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Saturday, June 16, 2007

US General: 60 Percent Of Baghdad Still Uncontrolled

AP LAUREN FRAYER June 16, 2007 10:28 AM
The identification cards of two American soldiers missing since an attack on their unit in May were found in an al-Qaida safe house north of Baghdad, along with video production equipment, computers and weapons, the U.S. military said Saturday.
The house, discovered June 9 near Samarra -- about 60 miles outside the Iraqi capital -- was otherwise empty, the statement said. American soldiers approaching the building came under fire from a nearby stand of trees, and two were wounded before air...

Abu Ghraib Investigator Reveals Shocking New Details

The General’s Report
How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties.
June 25, 2007
Taguba knew his report would make him unpopular: “If I lie, I lose. And, if I tell the truth, I lose.” Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark.
On the afternoon of May 6, 2004, Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba was summoned to meet, for the first time, with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in his Pentagon conference room. Rumsfeld and his senior staff were to testify the next day, in televised hearings before the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees, about abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq. The previous week, revelations about Abu Ghraib, including photographs showing prisoners stripped, abused, and sexually humiliated, had appeared on CBS and in The New Yorker. In response, Administration officials had insisted that only a few low-ranking soldiers were involved and that America did not torture prisoners. They emphasized that the Army itself had uncovered the scandal.
If there was a redeeming aspect to the affair, it was in the thoroughness and the passion of the Army’s initial investigation. The inquiry had begun in January, and was led by General Taguba, who was stationed in Kuwait at the time. Taguba filed his report in March. In it he found:Numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees . . . systemic and illegal abuse.
Taguba was met at the door of the conference room by an old friend, Lieutenant General Bantz J. Craddock, who was Rumsfeld’s senior military assistant. Craddock’s daughter had been a babysitter for Taguba’s two children when the officers served together years earlier at Fort Stewart, Georgia. But that afternoon, Taguba recalled, “Craddock just said, very coldly, ‘Wait here.’ ” In a series of interviews early this year, the first he has given, Taguba told me that he understood when he began the inquiry that it could damage his career; early on, a senior general in Iraq had pointed out to him that the abused detainees were “only Iraqis.” Even so, he was not prepared for the greeting he received when he was finally ushered in.
“Here . . . comes . . . that famous General Taguba—of the Taguba report!” Rumsfeld declared, in a mocking voice. The meeting was attended by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J.C.S.); and General Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, along with Craddock and other officials. Taguba, describing the moment nearly three years later, said, sadly, “I thought they wanted to know. I assumed they wanted to know. I was ignorant of the setting.”
In the meeting, the officials professed ignorance about Abu Ghraib. “Could you tell us what happened?” Wolfowitz asked. Someone else asked, “Is it abuse or torture?” At that point, Taguba recalled, “I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and said, ‘That’s not abuse. That’s torture.’ There was quiet.”

Office Of Special Counsel Probes Rove Contacts

Think Progress Nico Pitney June 16, 2007 08:46 PM
The White House has admitted that roughly 20 agencies have received a PowerPoint briefing created by Karl Rove's office "that included slides listing Democratic and Republican seats the White House viewed as vulnerable in 2008, a map of contested Senate seats and other information on 2008 election strategy."
Politicization of the federal government has been illegal for decades. The 1939 Hatch Act specifically prohibits partisan campaign or electoral activities on federal government property, including federal agencies. But in 2005, Ken Mehlman,...

-/- A Red Line -/-

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues - Reflections in a sealed bottle...
Never had I fathomed, not even in my remotest imagination, that a day will come when God's houses will be attacked and destroyed. The way they are today, in Iraq...Never. This was and remains the most unthinkable, unacceptable act to me and to countless others... This Red Line is now crossed...Crossed, transgressed, trespassed into blasphemy... In fact, this Red Line was first crossed when the American brave boys started blowing up minarets...The first in Fallujah. The Red Line was crossed when they desecrated the sacred places, ransacking them, setting them on fire, tearing, spitting and urinating on the Holy Book, painting crucifixes on the walls, stealing Mosques treasuries....And above all, killing people in them...

Bush Faces Crises from Palestine to Pakistan

by Jim Lobe
Four years after the emergence of the first signs of a serious insurgency in Iraq, US President George W. Bush finds himself beset with major crises stretching from Palestine to Pakistan.
With US-backed Fatah forces routed by Hamas in Gaza this week, Bush's five-year-old vision of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict now looks more remote than ever, while a new Pentagon report in Iraq suggests that his four-month-old "surge" strategy is failing in its primary objective of reducing the violence there.
Meanwhile, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, to whom Washington has provided virtually unconditional support since al-Qaeda's 9/11 attack, faces a growing popular revolt, while much of the country's tribal border regions have come under the control of forces allied with Afghanistan's Taliban.
And Iran, which senior US officials this week accused of arming the Taliban, as well as Shi'ite militias in Iraq, has continued to defy Washington's demands that it halt its nuclear enrichment program, while Tehran's regional allies, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah, not to mention Hamas itself, appear to have successfully withstood intensified US-led efforts to isolate them.
This week's events in Gaza, in fact, are also likely to have dealt a heavy blow to US hopes of forging an anti-Iranian coalition consisting of Israel and the "Arab Quartet" led by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, Saudi King Abdullah appeared to have grown disillusioned with Bush even before the US-backed dissolution by Palestine Authority President and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas of the government of national unity whose birth was personally midwifed by Abdullah himself last March.
"There's a strongly held view among our Arab friends that we don't know what we're doing," observed ret. Amb. Daniel Kurtzer, Washington's chief envoy to Israel during Bush's first term and now a professor at Princeton University, earlier this week before Hamas' takeover of Gaza.

