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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Libby Trial Exposing Cheney’s Key Role Against War Criticism

Washington Post February 3, 2007 09:18 PM

Her testimony brought Cheney closer than ever to the heart of the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's efforts to discredit Wilson, who had accused the White House of twisting intelligence he had gathered as it sought to justify the invasion of Iraq.

White House officials testified that Cheney was irritated because Wilson alleged that the vice president had sent him on the fact-finding trip to Niger and was rejecting the results of that mission. Time after time at the height of the controversy, they said, Cheney directed the administration's response to Wilson's criticism and Libby carried it out.


UK "Inadvertantly" Sent 15 Underage Troops To Iraq War Zones

Associated Press February 3, 2007 09:09 PM

Defense Minister Adam Ingram, who gave the figure in a written statement to lawmakers, said the "vast majority" of the young troops had been within a week of turning 18 when they were deployed, or had been removed from the war zone less than a week after arriving.

"Fewer than five" were women, and none was under 17, he said.


NYT: With Rumsfeld gone, Iraq war critics focus on Rice

RAW STORYPublished: Saturday February 3, 2007

Now that Donald Rumsfeld is no longer Defense Secretary, Iraq war critics have set their sights on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, The New York Times will report in Sunday's paper.

"For six years, first as national security adviser and then as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice worked under the cover of an effective shield: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who was the administration's lightning rod for criticism over its handling of Iraq," Helene Cooper writes for the Times. "But in recent weeks, with Rumsfeld gone, Rice has faced increased, and somewhat unfamiliar, criticism."

The Times reports that Rice "confronted a wall of opposition from Republicans as well as Democrats during a Jan. 11 Senate hearing and "several of her predecessors were pointed in their disapproval of her job performance."

Excerpts from article:

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker took issue with Rice's refusal to engage Syria diplomatically. Back in his day, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "We practiced diplomacy full time, and it paid off."

Last week, Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., released three letters demanding that Rice make public the administration's requirements for actions to be taken by Baghdad to earn continued U.S. support. Along with the letters, and Rice's reply -- which indicated that Baghdad had already missed most of the benchmarks -- the senators also released an irate statement.

"Secretary Rice finally provided a response" to the senators' repeated requests, the statement said. "What Secretary Rice's letter makes abundantly clear is that the administration does not intend to attach meaningful consequences for the Iraqis continuing to fail to meet their commitments."

Despite her role at the heart of the Iraq war from its beginnings, Rice had, thus far, avoided the public pillorying that Rumsfeld received. She has had the highest approval ratings of anyone in the administration, and she continues to earn approval ratings that are higher than her boss'.
But as the Bush administration's overall foreign policy has come under fire, and other senior officials have left the administration, Rice is starting to take the heat previously reserved for Rumsfeld. Developing...


Frank Rich examines 'why Dick Cheney cracked up'

RAW STORYPublished: Saturday February 3, 2007

In his latest Sunday New York Times column, Frank Rich examines "why Dick Cheney cracked up."

"In the days since Dick Cheney lost it on CNN, our nation's armchair shrinks have had a blast," Rich writes. "The vice president who boasted of 'enormous successes' in Iraq and barked 'hogwash' at the congenitally mild Wolf Blitzer has been roundly judged delusional, pathologically dishonest or just plain nuts."

Rich add, "But what else is new? We identified those diagnoses long ago. The more intriguing question is what ignited this particularly violent public flare-up."

Rich believes it has to do with the fact that the vice president may have to testify under oath at the CIA leak trial, where his former aide I. Lewis Libby stands accused of obstructing justice and lying.

"Cheney was the hands-on manager of the 24/7 campaign of press manipulation and high-stakes character assassination, with Libby as his chief hatchet man," Rich argues. "Though Libby's lawyers are now arguing that their client was a sacrificial lamb thrown to the feds to
shield [President Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff Karl] Rove, Libby actually was -- and still is -- a stooge for the vice president."

Excerpts from column:

The answer can be found in the timing of the CNN interview, which was conducted the day after the start of the perjury trial of Cheney's former top aide, Scooter Libby. The vice president's on-camera crackup reflected his understandable fear that a White House cover-up was crumbling. He knew that sworn testimony in a Washington courtroom would reveal still more sordid details about how the administration lied to take the country into war in Iraq. He knew that those revelations could cripple the White House's current campaign to escalate that war and foment apocalyptic scenarios about Iran. Scariest of all, he knew that he might yet have to testify under oath himself.

Cheney, in other words, understands the danger this trial poses to the White House even as some of Washington remains oblivious. From the start, the capital has belittled the Joseph and Valerie Wilson affair as "a tempest in a teapot," as David Broder of The Washington Post reiterated just five months ago....

The explanation for the hysteria has long been obvious. The White House was terrified about being found guilty of a far greater crime than outing a CIA officer: lying to the nation to hype its case for war. When Joseph Wilson, an obscure retired diplomat, touched that raw nerve, all the president's men panicked because they knew Wilson's modest finding in Africa was the tip of a far larger iceberg. They knew that there was still far more damning evidence of the administration's WMD lies lurking in the bowels of the bureaucracy.


Dowd: Good work, W, after four years of war, we get to choose between chaos, another Saddam or anarchy

RAW STORYPublished: Saturday February 3, 2007

"Good work, W," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd writes, "after four years of war, we get to choose between chaos, another Saddam or anarchy."

Discussing the "bleak tone" of the long-delayed 2004 National Intelligence Estimate with recent remarks by Bush Administration and Pentagon officials, Dowd writes "it's official...We're in a cycle of violence so complex and awful that withdrawing American troops will make it worse and keeping American troops there may also make it worse."

"We can try or we can leave, but either way, it seems, we're cooked," Dowd concludes.

Excerpts from Dowd's column:
So after four years of war, we get to choose between chaos, another Saddam or anarchy. Good work, W. And at such bargain prices; the administration is breaking the record for the military budget, asking for $100 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan this year and $145 billion more for 2008.

The White House thinks it can somehow spin the Iraq apocalypse so it sounds as if multiple wars are better than one civil war.

At a Pentagon briefing on Friday, Bob Gates rebuffed the idea of a civil war, saying: "I think that the words 'civil war' oversimplify a very complex situation in Iraq. I believe that there are essentially four wars going on in Iraq. One is Shia on Shia, principally in the south. The second is sectarian conflict, principally in Baghdad but not solely. Third is the insurgency, and fourth is al-Qaida."

That's a relief, all right -- we're in four wars in Iraq and threatening another with Iran.


Heavy Weather: Chalmers Johnson Charts the Winds of Blowback

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Wise man Chalmers Johnson writes; go read. Why Nemesis is at Our Door (TomDispatch).

Here's one quick excerpt, but do read the whole thing:

I had set out to explain how exactly our government came to be so hated around the world. As a CIA term of tradecraft, "blowback" does not just mean retaliation for things our government has done to, and in, foreign countries. It refers specifically to retaliation for illegal operations carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public. These operations have included the clandestine overthrow of governments various administrations did not like, the training of foreign militaries in the techniques of state terrorism, the rigging of elections in foreign countries, interference with the economic viability of countries that seemed to threaten the interests of influential American corporations, as well as the torture or assassination of selected foreigners. The fact that these actions were, at least originally, secret meant that when retaliation does come -- as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001 -- the American public is incapable of putting the events in context. Not surprisingly, then, Americans tend to support speedy acts of revenge intended to punish the actual, or alleged, perpetrators. These moments of lashing out, of course, only prepare the ground for yet another cycle of blowback.

