Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Iraq's children between despair and death

Truth About Iraqis
One in every eight children will not reach the age of five in Iraq. There are no oxygen masks, no medicines for such basic afflictions as diarrhea. There are no doctors in Iraq because the security situation under occupation is such that ALL doctors have been targeted by militia, foreign terrorists and the US military. "According to the report, Iraq’s child mortality rate has increased by a staggering 150 percent since 1990. Some 122,000 Iraqi children died in 2005 before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of these deaths were among newborn babies in the first month of life," says a report published by the US-based SAVE THE CHILDREN Organization. Consider Iraq's future when you weigh the above statistics to the fact that 60 percent of Iraq's population is comprised of children...

Boston Commemorates the Nakba: 59 Years of Colonialism and Genocide in Palestine

The New England Committee to Defend Palestine
For the past five years, Palestinians and their supporters have protested the "Boston Celebrates Israel" event held yearly by Zionists in Boston. As the crimes of "Israel" have been more exposed, it has become harder for Zionists to hold their celebration in the open. In the past five years, attendance for the celebration has dwindled from several thousand down to a few hundred people. This year, to avoid the political attention generated by holding their event in accessible public space, the organizers have moved the celebration out of Boston to Gillette stadium in the remote town of Foxboro, Massachusetts and renamed it "New England Celebrates Israel." (...) The creation of "Israel" in May of 1948 is called the Nakba (or 'catastrophe') by Palestinians. It is a time when more than 80% of the people of Palestine were driven from their land to make way for European settlers. We do NOT celebrate 59 years of racism, colonialism and land theft, the building of walls around human communities, military checkpoints, aerial bombardment, mass imprisonment, or the shooting of children. We say that the people of Palestine have rights: a right to all of their historic land, and a right to resist colonialism and systematic genocide...

We have none but patience ....

Faiza Al-Arji, A Family in Baghdad

...Millions of Iraqis fled its hell… This isn't our Iraq, the one we know, and love…. This is Bush's Iraq, and its gangs, spreading corruption, ruin, plundering, and killing, in Iraq against its people… And until the withdrawal of the occupation armies from Iraq is decided, these will remain to be our daily vocabulary; explosions, killings, plundering, theft, sectarian militias, displacing, and dividing…. Thus our days will continue to spin, until the occupation ravens will go out of Iraq…. And we have none but patience….
continua / continued