Troops head to Iraq as gloom deepens

Source: The New Zealand Herald - 6/16/07
The final contingent of United States troops in the "surge" against Iraq's resistance deployed yesterday amid deepening gloom in Washington at the military's failure to reduce violence and defeat the insurgency.
The latest US troops took up their positions as the Pentagon released the first hard assessment of President George W. Bush's gamble in stepping up the war in Iraq.
The statistical analysis of the three months from mid-February to mid-May reveals failure on most fronts in Iraq and no overall decrease in violence the President had hoped for.
Over the past three months, fresh US troops have been pouring into sections of Baghdad and Anbar province, setting up fortified positions in the areas of fiercest resistance.
Iraq Contractors Face Growing Parallel War As Security Work
Increases, So Do Casualties
Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting insurgents on a widening scale in Iraq, enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives. While the military has built up troops in an ongoing campaign to secure Baghdad, the security companies, out of public view, have been engaged in a parallel surge, boosting manpower, adding expensive armor and stepping up evasive action as attacks increase, the officials and company representatives said. One in seven supply convoys protected by private forces has come under attack this year, according to previously unreleased statistics; one security company reported nearly 300 "hostile actions" in the first four months...

Kidnapped Athletes Found Dead in Iraq

Source: Associated Press
BAGHDAD - The remains of 13 members of an Iraqi tae kwon do team kidnapped last year have been found in western Iraq, police and hospital officials said Saturday.
The team had been driving to a training camp in neighboring Jordan in May 2006, when their convoy was stopped and all 15 athletes abducted along a road between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, in Anbar province. ~snip~
The athletes were members of a private sports club that hopes to one day send members to the Olympics. ~snip~
Gunmen also kidnapped the chairman of Iraq's National Olympic Committee and at least 30 other officials last year, including the presidents of the tae kwon do and boxing federations, in a bold daylight raid on a sports conference in the heart of Baghdad. Iraq's national wrestling coach, a Sunni, was killed around the same time in a Shiite district of Baghdad.
Webbs plan to go fishing Father's Day
Senator's Marine son returns home from Iraq for a bit before redeploying.

The Dead Shit threatens a Veto on Budget Spending now, what happened to the last six years when the wanker spent like a drunken sailor,

and put the Nation into Hock to China, who could call up the debt at the drop of a hat
When has this clown ever spent the Taxpayers money wisely, I wonder?Bush blasts Dems over budget spending, threatens veto
RAW STORYPublished: Saturday June 16, 2007
During his weekly radio address Saturday, President Bush attacked Democrats for proposing excessive budgets, and threatened to veto "irresponsible tax-and-spend" budgets."
"The American people expect us to spend their tax dollars wisely, or not at all, and to pursue pro-growth economic policies that will allow us to reduce the deficit while keeping our economy strong," Bush said while vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
According to Bush, the Democratic Congress "passed a budget that would mean higher taxes for American families and job creators, ignore the need for entitlement reform, and pile on hundreds of billions of dollars in new government spending over the next five years. This tax-and-spend approach puts our economic growth and deficit reduction at risk."
Bush added, "For months, I've warned the Democrats in Congress that I will not accept an irresponsible tax-and-spend budget. I put Democratic leaders on notice that I will veto bills with excessive levels of spending."
As Reuters reports, "Democrats have countered that they have only proposed modest increases in spending -- $22 billion over Bush's proposed $933 billion -- to make up for shortchanging some programs during the previous six years, when Bush's fellow Republicans controlled both Congress and the White House."
Transcript of address follows:

NYT: Among firefighters, Giuliani is both hailed and hated

RAW STORYPublished: Saturday June 16, 2007
Among firefighters, former Republican New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, now running for president, is both "hailed and hated," according to a front page story in Sunday's New York Times.
Michael Wilson writes, "Interviews with more than 50 firefighters and department officers show a mix of admiration and disdain for the former mayor. Many firefighters praise his years in office, citing his success in reducing crime and his leadership after the terrorist attacks. Others harbor a deep resentment for what they describe as his poor treatment of the department before and after Sept. 11."
"Some still speak bitterly about a contract that left firefighters without a raise for two years," Wilson continues. "Some also say Mr. Giuliani has exaggerated the role he played after the terrorist attacks, casting himself as a hero for political gain. The harshest sentiments stem from Mr. Giuliani’s decision nearly two months after 9/11 to reduce the number of firefighters who were allowed to search for colleagues in the rubble — a move that he partially reversed but that still infuriates many firefighters."
Back in March, as RAW STORY reported, a letter drafted by NYC firefighters slammed Giuliani for "a disgraceful lack of respect" for the New York firefighters who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
According to Roll Call, the letter particularly assailed Giuliani for deciding to "scoop and dump" debris from the World Trade Center towers, moving it to a landfill.
"Mayor Giuliani’s actions meant that firefighters and citizens who perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no closure for families, or be removed like garbage and deposited at the Fresh Kills Landfill," the drafted letter said.
Excerpts from Times article:

Hamas Seizes Parliament And Other Fatah Government Buildings »

AP DIAA HADID June 16, 2007 08:23 AM
Hundreds of Fatah gunmen on Saturday stormed Hamas-controlled institutions in theWest Bank, including parliament and government ministries, and told staffers that those with ties to Hamas will not be allowed to return.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the U.S. consul-general in Jerusalem, his office said. The meeting between Abbas and Jacob Walles took place at Abbas' headquarters in Ramallah hours before Abbas was expected to swear in an emergency government.

Rift Widens Between Rice And Cheney On Iran »

New York Times June 15, 2007 10:16 PM
A year after President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a new strategy toward Iran, a behind-the-scenes debate has broken out within the administration over whether the approach has any hope of reining in Iran's nuclear program, according to senior administration officials.
The debate has pitted Ms. Rice and her deputies, who appear to be winning so far, against the few remaining hawks inside the administration, especially those in Vice President Dick Cheney's office who, according to some people...

US Troops Begin New Offensive In Baghdad »

AP LOLITA C. BALDOR June 16, 2007 08:34 AM
The U.S. military, which just days ago completed its latest troop buildup inIraq, has launched a large offensive operation in several al-Qaida strongholds around Baghdad, the top U.S. commander said Saturday.
Gen. David Petraeus said the operation began in the last 24 hours, and will put forces into key areas surrounding Baghdad that, according to intelligence, al-Qaida is using to base some of it car bomb operations.

Thousands Of Letters Sent to Walter Reed Were Never Delivered

AP ROBERT BURNS June 16, 2007 09:22 AM
Turns out the trouble at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the focus of a firestorm of criticism over poor treatment of wounded war veterans, reached into the mailroom.
The Army said Friday that it has opened an investigation into the recent discovery of 4,500 letters and parcels _ some dating to May 2006 _ at Walter Reed that were never delivered to soldiers.

Troops Find Missing Soldiers' IDs In Iraqi House Raid

AP LAUREN FRAYER June 16, 2007 10:28 AM
The identification cards of two American soldiers missing since an attack on their unit in May were found in an al-Qaida safe house north of Baghdad, along with video production equipment, computers and weapons, the U.S. military said Saturday.
The house, discovered June 9 near Samarra -- about 60 miles outside the Iraqi capital -- was otherwise empty, the statement said. American soldiers approaching the building came under fire from a nearby stand of trees, and two were wounded before air...

Iraq's cultural heritage in ruins

Afif Sarhan in Baghdad and Firas Al-Atraqchi in Damascus, Aljazeera.net
Iraq's archaeological and artistic culture is in danger of being wiped out due to a lack of protection and targeted assassinations, a group of archaeologists and artists have told Al Jazeera. According to figures from the ministry of culture, 18 archaeologists and researchers have been killed since late 2005. Fuad Rassi, an Iraqi archaeologist and professor of antiquities at Baghdad University, said: "We are unable to protect important historical sites and the remaining books and parchments documenting Iraq's culture have been stolen from local libraries." Rassi also said the intimidation and murder of archaeologists since the 2003 US-led invasion has impeded the country's research into, and preservation of, millennary culture...

Dare We Call It Tyranny?

Sheldon Richman, MWC NEWS
The American people’s response to President Bush’s "war on terror" should be … terror. The administration, sometimes with Congress’s complicity: * is preparing for a 50-year stay in Iraq, complete with 14 military bases and an embassy larger than the Vatican. (Can there be a better recruiting program for al Qaeda?) * has abolished habeas corpus, the principle that for centuries has protected people from arbitrary confinement, for noncitizens declared to be "enemy combatants." (While the federal courts have upheld the abolition of habeas corpus for detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere overseas, fortunately an appellate court has just ruled against the administration in the case of a legal U.S. resident, Kahlah al-Marri, arrested in the United States, a ruling the administration is appealing.) * unilaterally claims the power to use "enhanced interrogation techniques" — torture — on suspected terrorists and to turn them over to foreign governments known to torture prisoners. This has been done to persons later cleared of wrongdoing...

Bush Regime Verdict on Palestinian Bloodletting: "I Like This Violence"

Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque
Jonathan Schwarz finds the smoking guns confirming that the bloody civil war now tearing the Palestinians apart has been the aim of the Bush Administration's Middle East policy since Hamas won the free, democratic elections there in January 2006. As we wrote here just a few days ago: Everything They Say About Promoting Democracy Is, And Always Has Been, A Damnable Lie....

