Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Death in Iraq brings back pain for N.C.-based contractor's mom

Sat Jan-20-07 03:49 PM
Original Post

"Once the casket is in the ground and you only have that one place to go to, that's when you need someone," she said, sobbing.

According to insurance claims on file at the Department of Labor, 770 civilian contractors have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 through Dec. 31 and 7,761 civilian contractors have been injured. The contractors include foreign workers.


Banned Iraqi TV Station Using Stolen US Money To Broadcast Attacks Against Troops...

The New York Times MARC SANTORA and DAMIEN CAVE January 20, 2007 07:24 PM

The video starts with a young American soldier patrolling an Iraqi street. His head is obscured by leaves, so a red target is digitally inserted to draw the viewer's eye. A split second later, the soldier collapses, shot. Martial music kicks in, a jihadi answer to John Philip Sousa. The time and place of the attack scrolls at the bottom of the screen.

Such tapes, along with images of victims of Shiite militias and unflattering coverage of Shiite leaders, are beaming across Iraq and much of the Middle East 24 hours a day, broadcast by a banned Iraqi satellite television station that has become a major information center for the Sunni insurgency -- and the focus of a cat-and-mouse hunt that has exasperated and infuriated American and Iraqi forces.


Police match image of Litvinenko's real assassin with his death-bed description

Daniel McGrory and Tony Halpin

The polonium trail
Police have identified the man they believe poisoned Alexander Litvinenko. The suspected killer was captured on cameras at Heathrow as he flew into Britain to carry out the murder.

Friends of the ex-spy say that the man was a hired killer, sent by the Kremlin, who vanished hours after administering a deadly dose of radioactive polonium-210 to Litvinenko.

He arrived in London on a forged EU passport and reportedly slipped the poison into a cup of tea he made for Litvinenko in a London hotel room. Litvinenko was reportedly able to give vital details of his suspected killer in a bedside interview with detectives just days before he died on November 23 at University College Hospital.

Police have decided not to publish pictures of this man, who was seen on CCTV cameras as he flew in from Hamburg on November 1, the day that Litvinenko fell ill.


FLASHBACK: Agents of Influence

Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation

Did Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, run a covert program with operatives in high-level US government positions to influence the Bush Administration's decision to go to war in Iraq? The FBI wants to know. That's the story behind the latest Washington spy scandal, involving Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and a mid-level civilian Pentagon employee allegedly caught red-handed trying to deliver US secrets to the Israelis...

continua / continued

By John Pilger

John Pilger returns to his homeland, Australia, and described the social regression of a once proud liberal democracy and says that the flag-waving "values" of the neo-con prime minister may be coming unstuck in Guantanamo Bay.


However, it is one man, David Hicks, a spectacular loser in the new Australia, who now threatens Howard's "lucky" facade. Hicks was found among the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and sold as bounty to the Americans by CIA-backed warlords. He has spent more than five years in Guantánamo Bay, including eight months in a cell with no sunlight. He has been tortured, and never charged with any crime. Howard and his attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, have refused even to request Hicks's repatriation, as is his constitutional right, because there are no Australian laws under which Hicks can be charged. Their cruelty is breathtaking. A tenacious campaign by his father, Terry, has ignited a kind of public shame that is growing.


Iraqi Surge

Video: Three generals speak against Iraq surge
By AKIIraqi Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr said he has never trusted prime minister Nouri al-Maliki nor his predecessor Iyad Allawi, whom he described as the brains behind a US-backed plot to destroy him and his militia.
Moqtada al-Sadr has moved his family to a secure location because of fears he will become the target of a security sweep of Baghdad, it was reported today.

Deadly Saturday: 73 Iraqis, 21 GIs Killed; 33 Iraqis, 3 GIs Wounded; U.S. Helicopter Crash Kills 13

Updated at 6:55 p.m EST, Jan. 20, 2007

American military authorities reported that an American helicopter has crashed, killing 13 American soldiers in Tal Afar. The U.S. military also reported that eight other American soldiers were killed in four separate incidents; three soldiers were wounded as well. And, 73 Iraqis were killed or found dead today and another 33 were wounded in various incidents throughout Iraq.

A Blackhawk transport helicopter crushed in northern Iraq today, killing all 13 aboard; a website linked to the Baath party claimed that an Islamic group shot down the helicopter. Militia fighters attacked the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in the holy city of Karbala; five GIs were killed. A roadside bomb blast killed one soldier and wounded a second GI today in northern Baghdad. Yesterday, a Marine died from wounds sustained during enemy combat in Anbar Province. One GI was killed and two more injured in Ninewah province when a roadside bomb blasted them, also on Friday. Also, a U.S. army officer was injured in bomb blast in Mosul.

Iraq War Costs Going Through Stratosphere

The cost of the Iraq War in addition to costing thousands of American and Iraqi lives is bleeding the American treasury at dangerous levels.

President Bush is asking for another $1.2 billion for rebuilding and jobs in Iraq. But with so much uncertainty, the committee chairman wants the government auditors to return in two months with estimates on how much money has been wasted in Iraqi reconstruction.

Iraq's controversial hydrocarbons law ready to be submitted for approval, oil ministry spokesman says

The Associated Press
Published: January 18, 2007

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq's long-awaited hydrocarbons law, which could attract huge investments from foreign oil companies, has been drafted and will be submitted to the Iraqi cabinet for endorsement next week, the oil ministry said Thursday.

Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said that once the draft law is endorsed by the Cabinet, then it will go to the parliament for final approval.

"We hope the ratification of this law will be achieved no more than one month from now. This law is considered a major national project and achievement," Jihad told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

A spokesman expressed hope the legislation, which seeks to draw the legal framework for sharing the county's oil wealth, could be ratified with a month.