Chris Floyd

Perverts on Parade: Exposing the Bush League's Abuses of History

Monday, 29 January 2007

Glenn Greenwald -- one of the finest political writers in the country -- is raising his already daunting game to new heights these days. His latest, "Our Little Churchills," scorches the carping little cowards and bootlickers of the war fringe with the white heat of historical truth.

No point in excerpting the piece; go read it in its entirety, and see what those misused icons of rightwing machismo, Churchill and Lincoln, really had to say about the exercise of democracy -- including vigorous opposition and open criticism of leaders -- during wartime.

If you miss seeing Michael Jordan in action, then check out the political equivalent: Glenn Greenwald in top form.

Chris Floyd

Four charged with spying for Israel

EGYPT has charged an Egyptian who holds Canadian citizenship and three Israelis with spying for Israel, a state prosecutor said overnight.


Blair's Watergate?

Tim Luckhurst writes: "Last Friday, for the second time in three months, [Tony] Blair was interrogated at 10 Downing Street by police investigating a scandal that is fast growing to resemble Watergate. The controversy began last March when healthcare entrepreneur Chai Patel was denied a seat in Britain's unelected upper house of Parliament, the House of Lords."


Truck blast death toll climbs

A HUGE truck bomb killed 135 people and wounded more than 300 in a market in a Shi'ite area of Baghdad overnight, in the capital's deadliest single attack.

Top McCain Aide: We Will Win "Knife Fight" Campaign

The New York Times February 3, 2007 04:35 PM

Senator John McCain, intent on succeeding where his freewheeling presidential campaign of 2000 failed, is assembling a team of political bruisers for 2008. And it includes advisers who once sought to skewer him and whose work he has criticized as stepping over the line in the past.

In 2000, Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, said the advertisements run against him by George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas, distorted his record. But he has hired three members of the team that made those commercials -- Mark McKinnon, Russell Schriefer and Stuart Stevens -- to work on his presidential campaign.


Glenn Beck: A Cause for Concern

James Zogby

I have carefully reviewed the transcripts of Beck's shows and his so-called, obsessive crusade against radical Islam left me both horrified and profoundly concerned.


Republicans Plan to Block Iraq Debate


WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 — Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said Friday that his party would unite to block Senate debate next week on a bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq unless the Democrats allowed votes on at least two Republican alternatives.

Mr. McConnell said even Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who is the chief author of the bipartisan proposal, and other Republicans backing his plan had agreed to prevent the resolution from reaching the floor Monday if Democrats did not agree to that demand.

“We’re in a position to insist on a procedure for considering these matters that we think is fair to us,” said Mr. McConnell, who has been negotiating the framework of the debate with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader. “We can’t dictate the outcome necessarily, but we’re insistent upon a process that we are comfortable with.”

Mr. Reid responded that the Republican leadership was essentially filibustering a debate of Iraq policy to avoid a judgment on Mr. Bush.

“This obstruction is an abdication of their responsibility to the American people on the most important issue facing our nation today,” Mr. Reid said in a statement.


Samir Ibraheem, Iraq “We were 21 students and today I’m the only one in class”


BAGHDAD, 29 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - "I’m 11 years old and an only son. I’m a pupil at Mansour Primary School in Baghdad. Lately, I have been feeling very lonely in my class. This week, I was the only student in class because all my classmates didn’t come to school for various reasons."Since last September, three of my classmates have been kidnapped and two have been killed. One was murdered with his family at home and the other was a victim of a bomb explosion a month ago."The others have either fled to Jordan and Syria with their families or their relatives have prohibited them from coming to school for fear that something might happen to them.

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Abu Ghraib Revisited

Ernesto Cienfuegos, La Voz de Aztlan

...While testifying before a Senate panel on May 7, 2004, the now discredited Donald Rumsfeld confirmed that certain videotapes and photographs of the horrific sexual tortures at Abu Ghraib have yet to be released. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse," Rumsfeld admitted. What do these not yet released videotapes and photographs show? The answer is now slowly but surely surfacing as people who know are beginning to talk. The truth about these videotapes and photographs in the Pentagon's custody is more horrific than anything made public so far. The videotapes and photographs that have not yet been made public depict, according to former Abu Ghraib prisoners, bestial US intelligence interrogators and military police personnel raping and sodomizing Iraqi children as young as 11 years old...

continua / continued

Iraqis Massacre Continues...

Gideon Polya

After 4 years of illegal, violent Occupation the post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq total ONE MILLION (UN Population Division and medical literature data). Taken together with 1.7 million excess deaths in the 1990-2003 Sanctions War (UN Population Division) and 3.7 million Iraqi refugees (UNHCR), this constitutes an Iraqi Genocide (as defined by the UN Genocide Convention) and an Iraqi Holocaust in comparison with the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million victims). The Iraqi under-5 infant deaths (1990-2007) now total 1.8 million, 90% having been avoidable and due to Western war crimes. Total Iraqi excess deaths (1990-2007) total 2.7 million. The post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Afghanistan now total 2.2 million (see MWC News: 5 ). Three quarters of the people of Occupied Iraq and Occupied Afghanistan are Women and Children – the Bush War on Terror is in horrible reality a cowardly War on Women and Children, a War on Asian Women and Children and a War on Muslim Women and Children...

continua / continued

Blackwater, Inc. And The Privatization Of The Bush War Machine

Jeremy Scahill, GNN

As President Bush took the podium to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday, there were five American families receiving news that has become all too common: Their loved ones had been killed in Iraq. But in this case, the slain were neither "civilians," as the news reports proclaimed, nor were they U.S. soldiers. They were highly trained mercenaries deployed to Iraq by a secretive private military company based in North Carolina – Blackwater USA. The company made headlines in early 2004 when four of its troops were ambushed and burned in the Sunni hotbed of Fallouja – two charred, lifeless bodies left to dangle for hours from a bridge. That incident marked a turning point in the war, sparked multiple U.S. sieges of Fallouja and helped fuel the Iraqi resistance that haunts the occupation to this day...

continua / continued



...Darrell Anderson, who received a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq, talked about a situation he was involved in when orders were issued to "shoot everyone" regardless of whether they were civilians, including children. He stated that they used, what he called, "excessive force." He said: "I realize it was my duty as a soldier to refuse this illegal war." According to Chanan Suarez-Diaz, who also received a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq, the psyched up emotions among the troops resulted in US soldiers taking "trophies" of brain matter from Iraqis they killed and putting such in their refrigerators on base...

There are now video and audio clips on the web site:http://www.wartribunal.org/testimony.htm, and more will be available.

Information about Lt. Ehren Watada's case, his February 5th CourtMartial and the mobilization leading up to it, is at http://www.thankyoult.org

continua / continued

A Symphony of Silent Voices

Where is Condi Rice, the midwife of the New Middle East? We just had Death Birth pangs here...

Layla Anwar
Saturday, February 03, 2007

Where to begin, by which story, by whose name ?

Maybe it is best to start with the apparently simplest, less innocuous one and work my way into a crescendo... like a musical piece that starts with one single note to end in a symphony.
My symphony however, is composed of a human solfeggio, that gets higher and higher as it unfolds...

