they violate (...)The most disturbing thing about these photographs, however, is that they have taken their inspiration from the torture photographs taken in Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq. The visual titillation of suffering, dogs primed to attack people, and women who inflict pain - these have become some of the most common images of the war on terror. In these fashion photographs, we see how those images of torture have been translated into consumer products. Torture has not only become normalised, it has been integrated into one of the most glamorous forms of consumer culture - high fashion. In our current moral state of emergency, torture imagery has become fashionable...

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Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Thursday, 14 September 2006

...Journalists in occupied Iraq are reporting that the US-installed puppet regime appears to have begun a campaign of repression and intimidation against journalists in the country, even those writing for the news media based in the west. The Iraqi journalist Gulshan al-Bayati, a contributor to the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat was arrested by the puppet "Interior Ministry" on 11 September. She was released two days later, but then it was reported that Dr. Fadil a-Badrani, Iraqi correspondent for Reuters News Agency, was arrested upon his arrival at the funeral of his brother in al-Fallujah on Thursday morning, 14 September. Al-Badrani’s brother had been killed by US occupation troops in al-Fallujah, according to an announcement published by the patriotic website alBasrah.net...

The hysteria of the looming defeat: The US Occupiers detains another Iraqi journalist!

Al Moharer.net - Salah Al Mukhtar :
The Coordinator of the Free Non Governmental Organizations(NGO) in Iraq

After detaining the Iraqi writer and Journalist Gulshan Al Bayaty, here is the US occupation in Iraq at it again, detaining the courageous journalist and writer Mr. Fadhel al Badrani when he was attending the Fatiha funeral prayers on the soul of his martyred brother Fayez, organized at the city of Resistance and Combat Falluja. Doctor Badrani detention and imprisonment is yet another indicator that the confusion struck US Occupier, has entered a hysterical phase sensing its bitter and resounding approaching defeat on the hands of the heroic Iraqi Resistance. This hysteria of defeat has become and more than ever a convenient environment to kill and liquidate all the free voices in Iraq through mass murdering and detaining these patriot voices who ask the Occupation to quit Iraq and demand the return of the legitimate Iraqi government to its legitimate people...

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Demand for the Immediate Release of Dr Fadhil Al-Bedrani

American Democracy in Action
Member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee and participant in the World Tribunal on Iraq held by US Forces
The BRussells Tribunal today demands that the US government immediately release Dr Fadhil Al-Bedrani and all members of his family who were taken into US military custody 12 September 2006. Dr Fadhil Al-Bedrani is a professor of journalism and a prominent patriotic writer known for his anti-occupation stand and whose reports appear on Al-Jazeera as well as Reuters and the BBC. When talking about the difficulty of getting news out of Iraq and into mainstream media, he said: "we report but they censor."...

Death Squads on a killing spree in Iraq

God willing the Bastards in the White House will meet their Judgement Day, hopefully for the innocents in Iraq it will be soon.Iraq seems to have plunged into total anarchy as 50 more bound bodies, all victims of torture, were found in Baghdad, officials said on Friday. In all, police retrieved 50 bodies in the 24 hours to Friday morning, most shot in the head after being trussed and tortured, a senior Interior Ministry official told Reuters. That took the body count in the city for three days to at least 130. The U.S. military acknowledged a "spike" in the murder rate this week, despite a month-old security crackdown in the capital for which Washington sent in thousands of extra troops...

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Moth in the Flames of War: The Fall of Tony Blair

Chris Floyd - TO Correspondent

It may look and feel like a farce right now, but one day some future Shakespeare might write it as a tragedy: the fall of a powerful, popular leader broken on the wheel of war. For make no mistake: if not for the criminal folly of the Iraq invasion, British Prime Minister Tony Blair would not have been unceremoniously shoved toward the exit last week by his own party, including some of his fiercest loyalists. The man who once commanded one of the largest majorities in the history of the ancient British Parliament, who won three successive national elections and appeared to have sealed his party's hold on power for decades to come, has seen his stature and authority eaten away by the hubris that led him to join George W. Bush's duplicitous, disastrous Babylonian Conquest...

