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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Anti-Iraq war protesters march in US

See now those numbers stun me, we are talking about 100000 people out of a population of 300 million. Who thought this illegal war and occupation worth protesting.
September 16, 2007 - 11:54AM
Tens of thousands of protesters marched from the White House to the Capitol to demand an end to the Iraq war, and at least 160 people were arrested when they jumped a barricade at the foot of the Capitol steps.
Many of the protesters were arrested without a struggle after they jumped over the waist-high barricade.
But some grew angry as police attempted to push them back using large shields.
At least two people were showered with chemical spray and protesters responded by throwing signs and chanting "shame on you".

Now why can't we get movements like the Veitnam Era, of course no draft.

For Nadia and others like her, George Bush's last throw of the dice is irrelevant.

Anyone who believes that the American-led "surge" in Iraq is succeeding should hear the story of Mohammed and Nadia al-Hayali. Both fluent in English – Nadia, who was born in Montpellier, also speaks French – they were the kind of well-educated, modern Iraqis who should have been the driving force behind a new secular democracy. Yet Mohammed is believed dead at the hands of kidnappers who seized the whole family, and Nadia is living the miserable half-life of the exile with their two children in Jordan. While the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, spouted statistics in Washington last week to indicate that progress was being made in the Iraqi capital – suicide bombings down, fewer sectarian murders – what happened to the Hayalis dispels this carefully constructed impression of greater normality...

Al-Jazeera man close to death at Guantanamo Bay 'close to death' and Humiliated In The Shackles

Window Into Palestine Thanks to Ismail Kashkash for this compilationon a vicious case of injustice:
An al-Jazeera journalist captured in Afghanistan six years ago and sent to Guantanamo Bay is close to becoming the fifth detainee at the US naval base to take his own life, according to a medical report written by a team of British and American psychiatrists (...) Mr Haj, 38, was sent on assignment by al-Jazeera television station to cover the war in Afghanistan in October 2001. The following month, after the fall of Kabul, Mr Haj left Afghanistan for Pakistan with the rest of his crew. In early December, the crew were given visas to return to Afghanistan . But when Mr Haj tried to re-enter Afghanistan with his colleagues, he was arrested by the Pakistani authorities - apparently at the request of the US military. He was imprisoned, handed over to the US authorities in January 2002, taken to the US military compound in Bagram, Afghanisatan, then Kandahar, and finally to Guantanamo in June 2002. His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, of the human rights charity Reprieve, said his client had endured months of brutal force-feeding and lost nearly a fifth of his body weight during the hunger strike....
Humiliated In The Shackles
By Sami al Hajj
When I heard pigeons cooing in the trees,
Hot tears covered my face.
When the lark chirped, my thoughts composed
A message for my son.
Mohammad, I am afflicted.
In my despair, I have no one but Allah for comfort.
The oppressors are playing with me,
As they move freely around the world.
They ask me to spy on my countrymen,
Claiming it would be a good deed.
They offer me money and land,
And freedom to go where I please.
Their temptations seize
My attention like lightning in the sky.
But their gift is an empty snake,
Carrying hypocrisy in its mouth like venom,
They have monuments to liberty
And freedom of opinion, which is well and good.
But I explained to them that
Architecture is not justice.
America, you ride on the backs of orphans,
And terrorize them daily.
Bush, beware.
The world recognizes an arrogant liar.
To Allah I direct my grievance and my tears.
I am homesick and oppressed.
Mohammad, do not forget me.
Support the cause of your father, a God-fearing man.
I was humiliated in the shackles.
How can I now compose verses? How can I now write?
After the shackles and the nights and the suffering and the tears,
How can I write poetry?
My soul is like a roiling sea, stirred by anguish,
Violent with passion.
I am a captive, but the crimes are my captors'.
I am overwhelmed with apprehension.
Lord, unite me with my son Mohammad.
Lord, grant success to the righteous

Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil

Graham Paterson, Time
AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil. In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies. However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil," he says...
continua / continued

Iraq Oil Reality vs the NY Times

Sarah Meyer, Index Research
The New York Times, like many American newspapers, has been lax in its reporting of the problems with the 'benchmark’ Iraq Oil Law. Mainstream Media has preferred to swallow the Bushline about "sharing" Iraq’s oil, when in fact Bremer’s Law was nothing about 'sharing’ and everything about American imperial control of Iraq’s oil. Paul Krugman , (NY Times 14.09.07) as one can see from the following articles, did not discover the story of the Hunt oil contract. Thus his editorial was not, as reported by Raw Story, (14th Sept) a "bombshell." In order that MSM don’t continue their charade of 'discovery’ and hopefully return to old - style reportage and research, following is a continuing Iraq Oil Timeline from 31.08 – 15.09.07...
continua / continued


Air Force query into B-52 incident to continue

September 15, 2007
By John Andrew Prime
Even though Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne wanted a report about an Aug. 30 B-52 weapons-loading mistake on his desk Friday, it will take a little longer to generate, his office says. "The investigation is ongoing and is expected to continue for at least the next several weeks," Jennifer Bentley, a spokeswoman for Wynne's office, told The Times on Friday.
The incident occurred after a munitions crew at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota left nuclear warheads on six Advanced Cruise Missiles on a 2nd Bomb Wing bomber that returned to Barksdale Air Force Base.
"Although there was never any public danger, the munitions transfer error that occurred was unacceptable and a clear deviation from our exacting standards," Bentley said. "We are committing the appropriate time and resources to ensure, beyond any doubt, that our munitions are safe, secure and absolutely reliable 100 percent of the time."
Air Force Times, a fellow Gannett publication, broke the story Sept. 5. Within hours, the commander of the munitions squadron at Minot was relieved of all duties and the crews that loaded the missiles were decertified from such work.
Remember the live nukes heading out over America from Minot?Look how many are showing up dead from Minot.
Source: http://cryptogon.com/?p=1299
B52 Nuke: Minot Air Force Base Airman DEAD ...
Minot Air Force Base Airman Died While on Leave. September 14th, 2007
Airman 1st Class Todd Blue was assigned to the unit that provides security for that bomber wing at Minot Air Force base. He died while on leave in Virginia. No further details have been released.
Read more: http://www.kxmc.com/News/161562.asp

