Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I Can't Recall

Bush Can't Recall on Tillman
The Associated Press reports, "President Bush said Thursday he can't recall when he learned that Army Ranger Pat Tillman died by friendly fire, not at the hands of the enemy in Afghanistan, as the Pentagon originally claimed."

Remember when Iraq was a sovereign nation?

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, and Maliki reportedly praised Ahmadinejad for Iran's "positive and constructive" role in Iraq.
At a press conference at the White House this morning, George W. Bush said he doubted that it happened that way and that he'd need to set Maliki straight if it did. "If the signal is Iran is constructive, I will have to have a heart to heart with the prime minister because I don't think they're constructive," the president explained. "I don't think in his heart of hearts he thinks they're constructive either."
Bush said no one should be fooled by smiling photographs from the Maliki-Ahmadinejad meeting. "Generally, the way these things work is that you try to be cordial with the person you're with," he said. "You don't want the picture to be kind of you, know, duking it out. OK, put up your dukes. It's an old boxing expression."
-- Tim Grieve
By Paul Craig Roberts
This new potent military alliance is a real world response to neoconservative delusions about US hegemony. Neocons believe that the US is supreme in the world and can dictate its course. The neoconservative idiots have actually written papers, read by Russians and Chinese, about why the US must use its military superiority to assert hegemony over Russia and China.
Karissa Marcum reports for The Hill,
"On Friday night, 12 senators missed the vote to expand the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, while 13 House members did not vote on Saturday and Sunday morning."

President Bush said yesterday that he is considering a fresh plan to cut tax rates for U.S. corporations

Bush Readies Bid for Corporate Tax Cuts
Peter Baker reports for The Washington Post, "President Bush said yesterday that he is considering a fresh plan to cut tax rates for US corporations to make them more competitive around the world, an initiative that could further inflame a battle with the Democratic Congress over spending and taxes and help define the remainder of his tenure."

The White House fears that the former secretary of state will finally tell the truth about planning for the Iraq war.

The White House fears that the former secretary of state will finally tell the truth about planning for the Iraq war.
By Sidney Blumenthal

Faith in UN Intervention in Darfur Misplaced

Stephen Gowans
Many Western activists have rallied around calls for sanctions on Sudan and UN intervention in Darfur. But a review of recent Western interventions in the world’s trouble spots suggests their faith is misplaced. While the US and its allies, and the UN Security Council, point to lofty goals as the basis for their interventions, the true goals are invariably shaped by the economic interests of the corporations and investment banks that dominate policy making in Western countries. Worse, intervention has typically led to the deterioration of humanitarian crises, not their amelioration...


Desert Peace
Mahmoud Abbas has truly become a dream come true for the zionist occupiers of Palestine. For forty years the Israelis searched high and low for a *Kapo, and there he was right under their noses all this time. *Definition of the word "kapo"... A Jew who worked in the Nazi death camps to control and supervise the murder of his fellow Jews Earlier in the week Abbas wined and dined the representative of the most brutal occupation of the century, the man personally responsible for the death of hundreds of Palestinians. Now, with his 'position' as KAPO IN CHIEF secured with the blessings of the Israeli and American governments, he can carry out the work of the occupation without any worry of Israeli interference...
Hamas organized on Friday evening massive public rallies in the Gaza Strip in protest at the continuing violations practiced by PA chief Mahmoud Abbas'a security apparatuses against Hamas members and sympathizers in the West Bank the latest of which was preliminary reports on the clinical death of Mu'ayyad Bani Odeh after being subjected to severe torture. The participants chanted slogans deploring the brutal attacks of Abbas's militia in the West Bank against Hamas members and sympathizers, saying that such practices serve only the "Zionist enemy" which also persists in killing Palestinian citizens in the West Bank...

Bomb kills Iraqi province's governor, police chief

Paul Tait
The governor and police chief of Iraq's Shi'ite province of Diwaniya were killed when a roadside bomb hit their convoy of vehicles on Saturday, police said. Diwaniya governor Khalil Jalil Hamza and police chief Major-General Khaled Hassan were returning to the provincial capital of the same name, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, when their convoy of four-wheel drives was hit. Hassan had been in the job for less than a week, police said. Hamza was a member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), the biggest Shi'ite party in Iraq. They had been attending the funeral of a leading tribal sheikh in the town of Efaj, 30 km (18 miles) east of the city. Three of their bodyguards were killed and three others wounded. Local authorities quickly imposed an indefinite curfew...
continua / continued


A review of Financial Armageddon: Protecting Your Future From Four Impending Catastrophes,
By Michael J. Panzner
A few days ago a friend called me just after hearing Michael Panzner on the Thom Hartmann show on Air America. My friend wanted me to read Panzer's book, Financial Armageddon and see what I thought. Apparently, Panzer's radio interview remarks were filled with passion and a sense of urgency, and upon reading the book, I experienced the same intensity in the author's writing which pleasantly surprised me. Here was a financial guru with 25 years' experience in the stock, bond, and currency markets and a faculty member of the New York Institute of Finance, who unlike Ben Bernanke and the silver-lining pundits of the financial pages, was not telling us that everything is going to be fine or that things will "bounce back in 2010"...
Paul Craig Roberts
Early this morning China let the idiots in Washington, and on Wall Street, know that it has them by the short hairs. Two senior spokesmen for the Chinese government observed that China's considerable holdings of US dollars and Treasury bonds "contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency."

