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Saturday, April 28, 2007

After Katrina, U.S. Did Not Accept Most Offers of Aid

Source: Washington Post
As the winds and water of Hurricane Katrina were receding, presidential confidante Karen Hughes sent a cable from her State Department office to U.S. ambassadors worldwide.
Titled "Echo-Chamber Message" -- a public relations term for talking points designed to be repeated again and again -- the Sept. 7, 2005, directive was unmistakable: Assure the scores of countries that had pledged or donated aid at the height of the disaster that their largesse had provided Americans "practical help and moral support" and "highlight the concrete benefits hurricane victims are receiving."
Many of the U.S. diplomats who received the message, however, were beginning to witness a more embarrassing reality. They knew the U.S. government was turning down many allies' offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars. Eventually the United States also would fail to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina's victims.
Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.

Gonzales heckled at Harvard reunion

Source: ap
Gonzales heckled at Harvard reunion
41 minutes ago

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A small group of student protesters, including one wearing a black hood and an orange jumpsuit, heckled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as he posed with old classmates Saturday during their 25-year Harvard Law School reunion.
"When the photographer was getting everybody set up and having people say 'cheese,' the protesters yelled: 'say torture, instead,' 'resign' and 'I don't recall,'" said Nate Ela, a protester and third-year student.
Law school spokesman Mike Armini said the impromptu protest was so small that some of those attending the photo shoot did not notice it.
Ela said the protesters followed Gonzales into the law school's library, chanting "shame" and "resign," before the attorney general's security detail took him to his motorcade.

Senators Vow to Restore Rights to Detainees

Influential US senators vowed on Thursday to restore to foreign terrorism suspects the right to challenge their imprisonment, saying Congress made an historic blunder by stripping them of that right last year. "Creating a legal black hole where rights are denied is as un-American as it is illegal," said Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union.


International Journalists Becoming More Anti-American at State Department Conference

It was an interesting day and there has clearly been a shift in attitude toward the United States and the American journalists by the foreign press. It's not just the Bush White House that overseas reporters are critical of but the whole American press corps for not being tougher and more critical of the Administration. We must remember these 187 young journalists were nominated for the Edward R. Murrow Fellowships by the local US Ambassador. I would assume that they are more pro-American than some other local reporters who were not nominated. They get to travel for three weeks in America and go to journalism schools-- all paid for by the Sate Department. Nevertheless, I was surprised by how hostile almost everyone of these bright young reporters were toward the United States government and now this anger has carried over to a disrespect for our press. Nevertheless, they all mobbed Bob Woodward for a photo as if he were an international rock star.

William Fisher | US Attorney Under Attack for "Terror Trophy" Prosecutions

A small but increasingly vocal group of protesters is charging that a United States attorney in northern New York has pursued a series of terror-related "political prosecutions" to enhance his reputation as "a loyal Bushie," thus avoiding the fate of his eight colleagues who were recently fired by Alberto Gonzales's Department of Justice.


Waxman Asks Tenet to Testify About Prewar Intel

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calififornia) has asked former CIA Director George Tenet to testify before his committee next month about claims that Iraq sought to buy uranium in Africa.


Sen. Durbin Knew US Was Being Lied Into War, Was 'Sworn to Secrecy'

By Sean Lengell
April 27, 2007

The Senate's No. 2 Democrat says he knew that the American public was being misled into the Iraq war but remained silent because he was sworn to secrecy as a member of the intelligence committee.
"The information we had in the intelligence committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn't believe it," Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said Wednesday when talking on the Senate floor about the run-up to the Iraq war in 2002.
"I was angry about it. [But] frankly, I couldn't do much about it because, in the intelligence committee, we are sworn to secrecy. We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress."
Mr. Durbin's comments come after years of inquiries and debate about prewar intelligence, and as congressional leaders clash over Democrats' calls to pull out of Iraq.
The White House responded by saying Congress had access to the same intelligence and voted overwhelmingly to go to war.
"We all understand today that there were intelligence failures, but there was no effort to mislead either members of Congress or the American people," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
Mr. Durbin yesterday said there was no "ethical" way to notify the public of specific misleading information being touted by the Bush administration because it would have required revealing top-secret information being provided to the intelligence committee.
He cited the White House's claim that Iraq was trying to acquire aluminum tubes needed for a nuclear weapons program -- details of which have since been declassified -- as an example of bad intelligence, saying that there was an ongoing debate within the administration as it was being used in public.
Mr. Durbin, whose floor comments were part of the debate before yesterday's passage of an emergency war-funding bill, said he and half the Democrats on the intelligence committee voted against the war over concerns of the White House's "very flimsy case, but it was given to the American people as a proven fact."
Congress authorized the 2003 use of armed force against Iraq by votes of 296-133 in the House and 77-23 in the Senate. Five of nine Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted for the measure as did all eight Republicans.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office circulated an e-mail Wednesday highlighting Mr. Durbin's comments, but his office didn't respond to requests yesterday to elaborate on the e-mail.
The e-mail said Mr. Durbin's comments were inconsistent with the words of other Democrats on the committee, including Sens. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Carl Levin of Michigan. Those two Democrats said publicly before the war that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was intent on pursuing nuclear weapons. Mr. Rockefeller voted for the war, but Mr. Levin did not.
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US Media Have Lost the Will to Dig Deep

Greg Palast discusses the state of mainstream American journalism, writing that "investigative reporting - the kind Jack Anderson used to do regularly and which was carried in hundreds of papers across the country, the kind of muckraking, data-intensive work that takes time and money and ruffles feathers - is dying. One of the biggest disincentives to doing investigative journalism is that it jeopardizes future access to politicians and corporate elite."

Lawmakers Seek Probe of Private Contractors in Iraq

This week, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri and Rep. David Price of North Carolina, both Democrats, asked the Government Accountability Office to provide details on the use of private security contractors in Iraq. Skelton and Price want to know how many such contractors are working there, for what purpose and under what legal authority.


California Jails Offer Cell Upgrades To Inmates With Cash

The New York Times JENNIFER STEINHAUER April 28, 2007 01:57 PM
Anyone convicted of a crime knows a debt to society often must be paid in jail. But a slice of Californians willing to supplement that debt with cash (no personal checks, please) are finding that the time can be almost bearable.
For offenders whose crimes are usually relatively minor (carjackers should not bother) and whose bank accounts remain lofty, a dozen or so city jails across the state offer pay-to-stay upgrades. Theirs are a clean, quiet, if not exactly recherché alternative to the standard county jails, where the walls are bars, the fellow inmates are hardened and privileges are few.