The first note is the scream of a toothache.
Alia who lives in a "predominantly sunni"(oh that dreaded word) neighborhood has a toothache.
No dentist in sight. An abscess forms, a fever ensues, an intolerable pain...
Braving mortar shells, American and militia checkpoints, she finally makes it to a dental clinic or what appears to be the remnants of a clinic. No question of a filling. Fillings take time and time is a precious commodity. Every minute, every second counts...staying alive counts.
Besides, fillings are too expensive and Alia's husband has been without work for over a year now.
"We shall extract it " says the equally fearful doctor.
No anaesthesia, no sterile instruments , where can anyone find some antiseptic those days? the tooth is forcefully and quickly pulled out.
Alia is sent home with a mouth stuffed with tissues. The pain grows in intensity so do the screams. The mortar shells are raining heavily on Al Ameriya, no one will risk it this time, not even Alia. The fever rises, the mouth is swollen, blisters erupt inside out and all over, the infection spreads...
Alia can no longer speak now. Her jaw is locked in a tetanus fit.
No electricity, no water and no food left. She is immobilized by the cold, the darkness, an empty stomach and the pain. Alia just clenches her fists as tightly as her locked jaw and screams away into the night and into her days ...tetanized in the New Iraq.

Auntie Sameera is by nature a jovial woman despite being a widow at an early age and having to look after two disabled children alone. Auntie lives in a "mixed neighborhood" Karrada, daily exposed to explosions, mortar shells and gun fire.
I call Auntie Sameera, she says " I can't take it anymore...I don't even have a box of aspirin at home and provisions are running low, what are we going to eat ?"
Randa, the handicapped cousin, used to manage uttering complete sentences and even a good belly laugh. I asked to speak to Randa.
Randa just hurled shouts at me , she shouted and shouted like a wounded animal...Randa can no longer talk. She just shouts day and night and when calmed down, the only comprehensible word she can remember is "am shaking, please am shaking..." then she shouts some more...

Mayssaloon, my very close relative, a beautiful young woman whose name means gaiety, got married three years ago to a nice shi'a boy. They were happy until...
Mayssaloon gave birth 3 days ago at home in Al Azamiyah ( a predominantly sunni neighborhood - here we go again...)
When she told us the good news about her pregnancy, our faces dropped.
My first reaction was " How could you ?" but I bit my tongue and said nothing.
Then I realized how "nazi" it was of me to even think that way. She is newly wed and she wants a family. For her life has to go on and she had hopes ...until... until little Hassan was born.
Like many women in Iraq and in Baghdad in particular, any pregnancy has to end in a forced cesarian in a hospital (if you can call it a hospital that is - only God knows the rate of septicemia after surgeries today in Baghdad) or deal with it alone at home.
Al Azamiyah has been under very heavy shelling for the past four days, shelling from the iranian backed militias in their rabid campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Again , no water, no electricity, no food. Mayssaloon gave birth at home, she was hemorrhaging..no midwife available. Someone finally brought in a nurse. She said take her to the hospital now.
Again, her father braved the mortar deadly shells and took her to the nearest hospital.
Impossible, they said . No beds available, too many injured already...go home.
Mayssaloon and little Hassan made it home , but Hassan was too pale and hardly breathing and Mayssaloon was heavily bleeding. They also noticed a strange looking growth on his tiny body.
Grandpa took him to a doctor, who ran some blood tests, but by then it was too late...Hassan eclipsed like a frail small flame...Hassan is gone for ever...and Mayssaloon is still bleeding...
He uttered a tiny cry and went.
Mayssaloon sits in bed all day and all night in the cold and in the darkness , her silence is deafening and when she speaks , she just cries loudly, sighs and goes back to mute .
And so it goes ...for the silent voices in Iraq.

Postscript: As I was writing this, I remembered a letter received from a western friend of mine. She just go pregnant and was looking foward to feel her birth pangs , an affirmation of her feminity. She checked herself in into a very special clinic so she can give birth in a warm cosy water pool, the natural way,hence diminishing the traumas of childbirth to her and her child.
I can't but manage an ironic smile now.
Where is Condi Rice, the midwife of the New Middle East? We just had Death Birth pangs here...
Painting: Iraqi Artist Jaber Alwan.

continua / continued

Care for U.S. (Iraq and Afghanistan) veterans could cost $662 bln: study

BOSTON (Reuters) - Medical costs for U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could range from $350 billion to $662 billion over the next 40 years, as soldiers survive injuries that would have killed them in past conflicts, according to a Harvard University study.

Due to improvements in battlefield medicine and equipment, there are now about 16 "nonmortally wounded" soldiers for every death, far more than the 2.6 soldiers wounded per death in Vietnam, the study said, citing Department of Veterans' Affairs data.

The author of the study, Linda Bilmes, a lecturer at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, presented her findings at an academic conference in January. They were released publicly by the university this week.

The potential costs include medical care, disability payments and other benefits paid to injured veterans and assume that 44 percent of veterans eventually claim disability. That was the percentage of claims from the first Gulf War. Bilmes' calculations assume that by 2016, 2 million soldiers will have participated in these wars.


U.S. to support up to 10,000 extra Abbas troops

Georgies Democracy at its best.

By Adam Entous

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The United States will expand assistance to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to include about 8,500 members of his national security forces and possibly 1,000 Fatah fighters based in Jordan, U.S. documents show.

Providing non-lethal equipment and training to units of Abbas's National Security Forces, and possibly the Jordan-based Badr Brigade could increase Washington's role in the power struggle between Abbas's Fatah faction and the governing Hamas movement.

U.S. assistance has largely been limited until now to around 4,000 members of Abbas's presidential guard.
But documents obtained by Reuters on Saturday showed that the U.S. government's $86.4 million security assistance program could cover at least 13,500 troops loyal to Abbas.

The National Security Forces (NSF) is the largest security force under Abbas's control and is viewed by many Palestinians to be the equivalent of an army, though it is poorly trained and equipped compared to the smaller presidential guard.

Under the U.S. security program, $76.4 million will fund "projects to transform and strengthen elements of the Palestinian Authority's security structure, specifically the National Security Forces and Presidential Guard in an effort to improve public order and fight terror in the West Bank and Gaza," the documents said.


Bush At Dem Retreat For First Time In Six Years

Associated Press LAURIE KELLMAN February 3, 2007 10:14 AM

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the question-and-answer portion of Bush's appearance was closed to the press to be consistent with his appearances at gatherings of congressional Republicans. At those events, Bush spoke in public but the questioning was closed "to provide frank and open discussion," Stanzel said.

He said Bush last attended a House Democrat retreat in early 2001, right after he took office.
Read the entire article here.

At Least 102 Killed In Baghdad Suicide Bombing

Officials said at least 102 people were killed and more than 200 wounded.

By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer
14 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide truck bomber struck a market in a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 102 people among the crowd buying food for evening meals, the biggest strike in the capital in more than two months.

The attacker was driving a truck carrying food when he detonated his explosives, destroying stores and stalls that had been set up in the busy outdoor Sadriyah market, police said.

The late-afternoon explosion was the latest in a series of attacks against commercial targets in the capital as insurgents seek to maximize the number of people killed ahead of a planned U.S.-Iraqi security sweep.

Many of the injured were driven to the hospitals in pickup trucks and lifted onto stretchers.