Oil and occupation

Galal Nassar, Al-Ahram Weekly
The US administration feigned outrage when former US president Jimmy Carter said on 2 February 2007 that some people in Washington wanted US troops to stay in Iraq for 10 years, if not more. The US invaded Iraq in order to secure a permanent military base in the Middle East, the former president argued. Time has proved him right. A White House spokesman recently admitted that the US was planning a long-term military presence in Iraq: the ongoing war, as well as the war on terror, would, he said, last a long time...
continua / continued

Ex-DOJ employees spar with administration

Ex-DOJ Employees Take On White House »
The Politico Lisa Lerer August 11, 2007 02:04 PM
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales knows well the ways of sparring with the Senate Judiciary Committee, but increasingly he is facing an uncommon and more effective adversary: former Department of Justice career attorneys who are out to settle the score with Gonzales and the administration.
After months of scandal, firings and some testimony from Gonzales that many on Capitol Hill found wholly unsatisfying, these ex-Justice Department employees are taking a rare step and fighting back >>>cont

US and French Oil Conglomerates Share the Spoils of War

David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, with an introduction by Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research
What this agreement suggests is that US oil interests are sharing the spoils of war with Europe's largest oil giant, the Franco-Belgian oil conglomerate Total. This rapprochement between Chevron and Total is consistent with the shift in French politics. President Nicolas Sarkozy is broadly representative of the interests of the Franco-Belgian conglomerate. The current situation is in overt contrast to that prevailing prior to the invasion of Iraq, characterised by the conflict in the United Nations Security Council between the US and Britain on the one hand and France (backed by Germany) on the other. The building of a US-French consensus on Iraq (e.g. between Sarkozy and Bush) is largely the result of the willingness of US oil interests to share the spoils with their European counterparts in exchange for their political and military backing of Washington's foreign policy in the Middle East...
continua / continued

The Mercenary Revolution: Flush with Profits from the Iraq War, Military Contractors See a World of Business Opportunities.

Jeremy Scahill, the Indypendent
If you think the U.S. has only 160,000 troops in Iraq, think again. With almost no congressional oversight and even less public awareness, the Bush administration has more than doubled the size of the U.S. occupation through the use of private war companies. There are now almost 200,000 private "contractors" deployed in Iraq by Washington. This means that U.S. military forces in Iraq are now outsized by a coalition of billing corporations whose actions go largely unmonitored and whose crimes are virtually unpunished. In essence, the Bush administration has created a shadow army that can be used to wage wars unpopular with the American public but extremely profitable for a few unaccountable private companies....

Canada Announces Arctic Base, Port

Canada Announces Arctic Base As Nations Compete For Sovereignty Over Region »
Associated Press ROB GILLIES August 10, 2007 11:50 PM
Canada's prime minister announced plans Friday for an army training center and a deepwater port on the third day of an Arctic trip meant to assert sovereignty over a region, while Denmark said it was staking its own claim with a scientific expedition.
The United States, meanwhile, launched an expedition Friday toward the Arctic to map the sea floor off Alaska, but a scientist linked to the project denied the U.S. was actively joining the Acrtic competition.
By Francis A. Boyle
The Democrats in Congress have taken no effective steps to stop, impede, or thwart the Bush Jr. administration’s wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or anywhere else, including their long-standing threatened war against Iran. To the contrary, the new Democrat-controlled Congress decisively facilitated these serial Nuremberg crimes against peace on May 24, 2007 by enacting a $95 billion supplemental appropriation to fund war operations through September 30, 2007.
The U.S. and Britain are circulating a new draft resolution to United Nations Security Council members proposing a bigger role for the U.N. in the country.... more 09/08/2007
The district of Doura in Baghdad is under the control of gunmen who have imposed their system of government based on strict interpretation of Islamic jurisdiction or Sharia.... more 09/08/2007
Turkey is the new haven for Iraqi investors who are fleeing the country in droves due to worsening security conditions.... more 04/08/2007
For the second time the administration of U.S. President George Bush and that of the Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad turn the land of Iraq as a venue for their meetings.... more 03/08/2007

Megachurch Cancels Funeral For Gay Navy Vet

They have the audacity to call this a church, UNFRIKINGBELIEVABLE
Associated Press ANGELA K. BROWN August 10, 2007 10:19 PM
Relatives of a gay Navy veteran who died say they are upset that a megachurch canceled his memorial service 24 hours before it was to start. Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright.
But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.

Marine Serves Just Six Months Of Eight Year Sentence For Role In Murder Of Iraqi Civilian

Associated Press August 11, 2007 12:36 AM
A Marine who was sentenced to eight years in military prison in the case of a slain Iraqi civilian was released Friday.
Pvt. Robert B. Pennington was sentenced in February in a plea deal that included a reduction in rank from lance corporal and a dishonorable discharge. He pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy; murder and other charges were dismissed.

"Intentional Manipulation Of The Facts" To Get Surveillance Act Passed

Reported Drop in Surveillance Spurred a Law
New York Times ERIC LICHTBLAU, JAMES RISEN and MARK MAZZETTI August 11, 2007 12:07 AM
"There was an intentional manipulation of the facts to get this legislation through," said Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee who voted against the plan.
The White House, Mr. Feingold said Friday in an interview, "has identified the one major remaining weakness in the Democratic Party, and that's its unwillingness to stand up to the administration when it's making a power grab regarding terrorism and national security."


Associated Press August 10, 2007 07:39 PM
"I think it makes sense to certainly consider it," Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."
"And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another," Lute added in his first interview since he was confirmed by the Senate in June.

Friday, August 10, 2007

'Shape up or we're shipping out'

'Shape up or we're shipping out'
PRIME Minister John Howard has warned the Iraqi Government that unless it makes faster progress towards resolving the country's political differences it faces the prospect of Australian troops withdrawing.

Troops Worry Relatives Could Be Deported

JULIANA BARBASSA August 10, 2007 06:38 PM EST Compare other versions »
Compare 06:38 PM EST05:30 PM EST03:46 PM EST and 06:38 PM EST05:30 PM EST03:46 PM EST versions
— Yaderlin Jimenez was an illegal immigrant facing deportation. Her husband, a U.S. citizen and soldier, couldn't help her because he was missing after an insurgent attack in Iraq.
The military has not been able to find Army Spc. Alex Jimenez, of Lawrence, Mass., after he was apparently snatched in May during a raid on his unit south of Baghdad. His capture drew national attention to his wife's deportation case, prompting Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to ask immigration officials to halt the proceedings.
Jimenez's wife then became a legal resident, but the couple's plight put a public face on the private anguish of a growing number of military families in similar straits.
Nicholas Varchaver reports for Fortune Magazine on a new energy crisis that is occurring as southern Louisiana, the conduit for more than a quarter of America's oil, sinks into the sea.