Pirates Post Moore's "Sicko" Online Two Weeks Before Release

CNet Michelle Meyers June 15, 2007 07:46 PM
Advertising Age reported Friday that Moore's new film, Sicko, has been pirated and is widely available for free download on the Web at BitTorrent and peer-to-peer sites. Advertising Age reporter Claude Brodesser-Akner wrote that he easily downloaded a copy and watched it late Thursday night.
The breach follows Moore's move last week to stash a copy of the film in Canada, "in case the federal government decided to impound it over an apparently unauthorized trip to Cuba made during its filming,"...

Basra Mosque Destroyed In Revenge Bombing

New York Times ALISSA J. RUBIN June 15, 2007 10:56 PM
A powerful explosion that reduced a large Sunni Arab mosque to rubble in the southern city of Basra this morning signaled that the cycle of revenge violence following the destruction of the Shiite shrine in Samarra has not entirely unfolded.
Although there had been scattered reprisal attacks on Sunni shrines on Wednesday and early Thursday in the hours after the Samarra shrine's minarets were demolished, strenuous calls for restraint by political and religious figures as well as strict security measures appeared...

Another Justice Dept Official Linked To Firings Resigns

Associated Press June 15, 2007 08:01 PM
Mike Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, is the fifth Justice official to leave after being linked to the dismissals of the prosecutors.
The firings have led to congressional investigations, an internal Justice Department inquiry and calls on Capitol Hill for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Justice Department "Typo" Costs US $100 Million

Associated Press June 15, 2007 06:32 PM
It was a $100 million mistake, and a federal judge said Friday he doesn't have the power to fix it.
The Justice Department goofed last year and cited the wrong law in a binding plea agreement with telecommunication entrepreneur Walter Anderson, the largest tax scofflaw in U.S. history. That mistake made it impossible for the government to recover between $100 million and $175 million, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman said in March.

Begging His Pardon

Iraq Contractors Face Growing Parallel War
As Security Work Increases, So Do Casualties
Washington Post June 16, 2007 12:53 AM
Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting insurgents on a widening scale in Iraq, enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives.
While the military has built up troops in an ongoing campaign to secure Baghdad, the security companies, out of public view, have been engaged in a parallel surge, boosting manpower, adding expensive armor and stepping up evasive action as attacks increase, the officials and company representatives said. One in seven supply convoys protected by private forces has come under attack this year, according to previously unreleased statistics; one security company reported nearly 300 "hostile actions" in the first four months. >>>cont

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blackwater involved in rendition of prisoners.

Company headed by right-wing Christian lunatic supports Bush administration's torture program. Very Christian. It's what "Jaysus" would do.
Gates refuses to budge on U.S. missile bases in Poland and Czech Republic.
Defense Secretary Gates rejected Russian proposal to locate anti-missile bases in Azerbaijan. Bush intent on firing up a new Cold War in Europe.

Two former Saudi ambassadors to the U.S. -- Prince Bandar and Prince Turki -- now involved in British and U.S. investigation of alleged illegal bribes paid by BAE. Investigation also expanding to Chile, Romania, Czech Republic, Tanzania, Argentina, the British Virgin Islands, and Qatar. In 2005, BAE acquired United Defense Industries from the Carlyle Group. BAE is also completing the acquisition of Armor Holdings, the company that manufactures the up-armored Humvees used by U.S. forces in Iraq. The BAE story is yet another scandal that involves the Bush family and their cronies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Hamas and Fatah in virtual civil war in Palestine.

Hamas takes control of Gaza while Fatah as a tenuous hold on the West Bank. Another Middle East agreement in tatters as neo-cons plot war with Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.

This White House is so used to lying, it can't keep its tall tales straight.

IRAQ: Report Calls on U.N. to End "Complicity of Silence"

Mithre J. Sandrasagra, IPS
The U.S. Coalition is the principal cause of Iraq's current woes, charges a report released Wednesday by the Global Policy Forum (GPF), a New York-based watchdog group. Since the March 2003 invasion, the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq has "utterly failed to bring peace, prosperity and democracy, as originally advertised," says the report, entitled "War and Occupation in Iraq". "The United Nations and the international community must end the complicity of silence and they must vigorously address the Iraq crisis," it says.Produced by GPF and 29 international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the report was released to coincide with U.N. Security Council consultations on the Iraq problem. The 117-page report assesses conditions in the country, especially the responsibility of the U.S.-led Coalition, for violations of international law and concludes with recommendations for action, including a speedy withdrawal of Coalition forces. It covers areas such as destruction of cultural heritage, unlawful detention, killing and torture of civilians, displacement, corruption and fraud, attacks on cities and long-term military bases...
continua / continued

Iraqi Refugee Children Bear Scars of Violence, Require Classroom Routines to Cope

Its called Georgies LIBERATION OF IRAQ, You Decide
As some 50,000 Iraqis continue to flee each month to Jordan, Syria and other neighboring states, Iraqi refugee children bear the brunt of one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing refugee crises, a new report from World Vision warns. In particular, the Christian humanitarian agency observed psychological distress in many school-aged children. The report, Trapped! The Disappearing Hopes of Iraqi Refugee Children, finds that 43 percent of children surveyed in Amman, Jordan have witnessed violence in Iraq, and 39 percent say they have lost a loved one through violence. However, the structured classroom environment is a powerful place where children can find comfort in routine and support to ease the effects of trauma. The report calls for immediate access to education for all 200,000 Iraqi refugee children in Jordan...