"It was a strong blow. A car exploded. I fell on the ground," said one young man with a bandaged head, his face still streaked with blood.

Officials said at least 102 people were killed and more than 200 wounded.

It was the deadliest attack in the capital since Nov. 23, when suspected al-Qaida in Iraq fighters attacked the capital's Sadr City Shiite slum with a series of car bombs and mortars that struck in quick succession, killing at least 215 people.

A suicide bomber also crashed his car into the Bab al-Sharqi market, near Sadriyah, on Jan. 22, killing 88 people. The surge in violence comes as Sunni insurgents have stepped up attacks against Shiite targets in an apparent bid to maximize the number of people killed ahead of a planned U.S.-Iraqi security sweep.


Soldier’s story brings tears to House

A freshman state lawmaker brought the House of Representatives to tears this morning with an emotional speech about his daughter narrowly surviving a mortar attack at a U.S. military base in Baghdad.

State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro) cried as he stood in the well of the House speaking about his daughter, Staff Sgt. Latisha Glanton of the Ft. Polk, La.-based 488th Quartermaster Co.

One by one, lawmakers joined Glanton at the podium and placed their hands on his shoulders as he read an email his daughter wrote him yesterday. In her email, she describes her close call and the injuries her fellow soldiers sustained in the attack.

“One of my friends pushed me out of the way - praise God - and into safety, but two of my friends were hit,” Glanton said, reading from the email. “I cannot stop crying, Daddy. When I close my eyes I hear my friend McCall screaming he can’t feel his leg and seeing all the blood on his uniform. I hear Milton screaming ‘Don’t leave me!’”

Fellow lawmakers wept as Glanton spoke. When he finished, Republicans and Democrats alike lined up to embrace him.


Bush, Pelosi plan joint news conference Saturday

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia (Reuters)
President George W. Bush is scheduled to hold a news conference on Saturday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) after he addresses a meeting of House Democrats, congressional aides said on Friday.

Bush will speak to House of Representatives Democrats holding an annual weekend retreat at about 10 a.m. (1500 GMT). Afterward, at about 11:40 a.m. (1640 GMT), Bush, along with Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders, will answer reporters' questions.

Bush, a Republican, will be appearing at the Williamsburg retreat one month after Democrats took control of the House and Senate. With less than two years remaining in Bush's presidency, his policies, including his handling of the Iraq war, are being challenged by Democrats.

The unusual news conference comes as Republicans and Democrats have been stressing the need for more bipartisanship following years of tense relations between the two political parties.


Carter to Receive Honorary Oxford Degree

Former President Jimmy Carter will receive an honorary doctorate from Britain's prestigious Oxford University, officials said Friday.

Oxford said that Carter was nominated for the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law. Carter's ``presidency was marked by significant achievements in foreign policy,'' the university said in a statement, announcing the honor. ``He is known as a campaigner for democracy and human rights.''

Carter, 82, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 and was U.S. President from 1977 to 1981. He brokered the 1978 Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt.

The school also announced that legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim, 64, would receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Music. Barenboim is conductor of the Berlin Staatsoper opera house and a former director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


Friday, February 02, 2007

The Death Squads

Channel 4 Video

Night after night death squads rampage through Iraq's main cities. In Baghdad, up to a hundred bodies a day are dumped on the streets. Often they've been tortured with electric drills. Yet those doing the killing have little to do with al Qaeda or Sunni insurgents. The majority of the killings are carried out by Shia death squads who want to turn Iraq into a Shia state aligned to Iran.

Click to view

Whitewashing the Massacre in Najaf

Wednesday, 31 January 2007
By Mike Whitney

Say what you will about the corporate media; they still havn’t lost their appetite for carnage.

01/31/07 "ICHBlog" -- - So far, there are 2 things that we can say with certainty about the massacre of 250 Iraqis outside Najaf on Monday. First, we know that there is no solid evidence to support the official version of events. And, second, we know that every media outlet in the United States slavishly provided the government’s version to their readers without fact-checking or providing eyewitness testimony.

This proves that those who argue that mainstream news is “filtered” are sadly mistaken. There is no filter between the military and media; it’s a direct channel. In fact, all of the traditional obstacles have been swept away so the fairy tales which originate at the Pentagon end up on America’s front pages with as little interference as possible.

In the present case, we were told that “hundreds of gunmen from a ‘messianic cult’ (Soldiers of Heaven) planned to disguise themselves as pilgrims and kill clerics on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar”. We are expected to believe that they put their wives and children in the line of fire so they could conceal their real intention to lay siege to the city. (AP)

This is absurd. How many men would willingly drag their families into battle? In truth, these same tribes make the pilgrimage to Najaf every year to express their devotion to Imam Hussein and to celebrate the Shiite holiday of Ashura. There was nothing out of the ordinary in their behavior.

According to the Associated Press: “Their aim was to kill as many leading clerics as possible, including the main ayatollahs, which would include Iraq’s main spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani….Najaf government officials indicated that the militants included both Shiite and Sunni extremists, as well as foreign fighters.”

Again, more unsubstantiated nonsense.

What we know now, is that there were no foreign fighters, no Yemenis, no Saudis, no Afghans, and no Al Qaida. (as was originally stated) It was a group of Shiites who were rivals of the leading Shiite-led government (the SCIRI and Da’wa parties which represent Muqtada al Sadr and Abdel Aziz al-Hakim) and who don’t follow the Iranian born Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. They are Iraqi nationalists and suspicious of Iranian involvement in the new Iraqi government of Nouri al Maliki.

So what really happened? >>>cont


Who Are We Fighting Again?

By Ethan Heitner

From Najaf to Boston, the war on terror is terrifying because it is aimless and directionless, and could sweep up anyone at any moment—-especially if you're someone who's already opposed to the current status quo, whether that means an anti-Iranian Shiite tribe, eco-activists in Washington or Palestinians


Hicks charged with terrorism

I ask the Question who are the terrorists? We do not know after 5 years any of Hicks crimes, the world certainly knows all the lies, that Georgie and his White House, committed to go into an Illegal War and Occupation with the Sovereign Nation of Iraq.
February 03, 2007 11:09am

GUANTANAMO BAY prisoner, Adelaide-born David Hicks has been charged with terrorism related offences - five years after being detained.

Two charges have been laid including providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder in violation of the law of war.

His father Terry Hicks said yesterday he didn't understand the charges.

"The Americans have already said they can't prove whether David fired a shot at anyone,'' Mr Hicks said yesterday.

"So what's attempted murder in violation of the laws of war?''

"And providing material support for terrorism, I don't know what the hell that means.''

Mr Hicks, who spoke with his son's legal team in the United States this morning, also said he believed this was merely the first step in a drawn out legal process.

"I'm pleased something has happened, but I still believe this should have been happening here not over there,'' he said.

"I don't know what to think about this because I don't know how long this process will take.

"And really no one can answer that question because no one knows.''

Libby Fighting To Suppress Grand Jury Tapes

Associated Press MATT APUZZO February 2, 2007 07:23 PM

Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is fighting to keep his grand jury testimony about the leak of a CIA operative's name from being released and broadcast in the media.
Libby's grand jury testimony _ the sworn statements he gave to investigators about his conversations with Vice President Dick Cheney and journalists _ is at the heart of his perjury trial. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald plans to play hours of recordings of that testimony in court next week to bolster his case that Libby lied and obstructed the investigation.