Democratic elite coax their boys in the media to attack Gravel.

April 27-29, 2007 -- WMR endorsed former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel for President last April when he first announced his candidacy. After last night's Democratic presidential debate, the editor is assured that our endorsement was a wise one. Gravel was the only candidate to voice public indignation over the fact that this country has been lied to incessantly and that most of the Democrats on that stage last night have been enablers for the GOP liars. The exceptions are Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich, who is the only sponsor of a bill to impeach Dick Cheney.
The two insidious "Democratic" controlled opposition blogs this editor has time and again pointed to as serving the interests of the neo-cons, as well as the latte overdosing crew at the always un-funny Wonkette, posted some sarcastic comments about Gravel last night and this morning. The moderators of the two blogs, and every WMR reader should know what those blogs are, suggested that Gravel was too old and feeble but their own polls and a vast majority of their posters thought Gravel brought the house down and snatched the anti-war baton from Kucinich.
However, the expected barbs on the two sites were the same kind of sarcastic language used on the right-wing sites. As a result of Gravel breaking loose from the bottom of the eight candidates and pulling ahead of Kucinich, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Bill Richardson and practically tying with Hillary Clinton in on-line polls, the Democratic Leadership Council and elite Democratic circles began pounding on Gravel. The world's oldest yuppie, Bill Press, called Gravel the "clown of the evening" on his morning radio show broadcast from the Center for American Progress, a not-for-profit run by John Podesta, Bill Clinton's White House Chief of Staff. And as far as MS-NBC Keith Olbermann's snotty "joke" last night that Zell Miller was endorsing Mike Gravel. Keith Olbermann should have stuck with sports casting. Olbermann's view of the world is from a neat sanitized TV set in Secaucus, New Jersey. He never responded to this editor's email after he castigated me for my reporting on election fraud in Ohio in the 2004 election. The paper trail and evidence now points to the very well financed fraud to tip Ohio to the Bush column -- exactly what this editor's sources were reporting then and what has been proven since. Olbermann said if any of what I reported was true he would carry me on his back to the Pulitzer award ceremony.
Democratic elite coax their boys in the media to attack Gravel.
This is what Olbermann wrote in his blog on Dec, 6, 2004: "Once again, if any part of Mr. Madsen’s writing on the election is proved and valid, I’ll not only repeat my offer to pay his way for him to pick up his Pulitzer Prize — I’ll physically carry him there myself. There could very well be facts — even important facts — hiding in there somewhere."Well, now that the facts on the election fraud, which were never in hiding as Olbermann alleged, have been and are being uncovered from Columbus to Cleveland, as well as other points, I have one thing to say to you Keith, "Giddy-up horsy."
This is what Olbermann wrote in his blog on Dec, 6, 2004: "Once again, if any part of Mr. Madsen’s writing on the election is proved and valid, I’ll not only repeat my offer to pay his way for him to pick up his Pulitzer Prize — I’ll physically carry him there myself. There could very well be facts — even important facts — hiding in there somewhere."Well, now that the facts on the election fraud, which were never in hiding as Olbermann alleged, have been and are being uncovered from Columbus to Cleveland, as well as other points, I have one thing to say to you Keith, "Giddy-up horsy."
Wayne Madsen Report

“And the walls came tumbling down”

Sonja Karkar, Women for Palestine -ZNet

...Whether for protection and security or to contain and imprison, walls are a symbol of failure – a failure to revel in freedom and embrace our common humanity: that is reason enough to bring them down. In 1989, the world watched in rapture as the Berlin Wall tumbled. At 4 metres high and 166km long, it had stood for 28 years creating an Iron Curtain between East and Western Europe. However, for all its immensity, the wall – with its watch-towers, border patrols, barbed wire, guard dogs and searchlights – never worked. Centuries earlier, the Great Wall of China – 7.6 metres high, 9 metres wide and extending over 2,400 km – had failed to keep out the invading Mongols. No one could have imagined that a worse wall would be built in the 21st century of our "civilisation". But, Israel’s Wall is worse beyond all imaginings, as if something higher, wider and more forbidding will ultimately succeed. And even as its effects are finally beginning to nudge a catatonic world into feeling some sort of incredulity - if not outrage - at Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, we hear that the US is building a wall to divide Shiite and Sunni enclaves in Baghdad...

Afghanistan and Iraq: it’s the same war

David Orchard and Michael Mandel, Global Research, April 27, 2007

Four years ago the U.S. and Britain unleashed war on Iraq, a nearly defenseless Third World country barely half the size of Saskatchewan. For twelve years prior to the invasion and occupation Iraq had endured almost weekly U.S. and British bombing raids and the toughest sanctions in history, the "primary victims" of which, according to the UN Secretary General, were "women and children, the poor and the infirm." According to UNICEF, half a million children died from sanctions related starvation and disease. Then, in March 2003, the U.S. and Britain — possessors of more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the world combined — attacked Iraq on a host of fraudulent pretexts, with cruise missiles, napalm, white phosphorous, cluster and bunker buster bombs and depleted uranium (DU) munitions...

continua / continued
Oil companies bow to Venezuela's demands for state control

Four major oil companies on Wednesday agreed to cede control of Venezuela's last remaining privately run oil projects to President Hugo Chavez's government, but ConocoPhillips resisted, prompting warnings that its fields could be taken over outright.

Iraq: Amnesty International appalled by stoning to death of girl and subsequent killings:

Georgies Liberation, of the women of Iraq? You decide
Public StatementAI Index:
MDE 14/027/2007 (Public)News Service No: 084 27 April 2007
Iraq: Amnesty International appalled by stoning to death of Yezidi girl and subsequent killing

Amnesty International is appalled by the killing of Du’a Khalil Aswad, aged about 17, who was stoned to death on or around 7 April 2007 for a so-called honour crime. A member of Iraq’s Yezidi religious minority from the village of Bahzan in northern Iraq, she was killed by a group of eight or nine men and in the presence of a large crowd in the town of Bashika, near the city of Mosul. Some of her relatives are said to have participated in the killing.