It's time to vote in pursuit of our own best interests

From Where I Stand by Joan Chittister, OSB
I asked a friend of mine what effect he thought the war in Iraq would have on upcoming elections. He paused only so slightly. "None at all," he said. I pressed the point: "Not even in view of the fact that we have alienated some of our strongest allies?" "Joan," he said in the kind of low, patient voice reserved for slow learners, "Europeans don't vote in our elections."
I got it. The lesson was that only Americans vote here and Americans vote only for American interests. So, the question is, what is in the best interest of America now?
The "war" in Iraq is over, U.S. President George Bush announced in May [2003]. Yet, it grinds slowly but inexorably on as American soldiers die, one or two at a time, almost daily.
The operation that was to take only a few months, we are now told, will take a very long time.
Iraq has been "liberated," we say, but Iraqi protests -- public riots -- have grown in intensity. Gratitude is wearing thin.
We invaded them, we said, because they would not disarm and now, it appears, they had very little to disarm in the first place. So the question of the century becomes: How it is possible to be so certain that a country has weapons of mass destruction and so uncertain about where they are?
The "information" on which we based the invasion of Iraq, the rest of world, and we, too, know now, had all been discredited by our own intelligence agencies, as well as by U.N. inspectors, before the first bombs ever dropped.
So much for "preemptive war," for wars waged on probability theory. Or less.
Clearly pre-emptive war, even for those who have no moral qualms about it, is a very iffy thing.
Which gives new credence to another possibility: Instead of waging preemptive war maybe we could invest ourselves in waging preemptive peace. But how?
"Preemptive Peace," the theme of [the 2003] annual Pax Christi USA national conference, opened the question to invited guests from around the world, as well as to American scholars, theologians, activists and social analysts.
Etienne de Jonghe, chairperson of Pax Christi International in Belgium, underscored seven issues for particular attention, especially in the United States, if preemptive peace is to be possible. The following summary of those remarks beg for fuller attention:
Different perspectivesOutside the United States, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was seen from two perspectives.
In the Northern Hemisphere, in Europe, people were really worried. The invasion was seen as a complete rejection of public opinion and other political bodies. Europe has become wary of U.S. policy. De Jonghe said, "It has become clear that in Europe you cannot speak about war the way (the U.S.) government speaks about war. People get 'the shivers.' We have seen a whole continent destroyed. We know genocide. Seeing war become an instrument, a continuation of political policy, to see our concerns, our political systems, brushed away, has done great harm to the allies."
In the Southern hemisphere, on the other hand, people remember that the U.S. government supported the powerful there and ignored the poor. "It is the daily struggle for survival, they know, that is the crucial determination of peace," de Jonghe said.
An informed populaceThe United States is the most powerful nation on earth, and the country's lack of knowledge and information about the rest of the world frightens people outside U.S. borders. "What we see of U.S public opinion makes us afraid. We are really afraid of what we see as the lack of empathy you have about the conditions and attitudes of the rest of the world," de Jonghe said. "You must bring foreign perspective to the United States. People in the U.S. are handicapped (because) they lack understanding of the outside world."
Reaching OutWe must reach out to the people of the world. Travel is one way to foster this. Exchanges of ideas and experiences helps. "We have to build bridges," de Jonghe said.
Interfaith relationsWe must reflect on the long-term consequences for interfaith relationships as a result of this war. The fear is that it is reinforcing deep, historical grievances (between Muslims and Christians.) Genocides have happened before, even after World War II. These things are real.
The effect of the Christian language President Bush used while defending U.S. policies raised old fears and hatreds. Using Christian language was a diplomatic blunder of major proportion. De Jonghe said, it worried him, "but the Holy See and the pope were speaking out. That was remarkable and may have prevented a religious war."
International CourtThe sabotage of the International Court by the United States, which rejected this great treaty built by the international community, was really shocking, he said. The court is a sign of hope. It only deals with "gross human rights violations." For the United States to say that it will not submit to the International Court is terrible, de Jonghe said.
U.N. PeacekeepersDifferent groups, even within the peace movement around the world, are struggling with the question of the military's proper place in U.N. peacekeeping missions. Regions that suffered under colonization tend to reject peacekeeping forces. Because of their own history, they don't want to support any excuse to go into other nations. Smaller nations are more likely to accept it because they cannot protect themselves. This is the question we must consider.
American EmpireFinally, the term "The American Empire" must be taken seriously. It is not a slogan anymore. We are seeing the evaporation of American diplomacy. "We are all now in the empire. … Those of us in the European Union know that we don't count anymore," de Jonghe said.
He said, "Europe has learned from our mistakes and bloody history that we must go the way of cooperation. We know we must even give up some of our national sovereignty in some fields to get out of the mess. People in the Southern Hemisphere see it simply as more exploitation."
Diplomacy has been replaced with a dependency on military logic alone, according to de Jonghe. "There is a capacity for military cooperation, but that's all there is," he said.
And then he closed his comments with the answer to my question, I think. He said, "But there is still hope. We saw all of you on the streets, millions of you and millions around the world. We are at a time of new solidarity."
My friend is right, of course. Europeans don't vote in U.S. elections. But we do. We will surely vote with our own interests in mind. And we should. But where do our best interests really lie now?
From where I stand, it's a question worth pondering. We have to decide now what will work best in the long run, for our children, for Christianity, for the world: preemptive war or preemptive peace?


Desert Peace
A week ago today I appeared on Saudi Arabian TV. I was asked just one question.... 'Do I think that Condoleezza Rice's visit to the region will result in peace? My answer was that if her visits (many of them in the past year) had any connection to the Peace Process whatsoever we would have it by now. I also stated that the sole purpose of her visit was to bolster the 'position' of America's new ally, Mahmoud Abbas.... there was no other reason for her being here. How can anyone trust that woman or anyone else that represents the Bush Administration? Their quest for peace in the Middle East is as artificial as the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In both cases the results will be nothing but lies and more lies...