The Bush Investigations

David Swanson and Jonathan Schwarz write: "Beyond the lies and manipulations that took us to war, and the corruption that has dominated the war, there is a third broad area that needs to be investigated - but much of which won't be without serious public pressure on Congress. This is the area of war crimes: the targeting of civilians, hospitals, ambulances, and journalists; the use of illegal weapons; the detentions, extraordinary renditions, abuse, torture, ghost prisoners; the setting up of a global network of secret CIA prisons; and murder."


Intelligence Estimate on Iraq: "US Has Little Control"

A long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, presented to President Bush by the intelligence community yesterday, outlines an increasingly perilous situation in which the United States has little control and there is a strong possibility of further deterioration, according to sources familiar with the document.


Trial Reveals Wilson Smear Began Far Earlier

Jason Leopold reports: "The list of officials linked to this case runs from Vice President Dick Cheney right on down to one of his low-level press officers. Testimony has revealed that a coordinated effort was put into place beginning in June 2003 by Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, Libby, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, White House communications director Dan Bartlett, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and as many as a dozen other officials to go after Wilson. In doing so, Wilson's wife's undercover CIA status was compromised, and a possible crime was committed."


Christianists On the March

Chris Hedges writes: "Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told his students that when we were his age - he was then close to 80 - that we would all be fighting the 'Christian fascists.' The warning, given 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and television evangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts toward taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global Christian empire."


Honor. Duty. Country.

Amy Branham

"Let's talk about the courage it takes to live the rest of your life after you have buried your only son, who died so needlessly in this fool's war," writes Gold Star Mother Amy Branham. "At first you do not believe that the person you spent the majority of your adult life rearing is dead. But you have to pick out the casket. You have to find a funeral home and a cemetery and make funeral arrangements. You have to write an obituary and make terrible phone calls that you know will crush the person on the other end of the line. And then you have to figure out how in the hell to make sense out of something that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever."


Bush's Trash Talk About Iran

Robert Dreyfuss, TomPaine.com

...The Bush administration’s charges against Iran are, for the most part, scare talk and nothing more. Iran has virtually nothing to do with the Iraqi resistance movement, which is commanded and staffed by Sunni Arab military officers and Baathists. They consider Iran to be a deadly foe and call Iraq’s Shiite leaders "Persians." The vast majority of U.S. casualties in Iraq are victims of this well-organized, mass-based insurgency – but it is certain that none of their weapons, IEDs or training comes from Iran. That’s not to say that Iran does not have multiple, and powerful, ties to virtually all of Iraq’s Shiite political elite and to some Kurdish warlords. Iran provides cash, arms and assistance to the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, whose Badr Brigade militia operates as a death squad on behalf of the U.S.-allied government of Iraq. It has a vast presence in Iraq’s Shiite south, building ties to private militias, tribes and urban political machines. It has massive economic ties to Iraq, and, in a recent New York Times interview, Iran’s ambassador in Iraq announced that his country would open a branch of Iran’s leading bank in downtown Baghdad and "offer Iraqi government forces training, equipment and advisers for 'the security fight.’"...

continua / continued

Video: MSNBC's Scarborough says GOP 'thrown into civil war' over Iraq

David EdwardsPublished: Friday February 2, 2007

In a broadcast on MSNBC's Scarborough Country last night, Joe Scarborough warned that the Republican Party appears headed for "civil war" over the congressional response to Iraq. Host Scarborough appeared with guest commentators Pat Buchanan, Time Magazine's Joe Klein, and Michael Crowley of The New Republic.

In an exchange with Crowley, Scarborough declared that Republicans were likely to be "divided" for the remainder of the Iraq War. Scarborough addressed White House spokesman Tony Snow's suggestion that you are either with the president on the war or projecting a lack of resolve to America's enemies, by saying that he was "angry at a lot of people in my Republican Party, angry at people that I like very much." He added "I don‘t know how that message doesn‘t tear the Republican Party apart, " and saluted Senator John Warner for backing a resolution that challenged the President's escalation plan.

For the conservative talk show host's last word in the segment, he declared "If you‘re a true conservative, there is no way you can support staying the course in the sight of such failure."
A full transcript is available at MSNBC's website. A clip of the segment can be viewed below.


Heckuva job: FEMA rejected aid for earlier storm in Central Florida 2 days ago

Michael RostonPublished: Friday February 2, 2007

Tornadoes ripped through central Florida overnight and killed 14 people. The disaster came on the heels of a decision by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials to deny federal aid to victims of tornadoes on Christmas Day in 2006, RAW STORY has learned. Federal authorities have not yet declared the current situation a federal disaster zone, although a congressman claims that "the White House has already pledged to do everything they can to help."

Areas in the same counties afflicted by last night's tornadoes were slammed by storms on Christmas Day. For instance, in Volusia County, 300 homes were damaged, and 140 sustained serious damage according to the Orlando Sentinel. An editorial in today's Orlando Sentinel noted that many of those destroyed structures were mobile homes. Additionally, in Pasco County, 105 homes were damaged, reported TBO.com.

According to a report at WESH-2 in Florida, "Despite being asked by his brother former Gov. Jeb Bush to do that after the storms, President George W. Bush declined." Apparently FEMA found that while many homes met the damage conditions for federal aid, the threshold of financial loss for the Christmas Day tornadoes was not reached.

When making financial judgments against providing aid, FEMA often concludes that state and local authorities will be able to pay for disaster relief. Officials in the area north of Orlando were unhappy that the determination was made in this case. The Orlando Sentinel on Jan. 31 quoted Jim Ryan, the Volusia County director of emergency management, as saying "There is not a pot of gold out there that anyone can tap,...It's going to be a lot more complicated to provide assistance."

Volusia is one of the counties where a State of Emergency was declared today. The State of Florida immediately appealed FEMA's decision.

Rep. Ric Keller (R-FL) claims he has spoken to the White House, which said they would do everything they can to help. According to a report by Florida's Local 6 News, the congressman said, "We'll make sure we get the funds needed from the federal government." Florida's new Governor Charlie Crist said he had contacted FEMA and the White House before touring the damage, but made no statement about whether aid was coming for the current storm.
FEMA has been highly criticized for its weak response to Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast area. In the immediate aftermath of the storms, President George W. Bush declared that ex-FEMA director Michael Brown was doing a "heckuva job."


Kucinich Spent Only $380.31 On Presidential Campaign in '06

The Huffington Post Melinda Henneberger Posted February 2, 2007 04:23 PM
READ MORE: Dennis Kucinich, Cleveland, California, Duncan Hunter


Not to name names, but some people spend more on shoes than Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich spends running for president. A report released yesterday by the Federal Election Commission revealed that the Cleveland vegan had shelled out just $380.31 for that purpose as of the end of '06. (The next most frugal candidate was California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, who laid out $22,371.68.) Calls for an accounting (Pumas? Potato chips?) have so far gone unanswered...