Du’a Khalil Aswad’s murder is said to have been committed by relatives and other Yezidi men because she had engaged in a relationship with a Sunni Muslim boy and had been absent from her home for one night. Some reports suggested that she had converted to Islam, but others deny this. Initially, she was reportedly given shelter in the house of a Yezidi tribal leader in Bashika, but her killers stormed the house, took her outside and stoned her to death. Her death by stoning, which lasted for some 30 minutes, was recorded on video film which was then widely distributed and is available on the internet. The film reportedly shows that members of local security forces were present but failed to intervene to prevent the stoning or arrest those responsible.

In an apparent act of retaliation, some 23 Yezidi workers were attacked and killed on 22 April, apparently by members of a Sunni armed group. The Yezidis, reportedly all men, were travelling on a bus between Mosul and Bashika when the vehicle was stopped by gunmen, who made the Yezidis disembark and then summarily killed them.

Amnesty International condemns in the strongest terms both the murder of Du’a Khalil Aswad and the subsequent murders of the Yezidi men, and is calling on the Iraqi authorities to take immediate steps to identify and bring to justice, through fair trials and without recourse to the death penalty, the perpetrators of these killings. As well, the organization is calling on the Iraqi authorities to investigate whether law enforcement officials were present but failed to intervene to prevent Du’a Khalil Aswad’s death by stoning, and to take urgent, concrete measures, including through legislative reforms, to protect those at risk of becoming victims of so-called “honour crimes.”
There are frequent reports of "honour crimes" in Iraq - in particular in the predominantly Kurdish north of the country. Most victims of "honour crimes" are women and girls who are considered by their male relatives and others to have shamed the women's families by immoral behaviour. Often grounds for such accusations are flimsy and no more than rumour. "Honour crimes" are most often perpetrated by male members of the woman's family in the belief that such crimes restore their and their family's honour. While the Kurdish authorities introduced legal reforms to address “honour killings” they have, however, failed to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such crimes. Amnesty International has documented its concerns about Iraqi women victims of human rights violations, including “honour crimes”, in a report issued in February 2005 (Iraq: Decades of suffering-Now women deserve better, AI Index: MDE 14/001/2005, http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE140012005?open&of=ENG-IRQ)

Stealing from the Poor and Giving to the Rich

By Ramzy Baroud

The plundering of Iraq's wealth, first by the UN and now by Iraq's new Green Zone czars, is the biggest, most shameful financial-political scandal of our times.

By Lt. Col. Paul Yingling

In 2007, Iraq's grave and deteriorating condition offers diminishing hope for an American victory and portends risk of an even wider and more destructive regional war.


Rumsfeld war crimes case dismissed

RAW STORYPublished: Friday April 27, 2007

Germany's federal prosecutor announced she will not be proceeding with an investigation against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA Director George Tenet, and other high-ranking U.S. officials for torture and other war crimes committed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo, according to a press release obtained by RAW STORY.
"The 400-page complaint was filed on November 14, 2006, by Berlin attorney Wolfgang Kaleck on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Republican Attorneys' Association (RAV), more than 40 other international and national human rights groups, 12 Iraqi citizens who were held in Abu Ghraib, and one Saudi citizen still held at Guantánamo," the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) press release continues.
CCR president Michael Ratner told the Associated Press in a telephone call from New York, "If Germany is not willing to enforce their law we think other countries will be — we're not going to leave a stone unturned."
"It took 35 years to get (former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto) Pinochet and it won't take that long with the Rumsfeld case," Ratner added. "I think everyone recognizes that high-level U.S. officials ran a torture program around the world."
Opinions and documents related to the case can be found at this link.
Further excerpts from press release follow:
Attorneys said they are contemplating an appeal of the decision as well as filing similar cases in other countries.
"Fundamentally, this is a political and not a legal decision," said CCR President Michael Ratner. "We will continue to pursue Rumsfeld, Gonzales, and the others in the future – they should not feel they can travel outside the U.S. without risk. Our goal is no safe haven for torturers."
Prominent jurists, scholars, and human rights experts from around the world had examined the complaint and found it sound. Many signed on in support.
The complaint states that because of the failure of authorities in the United States and Iraq to launch any independent investigation into the responsibility of high-level U.S. officials for torture despite a documented paper trail and government memos implicating them in direct as well as command responsibility for torture, and because the U.S. has refused to join the International Criminal Court, it is the legal obligation of states such as Germany to take up cases under their universal jurisdiction laws.
In her decision to not go forward with an investigation, Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms argued that the crimes were committed outside of Germany and the defendants neither reside in Germany, nor are they currently located in Germany, nor will they soon enter German territory. However, the German law of universal jurisdiction expressly states that it is a universal duty to fight torture and other serious crimes, no matter where they occur or what the nationality of the perpetrators and victims is."Since its passage in 2002, not one of the many cases brought under our fine law of universal jurisdiction has been pursued by the prosecutor's office," said German attorney Wolfgang Kaleck. "Is this law meant only to look good on the books but never to be invoked?" In the same time period, according to human rights activists, other countries including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, and France have exercised universal jurisdiction and brought to justice perpetrators from countries such as Afghanistan, Mauretania, Argentina, Uganda, and more.
The prosecutor also stated that investigations would not have had a reasonable chance of succeeding, but in addition to providing extensive evidence in the form of publicly-available documents and government memos, attorneys had secured the cooperation of General Janis Karpinski, former commander of Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, as well as other witnesses and victims who were willing to travel to Germany to testify before the court in Karlsruhe or meet with prosecutors to help them determine how to proceed with the case.
An earlier version of the complaint was lodged in fall 2004. In dismissing that case in February 2005 in response to heavy official pressure from the U.S., the former federal prosecutor stated that there were no indications that the authorities and courts of the United States were refraining from holding officials accountable. Yet more than two years later, only low-ranking officials have ever been charged. Although U.S. military and civilian personnel have been implicated in hundreds of known instances of detainee abuse, internal displacement, torture, and death, very few have been prosecuted in the U.S. anywhere else.
"We will continue to work for justice for the victims of these crimes," said a representative of FIDH. "Torturers are enemies of all humankind – they can be brought to justice anywhere."


Explosion Near Main Shiite Shrine In Karbala Kills Dozens

AP SAMEER N. YACOUB April 28, 2007 02:23 PM
A parked car exploded Saturday near one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines in the city of Karbala as people were headed to the area for evening prayers, killing 55 people and wounding dozens, officials said.
The explosion took place in a crowded commercial area near the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, officials said. At least 55 people were killed and 70 wounded, said Salim Kazim, the head of the Karbala health department.