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New Clues in the Plame Mystery

New Clues in the Plame Mystery
September 15. 2006

Washington's new "conventional wisdom" -- that Karl Rove and the Bush administration got a bum rap on the "outing" of CIA officer Valerie Plame -- has been destroyed by new evidence that Rove and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage were much closer than most pundits understood. Right-wing columnist Robert Novak also has blown big holes in the notion of Bush administration innocence.

But is that what’s really going on here?

From Where I Stand by Joan Chittister, OSB

I found myself struggling with a question this week; When is a revolution not a revolution? What did I decide? Answer: I'm not sure. But one thing I do know: This time, we may all be looking at one revolution that is hiding in plain sight.

Newspapers across the country recently carried a story concerned, ostensibly, with the rising interest of Syrian girls in the study of the Koran.

Teenage girls, it seems, have developed madrasas, Islamic schools, for girls as young as five years old. Other young women have created secret study groups designed to give older girls advanced education in the Koran

Some writers interpret the story as sign of a sharp move away from the established secular government in the country. They see it as simply one more indicator of an emerging interest in the establishment of a religious state in Syria as well as in other parts of the Muslim world. It signals for them the kind of moment that could eventually pit proponents of Islamic theocracy against the more pluralistic character of the secular state with its separation of religion and the political system.

Other writers dismiss the story entirely except to wonder why women would be interested in any religion that counseled stoning them to death. These readers are, apparently, completely oblivious to the fact that the whole history of religion with women more often belies the ideals of religion -- any religion -- than enhances them.

I figured that both interpretations, however well-founded each might be from one particular perspective or another, may well be missing a dimension of far greater significance than either of those. This story is about a great deal more than religion.

Whatever their interest in the Koran as a spiritual document, Muslim girls -- like Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Catholic girls, as well -- have normally been denied the right to be the religious scholars, imams, rabbis, priests or ordained monastics of their various faith communities. Just as women were not permitted to get academic degrees in Catholic theology before the 1940s, Muslim women have also not been permitted to be imams or prayer leaders of mixed gender congregations.

Despite the presence of women in leadership positions in the early history of every major religion, the place of the role of women in religion is everywhere today still a major question.

But religion is not the only thing going on in this movement of Syrian women to appropriate the scriptures for themselves. This movement is as surely about feminism and women's rights as it is about learning the Koran.

These are young women teaching women. In one case, a 16 year old teaches five year olds to memorize the Koran. In another, a young 20 year old is teaching her peers not simply to recite the verses of the Koran but to probe their history and meaning. "People mistake tradition for religion," a young woman explains to a reporter. "Men are always saying, 'Women can't do that because of religion,' when in fact it is only tradition. It's important for us to study so that we will know the difference." ( "Islamic Revival in Syria is Led by Women," NYT, Aug. 29, 2006)

Clearly there is more than a catechism mentality at stake. These are women making independent decisions about things as important as whether women are allowed to meet together without male approval -- and teaching other women to do the same.

Despite centuries of male norms governing women's lives, these women are beginning to think through scriptural interpretations that have passed for religious dictates for centuries and to interpret them differently than men, especially in areas that affect women.

What's more, they are doing it, they say, in order to be able to contribute to the development of the tradition themselves, something left almost entirely to men -- at least until now.

And, to add insult to injury, they are doing it in women's groups for women only. The implications of such a movement as that for the development of both society and religion are overwhelming.

First, God is becoming the property of females as well as males and, as a result, looking less gendered, more truly spirit, by the day.

Second, this is not conservative Islam we're seeing, this is Islamic feminism, whether we recognize it or not. For those who might be tempted to consider "Islamic feminism" an oxymoron, it may be time to start thinking otherwise.

As the Arab's say, "The camel's nose is under the tent," and it is neither Western nor anti-Western in its intent. It is simply one more instance of the rising consciousness of women everywhere as they seek to take their proper places in the world.

It's a revolution, all right, but it is changing more than the secular government of Syria. It is changing the world everywhere.

The secret is out. Women are human beings. They are fully human. And they intend to claim that humanity, however revered the institution that is inclined to say no to their full presence in it.

It is more than possible, then, that we're seeing two revolutions at once. One may well be political. Maybe something is happening to government in Syria. Maybe these groups really are the seeds of a frontal attack on secularism and the first stirrings of an Islamist state.