NWO 'BENT SPEAR' UPDATE: Body of missing Air Force captain found in WashingtonPORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -
The body of a missing Air Force captain from Florida has been recovered in Skamania County, Washington.
Skamania County undersheriff Dave Cox says Captain John Frueh's rental car was found yesterday near Badger Peak and his body was discovered not far from the vehicle.
Cox says foul play is not suspected.
The 33-year-old captain arrived in Portland late last month to attend a friend's wedding. He last spoke with family on August 30th.
Minot airman dies while on leave
MINOT, N.D. — Minot Air Force Base officials say an airman from the base has died while on leave in Virginia.
A statement from the base says Airman 1st Class Todd Blue, 20, died Monday while visiting with family members in Wytheville, Va. The statement did not say how he died but said the incident is under investigation.
The base says Blue was a response force member assigned to the 5th Security Forces Squadron. He enlisted in the Air Force in March 2006 and was assigned to the Minot base the following August.
“He constantly stepped up to help out his fellow airmen and was a vital presence in squadron sports and volunteer programs,” Lt. Col. John Worley, the 5th Security Forces Squadron commander, said in the base statement.
Minot, N.D. (AP) Authorities have identified a Minot Air Force Base man killed in a crash on the outskirts of Minot...
Base officials say 20-year-old Adam Barrs was a passenger in a vehicle that failed to negotiate a curve, hit an approach, hit a tree and started on fire late Tuesday night.
Barrs was pronounced dead at the scene.The driver is identified as 20-year-old Airman Stephen Garrett.
He was taken to Minot's Trinity Hospital in critical condition
Minot Airman dies in motorcycle accident
1st Lt. Weston Kissel, 23rd Bomb SquadronMINOT (AP) - A Minot Air Force Base bomber pilot was killed in a motorcycle crash in Tennessee, the base says.
1st Lt. Weston Kissel, 28, was a B-52 pilot assigned to the 23rd Bomb Wing at the Minot base, said Lt. Col. Gerald Hounchell, the 23rd Bomb Squadron commander. Kissel died Tuesday in the crash, while on leave, the base said.
Kissel, a native of Tennessee, graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2004, and arrived at the Minot base in July last year, the base said.
www.minot.af.mil >
Posted by: not my president at September 15, 2007 03:35 PM


Nick Langewis and Mike AivazPublished: Saturday September 15, 2007
Bill Maher recently sat down with outgoing Nebraska GOP Senator Chuck Hagel to discuss Iraq, his departure and the fate of the Republican Party.
Maher asks: "Did you decide not to run for President because you just saw that a (sic) anti-war Republican could never get the nomination?"
"No," responds Hagel, "I was actually looking for some honest work."
The Republicans, says Hagel, are a party going through a time of "transformation" during a time when the country is struggling with the situation in Iraq. On the subject of GOP candidates continuing to support what Maher considers to be an unwinnable war, Sen. John McCain in particular, Hagel cites McCain's "charm."
"The difference between John McCain and I on the war is very clear: We disagree on that point."
On the prospect of the United States winding down from Iraq, Hagel predicts a "very high toll" taken on the country for a long time ahead.
Adds Hagel, "And I think that's wrong."
Maher segues into Iran: "In the speech President Bush gave last night, I noticed that he slipped Iran into the middle of it. He said 'we have to defeat al Qaeda, counter Iran, and help the Afghan government.'"
Citing a Times of London article that shows preliminary plans to attack over a thousand targets in Iran, Maher implores the Senator: "Please tell me that Congress does have the power to stop President Godzilla if he decides to stomp on one more country, and that he could not get away with that."
"As you all know we are at war in two countries, and not doing particularly well in either war, and I'm not sure the American people are about ready to go to a third war."
"If the President is inching toward a military confrontation with Iran, then I do think that is where the Congress of the United States draws the line."
The Middle East is too volatile for a purely military offensive, says Hagel. Iran is a threat, he says, but it needs to be dealt with strategically and diplomatically.
"I've heard a lot of Republicans in the last year or so say 'I want my party back,'" says Maher. "I imagine you're somewhat in the same camp. Do you think the Republican party has been hijacked by incompetents and religious fanatics?"
"Oh, I think it's been hijacked by incompetency," Hagel concedes. "I think that's what has driven the Republican Party right off the cliff, and we are not who we say we are."
"We've run up the biggest budget debt since FDR, and he had an excuse, and that was the World War and a depression."
The following video is from HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, broadcast on September 14, 2007

Greenspan Blasts GOP:

The Wall Street Journal GREG IP and EMILY STEEL September 14, 2007 09:37 PM
In a withering critique of his fellow Republicans, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says in his memoir that the party to which he has belonged all his life deserved to lose power last year for forsaking its small-government principles.
In "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," published by Penguin Press, Mr. Greenspan criticizes both congressional Republicans and President George W. Bush for abandoning fiscal discipline.

Get This, at least Gonzo ate well,

While the children of Iraq search the rubblish dumps for food

An internal Justice audit, released Friday, showed the department spent nearly $7 million to plan, host or send employees to 10 conferences over the last two years.

That is 7 million
The audit by the Justice Department's inspector general can be found at: .

Military Families: Bush/Petraeus "Drawdown" Is Pure Politics

Iraqi Lawmakers: US Should Stop Passing Blame

Reuters September 15, 2007 02:27 PM
Iraqi lawmakers said on Saturday that Washington should take responsibility for the turmoil in Iraq and stop blaming Baghdad, Iran and Syria.
Frustrated by criticism from the United States over their slow progress towards political goals meant to foster national reconciliation, Iraqi leaders said Washington would be better served by examining its own progress in the unpopular war.