GOP Candidates Go Negative On Each Other

CNN.com Bill Schneider April 28, 2007 09:47 AM

When it comes to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment -- "Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans" -- GOP presidential candidates seem to be losing their religion.

Republican candidates have been speaking a lot of ill -- sometimes quite directly.

"Governor [Mitt] Romney, his views ... have been moderate to liberal in [the] North, in the Northeast, and it's all on videotape," former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore said on "The Situation Room" recently. "And now he's trying to shift to be a conservative."


Role Of Saudi Prince With Ties To Bush Family Questioned

The New York Times HELENE COOPER and JIM RUTENBERG April 28, 2007 01:23 PM

No foreign diplomat has had a closer relationship or more access to President Bush, his family, and his administration than the magnetic and fabulously wealthy Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia.

Prince Bandar has mentored Mr. Bush and his father through three wars and the broader campaign against terrorism, reliably delivering -- sometimes in the Oval Office -- his nation's support for crucial and sensitive Middle East initiatives requiring the regional legitimacy that Saudi help and approval brings, and keeping the United States apprised of Saudi regional priorities that might appear to be in conflict with United States policies. But now, current and former Bush administration officials are wondering if the administration's longtime reliance on Prince Bandar has begun to outlive its usefulness.


US Rebuilt Iraq Projects Are Crumbling

The New York Times JAMES GLANZ April 28, 2007 01:12 PM
In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.
The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success -- in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections -- were no longer working properly.
Touted as success stories, many reconstruction projects now failing
Andrew BielakPublished: Saturday April 28, 2007
In a report that deeply contradicts repeated claims from officials that reconstruction in Iraq have seen remarkable progress, a federal oversight agency has found that among eight projects previously touted as sucesses in the rebuilding effort, a remarkable seven are no longer operating as intended.
While in previous cases, the administration admitted that certain projects had been abandoned due to various security and maintenence issues, this marks the first instance in which projects that had formerly been deemed sucessful were no longer functioning.
“These first inspections indicate that the concerns that we and others have had about the Iraqis sustaining our investments in these projects are valid,” said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., who leads the office of the special inspector general, adding that he ordered the inspections because he suspected that many of the projects had not been maintained and were in fact defunct.
Many of the operations are critical in the United States' efforts to reconstruct Iraqi society; they include a water purification system, an incinerator for medical waste at a maternity ward, and a set of electrical generators at the Baghdad airport.
In all seven cases, the project had previously been inspected and approved as functioning properly, with some of the inspections occuring as little as six months ago. "Curiously, most of the problems seemed unrelated to sabotage stemming from Iraq’s parlous security situation," the Times notes, "but instead were the product of poor initial construction, petty looting, a lack of any maintenance and simple neglect."
Rick Barton, co-director of the postconflict reconstruction project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pointed out that the lack of input given to Iraqis in a project can hinder their involvement in its upkeep. “What ultimately makes any project sustainable is local ownership from the beginning in designing the project, establishing the priorities. If you don’t have those elements it’s an extension of colonialism and generally it’s resented.”
Earlier efforts by Bowen to point out the problems with the projects proved fruitless, the Times reports, as both the Army Corps and reconstruction wing of the United States embassy in Baghad dismissed the concerns as overly meddlesome. Responding to earlier complaints, acting director of the embassy bureau William Lynch wrote that “Recommendations such as how much water to use in cleaning floors or disposal of medical waste could be deemed as an intrusion on, or attempt to micromanage operations of an Iraqi entity that we have no controlling interest over."

Hicks a Bumbling Wannabe, Says US

I wonder then, why he was kept 5 year in Gauntanamo, without any charges, without any legal defense, hmmmmm Georgie.

Gravel Won’t Be Buried

CNN, along with the local media co-sponsors, have announced that Mike Gravel will not be invited to their planned debate June in New Hampshire
Don't like the truth being thrown out there, in your so called debates, CNN