The law is expected to encourage foreign oil companies with their huge investment clout and technology to quickly modernize Iraq's oil sector and meet the country's goal of doubling the current crude production of 2.5 million barrels per day by 2010.

The "revelation" of the 30-year contracts "will raise Iraqi fears that oil ... invasion is also highlighted: "Oil revenues, which people falsely claim that ...

It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year ... Tony Blair denied the "false claim" that "we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues. ...
The mounting U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries may enable Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, UNOCAL, and other giant corporations to lay claim to "the number-one prize in world oil." But the extension of U.S. military power and economic domination into this region comes with very grave risks

Google Blots Out Iraq Bases on Internet

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:07am GMT 20/01/2007
The view down the sights of an SA8O assault rifle from an observation post in central Basra

British military bases in Iraq have been "blotted" out from Google Earth maps at the request of the Government to hinder terrorist attacks, it can be revealed.

Sensitive installations such as the Trident nuclear submarine pens in Faslane, Scotland, and the eavesdropping base at GCHQ Cheltenham have also been obscured, a search of the site shows.

Google was first alerted to the security breaches after personnel at the British headquarters at Basra Air Station in Iraq were astonished at the clarity with which all their positions were shown on the popular internet site.

The pictures, which were either aerial or satellite shots, showed the large number of vulnerable tent locations, vehicle parks and were clear enough to show tank tracks.

After coming under almost daily mortar barrages, including one round that hit the divisional headquarters where the British general in charge of troops in Iraq is based, the Army contacted Google to have the pictures of the camp blurred so that details were obscured.

Following negotiations, Google agreed to blot out British bases in Iraq after the company was persuaded they would be helpful to terrorists.

But it was not done early enough to stop insurgents obtaining copies of the pictures which, with the longitude and latitude given, help them co-ordinate mortar and rocket attacks


Iraq security contractor countersues

By MIKE BAKER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jan 19, 9:42 PM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. - Private security contractor Blackwater USA is seeking $10 million from the attorney representing the estates of four employees killed and mutilated in Iraq, arguing their families breached the security guards' contracts by suing the company for wrongful death.

Blackwater also has asked a federal court to move the dispute into arbitration, having failed so far in its ongoing efforts to have the lawsuit dismissed.

Arbitration is necessary "in order to safeguard both (Blackwater's) own confidential information as well as sensitive information implicating the interest of the United States at war," attorneys for Blackwater Security Consulting, a unit of Moyock-based Blackwater USA, wrote in a petition filed December 20.

Dan Callahan, a California-based attorney representing the families, called the claim "appalling."

"This is a shock-and-awe tactic," Callahan said Friday. Blackwater's attorneys declined to comment.

The four families, represented by estates administrator Richard Nordan, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Blackwater in January 2005 in state court. Family members argue Blackwater broke contractual obligations and used cost-saving measures that ultimately led to the deaths of the four men.

Blackwater's counterclaim for $10 million specifically names Nordan and not the estates or the men's families.

"The $10 million is a scare tactic," said Katy Helvenston, mother of Scott Helvenston, one of the dead Blackwater employees. "I'm not concerned about that at all because the whole thing's a farce. It's just another excuse to delay."

A frenzied mob of insurgents ambushed Helvenston, Jerko "Jerry" Zovko, Wesley J.K. Batalona, and Michael R. Teague in March 2004 as they escorted a supply convoy through Fallujah, Iraq. The insurgents burned and mutilated the guards and strung two of the bodies from a bridge.

The gruesome scene, caught on camera and broadcast worldwide, prompted the U.S. military to launch a three-week siege of Fallujah.


Commandant will make a call to arms and see what number of those 100,000 would be willing to come back on active duty,

Angry Afghans are turning to the Taleban for support

POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (gpeev@scotsman.com)

BRITISH troops are dying in Afghanistan because the government's aid department is failing to get food to the poor in the southern provinces, an international security and development think tank claims.

Angry Afghans are turning to the Taleban for support, said the Senlis Council, a French think tank which has staff in the volatile Helmand province.

Its founder told The Scotsman it spent its research budget on food after it found thousands starving in refugee camps and in the province's hospital.

Serbian election highlights the west’s fears about Russia

Australian wildlife officials warn that a serious drought is driving tens of thousands of snakes into urban areas.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's mounting political troubles

JERUSALEM (AP) - Police are investigating him for corruption. His military chief has resigned. His office manager is under house arrest, and an inquiry commission is looking into his alleged mishandling of last summer's Lebanon war.


Aide to Tony Blair arrested in suspected 'cover-up'

It took 6 years to figure out, something that should have been realised in Nov of 2000. Unfrikingbelievable

More than half believe Bush is not 'honest, ethical'

War Candidate McCain Hires 3 Former Bush Ad Strategists...

A picture speaks a thousand words, you lose WANKER

The New York Times January 20, 2007 02:43 PM

Senator John McCain of Arizona has enlisted strategists from President Bush's advertising team to work on the senator's nascent drive for the Republican presidential nomination, aides with his campaign exploratory committee said Friday.
Mr. McCain's aides said he was hiring those three strategists -- Russ Schriefer, Stuart Stevens and Fred Davis -- as part of a continuing accumulation of campaign advisers.



The New York Times PATRICK HEALY January 20, 2007 08:58 AM

Six years after making history by winning a United States Senate seat as First Lady, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is set to announce this morning that she is taking the first formal step toward seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, according to Democrats familiar with her decision.

If successful, Mrs. Clinton, 59, would be the first female nominee of a major American political party, and she would become the first spouse of a former president to seek a return to the White House.


'Wild' girl found after 19 years

Bush’s Remote Control Martyrs

Are you shocked and ashamed yet America, with your so called Commander and Chief.
This creature is absolutely out of his friking mind


Wednesday, January 17th in News by James Bovard

In the Tuesday interview for PBS Newshour, host Jim Lehrer asked Bush why he has not asked more Americans.. to sacrifice something” for the war in Iraq.

