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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Moore Plans Unofficial North American Premiere Of "Sicko" In Michigan

AP May 26, 2007 04:55 PM
Michael Moore says he's planning an unofficial North American premiere of his documentary "Sicko" in Michigan to benefit the Antrim County Democratic Party.
The critical account of the U.S. health care industry, which was the talk of the Cannes Film Festival, will be shown June 16 in Bellaire, about 210 miles northwest of Detroit.
Quick Read

Army Bans Protesters From Cheney's Commencement Speech At West Point

The New York Times May 26, 2007 05:04 PM
A federal appeals court on Friday denied an organization permission to stage an antiwar demonstration on Saturday on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where Vice President Dick Cheney is to deliver the commencement address.
The court said the mere presence of the vice president does not turn West Point into a public forum and is not an "open invitation" to about 1,000 protesters who had hoped to march onto the campus.
Quick Read

FOCUS | What Congress Really Approved: Benchmark No. 1: Privatizing Iraq's Oil for US Companies

Now that is totally understandable, when trying to comprehend the democratic vote, on the supplemental bill they just passed
Retired Army Colonel Ann Wright says the supplemental bill

Congress passed to continue funding the Iraq war is really about "stealing Iraq's oil - the second largest reserves in the world. The "benchmark," or goal, the Bush administration has been working on furiously since the US invaded Iraq is privatization of Iraq's oil. Now they have Congress blackmailing the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi people: no privatization of Iraqi oil, no reconstruction funds."


Grieving Moms vs. Washington Pols

"The unspeakable suffering of the parents of dead soldiers stands in marked contrast to the maneuvering over the Iraq War now underway in Washington. There, George W. Bush appears quietly planning another escalation of the Iraq War - possibly doubling US combat troops by Christmas - and many members of Congress are frightened of the political repercussions if they stand up to him," says Robert Parry.

For Some Vets, No Way Out of the War Zone

The widow of an Afghanistan War veteran discusses her husband's Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which was magnified by his anticipation of deployment to Iraq and led to his death as a result of excessive police force.

Group Threatens to Sue Pentagon Over Military Role in Evangelical Festival

A scheduled three-day celebration of the US Air Force's 60th anniversary, sponsored in part by evangelical Christian organizations, has prompted a military watchdog group to threaten legal action against the Department of Defense.


100 this month Alone

Why am I Here fighting this illegal war and occupation? just ask Georgie

Bush's Amazing Achievement

By Jonathan Freedland
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic
by Chalmers Johnson
Metropolitan, 354 pp., $26.00
Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower
by Zbigniew Brzezinski
Basic, 234 pp., $26.95
Statecraft and How to Restore America's Standing in the World
by Dennis Ross
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 384 pp., $25.00
One of the few foreign policy achievements of the Bush administration has been the creation of a near consensus among those who study international affairs, a shared view that stretches, however improbably, from Noam Chomsky to Brent Scowcroft, from the antiwar protesters on the streets of San Francisco to the well-upholstered office of former secretary of state James Baker. This new consensus holds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a calamity, that the presidency of George W. Bush has reduced America's standing in the world and made the United States less, not more, secure, leaving its enemies emboldened and its friends alienated. Paid-up members of the nation's foreign policy establishment, those who have held some of the most senior offices in the land, speak in a language once confined to the T-shirts of placard-wielding demonstrators. They rail against deception and dishonesty, imperialism and corruption. The only dispute between them is over the size and depth of the hole into which Bush has led the country he pledged to serve.

Last December's Baker-Hamilton report, drawn up by a bipartisan panel of ten Washington eminences with perhaps a couple of centuries of national security experience between them and not a radical bone in their collective body, described the mess the Bush team had left in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating." The seventy-nine recommendations they made amounted to a demand that the administration repudiate its entire policy and start again. In the words of former congressman Lee Hamilton, James Baker's co-chair and a rock-solid establishment figure, "Our ship of state has hit rough waters. It must now chart a new way forward."[1]

So it comes as less of a surprise than once it might have to see Dennis Ross and Zbigniew Brzezinski—two further fixtures of the national security elite—step forward to slam the administration in terms that would, in an earlier era, have seemed uncouth for men of their rank. Neither Ross, who served as Middle East envoy for both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, nor Brzezinski, a conservative Democrat and cold war hawk, could be dismissed as Nation-reading, Howard Dean types. Yet in withering new books they both eviscerate the Bush record, writing in the tone of exasperated elders who handed over the family business to a new generation, only to see their successors drive the firm into bankruptcy. Both books offer rescue plans for a US foreign policy they consider to be in tatters.

"No one suffers more than their president and I do." Laura Bush

Iraq vet: 'My brain will not let go'

Story Highlights• A year after homecoming, young soldier still fighting war in his nightmares
• Bomb survivor Jefferson diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder
• He describes haunting nightmares about blast and feeling helpless
• Jefferson's also struggling for a $50,000 military insurance payment
Army Pfc. Johnathon Millican of Trafford, Ala., wrote on his MySpace page before he was killed in Karbala, Iraq: "You don't have to love the war but you have to love the warrior."