Friday, April 27th, 2007 in News by Eric Garris

Update: Video compilation of Gravel clips from debate at the bottom of this post.
I got a pleasant surprise watching last night’s Presidential debate.
The usual (and often scary) drivel spewed forth from the likes of Hillary and Barack, both trying to outdo each other in a show of superiority and arrogance. Most of the candidates gave their ideas for how they should run the lives of Iraqis and for how long it should continue. Only two came out for immediate withdrawal, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel.
Kucinich took a fairly strong antiwar position, as always. But I do have a problem with his call for other nations to take over the occupation of Iraq. Calling for continued occupation of Iraq by any foreign nation is not only wrong, but it can be easily used to justify continued US occupation if other nations are unwilling to do so. I also feel his delivery and persona are unimpressive and getting quite stale. (I know I will get some letters from fans, but that’s my opinion.)
Gravel, on the other hand, got the issues of war and peace exactly right.
“Some of these people [the other candidates] frighten me. When you have mainline candidates that turn around and say “there’s nothing off the table with respect to Iran. That’s code for using nukes, nuclear devices. I’ve got to tell you, if I’m President of the United States, there will be no preemptive wars with nuclear devices. In my mind, it’s immoral, and it’s been immoral for the last 50 years as part of American foreign policy.”
Moderator Brian Williams then asked Gravel who on this stage worries him so much. Gravel said the top tier candidates worried him.
Gravel first took aim at Joe Biden:
“Joe, you have a certain arrogance, you want to tell the Iraqis how to run their country. We should just play ‘get out.’ It’s their country, their asking us to leave, and we insist on staying there, why not get out. You hear the statement, ‘the soldiers will have died in vain.’ The entire deaths of Vietnam died in vain. You know what’s worse than a soldier dying in vain? More soldiers dying in vain.”
Gravel slammed fellow Democrats’ approach on continuing to fund the war:
Well, first off, understand that this war was lost the day that George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis. Understand that. Now with respect to what’s going on in the Congress, I’m really embarrassed. So we passed – and the media’s in a frenzy right today with what has been passed. What has been passed? George Bush communicated over a year ago that he would not get out of Iraq until he left office. Do we not believe him?
Gravel’s alternative:
How do you get out? You pass the law, not a resolution, a law making it a felony to stay there.
Make the illegal war actually illegal. That’s the ticket!
But the best moment came after Barack Obama said that Iran having nuclear weapons will be a major threat to the US: “They are in the process of obtaining nuclear weapons. I don’t think that is disputed by any expert.” (At this point, Kucinich interrupted that it is disputed.) Barak continued: “They are the biggest state sponsor of terrorism, with Hezbollah and Hamas.” Kucinich continued to interrupt. Obama then talked of the risk of nuclear weapons reaching the hands of terrorists.
Gravel (who happily was next in line) confronted Obama:
“We’ve sanctioned them [Iran] for 26 years. We scared the bejesus out of them when the President said they’re ‘evil.’ These things don’t work. We need to recognize them.”
Gravel continued:
“You know who the biggest violator of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is? The United States of America! We signed a pledge that we would be begin to disarm and we’re not doing it. We’re expanding our nukes. Who the hell are we going to nuke?”
“Tell me, Barack, who do you want to nuke?” Obama replied, “I’m not planning on nuking anybody right now (emphasis added). Gravel joked “Good, then we’re safe for awhile.”
Gravel also attacked the whole idea of a “war on terror.”:
“We are mischaracterizing terrorism. Terrorism has been with civilization from the beginning and will be there until the end. We’re going to be as successful fighting the war on terror as we have been with the war on drugs. It doesn’t work. What you have to do is to begin to change the whole foreign policy.” “This invasion brought about more terrorism. Osama bin Laden must have been rolling in his blankets, how happy he was, our invading Iraq.”
On another note, Obama totally reversed the impact of his recently quoted statement: “Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people.”
He explained that he had been quoted out of context.
“What I said was ‘Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region.”
Candidates were not given equal time, and the allocation seemed to be based on their standings in the polls. Clinton and Obama got the most. Gravel got the least amount of time, but used it well.
Gravel represented Alaska in the US Senate from 1969 to 1981. He was one of the most vocal Vietnam War critics.
In 1971, Gravel embarked on a one-man filibuster against legislation renewing the military draft. Using various parliamentary maneuvers, Gravel was able to block the bill for five months before President Richard Nixon and Senate Republicans agreed to allow the draft to expire in 1973.
Also in 1971, Gravel introduced most of the Ellsberg-leaked Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record after the White House got an injunction against the publication of them in the New York Times. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Gravel did not have the right and responsibility to share official documents with his constituents.
I spent some time with Gravel 36 years ago and was very impressed. I was happy to see him on the podium after so long. Kucinich is great (and of course Ron Paul is my hero), but Gravel was a wonderful surprise. I hope they keep him in the debates through the end.
The New York Times has a pretty good article about Gravel’s performance.
You can watch the debate on the Web or you can read the transcript.
CNN, along with the local media co-sponsors, have announced that Mike Gravel will not be invited to their planned debate June in New Hampshire. Fox News has also announced that Ron Paul will not be included in their upcoming Republican debate.

Impeach Cheney Now!:

CLICK HERE TO ask your Congress Member to support impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney.

The puppet who cleared the way for Iraq's destruction:

Andrew Cockburn: Paul Wolfowitz must bear a large part of the responsibility that is usually laid at the door of his superior alone.


McCain Wimps On Iraq Occupation Funding Bill:

Missing from the vote were GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both staunch advocates of the president's Iraq policy. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., sided with Republicans in opposing the bill.


A Must Watch:

Tell Us The Mission (Accomplished):

3 Minute Video


U.N. report and Times data paint grim Iraq picture:

Academics are being assassinated, prisoners are being tortured, women are being murdered by their own families in so-called "honor killings," and civilians continue to be cut down by rampant violence, the United Nations said today in a report painting a grim picture of life in Iraq.


Knee-deep blood in the land of make-believe

Isn't that the truth?
By Carla Binion

A nation that doesn't care enough about the truth to investigate tenaciously and impeach Bush and Cheney if the probe warrants, is a nation divorced from reality and conscience.

Don't Fire Gonzales

by Greg PalastWednesday, April 25, 2007
Before President Bush fired his sorry ass, US Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, in a last sad attempt to suck up to his Republican padrones, allowed his chief mouthpiece, Norm Cairns, to speak with me. He shouldn’t have.
That was two years back, while I was investigating strange doings in New Mexico and Arizona, where, simultaneously, state legislators, Republicans all, claimed they had evidence of “voter fraud.” Psychiatrists call this kind of mutual delusional behavior folie a deux. I suspected something else: I smelled Karl Rove.
In the New Mexico legislature, a suburban Albuquerque political hackette, Justine Fox-Young (her real name), claimed to have “several” specific cases of vote identity rustling. Like Joe McCarthy waving his list of “Communists,” she waived documents of “evidence” of illegal voting on the floor of the Legislature. I called Ms. Fox-Young and asked her to send me the papers.
The “evidence” never arrived. Maybe her fax machine was broken. I called Justine.
Q. Justine, you’ve uncovered criminals! Did you turn their names over to the US Attorney?
A. Well, no, but someone did.
Whose initials are Karl Rove?
She swore to me that US Attorney Iglesias would back up her story: he was investigating the evil voters and was about to indict them.
So I got Iglesias’ guy Norm on the phone. Was Iglesias prosecuting, or actively investigating, one single real case of voter fraud?
Norm went into a lengthy swirly-whirly river of diving, ducking bullshit. I dove in.
Me: In other words, you can’t back her story?
Norm: Well, yeah, uh, I guess you’d say that’s true.
I guess I will say that, Norm. Fox-Young had just plain made it up; fibbed, lied, faked the evidence.
There was a multi-state con in operation. But what was it? Each of these bogus claims of voter fraud was attached to a sales pitch for a state law to tighten voter ID requirements — to prevent these ne’er-do-wells from voting twice. In Arizona, one crack-pot Republican legislator, the Hon. Russell Pearce, claimed he had evidence that five million Mexicans had illegally crossed the border to vote.
The point: Rove knew that a “challenge” operation by the Republican Party, run from his office, knocked out 300,000 voters — mainly poor ones, voters of color. His crew wanted to hike that higher.
The notable thing about this crime of voter identity theft is that it doesn’t happen. You are more likely to encounter ballot boxes that spontaneously combust. I found cases of voters struck by lightening — but out of 120 million votes cast, I couldn’t find a dozen criminal cases of a bandit stealing someone’s identity to vote.
Since the Republicans couldn’t find such criminals, they had to make them up. Force prosecutors to bring false charges against innocent voters (one did just that in Wisconsin) or at least claim they were hot on the trail of the fraudulent voters.
Iglesias, though a Republican, wouldn’t bring bogus charges. And he wouldn’t lie about active investigations that didn’t exist except in Rove’s imagination.
That was his mistake.
Rove’s right-hand hit-man, Tim Griffin, added Iglesias to the hit list of prosecutors who were cut down on December 7, 2006.
Griffin himself, after the December 7 firings, was appointed by Attorney General Gonzales, at Rove’s personal request, to one of the newly-vacated slots as US Attorney for Arkansas. The sleeper cell of Rove-bot US attorneys is now in place to bless voter suppression games in 2008.
I’ve previously reported for BBC that Griffin was the Man in the Memos who directed the massive, wrongful purge of African-American soldiers in 2004 — the ‘caging’ list scam. Based on that expose, voting rights lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said, “Griffin and Rove should be in jail, not in office.” That, too is another story — But the important thing to pick up here is:
1. It’s all about the 2008 election.
2. It’s not about Gonzales.
We’ve been here before. Gonzales is getting Libby’d. Takes the bullet for Karl Rove and the White House. If you wondered why the Republican jackals like the sinister Senator Specter piled on Gonzales — it’s because they were told to.
These guys learned from Richard Nixon. In 1973, when Nixon was getting hammered over Watergate, he threw the Senate Committee his Attorney General, a schmuck named Kleindeist. Famously, Nixon’s own Rove, a devious creep named John Erlichman, told Nixon to leave the Attorney General, “twisting slowly in the wind.”
Rove and Bush are doing the Nixon Twist on Gonzales.
Look, I have no sympathy for Alberto the Doomed. He’s guilty of a crime I employed in racketeering cases: “Willful failure to know.” It’s a kind of fraud; Alberto was going way out of his way to not know what he had to know, that Rove and the President were toying with prosecutors.
Gonzales is their glove-puppet. Why fire him? The nation watches these hearings and wants to kill something. But why shoot the puppet? It’s time to fire the puppeteer. Eh, Mr. Rove?**********
This is based on “The Theft of 2008″ from the new, expanded edition of Armed Madhouse: From New Orleans to Baghdad - Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild, released this week by Penguin. Get it here.