The President replied: “I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night.”

Bush did not specify whether he believes people who become afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of channel surfing should be eligible for military disability pensions.

I have been amazed at the last few interviews Bush has given. His doggerel seems to be surpassing all previous bounds, and yet… many Americans continue to believe, and most of the Washington media continues to grovel.


Comments & cavils on this topic welcome at my blog here.

Antiwar Radio: Chris Floyd

The guest on Antiwar Radio for January 17, 2007 is Chris Floyd, author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, on the subject of the tension between the Cheney-neocon cabal and the traditional American Establishment.

Another Grim Milestone: 500 Amputee Soldiers From Iraq War

The giant transport planes unload their sad cargo at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, the first stop home for the most seriously injured Americans of the Iraq war. Arriving virtually every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday nights for the past four years, the parade of wounded warriors may be one of the most predictable events in an otherwise unruly conflict.

Last Tuesday marked another grim milestone: the arrival of the 500th amputee. Army officials said the victim, a 24-year-old corporal, lost both legs in a roadside bomb explosion on January 12. He was treated at the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, before landing at Andrews and being taken to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The corporal became the newest resident of Ward 57, the hospital's renowned amputee center that has swelled with casualties since 2003. Limb-loss has occurred twice as often in Iraq as in any conflict of the past century, except for Vietnam, for which there are no good statistics. The 500 major amputations — toes and fingers aren't counted — represent 2.2% of the 22,700 U.S. troops wounded in action. But the number rises to 5% in the category of soldiers whose wounds prevent them returning to duty.

Despite the devastating loss, amputation is actually a blessing for many Ward 57 patients. That's because they wouldn't have survived in past wars without today's body armor to protect vital organs and better-equipped medics to quickly stop hemorrhaging and deliver the wounded to hospitals. The extraordinary rates of survival in this war — 9 of every 10 soldiers wounded make it, compared to 7.5 of 10 in Vietnam — explains the larger number of casualties who survive with severe and lasting disabilities, including loss of limbs.


GOP sheriff asks Democrats to help resolve AK Steel lockout

1/20/2007, 1:34 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — The Republican sheriff of Butler County, unable to get help from his own party to end an 11-month lockout at AK Steel's Middletown Works, is turning to newly elected Democrats in Columbus and Washington.

Sheriff Rick Jones has written letters to Gov. Ted Strickland and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, both Democrats who won GOP-held seats on Nov. 7, and asked them to intervene.

"It is of the utmost importance that you intervene in the negotiations to bring this 11-month-old lockout to a productive conclusion. Our community needs your help and support," Jones wrote. "I know it's very strange that a local Republican sheriff would ask two of the most powerful Democrats in the state of Ohio to do something, but I am."

Jones said Friday that he was frustrated that former Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican who served the maximum two consecutive terms, and former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, defeated by Brown in November, were not able to end the lockout. He said the toll the strike has taken on the county's residents is getting to him...


Venezuela's Chavez Takes Aim at Reid

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a fierce critic of President Bush, focused Friday on a new American target: newly named U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Chavez took issue with comments Reid made just hours earlier to the National Press Club in Washington, citing the Venezuelan leader as among the threats facing the United States in 2007 because ''Chavez and (Cuba's Fidel) Castro want to put their leftist marks on young democracies.''

Chavez, in Brazil attending a summit of 10 South American leaders, said the Nevada Democrat got it wrong.

Instead, Chavez declared he wants to ''put the leftist stamp on the people, those who the imperialist gringos don't want or can't understand because of fear or ignorance.''

''I think this leftist stamp in Latin America is going to spread throughout the world because the only the left can provide the transformation we need,'' Chavez said.

South America has seen a sharp drift to the left in recent years with the election of new leftist leaders.

Reid in December toured South America with five other U.S. senators but did not go to Venezuela.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the bipartisan group led by Reid was trying to counter Chavez's attempts to form an ''anti-American bloc'' in the region.


Britain Admits Awareness of CIA Prisons

The British foreign secretary admitted Friday that her government was aware of a secret CIA prison network before President Bush acknowledged its existence in September.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett made the admission in a written response to a parliamentary question.

A a recent speech, Bush included a reference to the ``existence of a detention program operated by the CIA.'' Bush said 14 high-value detainees - including the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed - had been transferred from clandestine centers to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

``Prior to this speech, we were aware of the existence of a secret U.S. detention program only in general terms,'' Beckett said in response to a lawmaker's question.


Newsweek's cover boys

Mickey Z. Online Journal Contributing Writer

On the cover of the latest issue of Newsweek you'll find the image of a young Middle Eastern boy -- against a stark white background --holding an automatic weapon. Above him are the words: "The Next Jihadists." (...) What if NewsWeak had opted to instead present the image a young American boy holding any number of weapons? Imagine that above this tow-headed, lily white lad were these words: "The Next Imperialists." Or perhaps even: "The Next War Criminals."..

continua / continued

Iraq's Young Blood

The battle to save Iraq's children

'Sick, injured children treatable by simple means left to die in hundreds.'
Doctors issue plea to Tony Blair to end the scandal of medical shortages in the war zone

Friday, January 19, 2007
By Colin Brown

The desperate plight of children who are dying in Iraqi hospitals for the lack of simple equipment that in some cases can cost as little as 95p is revealed today in a letter signed by nearly 100 eminent doctors.

They are backed by a group of international lawyers, who say the conditions in hospitals revealed in their letter amount to a breach of the Geneva conventions that require Britain and the US as occupying forces to protect human life.

In a direct appeal to Tony Blair, the doctors describe desperate shortages causing "hundreds" of children to die in hospitals. The signatories include Iraqi doctors, British doctors who have worked in Iraqi hospitals, and leading UK consultants and GPs.