In Iraq, portraits of grief

Edmund Sanders, Times Staff WriterMay 11, 2007
Baghdad — FROM his cramped storefront in central Baghdad, Mazin Farouq gets a clear picture every day of what's going on in his country. Actually, he gets dozens.
Farouq, 37, runs a photo lab in the Iraqi capital, and he cherishes printing images of smiling subjects and celebrations. Graduations. Weddings. A baby's first steps. Even the occasional racy shots of a frolicking couple.
But these days most of his orders are daily reminders of Iraq's bloody civil war: memorial portraits of "martyrs" or grisly prints of the latest carnage — car bombings and torture victims.
The tiny photo shop is an open shutter onto Iraq's woes, and Farouq has reluctantly plunged into a somber new specialty.
"Almost all my work now is focused on martyrs," he said. "This job is my mirror to know what is going on in my country. And things are getting worse."
He held up a picture of a little girl with a stuffed animal at her feet and scanned the image into a 10-foot-long photo processor.
"This one just came in today. She was killed by a car bomb with her parents." He shook his head. "The photo is brand new. It was taken just a couple of days before she died."
He used to dote over each picture, sharpening contrast, adjusting light and finding the perfect tint for green grasses and blue skies. Now he's fixing the reds in a pool of blood.
The change, he said, began last year, with the increase in car bombs, death squads and gun fights. Instead of the usual orders to develop film shot at birthdays, get-togethers and soccer games, distraught family members poured into his shop carrying snapshots of recently killed relatives and requesting Farouq's help in creating memorial portraits.
At first the requests struck him as odd. Before he knew it, they became the mainstay of his business.
Some mourners seek simple enlargements to display at funerals. Others prefer elaborate collages, mixing pictures of the deceased with images of Islamic shrines or scenic landscapes. Some request a black sash draped over the top corner, others prefer colorful backgrounds of flowers, waterfalls or clouds. Most are finished with the victim's name and a short Koranic verse. After the funeral, the computer-generated portraits usually end up in the family home. "They hang the pictures on the wall to help them remember," Farouq said.
He works closely with Samir Abdul Munim, a Baghdad sculptor who now earns his living restoring damaged photos and, more recently, also creating memorial collages.
"With the increase in people dying, this work has increased, too," he said.
IN a studio above Farouq's shop, Munim scrolled through background options he offers customers. Shiites often request famous shrines, such as the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, or painted portraits of martyrs, such as Imam Hussein, the 7th century hero who was Ali's son and the prophet Muhammad's grandson. Sunnis lean toward scenes from Mecca.
One recent job started with a snapshot of a 3- or 4-year-old boy wearing an orange basketball tank shirt. He is seated proudly atop a plastic tricycle, his scraped knees hugging the sides.
Using computer clipart, Munim transported the child into a Disney fantasy world far different from the Baghdad he lived in. Mickey Mouse dances by a white picket fence. Donald Duck hangs from the handlebars while Dumbo soars overhead. "The Happy Martyr" reads the caption.
Munim doesn't know the boy's age or the circumstance of his death. It's too painful to delve.
"I don't ask about the details," he said. "I don't want to know."
Portraits may reflect the personalities of the deceased. A sunset might be used for a person who was not particularly religious. A person from Najaf might be pictured in front of one of the city's famous shrines.
Sometimes parents bring in military photos of sons killed in action, but ask that the uniforms be replaced with civilian clothes. If a religious person died before being able to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, the family may use the background collage as a way to symbolically fulfill that wish.
"It's a way of honoring those who have died," Munim said.
Memorial collages began to appear in Iraq in the 1990s, but were relatively rare. At first, they were created by cutting up photographs with scissors, arranging the pieces atop one another, and then taking a new picture. The portraits improved dramatically after the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein, when designers got easier access to new computers, digital equipment and software programs.
Farouq fell into the photo-processing business almost by accident. As a young Christian growing up in the southern city of Basra, he was imprisoned for three months by Hussein's regime for refusing to serve in the military. In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, his family moved to Baghdad when their home was destroyed by cluster bombs.
Farouq took odd jobs, working in a food factory and selling soap and perfume from a street stand, until a neighbor encouraged him to apply for an opening at a photo lab. By 2004, he had saved enough money to open his own business with some partners. (One of his partners is an Iraqi photographer who works for The Times' Baghdad Bureau.)
At first, Farouq's business boomed, despite the rise in violence after the U.S.-led invasion. Hussein's downfall had brought an end to economic sanctions and a surge in spending as Iraqis bought imported electronic goods, including telephones, satellite dishes and, fortunately for Farouq, cameras.
NESTLED off what was once Baghdad's busiest shopping avenue, Farouq was well positioned to take advantage. His processing machines ran 24 hours a day, and sometimes he was so busy he slept at the shop. He earned enough to get married, to a childhood friend from Basra. Last month they had their first child.
But like many other small- business owners in Iraq, Farouq found that life got harder as the U.S. occupation wore on and civil war began. By last year, sectarian fighting and government-imposed curfews had begun to cripple commerce. Business dropped 75% in 2006, he said.
Farouq still works six days a week, but the only steady business that doesn't involve death and destruction is the booming demand for passport photos. "Everyone is trying to leave Iraq," he said, shrugging.
He acknowledges that the memorial portraits can be depressing, but he doesn't dare turn customers away.
Nor does he reject clients who bring him rolls of film with gruesome images of explosions, fires or corpses. Most are victims or their relatives, seeking to document their suffering in hope of filing compensation claims with the U.S. military or Iraqi government.
Rarely do clients warn Farouq about the content of the film, he said, perhaps fearing he might reject the work. Usually it's not until he's inserted the amber negatives into his machine that the appalling images come into focus.
One recent job involved pictures of an Iraqi driver shot in his car by U.S. soldiers. Relatives said the shooting was a mistake. Another family needed evidence that their apartment building had been destroyed by a car bomb, but amid the pictures of debris was a decapitated body, an image that still haunts Farouq. The worst were pictures of a man tortured and killed with an electric drill.
"There are so many horrendous pictures," he said.
AT first, the images moved him to tears or turned his stomach. Now they've become oddly normal.
"It breaks my heart, but these things are becoming common."
The new reality of his work has been hard. Farouq once related closely to the happiness of the photos he processed. Now, with the images having turned gruesome, he tries to leave his work at the shop, seeking comfort at home with his wife and newborn. Like many Iraqis, he's trying to save money so he can leave the country. He hopes to open a photo lab someplace less stressful.
"I worry how this is affecting my psyche," Farouq said. "These images are imprinted on my mind."
continua / continued

Blair’s legacy: Militarism abroad, social devastation at home

World Socialist Web Site Editorial statement, Via Axis of Logic
...Earlier today we heard Tony Blair state on NPR, "Hand on my heart, I thought I was doing the right thing [invading Iraq]." We say, "Tell that to a million Iraqi dead, their families; many more who have been physically and mentally disabled, families destroyed ... lives counted as rubbish by the invader-occupiers. Like George Bush and the neocons behind him, if justice is served, they will one day be held accountable for their war crimes. The international anti-war movement will do everything in its power to doggedly hold their crimes over their heads until their very last days on earth. Their victims and our responsibility as human beings insist on nothing less...