It takes one diviate to know another diviate, whose smirk does that remind you of

ICRC still seeking access to Iraqi-run prisons

Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday he was not optimistic about a breakthrough in talks with Iraqi officials to gain access to up to 20,000 people held in Iraqi-run prisons. The neutral humanitarian agency is already visiting some 17,500 people in Iraq who are detained either by American, Kurdish or British authorities, ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger said. The ICRC announced six months ago that it was close to an agreement with Iraqi authorities to allow its officials to visit inmates at Iraqi detention centres, where Sunnis have alleged inmates are tortured, but talks have dragged on. "We are still in negotiation about an agreement with them. It is the modalities of our visits which we have to negotiate with them," Kellenberger told a news conference...

The "Savior" has landed.

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

Very distressing piece of news on al- Jazeerah.net. Seems that the man in black, the turbaned, psychotic, farce called Muqtada al Sadr has returned as the Savior of Iraq. He made his appearance in Kufa and this is what he had to say to his "masses". "The Iraqi government and other forces are trying to help the Baathists to return. (Is this bad satire or what?). We would not allow the Baathists to return and I will try to stop that." When talking about other "sects" such as sunnis and christians. Note the following: "Conversion threats. Al-Sadr also promised to protect Iraq's Sunni and Christian minorities from hardline "Sunni" factions, or Nawasib, such as al-Qaeda, if US forces would allow his fighters to deploy. He said: "I received complaints from brother Sunnis and some Christians about the aggressions of the Nawasib. I am ready to defend them and will be a shield for them, although the occupier would not accept that...

Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday and delivered a fiery anti-American sermon in the holy Shiite city of Kufa. ``No, no for the devil. No, no for America. No, no for the occupation. No, no for Israel,'' he chanted at the start of his speech. The roughly 6,000 worshippers in the mosque repeated after him. Al-Sadr told the worshippers that ``the occupation forces should leave Iraq,'' and condemned fighting between his Mahdi Army militia and Iraqi security forces, saying it ``served the interests of the occupiers.'' Al-Sadr had gone into hiding in Iran four months ago at the start of the Baghdad security crackdown, but U.S. military officials said early Friday that he had returned to the holy city of Najaf, where he has a house.

Israel, US, and Egypt back Fatah's fight against Hamas

Dan Murphy and Joshua Mitnick, The Christian Science Monitor
Senior US officials in Washington on Wednesday promised ongoing military support for secular Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas amid his power struggle with Islamist Hamas as part of an $84 million aid package largely aimed at improving the fighting ability of an elite corps of loyalists from his Fatah Party. Israel, too, is making overtures to Mr. Abbas, reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Wednesday, allowing light arms to flow to members of his Presidential Guard and saying that it would allow some of the US training of his forces to take place in the West Bank. That policy puts the US and Israel on a highly unusual course in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: Four-square support for Fatah to contain, if not defeat, the growing power of Hamas, which won the Palestinian Authority's (PA) last election...

"I Don't Understand These People!"So You Thought They'd End the War

DAVID VEST, CounterPunch
Welcome to the Show, kid. The Democrats have "surrendered" on Iraq. Liberals are "shocked." And all the innocents who didn't know any better, didn't see it coming, feel "betrayed." Poor Duncan Black, better known as "Atrios," is nearly at a loss for words: "People hate Bush, hate Republicans, and hate this war," he protests, and yet the Democrats caved! "I don't understand these people," he wails. Precisely. Keith Olbermann, using the same tone of humorless, near-postal anger he uses in every commentary, no matter the topic, calls the Democratic rollover a "Neville Chamberlain moment."...
continua / continued
Iraqi church leaders say the country’s Christians are suffering immensely and have blamed the U.S. for what they describe as their "tragic conditions". They said their churches were being evacuated and monasteries occupied by U.S. occupation troops while cities like Basra and Baghdad were being emptied of Christians. "U.S. and Iraqi officials are responsible … They have insulted and humiliated our temples and churches," said Patriarch Amanuel Dali, the head of the Chaldean Catholic community in Iraq...

US, British forces battle Mehdi Army in Baghdad, Basra

Source: Reuters

BAGHDAD, May 26 (Reuters) - U.S. and British forces battled Mehdi Army fighters in Baghdad and the southern city of Basra after their leader, Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, made a rare public appearance and called on U.S. troops to get out of Iraq.

Five gunmen were killed in an air strike during a pre-dawn raid on Saturday in the cleric's Sadr City stronghold in Baghdad, the U.S. military said. A militant leader suspected of ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guards was captured.

In the southern oil hub of Basra, the British military said "a number" of militia fighters were killed in an air strike overnight after they attacked British troops with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machineguns.