"Sick or injured children who could otherwise be treated by simple means are left to die in hundreds because they do not have access to basic medicines or other resources," the doctors say. "Children who have lost hands, feet and limbs are left without prostheses. Children with grave psychological distress are left untreated," they add.

They say babies are being ventilated with a plastic tube in their noses and dying for want of an oxygen mask, while other babies are dying because of the lack of a phial of vitamin K or sterile needles, all costing about 95p. Hospitals have little hope of stopping fatal infections spreading from baby to baby because of the lack of surgical gloves, which cost about 3.5p a pair.

Hush now, little one ...

Layla Anwar An Arab Woman Blues - Reflections in a sealed bottle...

...Since you love economics and you count so well when it comes to figures, dollars and dimes, let us do together a simple calculation. -In the 13 years of sanctions from 1991 to 2003, a conservative estimate places the number of dead Iraqi babies to 500'000 .(and the price was well worth it according to M.Albright, your democrat.) -Since 2003 , another conservative estimate is 260'000 dead Iraqi kids due to lack of medical care and a health system in total chaos. -Amongst the official figure of the Lancet report of 650'000 Iraqis dead, let's assume that at least 10% of that number were children killed by violentacts. So that makes around 65'000. (knowing that Iraq has a big youth population). -In the latest census by the UN, which was not taken into account when the Lancet report came out, 34'450 (plus) were killed due to violence. Assuming again a mere 10 % were children, that brings my calculation to3'400.(...) So a quick summing up will give us a total of : 829'300 Iraqi children Dead. (...) As for the very progressive left and the rest of the apparatchik, well what can I say? They are already dressed in black chadors, beating on their chests, thumping on their heads, wailing in advance, for a improbable farfetched attack on some other country... They have turned their attention from the scene of the crime. Too much for you darlings? A mirror of your impotence or of your sellout? 800'000plus, Iraqi Children dead. I congratulate you. Let your new patron give you 800'000plus, medals as proof of your dedication for peace on earth...

Meanwhile, my Iraqi little ones , die softly, make no noise, we don't want to disturb the slumbering consciences...Hush now, slip quietly, ever so quietly...into Death.

Postscript : I just read that a petition has been online for that crippled Iraqi dog mentioned in my previous article (see also comment section). A dog is more "neutral."See what I mean now ?!

Soldiers taunt crippled dog in Iraq - * May be disturbing to some*

continua / continued

U.S. "Cure" for Health Sector Worse than the Disease?

Pratap Chatterjee, IPS

While some critics of the stumbling rehabilitation of Iraq's health care system focused on the failure to deliver basic infrastructure and supplies, others questioned the whole U.S. approach. Unlike other poorer countries, which focused on mass health care using primary care practitioners, in the 1970s, Iraq had developed a Westernised system of sophisticated hospitals with advanced medical procedures, provided by specialist physicians and financed by oil revenues. A July 2003 report by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation noted that prior to 1990, 97 percent of the urban dwellers and 71 percent of the rural population had access to free primary health care; just 2 percent of hospital beds were privately managed...

continua / continued

"I've seen some of the planning ... You're not talking about a surgical strike,"

Contingency plan 'goes beyond limited strikes,' may mean full-on war.

NY Times: Bush's Iran strategy angers key senator

'I don't think he understands the world,' says Rockefeller
RAW STORYPublished: Friday January 19, 2007

The White House's approach to Iran angers a newly empowered Senate Democrat, The New York Times will report on the front page of its Saturday edition.

New Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) "sharply criticized the Bush administration's increasingly combative stance toward Iran," writes Mark Mazzetti for the Times, "saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003."

Rockefeller said the White House "was building a case against Tehran even as U.S. intelligence agencies still know little about either Iran's internal dynamics or its intentions in the Middle East."

Mazzetti quotes the senator as saying, "To be quite honest, I'm a little concerned that it's Iraq again. ... This whole concept of moving against Iran is bizarre."
Excerpts from the Times article follow...
Rockefeller said he believed President Bush was getting poor advice from advisers who argue that an uncompromising stance toward the regime in Tehran will serve U.S. interests. "I don't think that policymakers in this administration particularly understand Iran," he said.

The comments of Rockefeller reflect the mounting concerns being voiced by other influential Democrats, including the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, about the Bush administration's approach to Iran. The Democrats have warned that the administration is moving toward a confrontation with Iran when the United States has neither the military resources nor the support among U.S. allies and members of Congress to carry out such a move.

As one of only a handful of lawmakers with access to the most classified intelligence about the threat from Tehran, Rockefeller's views carry particular weight. He has also historically been more tempered in his criticism of the White House on national security issues than some of his Democratic colleagues.

Rockefeller was biting in his criticism of how Bush has dealt with the threat of Islamic radicalism since the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he believed that the campaign against international terrorism was "still a mystery" to the president. "I don't think he understands the world," Rockefeller said. "I don't think he's particularly curious about the world. I don't think he reads like he says he does."

Rangel: Bush State Of The Union Tax Plan “Is Inconsistent With What The Majority Is Seeking In The House And The Senate”...

The New York Times SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and ROBERT PEAR January 20, 2007 12:29 PM

President Bush intends to use the State of the Union address on Tuesday to tackle the rising cost of health care with a one-two punch: tax breaks to help low-income people buy health insurance and tax increases for workers whose health plans cost more than the national average.

"I will propose a tax reform designed to help make basic private insurance more affordable, whether you get it through your job or on your own," Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address on Saturday. He did not offer specifics, but an administration official provided details of the plan late Friday afternoon.


Ex-FEMA Head Brown Claims White House Party Politics Decided Federal Involvement In Katrina Relief...