Pentagon: Use Of Petraeus Image In Political Ads Done "Without His Consent"

War for Oil and Empire

What Global Warming Looks Like

Michigan GOP activist gets 5 years for sex assault

Krugman: Bush backer banks on Iraq's failure

Nick JulianoPublished: Friday September 14, 2007
A Texas oil company whose CEO is a longtime confidant of President Bush with access to the most closely held US intelligence has entered into an agreement to explore for oil in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
The agreement shows that Dallas-based Hunt Oil Co. and its chief executive Ray L. Hunt are "effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation," argues New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
Hunt raised about $100,000 for Bush during the president's 2000 campaign, and he serves on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which gives him access to some of the most exclusive data collected by US spy agencies.
"What's interesting about this deal is the fact that Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be," Krugman observers. "By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad's disapproval, he's essentially betting that the Iraqi government -- which hasn't met a single one of the major benchmarks Bush laid out in January -- won't get it's act together."
Condemnation of the deal between Hunt Oil and the Kurdish provisional government was swiftly condemned by Iraq's oil minister Hussain al Shahristani, who declared the deal illegal days after it was announced, despite the Kurds' entreaties to share revenues.
Since Bush announced his surge strategy in January, Iraq has failed to achieve any of the benchmarks for political progress toward reconciliation -- a fact that was conveniently omitted from the president's prime-time address Thursday. Indeed, just days after the Hunt-Kurdistan agreement came reports that negotiations over an oil-revenue sharing law -- seen as the primary key to allowing Iraq to reconcile -- have apparently collapsed.
"The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia," Krugman writes. "And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration -- maybe even Bush himself -- know this, too."
Oil is Iraq's primary resource, accounting for two-thirds of its GDP and nearly all of the government's revenue. The Bush-backer-backed fractionalization of the country's oil revenue gives little hope the country can recover from the quagmire and civil war it finds itself in following the US invasion and five-year occupation.
"Oil is perhaps the key incentive warring factions have to stop fighting and take an interest in the stabilization of their country," says blogger Brian Beutler, a former Raw Story reporter. "That it wasn't enough says something important."

Iraqi volunteers bury more anonymous victims of violence now than during Saddam's rule:

David Edwards and Nick JulianoPublished: Friday September 14, 2007
Every month in Iraq hundreds of victims are struck down by sectarian violence or massive bombing campaigns, and a small band of volunteers has taken it upon themselves to give the unclaimed dead a proper burial.
"We've been doing this for 20 years, under Saddam, but the numbers have increased, as have the difficulties," Sheik Jamal al-Sudani, who leads the volunteers, tells CNN correspondent Michael Ware. "Because now it is as if the streets are flowing with blood."
Before the US invasion of Iraq deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, the volunteers buried up to 40 people every month. In the war's worst months, that figure increased 50-fold as volunteers buried an average of more than 2,000 anonymous war victims, Ware reports.
As the war stretches through its fifth year, several hundred bodies remain unclaimed every month. The unidentified bodies of men, women and children are found on Iraqi streets and sewers as well as in bombing ruins; some are "so mangled and charred, they're unidentifiable," CNN says, while others are Sunni victims whose families are too fearful from their own lives to visit Iraq's Health Ministry morgue, which is controlled by Muqtada al-Sadr's hard-line Shiite followers.
The Shiite volunteers led by al-Sudani bury victims of all religions, and the bodies are photographed and catalogued in a database before they are buried in the Muslim tradition.
Volunteers take the bodies from Baghdad 150 miles away to Najaf where they are buried in hand-dug graves. Because of the high numbers, two victims often have to share a grave.
Al-Sudani laments the necessity of his work in the war zone.
""Now you see Iraqis' houses, meant to be a family's safest place, have become like graves for their families, because any minute, any second, they're ready to die by explosion, airstrikes or car bombs," he says. "And no man, and no government, American or Iraqi, can fix it because now that will take a miracle."
The following video is from CNN's Newsroom, broadcast on September 14.

A President For All White People

War Critics Obama, Ron Paul Get Most Military Donations

USA Today September 14, 2007 10:24 AM
Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Ron Paul have little in common politically, except their opposition to the Iraq war.
Both top a new list of presidential candidates receiving campaign contributions from people who work for the four branches of the military and National Guard, according to a study released Thursday by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Obama, an Illinois senator, brought in more donations from this group than any White House contender from either party. The Democrat announced Wednesday his plan...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Goodbye Gonzales: Attorney General "Just Sort Of Drifting Off"

You won't be missed.
Washington Post September 14, 2007 09:38 AM
After nine months of noisy controversy over his troubled tenure, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales is leaving office quietly today with a low-key farewell address to Justice Department employees in Washington.
Gonzales, who has made only three public appearances since announcing his resignation on Aug. 27, is expected to dwell on his record in combating terrorism, child exploitation and other crimes rather than on the divisive issues that forced him from the job.
During a brief news conference yesterday in Des Moines,...