A Special Investigation: Pat Tillman as Everyone's Political Football The Fog of Fame

STAN GOFF, Counterpunch
In 1979, after a break in my Army service and having recouped my sergeant's stripes as a mechanized cavalry scout in Fort Carson, I volunteered for the Rangers. Off to Ranger School I went, and upon completion I was assigned to 3rd Platoon, Company A (Alpha Company), 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Infantry Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington. Each of the three rifle platoons (organizations of around 40 light infantrymen) had nicknames, in this case, First to Fight, the Blacksheep, and Third Herd. A Company, known for its iron discipline, was called the Alpha-bots. When I left there in 1981 to become a tactics instructor at the Jungle Operations Training Center in Panama, I never had a notion that I might somehow be entangled with Alpha Company again ... two-and-a-half decades later. Brothers Pat and Kevin Tillman were Alpha-bots, assigned to the Blacksheep (2nd Platoon), when Pat was killed by friendly fire on April 22, 2004 near a tiny village called Manah in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border. When I was a member of the adjacent platoon in the same building, Pat was a baby...
continua / continued

Reprimands In Tillman Case Won't Go In Officers' Records

Associated Press MARTHA MENDOZA August 10, 2007 05:37 PM
Tillman's direct superiors knew within hours of his April 2004 death in Afghanistan that the former football star had been killed by fellow Army Rangers, but the truth was kept from the public and Tillman's family for five weeks _ in direct violation of Army regulations.
"You should not consider this as an adverse action," letters to the officers say. "This document will not be filed in any system of records maintained by the Army."
Need help with a down payment? Ask the Army
Under aggressive plan, recruits could get ‘buffet’ of incentives
Updated: 11:05 p.m. ET Aug 9, 2007
WASHINGTON - Need a down payment for your home? Seed money to start a business? The Army wants to help — if you’re willing to join up.
Despite spending nearly $1 billion last year on recruiting bonuses and ads, Army leaders say an even bolder approach is needed to fill wartime ranks.
Under a new proposal, men and women who enlist could pick from a “buffet” of incentives, including up to $45,000 tax-free that they accrue during their career to help buy a home or build a business. Other options would include money for college and to pay off student loans.
An Associated Press review of the increasingly aggressive recruiting offerings found the Army is not only dangling more sign-up rewards — it’s loosening rules on age and weight limits, education and drug and criminal records.
It’s all part of an Army effort to fill its ranks even as the percentage of young people who say they plan to join the military has hit a historic low — 16 percent by the Pentagon’s own surveying — in the fifth year of the Iraq war.
More here:

UN is Now Relevant?

Did'nt our great King George W Bush,Rummy,Wolfie,Condi,Sleazeball Cheney,and the rest of warmongers declare the UN irrelevant and useless,right before they kicked the UN inspectors out of completing their serach for WMD's in Iraq?

URGENT - U.N. Security Council unanimously approves expansion of U.N. role in Iraq

Any volunteers?
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday expanding the United Nations' role in Iraq in a move aimed at reconciling the country's rival groups, winning support from neighboring countries and tackling Iraq's humanitarian crisis.
The resolution authorizes the U.N., at the request of the Iraqi government, to promote political talks among the country's ethnic and religious groups and a regional dialogue on issues including border security, energy and refugees.
The United States and Britain, who have the largest military forces in Iraq and cosponsored the resolution, believe the U.N. should play a greater part there because the world body is viewed by many as a more neutral party that can facilitate talks among feuding parties.

Day of bloodshed in Afghanistan mars 'peace jirga'

Day of bloodshed in Afghanistan mars 'peace jirga'
by Waheedullah Massoud 1 hour, 50 minutes ago
KABUL (AFP) - Fresh fighting across Afghanistan left at least 45 people dead Friday, including a British soldier, as a council of Pakistani and Afghan tribal leaders debated ways to end extremist violence in the region.
On a day of bloodshed which marred the "peace jirga" in Kabul, Taliban militants ambushed a joint Afghan and NATO army convoy, sparking a firefight that killed seven Afghan soldiers and 20 militants, the defence ministry said.
Five "important" Taliban commanders were among the dead, including the rebel movement's commander for western Badghis province, defence ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi told AFP.
"The militants ambushed our convoy," said Azimi, adding that the army called in NATO warplanes to bomb militant positions after the attack.

Cuba-trained U.S. physicians fear prejudice back home

Cuba-trained U.S. physicians fear prejudice back home
By Caribbean Net News
Updated Aug 9, 2007, 05:15 pm
HAVANA, Cuba (Caribbean Net News) - Eight Americans who graduated July 24 from medical school in Cuba fear prejudice back home, but said their education, training and dedication should help them overcome any obstacle.
“It’s inevitable we’ll be facing and confronting prejudice when we get there due to the political situation between our two countries, but when we can show we’re well prepared technically, those prejudices will fall away,” one of the doctors, Teresa Thomas, told a press conference.
She and seven other Americans are among 1,842 doctors from 30 countries to have graduated from Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, after six years of study under a full scholarship program granted by Cuba.
Applicants to the school are chosen from poor areas around the world by Pastors for Peace, a special ministry of the U.S.-based Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization headed by Reverend Lucius Walker.

Iran, Iraq to Sign Pipeline Deal

Opppppps, Georgie and Dick will be pissed now, don't you think?
Will they or Won't they attack Iran Now?
TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran and Iraq will sign a deal in the next few days to build a pipeline that would transfer crude from southern Iraqi oilfields to refineries in Iran, a senior Iranian official said yesterday.
Iraq announced in May it had agreed to begin discussions with Iran over the pipeline that will carry 200,000 barrels of Iraqi crude to Iran per day.
"Based on this contract the Iraqi crude will be imported and oil products will be exported (to Iraq)," Iran's first vice-president Parviz Davoudi said.
He said Iraqi oil minister Hussain Al Shahristani would visit Tehran "in coming days." Davoudi was speaking after talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki who visited Tehran on Wednesday and Thursday.
Iraq, which has faced chronic fuel shortages, is now looking to build four refineries and has asked Iranian firms to bid for such contracts across the country. Decades of wars, sanctions and underinvestment have slowed a recovery in Iraq's oil output.
Shahristani said in May Tehran was keen to construct the whole pipeline but his country would also consider other offers. Iraq needs to attract investment from foreign firms to develop fields and boost output.
The value of the contract is yet to be announced.