Cheney: "We didn't get elected to be popular"

Vice President Dick Cheney, appearing on Fox News as nearly 200 members of Congress voted to begin withdrawing from Iraq in 90 days and the press reveled at news that a group of moderate Republicans had confronted the president about the war:
"We didn't get elected to be popular. We didn't get elected to worry just about the fate of the Republican Party. Our mission is to do everything we can to prevail on what is now, we believe, a global conflict, a fundamental test of the character of the American people, whether or not we're going to be able to prevail against one of the most evil opponents we've ever faced. And on our watch, we're going to do absolutely everything we can to see to it that we do succeed and that we do prevail in that conflict, and sometimes that means that we don't do well in the polls or people want to be critical. That's their prerogative. But we sit there every morning and read the intelligence reports in the Oval Office and we know what's happening out there. We know how committed our adversaries are to try to get at us. And we've done what we thought was right for the country."
Asked how he feels about being portrayed as a "sinister figure, as this coldblooded warmonger who doesn't care about the number of body bags going back," Cheney said: "Well, obviously, any casualty is to be regretted. Nobody likes to be in the position where they have to make those kinds of decisions." Then he made it clear that the buck stops ... well, not with him. "Obviously," Cheney said, "the president bears the major part of the burden. He's the man with the authority to commit the force."
-- Tim Grieve

Colleagues Cite Partisan Focus by Justice Official

Two years ago, Robin C. Ashton, a seasoned criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, learned from her boss that a promised promotion was no longer hers. "You have a Monica problem," Ms. Ashton was told, according to several Justice Department officials. Referring to Monica M. Goodling, a 31-year-old, relatively inexperienced lawyer who had only recently arrived in the office, the boss added, "She believes you're a Democrat and doesn't feel you can be trusted."

Gagging Order as Two Are Jailed for Leaking Blair-Bush Memo


A spokesman for the Stop the War Coalition condemned the prison sentences, adding: "While not a single government minister has been held to account for the disastrous policy of war in Iraq, two men are imprisoned for trying simply trying to shed some light on Tony Blair's relationship with George Bush."
He added: "The prison sentences are another sign of the double standards perpetrated in relation to the war."
An Old Bailey judge yesterday imposed gagging orders on the media after jailing a civil servant and a Labor MP's researcher for disclosing the minutes of a meeting between Tony Blair and George Bush about Iraq.
By Kevin Maguire And Andy Lines 22/11/2005
PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.
But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.
A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency
The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.
A source said last night: "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush.
"He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.
"There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do - and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."
A Government official suggested that the Bush threat had been "humorous, not serious".
But another source declared: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men.">>>CONT

Unsynchronized spinning

That meeting in which moderate Republicans told the president this week that he's risking the future of the Republican Party by sticking to his guns on Iraq?
Here's how White House spokeswoman Dana Perino spun it in an interview with CNN's Paula Zahn last night: "They expressed displeasure to the president. They expressed frustration, because of a lack of progress. The president understands that. He's right there with them on that. And I think that, if you look at our party, we are ones that like a frank exchange of views. We have a big tent. And discussions like this are OK. They're good to have. And that's why the president was very happy to have them at the White House."
Yep, he was frickin' overjoyed all right -- and happier still to have word of the meeting leaked to the press. From today's Washington Post: "White House political adviser Karl Rove, furious that Republican moderates had divulged a confrontational meeting they had on Tuesday with Bush on the war, started yesterday with an angry conversation with the meeting's organizer, Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.), according to several GOP lawmakers. Dan Meyer, the White House's chief lobbyist, called the other participants to express the administration's unhappiness."
-- Tim Grieve

Benchmarks and consequences

Sometimes, it's hard to keep up:
George W. Bush, Jan. 10, 2007: In a speech to the nation, the president declares: "A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced."
George W. Bush, Jan. 13, 2007: "America will hold the Iraqi government to benchmarks it has announced ... These are strong commitments. And the Iraqi government knows that it must meet them, or lose the support of the Iraqi and the American people.
Stephen Hadley, Jan. 23, 2007: Asked whether the president will set forth in his State of the Union address the consequences to be suffered if Iraqis don't meet the benchmarks set for them, the national security advisor says: "This has been a topic of conversation for the last two weeks, about linking and consequences for benchmarks. I think the Iraqi political system, the democracy you have on the ground there, as well as the democracy here, demonstrates that there will be consequences if these benchmarks are not met."
Condoleezza Rice, April 29, 2007: Asked whether the president will accept "any kind of conditions" on continued funding for the war in Iraq, the secretary of state says: "Why tie our own hands in using the means that we have to help get the right outcomes in Iraq? And that's the problem with having so-called consequences for missing the benchmarks."
Dick Cheney, May 10, 2007: Asked about the possibility of attaching consequences to benchmarks, the vice president says: "I'm always a little puzzled when we talk about consequences. I mean, these people, you've got to remember the consequences that the Iraqis have been faced with. I mean, in terms of casualties, they've suffered far more than we have ... So when we talk to them about consequences in some kind of bureaucratic sense or threatening them with a cutoff of funds, for example, if they don't do A, B and C, it strikes me as, you know, that's Washington talk but it may not have all that much relevance on the ground out there."
George W. Bush, May 10, 2007: Asked if he's willing to accept any consequences for benchmarks in the war-funding bill, the president says he's in favor of ... benchmarks: "One message I have heard from people from both parties is that the idea of benchmarks makes sense. And I agree. It makes sense to have benchmarks as a part of our discussion on how to go forward."
Tony Snow, May 10, 2007: Asked whether the president believes that there ought to be consequences for failing to meet any benchmarks that might be set, the White House press secretary says: "I'm not even going to bite on that."
-- Tim Grieve