EDUCATION-IRAQ: Back to School, Back to Horror

How would we deals with this situation for our children, I cannot begin to imagine having to put my children or grandchildren though the nightmare of Georgies Liberation for the Iraq people
Ali al-Fadhily*, Inter Press Service
BAGHDAD, Sep 14, 2007 (IPS) - As another school year begins in Iraq, parents approach it with dread, fearing for the safety of their children.
With the security situation grimmer than ever all over the country, just stepping out of one’s house means a serious threat to life.
"God knows how we could send our kids to school this year," Um Mohammed, a mother of five in Baghdad told IPS. "Our financial situation is the worst ever and the prices are way too expensive for the majority of Iraqis to afford. I might have to keep some of them at home and send only two."
The 40-year-old woman shed tears when she started to talk about the family’s financial now compared to what it was before the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
"My God, don’t those Americans have any conscience? We were not rich before, but life was easy and we used to celebrate the school season, watching our kids trying their uniform on and looking at the colourful pictures of their new books," she said.
Iraqis blame their government’s failure to provide them with basic necessities on the U.S.-led occupation that has brought such an incompetent regime to power.
The Iraqi Ministry of Education promised Iraqis a better educational year in 2007, a promise that has been made every year for the past four years.
"The educational system in Iraq is destroyed and we are suffering all kinds of difficulties," said Hassan, a school headmaster in Baghdad who spoke on condition that his last name and the name of his school would not be used. "There will be a shortage of desks, blackboards, water, electricity and all educational supplies – as well as a critical shortage in the number of teachers this year."
Teachers, like other Iraqis, have fled the country because of threats from sectarian death squads. Some were evicted from their areas and moved to others inside Iraq for sectarian reasons.
According to Iraq's Ministry of Higher Education, as of February 2006, nearly 180 professors were killed and at least 3,250 have fled Iraq to the neighbouring countries. The situation has deteriorated severely since then.
"The number of teachers leaving the country this year (2006) is huge and almost double those who left in 2005," Professor Salah Aliwi, director-general of studies planning in the Ministry of Higher Education told reporters during an Aug. 24, 2006 interview in Baghdad. "Every day, we are losing more experienced people, which is causing a serious problem in the education system."
While teachers are at risk, Iraqi families are concerned for the safety of their children as well.
"I am not sending my two boys to school this year," Tariq Ahmed from Baghdad told IPS. "I am sure hundreds, if not thousands, of students will be abducted and killed by militias. I am not gambling with my boys’ life just to support Bush’s lies that the country is safe and sound."
Last month, the Iraqi Ministry of Education warned of possible low attendance of pupils at schools this year, saying it expects at least a 15 percent decrease in attendance compared to previous years.
Leila Abdallah, a senior official at the Ministry of Education, told reporters on Aug. 28 there has been a 54 percent increase in exam failure rates compared to previous years.
She added that many students had not completed their last exams as they had been forced by violence to flee their homes to safer areas.
The Iraqi NGO Keeping Children Alive (KCA), recently said education standards in Iraq had dropped and many schools were relying on teachers teaching at least 100 students per class.
"Owing to lack of teachers, a class now has dozens of students, a situation that is preventing teachers from giving sufficient attention to individual pupils," Moussa Dureid, a spokesperson for the KCA, said.
According to an Oxfam International report released in July, "92 percent of children had learning impediments that are largely attributable to the current climate of fear."
The report added, "Schools are regularly closed as teachers and pupils are too fearful to attend. Over 800,000 children may now be out of school, according to a recent estimate by Save the Children UK -- up from 600,000 in 2004."
Iraqis do not feel secure despite the reassurances of U.S. and Iraqi authorities that the security situation has improved.
"Universities are death squad headquarters," Qutayba Assaad, a professor at Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad told IPS. "They are practicing all kinds of torture inside the university and they abducted many of my colleagues because of their sect or their objections to what the clerics are doing inside universities."
"What education are you talking about," Kussay Kathum, a student at Baghdad University told IPS. "This country is dead and its body is being torn apart. They should stop schools and colleges attendance until they solve the core of the problem."
His colleague, Sumaya agreed with him.
"Indeed they should change the whole system in Iraq before sending us to school. It is suicide to go to colleges where the government's militias kill people. It seems that our American colleagues do not care for what is happening to us."
(*Ali, our correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region)
continua / continued
British Poll Consistent with Extrapolation of Lancet Death Toll
Robert Naiman, Huffington Post
The Los Angeles Times reported Friday on a poll from Opinion Research Business, a British polling agency. The poll suggests that more than a million Iraqis have died from the conflict resulting from the U.S. invasion and occupation (...) Until now, many - including critics of the war - have shied away from the Lancet estimate because of the lack of independent confirmation. Unfortunately, this has led many to cite the Iraq Body Count tally of deaths reported in Western media as if it were an estimate of the death toll, which it is not. Now that the order of magnitude of the death toll reported by the Lancet study has been independently confirmed, pressure should be redoubled on media outlets to tell the truth about the Iraqi death toll. As Congress is currently debating efforts to end the war, there could not be a more appropriate time to do so...

Unite the world on Pangea Day, a global day of film

Sitting here watching Jehane talk, I felt so aligned with her and what she was saying, I have four international students staying with me at the moment, one Chinese, one Swiss German, and 2 Korean students, My daughter has two houses that I look after with international students, It is my project the students there are Korean, Turkey, Japan, and Brazilian, what a way to get to know the youngsters of the world, their thoughts on the Foreign Policies of Georgie, watching them make friendships that, they will keep for a life time. I watch them leave here with adresses from friends across the world, watch them go on to visit the friend that they have made here with me in their own countries, exchange photos of those visits. There is no better way to get to know about their countries, their traditions, and their thoughts.
Christy made me a site of my own, a couple of years back and I wondered what I could do with that site, and it came to me it was a place to store all my memories, past and present, a place to keep all the photos that the students send me when they go back home. And the amazing thing about the internet and msn I can keep in touch with them at all times, and know what is going on in their lives.
Another wonderful thing about it, is I have places to stay all over the world, when travelling, what could anyone else wish for, if they are a traveller hmmmmmm?

A British survey offers the highest estimate to date.

Iraqi death toll now at est. 1.2 million.
By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer September 14, 2007
BAGHDAD -- -- A car bomb blew up in the capital's Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Sadr City on Thursday, killing at least four people, as a new survey suggested that the civilian death toll from the war could be more than 1 million.The figure from ORB, a British polling agency that has conducted several surveys in Iraq, followed statements this week from the U.S. military defending itself against accusations it was trying to play down Iraqi deaths to make its strategy appear successful.

The military has said civilian deaths from sectarian violence have fallen more than 55% since President Bush sent an additional 28,500 troops to Iraq this year, but it does not provide specific numbers.According to the ORB poll, a survey of 1,461 adults suggested that the total number slain during more than four years of war was more than 1.2 million.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bill O'Reilly gets his ass kicked by Phil Donahue!!

Keith Olbermann's Top 9/11 Story:

4 Minute Video
The Promotion Of Failure In Bush Administration.

Olbermann: the beginning of the end of America

Was a Covert Attempt to Bomb Iran with Nuclear Weapons foiled by a Military Leak?

By Michael E. Salla, M.A., Ph.D.
There will be a need for continued public awareness of the true events behind the B-52 incident in order to expose the actual role of Mr. Cheney. Only in that way can Cheney be held accountable for his actions, and other government figures that supported his neo-conservative agenda be exposed.

John Edwards - Response to President Bush

Georgies address to the Nation, You Decide

President Bush addresses the nation Thursday night to discuss recent reports on the situation in Iraq. We want to hear what you think of the speech. Send your comments by typing them in below, or put them on video to be part of CNN’s post-address analysis coverage.

Boehner: Iraq Losses "A Small Price" To Pay

The Horse's Mouth September 13, 2007 10:46 AM
Okay, if this isn't portrayed as a major gaffe, with wall-to-wall condemnations from the pundits, it'll be stunning. (Editor's note: That was meant to be bitterly ironic.)
I've just received some advance excerpts of an interview CNN's Wolf Blitzer has done with GOP House leader John Boehner. It's set to air this afternoon.