Controversy Over Military Vehicles for Iraq Heats Up

By Renee Schoof
McClatchy Newspapers
Photo provided by IMG
The MaxxPro is the vehicle International Military and Government, LCC (IMG) is manufacturing to fill the Marine Corps' order for Category I Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
WASHINGTON - In February 2005, Marines in Iraq made a "priority 1 urgent" request for 1,169 military vehicles with V-shaped undersides that save lives by deflecting blasts from roadside bombs.
But instead of those Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, the Marines back home sent armored Humvees, vehicles that offer far less protection. It wasn't until May 2006 that the Marines ordered the MRAPs, and then only 185 of them.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates now is asking the Marines to investigate and explain what happened. Today MRAPs are a priority with Gates. Congress is spending $8.4 billion to meet the military's request for 7,774 MRAPs. And the Army is checking to see whether it needs thousands more to replace Humvees. >>>cont

US, Israel Reach Smart Bomb Agreement

Jun. 15, 2007 0:39 Updated Jun. 15, 2007 8:41
Israel and the US have reached an "accommodation" regarding the proposed sale of state-of-the-art weaponry to Saudi Arabia, and the issue is not expected to be a source of friction when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert goes to Washington for talks next week, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
"The issue has been dealt with," a source familiar with the matter said Thursday. "The two sides came to an accommodation."
A senior government source said that high level talks held in Washington on the matter last week proved "satisfactory."
While no one would discuss the nature of the "accommodation" reached, closing the matter is expected to be one of the focuses of discussion when Olmert meets US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday.
Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Military Bureau head Amos Gilad and IDF Planning Directorate head Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan met with senior US Defense Department officials on the issue last week.
Israel, according to senior government sources, was seeking restrictions on the sale of Joint Direct Attack Munition satellite-guided "smart bombs" to Saudi Arabia, a sale that Jerusalem was concerned would erode the IDF's qualitative edge in the region.
Barring the implementation of these restrictions, Israeli officials have expressed interest in acquiring the F-22 stealth bomber - a plane that can avoid radar detection and is the world's most advanced fighter jet. The US has not yet agreed to sell this plane to any foreign country.

Police arrest Briton wanted by U.S. over Iraq oil

Thu Jun 14, 12:05 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - British police arrested a British citizen on Thursday who the United States accuses of involvement in a scheme to pay kickbacks to Iraq in connection with the scandal-plagued U.N. oil-for-food program.
John Irving, 52, from Basingstoke, southern England, was arrested under a U.S. extradition warrant, London police said.
Irving was charged by U.S. authorities in April 2005 following an investigation into the $67 billion oil-for-food program which allowed the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein to sell oil to finance purchases of civilian goods for its people living under U.N. sanctions.
The program ran from December 1996 until after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
U.S. authorities accuse Irving of agreeing with Texas businessman David Chalmers and Chalmers' firm Bayoil Inc. to defraud U.N. officials by "persuading them to select a deflated official selling price in order to permit the payment of illegal and secret commissions ... to officials of the government of Iraq," British police said.
Chalmers and Bayoil were charged with paying secret kickbacks to Iraq. They have pleaded not guilty and Chalmers is awaiting trial.
Iraq has released papers documenting bribes, kickbacks and oil smuggling in connection with the oil-for-food program. >>>cont

O'Reilly: No Point in Covering 'Meaningless' Bombings in Iraq

David Edwards and Muriel KanePublished: Wednesday June 13, 2007
On Tuesday, Bill O'Reilly defended Fox News against charges that it devotes too little coverage to the Iraq War.
The Fox pundit said that "on my program, I don't do a lot of Iraq reporting because we don't know what's happening. We can't find out."
"We don't highlight every terrorist attack, because we learn nothing from that, and that's exactly what the terrorists want us to do," O'Reilly explained. "CNN and especially MSNBC delight in showing Iraqi violence because they want Americans to think badly of President Bush, and that strategy has succeeded."
"If the war in Iraq is indeed a mess," he concluded, "there's little news value in broadcasting daily bombings. By the way, Fox News continues to crush CNN and MSNBC in the ratings, as the folks know news when they see it."
According to O'Reilly, that's "because we bring you stuff that is new, that is relevant to your life, and I'm not gonna cover every bomb that goes off in Tikrit, because it's meaningless."
The following video is from Fox's O'Reilly Factor, broadcast on June 12.

Connecticut for Lieberman Party calls on Lieberman to resign

According to the Connecticut Post, Connecticut for Lieberman Party Chairman John Orman called Tuesday for Sen. Joe Lieberman to resign, saying his advocacy of a military strike against Iran could explode into a global conflict. “He has crossed the line,” said Orman, a professor of politics at Fairfield University. “His unilateral warmongering could lead to a new World War III.”
What I don’t get is what the Connecticut for Lieberman Party expected. Does it really surprise anyone that Lieberman would say such a thing?