Associated Press NAHAL TOOSI January 20, 2007 10:16 AM

Political storm clouds gathered again over the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina as formerFederal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown said party politics influenced decisions on whether to take federal control of Louisiana and other areas affected by the hurricane.

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said the partisanship Brown described was "disgusting," while a White House spokeswoman said Brown was making "false statements."


13 Killed In US Helicopter Crash Outside Baghdad...

Associated Press January 20, 2007 11:19 AM

A U.S. helicopter went down northeast of Baghdad, killing all 13 people aboard, the military said Saturday.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Mehlman Warns GOP On Way Out: 2006 Losses Were Not A Fluke...

The New York Times John M. Broder January 19, 2007 10:06 PM

Ken Mehlman, the departing chairman of the Republican National Committee, warned on Thursday that his party would suffer even more devastating losses in 2008 than it did in 2006 if it did not reach out to minorities and address voter concerns about ethics.

In his farewell speech after two years as chairman, Mr. Mehlman said that the 2006 elections, in which Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress, was not a fluke that could be attributed to the calendar, a few scandal-tainted candidates and the tough going in Iraq.


Sen. Intelligence Comm. Chair Rockefeller: Bush Admin Doesn’t Understand Iran…"I’m A Little Concerned That It’s Iraq Again”…

The New York Times MARK MAZZETTI January 19, 2007 09:55 PM

The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration's increasingly combative stance toward Iran, saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who took control of the committee this month, said that the administration was building a case against Tehran even as American intelligence agencies still know little about either Iran's internal dynamics or its intentions in the Middle East.


Fmr. VP Mondale: “Cheney Has Stepped Way Over The Line”…

Associated Press DANIEL YEE January 19, 2007 05:55 PM

Former vice president Walter Mondale on Friday criticized Vice President Dick Cheney's role in the White House, and said former president Jimmy Carter never would have tolerated Cheney's actions.

"I think that Cheney has stepped way over the line," Mondale said.


60-Minutes Taped Soldier Making Appeal for Redress, Now Refuses to Air the Story

"60 Minutes" interviewed Ronn Cantu and other active-duty soldiers challenging this war with an appeal for redress. Please call CBS and ask them to air the 60 Minutes Appeal for Redress segment. They have it ready to go but it's been pushed back twice now. Call 202-457-4321 opt. 3 opt. 4 opt. 1 or 2 or 3 (there are three different producers and you can leave a message for each of them). The main number for CBS News in New York is 212-975-4321. You can Email 60 Minutes here:


Senator Leahy vs. Torturer General Alberto Gonzales

For Immediate Release
Veterans For Peace: http://www.veteransforpeace.org/
Kickoff Operation “Support & Defend”

'Senator Leahy blasted Alberto Gonzalez at todays briefing over the treatment of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was detained and sent to Syria, where he was regularly tortured for almost a year before being released uncharged. Leahy: "We knew damn well if he went to Canada he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held and he'd be investigated. We also knew damn well if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured."'...


Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus

Submitted by davidswanson on Fri, 2007-01-19 20:02. Activism
By Robert Parry, Consortium News

In one of the most chilling public statements ever made by a U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales questioned whether the U.S. Constitution grants habeas corpus rights of a fair trial to every American.

Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.


Take Action: The War Tapes

Dear Friend,

Our War Tapes campaign is off to a great start. We sent out the first email last week, and we had an excellent response. Supporters are hosting parties across the country, and it's not too late to sign up.

You can search for a party in your area - just enter your zip code at the bottom of this page. If there are no parties planned nearby, you can also sign up to host your own. Hosting is easy - just be sure to get your hands on a copy of The War Tapes in time for the 27th.

At the House Parties, IAVA supporters are going to:

Watch The War Tapes, the first documentary filmed by the soldiers on the ground in Iraq. You can watch the trailer here.

Take part in a free conference call with IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff and Iraq Veteran Steve Pink, star of The War Tapes.

Put their signatures on a petition to Jim Nicholson, Secretary of the VA, calling for increased mental health staffing at VA hospitals.

From the New York Times:

On an October night in 2003, mortar shells fell on a base camp near Baquba, Iraq, where Specialist Abbie Pickett, then 21, was serving as a combat lifesaver, caring for the wounded.
At first, she did not notice that one of the medics who was working with her was bleeding heavily and near death; then, frantically, she treated his wounds and moved him to a medical station, not knowing if he would survive. He did survive, Specialist Pickett later learned. But the horror of that night is still vivid, and the memory stalks her even now, more than a year after she returned home.

"I would say that on a weekly basis I wish I would have died during that attack," said Specialist Pickett, who served with the Wisconsin Army National Guard. "You never want family to hear that."

This is Abbie's story, but she isn't alone. A new study suggests that US soldiers who have been deployed to Iraq are suffering from major depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Vet Centers, which were established after the Vietnam War, are the primary source of care for veterans facing these issues. Join us in calling for better funding for these vital centers.

I hope you can join us on the 27th. To those of you who have already signed up to host or attend - thank you. Your efforts to bring the people who care about these issues together make a huge difference for veterans like me. Sincerely,

Rob TimminsIAVA Field DirectorIraq Veteran

Hicks's state judged by US flack

Hicks's state judged by US flack
THE assessment that David Hicks's mental state was fine relied on a three-minute observation by an official who did not even exchange words with him.

U.S. | Anti-War

View Other Events For The Week Of 1/23/2007

START DATE: Tuesday January 23
TIME: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Location Details:

Everyone can take the train instead of flying to DC
Event Type: Protest

The Number One reason to choose train travel over air is the 50% reduction in energy consumption, pollution and funding of petroleum warlords.

A person flying round-trip from California to Washington DC will consume 150 gallons of petroleum. A person traveling by train will consume half as much at 75 gallons for the same round trip, with a corresponding reduction of pollution and funding of wars for oil.