Bombers assassinate key US ally

September 14, 2007 - 6:39AM
A Sunni Arab tribal leader instrumental in driving al Qaeda out of Iraq's Anbar province has been killed by a bomb attack less than two weeks after meeting US President George Bush in the desert region.
The killing of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha brought condemnation from the White House. Abu Risha was the leader of an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that joined US troops to push al Qaeda from much of the western area hailed by Mr Bush as a success story in Iraq. His death came as Mr Bush prepared to deliver a evening televised address about his war strategy.

Ha Ha Ha America

US Suffers Decline In Power And Prestige

President Petraeus? Iraqi official recalls the day US general revealed ambition

Source: The Independent (UK)
The US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, expressed long-term interest in running for the US presidency when he was stationed in Baghdad, according to a senior Iraqi official who knew him at that time.
Sabah Khadim, then a senior adviser at Iraq's Interior Ministry, says General Petraeus discussed with him his ambition when the general was head of training and recruitment of the Iraqi army in 2004-05.
"I asked him if he was planning to run in 2008 and he said, 'No, that would be too soon'," Mr Khadim, who now lives in London, said.
General Petraeus has a reputation in the US Army for being a man of great ambition. If he succeeds in reversing America's apparent failure in Iraq, he would be a natural candidate for the White House in the presidential election in 2012.

Bonuses Up To $150K Offered To Vets

Now where is this money going to be coming from I ask?
Source: AP
DENVER -- The Army, which has already given hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to recruit soldiers and get veterans to re-enlist, will be offering incentives of up to $150,000 to senior special forces members nearing retirement.
Karen Linne, spokeswoman for Fort Carson, said the bonuses are being offered Army-wide, and that bonuses have traditionally been used to try to keep skilled people beyond their retirement dates.
Veterans of other groups also are being offered thousands of dollars to re-enlist, based on their skill and length of service. The so-called "enhanced selective re-enlistment bonus" program offers $1,500 to $33,000, according to a list published in Army Times.
The Army has several programs aimed at competing with Blackwater and other companies who provide security, often ex-soldiers, but at much higher pay than the Army can offer.

US Suffers Decline In Power And Prestige, Survey Reveals

What do you expect from a cokehead dry-drunk?
His brain is jelly. There was no hope for America once he got in power.
Source: Financial Times
The US has suffered a significant loss of power and prestige around the world in the years since George W. Bush came to power, limiting its ability to influence international crises, an annual survey from a well-regarded British security think-tank concluded yesterday.
The 2007 strategic survey from the non-partisan International Institute for Strategic Studies picks the decline of US authority as one of the most important security developments of the past year - but suggests the fading of American prestige began earlier, largely due to its failings in Iraq.
The deterioration of American power had led to a "non-polar" world in which other actors, such as Russia, had been able to assert themselves.
The report says the US failure in Iraq had meant the Bush administration suffered from a much-reduced ability to hold sway in both domestic and international affairs.

ACTION ALERT: A propaganda train called Iraq Body Count (& friends)

Gabriele Zamparini, The Cat's Dream
...The Weekly Standard, the voice of the Neo-Con in Washington and whose Editor, William Kristol, is also Chairman of the Project for the New American Century, has published this brilliant endorsement of Iraq Body Count... IBC is actively helping the Bush junta to carry on this genocidal carnage because it actively helps the huge propaganda campaign aimed at making people ignore the scale of that carnage... One million plus Iraqi deaths later, there are still "plenty of estimates out there" and her job and the job of UFPJ seems to be to confuse the public and conceal the truth. Two scientific studies conducted by the world leaders in the field of epidemiology and published as peer-reviewed scientific papers in the world's leading medical journal. Articles, e-mails, debates, alerts… and large and important sectors of this so-called anti-war movement are still hiding the real extent of the Iraq genocide. Is there a word for this shame?....
Dear Phillys Bennis and Leslie Cagan, I have read on ZNet the UFPJ article, Iraq: The People's Report It reads: Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of UFPJ, says, "We feel it is essential to provide a true picture of what the shattered lives of the 25 million Iraqis look like today. For four years now we have been hearing the same false claims that the U.S. is making important gains, but they have never been true. Prepared by Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver, researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies, Iraq: The People's Report, takes an honest look at what this war has cost the people in Iraq and our communities here in the U.S." . Through the link provided I went to the actual report. It reads: COST TO IRAQ: IRAQ CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: ESTIMATES RANGE FROM 71,017-600,000+ This is wrong and you know it. The IBC figures are not an estimate but a count from western media. Just yesterday ZNet published the following article: Is the U.S. Responsible for a Million Iraqi Deaths?....

Compromise on Oil Law in Iraq Seems to Be Collapsing

A carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq’s rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed. The apparent breakdown comes just as Congress and the White House are struggling to find evidence that there is progress toward reconciliation and a functioning government here. Senior Iraqi negotiators met in Baghdad on Wednesday in an attempt to salvage the original compromise, two participants said. But the meeting came against the backdrop of a public series of increasingly strident disagreements over the draft law that had broken out in recent days between Hussain al-Shahristani, the Iraqi oil minister, and officials of the provincial government in the Kurdish north, where some of the nation’s largest fields are located...
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Dear Phillys Bennis and Leslie Cagan, I have read on ZNet the UFPJ article, Iraq: The People's Report It reads: Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of UFPJ, says, "We feel it is essential to provide a true picture of what the shattered lives of the 25 million Iraqis look like today. For four years now we have been hearing the same false claims that the U.S. is making important gains, but they have never been true. Prepared by Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver, researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies, Iraq: The People's Report, takes an honest look at what this war has cost the people in Iraq and our communities here in the U.S." . Through the link provided I went to the actual report. It reads: COST TO IRAQ: IRAQ CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: ESTIMATES RANGE FROM 71,017-600,000+ This is wrong and you know it. The IBC figures are not an estimate but a count from western media. Just yesterday ZNet published the following article: Is the U.S. Responsible for a Million Iraqi Deaths?....
By Nick Baumann
Between General Petraeus' goofy charts and Ambassador Crocker's endless platitudes, not much is being accomplished during the much anticipated hearings on the troop surge

Remembrance of 9/11 leaves us untouched

September 13, 2007
Americans need to look long and hard at how they use their freedoms, writes Derrick Jackson.
SIX years after the September 11 atrocities, America has yet to turn sombre remembrance into sober reflection.
On Tuesday, we rightfully condemned the terrorists who killed nearly 3000 of us, and we praised the heroes who lost their lives saving lives.
Today is just another ordinary day of national and global gluttony.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

VoteVets.org "I Don't Know" Ad

Watchdog asks: Why is Bush's kid brother getting federal bucks?