The attacks were believed to be in retaliation for the killing of the top Mehdi Army commander in the city on Friday by British-backed Iraqi special forces, the British military said in a statement.

Police probe death of boy whose parents are in Iraq

"No one suffers more than their president and I do."
Source: Chicago Tribune

Calumet City Police are investigating the death of a 4-year-old boy who was found unresponsive in his bed by a man taking care of him while his parents are serving in Iraq, authorities said.


Iraq contractor sentenced for child porn (on Abu Ghraib prison network)

Source: Associated Press
By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press Writer

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A U.S. contractor who worked at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was sentenced to more than three years in prison Friday for possessing child pornography that he obtained using the prison's computer network.

Ahmed Hasan Khan, 31, of Woodbridge, had been working at Abu Ghraib for contractor L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. in November 2005 when a network administrator at the prison saw that Khan had been visiting suspicious sites. A search of Khan's laptop computer later found hundreds of child pornography images, including children as young as 4, officials said.

Khan apologized at Friday's sentencing hearing.

"I let my country down at a time when it needed its armed services the most," he said.

U.S. show of force in Gulf alarming: Afghan paper

Source: Reuters

KABUL (Reuters) - A U.S. navy show of force on Iran's doorstep is "greatly alarming" for the region and the United States risked a bloody quagmire if it invaded Iran, a state-run Afghan newspaper said on Saturday.

A large flotilla of U.S. ships entered the Gulf on Wednesday in a dramatic show of military muscle, adding to pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, which the West says are an attempt to develop atomic weapons.

Afghan officials say privately a U.S. attack on neighboring Iran would further destabilize Afghanistan where U.S. and NATO troops are fighting a resurgent Taliban.

The English-language Kabul Times, which reflects the U.S.-backed government's thinking, said Iran should drop its nuclear ambition and not be so stubborn.

Venezuela court orders TV seizure

By James Ingham
BBC News, Caracas
Venezuela's top court has allowed the government to take control of private TV transmitters as it prepares to replace commercial with state-run TV.
Radio Caracas Television, a station critical of the government, is being forced to stop broadcasting on its public frequency.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to protest against the decision this weekend.

Government supporters are planning a separate show of strength.

The court's decision will allow the Venezuelan government to demand that RCTV hands over its network of transmission sites the moment it comes off air.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Venezuela's RCTV has Long Record of Law-breaking

A lot of organizations and politicians have criticized Venezuela for refusing to renew the broadcasting license of Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV.

In a press release today, the Washington-based Venezuela Information Office says the history of RCTV should be considered by Venezuela's critics:

RCTV's history of noncompliance with federal broadcasting guidelines that predate the Chavez administration. Since 1976, RCTV has been fined or temporarily closed six times, including for airing pornographic scenes, cigarette advertisements, sensationalist programming, and tendentious news coverage. Additionally, in 2002 RCTV aired programming calling on the public to take to the streets and overthrow the democratically elected president, a feat that would surely be punished by jail time and charges of treason if tried in the U.S. Yet, the station has been allowed to continue broadcasting to this day.

Venezuela's National Telecommunications Commission, which operates exactly like the US FCC, ruled that RCTV's long history of unlawful acts warranted the decision to refuse to renew the license. Venezuela's Supreme Court upheld the decision.
Greenpeace posts leaked US objection to G8 climate statement

Big-city mayors across US compete for initiatives to combat global warming.
US Bluntly Rejects G8 Climate Draft

The United States has rejected Germany's bid to get the Group of Eight industrialized nations to agree to tough cuts in climate-warming carbon emissions, according to a draft of the statement to be presented at next month's meeting.

Nearly A Dozen Middle East Countries Aim For Nuclear Power

LA Times Bob Drogin and Borzou Daragahi, May 26, 2007 01:52 PM

As Iran races ahead with an illicit uranium enrichment effort, nearly a dozen other Middle East nations are moving forward on their own civilian nuclear programs. In the latest development, a team of eight U.N. experts on Friday ended a weeklong trip to Saudi Arabia to provide nuclear guidance to officials from six Persian Gulf countries.
Diplomats and analysts view the Saudi trip as the latest sign that Iran's suspected weapons program has helped spark a chain reaction of nuclear interest among its Arab rivals, which some fear will lead to a scramble for atomic weapons in the world's most volatile region.


Massive Swarm Of Bees Turn Back British Plane

Yahoo Asia News May 26, 2007 09:31 AM
A thick cloud of bees was sucked into the engine of a passenger plane en route to Portugal, forcing the airline to abandon the trip and grounding passengers for 11 hours, a company executive said Saturday.
David Skillicorn, managing director of Palmair, said the swarm was spotted off Britain's Bournemouth coast shortly before the Boeing 737 left on Thursday. "Some witnesses claimed there were around 20,000 bees," he said.