Step 1 - Get your train tickets to Washington DC for the last week in January, 2007: http://www.AMTRAK.com

Step 2 - Get or make something you can wear onboard that says PEACE TRAIN to DC on it.

Step 3 - Register at EVITE to hook up with other travelers on the many PEACE TRAINS to DC


Added To The Calendar On Friday Jan 12th, 2007 8:06 AM

The battle to save Iraq's children

Doctors issue plea to Tony Blair to end the scandal of medical shortages in the war zone
The desperate plight of children who are dying in Iraqi hospitals for the lack of simple equipment that in some cases can cost as little as 95p is revealed today in a letter signed by nearly 100 eminent doctors. They are backed by a group of international lawyers, who say the conditions in hospitals revealed in their letter amount to a breach of the Geneva conventions that require Britain and the US as occupying forces to protect human life. In a direct appeal to Tony Blair, the doctors describe desperate shortages causing "hundreds" of children to die in hospitals. The signatories include Iraqi doctors, British doctors who have worked in Iraqi hospitals, and leading UK consultants and GPs...

U.S.: Whoops! Official report of Canada spy coins not true

Updated: 4:16 p.m. ET Jan. 18, 2007

WASHINGTON - Reversing itself, the Defense Department says an espionage report it produced that warned about Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters was not true.

The Defense Security Service said it never could substantiate its own published claims about the mysterious coins. It has begun an internal review to determine how the false information was included in a 29-page report about espionage concerns.

The service had contended since late June that such coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

"The allegations, however, were found later to be unsubstantiated following an investigation into the matter," the agency said in a statement published on its Web site last week.

Intelligence and technology experts were flabbergasted over the initial report, which suggested such transmitters could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the coins. Read More

Jury Rejection Process...

We, the Libby Jury

Q: Do you have feelings or opinions about the Bush Administration or any of its policies or actions, whether positive or negative, that might affect your ability to give a former member of the Bush Administration a fair trial?

A: You mean, feelings like, it really pisses me off that they broke the law by wiretapping without FISA warrants, and then attacked the reporters who told us about it, and said Democrats were wussy traitors for opposing it, and now Gonzales is flip-flopping because Senate Democrats finally have subpoena power - you mean feelings like that?

Q: Your honor?

Judge: The juror is excused.

Q: Would the fact that former or present members of the Bush Administration will be witnesses in the case impair your ability to be a totally fair and impartial juror?

A: Well, when I found out this week that the Justice Department is firing federal prosecutors who're going after corrupt Republicans in Congress, and that they're putting in new prosecutors, like Karl Rove's oppo research attack dog, who don't have to be confirmed, thanks to a secret loophole in the Patriot Act, I didn't think that was totally fair and impartial.

J: The juror is excused. <more>

Picking Scooter's Peers

Jury selection in the Scooter Libby trial was supposed to end today, Thursday, but the process is taking forever. Today jurors were being tossed out like bad fruit. Nine of the first 10 to come forward were thrown out. By the end of the day, the failure rate was more than 60 percent. One castaway was a felon. One woman said she would distrust any politician. And several said they just didn't like the Bush administration at all. "I just can't trust anything anyone from the Bush administration says," said one.

The judge asked another: "Do you have any idea about Mr. Libby's guilt or innocence?" "Guilty," said the prospective juror, as if she were already the foreman and the trial was over."

You can see the clerk down the hall," said the judge. <more>

posted by Patrick J. Fitzgerald

My Name Is Patrick J. Fitzgerald...

but you can call me Fitz. ;)

Leak Lawyer Wants Bush Critics on Jury

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald pushed back Thursday against defense attorneys who have been weeding Bush administration critics out of the jury pool in the perjury trial of former White House aide "Scooter" Libby.

"The jury will not be asked to render a verdict on the war or what they think of the war," Fitzgerald said Thursday at the onset of the third day of jury selection.

Jury selection has taken longer than expected, in part because attorneys for I. Lewis Libby have grilled potential jurors on their political views. Though several Bush administration critics made it into the potential jury pool, attorneys have successfully disqualified the harshest Bush opponents who said they could not be impartial. <more>

These days who's not a critic?

Back to work!

posted by Patrick J. Fitzgerald

Carpe Diem...!

Merry Fitzmas - Inside Politics/Washington Times

"Back in 2005, there was a holiday called Fitzmas. It came in November of that year, and revelers hoped it would return again and again," Byron York writes in the Hill newspaper."

But they were destined to be disappointed. Months passed, a year passed, and there was no sign of Fitzmas's return. Until now." <more>

Libby lawyers prevaricate during jury selection

Very Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald successfully objected to the way defense lawyers for former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were questioning prospective jurors. The lawyers had been asking for their opinions of top Bush administration officials and whether the officials lied to push the nation into the Iraq war. <more>

posted by Patrick J. Fitzgerald

Brit Humus...

garbanzo journalism.

Hume declared Libby "not responsible" for Plame leakiness

Summary: Brit Hume asserted as fact that Lewis "Scooter" Libby was "not responsible" for leaking the information that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer. However, Libby's indictment alleges that he did discuss Plame's CIA employment with reporter Judith Miller before it was made public, and Miller herself reported this.

On the January 17 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host and Washington bureau managing editor Brit Hume asserted as fact that Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was "not responsible" for leaking the information that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer. However, Libby's indictment does allege that he discussed Plame's CIA employment with then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller before Plame's employment was publicly revealed by Robert Novak in a July 14, 2003, column. And, after sitting in jail for 85 days, Miller herself identified Libby as her source for the information on Plame. <more -video>

posted by Patrick J. Fitzgerald

Iraq Promises to Free Captured Iranians

Iran envoy: Iraq to free captured Iranians

Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iran's ambassador said Thursday that Iraq's foreign minister promised him that Iranians captured by U.S. troops in north of the country last week will be freed "within days," adding that their detention was an insult to the Iraqi government and people.