An independent watchdog agency has asked the Department of Education to investigate why President Bush's younger brother, Neil, has received money earmarked for the president's signature education initiative to sell a curriculum program that has not been subjected to the rigorous evaluation it deserves.
Neil Bush, 52, who has no background in education, founded Ignite! Learning in 1999 with donations from his parents and a slate of international business interests. The company produces "Curriculum on Wheels" devices -- computer/projectors that are pre-loaded with software aimed at preparing students for standardized tests that are the central tenet of the president's No Child Left Behind law.
The "COWs" are sold to school districts at a cost of $3,800 to $4,200, although they have not been subjected to peer-reviewed scientific studies, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. CREW says nearly $1 million has been spent on the systems in 16 school districts, mostly in Texas, where George W. Bush served as governor before his election in 2000, and Florida, where brother Jeb Bush is governor.
The watchdog group is requesting an investigation from the Education Department's inspector general, alleging that the Ignite! systems do not meet the standards laid out by Congress dictating how NCLB funds can be spent.
"It is astonishing that taxpayer dollars are being spent on unproven educational products to the financial benefit of the president’s brother," Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, said in a news release. "The IG should investigate whether children’s educations are being sacrificed so that Neil Bush can rake in federal funds."
Neil Bush first attracted public scrutiny for his role in the Savings and Loan scandals of the late 1980s when a Colorado S&L on whose board he served failed. The scandal cost taxpayers $1.6 billion.
Some school districts identified by CREW spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal money on the mobile projectors, which include curriculum for math, science or social studies. In addition to their baseline cost -- $3,800 for a single-subject COW or $4,200 for one covering all three subjects -- the units impose on schools a $1,000 annual licensing and upkeep fee, CREW says. Schools also have the option of purchasing lifetime contracts for $6,800, according to the New York Times. >>>cont

What all has Bush done in office you ask...

DATE: 9/11/2007

•I attacked and took over 2 countries.
•I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the US Treasury.
•I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history (not easy!).
•I set an economic record for the most personal bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
•I set all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
•In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history (tough to beat my dad's, but I did).
•After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.
•I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history.
•In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.
•I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.
•I set the all-time record for most real estate foreclosures in a 12-month period.
•I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president, since the advent of TV.
•I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
•I cut health care benefits for war veterans.
•I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
•I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
•I've made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.
•Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The poorest multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, had a Chevron oil tanker named after her for a while.)
•I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously struggle against bankruptcy.
•I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world.
•I am the first president in US history to order a US attack AND military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community.
•I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States, called the "Bureau of Homeland Security
•I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any other president in US history (Ronnie was tough to beat, but I did it!!).
•I am the first president in US history to compel the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.
•I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Elections Monitoring Board.
•I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.
•I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant. I withdrew from the World Court of Law.
•I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
•I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.
•I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.
•The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
•I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
•I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.
•I took the world's sympathy for the US after 9/11, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
•I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
•I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
•I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.
• I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine
(Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
•I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during time of war.
•I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
•All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
•All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
•All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
•Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.


IPS News September 12, 2007 05:28 PM
In sharp contrast to the lionisation of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.
Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that", the sources say. That remark reportedly...

Iraq: New U.S. Base - Wasit

Sarah Meyer, Index Research
Reuters (10 September 1007) had a headline: US to build military base on Iraq-Iran border. "The base, which the military describes as a "life support area", will be set up near the headquarters of the Department of Border Enforcement in Badrah, in the central province of Wasit." "The province, currently the theatre of a massive US-led military crackdown targeting Shiite militiamen allegedly involved in weapons smuggling, shares a 200 kilometre (125 mile) border with Iran." Hassan Jumaa Awad, Iraqi union leader, was recently travelling to raise awareness of the US attempts to grab Iraq’s oil. Among the interesting points that he raised: "There is a newly discovered field in Wasit province in central Iraq with the potential to fill millions of barrels of oil. Under the law this new field will be given over to multinationals."....
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Okay, Bush ain't gonna get out of Iraq no matter what anyone says or does short of a)impeachment, b)a lobotomy, or c)one of his daughters setting herself afire in the Oval Office as a war protest. A few days ago, upon arriving in Australia, "in a chipper mood", he was asked by the Deputy Prime Minister about his stopover in Iraq. "We're kicking ass," replied the idiot king.[1] Another epigram for his tombstone. And the Democrats ain't gonna end the war. Ninety-nine percent of the American people protesting on the same day ain't gonna do it either, in this democracy. (No, I'm sorry to say that I don't think the Vietnam protesters ended the war. There were nine years of protest -- 1964 to 1973 -- before the US military left Vietnam. It's a stretch to ascribe a cause and effect to that. The United States, after all, had to leave sometime.)...

Shadow and Swamp: A Brief Discursion on 9/11

Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque
...In both of these articles, I also noted that after 9/11 -- which was duly described as a "new Pearl Harbor" by Bush and his officials -- almost the entire PNAC agenda became official U.S. government policy. These are just indisputable facts: The Bushists admitted they needed a "new Pearl Harbor" to enact their program. They got a "new Pearl Harbor." Then they enacted their program. It seems to me that any genuine investigation into 9/11 would include, among many other avenues and areas of exploration, a look into whether these facts represent one of the most astonishing pieces of political luck in history, or something else. Pace the genuinely estimable George Monbiot, Greg Palast and others, that doesn't seem like an outrageous idea to me. But as I said, I don't believe we will ever see such an investigation....