Scandal Creates Shortage Of US Attorney Applicants

McClatchy Newspapers Margaret Talev, Marisa Taylor and Lesley Clark May 26, 2007 02:41 PM
The Bush administration's decision to fire nine U.S. attorneys last year has created a new problem for the White House: The controversy appears to be discouraging applications for some of the 22 prosecutor posts that President Bush needs to fill.
Of the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys, 22 are serving without Senate confirmation as interim or acting prosecutors. They represent districts in Alaska, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, West Virginia and Washington.

Gonzales' Immigration Judges: Little Or No Experience But Strong GOP Ties

The LA Times Richard B. Schmitt May 26, 2007 08:07 AM
Over the last two years, U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales has appointed more than two dozen individuals as federal immigration judges.
The new jurists include a former treasurer of the Louisiana Republican Party, who was a legal advisor to the Bush Florida recount team after the 2000 presidential election. There is also a former GOP congressional aide who had tracked voter fraud issues for the Justice Department, and a Texan appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush to a seat on the state library commission.
One thing missing on many of their resumes: a background in immigration law.

They're All Barely Functioning

That's the only conclusion left. The Democrats get their dander up over presidential usurpation of power then cave. Is this because they are impressive negotiators? Is it because they know that come September, as John Murtha proposes, the incapacitated President will be putty in their hands? Not based on the latest compromise of epic proportions.
This benchmark plan does nothing other than give an inept President the time he needs to put more lives at risk in a "war" void of sophisticated strategy driven only by a refusal to be wrong in the face of insurmountable evidence to that very fact.
Astute negotiation does not involve hardball followed by immediate forfeit. There are tough stages and steps between the two. The latter is a last resort scenario or else the former is merely pretense. And that's where we're left. Regrettably the Democrats have proven again that when cornered they sputter then collapse. The smirk on George Bush's face right now is evidence enough of who is the victor. He is sitting in the catbird seat feeling quite superior. And, rightly so. The Democrats who seemed to be taking him to task are, as we've so often seen before, giving him what he wants - in spades.
All this talk about how bad it looks if they don't support the troops reveals their true focus. What looks bad isn't the issue. What is bad is. These people are rich but they're ignorant. Most are political puppets of polls rather than guided by solid values. I'm sick of the lot of them. Most people I know could do better with their eyes closed. Who are these charlatans? Didn't they hear what the generals have been saying? Who is deaf now? September - give me a break!
To End the Iraq War -- September Will Be Key
Today, I voted for both the $22 billion supplemental funding for domestic programs and the $98 billion supplemental funding for our troops in Iraq.
The Democrats in Congress have already sent a supplemental to the president that would have set benchmarks and timelines for the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.
Instead of demonstrating to the American people and the Iraqi Government that our commitment is not open-ended, the president vetoed our bill and refuses to recognize that this war cannot be won militarily.
Some have suggested that since the president refuses to compromise, Democrats should refuse to send him anything. I disagree. There is a point when the money for our troops in Iraq will run out, and when it does, our men and women serving courageously in Iraq will be the ones who will suffer, not this president.
Patience has run out and I feel a change in direction happening within the chambers of Congress. While we don't have the votes right now to change the president's policy, I believe that come September we will have the votes from both Democrats and Republicans to change policy and direction. In September, General Petraeus will report back on the progress of the surge, and Congress will take up both the $460 billion base defense appropriations bill and the $141 billion Iraq supplemental. The surge is not producing the results that were promised. And, based on my discussions with Iraqi Government officials, I don't believe they have the motivation to bring about the political and economic benchmarks agreed to. This is why September will be key.
We have lost 418 of our fellow Americans since the president announced his surge, and come September, with your help, we can convince my colleagues from across the aisle that enough is enough. For almost two years, I have tried diligently to redeploy our forces from Iraq, and I will not stop now.

US Rejects G8 Proposals For Tough Greenhouse Gas Measures

BBC News May 26, 2007 07:59 AM
The US appears to have rejected draft proposals by Germany for G8 members to agree tough measures in greenhouse gas emissions, leaked documents have shown.Wide-ranging US amendments to a draft communique prepared ahead of June's G8 in Germany summit cite a "fundamental opposition" to the proposals.
Germany wants all G8 members to agree timetables and targets for major cuts.
Greenpeace, who leaked the document, said it showed UK PM Tony Blair failed to persuade the US to alter its stance.

Turkish warplanes violate Iraq's northern airspace

Source: Voice of Iraq
Duhuk, May 24, (VOI)- A military source from Iraq's Kurdistan region said on Thursday two Turkish warplanes violated Iraqi northern Kurdistan airspace near the borders with Turkey.

"Two Turkish warplanes violated today the Kurdistan region airspace for a distance of ten kilometers inside the Iraqi territories," the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

The warplanes flew over Kurdish villages west of Zakho, the source added.
Meanwhile, local residents from villages on the borders with Turkey told VOI "12 artillery shells were fired from the Turkish territories onto the villages of Nazador and Gali Bazagha with no reports of casualties."