Eavesdropping Law Illegal, (Gitmo) Lawyers Say (New FISA Gets First Legal Challenge)

Eavesdropping law illegal, lawyers say
AP News
Aug 09, 2007 21:24 EDT
Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees asked a federal judge Thursday to invalidate a days-old law that lets government agents eavesdrop on suspected terrorists without first getting court-approved warrants. They said the measure signed into law Sunday by President Bush is illegal because it gives the national intelligence director and the U.S. attorney general too much power to intercept communications of suspected terrorists overseas even when they are talking to someone in the United States.
The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights' lawsuit, along with about 50 others, are all being considered by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco.
In court documents filed Wednesday, government lawyers argued that the law's passage is enough legal grounds for a judge to toss out the Guantanamo detainees' lawsuit.
The center argues that the program jeopardizes its ability to represent clients with suspected Al Qaeda ties because it cannot be sure that confidential telephone calls and e-mail correspondence with the Cuba detainees and their families overseas will stay private. The center said Thursday that it also intends to argue in its suit that the new law is unconstitutional.
Walker did not make a ruling Thursday. The government's appeal will be heard Wednesday in San Francisco by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

I'm one of them." "That's insulting and disgraceful. He's a liar.

By Greg Sargent bio
Okay, we've obtained some real live video of Rudy Giuliani's 9/11 gaffe, in which he said that he was "at Ground Zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers," adding that he was "one of them."
The remark has already sparked an outpouring of criticism from firefighters, 9/11 workers sickened by toxins at Ground Zero, and others.
Take a look:


Administration Fights Dem Plan to Boost School Aid for Vets

ABC: Administration Fights Dem Plan to Boost School Aid for Vets »

abcnews.com Alexandra Bahou and Anna Schecter August 10, 2007 01:56 PM
The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official's comments last week.
Senate Democrats, led by Virginia's Jim Webb, want the government to pay every penny of veterans' educational costs, from tuition at a public university to books, housing and a monthly stipend.

Fed Acts to Stem Credit Turmoil

The Fed Acts: Will Provide "Reserves As Necessary" »
AP JEANNINE AVERSA August 10, 2007 12:49 PM
The Federal Reserve, trying to calm turmoil on Wall Street, announced Friday that it will pump as much money as needed into the U.S. financial system to help overcome the ill effects of a spreading credit crunch.
The Fed, in a short statement, said it will provide "reserves as necessary" to help the markets safely make their way. The central bank did not provide details but said it would do all it can to "facilitate the orderly functioning of financial markets."

President Bush on Accountability



Shift Happens Did You Know?

If My Space Where A Country, It Would Be The 8th Largest Country In The World
First Commerical Text Message Sent December 1992,
The Number Of Text Messages Sent and Received Today, Exceeds the population of the Planet.
Simply Amazing

Passengers, crew injured in Arctic cruise accident

How do you feel about that little bit of news America?

ONE MONTH from The Anniversary, I'm thinking another 9/11 would help America.
What kind of a sick bastard would write such a thing?
A bastard so sick of how splintered we are politically - thanks mainly to our ineptitude in Iraq - that we have forgotten who the enemy is.
It is not Bush and it is not Hillary and it is not Daily Kos or Bill O'Reilly or Giuliani or Barack. It is global terrorists who use Islam to justify their hideous sins, including blowing up women and children.
Iraq has fractured the U.S. into jigsaw pieces of competing interests that encourage our enemies. We are deeply divided and division is weakness.
Most Americans today believe Iraq was a mistake. Why?
Not because Americans are "anti-war."
Americans have turned their backs because the war has dragged on too long and we don't have the patience for a long slog. We've been in Iraq for four years, but to some it seems like a century. In contrast, Britain just pulled its soldiers out of Northern Ireland where they had been, often being shot at, almost 40 years.
That's not the American way.
In Iraq, we don't believe our military is being beaten on the battleground. It's more that there is no formal "battleground." There is the drip of daily casualties and victory is not around the corner. Americans are impatient. We like fast food and fast war.
Americans loved the 1991 Gulf War. It raged for just 100 hours when George H.W. Bush ended it with a declaration of victory. He sent a half-million troops into harm's way and we suffered fewer than 300 deaths.
America likes wars shorter than the World Series.
Bush I did everything right, Bush II did everything wrong - but he did it with the backing of Congress.
Because the war has been a botch so far, Democrats and Republicans are attacking one another, when they aren't attacking themselves. The dialog of discord echoes across America.
Turn back to 9/11.
Remember the community of outrage and national resolve? America had not been so united since the first Day of Infamy - 12/7/41.
We knew who the enemy was then.
We knew who the enemy was shortly after 9/11.
Because we have mislaid 9/11, we have endless sideshow squabbles about whether the surge is working, if we are "safer" now, whether the FBI should listen in on foreign phone calls, whether cops should detain odd-acting "flying imams," whether those plotting alleged attacks on Fort Dix or Kennedy airport are serious threats or amateur bumblers. We bicker over the trees while the forest is ablaze.
America's fabric is pulling apart like a cheap sweater.
What would sew us back together?
Another 9/11 attack.
The Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. Chicago's Wrigley Field. The Philadelphia subway system. The U.S. is a target-rich environment for al Qaeda.
Is there any doubt they are planning to hit us again?
If it is to be, then let it be. It will take another attack on the homeland to quell the chattering of chipmunks and to restore America's righteous rage and singular purpose to prevail.
The unity brought by such an attack sadly won't last forever.
The first 9/11 proved that. *
Market plunge wipes off $56bn
4:48pm: THE stock market has posted its largest fall since the September 2001 US terrorist attacks with investors rattled and superannuation-linked gains eaten into.