Republicans Stall Homeland Security Spending Bill

Democrats argued Republicans were engaging in partisan attacks to try to embarrass Pelosi. They charged the GOP lawmakers lacked credibility on earmarks, the number of which exploded during their 12 years of House rule.

Maybe someone should tell the WANKER in the White House not to use threats against the world community

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jun 14, 2:47 PM ET
BRUSSELS, Belgium - An effort to provide U.S.-made military transport planes to NATO nations stalled Thursday as allied countries said they needed more time to review the plan.
Representatives from France, Spain and Germany voiced objections to the proposal that would allow a consortium of 18 countries to buy three Boeing Co. C-17 Globemasters, according to a senior U.S. official familiar with the debate during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
A second U.S. official said the objections center on whether the 18 countries would be solely responsible for any legal and financial responsibilities or if other NATO nations may be liable.
The officials requested anonymity because the matter had not yet been resolved.
During the meeting Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer read a paragraph from the agreement to the ministers that outlines the legal obligations.
Under the plan, in the works since last year, NATO would buy the planes. But 16 NATO countries and two partner nations — Finland and Sweden — would pay for the C-17s, which cost $225 million each. A fourth plane would be funded by the U.S.LinkHere
The Bush administration, which opposes legislation to shield journalists from revealing their confidential sources, warned lawmakers Thursday that the measure's broad definition of journalists could protect the media wings of terrorist groups. But House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan) challenged the Justice Department's claim, calling it "totally absurd."

US Attorney Extension Questioned by Senator

Matt Renner reports: "When Debra Wong Yang resigned from her position as US Attorney for the Central District of California in November, 2006, the Bush administration did not appoint a replacement. Instead, her second-in-command, Chief Assistant US Attorney George Cardona took over the office. Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Cardona became acting US attorney until a presidential appointment could be made. Under the Act, his temporary term was limited to 210 days. No replacement has yet been named and Cardona's term is set to expire Saturday."

Marine Families Tie Tainted Water to Illnesses

Marine families who lived at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina over three decades drank water contaminated with toxins as much as 40 times over today's safety standard, federal health investigators said yesterday. At least 850 former residents of the base have filed administrative claims, seeking nearly $4 billion, for exposure to the industrial solvents TCE and PCE, that contaminated Camp Lejeune's drinking wells before 1987.

VIDEO | Kokesh to Marines: "This Is Not Going Away"

The Marine Corps is removing Adam Kokesh from the Individual Ready Reserve just days before his military commitment would have expired. He will be receiving a "general" discharge, which is less than he received last November when leaving active duty. Truthout's Geoffrey Millard and Scott Galindez followed Kokesh from a press conference in Washington, DC on June 1, to his hearing in Kansas City, Missouri on June 4. Stay tuned for interviews with Adam Kokesh and Liam Madden, who is facing similar action.
By Cameron Scott
Question is, is it good for the Jews, or bad for the Jews?
From the MoJo Blog

The Pentagon's Oil-Sucking Ways
By Michael Klare
The wars of the future may be fought just to run the machines that fight them.
Michael T. Klare writes: "Sixteen gallons of oil. That's how much the average American soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis - either directly, through the use of Humvees, tanks, trucks and helicopters, or indirectly, by calling in air strikes. Multiply this figure by 162,000 soldiers in Iraq, 24,000 in Afghanistan and 30,000 in the surrounding region (including sailors aboard US warships in the Persian Gulf), and you arrive at approximately 3.5 million gallons of oil: the daily petroleum tab for US combat operations in the Middle East war zone.

Mosques, Green Zone Attacked Despite Iraq Curfew

Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:54 AM EDT
By Paul Tait
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Three Sunni Muslim mosques were torched and mortar bombs hit Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on Thursday, police said, despite curfews imposed after suspected al Qaeda militants hit a revered Shi'ite shrine.
Thousands of Iraqi and U.S. soldiers were on the streets of Baghdad and other cities trying to enforce the curfews that were imposed after Wednesday's bombing, blamed on al Qaeda, felled the two golden minarets of Samarra's al-Askari mosque.
Police said more than a dozen mortar rounds hit the Green Zone, home to Iraq's parliament and the U.S. embassy, causing some casualties, but they had no further details. Smoke could be seen billowing into the sky from several areas.
A resident at the Rashid Hotel in the Green Zone said one mortar round fell in the hotel courtyard, killing one employee and wounding several. The hotel is home to some members of parliament, journalists and foreign contractors.
The mortars fell while U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte was in a nearby building discussing the Iraq government's efforts to meet key political targets set by Washington and aimed at promoting national reconciliation.
"I ... stressed the urgency of making political progress that will reinforce efforts by coalition and Iraqi security forces to restore stability," Negroponte told reporters.
Separately, an Iraqi al Qaeda-led group said it had killed 14 army and police personnel after a deadline expired. A video posted on the Internet showed a masked man shooting the kneeling, handcuffed men in the head. >>>cont