Playing Politics With the Iraq War Brings Out the Worst in the Duopoly

The 2008 elections for Congress and the presidency seem to be the dominant domestic factor in determining the outcome of the Iraq War. The Democrats are using the war to position themselves to win the presidency and expand their majority. The Republicans are trying to keep their base happy until it is too late for incumbents to be challenged. And, the president is using his veto power to show he is still the "decider" not Congress. One thing both parties agree on — blame the Iraqis rather than take responsibility for a catastrophic quagmire. The leadership of both parties are complicit in supporting the war...

World Bank Board Majority Want Wolfowitz to Resign

A majority of countries on the World Bank board believe Paul Wolfowitz should resign as president of the World Bank, bank board sources from both rich and developing nations said on Friday.

Ahhhhhhhh, now that would definitely be MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

*John Howard goes to Hell*
While on his morning walk, Prime Minister John Howard falls over,
has a heart attack and dies because the accident and emergency ward
at his nearest hospital is too understaffed to treat him in time.

So his soul arrives in Heaven and he is met by Saint Peter at the
Pearly Gates. "Welcome to Heaven," says Saint Peter, "Before you
settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a Liberal
around these parts, so we're not sure what to do with you." "No
problem, just let me in; I'm a good Christian; I'm a believer," says
the PM. "I'd like to just let you in, but I have orders from God
Himself. He says that since the implementation of his new
HEAVENCHOICES policy, you have to spend one day in Hell and one day
in Heaven. Then you must choose where you'll live for
eternity." "But I've already made up my mind. I want to be in
Heaven," replies Howard. "I'm sorry ... but we have our rules,"
Peter interjects. And, with that, St. Peter escorts him to an
elevator and he goes down, down, down ... all the way to Hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a lush golf
course. The sun is shining in a cloudless sky. The temperature is a
perfect 22 degrees. In the distance is a beautiful club-house.
Standing in front of it is Bob Menzies and thousands of other
Liberals luminaries who had helped him out over the years --- Harold
Holt, John Gorton, Bill McMahon, etc. The whole of the Liberal Party
leaders were there ... everyone laughing, happy, and casually but
expensively dressed. They run to greet him, to hug him and to
reminisce about the good times they had getting rich at the expense
of 'suckers and peasants.' They play a friendly game of golf and
then dine on lobster and caviar.

The Devil himself comes up to Howard with a frosty drink, "Have a
tequila and relax, John!" "Uh, I can't drink anymore, I took a
pledge," says Howard, dejectedly. "This is Hell, son. You can drink
and eat all you want and not worry and it just gets better from
there!" Howard takes the drink and finds himself liking the Devil,
who he thinks is a really very friendly bloke who tells funny jokes
like himself and pulls hilarious nasty pranks, kind of like the ones
the Liberals pulled with the GST and the Free Trade Agreement

They are having such a great time that, before he realises it, it's
time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and waves as Howard steps
on the elevator and heads upward. When the elevator door reopens,
he is in Heaven again and Saint Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's
time to visit Heaven," the old man says, opening the gate.

So for 24 hours Howard is made to hang out with a bunch of honest,
good-natured people who enjoy each other's company, talk about
things other than money and treat each other decently. Not a nasty
prank or short-arse joke among them. No fancy country clubs here
and, while the food tastes great, it's not caviar or lobster. And
these people are all poor. He doesn't see anybody he knows and he
isn't even treated like someone special!

"Whoa," he says uncomfortably to himself. "Bob Menzies never
prepared me for this!" The day done, Saint Peter returns and says,
"Well, you've spent a day in Hell and a day in Heaven. Now choose
where you want to live for eternity." With the 'Deal or No Deal'
theme playing softly in the background, Howard reflects for a minute
... then answers: "Well, I would never have thought I'd say this --
I mean, Heaven has been delightful and all -- but I really think I
belong in Hell with my friends."

So Saint Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down,
down, all the way to Hell. The doors of the elevator open and he is
in the middle of a barren scorched earth covered with garbage and
toxic industrial wasteland, kind of like the eroded, rabbit and fox
affected Australian outback. He is horrified to see all of his
friends dressed in rags and chained together, picking up the
roadside rubbish and putting it into black plastic bags. They are
groaning and moaning in pain, faces and hands black with grime.

The Devil comes over to Howard and puts an arm around his shoulder.
"I don't understand," stammers a shocked John, "Yesterday I was here
and there was a golf course and a club-house and we ate lobster and
caviar and drank tequila. We lazed around and had a great time. Now
there's just a wasteland full of garbage and everybody looks
miserable!" The Devil looks at him, smiles slyly and purrs,
"Yesterday we were campaigning; today you voted for us!"