But the other revolution is yet largely invisible, but growing. And it is a great deal more important than the political one because it signals the change of the world. Or as the Chinese proverb puts it, "When sleeping women wake, mountains will move."

From where I stand, it seems to me that we may be seeing a lot more than we think we're seeing. Shouldn't we tell somebody?

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GOP's Sen. Graham: Bush's Detainee Legislation “Could Come Back To Haunt Us”...

WLXT News James Gilbert September 15, 2006 at 08:57 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush, CIA

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham made a statement on the Presidential news conference Friday.

Graham also released a letter addressed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking for clarification of the United States response should a situation arise involving a CIA paramilitary operative captured in Iran and placed on trial in that country.


Neo-Nazis Poised To Win In German Parliament Elections...

The Times Of London Roger Boves September 15, 2006 at 07:34 PM

THERE was not a skinhead to be seen in this Baltic town at the heart of Germany's neoNazi revival. No thugs with steel-tipped paratroop boots, no ranting xenophobes.

Yet the signs are clear: the far Right is on the march in Eastern Germany.



Washington Post Peter Baker September 15, 2006 at 09:37 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

President Bush warned defiant Republican senators yesterday that he will close down a CIA interrogation program that he credited with thwarting terrorist attacks if they pass a proposal regulating detention of enemy combatants, escalating a politically charged battle that has exposed divisions within his party.

An irritated Bush, raising his voice and gesturing sharply at a Rose Garden news conference, excoriated legislation passed by a Senate panel Thursday that is intended to conform U.S. detainee practices with the Geneva Conventions. Bush insisted on legislation more specifically defining what is banned so intelligence officers would not worry about being charged with war crimes.


U.S. to Bush: Get yourself a good lawyer; you're gonna need one!

Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

There may be probable cause to try George W. Bush for capital crimes. Bush is losing it. He's combative, belligerent, rambling, disconnected and overtly defensive. He's desperately trying to come up with various defenses on various fronts —all ex post facto. One is tempted to tell him: give up, George! Surrender to the authorities! You get one phone call; use it to get in touch in Jim Baker. Get your lies straight! The issue is torture —a heinous act that Bush insists on calling "...an alternative set of procedures". Interviewed by Matt Lauer, Bush tried to justify torture as necessary even as he denied that the US was torturing...

continua / continued

Nancy Grace Unapologetic For Mother's Suicide After TV Appearance...

There you go, you without sin, you moralistic hypacrit, throw the first stone you're pretty good at that, After all Cable News declares you guilty today, not the courts they are extinct, you are not innocent until proved guilty, that is certainly a thing of the past in America today.

Eat The Press Rachel Sklar September 15, 2006 at 04:44 PM
READ MORE: Good Morning America

Nancy Grace went on "Good Morning America" today to talk about her verbal pummelling of 21-year old Melinda Duckett , the mother of missing 2-year-old Trenton Duckett who shot herself two days later. Grace's unapologetic take: "If anything, I would suggest that guilt made her commit suicide." Sympathetic, ain't she?

There are a few issues here and it's important to separate them out. First, Grace is correct: "To suggest that a 15 or 20 minute interview can cause someone to commit suicide is focusing on the wrong thing." Trenton Duckett is missing, and Melinda Duckett can no longer speak for herself, but clearly there is more here than the general public is aware of. So the issue becomes one of Grace's tactics: Is there a line she crossed in going after Duckett hard? The woman did consent to be on her show, after all, and she was evasive (yelled Grace: "Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?"). Grace has been criticized for her aggressive approach (cf. Elizabeth Smart) (and has, in fact, been memorialized as a ratings-hungry truth-ignoring scandal-flogging harpy on the new TV show "Justice"), but it is an open question what "line" there is to cross in the world of today's on-air shoutfests (from C.W. Nevius SFGate: "cable news outlets seem to be staging a modern version of the Roman circus, and the louder the better").


Excuse Me

Is she forgotten yet, out of site, out of mind, Her name is Abeer Qassim Hamza out of site out of mind

BUSH: If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic.

It's just -- I simply can't accept that.