US seeks legal expert to oversee plunder of Iraqi oil

Kate Randall, WSWS
As Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before Congress on Monday and Tuesday, and US senators and representatives quibbled over the tactics of the US occupation of Iraq, there was no mention of the real material interests underlying the war. An article by Walter Pincus in the September 10 edition of the Washington Post, headlined "Commerce Seeks Adviser for Iraq Oil Interests," focused attention on a central objective that has motivated the four-and-a-half year colonial occupation: the plunder of Iraq’s vast oil wealth. According to an August 21 proposal by the US Commerce Department examined by Pincus, the department is seeking an international legal adviser, fluent in Arabic, "to provide expert input, when requested" to "US government agencies or to Iraqi authorities as they draft the laws and regulations that will govern Iraq’s oil and gas sector."....
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A Wasted Resource IWPR Special Report on Oil Exploitation in Iraq

Institute for War & Peace Reporting
...Officials in Basra, the southern city near Iraq’s richest oil fields, admitted to IWPR reporters in the city that oil worth five million US dollars went missing just last April. They call it waste. But locals call it smuggling and say Shia militias and political parties are complicit. "Under Saddam, the oil ministry generally had a good reputation. It was seen as staffed by competent technocrats who got on with the job," wrote IWPR editor Christoph Reuter in a comment piece for the special report. "That is not the case any longer. As with other ministries, an experienced staff has often been replaced by less qualified, political appointees."...

The dumbing down of the American Citizens

Hit and Myth:
By E&P Staff Published: September 11, 2007 4:30 PM ET
NEW YORK Six years after the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S., it seems the media still have some educational work to do. A new CBS/New York Times poll reveals that even today, 1 in 3 Americans believe that "Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."This notion was thoroughly debunked by official sources, including those in the White House, years ago, but the myth endures. Polls have shown that belief in this untruth was a prime component in support for the attack on Iraq.Four in 10 Republicans still hold this view, compared with 32% of Independents and 27% of Democrats.
The poll of 1,035 adults was taken Sept. 4 to 8.

Two Soldiers Who Spoke Out In NYT Last Month Die In Iraq

Editor & Publisher Greg MItchell September 12, 2007 09:33 AM
The Op-Ed by seven active duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq questioning the war drew international attention just three weeks ago. Now two of the seven are dead.
Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance Gray died Monday in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad, two of seven U.S. troops killed in the incident which was reported just as Gen. David Petraeus was about to report to Congress on progress in the "surge." The names have just been released.

Coulter: Democrats 'think troops are a bunch of illiterate, toothless rapists'

God help you guys, half the population are friking deviates, if these deviates are the best they can listen to, to get their knowledge on current events today.
David Edwards and Muriel KanePublished: Tuesday September 11, 2007
Fox News broke into the Petraeus hearing on Monday to offer Ann Coulter an opportunity to express her opinions of the proceedings. Some examples of her pronouncements follow:
"It is striking how different it is from what we've been hearing from the Daily Treason reports in the media. ... I mean, this is the first time, for example, I've heard how many of them we're killing. ... To hear what's actually going on, you suddenly realize how completely treasonous the mainstream media is, and the Democrats."
"They want us to lose. They hate the troops. They think the troops are a bunch of illiterate, toothless rapists. ... They've been against this war from the beginning. The same people who say the surge isn't working didn't want us to go in. ... They want America to lose. They are rooting for al Qaeda."
"I don't know that Americans are so against the war. ... We keep having votes from our representatives [to keep funding the war] while I hear about these mysterious polls showing that the nation is ablaze with anti-war fervor. ... I don't think I'd count on MoveOn.org having much influence with authentic Americans. This is just, you know, a well-funded group of people without jobs. ... They want anarchy. ... They hate the United States of America."
The following video is from Fox's Your World, broadcast on September 10.

"Dad of all bombs."

Russia builds 'most powerful bomb'
Russia claims it has the world's most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered bomb
It is said to be more powerful than the U.S. "mother of all bombs"
Russia says it is similar to a nuclear bomb without harming the environment
MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- Back in 2003, the U.S. proudly trotted out the so-called "mother of all bombs," a device described as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in history.
Now, Russia claims it has built the "dad of all bombs."
Russian state television says the military has successfully tested what it describes as the world's most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered bomb.
The military claims the bomb is comparable to a nuclear weapon in efficiency and capability, but unlike a nuclear weapon, it doesn't hurt the environment.
The Channel One television report showed the bomb dropped by parachute from a bomber and exploding in a massive fireball. It featured the debris of apartment buildings and armored vehicles at a test range, as well as the scorched ground from a massive blast.
With extra oil revenues, the Kremlin has been taking steps to rebuild its global clout and its military.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf -- a key U.S. ally -- is less popular in his own country than al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

You feeling safer today?
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf -- a key U.S. ally -- is less popular in his own country than al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to a poll of Pakistanis conducted last month by an anti-terrorism organization.
Additionally, nearly three-fourths of poll respondents said they oppose U.S. military action against al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan, according to results from the poll conducted by the independent polling organization Terror Free Tomorrow.
"We have conducted 23 polls all over the Muslim world, and this is the most disturbing one we have conducted," said Ken Ballen, the group's head. "Pakistan is the one Muslim nation that has nuclear weapons, and the people who want to use them against us -- like the Taliban and al Qaeda -- are more popular there than our allies like Musharraf."
The poll was conducted for Terror Free Tomorrow by D3 Systems of Vienna, Virginia., and the Pakistan Institute for Public Opinion. Interviews were conducted August 18-29, face-to-face with 1,044 Pakistanis across 105 urban and rural sampling points in all four provinces across the nation. Households were randomly selected.
According to poll results, bin Laden has a 46 percent approval rating. Musharraf's support is 38 percent. U.S. President George W. Bush's approval: 9 percent.
Asked their opinion on the real purpose of the U.S.-led war on terror, 66 percent of poll respondents said they believe the United States is acting against Islam or has anti-Muslim motivation. Others refused to answer the question or said they did not know.
"We failed in winning hearts and minds in Pakistan," Ballen told CNN. "In fact, only 4 percent said we had a good motivation in the war on terrorism."
Seventy-four percent said they oppose U.S. military action against al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan.
After American relief efforts following the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan's Kashmir region, 46 percent of Pakistanis had a positive opinion of the United States, according to the poll. But as of last month, only 19 percent reported a favorable opinion.
Meanwhile, al Qaeda has a 43 percent approval rate; the Taliban has a 38 percent approval rate; and local radical extremist groups had an approval rating between 37 percent to 49 percent.

Ron Paul tells Bill O'Reilly US policy, not Iran, is the real problem

Paul gives O'LIELLY and education lesson on the Middle East
When presidential candidate Ron Paul appeared on The O'Reilly Factor Monday, host Bill O'Reilly repeatedly pressed Paul to agree that Iran is a dangerous enemy which will pose an imminent threat if the US leaves Iraq, meanwhile interrupting every one of Paul's attempts to explain his own views on the negative results of US policy in the Middle East.