Impeach Bush or Get Rid of the Impeachment Clause.

Lindorff has nailed it!
Shooter wants to do it again!
As acting president Cheney has already manipulated America into an illegal invasion of a country not threatening us.
Now - yesterday - still as acting president, he is trying to commit the USA - that's US! - to attacking another country not threatening us! He continues to validate Article III of Kucinich's Impeachment bill H Res. 333!
The S.O.B. is a serial war criminal and ought to have been impeached already! Call your Representative today (202) 225-3121 and tell him how Shooter is driving, without either license or registration.
Posted by Vigilante to ReBelle Nation at 12/5/07 11:20 AM

US general asks for more troops in northern Iraq

The Guardian Suzanne Goldenberg May 12, 2007 02:51 PM
The commander of US forces in northern Iraq said yesterday that he did not have enough troops to bring stability, sharpening the debate in America about the effectiveness of George Bush's war plan.
Major General Benjamin Mixon told a video press conference that his region was a haven for militants fleeing a crackdown by US forces in Baghdad, and that the local Iraqi authorities were virtually non-functioning. "I am going to need additional forces in Diyala province to get the situation there to an acceptable level," he said. There are 3,500 troops in the region.

Political Violence In Pakistan Leaves Dozens Dead

AP ZARAR KHAN May 12, 2007 01:30 PM
Government supporters and opponents turned neighborhoods of Pakistan's largest city into battlegrounds Saturday, leaving at least 27 people dead in the worst political violence since President Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended the chief justice.
The justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, flew to Karachi to attend a rally organized by his supporters but never made it out of the airport. He abandoned his plans in the face of street battles across the sprawling city.

Retired General: Iraq Strains National Guard

AP May 12, 2007 12:23 PM
The National Guard isn't as strong as it should be because of the war in Iraq and American communities will suffer as a result, retired Air Force Gen. Melvyn Montano said Saturday.
Delivering the Democrats' weekly radio address, Montano said the strain means it will take longer for Greensburg, Kan., to recover from a devastating tornado that leveled the town a week ago.

Four US Soldiers Killed in Iraq Attack, Others Missing

AP May 12, 2007 08:25 AM
An attack on a unit of U.S.-led forces patrolling outside the Iraqi capital before dawn left five soldiers dead and three missing, the military said.
The attack on the patrol of seven U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter soldier occurred near Mahmoudiya, in a Sunni insurgent stronghold about 20 miles south of Baghdad, the military said.
Troops were searching for the three missing soldiers, the military said.
Seven US soldiers and an Iraqi army interpreter came under attack Saturday morning during a patrol of a Sunni insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad, leaving five dead and three missing, the military said.

Billions Of Dollars In Oil Money Missing In Iraq

The New York Times JAMES GLANZ May 12, 2007 08:33 AM
Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq's declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report.
Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.

Who Are the 59 Democrats Who Voted Against the Iraq Withdrawal Bill?

Published on Friday, May 11, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
Who Are the 59 Democrats Who Voted Against the McGovern Bill?
by Robert Naiman
Thursday the House voted on a slightly revised version of the McGovern bill. It would have mandated the beginning of withdrawal (”redeployment”) of U.S. forces from Iraq within 90 days and completion of the withdrawal (”redeployment”) of most U.S. forces from Iraq within 180 days after thatThe bill was defeated 171-255. 59 Democrats joined almost all Republicans in voting no.
The roll call is here:http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll330.xml
Who are these 59 Democrats?
One striking fact is that 13 of them represent districts that were carried by John Kerry in 2004. Here they are: >>>cont


Posted: Friday, May 11, 2007 8:06 AM
By NBC News' Iqbal Ahmed in Kandahar, Afghanistan and Carol Grisanti, NBC News Producer in Kabul, Afghanistan
"I expected NATO forces to apologize to me. They never came; no one ever came. They killed my son," said Akhtar, his voice faltering as he recounted the night of March 4 when his youngest son, Faiz, 25, was shot and killed by NATO troops on a well-traveled road in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
"A NATO convoy was parked alongside of the road with full headlights blinding the oncoming traffic," said Akhtar. "My son would not have known what to do, because he would have been blinded by the lights. Eyewitnesses told me the soldiers fired into his car, then took him from the car and shot him over and over again. His body had more than 30 bullet wounds from his head down to his legs. How can a father bear this?" asked Akhtar, who goes by one name as is common in Afghanistan, and whose eyes, by now, were brimming with tears.