It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.

Suit: Ban computer voting

Attorney fears fraud, says state 'headed for train wreck' in Nov.

September 15, 2006

Voting on computer screens is so vulnerable to massive fraud that Colorado's November election is "headed for a train wreck," says an attorney who is seeking to have the equipment barred at trial next week.

An expert would need just 2 minutes to reprogram and distort votes on a Diebold, one of four brands of computerized voting systems attacked in the suit, says attorney Paul Hultin. His firm, Wheeler Trigg Kennedy, has taken on the case pro bono for a group of 13 citizens of various political stripes.

And he's not the only one alarmed as details of the case spread this week.

The Colorado Democratic Party on Thursday urged all voters to cast absentee ballots for the November election to avoid potential fraud, after a key state official said in a deposition that he certified the computer voting equipment even though he has no college education in computer science and did little security testing.

But deputy attorney general Maurice Knaizer says Colorado is protected against tampering because state law now requires a printout of each computer ballot. The printout can be reviewed by the voter and is kept at the machine for post-election audits and recounts.

If the electronic and paper tallies don't match, the paper ballot is used, said Knaizer, who is representing Secretary of State Gigi Dennis.

Concerns about the machines raised in the lawsuit prompted calls for reviews from both candidates for secretary of state.

State Sen. Ken Gordon, the Democratic candidate who currently is Democratic majority leader in the state Senate, called on Dennis to "immediately hire competent staff and perform an adequate and thorough testing, as the law requires."

Mike Coffman, currently Republican state treasurer, said his first act if elected would be a full review of all voting systems in Colorado.

The case goes to trial Wednesday in Denver District Court in front of Judge Lawrence Manzanares.

The four types of computer systems in question are manufactured by Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Hart, and are used in some fashion by every county in the state, affecting hundreds of thousands of voters.

If they are barred just two months before the election, "it would be impossible, frankly, for a number of these counties to conduct an election in a reasonable and fair manner," Knaizer said.

Large counties could not print ballots by the Oct. 6 deadline and could not efficiently hand-count hundreds of thousands of paper ballots, he said.

But Manzanares could simply choose to order Dennis to come up with additional security to prevent tampering, said Andy Efaw, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys.

Threat from hackers, viruses

National computing experts have advised against using computers for voting because they cannot ever be secure, Efaw said.

Just this week, Princeton University researchers experimenting with a Diebold model said that malicious software can modify all records. They said the software can be stored on a memory card and installed by someone in a clerk's office or at the manufacturer's in as little as one minute. They also found that viruses could spread the software to all the machines in a system.

Hultin said instructions for tampering with the Diebold machine have been posted on the Internet.

In June, the secretary of state's office warned counties with certain Diebold machines that an earlier experiment installed distorting code in just two minutes. In a letter, the office advised election officials to add three seals to the equipment so any tampering could be detected.

With this in addition to security procedures and post-election audits, "we have minimized this threat," wrote Holly Z. Lowder, director of the elections division.

Gordon and the Democratic Party were alarmed by a deposition in the case released this week, in which the secretary of state's staffer in charge of testing the machines says he did only 15 minutes of security checks.The staffer, John Gardner Jr., also said he had no college training in computer science, causing Gordon and others to question whether he was qualified for the job. Gardner also had been information technology chief for the El Paso County clerk, which runs elections there.

The plaintiff's attorneys say Gardner's security checks on the four systems did not include attempts at hacking. Instead, Gardner merely checked whether the manufacturers included security documentation.

"Of course" Gardner should have tried hacking, Hultin said. "Isn't that the idea of a test?"

Two elections reversed

Meanwhile, there are concerns about another form of voting machine that would be an alternative to the machines under attack in the lawsuit.

Last year, two Colorado elections were reversed when recounts in tight races found that an Optech III-P optical scanner misread paper ballots:

• In Salida, Hugh Young initially lost a city council election to Ron Stowell by three votes. After the recount, he won by three votes.

• In Clear Creek County, a school issue passed by six votes, according to the electronic count, and failed by 18 when the paper ballots were counted. The machines had failed to count more than 100 votes.