Air Force reports F-16 crash in Iraq

1 hour, 56 minutes ago
BAGHDAD - A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed early Friday morning in Iraq while supporting a ground forces operation, the Air Force reported.
The announcement, which referred to the 12:27 a.m. crash as an accident, did not say where it occurred or what happened to the pilot, the single crew member.
The loss of an F-16, a workhorse warplane in the Iraq war, is a rare event. One crashed last Nov. 27 in the western province of Anbar, killing the pilot.
The jet was deployed to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base, 50 miles north of Baghdad.
"The cause of the accident is under investigation," said the statement from the Central Command Air Forces, which provided no further details. LinkHere

Joint Chiefs Chair: I Was Forced Out

Associated Press ROBERT BURNS June 15, 2007 09:35 AM
In his first public comments on the Bush administration's surprise decision to replace him as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace disclosed that he had turned down an offer to voluntarily retire rather than be forced out.
To quit in wartime, he said, would be letting down the troops.

Eye on Iraq: Iraqis trapped in a U.S. web

Published: June 14, 2007 at 12:33 PM
By MARTIN SIEFFUPI Senior News AnalystWASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- It has become fashionable for senior Bush administration officials and their last-ditch supporters among U.S. pundits to blame Iraqis -- from top political leaders to ordinary people -- for the mess their country is in. What could be called the latest Krauthammer Doctrine states in its simplest and harshest version: "We gave you freedom -- but you messed it up."
Instead, what Bush policymakers -- primarily former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the neo-conservatives he so fatefully empowered -- gave the Iraqi people was a Rube Goldberg facade of a democratic constitution imposed upon a society that Bush policies had thrown into chaos and then left there.
This guaranteed not the establishment of a stable democratic functioning political system but precisely its opposite. The Iraqi people and their political factions (none of them can be called "parties" in any Western democratic sense) are now trapped in a system that guarantees division, factionalism and powerlessness. >>>cont

US Hometowns Strained as Police Go Off to War

By Andrea Hopkins
Thu Jun 14, 7:11 AM ET
ALEXANDRIA, Ky (Reuters) - Police Chief Keith Hill respects Americans who have left civilian jobs to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the fact that so many of them are police officers means he's been short-staffed for years.
"We have one detective on his second deployment. He went once, then came back, then went again, and he's just been extended until July 09. Another officer was gone all of 2005," said Hill, who oversees Campbell County's 31-person police force in the rolling hills of northern Kentucky. The prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have put pressure on the National Guard, whose citizen-soldiers can be called away from civilian jobs for months or years at a time to fight beside regular soldiers in war zones. >>>cont

NGOs Call for End of US Violations in Iraq

Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMSI)
Global Policy Forum slams conduct of US-led coalition forces, Iraqi government partners. A coalition of non-governmental groups on Wednesday took the UN Security Council to task for its "shocking silence" on alleged violations of international law by US-led forces in Iraq and urged an early end to their mandate. In a scathing report, the Global Policy Forum slammed the conduct of US-led coalition forces and their Iraqi government partners who "have held a large number of Iraqi citizens in 'security detention' without charge or trial, in direct violation of international law." "No Iraqi is safe from arbitrary arrest and the number of prisoners has risen greatly since 2003 (when the US-led war began)," said the forum, an international non-profit body that monitors policy-making at the United Nations...
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The delinquent Congress

Ernest Partridge, Online Journal Guest Writer
The administration of George Bush has, in effect, suspended the Constitution of the United States. At Guantánamo in Cuba, in military prisons in the United States, and in secret detention facilities abroad, American citizens and non-citizens are being held without charge, without counsel, without prospect of a jury trial, in violation of the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth articles of the Bill of Rights. These rights apply to all persons under United States jurisdiction. The word "citizen" appears nowhere in the Bill of Rights. The same administration has conducted warrantless surveillance of American citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and despite an explicit order of the Supreme Court to cease and desist...

Another Bomb in Beirut: Roll Out the Media Boilerplate

Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque
...It could well be that Syria is behind the latest bombing – although every such incident, beginning with the Hariri assassination, has only led to a further erosion of Syria's fading influence in Lebanon and a further isolation of Syria's ruling regime (...) But there are many other players in the dirty game of proxy war which foreign powers have long been staging on Lebanese soil; and Lebanon's own domestic politics, rife with unresolved conflicts spawned by years of civil war, is a fertile seedbed of factional violence. Yet the automatic assumption that every political murder in Lebanon is the work of Syria remains the unalterable basis of every mainstream news story on the subject. Once again, AbuKhalil does us yeoman service in showing the true, complex and many-shaded reality that lies behind the boilerplate...
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Palestine Always on My Mind - Small Hopes Still Lingering - At This Dawn- By the Horizon !