Army Officer Accuses Generals of 'Intellectual and Moral Failures'

Source: Washington Post

Army Officer Accuses Generals of 'Intellectual and Moral Failures'

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 27, 2007; Page A04

An active-duty Army officer is publishing a blistering attack on U.S. generals, saying they have botched the war in Iraq and misled Congress about the situation there.

"America's generals have repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq," charges Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, an Iraq veteran who is deputy commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. "The intellectual and moral failures . . . constitute a crisis in American generals."

Yingling's comments are especially striking because his unit's performance in securing the northwestern Iraqi city of Tall Afar was cited by President Bush in a March 2006 speech and provided the model for the new security plan underway in Baghdad.

He also holds a high profile for a lieutenant colonel: He attended the Army's elite School for Advanced Military Studies and has written for one of the Army's top professional journals, Military Review.

The article, "General Failure," is to be published today in Armed Forces Journal and is posted at http://www.armedforcesjournal.com . Its appearance signals the public emergence of a split inside the military between younger, mid-career officers and the top brass.

Dear activists, colleagues, and friends,

It's almost May 1st. Who can forget the so-called "Mission Accomplished" from four years ago? Who can forget the pomp and circumstance, the primping and posturing in a staged photo-op built on the backs of those destroyed by the war. The mission has not been accomplished.
In honor of all those who have been killed, whose lives have been destroyed in this terrible war of choice, we have been working hard on a short film that will not let that horrific day go unnoticed.
Watch the film and spread it far and wide: http://tellusthemission.org/
We've also got a contest looking for what SHOULD have been on the "mission accomplished" banner. Submit your banner and the winning one will be on car bumpers all over the country! (You'll get some cool stuff too) For more details, and to enter:
The spoken word performance in the video was done by a wonderfully talented young man, Steven Connell, who's been in feature films on HBO, Showtime and MTV. He is a strong, creative, and articulate voice in reaching a young and diverse audience. We are grateful for his time and effort, and to Norman Lear who first found and called Steven to the attention of a wider audience.
Just days before this video and website was to go online, an American soldier serving in Afghanistan wrote an op-ed which has since stirred up a national debate. The soldier questioned why we do not lower the flag to half-staff when a soldier dies at war. We at Brave New Foundation were so inspired by his question that we decided to begin a petition to amend the US Flag Code.
Sign the petition to have flags lowered for a day each time an American service member dies at war:
Please forward this on far and wide -- to your friends, schools, churches, to any local television or radio. We must not let this day go unnoticed. We must make our voices and passions heard.
Robert Greenwaldand the Brave New Foundation team
P.S. We have been overwhelmed with your ideas, enthusiasm and support since we asked for your input on our future projects. We're carefully looking through everything, and will have more to share on my blog soon.

Bush to Democrats: do not 'test my will' on Iraq

Georgie go wank yourself, that's all your good for, Loser.

Source: AFP
Bush to Democrats: do not 'test my will' on Iraq 23 minutes ago

CAMP DAVID, United States (AFP) - President George W. Bush warned Democrats Friday not to "test my will" by passing new legislation on a US troop pullout from Iraq after he vetoes a bill passed by Congress this week.

Bush invited Democrats and leaders of his Republican Party to discuss a way out of their standoff soon after he strikes down the bill, which ties 124 billion dollars in war funds to a withdrawal that would start on October 1.

"And if the Congress wants to test my will as to whether or not I'll accept the timetable for withdrawal, I won't accept one," he told a news conference at his retreat in Camp David, Maryland, alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"So if they want to try again that which I have said was unacceptable, then of course I'll veto it," Bush said.

"But I hope it doesn't come to that. I believe we can work a way forward. And I think we can come to our senses and make sure that we get the money to the troops in a timely fashion," he said.