Lawsuit in outsourced U.S. war is moved out of court (Blackwater)

By Bernd Debusmann, Special Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After years of high-stakes legal wrangling, a lawsuit stemming from the gruesome deaths of four U.S. contractors in Iraq is moving behind closed doors in an action seen as an important precedent for the booming private security industry.
The suit, for wrongful death and fraud, was filed in January 2005 against Blackwater Security Consulting, one of scores of companies now fielding close to 130,000 civilians who work alongside the U.S. military in Iraq. Generally their contracts stipulate the contractors assume all risks -- injury, death, disability -- and waive their right to sue.
"This is a very important decision," said Jeffrey Addicott, a retired Special Forces lawyer and director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. "It is a recognition that the contract is iron-clad and that its terms absolve the company of liability. In future cases, this will be cited as a precedent."
But some legal experts see the removal of the Fallujah case from the judicial process as an ominous development.
"This may be a victory for the Blackwater legal team but it is a defeat for the principle of transparency," said Eugene Fidell, an expert on military law and president of the non-profit National Institute of Military Justice. "This means that the shadow army (of contractors) will slip even further into the shadows."


Wealthy Couple Charged With Slavery

Wealthy Couple Charged With Slavery
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (May 24) - A millionaire couple accused of keeping two Indonesian women as slaves in their luxurious Long Island home and abusing them for years have been indicted on federal slavery charges.

One of the women also told authorities they were forced to sleep on mats in the kitchen and were fed so little, they had to steal food.

The women legally arrived in the United States on B-1 visas in 2002; the Sabhnanis then confiscated their passports and refused to let them leave their home, authorities said. Identified in court papers as Samirah and Nona, the women said they were promised payments of $200 and $100 a month, but federal prosecutors said they were never given money directly. One of the victims' daughters living in Indonesia was sent $100 a month, prosecutors said.

They have since been cared for by Catholic Charities, according to a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

'Dr. Laura' asks for privacy while son is probed over lurid MySpace page

Source: LA Times
Radio talk-show host Laura Schlessinger is appealing to news media outlets to respect her son's privacy amid an Army investigation into whether he is behind a lurid personal Web page that featured cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation.

The posting on MySpace.com drew the Army's attention after the Salt Lake City Tribune reported this month that the Web page was credited to and included photos of Deryk, the 21-year-old son of the outspoken radio personality known to millions as "Dr. Laura." She can be heard locally on KFI-AM (640).

According to the Tribune, the Web page, which has since been taken down, included a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee, accounts of illicit drug use and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.

Laura Schlessinger's publicist issued a statement Thursday stating that the Army "is investigating who is the actual author of the MySpace website." Army spokesmen in Afghanistan, where Deryk reportedly is stationed, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Check out this photo under Graphic Photo of Deryk Schlessinger - disturbing. http://grannygeek.us/?p=1271

Good For You

CNN: Young officers leaving service at 'alarming' rate

David Edwards and Muriel KanePublished: Friday May 25, 2007
CNN reported on Friday about the "alarming number" of mid-level army officers leaving the military as soon as they complete their initial commitment, many of them citing family reasons and multiple deployments. The army has been forced to offer new incentives for re-enrolling, including bonuses and extra training.

The percentage of career officers deciding not to stay in the military is the highest it has been since the Vietnam War and includes many West Point graduates, "creating a brain drain in the top ranks." A general interviewed by CNN expressed concern that "we're losing the next generation of future combat leaders for the army."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Study Shows Fox Covers Iraq Less Than CNN, MSNBC

Journalism Jobs May 25, 2007 11:39 AM
Looking more closely at the cable universe itself--among the three channels as well as across day parts--PEJ found distinct differences between the three channels, far more than discerned between the three commercial network channels or newspapers.
As an example, we found that coverage of the three biggest stories of the quarter--Iraq policy debate, the 2008 campaign and Anna Nicole Smith differed greatly across the three channels and day parts.

MoveOn Slams Lawmakers: New Iraq Bill Has "Obstructed The Will Of The American People"

UPI May 25, 2007 06:06 PM

MoveOn.org has slammed moderate Democrats as well as Republicans for scrapping withdrawal timelines on funding for the Iraq war.

"Republicans, joined by some Democrats, once again endorsed President Bush's policy of failure in Iraq and obstructed the will of the American people," Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action, said in a statement Wednesday following the controversial vote in the U.S. House of Representatives that evening.


Faculty Join Students In Jeering Ex-Bush Chief Of Staff At UMass Graduation

Associated Press May 25, 2007 08:52 PM
President Bush's former chief of staff Andrew Card was loudly booed by hundreds of students and faculty members as he rose to accept an honorary degree at the University of Massachusetts on Friday.
The boos and catcalls _ including those from faculty members who stood onstage with Card _ drowned out Provost Charlena Seymour's remarks as she awarded the honorary doctorate in public service. Protesters claim Card lied to the American people in the early days of the Iraq war and should not have been honored at the graduate student commencement.