New charges filed against former top CIA official, defense contractor (Foggo and Wilkes)

Published: May 11, 2007SAN DIEGO: New charges have been filed alleging that the CIA'sformer No. 3 official used his influence in that role to support aproposed $100 million (€74.15 million) government contract for hisbest friend, a defense contractor, in return for lavish vacations,private jet flights and a lucrative job offer.
The indictment, returned Thursday by a federal grand jury in SanDiego, supersedes charges brought in February against career CIAman Kyle "Dusty" Foggo and defense contractor Brent Wilkes. Thecharges grew from the bribery scandal that landed former U.S.Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham in prison.
The pair now face 30 wide-ranging counts of fraud, conspiracyand money laundering.
According to the new indictment, Foggo provided Wilkes with"sensitive, internal information related to our national security,"including classified information, to help him prepare proposals forproviding undercover flights for the CIA under the guise of a civilaviation company and armored vehicles for agency operations.Foggo allegedly then pushed his CIA colleagues to hire Wilkes'companies without disclosing their longstanding friendship.

Gates Contradicts Bush, Says 'I Don't Know' If 2002 War Authorization Is Still Valid:

During his questioning of Gates, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) noted that the authorization listed two purposes for the use of force: 1) to defend the United States against Saddam Hussein and 2) enforce U.N. resolutions against Hussein's government. Byrd asked Gates, since Hussein's government no longer exists

The War on Free Expression

By Stephen Lenderman
A play on Thomas Jefferson's words might be that "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience" to be denied their First Amendment rights to speak, write and otherwise communicate freely and openly without fear of recrimination in a state they want to remain democratic but won't without that right. Today our freedoms are jeopardized in an atmosphere of heightened fear with too few people aware how threatened their most important one of all is at a time there's risk they all may be lost without a concerted effort to save them.

Israeli Occupation Forces Shot Palestinian woman 'loses baby' :

A pregnant Palestinian woman lost her baby after being shot by Israeli occupation troops during an attack in the West Bank city of Nablus

The Death of Samir Dari: In Israel, Not All Blood is the Same:
The killing of an Arab is, after all, not the kind of event that makes headlines in Israel.

Jeremy Scahill Testifies in Landmark House Hearing on "Defense" Contracting:

There are over 120,000 private contractors currently deployed in Iraq and yesterday, a House panel put some of the harshest criticisms of this privatization of war into the congressional record for the first time.

U.S. House defeats Iraq war withdrawal bill

WASHINGTON, May 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday easily defeated a bill pushed by anti-war Democrats to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by early next year.
By a vote of 255-171, the House rejected legislation pushed by the "Out of Iraq" caucus that would have started U.S. combat troop withdrawals within three months. The Pentagon would have had six more months to finish the troop movement to effectively end the four-year-old war.

Iraqi Lawmakers Back Bill on U.S. Withdrawal:

A majority of members of Iraq's parliament have signed a draft bill that would require a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Iraq and freeze current troop levels.

Hidden History

The Other Side Of Suez
Documentary Film
Fear of dwindling oil supplies, a strategy of regime change, by-passing the U.N, and war based on suspect intelligence. Iraq 2003? No, Egypt 1956. Britain invades an Arab nation to overthrow a dangerous dictator. The Prime Minister predicts that a grateful population will welcome British troops with open arms. But he is wrong.
Click to view

This Perfect Storm Will Finally Destroy the Neocon Project

By Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Americans are sick of the unrepentant arrogance of this elite. But the realisation has come at a very heavy cost

One War Criminal Down, A Fistful to Go

Paul Craig Roberts
Many wonder why Blair destroyed his reputation and that of his country, put himself at risk of being hauled before the International Criminal Court, and squandered his time as prime minister providing cover for George Bush's war of aggression. The answer must be money. We will see which US corporate boards take Blair as a director and which groups pay him six-figure honorariums for speeches.

Impeach Bush or Get Rid of the Impeachment Clause

By Dave Lindorff
What is it about impeachment that has the Democratic Party leadership so frightened?

Amnesty International Increases Support for Abortion Rights

Amnesty International - a human rights group that had previously remained mostly neutral on abortion - has released a new policy on sexual and reproductive rights that increases the organization's support for abortion rights.

The Globalization of Electronic Election Theft

From Ohio and California to Scotland and France, the disputes surrounding electronic voting machines have gone truly global. E-voting machines have already been extensively studied and condemned by a wide range of expert committees, commissions and colleges. Now the secretaries of state in Ohio and California are subjecting e-voting to still more official review.

Rove Berates GOP Members

Top Bush administration officials lashed out at a pair of House Republicans at the White House yesterday after details about a contentious meeting between President Bush and GOP legislators were leaked to the media earlier this week. The confrontations are the latest indications of an intensifying rift between Bush and Congressional Republicans.

Pentagon Moved to Fix Iraqi Media Before Invasion

In the run-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon planned to create a "Rapid Reaction Media Team" (RRMT) designed to ensure control over major Iraqi media while providing an Iraqi "face" for its efforts, according to a "white paper" obtained by the independent National Security Archive.

Time to Undo Iraq Mistake

Richard Clarke, former national security adviser to four presidents including President Bush, said the United States will deal with Iraqi "revenge terrorists" on American soil for the remainder of his years and for the lifespans of many who attended his Clark College appearance on Monday evening. "Al-Qaida terror cells have multiplied much faster since the 9/11 terror attacks and subsequent American offensive in Afghanistan," Clarke said. "The United States let al-Qaida off the ropes to invade Iraq."