Link Here

Friday, April 27, 2007

Serving British soldier exposes horror of war in 'crazy' Basra

Terri Judd, Independent

A British soldier has broken ranks within days of returning from Iraq to speak publicly of the horror of his tour of duty there, painting a picture of troops under siege, "sitting ducks" to an increasingly sophisticated insurgency. "Basra is lost, they are in control now. It's a full-scale riot and the Government are just trying to save face," said Private Paul Barton...

continua / continued

One Unexploded Bomb Per Person

Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service

Close to a million unexploded bombs are estimated to litter southern Lebanon, according to UN forces engaged in the hazardous task of removing them. The United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) was created by the Security Council in 1978 to confirm an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and restore international peace and security. After the war last year it has a new job on its hands. Following the July-August war between Israel and the Hezbollah in Lebanon, UNIFIL enhanced its force and took on new tasks such as monitoring the cessation of hostilities and removing untold numbers of unexploded missiles, mines and cluster bombs...

The Apathetic American

Paul J. Balles, Atlantic Free Press

...UNICEF estimated that the sanctions against Iraq resulted in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5. Madeleine Albright said "we think the price is worth it." Americans don't give a damn! World Vision Canada reports that "more than two million Iraqi refugees are trapped in a cycle of poverty and fear." Americans don't give a damn! Evelyn Pringle wants "Americans to face the cold hard truth that nothing will be accomplished by allowing the daily carnage in Iraq to continue." Americans don't give a damn! Reuters reports that "Jordan and Syria begged the international community on Tuesday to help them shoulder the burden of some 2 million Iraqi refugees" Americans couldn’t care less! B'Tselem, The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories reports that 927 Palestinian children have been killed since 2000. Americans couldn’t care less!...

Spanish Judge Indicts 3 U.S. Soldiers


A judge indicted three U.S. soldiers Friday in the 2003 death of a Spanish journalist who was killed when their tank opened fire at a hotel in Baghdad. Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip DeCamp were charged with homicide in the death of Jose Couso and "a crime against the international community." This is defined under Spanish law as an indiscriminate or excessive attack against civilians during war. At the time of the incident, all were from the 3rd Infantry Division, based in Fort Stewart, Ga. Judge Santiago Pedraz asked U.S. authorities to notify them of the indictment...

continua / continued

State Dept Report: Terrorist Attacks Skyrocket 29% In One Year

McClatchy April 27, 2007 05:55 PM

A State Department report on terrorism due out next week will show a more than 25 percent increase in terror attacks worldwide in 2006 to over 14,000 - almost all of it due to incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Friday.

Based on data compiled by the U.S. intelligence community's National Counterterrorism Center, the reports says there were 14,338 terror attacks last year, up 29 percent from 11,111 attacks in 2005. Forty-five percent of the attacks took place in Iraq.


BBC News April 27, 2007 04:15 PM

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling said US generals had failed to prepare their troops properly and had misled Congress about the resources needed for the war.

Writing in the Armed Forces Journal, he said the US had repeated the mistakes of Vietnam and so faced defeat in Iraq.


Deputy Sec Of State Resigns...

ABC April 27, 2007 09:55 PM

A State Department press release late Friday afternoon said only he was leaving for "personal reasons." On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the "Pamela Martin and Associates" escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage."

Tobias, who is married, said there had been "no sex," and that recently he had been using another service "with Central Americans" to provide massages.

Tobias' private cell number was among thousands of numbers listed in the telephone records provided to ABC News by Jeane Palfrey, the woman dubbed the "D.C. Madam," who is facing the federal charges. In an interview to be broadcast on "20/20" next Friday, Palfrey says she intends to call Tobias and a number of her other prominent DC clients to testify at her trial.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Got to get away from the Slime in the White House for a couple of days, heading down to the coast. Sorry it is not that easy for River.

Wishing you a safe journey River, to wherever your destination will be. Peace

The Great Wall of Segregation...

River leaving Iraq, simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade her country. Can you imagine that Ameria?
Baghdad Burning
... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend..
…Which is the wall the current Iraqi government is building (with the support and guidance of the Americans). It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest 'Sunni' area in Baghdad- let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will 'protect' A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis.

The wall, of course, will protect no one. I sometimes wonder if this is how the concentration camps began in Europe. The Nazi government probably said, "Oh look- we're just going to protect the Jews with this little wall here- it will be difficult for people to get into their special area to hurt them!" And yet, it will also be difficult to get out.

The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn't enough, apparently- Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacious and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It's time for America to physically divide and conquer- like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today. This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of "Shia areas" and Shia out of "Sunni areas".

I always hear the Iraqi pro-war crowd interviewed on television from foreign capitals (they can only appear on television from the safety of foreign capitals because I defy anyone to be publicly pro-war in Iraq). They refuse to believe that their religiously inclined, sectarian political parties fueled this whole Sunni/Shia conflict. They refuse to acknowledge that this situation is a direct result of the war and occupation. They go on and on about Iraq's history and how Sunnis and Shia were always in conflict and I hate that. I hate that a handful of expats who haven't been to the country in decades pretend to know more about it than people actually living there.

I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn't know what our neighbors were- we didn't care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.
On a personal note, we've finally decided to leave. I guess I've known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?

Since last summer, we had been discussing it more and more. It was only a matter of time before what began as a suggestion- a last case scenario- soon took on solidity and developed into a plan. For the last couple of months, it has only been a matter of logistics. Plane or car? Jordan or Syria? Will we all leave together as a family? Or will it be only my brother and I at first?

After Jordan or Syria- where then? Obviously, either of those countries is going to be a transit to something else. They are both overflowing with Iraqi refugees, and every single Iraqi living in either country is complaining of the fact that work is difficult to come by, and getting a residency is even more difficult. There is also the little problem of being turned back at the border. Thousands of Iraqis aren't being let into Syria or Jordan- and there are no definite criteria for entry, the decision is based on the whim of the border patrol guard checking your passport.

An airplane isn't necessarily safer, as the trip to Baghdad International Airport is in itself risky and travelers are just as likely to be refused permission to enter the country (Syria and Jordan) if they arrive by airplane. And if you're wondering why Syria or Jordan, because they are the only two countries that will let Iraqis in without a visa. Following up visa issues with the few functioning embassies or consulates in Baghdad is next to impossible.

So we've been busy. Busy trying to decide what part of our lives to leave behind. Which memories are dispensable? We, like many Iraqis, are not the classic refugees- the ones with only the clothes on their backs and no choice. We are choosing to leave because the other option is simply a continuation of what has been one long nightmare- stay and wait and try to survive.