Hiyam Noir , PalestineFreeVoice
At the time writing this report the situation on the Gaza Strip is worse then you can imagine it is plain horrible. All the streets are deserted, no people and no cars - people are hiding inside their homes - you can not go outside.The shops and the markets are all closed - the electricity is being turned off and on. You cannot leave your home, because you will most certainly be stopped at gunpoint and questioned, by heavy armed men- faces covered by black masks. - "Where are you going, where do you live and what organization do you belong to"? - If your answer promptly and your answer is the right one - by this checkpoint - you are safe to leave. Until you reach the next post, where other armed and masked men are guarding a reverie. - If your answer is wrong - you know you might get killed on the spot !...
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What next for Gaza

It is clear that Hamas fighters control Gaza and the remaining pockets of resistance will be surrendered within a fews days if not hours, Abdulbari Atwan writes. Fatah leaders have fled to safety in Cairo, and there isn't any motivation for their people to continue defending positions that are now without significance. The urgent question now is what will Hamas do once it has full control and has purged all of its enemies, and what will the million and a half Gazans do? (...) Then, having assigned to the Palestinian leadership their full share of blame in this, Atwan continues and concludes as follows: The days to come will be days of terror for everyone. The world that isolated Palestine, starved it, and refused to rrecognize its elected government, bears its share of the responsibility for what has happened, because it was incumbent on it to give Hamas a chance to govern, and it didn't do so. Even after Hamas compromised and gave up the important cabinet positions to Fatah, the blockade continued, on the orders of Israel and under pressure from the United States...
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Torture: the 10 claims against the Army

Jenny Booth, Times Online
Lawyers for Baha Musa claimed today that the case had uncovered evidence that the Government approved the systematic torture of detainees. Today a panel of five law lords ruled that Mr Musa, a hotel receptionist who died of multiple injuries after two nights in British military custody, was entitled to the protection of the UK's Human Rights Act while held by British soldiers. The verdict has set a precedent that the rights of foreign detainees abroad must be protected against torture and abuse in the same way as British citizens in the UK...
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The Siege of Baghdad

Glenn David Cox, ICH
The American surge is the latest in an attempt to stave off defeat; the moral battle was lost long ago. The political battle a stalemate, between the forces of timid stupidity verses the forces of entrenched insanity. The greatest megalomaniac’s of the 20th century had drawn up battle plans for the conquest of England and one of the cornerstones of operation sea lion was in avoiding London. Even a madman knew a large metropolis would swallow an army, and as the tide turned at Stalingrad the mad man began to cashier his own generals...
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Gaza: Another Mess Made in U.S.

Tony Karon
Coming, as he does, from Fox News, Tony Snow is obviously a deeply cynical fellow, but this takes some beating: Asked to comment Wednesday on the bloodbath in Gaza, he answered: "Ultimately, the Palestinians are going to have to sort out their politics and figure out which pathway they want to pursue — the pathway toward two states living peaceably side-by-side, or whether this sort of chaos is going to become a problem." Everyone following the conflict in Gaza knows full well that the reason for the violence is not that Palestinians have not "sorted out their politics" — they’ve made their political preferences abundantly clear in democratic elections, and later in a power-sharing agreement brokered by the Saudis...
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Hamas Seizes Broad Control in Gaza Strip

Have you stopped laughing yet

Conservatives seek to re-establish GOP as party of fiscal responsibility.

Iraq surge a failure, Bush told:

TOP US congressional Democrats bluntly told President George W. Bush today that his Iraq troop "surge" policy was a failure, as the Pentagon submitted a report saying early results of the strategy were mixed.

How to Sell a War

By Jeffrey ST. Clair
The war on Iraq won't be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as "weapons of mass destruction" and "rogue state" were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience

Has Baghdad Captured Petraeus?

By Stuart A.P. Murray
Now is the time, before it is too late, to lay the groundwork for all parties concerned with the destiny of Iraq to forge a truce that will permit General Petraeus and his army to leave Baghdad with some semblance of military honor.

FBI Terror Watch List "Out of Control"

A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more than half a million names.

Silence in the Senate

The editors of The New York Times write: "The most remarkable thing about the debate on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales this week was what didn't happen. Barely a word was said in praise of him or his management of the Justice Department. The message was clear even though the Republicans prevented a no-confidence vote through the threat of a filibuster - a tactic that until recently they claimed to abhor. The sound of Mr. Gonzales not being defended was deafening."

Samarra Shrine Attack May Have Been Inside Job

Authorities have evidence that Wednesday's bombing of the al Askariya Mosque in Samarra was an inside job, and 15 members of the Iraqi security forces have been arrested, a US military official said.

Subpoenas Issued for Harriet Miers and Former Rove Deputy

Two Congressional committees are issuing subpoenas for testimony from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor on their roles in the firings of eight federal prosecutors, according to two officials familiar with the investigation.

TV Network Campaign May Increase Latino Voting Bloc

A massive citizenship campaign has begun at Univision, the Spanish-language television giant better known for its newscasts and torrid telenovelas. Univision officials believe helping eligible immigrants to become citizens can help Hispanics realize their significant voting power.

Judge Threatened After Sentencing Libby

The thugs are very good with their threats
A federal judge refused today to delay the start of the prison sentence for I. Lewis Libby Jr. in the CIA leak case while he appeals his conviction. Following the sentencing, the US judge who oversaw the leak trial said that he had received threatening letters and phone calls.
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