Pentagon Restricting Testimony in Congress

The Pentagon has placed unprecedented restrictions on who can testify before Congress, reserving the right to bar lower-ranking officers, enlisted soldiers and career bureaucrats from appearing before oversight committees or having their remarks transcribed, according to Defense Department documents.

Putin Is Said to Compare US Policies to Third Reich

Russian President Vladimir Putin obliquely compared the foreign policy of the United States to the Third Reich in a speech on Wednesday commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, apparently in an escalation of anti-American talk within the Russian government.

Israel’s holocaust-in-the-making against the Palestinians

Khalid Amayreh, thepeoplesvoice.org
Not a single day passes without a crime being perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army and/or paramilitary Jewish terrorists, otherwise known as settlers, against innocent and helpless Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. And in case a murder is not committed, a home is demolished, a school child is crippled by a Jewish sniper’s indifferent bullets, a farm is bulldozed, a grain field is torched, or a new colony is started on stolen Arab land seized at gunpoint from its lawful proprietors, all in the name of Jewish nationalism...
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Saturday May 12, 2007 5:46 AM
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Army will offer incentives to keep midlevel
officers as it faces another decade or so in combat around the world,
its chief of staff said Friday.
Gen. George Casey, who took over as the Army's chief just a month
ago, said the United States will “be in a period of conflict for, I believe,
another five or ten years.” And the Army, which has been stretched
and stressed by five difficult years at war, must be organized and
equipped to deal with that challenge, he said.
The general said he is not suggesting that the Iraq or Afghanistan wars
will last five more years. But Casey, who was the top commander in
Iraq until February, acknowledged that building a stable, self-governing
Iraq is a “long-term proposition.”
To stem a growing trend of critical future leaders leaving the service,
Casey said the Army will unveil a plan next week to give some captains
$20,000 to stay on. He said the Army also will increase opportunities
for officers to go to various graduate schools as another incentive
to stay in the military. The captains also would get a choice in duty
assignments. LinkHere

You Decide? I already have

An Iraqi who asked not to be identified had disclosed some of the US activities such as assassinations and bombings in markets that aim at sparking sectarian fighting among Iraqis so as to facilitate the partition of the country (...) The former collaborator said that the Americans have a unit for "dirty jobs." That unit is a mix of Iraqis, Americans, and foreigners and of the security detachments that are deployed in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. This unit doesn’t only carry out assassinations, but some of them specialize in planting bombs and car bombs in neighborhoods and markets. This unit carries out operations in which wanted people whom the American army does not want killed are arrested. The former collaborator said that "operations of planting car bombs and blowing up explosives in markets are carried out in various ways, the best-known and most famous among the US troops is placing a bomb inside cars as they are being searched at checkpoints. Another way is to put bombs in the cars during interrogations...

Scenes from the empire

Lenin's Tomb
Another day, another massacre in Afghanistan, another claim of irresponsibility. Interesting that this rolling wave of slaughter is going on precisely as the liberal media are trying to assure us that Blair was a great guy until he 'made a tragic error' over Iraq. Evidently fearing that the insurgency will spread and take on a fully national character, Karzai's pathetic warlord-gangster-puppet regime desperately wants to negotiate a ceasefire with the 'Taliban', but the masters prefer more head smashing. Intriguingly, one senior regime figure, the mass murderer General Dostum, reckons he can finish the Taliban off within six months by raising 10,000 of his notorious goons. I bet they take him up on that offer. Meanwhile, there's a great fuss about Iran allegedly backing the insurgents (again), but as Malalai Joya points out, Iran's supporters are embedded in the regime that America created...

Palestinian handicapped children forcefully homeless by Israel

Sabbah's blog
Where on earth would you expect to see a military forces going out at 5:30 AM to throw out 'handicapped children’ to the cold streets after snatching the kids out of their beds? ISRAEL, no where else! Believe it or not, the Israeli forces went out to demolish a centre for disabled children in east Jerusalem before the dawn on Tuesday. The Israeli forces claim that the centre had no license...
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The State of Gaza Strip Border Crossings

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued to close all border crossings of the Gaza Strip either completely or partially, excluding limited periods of eased restrictions. IOF have also continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians and goods. Even though IOF have allowed the entry of basic foodstuffs, medical supplies and other necessities into the Gaza Strip, the total siege imposed by IOF on the Gaza Strip has left disastrous impacts on the humanitarian situation and has violated the economic and social rights of the Palestinian civilian population. It has also paralyzed most economic sectors. According to UNRWA estimations, 4 out of each 5 persons live below the poverty line.1 Unemployment has also amounted to 40%.2 In addition, the living conditions in the Gaza Strip have further deteriorated with the non-payment of salaries for the public sector for more than one year as international donors have frozen aids provided to Palestinians and Israeli authorities have suspended the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) since March 2006. Moreover, the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip has severely impacted the flow of food, medical supplies and other necessities such as fuel, construction materials and raw materials for various economic sectors...