The secretary of state's office ordered 10 races audited last year where the Optech III-P Eagle was used. It was found to have miscounted ballots where voters skipped some races.

The Optech was decertified and is no longer used in Colorado, said County Clerk Pam Phipps.

Voting machine lawsuit

• What could happen? Computerized voting equipment in the November elections statewide could be barred from use, forcing election officials to scramble to come up with alternatives.

• Equipment affected: Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Hart where voters mark their ballots on a computer screen.

• What happens next: Trial set for Wednesday and Thursday, just six weeks before the election.

• Plaintiffs' claim: Tampering with software can cause votes to be miscounted or undercounted.

• Secretary of state's response: Equipment prints paper record so voters can check their ballots before leaving.

• Other responses: State Democratic Party called for voters to cast absentee ballots this fall; Democratic candidate for secretary of state Ken Gordon called for stringent recertification of equipment; Republican candidate for secretary of state Mike Coffman promised to review the equipment if elected.

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A deserted street is seen during prayer day vehicle ban, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday Sept. 15, 2006

The bodies of 29 people who appeared to have been torture before being killed where found strewn around Baghdad, police said Friday. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Body bags containing beheaded bodies lie outside the Yarmouk hospital morgue in Baghdad

Welcome To Georgies War Games.
September 12, 2006. (Ali Jasim/Reuters)

Dozens more bodies found in Baghdad

U.S. soldier missing in Iraq after blast

Now I wonder if Georgie and his gang of thugs, and the republicans in congress who voted for TORTURE, are demanding that the Geneva Convention Rules apply to this Soldier? Hmmmmmm
By REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press Writer
Fri Sep 15, 3:11 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. soldier was missing Friday, a day after a suicide truck bombing killed two soldiers and wounded another 30 west of Baghdad, U.S. military officials said.

The soldier "has been reported as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown," the military said, without elaborating.

Neither U.S. military officials in Iraq nor in Washington would say whether they believed the soldier had been abducted or whether he may have been killed in the attack, and his remains had not been recovered.

"I'm sorry to add that we now have a soldier that we are counting as missing," Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli said in a video news conference from Baghdad with reporters at the Pentagon.

The attack occurred Thursday, when a truck driven by a suicide bomber exploded near an Iraqi power substation about 12 miles west of Baghdad, in an area where the U.S. troops were.

The soldiers had been guarding the power substation, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said, adding that the blast occurred near concrete barriers, causing debris and shrapnel to be scattered across the area and inflicting many of the wounds.

Johnson could not comment on what type of explosives were used, whether there was more than one suicide bomber or whether the U.S. soldiers took any action against the vehicle before it exploded.

"The whole incident remains under investigation to determine how this happened and why," Johnson said.

Of those wounded in the attack Thursday, one was listed as very seriously injured and one as seriously injured, the military statement said. Eleven returned to duty, and 17 were slightly wounded, it said.

A total of five American soldiers died Thursday, making it an especially bloody day for U.S. forces. On Friday, a U.S. Marine was killed in Anbar province.

At least 2,678 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.


Associated Press writer Robert Burns contributed to this report from Washington.

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Iraq Suicide Bomber Kills 2 Wounds 25

President to assail GOP over Schiavo, gay rights

John ByrnePublished: Friday September 15, 2006

Exclusive: Republican shortlisted to be Bush's Vice President to lay out most explicit case for gay rights; Blasts Frist, GOP handling of Schiavo case

The former Missouri senator shortlisted to be then-Governor Bush's running mate in the 2000 presidential election -- said to have been second choice only to Vice President Cheney -- will come out vehemently against administration and Congressional Republican policy in a book to be published next week., according to an advance copy obtained by RAW STORY.

John Danforth, who retired in 1995 after four terms in the Senate, briefly served as Bush's ambassador to the United Nations but resigned after Condoleezza Rice was tapped to be Secretary of State. According to CNN, he was second on the list of Bush's potential vice presidential choices in 2000.

In Faith and Politics, to be released Tuesday, Danforth blasts the alignment of the Republican Party with the Christian right, lays out his most aggressive pro-gay stance to date and attacks the handling of the Terri Schiavo case.