Bear Stearns Fat Cats Cashed Out at the Top

By Brett ArendsMutual Funds Columnist8/8/2007 9:50
BOSTON -- Wall Street bank Bear Stearns (BSC - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) is right at the heart of the subprime mortgage meltdown. It's reeling from massive, multibillion-dollar losses at two hedge funds.
every investor who has watched the stock collapse from more than $172 to just $117.78 in a few months is probably kicking himself for not selling at least some back at the peak, before the crisis hit.
Four savvy investors did just that.
Step forward, Alan Greenberg, Sam Molinaro, James Cayne and Warren Spector.
Who are they?
Top honchos at ... Bear Stearns. (Or they were: Spector has now left in a management shake-up. The others remain.)
Between them, the four quietly cashed out more than $57 million worth of company stock before the crisis hit.
The executives saved themselves nearly $16 million by their astutely timed sales, which were disclosed in a series of public filings.
Those losses got passed on to the unlucky outside investors who bought the stock.
Bear Stearns declined to comment.
These executives did nothing wrong. Many of the stock sales were made as share options came due at the end of 2006. Certain executives had made similar big trades in previous years. The trades were made several months before problems surfaced at the company's hedge funds in May.
Furthermore, Bear Stearns executives are still holding plenty of stock in the company.
Nonetheless, their timing last winter was notable for its good fortune, if nothing else. Once again it shows that company insiders seem to prove pretty good at knowing when their own stock is overvalued and when the future risks do not justify the price.
Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq 1,000,985

Thursday, August 09, 2007

EVERY family across the country will be sent an internet filter as part of a $189 million crackdown on "cyber-smut" announced by the Prime Minister, aimed at blocking porn and targeting sex predators.

French Polynesian official says a passenger plane heading for Tahiti has crashed into the sea, news services report. Details soon.

A Red Play for The Golden State

Is California GOP Trying to Steal the 2008 Election?
Newsweek writer Jonathan Alter says, "Our way of electing presidents has always been fertile ground for mischief. But there's sensible mischief - toying with existing laws and the Constitution to reflect popular will - and then there's the other kind, which tries to rig admission to the Electoral College for strictly partisan purposes. Mischief-makers in California (Republicans) and North Carolina (Democrats) are at work on changes that would subvert the system for momentary advantage and - in ways the political world is only beginning to understand - dramatically increase the odds that a Republican will be elected president in 2008."

Anti-war activists, locals are wary about military contractor's new training site

'America's private army' under fire for Illinois facility
By E.A. Torriero Tribune staff reporter
July 23, 2007
MT. CARROLL, Ill. - Strangers rarely venture onto the twisting gravel roads in this corner of the state, and those who do sometimes get lost amid the rolling hills.

So it came as a surprise to many locals when the expert marksmen of Blackwater USA -- a controversial military contractor that provides armed security guards in the Iraq war -- took over an 80-acre rifle range and opened up a new training center this past spring. Blackwater North, as the North Carolina-based firm calls its new site, is designed primarily as a tactical training ground for domestic law enforcement and contractors, not for security missions to Iraq or Afghanistan, Blackwater officials said. Using civilians schooled in military warfare, the site offers training in weaponry, hostage dealings and terror reaction.

Still, the sudden appearance of Blackwater is attracting criticism and questions from miles around.Wary residents fret about noise, expansion and the more distant possibility that low-paid local police might end up working lucrative jobs for Blackwater overseas.
Meanwhile, peace groups from as far as Chicago, 150 miles to the east, plan to stage a major demonstration here next month protesting "America's private army."
"We're tucked away here in a no man's land, and to have Blackwater come in is quite unsettling," said Conrad Iandola (the name as published has been corrected here and in subsequent references in this text) , a neighboring landowner. "Most people have farms and homes. That's it. Now we have Blackwater here and we don't know what they will attract."

No End in Sight "has the White House spooked.''

Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 12:54:30 AM PDT
Sidney Blumenthal, with his usual elegant prose, has a piece on Salon laying out the White House fears that Colin Powell will come out of hiding in time to deny them the impact of Petraeus' september report.
Although the piece focuses in main on Powell, the fuel for the fire of fear comes from Charles Ferguson's excellent documentary No End in Sight
Blumenthal says:
The release of a documentary on the administration's failures in Iraq, "No End in Sight," directed by Charles Ferguson, has the White House spooked. Bush's aides are not worried because the film is brilliantly shot and edited, or because it is compelling, but because of what -- or whose appearance -- it might augur to upset their September rollout.
In particular, Ferguson snagged Richard Armitage, Powell's right hand man.
This confirms my suspicions: this movie, which tells of the Iraq occupation fiasco from the insider's perspective, has the potential to push people off the fence, and, in my view, towards veto proof majorities in congress, and the White House wants to squash it. Is that why he is virtually blacked out from the TV and most major radio outlets?
According to Blumenthal, the concern from the White House about No End In Sight is that
Link Here

Waiting On The World To Change


"Waiting For The World To Change," John Mayer

In the 19th Century Albert Pike established a framework for bringing about the One World Order.

Who was Albert Pike?

Very few outsiders know about the intimate plans of Albert Pike and the architects of the New World Order. In the 19th Century Albert Pike established a framework for bringing about the One World Order. Based on a vision revealed to him, Albert Pike wrote a blueprint of events that would play themselves out in the 20th century, with even more of these events yet to come. It is this blueprint which we believe unseen leaders are following today, knowingly or not, to engineer the planned Third and Final World War.

"To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary," Ware added.