Wrecking Iraq: One Million Dead, 2 Million Wounded, 3 Million Displaced

MIKE FERNER, CounterPunch
Two elements are necessary to commit the crime of genocide: 1) the mental element, meaning intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, an 2) the physical element, which includes any of the following: killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births; or forcibly transferring children to another group. Considering that such clear language comes from a UN treaty which is legally binding on our country, things could start getting a little worrisome -- especially when you realize that since our government declared economic and military warfare on Iraq we've killed well over one million people, fast approaching two...
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The Good American

Scott Ritter, Truthdig
...I yearn for a time when "good Americans" will be able to stop and reverse equally evil policies of global hegemony achieved through pre-emptive war of aggression. I know all too well that in this case the "enemy" will only be emboldened by our silence, since at the end of the day the "enemy" is ourselves. I can see the Harvard professor shaking an accusatory finger at me for the above statement, chiding me for creating any moral equivalency between the war in Iraq and the Holocaust. You’re right, Mr. Dershowitz. There is no moral equivalency. In America today, we should have known better, since we ostensibly stand for so much more. That we have collectively failed to halt and repudiate the war in Iraq makes us even worse than the Germans...

Accident to bad

Surprised now isn't that just amazing, who would have guessed.

Billions in oil missing in Iraq, study finds
RAW STORYPublished: Friday May 11, 2007
"Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq's declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report," the NEW YORK TIMES is set to report on Saturday page ones, according to a copy of the story advanced to RAW STORY. Excerpts follow. #
Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.
The report does not give a final conclusion on what happened to the missing fraction of the roughly 2 million barrels pumped by Iraq each day, but the findings are sure to reinforce long-standing suspicions that smugglers, insurgents and corrupt officials control significant parts of the country's oil industry.
The report also covered alternative explanations for the billions of dollars worth of discrepancies, including the possibility that Iraq has been consistently overstating its oil production.
Iraq and the State Department, which reports the numbers, have been under relentless pressure to show tangible progress in Iraq by raising production levels, which have languished well below the U.S. goal of 3 million barrels a day. Virtually the entire economy of Iraq is dependent on oil revenues.

Rep Nancy Pelosi: As A Mother, I Am Devoted To Ending This War

We're waiting for that to happen, when is the question
Huffington Post May 11, 2007 07:16 PM
There are numerous reasons to end this war - the cost of lives and limbs, the cost in dollars, the cost to our reputation in the world, the cost to our military and National Guard - but it is as a mother, that I am most committed to ending this war, because war hits mothers in an especially painful and personal way. We cannot help but think of our fellow mothers as their young sons and daughters are sent off to war in Iraq - praying for their child's safety, anxiously awaiting a call, an e-mail, a letter - anything. The relief as their children return, or the utter devastation when their children never come home. We think too of the Iraqi mothers, who have lost their children, and whose children are growing up surrounded by warfare and destruction.
Women have always been the peacekeepers of our societies. When I became the first woman Speaker of the House this year, I was honored to assume this position and humbled by the responsibility it brought. Nothing in my life will ever compare to being a mother - not being a Member of Congress; not being Speaker of the House. But I am thankful that I have the opportunity to bring my experience as a mother to this position. When I traveled to the Middle East last month in search for diplomacy and peace, I was there as Speaker of the House. But I was also there as a mother, carrying Julia Ward Howe's message. When I cast my vote yesterday for an end to the war in Iraq, I did so as a Member of Congress. But my vote was also taken as a mother of five and grandmother of six. We will bring an end to this war because the world is not ours alone, but our children's as well. As the adage goes, we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. Let us heed the call of Julia Ward Howe and make this Mother's Day a Mother's Day for Peace, and as mothers, as daughters, and as families, bring an end to this war.

Simply Amazing what you can get away with if your an GOP Administration Puppet

Official Says "FBI Intrusion" Ended Coulter Voter Fraud Probe
Palm Beach Post May 11, 2007 08:13 PM
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter has been cleared of allegations that she falsified her Palm Beach County voter's registration and voted illegally -- this, after a high-level FBI agent made unsolicited phone calls to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to vouch for Coulter.
The caller wasn't just any G-man. According to PBSO documents, he was Supervisory Special Agent Jim Fitzgerald, of the FBI Academy's Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Va. -- the closest reality gets to the serial-killer catchers on CBS' Criminal Minds.

Republican Gala Pulls In Smallest Amount Of Cash In Years

CNN May 11, 2007 08:30 PM
President Bush helped raise $10.5 million for the national Republican Party at its annual gala on Thursday night, the smallest take in years for the event that came only months after the GOP lost control of both houses of Congress.
The Republican National Committee's spring fundraising gala hosted by the president raised $17 million last year, $15 million in 2005 and $14 million in 2003. When Bush was seeking re-election to the White House in 2004, the dinner brought in a record $38.5 million.
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