Seymour Hersh and the Missing Zionist-Israeli Connection

By James Petras
Al-Jazeerah, August 17, 2004


WASHINGTON D.C.--With the temerity of the tyrant, President Bush is now asking Congress for an additional $245 Billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a request that surely won't be the last before his time in office has ended:

The requests Monday, to accompany President Bush's budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, would bring the total appropriations for 2007 to about $170 billion, with a slight decline the following year. The additional request for the current year includes $93.4 billion for the Pentagon on top of $70 billion approved by Congress in September — and is about $6 billion less than the Pentagon's request to the White House budget office. (AP, 02.02.2007)

If Congress approves this budget, they are only going to underscore that they really all are in the pocket of the Bush administration. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is saying "Iran is a threat", sounding more like George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld than a Democratic senator. Senator Clinton needs to explain her reasoning, it seems fundamentally flawed. >>>>cont


Obama Speaks Out: Campaign Not A "Reality TV Show"

The Huffington Post Christine Pelosi February 2, 2007 03:59 PM

Illinois Senator Barack Obama made a plea for a positive campaign, insisting that the "reality tv show" mentality fed by the 24-hour news cycle is "not why we are here." Describing America as being in a "sobering place" Obama said this is "not a contest; it is a serious moment for America. The American people understand that. Every candidate will have something serious and valuable to offer. Campaigns should not be about making each other look bad but about how we can offer something good for this precious country of ours. Our rivals won't be each other or the other party but cynicism."

Instead Obama proposed a "discussion" of the issues and set forth goals: health care for all Americans by the end of the first term of the next President, energy independence and a national security policy. Touting his early opposition to the Iraq war -- "a tragic mistake" -- he said "whether you were for or against the war in the beginning, we each have the obligation to set forth in clear unambiguous terms how we are going to get out of Iraq." Concluding with a call to "turn the page" he said noted that "for every attack ad out there, there are real patriots fighting and dying in Iraq, [so] we must free ourselves from the constraints of politics and offer hope." We have offered plans; we need now to offer hope to the American people.

Read Christine Pelosi's full liveblog from the DNC Winter Meeting here.

US occupation forces used cluster bombs against villagers today

Roads to Iraq

- Association of Muslim Scholars reported an hour ago in urgent news that US occupation forces used cluster bombs today against Al-Samra village in Anbar destroying the village’s Al-Hamza mosque, burning farms and houses, dozens of innocent civilians are dead and wounded...

continua / continued

Mission Accomplished: Exxon Mobil Posts $39.5 Billion Profit in 2006

Hassan El-Najjar, Aljazeerah.info

Researchers and students of the US foreign policy should notice this news and reference it as support for their hypotheses about why Bush was adamant to invade and occupy Iraq. War creates chaos and insecurity in the crude oil market, which leads to the skyrocketing of prices. Ultimately, the unprecedented high prices fill the coffers of the owners of the oil industry with trillions of dollars. When Bush Sr. decided to go to war to evict Iraqis from Kuwait in 1991, rejecting all peace initiatives for a peaceful Iraqi withdrawal, the prices of crude oil were $13 per barrel. Last year, his son's policies escalated them to over $75 per barrel...

continua / continued

Neighbors of British Terror Suspects Skeptical of Charges


BIRMINGHAM, England, Feb. 1 — Many residents in the area where nine people were arrested and accused of planning to kidnap, torture and behead a British Muslim soldier said Thursday that they were unconvinced of the accusations against them.

By most neighborhood accounts, for example, one suspect, Amjad Mahmood, is a father of two in his late 20s who has worked tirelessly to keep his father’s grocery business going and who has shown no discernible interest in Islamic affairs.

He is cleanshaven, wears jeans and, like some young men in the Alum Rock section of this diverse city, seems more secular than religious, people who know him said. He rarely attended the mosque a block away from his house, they said.

For those reasons, and because of recent instances of the British police arresting suspects and then releasing them for lack of evidence linking them to terrorism, people here said they were not convinced of the accusations against Mr. Mahmood and the other eight suspects. The public and startling nature of the arrests in predawn raids made them angry and dismayed, they said.

In what the British authorities called a joint operation by the security service MI5, a newly formed West Midlands counterterrorism team and West Midlands police, the nine men were arrested in raids in poor, mainly South Asian neighborhoods of Birmingham, Britain’s second-largest city, with one million people.

Link Here

Bush's 26% approval rating in Michigan is the lowest of his presidency.

Michiganders question Bush -- new poll shows "one of the lowest marks since polling was invented"

Majorities doubt president's strategy in Iraq, threat to peace if United States withdraws

February 2, 2007

Clear majorities of Michiganders say President George W. Bush's new Iraq strategy won't work, and they doubt that pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq would increase the risk of terrorist attacks in the United States, a Detroit Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll shows.

That's not the only bad news for the president in Michigan. One in four adults in the state approves of the job Bush is doing, but only slightly more people are confident that the new Democratic majority in Congress is doing any better, the poll shows.

Metro Detroiters are even more dissatisfied with Bush's policies and performance.

Bush's 26% approval rating in Michigan is the lowest of his presidency. Nationally, Bush's approval rating has dipped below 30% only twice since he took office in 2001, both within the last year but neither as low as 26%. His approval rating was 84% in Michigan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"It's one of the lowest marks since polling was invented," said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., the Des Moines, Iowa, polling firm that conducted the survey.


2006 Personal Savings Fall to 74-Yr. Low

Thursday February 1, 10:35 am ET
By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

Personal Savings Rate for 2006 Tumbles to Negative 1 Percent, the Lowest Level in 74 Years

WASHINGTON (AP) -- People once again spent everything they made and then some last year, pushing the personal savings rate to the lowest level since the Great Depression more than seven decades ago.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent, meaning that not only did people spend all the money they earned but they also dipped into savings or increased borrowing to finance purchases. The 2006 figure was lower than a negative 0.4 percent in 2005 and was the poorest showing since a negative 1.5 percent savings rate in 1933 during the Depression.

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index registered 49.3 last month, down from a December reading of 51.4. A reading below 50 indicates that manufacturing activity is contracting rather than expanding.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that the number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 20,000 last week to 307,000. That improvement pushed the four-week average for claims to the lowest level in a year, indicating that the labor market remains healthy.


Iraqi Colonel Who Trained in America Killed in Iraq

Iraqi who trained at Sheppard killed
Staff report
Posted : Friday Feb 2, 2007 6:36:56 EST

An Iraqi Air Force colonel who trained in America was killed in a suspected terrorist attack, according to an Air Force press release.

Col. Ahmed A. Al Amran died Jan. 28 in his car while preparing for work at the Aircraft Engineering Directorate of the Iraqi Air Force. He is survived by a wife and two children.

Ahmed graduated from the Aircraft Maintenance Officer’s Course at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, on Dec. 15. After completing the 68 training-day course he continued on to Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., for C-130 familiarization training. Upon returning to Iraq he served as the chief of information, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft division at the Aircraft Engineering Directorate of the IAF.

The colonel faced a great deal of danger both to him and his family by attending training in the United States, said Lt. Col. Laurel Smyth, an advisor to the IAF and one of Ahmed’s co-workers.
“He had a vision to restore the IAF aircraft maintenance corps to a strong, capable and professional force,” Colonel Smyth said. “Colonel Ahmed will be sorely missed by his Iraqi comrades as well as the U.S. Air Force men and women he worked with.”

Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux, 82nd Training Wing commander, said Ahmed was “a true patriot, a patriot for the Iraqi people. As a member of the Iraqi Air Force, he hoped and dreamed for a secure homeland and ultimately gave his life for his country. His sacrifice is an inspiration to us as we work hard to help train and equip the Iraqi Air Force.”