Murder charges dropped against Marine in Haditha case
Murder charges against a US Marine accused of killing three Iraqi civilians during an alleged massacre in Haditha two years ago have been dropped, the military said on Thursday.
A statement released by the Marines at their Camp Pendleton base in southern California revealed that three charges of unpremeditated murder against Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt had been withdrawn.
The decision was announced in a written ruling from the commander Lieutenant General James Mattis and followed a recommendation from an investigator last month that the charges should be dropped.
"An independent Article 32 investigating officer has considered all the facts and determined that the evidence does not support a referral to court-martial for Lance Corporal Sharratt," Mattis wrote.
"Based on my review of all the evidence in this case and considering the recommendation of the Article 32 officer, I have dismissed the charges."
Sharratt was accused of shooting three Iraqi men execution-style in what prosecutors alleged was part of a rampage that left 24 civilians dead following the death of a Marine in a roadside bomb in November 2005.
Sharratt said the men were shot at close quarters as Marines cleared a house where insurgents were believed to be operating.
In a statement recommending the charges be dropped released last month, investigator Lieutenant Colonel Paul Ware said the prosecution charges were "unsupported by the independent evidence."
"To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary," Ware added.
The Haditha killings are the most serious allegations of war crimes against US soldiers in Iraq.
Eight Marines were initially charged in connection with the case -- four with murder and four officers with failing to properly investigate the incident.
Sharratt is the second Marine to have murder charges dropped after allegations against Sergeant Sanick DeLa Cruz were withdrawn in April.

First Father: Tough Times on Sidelines

Shame all the death and devastation the son has caused, didn't Wear On His Heart And His Soul

"George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush find yourself another home" were somehow lost in the mix.

From SaveTheInternet.com:
Over the weekend AT&T gave us a glimpse of their plans for the Web when they censored a Pearl Jam performance that didn't meet their standard of "Internet freedom."
During the live Lollapalooza Webcast of a concert by the Seattle-based super-group, the telco giant muted lead singer Eddie Vedder just as he launched into a lyric against President George Bush. The lines -- "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush find yourself another home" were somehow lost...

Stocks Drop Sharply Due To Home Loan Anxiety

Associated Press August 9, 2007 09:24 AM
Wall Street plunged in early trading Thursday, yanking the Dow Jones industrials down more than 180 points after a French bank said it was freezing three securities funds that struggled to find liquidity in the U.S. subprime mortgage market.
The announcement by BNP Paribas raised the specter of a widening impact of U.S. credit market problems. The idea that anyone -- institutions, investors, companies, individuals -- can't get money when they need it unnerved a stock market that has suffered through...

Labor Dept.: 1,001 Contractors Have Died in Iraq

The Houston Chronicle's David Ivanovich reports: "More than 1,000 civilian contractors have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion more than four years ago, according to Labor Department records made available Tuesday."
A new public opinion poll has found nearly two thirds of Iraqis oppose plans to open the country's oilfields to foreign companies.
A top member of the Iraqi prime minister's party says a law governing oil reserves should be delayed until occupation forces leave the country.

Disaster looms as 'Saddam dam' struggles to hold back the Tigris

By Patrick Cockburn in Mosul
Published: 08 August 2007
As world attention focuses on the daily slaughter in Iraq, a devastating disaster is impending in the north of the country, where the wall of a dam holding back the Tigris river north of Mosul city is in danger of imminent collapse.
"It could go at any minute," says a senior aid worker who has knowledge of the struggle by US and Iraqi engineers to save the dam. "The potential for disaster is very great."
If the dam does fail, a wall of water will sweep into Mosul, Iraq's third largest city with a population of 1.7 million, 20 miles to the south. Experts say the flood waters could destroy 70 per cent of Mosul and inflict heavy damage 190 miles downstream along the Tigris.
The dam was built between 1980 and 1984 and has long been known to be in a dangerous condition because of unstable bedrock. "The dam was constructed on a foundation of marls, soluble gypsum, anhydrite, and karstic limestone that are continuously dissolving," said specialists at the US embassy in a statement. "The dissolution creates an increased risk for dam failure."

The surge: a special report by Patrick Cockburn :

It was supposed to mark a decisive new phase in America's military campaign, but six months after George Bush sent in 20,000 extra troops, Iraq is more chaotic and dangerous than ever. In a special despatch, Patrick Cockburn reports on the bloody failure of 'the surge'

Let Us Now Praise an Infamous Woman -- and Our Own Possibilities

By Norman Solomon
A grand total of two people in the entire Congress were able to resist a blood-drenched blank check for the Vietnam War. Decades later, a single Congress woman stood up after September 11, 2001 and voted against the gathering madness.
Rep. Barbara Lee's Speech Opposing the Post 9-11 Use of Force Act ... clergy so eloquently said, " As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore." ...

The Terror America Wrought

By Robert Scheer

During a week of mayhem in Iraq, in which terrorists have rightly been condemned for targeting schoolchildren, it is sobering to recall that this week is also the 62nd anniversary of a U.S. attack that deliberately took the lives of thousands of children on their way to school in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Media Outlets That Went Nuts Over O'Hanlon Ignoring Cordesman's Pessimism About Iraq