On the one hand, I know that leaving the country and starting a new life somewhere else- as yet unknown- is such a huge thing that it should dwarf every trivial concern. The funny thing is that it’s the trivial that seems to occupy our lives. We discuss whether to take photo albums or leave them behind. Can I bring along a stuffed animal I've had since the age of four? Is there room for E.'s guitar? What clothes do we take? Summer clothes? The winter clothes too? What about my books? What about the CDs, the baby pictures?

The problem is that we don't even know if we'll ever see this stuff again. We don't know if whatever we leave, including the house, will be available when and if we come back. There are moments when the injustice of having to leave your country, simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade it, is overwhelming. It is unfair that in order to survive and live normally, we have to leave our home and what remains of family and friends… And to what?

It's difficult to decide which is more frightening- car bombs and militias, or having to leave everything you know and love, to some unspecified place for a future where nothing is certain.

Jose Padilla and the Zucchini Prosecution

Mike Whitney

The case against Jose Padilla would be funny if a man’s life hadn’t been ruined in the process---but it has. The Bush administration has leapt from one absurd accusation to the next completely undisturbed by the glaring inconsistencies of their case. The prosecution’s objective is the same now as it was 5 years ago when the Chicago gang-banger was first arrested at O’ Hare Airport as an alleged "dirty bomber", that is, keep Padilla behind bars for the rest of his life. The government has no case against Padilla and they know it. He’s merely a lab-rat in their experiment to expand presidential powers. The Washington Post even admitted this in an article earlier this week, "Few Specifics Evident as Padilla Trial Nears" 4-23-07. Padilla had no nuclear material, no plan to attack apartment buildings, and no part in any terrorist conspiracy. It’s all baloney. In 5 years, the government hasn’t produced a shred of evidence that Padilla is guilty of anything.

Australia failing Kyoto targets

JOHN Howard's stance on climate change is in tatters with new figures confirming Australia will exceed the Kyoto Protocol emissions targets by the end of 2010.
Army in radiation leak 'cover-up'

SOLDIERS and civilian contractors were exposed to radioactive material in a dangerous leak that was kept secret from the public and forced the closure of a Brisbane army workshop for six months.

Iraq Showdown

Congress Approves Bill To Get Out Of Iraq…Sen Byrd: "President Has Failed In His Mission"…Sen Kennedy: "Time To End The Loss Of American Lives"…White House: "The President Will Veto"…Sen Biden: Bush "Making Such A Tragic Mistake In Vetoing"...Video: White House Press Conference Gets Heated…

AP ANNE FLAHERTY April 26, 2007 08:58 AM
A defiant Democratic-controlled Senate passed legislation Thursday that would require the start of troop withdrawals from Iraq by Oct. 1, propelling Congress toward a historic veto showdown withPresident Bush on the war.

The 51-46 vote was largely along party lines, and like House passage of the same bill a day earlier, fell far short of the two-thirds margin needed to overturn the president's threatened veto. Neverthe less, the legislation is the first binding challenge on the war that Democrats have managed to send to Bush since they reclaimed control of both houses of Congress in January.


Tenet Fights Back: "Disingenuous" Bush Admin Made Me A Scapegoat

CBS April 26, 2007 03:52 PM

Ex-CIA Director George Tenet says the way the Bush administration has used his now famous "slam dunk" comment -- which he admits saying in reference to making the public case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- is both disingenuous and dishonorable.

It also ruined his reputation and his career, he tells 60 Minutes Scott Pelley in his first network television interview. Pelley's report will be broadcast Sunday, April 29, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.


Bar association gives ex-U.S. attorney Lam 'prestigious' award

Source: NC Times

SAN DIEGO -- Carol Lam, one of eight former U.S. attorneys across the country whose dismissals have ignited a political firestorm and calls for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, has been named outstanding attorney of the year by the San Diego County Bar Association, the organization announced Wednesday afternoon.

Andy Albert, the association's immediate past president, said the decision to give Lam what the association calls its "most prestigious" award was not a political one.

"We just felt she was a great example of courage and dignity under fire," Albert said. "She really took the high road in her entire tenure. ... It was merely a recognition of the high-class way she represented herself and, as an extension, the legal community."


Rice Suggests She Won't Comply With House Subpoena

AP MATTHEW LEE April 26, 2007 09:11 AM

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she has already answered the questions she has been subpoenaed to answer before a congressional committee and suggested she is not inclined to comply with the order.
Rice said she would respond by mail to questions from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the Bush administration's prewar claims aboutSaddam Hussein seeking weapons of mass destruction, but signaled she would not appear in person.


Preventing Massive Water Transfers

Who owns what water? Canadian nonprofit associations worry about US corporations taking over Canada's water with NAFTA connivance, and the US government supports water privatization at home.

US Officials Exclude Car Bombs in Touting Drop in Iraq Violence

US officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians. Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional US forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims.

Despair Stalks Baghdad as Plan Falters
The Sunni extremists held responsible for these attacks seem to be making a mockery of the US and Iraqi security plan, which is now into its third month. So far, their surge seems to be having more effect than the American one.

Dying for W
Robert Parry writes: "The prediction of higher US casualties is already coming true, as al-Qaeda-connected terrorists and Iraqi insurgents adjust their tactics to kill the vulnerable Americans. On April 23, two suicide truck bombers rammed a US Army outpost near Baqubah, exploding two bombs that killed nine American soldiers and wounded 20 others."

Keith Olbermann | Republicans Equal Life; Democrats Equal Death?

Keith Olbermann delivers a special comment about Rudolph Giuliani's remarks at a Lincoln Day dinner in New Hampshire: "Rather than a reasoned discussion - rather than a political campaign advocating your own causes and extolling your own qualifications - you have bypassed all the intermediate steps, and moved directly to trying to terrorize the electorate into viewing a vote for a Democrat - not as a reasonable alternative and an inalienable right - but as an act of suicide."


Dealing With the Devil

Marc Ash writes: "The United States occupation of Iraq will end. The American armies like all occupying armies before them will leave Mesopotamia. This military action has no purpose other than the enrichment of private individuals exacting their will and lining their coffers with the blood of American service members, the Iraqi people and US taxpayer dollars."

White House Faces Sweeping Congressional Oversight

Congress took unprecedented action against the Bush administration on Wednesday, using its sweeping powers to vigorously pursue testimony and documents from key White House officials and agencies on issues that have mired the administration in at least a half-dozen scandals.

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