The man looked suspicious.

Iran Shrugs Off UN Sanctions

Sailors at Air Base Ship Out on Short Notice to USS Reagan Carrier

Mystery Arises Over Identity of Militia Chief in Najaf Fight


BAGHDAD, Jan. 31 — New questions arose Wednesday about the sectarian identity of the man who led a renegade militia into battle last weekend against American and Iraqi troops near the holy city of Najaf.

At a news conference on Wednesday meant to clarify details of the skirmishes, which left at least 250 militants dead, Iraqi officials declared that Ahmad bin al-Hassan al-Basri, identified as the leader of the militia, was actually a Sunni militant who had been able to take control of the militia group by masquerading as a Shiite. Gen. Qais Hamza al-Mamouri, chief of police for Babil Province, said that while Mr. Basri led a Shiite splinter group known as the “Soldiers of Heaven,” he was in fact an impostor from Zubair, a Sunni stronghold on the southwestern edge of Basra. He said the man’s real name was Ahmed Ismail Katte.

“He is a Wahhabi from a Sunni town,” General Hamza said, referring to the austere sect of radical Sunni Islam founded in Saudi Arabia. “His family is Sunni, and his family trained him to be Shiite.”

Two clerics from another renegade Shiite sect — loyal to Mahmoud al-Hassani al-Sarkhi, a Basri rival — offered the same assessment privately, lingering after the news conference in Hilla, about 50 miles north of Najaf, to confirm that Mr. Basri was not in fact one of their own.

But their only evidence seemed to be a link to Zubair. And after days of widely varying assertions from Iraqi officials regarding the number of battle casualties and the nationalities and beliefs of the militants, the claims about Mr. Basri only added to confusion about who exactly the Americans and Iraqis had fought in a long battle, beginning Sunday. >>>cont


A country where violations are legal!

Terrorist militias, operating under the nose of U.S. and Iraqi forces, are wreaking mayhem in Baghdad.... more 02/01/2007

Iraqi warlords must be held accountable for atrocities

U.S. President George Bush’s new strategy is geared towards bringing peace to Baghdad, the Iraqi capital he and his troops bragged about occupying nearly four years ago.... more 17/01/2007

To those who felt sorry for the ouster of criminal Rumsfeld!

By Fatih Abdulsalam
Azzaman, November 17, 2006

Undoubtedly there are some in Iraq who felt sorry for the sacking of the minister of blood, murder, crime and stupidity, Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.

Those who expressed such sorrow are his lackeys who sought his protection to cover their own crimes in turning Iraq into a bloody forest after the destruction of its values and institutions.

All these crimes have been perpetrated and the destruction of the country carried out in order to provide protection and security for the U.S. army of invasion.

But this formidable invasion army of which Rumsfeld and his Iraqi lackeys were so proud of has been dealt a heavy blow at the hands of barefoot and lightly armed Iraqis.
The defeat and humiliation Rumsfeld has brought his nation dwarfs that of Vietnam if we take the current technological advances in weapons systems at U.S. army disposal.

In the Vietnam war, as one U.S. military strategist says, the air force would need to drop nearly 250 bombs to destroy a bridge while in Iraq one bomb would the job perfectly well.

In that war the Vietnamese rebels had the support of Russian and China – two superpowers – while Iraqi resistance is purely indigenous besieged by hostile neighbors which all dread America.

This illustrates that Rumsfeld has left the Pentagon defeated and humiliated. His only legacy is the crimes American troops have perpetrated under his term.

Rumsfeld pressed ahead with his crimes encouraged by his tails in Iraq who rolled a read carpet for him – turned red due to the rivers of innocent blood.

And Rumsfeld had no qualms treading on the blood with his black boots in the hope of achieving his dirty aims.

But there was no way for this arrogant and stupid man to achieve those aims.

Rumsfeld visited Iraq 13 times. In each visit he was made to drink a cup of his defeat which culminated in his ouster.

Rumsfeld should not be the only one to go and pay the price for the U.S. quagmire in Iraq. Iraqis are anxious to see more heads rolling in the light of the new congressional reality in the U.S.

Otherwise, and God willing, the painful blows of Iraqi resistance, which rarely miss hitting an occupier or a lackey, will have them ousted and humiliated.

And hopefully President Bush will come to his sense and read the writing on the wall. He is the one who has the real figures of the losses being inflicted on his troops in Iraq.

Bush knows that keeping those losses under wraps cannot continue for ever.

And then Bush himself will start cursing Rumsfeld.


U.S. concept of victory in Iraq is laughable

Nearly four years after President Bush declared victory in his ill-fated invasion of Iraq, U.S. officials are still dealing with our country as a real battlefield....

more 07/12/2006

The U.S. must either terminate lease of ‘Green Zone’ or change its name

It is not clear who gave the notorious Baghdad district know as ‘Green Zone’ its name. One thing every Iraqi knows is the fact that its presence is associated with arrival of the first occupation U.S. soldier in the country....

more 09/11/2006

Army officer court-martial tests free speech

Reuters Photo:
17 minutes ago

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A U.S. Army officer, whose public refusal to go fight in Iraq made him a champion of the anti-war movement, faces a court-martial next week when a military panel could determine the limits of free-speech rights for officers.

First Lt. Ehren Watada faces up to four years in prison if convicted on a charge of missing movements and two charges of conduct unbecoming an officer when his court-martial starts on Monday at Fort Lewis, an Army base near Seattle.

Watada, a 28-year-old artillery officer, refused to deploy with his brigade to Iraq last summer and called the war illegal and immoral. He refused conscientious-objector status, saying he would fight in Afghanistan but not Iraq.

Link Here

185 professors killed since U.S. invasion

ScumBags Liberation Of Iraq, Do you feel LIBERATED yet Iraq
Incremental destruction of a society and its culture.

Some 185 university professors have been assassinated since the 2003 U.S. invasion which has plunged the country into a spiral of violence.

The figure was made public in a statement the ministry has issued following the kidnapping of three more Baghdad University professors this week.

The ministry pleaded with the abductors to release the professors, warning that the country’s educational system would collapse unless the authorities put a halt to violence.

Some colleges both state-run and private have suspended teaching in protest against the abduction.


AP: Defense Official Resigns Over Remarks

Justice won the day!
The Associated Press
Friday, February 2, 2007; 2:37 PM

WASHINGTON -- A senior Pentagon official resigned Friday over controversial remarks
in which he criticized lawyers who represent terrorism suspects, the Defense Department

Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said Charles "Cully" Stimson, deputy assistant
secretary of defense for detainee affairs, told him on Friday that he had made his own
decision to resign and was not asked to leave by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Stimson said he was leaving because of the controversy over a radio interview in which
he said he found it shocking that lawyers at many of the nation's top law firms represent
detainees held at the U.S. military prison in Cuba.

"He believed it hampered his ability to be effective in this position," Whitman said of the
backlash to Stimson's comments.


Taliban capture 'peace deal' town

Taliban fighters have overrun a town where British troops pulled out after a peace deal with local tribal elders, government officials and witnesses have said.

The well-armed Taliban fighters took over the district administration office and police headquarters in Musa Qala on Thursday night, witnesses said.