It was the first public comment by an Iranian diplomat in Baghdad about last week's U.S. raid on a liaison office in the northern city of Irbil and the capture of six Iranians.

One of the six was released and U.S. officials said the five still in custody were linked to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents and militias in Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was not available for comment, his office said.

Tehran denied the five detained Iranians had been involved in financing and arming insurgents in Iraq.

Iraqi Christians Lose All Hope With Violence, Anarchy

Welcome to Georgies Illegal War and Occupation
Difficulties and persecution is nothing new to the minority Christians living in Iraq. However, local Christians are now saying that the anarchistic situation in their country has destroyed all optimism for a better future.

"Almost no one sees a bright future for Iraq," said Stefan De Groot, co-worker of the international organization Open Doors, according to a report on Tuesday.

De Groot, who visits Iraq several times a year, says that every time he visits, a local believer tells him that the situation is worse than the last time he visited.

"Another Christian told me he had to buy new clothes for his wife because during a shooting on the streets, her wardrobe was riddled with bullets," recalled De Groot. "A third man explained in detail what happened when he brought his son to school and a car bomb went off. The little boy ran inside the school and saw a human heart hanging against the window."

CSPAN Poll: Grade The Democrats On Their 100-Hour Agenda...

CSPAN's Poll Of The Day: What grade would you give House Democrats on their "100-hour" agenda?


US News & World Report/Washington Whispers Paul Bedard January 19, 2007 02:09 PM

You can soon add the title of author to first daughter Jenna Bush's résumé.

Whispers learns that the 25-year-old blond twin of Barbara Bush is shopping a book proposal to major publishers in New York City. We're told that the project is vague and that she's initially gauging publishers' interest. The White House wouldn't comment, but others suggested that the former grade school teacher is interested in writing a children's book or tale about her experiences.


Scottish Schools To Show Gore Film Inconvenient Truth As Part Of Curriculum...

The Guardian Tim Clark January 18, 2007 11:59 PM

The film about climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, made by the former US vice-president Al Gore, is to be shown in secondary schools in Scotland as part of a new learning initiative unveiled today.

The Scottish executive, through Learning Teaching Scotland and Scottish Power, is to develop and deliver a package of education materials, based around screenings of the documentary, to help pupils in Scotland understand climate change.


House overhauls page program board

AP LARRY MARGASAK January 19, 2007 11:47 AM

The House voted Friday to overhaul the board that supervises its congressional page program, seeking to close the book on a sordid e-mail and sex scandal that sullied its reputation and became a Campaign 2006 issue.

Specifically, lawmakers voted 416-0 to provide that both parties have equal say in overseeing the program, as old as the institution itself.


Ex-Ohio Rep. Ney Sentenced to 30 Months

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer
18 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Former Republican Rep. Bob Ney was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Friday for trading political favors for golf trips, campaign donations and other gifts in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Ney, the first congressman convicted in the federal bribery investigation involving lawmakers, their aides and Bush administration officials, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy and making false statements.

The six-term lawmaker from Ohio, who once chaired the powerful House Administration Committee, accepted golf and gambling trips, tickets to sporting events, free meals and campaign donations arranged by Abramoff and his associates.

"You violated a host of laws that you as a congressman are sworn to enforce and uphold," said U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, who recommended that Ney serve his time at a federal prison in Morgantown, W.Va., about an hour-and-a-half drive from his home in Wheeling, W.Va.

Robert) Redford demands apology over Iraq

Hollywood legend Robert Redford has called on US leaders to apologise for the war in Iraq.

The actor was speaking at the start of the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where the opening movie recalled protests over the Vietnam war in 1968.

Redford said he, like many others, had shown a "spirit of unity" with the US government after 11 September 2001.

"We put all our concerns on hold to let the leaders lead," he said. "I think we're owed a big, massive apology."


NBC Reacts To Bill O'Reilly's Bias Criticism ("sad and pathetic")

PASADENA, Calif. - Bill O'Reilly's criticism of NBC News as a liberal-leaning network is "really kind of sad and pathetic," the network's news president said.

Steve Capus attributed the Fox News Channel host's criticism of the network to O'Reilly's ongoing feud with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

O'Reilly has said NBC News, as an organization, has gone sharply to the left. He cited the network's decision last fall to begin referring to the sectarian violence in Iraq as a civil war, a phrase the Bush administration has resisted.

"I think it's really kind of sad and pathetic, some of the things that he's been lobbing at us these days," Capus told reporters Wednesday. "I don't quite understand it. I assume it's because Keith Olbermann has had such tremendous growth and there's real momentum behind Keith's broadcast."


John Bolton calls Iraq situation a Civil War

Just a few days ago John Bolton also said Iraq is in a civil war, is he a biased liberal too?

O'Reilly claims NBC has moved to the left because they say Iraq is in a civil war, yet many Republicans are saying the same thing, funny how O'Reilly never reports that. Not to mention every other news outlet in the world is calling it a civil war, except for FOX and CNN.


Bolton: Well look, the fundamental point is whether the civil war that exists now is going to continue or whether the Iraqis are going to decide to live together in one country.


Pelosi Creates Global Warming Committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to create a special committee Thursday in an effort to jump-start long-delayed government efforts to deal with global warming and produce a bill by Independence Day.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said the committee would hold hearings and recommend legislation on how to reduce greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide generated by fossil fuels, that most scientists blame for a gradual warming of the earth's climate.

"I promise to do everything in my power to achieve energy independence ... and to stop global warming," Pelosi said.

Pelosi set a goal of the Fourth of July for finishing a global warming bill that would "truly declare our energy independence."