UN Re-Holds Meeting After US Reads Wrong Statement

Reuters May 25, 2007 07:01 PM
At the first session, Khalilzad, current president of the council, read out a hard-hitting statement denouncing aerial bombardment in the troubled Darfur region in a clear critique of the Sudanese government.
When the session ended, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was the first to point out that the statement was not the one that the council's 15 members had agreed, participants said.

Growing Political Pressure Forcing White House To Consider Troops Cuts

Growing Political Pressure Forcing White House To Consider Troops Cuts
New York Times May 25, 2007 10:16 PM
Officials say proponents of reducing the troops and scaling back their mission next year appear to include Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They have been joined by generals at the Pentagon and elsewhere who have long been skeptical that the Iraqi government would use the opportunity created by the troop increase to reach genuine political accommodations.
So far, the concepts are entirely a creation of Washington and have been developed without the involvement of the top commanders in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, both of whom have been enthusiastic supporters of the troop increase.

US Prosecutors: Libby Should Get Up To 3 Years

AP May 25, 2007 05:25 PM
Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has shown no remorse for corrupting the legal system and deserves to spend 2 1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing theCIA leak investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Friday.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and an assistant to President Bush, is the highest-ranking White House official convicted since the Iran-Contra affair two decades ago.

GI Special 5E26: "I Miss My Yogurt" [ May 25, 2007 ]

Thomas F. Barton

The Bush administration’s Iraq strategy includes an effort to boost the economy and create jobs in Iraq, and Iraqi factories hope to begin shipping manufactured products to U.S. retailers later this year. But security concerns bar any purchase of Iraqi food, and even Iraqi prisoners held by the U.S. military are fed with imports. In addition, "if we’re buying (local) food in large quantities it means that less is available for the citizens of Iraq. It’s not fair to them." [Translation: I get paid to tell silly lies like this because Halliburton has the contract. And you get paid to report my silly lies.]

continua / continued

Aliens in Babel

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

My very good friend called me today. She sounded a little frantic on the phone. - Did you hear the news? I just saw it on al Arabiya TV channel. - What again ? Who died again ? - Turkey is threatening to enter Northern Iraq and finish with the Kurdish "rebels". Seems a few Turkish soldiers were killed today. - You mean by the PPK or is it the PKK or the KKK ? - Yeah, another pipi/kaka story. - Is there anyone who has not entered Iraq? - Come to think about it, no. - Let me see, there are the Americans, the Iranians, the Israelis, the Australians, the New Zealanders, the Dans, the Brits, the Eastern Europeans, the Western Europeans, the South Africans, the Koreans, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Syrians, the Saudis...

continua / continued



CNN May 25, 2007 09:05 AM
House debate on the new Iraq spending bill is bringing out a range of emotions from some congressmen, including House Minority Leader John Boehner.
"I didn't come here to be a congressman -- I came here to do something," the Ohio Republican said as he choked up with tears in his eyes on the House floor. "And I think at the top of our list is providing for the safety and security of the American people. That's at the top of our list. After 3,000 of our fellow citizens died at the hands of these terrorists, when are we going to stand up and take them on? When are we going to defeat them?"


Six more U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq

The U.S. military announced on Friday the deaths of six more soldiers in Iraq, hours after U.S. President George W. Bush predicted a bloody summer lay ahead. Five of the soldiers died on Thursday while another was killed on Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, the military said. April was the worst month this year for the U.S. military since the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003, with 104 soldiers killed. About 90 have been killed in May so far. The total death toll for U.S. troops since the invasion now stands at 3,440...

McCain Returns To Senate After Missing 46 Votes

Congressional Quarterly Michael Sandle May 25, 2007 02:12 PM
These days, it's a rare moment when John McCain shows up for a vote in the Senate. But he makes no apologies for attending to his presidential ambitions -- not even to his leaders, who may be wondering whether the Arizona Republican is going to be around for key votes during the 110th Congress.
Asked whether he's made any promises to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on that score, McCain wasn't particularly forthcoming.
"I have assured the leadership I will do everything I can," he said. "I ran for president once before in 2000, and I basically did what I could, and I'm doing what I can."


Cleric Al Sadr Appears Before Thousands Of Supporters To Demand US Leave Iraq

AP RAVI NESSMAN May 25, 2007 11:01 AM

Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American sermon to thousands of followers and demanding U.S. troops leaveIraq.

It was not immediately clear why he chose to return now to his base in the Shiite holy city of Najaf from Iran. His speech had new nationalist overtones, calling on Sunnis to join with him in the fight against the U.S. presence. He also criticized the government's inability to provide reliable services to its people.


The Goods on Goodling and the Keys to the Kingdom

Special to BRADBLOG
by Greg Palast

This Monica revealed something hotter — much hotter — than a stained blue dress. In her opening testimony yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee, Monica Goodling, the blonde-ling underling to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Department of Justice Liaison to the White House, dropped The Big One….And the Committee members didn’t even know it.