Lieberman: Can't We Invade Iran Yet?

By Spencer Ackerman - September 11, 2007, 4:37 PM
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) doesn't think Gen. Petraeus has enough war on his hands. The senator (changing the subject from Iraq with "I want to go to Iran...") asked Petraeus if he wanted "the authority" from Congress to "pursue the Qods forces into Iranian territory." Petraeus, for some reason, politely declined to start a third contemporaneous U.S. war.

Lieberman: How About Another War?

US must look to itself for cause of terrorSeptember 12, 2007
AFTER 9/11, a number of conspiracy theories were floated that are understandable, since it is well known the US Government is not above killing its own. But the biggest flaw in the theories is they ignore the anger built up in the rest of the world — anger as a direct result of US actions. The attacks were not acceptable but were clear and predictable — an application of the law of cause and effect. Who caused 9/11? Maybe it really was the US Government. Nineteen men allegedly hijacked the planes, but the ultimate cause was US policies. And with the same policies continuing to this day in the form of threats to Iran, doesn't this seem logical when there is always a concerted and deliberate attempt to incite a violent reaction.
Safiya Sameena, Vijayawada, India
Conspiracy theories understandableWHY is it that as otherwise rational and intelligent people, one of the greatest lessons we have learnt is never to believe everything we read or see on television ? Why do we doubt the veracity of official explanations? Could it be that we have been conned before, had to swallow the sanitised version, were given a one-sided view? Do we live in a world of misinformation, is the five-second sound bite all we require, are we lied to by omission? If you answered yes to any of the above, you can consider yourself a conspiracy theorist. The plethora of unexplained "coincidences" surrounding 9/11 ensure that Christopher Scanlon (Age, 10/9) can bet information is being withheld, and until satisfactory "truths" are divulged, many rational, intelligent people will consider 9/11 the biggest con-job since Hitler set fire to the Reichstag.
Peter Neilson, Heathcote
Moving closer to Orwell's visionWITH the anniversary of 9/11, I feel sad for the victims' families and friends. The mightiest nation ever is right to feel humbled at this time but should not desire so enthusiastically for vengeance. Terrorists pose no greater threat to us than road rage, but as O'Brien patiently explained to Winston Smith in George Orwell's novel 1984, the three countries of the entire globe in that book: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia must continually be perceived at war. I wonder if he, who shares a name with our PM, while sipping gin at the Chestnut Tree is still watching.
Graham Barnett, Eagle Point

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is the U.S. Responsible for a Million Iraqi Deaths?

Patrick McElwee and Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy, via ZNet
In October 2006 researchers from Johns Hopkins University published a peer-reviewed article in The Lancet, one of Europe's most important and respected medical journals, estimating that 650,000 Iraqis had been killed due to the U.S.-led invasion of their country, 601,000 violently. The report was quickly marginalized in public debate in the United States. The researchers' methods were not to blame. They used the method accepted around the world to measure demographics such as birth and death rates in the wake of natural and man-made disasters: a cluster survey. No one found substantive flaws in the way they conducted their research. Instead, their findings were dismissed because they asked the politically charged question of how many Iraqis have died, and the answer they found was unacceptably high. Since the Lancet estimate was based on a survey completed in July 2006 and no new demographic studies have been conducted since, Just Foreign Policy has created an update of the Lancet estimate to account for the violent deaths that have occurred since, in an effort to put the question of the overall death toll back on the table...
....Petraeus summarized by saying: "I have recommended a drawdown of the surge forces from Iraq," starting end of this month. The interesting part is that I am not a politician, not a military man, not a professional political analyst but I was still able to interpret all this happening back in January. Read this post. Have you noticed the political trick Bush played on the Americans yet? He sent more than 20,000 more troops to Iraq earlier this year and is going to withdraw them by next July. Then we will be left with the original number of American troops in Iraq after all. So what did he do? Where is the withdrawal that most Americans are asking for? This was the most awaited report from and on Iraq. What did it add to what we already know or heard about? And what happens after July 2008? "It would be premature to make recommendations on the pace of such reductions at this time," Petraeus said. Good for you. "Mission accomplished." Or should I say: trick accomplished?...
...Taking control of Iraq’s capital city was at the center of Bush’s surge strategy in January. At least half the U.S. troop surge is taking place here and surrounding suburbs, where the U.S. focused on establishing so-called joint security outposts in Iraqi neighborhoods to be closer to areas where sectarian violence was claiming dozens of lives each day. The military threw up concrete walls across the capital to foil car bombs and stop Shiite militia members or Sunni insurgents from entering targeted neighborhoods. One military official said U.S. troops were erecting walls as "fast as they could build them." Most "hardened" neighborhoods, encircled with towering gray walls and with single entrances and exits, are Sunni enclaves, military officials said. The result is a city now sharply divided into sectarian boroughs where the battle lines have only hardened. Most "hardened" neighborhoods, encircled with towering gray walls and with single entrances and exits, are Sunni enclaves, military officials said. The result is a city now sharply divided into sectarian boroughs where the battle lines have only hardened. Some Baghdad residents say they feel somewhat safer in their neighborhoods, but they fear traveling anywhere else in the capital. Falah Amin, 52, a Sunni from Adhamiyah, called her neighborhood in northeast Baghdad a prison. "We’ve been separated from the rest of our city as if we have the plague," Amin said. The neighborhood, Amin said, is virtually empty. Those left don’t have the money or connections to leave, she said....
of US optimism
By the time General Petraeus had finished speaking yesterday the slaughter in Iraq for the previous 24 hours could be tallied. It was not an exceptionally violent day by the standards of Iraq: seven US soldiers lay dead and 11 injured in the capital; other instances of sectarian violence included a suicide bomb which had killed 10 and wounded scores near Mosul while 10 bodies were found in Baghdad. Three policemen were killed in clashes in Mosul, and a car bomb outside a hospital in the capital had exploded, killing two and wounding six. In Baghdad, on the surface the overt violence appears to have diminished. There are fewer loud explosions. But, the city is now being partitioned by sectarian hatred and fear; by concrete walls and barbed wire. Claims that the US military strategy is paving the way for a stable society bear little resemblance to the reality on the ground. The US is accused of manipulating figures relating to violence to fit their case...
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