August 8, 2007 -- 1:53 PM EST // // Here is a list of the big news orgs and network shows -- compiled from here, here, and here -- that lavished coverage on Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack over their now-infamous Op-ed saying that we just might win the war in Iraq:
CBS Evening News
CNN Newsroom
CNN Evening News
CNN Situation Room
MSNBC Tucker
NPR Talk of the Nation
CBS Early Show
CBS Evening News
Fox News Special Report
MSNBC Hardball
O'Hanlon and Pollack:
Fox News Sunday
As noted here yesterday, national security analyst Anthony Cordesman went to Iraq with O'Hanlon and Pollack, and reached a strikingly different conclusion. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, where Cordesman works, just told me that they sent out a release about this yesterday morning.
Over 24 hours later, here's a list of the media outlets that have covered it, according to a Google news and Nexis search:
Agence France Press
UPIYep -- one major network.
Really, it's worth stepping back and pondering just how unprofessional and dysfunctional the media's performance has been on this story to date. It starts with The Times's editors, who actually allowed these two to con the paper's readers into forgetting their unflagging support for the invasion and the surge, letting them get away with describing themselves only as war critics. That embarrassing flub then colored virtually all the coverage that followed. Because of it, the big news orgs persuaded themselves that there was something counterintuitive about their conclusion -- and proceeded to report, in one outlet after another, that these war "critics" had suddenly found reason to be hopeful.
Now we have a story that's genuinely counterintuitive -- that is, that a companion of the two went along and reached very different, and far more pessimistic, conclusions about the prospects for success in Iraq. Not only is this counterintuitive, but there's also conflict here, too -- Cordesman flags his disagreement with his esteemed colleagues in the first paragraph of his synopsis. This also puts Cordesman at odds with the White House, which relentlessly flacked O'Hanlon and Pollack's findings. And the media response to Cordesman thus far? Virtual silence.
I'm told that some reporters have inquired about the report, so things may change; I really hope they do. As of now, however, the silence that has greeted Cordesman's far more detailed report -- from the same news orgs that gave exceptionally generous, and outright misleading, coverage to O'Hanlon and Pollack's optimism about Iraq -- stands as a sad, though perhaps fittingly pathetic, postscript to this whole affair.
Update: Check out this comprehensive comparison of the assessment of Cordesman versus that of O'Hanlon and Pollack.
-- Greg Sargent

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

False Positive: Bush's Deadly Odor of Mendacity

Written by Chris Floyd
Wednesday, 08 August 2007
President Bush's many media sycophants tell us over and over that he is not the dribbling idiot of popular imagination. As Hugh Hewitt and other genuflectors who are ushered routinely into the great man's presence insist, George W. Bush is an intelligent, focused, purposeful leader, with a firm grasp on the complexities of modern statecraft.
Let us grant the truth of this assertion. (Indeed, I have already granted it, in two previous pieces: here and here.) What this means, of course, is that when Bush makes a statement in public, he is very much aware of what he is saying, and fully cognizant of the implications of his words. Therefore, when the intelligent, focused and purposeful Mr. Bush declared Monday -- at a highly publicized meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- that the Iranian government "has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon," we must assume that he knew full well that he was telling a barefaced lie, and that he told this lie for some specific purpose. That purpose is obvious: to further prepare the PR ground for inducing the public to go along with a future military strike against Iran.
This is precisely the same kind of focused and purposeful lie that Bush told when he declared, on national television, that there was "no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," and that Saddam Hussein had "aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operative of al Qaeda." In fact, the new lie is even more brazen, for it involves only the public statements of Iranian leaders, not cherry-picked and falsified nuggets of murky intelligence data buried from all public view. Anyone with a computer -- or a memory -- can readily determine that Iran's government leaders have insistently proclaimed their adamant opposition to building a nuclear weapon; the nation's theocratic leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, has even declared such a weapons program to be against the will of God.
The veracity of such statements might be controversial, of course. After all, there is no particular reason to believe that the government leaders in Iran are any more honest than, say, American presidents (or American clerics) have proven to be down through the years. But it is simply, literally, indisputably an outright lie to declare that the Iranian government has "proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon." The very opposite is true.
Bush knew he was lying -- and he was lying with a purpose. He was trying to inject this poisonous falsehood into the public debate, and he succeeded. The remark went largely unnoticed by the corporate media, which focused on other themes in the joint press conference. The US media's flagship, the New York Times, did not even mention Bush's falsehood, much less point out the inaccuracy of the remark. As it does so often, the Times smoothed over Bush's actual words with a bland paraphrase, saying only that Bush "is deeply suspicious of [Iran's] nuclear ambitions, a view he reiterated Monday." (That is a further lie in aid of the original lie. Bush did not say he was "deeply suspicious" of Iran's nuclear ambitions; he said outright that Iran has declared its desire for nuclear weapons. There was no "suspicion" about the statement at all; Bush retailed it as an established fact.)
Some outlets, such as the Washington Post, did report Bush's remark -- and even went on to note, at the very bottom of the story, that "Iran actually has not proclaimed a desire to build a nuclear weapon." But instead of asking why Bush would tell such a glaring, provocative lie, the Post merely, and meekly, allowed an Administration spokesman to explain away the remark with a non sequitor: Iran had once kept its nuclear energy program a secret and was now resisting some of the extra inspections demanded of them outside the the nuclear non-proliferation treaty that they have signed and followed for years. The spokesman did not explain how any of this constituted a "proclamation" of the desire to build nuclear weapons. And the Post obviously did not press him on it. Still, in this degraded age of journalism, I suppose we must give a gold star to the Post for even mentioning the discrepancy between Bush's statement and the truth.
(However, full marks must go to AFP for writing a whole story on the lie: Bush levels dubious Iran nuclear arms charge. But they're just a bunch of foreigners anyway, so they don't count. Only the echo chamber of the Homeland media is important in the new warmongering campaign.) CONTINUED

Family members wept.

Hundreds of angry mourners chanted as they carried at least three coffins, draped in Iraqi flags, through Sadr City streets. Family members wept.

No one could have anticipated

AP August 8, 2007 08:58 AM
Torrential rain flooded subways and rail lines and delayed flights early Wednesday at New York's three major airports and thousands of commuters were unable to get to work.
Most subway lines in the city were experiencing delays or diversions, and there was no rail service to Grand Central Station on some lines. Some rail routes from New Jersey into Manhattan were shut down for more than an hour.
No one could have anticipated that global warming could affect coastal cities. Right?

Washington's August Break: Just Don't Call It Vacation Time

While Georgie is on VACATION, Iraqis and Americans keep dying

Romney: No Army For Sons...They Show Patriotism By "Helping Me Get Elected"

AP GLEN JOHNSON August 8, 2007 12:45 PM
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in the military, saying they're showing their support for the country by "helping me get elected."
Romney, who did not serve in Vietnam due to his Mormon missionary work and a high draft lottery number, was asked the question by an anti-war activist after a speech in which he called for "a surge of support" for U.S. forces in Iraq.
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