British troops pulled out of Musa Qala in southern Helmand province - the poppy heartland of the world's biggest opium producer and a Taliban stronghold - late last year after striking a deal with tribal elders to keep the Taliban out after months of fighting.

Washington had previously been critical of the Musa Qala pact which was devised by British soldiers who had frequently been attacked by Taliban members in the area.


NYT/AP: British to show Al Gore movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," in all secondary schools

Published: February 2, 2007

LONDON (AP) -- Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's global warming documentary will be sent to every secondary school in England as part of a campaign to tackle climate change, the government said Friday.

Environment Secretary David Miliband and Education Secretary Alan Johnson announced plans to distribute Gore's film, ''An Inconvenient Truth,'' on the day the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was published in Paris. The report by leading scientists, said global warming has started and is ''very likely'' caused by humans.

''The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over, as demonstrated by the publication of today's report by the IPCC,'' Miliband said. ''Our energies should now be channeled into how we respond in an innovative and positive way in moving to a low-carbon future.''

In the film, Gore warns that unless action is taken to reduce carbon emissions soon, global warming will have disastrous implications for the environment.

''Children are the key to changing society's long-term attitudes to the environment,'' Johnson said. ''Not only are they passionate about saving the planet, but children also have a big influence over their own families' lifestyles and behavior.''...


Bush Is Hiding the Ball on Iran

Much as he did before the Iraq invasion, George W. Bush is limiting the debate about war with Iran, offering assurances that he considers war "a last resort" even as he moves his military forces into place. Similarly, the Democrats and the national press corps are behaving mostly as either passive observers or willing enablers. There have been remarkably few front-page stories about the consequences if Bush gives the order nor lively debates about possible peaceful alternatives. February 2, 2007


Time may be running out for Congress and the American people to put in place any constraints on President George W. Bush before he plunges ahead with a new war against Iran. Military and intelligence sources say the preparations for a major bombing campaign are moving ahead swiftly, with the deteriorating U.S. situation in Iraq adding to Bush's urgency. The thinking goes that if Bush's position collapses in Iraq, a window of opportunity for challenging Iran may close, too. January 31, 2007


Now That Definitely Works For Me

BBC NEWS: Russia probes smelly orange snow (large area)

Oily yellow and orange snowflakes fell over an area of more than 1,500sq km (570sq miles) in the Omsk region on Wednesday, Russian officials said.

Chemical tests were under way to determine the cause, they said.

Residents have been advised not to use the snow for household tasks or let animals graze on it.

"So far we cannot explain the snow, which is oily to the touch and has a pronounced rotten smell," said Omsk environmental prosecutor Anton German, quoted by the Russian news agency Itar-Tass on Thursday.


AP White House rejects mandatory CO2 caps (says people will jobs)

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer 38 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Despite a strongly worded global warming report from the world's top climate scientists, the Bush administration expressed continued opposition Friday to mandatory reductions in heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases.

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman warned against "unintended consequences" — including job losses — that he said might result if the government requires economy-wide caps on carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

He and other administration officials at a news conference praised the report Friday by a
United Nations-sponsored panel of top climate scientist who said there is little doubt the earth is warming as a result of man-made emissions.

But Bodman said technology advancements that will cut the amount of carbon emissions, promote energy conservation, and hasten development of non-fossil fuels can address the problem.

"We have aggressive but practical solutions," added Stephen Johnson, administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency.


NYT: U.S. Reconfigures the Way Iraq and Afghanistan Casualty Totals Are Given

Published: February 2, 2007

Statistics on a Pentagon Web site have been reorganized in a way that lowers the published totals of American nonfatal casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director of force health protection and readiness at the Defense Department, said the previous method of tallying casualties was misleading and might have made injuries and combat wounds seem worse and more numerous than they really were.

The old method lumped many problems under the label “casualties,” including illnesses, minor injuries and injuries from accidents, as well as wounds sustained in combat. But the public may assume that every casualty is a war wound, Dr. Kilpatrick said, so the site was changed to avoid misunderstandings.

On Monday, the bottom line of the Defense Department’s Web page on casualties in Iraq listed a total of 47,657 “nonmortal casualties.”

By Tuesday, the same page no longer showed a total for nonmortal casualties. The bottom line is now “total — medical air transported,” and the figure is 31,493....


Paul Sullivan, director of research and analysis of Veterans for America, said the changes actually meant the Pentagon was trying to conceal the rising toll of injuries and illness....


11th-hour bid to halt Iraq war revelations

U.S. Copter Goes Down North of Baghdad

Feb 2, 12:11 PM (ET)By KIM GAMEL

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A U.S. helicopter went down Friday in Iraq for the fourth time in two weeks, and America's top general acknowledged that its aircraft were increasingly in danger from ground fire.

Witnesses and local police said two helicopters were flying together when gunmen opened fire, sending one of the aircraft crashing to the ground, smoke trailing behind it, near Taji, an air base just north of Baghdad. Maj. David Small, a spokesman at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., confirmed that a helicopter had gone down, but said he had no other details.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday that clearly, "ground fire ... has been more effective against our helicopters in the last couple weeks." The comments marked the first time a military official has publicly acknowledged the recent crashes were caused by ground fire.

"I've taken a hard look at that, don't know whether or not this is statistically what's going to happen over time, when you're flying at that level and people are shooting at you, or if this is some kind of new tactics or techniques that we need to adjust to."


Blair Refuses To Resign Amidst Corruption Scandal

CNN February 2, 2007 08:30 AM

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has refused to step down before police finish a political corruption probe into his party, despite fears the investigation is damaging his party.

"You'll have to put up with me for a bit longer," Blair said in a BBC Radio interview broadcast Friday.


Intelligence Report: "Perilous" Iraq Likely To Worsen

Washington Post Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus February 2, 2007 10:02 AM
A long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, presented to President Bush by the intelligence community yesterday, outlines an increasingly perilous situation in which the United States has little control and there is a strong possibility of further deterioration, according to sources familiar with the document.

In a discussion of whether Iraq has reached a state of civil war, the 90-page classified NIE comes to no conclusion and holds out prospects of improvement. But it couches glimmers of optimism in deep uncertainty about whether the Iraqi leaders will be able to transcend sectarian interests and fight against extremists, establish effective national institutions and end rampant corruption.


Bush Wants $245 Billion More For Wars

Associated Press February 2, 2007 12:04 PM

The Bush administration will request $100 billion in additional funding for operations inIraq and Afghanistan this year and another $145 billion for 2008, a senior administration official says.


Bush's levee budget upsets Vitter

He says it undermines pledge of protection

Friday, February 02, 2007
By Bill Walsh

WASHINGTON -- President Bush is expected to shift $1.3 billion away from raising and armoring levees, installing floodgates and building permanent pumping in Southeast Louisiana in order to plug long-anticipated financial shortfalls in other hurricane-protection projects, a move Sen. David Vitter describes as a retreat from the president's commitment to protect the whole New Orleans area.

Vitter, R-La., who unveiled Bush's plans Thursday, condemned the move in a strongly worded letter to the president and called on him to ask Congress for more money to complete work that he promised would be done -- and Congress financed -- in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"I believe your fiscal 2008 budget proposal would be a step back from that commitment, however unintended," Vitter wrote. "I am deathly afraid that this vital emergency post-Katrina work is now being treated like typical (Army Corps of Engineers) projects that take decades to complete. We will not recover if this happens." >>>cont
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