The committee will be led by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who shares Pelosi's goals, said a Democratic leadership aide, speaking on condition of anonymity because Pelosi had yet to announce her choice.


Venezuela's Chavez granted power to rule by decree

Venezuelan legislators have voted unanimously to grant leftist President Hugo Chavez the power to rule by decree for 18 months.

The move comes a week after he began a second six-year term, vowing to seek to become president for life.

Legislative president Cilia Flores says the Bill authorises Mr Chavez to "rule by decree ... with the force of law".

"We welcome this enabling law, with the support of the National Assembly, which backs our leader," she said.


U.S. 'knew damn well' Arar would be tortured: senator

After sitting through withering criticism in a Senate hearing, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has promised more information on the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian who ended up in a cell in Syria after U.S. officials grabbed him on a stopover in New York.

"We also knew damn well if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country — a country that has always been a beacon of human rights — to send somebody to another country to be tortured.

Leahy noted that U.S. officials claimed to have had assurances that people sent to Syria would not be tortured.

"Assurances," he snorted, "from a country that we also say now that we can't talk to them because we can't take their word for anything."


Feinstein claims White House using Patriot Act to oust prosecutors

Feinstein claims White House using Patriot Act to oust prosecutors

WASHINGTON Senator Dianne Feinstein is claiming that the White House has taken advantage of the Patriot Act to oust the top prosecutor in coastal Northern California and other federal prosecutors.

The California Democrat complained on the Senate floor that the Bush administration has used a provision of the Patriot Act to remove U-S Attorney Kevin Ryan and other prosecutors and replace them with White House allies.

Feinstein made her assertion at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing while questioning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales denied Feinstein's claim.

Ryan announced earlier this week that he was resigning as the chief federal prosecutor for the Northern District of California.


For God's Sake, Save Darfur

Jim Wallis

After months and months of talk, it is increasingly clear that there are no real strategies for peace among any of the major players.


Top Aide Of Radical Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr Arrested By Iraqi, US Forces...

AP KIM GAMEL January 19, 2007 09:08 AM

U.S. and Iraqi forces arrested one of Muqtada al-Sadr's top aides Friday in Baghdad, his office said, as pressure increased on the radical Shiite cleric's militia ahead of a planned security crackdown in the capital.

Al-Sadr said in an interview with an Italian newspaper published Friday that the crackdown had already begun and that 400 of his men had been arrested. La Repubblica also quoted him as saying he fears for his life and stays constantly on the move.


Las Vegas Review: Host Of This Year’s WH Correspondents Dinner Claiming He Was Told To Go Easy On Bush…

Editor and Publisher Joe Strupp January 19, 2007 09:41 AM

Early this week word emerged that impersonator Rich Little would be the star performer at this year's White House Correppondents' Dinner in Washington in April. Organizers admitted they wanted a somewhat more "safe" choice after last year's subversive routine by Stephen Colbert, which took direct satiric aim at the Iraq war and President Bush (who sat nearby).
But how safe? The Las Vegas Review-Journal now reports that Little claimed he did not plan to even mention Iraq or to attack the president, implying that these were the wishes of the inviters. But Steve Scully, president of the White House Correspondents Association, told E&P Friday that the organization never asked Little to avoid subjects like Iraq or back off criticism of President Bush.



TPM Cafe Eric Kleefeld January 19, 2007 10:36 AM

Read the Fox News Poll here.Commentary from TPM Cafe's Election Central:
This has to be a milestone: A new poll has found that the American people dislike President Bush more than they dislike ... Dick Cheney. The poll -- by Fox News, of all people -- finds that President Bush's unfavorable rating is 58%, while Cheney's unpopularity rating is five points lower at 53%. Bush can, however, still take some small solace from the fact that his approval rating is one point higher than Cheney's; the President's is 38%, while the VP's is 37%.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of other numbers that are striking for a Fox poll: Only 39% of Americans view the GOP favorably, and 49% view them unfavorably. Meanwhile, a majority of respondents -- 51% -- have a favorable view of Dems, compared to only 35% who have an unfavorable view of what Fox likes to call the "Democrat Party."


Thursday, January 18, 2007

As Raids on Afghan Border Increase, U.S. Military Seeks More Troops

David S. Cloud, The New York Times

Attacks by militants crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan have tripled since September along portions of the border, a senior American intelligence official said Tuesday, prompting calls for a greater effort by Pakistan to curb the influx and a larger deployment of American and other NATO soldiers here. Of particular concern, officials said, has been a rise in attacks by Taliban and other militants from remote and largely ungoverned tribal areas in Pakistan in eastern Afghanistan, where most of the American combat forces in the country are based...

continua / continued

Iraq Holocaust

0.9 Million Violent + Non-violent Iraq Excess Deaths
"UN reports that 34,452 civilians have been killed in violence in Iraq over the past year and about 36,885 people have been wounded. Gianni Magazzeni, head of the UN human rights office in Iraq, accused the government in a press conference on Tuesday of failing to provide security and blamed some of the violence on militias colluding with or working inside the police and army. The figures are much higher than any statistics issued by Iraqi government officials. The government itself branded the UN's last two-monthly report in November as grossly exaggerated and banned Iraqi officials from releasing data … the UN figures were compiled from information obtained through the Iraqi health ministry, the Baghdad mortuary, operations centres at hospitals across the country and other agencies." How do these UN estimates of post-invasion Iraq excess deaths compare with other authoritative estimates? Excess deaths (excess mortality, avoidable mortality, avoidable deaths, deaths that should not have happened) can be violent (bombs, bullets, beating) or non-violent (through disease and deprivation). Overall, the excess deaths in a country is the difference between the actual deaths in a country and the deaths expected for a decently-run, peaceful country with the same demographics...
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