Goodling testified that Gonzales’ Chief of Staff, Kyle Sampson, perjured himself, lying to the committee in earlier testimony. The lie: Sampson denied Monica had told him about Tim Griffin’s “involvement in ‘caging’ voters” in 2004.

Huh?? Tim Griffin? “Caging”???

The perplexed committee members hadn’t a clue — and asked no substantive questions about it thereafter. Karl Rove is still smiling. If the members had gotten the clue, and asked the right questions, they would have found “the keys to the kingdom,” they thought they were looking for. They dangled right in front of their perplexed faces.

The keys: the missing emails — and missing link — that could send Griffin and his boss, Rove, to the slammer for a long, long time.

Kingdom enough for ya?

But what’s ‘caging’ and why is it such a dreadful secret that lawyer Sampson put his license to practice and his freedom on the line to cover Tim Griffin’s involvement in it? Because it’s a felony. And a big one.

Our BBC team broke the story at the top of the nightly news everywhere on the planet - except the USA - only because America’s news networks simply refused to cover this evidence of the electoral coup d’etat that chose our President in 2004.

Here’s how caging worked, and along with Griffin’s thoughtful emails themselves you’ll understand it all in no time.

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked “Do not forward” to voters’ homes. Letters returned (”caged”) were used as evidence to block these voters’ right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and — you got to love this — American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

Why weren’t these African-American voters home when the Republican letters arrived? The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation — and the soldiers were overseas. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote. Mission Accomplished.

How do I know? I have the caging lists…

I have them because they are attached to the emails Rove insists can’t be found. I have the emails. 500 of them — sent to our team at BBC after the Rove-bots accidentally sent them to a web domain owned by our friend John Wooden.

Here’s what you need to know — and the Committee would have discovered, if only they’d asked:

1. ‘Caging’ voters is a crime, a go-to-jail felony.

2. Griffin wasn’t “involved” in the caging, Ms. Goodling. Griffin, Rove’s right-hand man (right-hand claw), was directing the illegal purge and challenge campaign. How do I know? It’s in the email I got. Thanks. And it’s posted below.

3. On December 7, 2006, the ragin’, cagin’ Griffin was named, on Rove’s personal demand, US Attorney for Arkansas. Perpetrator became prosecutor.

The committee was perplexed about Monica’s panicked admission and accusations about the caging list because the US press never covered it. That’s because, as Griffin wrote to Goodling in yet another email (dated February 6 of this year, and also posted below), their caging operation only made the news on BBC London: busted open, Griffin bitched, by that “British reporter,” Greg Palast.

There’s no pride in this. Our BBC team broke the story at the top of the nightly news everywhere on the planet — except the USA — only because America’s news networks simply refused to cover this evidence of the electoral coup d’etat that chose our President in 2004.

And now, not bothering to understand the astonishing revelation in Goodling’s confessional, they are missing the real story behind the firing of the US attorneys. It’s not about removing prosecutors disloyal to Bush, it’s about replacing those who refused to aid the theft of the vote in 2004 with those prepared to burgle it again in 2008.

Now that they have the keys, let’s see if they can put them in the right door. The clock is ticking ladies and gents…
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans - Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone WILD. For more info, or to hear Brad Friedman, Ed Asner and other troublemakers read from Armed Madhouse, go to www.GregPalast.com

Bush Warned About Problems Now Faced In Iraq

AP KATHERINE SHRADER May 25, 2007 02:30 PM

U.S. intelligence analysts predicted, in two papers widely circulated before the 2003 Iraq invasion, that al-Qaida would see U.S. military action as an opportunity to increase its operations and that Iran would try to shape the post-Saddam era.
The top analysts in government also said that establishing a stable democracy in Iraq would be a long, turbulent challenge.


Troops say failure to learn lessons led to soldier kidnappings

Don't forget this dumbass Commander In Chief will protect you, after all He is the COMMANDER GUY didn't you know
David Edwards and Muriel KanePublished: Friday May 25, 2007

CNN reported on Friday that the recent kidnapping of American soldiers in the so-called "Triangle of Death" in Iraq might have been avoided if the military had learned the lessons of a very similar incident in the same area a year ago, when a post was attacked and soldiers kidnapped and later killed.
According to taped depositions taken by lawyers, the soldiers in that area are "constantly" complaining there are too few troops on the ground and asking for a larger force. "If I was an an insurgent, I would attack," says one soldier. "These jackasses, they did it again...they didn't learn," says another. After the earlier incident, a platoon leader and a commander were disciplined, but ironically they were the same men who had been begging for more troops.
CNN asked a retired general to comment on the incident. He said that lessons can easily be forgotten as troops rotate in and out of a combat area, but also agreed that under current circumstances 170,000 troops in Iraq are not enough.

The following video is from CNN's American Morning.

Farmer's $1m for doing nothing

MEET Queensland's first carbon farmer.