Some people have asked me whether America is a Christian country. The answer must be no, for to call this a Christian country is to say that non-Christians are of some lesser order, not full fledged citizens of one nation." Danforth is himself an ordained Episcopal minister.

Danforth calls the Terri Schiavo case -- where Congress intervened to attempt to keep a severely brain-damaged woman from being taken off life support -- "Big Brotherism."

"That the federal government could intervene in the Schiavo case was a threat to all the families that had seen their loved ones suffer through terminal illness," he writes.

It was a threat to people who were terrified that their own lives might someday be artificially extended in nightmarish circumstances. It was a threat to some of our most heartfelt values. It was Big Brotherism in the extreme, an exercise of the raw and awesome power of the federal government.

"They intervened not in the name of principle, but at the expense of principle," Danforth avers.

"They abandoned principle by deciding a medical question without any firsthand knowledge of what they were doing."

Congressional Republicans face specific criticism. An attack on Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) derides the Republican Senate leader for attempting to diagnose Schiavo without seeing the patient.

One views with a degree of pathos the role of William Frist, MD, graduate of Harvard Medical School and potential presidential candidate, who diagnosed a medical condition without examining the patient.

The former Missouri senator also comes out swinging for gay rights -- a cause he has championed since his retirement from the Senate. But in Faith and Politics, he lays out his most ardent support to date. Despite having a gay daughter, Vice President Cheney has remained relatively mum on the issue -- except to say that he disagrees with Bush over a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Danforth goes further.

"I believe that homosexuality is a matter of sexual orientation rather than preference," he writes. "Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is, in my view, comparable to discrimination on other civil rights grounds. It is wrong, and it should be prohibited by law."

"I think that the only purpose served by the campaign for the amendment is the humiliation of gay Americans, advocated by the Christian right and eagerly supported by its suitors in the Republican Party," he adds. "In reality, it is gay bashing."

Danforth then goes even further, saying supporters' assertions that the amendment would protect marriage is ludicrous.

"America's divorce rate is now over 50 percent, and marriage is under attack from a number of quarters: finances, promiscuity, alcohol and drugs, the pressures of work, cultural acceptance of divorce, et cetera," he pens. "But it is incomprehensible that one of these threats is when someone else, whom we have never seen, in a place where we may have never been, has done something we don't like."

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Video: FOX, CNN reports focus on Cuban billboards painting Bush as 'bloodsucking' vampire or Hitler

David Edwards and Ron BrynaertPublished: Friday September 15, 2006

While the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement or nations) presidential summit meets in Cuba, news reports on FOX and CNN spotlighted billboards which mock President George Bush.
One billboard shows Bush as an "assassin" with bloody, vampire teeth, while others compare the U.S. president to Adolph Hitler.

"More than 55 heads of state - including Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, Manmohan Singh of India, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Aleksander Lukashenko of Belarus, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Evo Morales of Bolivia - have travelled to Havana, the self- proclaimed 'capital of the Third World' for the NAM summit," reports Deutsche Presse Agentur.

According to the FOX News anchor Jane Skinner, the summit was a "meeting of a who's who of world leaders who hate America." A graphic displayed during the FOX report announced that the "summit of world leaders who hate America kicks off in Cuba."

While CNN's segment entitled "Havana Hostility" focused on the billboards, FOX interspersed shots of the signs during a speech given by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in which he pledged support for Iran.

Michael E. Parmly, Chief of Mission-Designate for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, tells CNN that the billboards are undiplomatic, vulgar and "not worthy of the Cuban people." Although the U.S. doesn't have diplomatic relations with Cuba, Parmly is the "top US diplomat" stationed there.

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Tension Filled Halls of Congress

Retired Judges::Bush is violating basic Constituional Rights

'The government has taken leave of all sense of decency,' Gandhi said."

John Dear::: Gandhi's 100th Anniversary

I wonder when we will see, the strength of the opressed American People, profess a vow of nonviolence to resist racist laws:

"While many commemorated the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, we also celebrated the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's satyagraha campaign in South Africa. It began with Gandhi's speech to a crowd, a speech that inspired some 3,000 oppressed Indians to profess a vow of nonviolence to resist racist laws: 'The government has taken leave of all sense of decency,' Gandhi said."

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