A QUEENSLAND farmer is $1m richer after signing over carbon dioxide stored in 3500ha of trees to mining giant Rio Tinto for 120 years in a record deal for carbon emissions trading in Australia.

SPECIAL REPORT. The corporate media still does not get it about the so-called "Washington Madam" case.

May 23, 2007 -- SPECIAL REPORT. The corporate media still does not get it about the so-called "Washington Madam" case. Beyond just another titillating DC sex scandal, this affair involves the U.S. Attorneys firings, massive bribery involving military and homeland security contracts, and potential blackmail of high government officials.

WMR can report that Disney and ABC executives spiked the Washington Madam story at the very last minute before new names were to be revealed on ABC News' 20/20 on May 4. For some four weeks, ABC News' special investigative reporter Brian Ross, senior executive producer Rhonda Schwartz, producer Justin Rood, and other staff and interns culled Deborah Jeane Palfrey's phone records for the names of high-profile DC area clients of Pamela Martin & Associates, some of whom are top officials in the Bush administration. Depending on one's definition of "newsworthy," there are between 25 and 100 high-profile names on the phone records that merely represent 80 percent of the last four years of phone calls -- 2002 to 2006. Phone records from 1994 to 2002 were not provided to ABC but they may contain the most important names of past clients. >>>cont

Wayne Madsen Report

Vice President Dick Cheney booed on a surprise visit on May 9 to Baghdad Green Zone

May 24, 2007 -- When Vice President Dick Cheney visited Baghdad on a "surprise" visit on May 9, he was booed by U.S. troops during an appearance before them in the Green Zone, according to our congressional sources. These incidents may explain why the Army has ordered its personnel to submit web postings, including videos, to Army censors before uploading to web sites.

Wayne Madsen Report
May 24, 2007 -- Yesterday, we reported on Bracewell & Giuliani's involvement in the Washington Madam case in representing one of the principals who was a client of Pamela Martin & Associates.
Our sources in Houston have informed us that Bracewell & Giuliani's previous incarnation, Bracewell & Patterson, represented George H. W. Bush's bank, First International/InterFirst of Houston. Our Houston sources also tell us that Carol S. Vance, the Harris County District Attorney who investigated George W. Bush's cocaine bust in Houston in 1972, became a partner at Bracewell & Patterson after he opted no to indict and prosecute Bush for cocaine possession. George H. W. Bush flew from New York, where he was serving as U.S. ambassador to the UN, to Houston to ensure that the charges against his son were dropped and the incident buried.
Vance, now retired from the firm, is heavily involved in the Christian Right's proselytizing efforts in the Texas prison system. In representing First International/InterFirst Bank, Bracewell & Patterson helped shield Bush-Bin Laden business dealings and the flow of significant amounts of Saudi money into Bush family coffers from regulatory agencies and public scrutiny.

Wayne Madsen Report

Hell yeah America, this is the slime that is going to protect you, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blowback in Lebanon: Another Imperial Backfire

Chris Floyd, Empire burlesque
...Fatah al-Islam was favored by the dominant Hariri faction in Lebanon as a Sunni counterweight to Hizbollah. But once again – or rather, as always – the machinations of the power-players have gone awry. Fatah al-Islam went off the reservation, allegedly robbed some banks – in addition to preying upon the defenseless Palestinian refugees who involuntarily "hosted" them – and sparked firefights with Lebanese military forces. Now the latter -- humiliated by their inability (or unwillingness) to resist the brutal Israeli attacks last summer , when the defense of the nation was left up to Hizbollah – have moved with a heavy hand against the militants, and against the thousands of innocent Palestinians housed with them in Fatahal-Islam. These refugees have been made refugees again, forced to flee their homes from the – need it be said? – American-backed assault. Ironically enough, in this clampdown – with the usual heavy "collateral damage" – Bush finds himself shoulder to shoulder with Hizbollah, who have applauded the military action. Once again, we see that all these ideological and religious labels don't matter at all to the leaders of the Terror War; the only thing that matters are the temporary expedients of power....
continua / continued

Military uses slot machines to fund overseas recreation

Source: CNN
Carrie Walsh's husband was a decorated Apache helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army. But years ago, Aaron Walsh started playing slot machines on military bases. He became a gambling addict. It eventually ruined his military career.
Then last fall, with his life in a tailspin, the 34-year-old walked into the Maine woods, put a gun to his head and killed himself -- after what his wife says was one final "gambling binge."
"The military has this culture of taking care of their own," says Carrie Walsh. "But it seems like when it comes to this, they just, you know, profited from his addiction and then threw him away."
There are thousands of slot machines on military bases overseas. The military says the revenue from the slots -- well over $100 million annually -- is used to fund recreation programs overseas, such as swimming pools, movie theaters and concerts.
Critics say it is an outrage that the military, which has a budget of more than $500 billion this fiscal year, takes money from the pockets of its troops and runs slot machines that generate revenues that equal a medium-sized Las Vegas casino operation.
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