Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, September 29, 2007

“If some innocents were killed, we regret that.”

Pentagon Gives Blackwater New Contract

by Ali Gharib
A U.S.-based private security firm received a contract worth up to 92 million dollars from the Department of Defense amid hard questions about its involvement in two separate violent incidents in Iraq.
"Blackwater has been a contractor in the past with the department and could certainly be in the future," said the U.S.’s top-ranking military officer, General Peter Pace, at an afternoon press conference here.
The future arrived just two hours later when the Pentagon released a new list of contracts – Presidential Airways, the aviation unit of parent company Blackwater, was awarded the contract to fly Department of Defense passengers and cargo between locations around central Asia.
The announcement comes as a cloud of suspicion is gathering around the "professional military" firm for its actions as a State Department security contractor in Iraq in which at least eight Iraqis and possibly as many as 28 were killed, including a woman and child.
Last week, the Iraqi government announced that it had revoked Blackwater's license to operate in the country.
The initial report by the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security on the incident was put together by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and details of the event where a car bomb exploded near a meeting attended by officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Some of the Blackwater team hired as security for the officials was involved in the shootout while apparently trying to clear an evacuation path.
In a statement issued last week, Blackwater USA spokesperson Anne Tyrrell denied any wrongdoing and said that, "Blackwater's independent contractors acted lawfully and appropriately in response to a hostile attack in Baghdad on Sunday. Blackwater regrets any loss of life but this convoy was violently attacked by armed insurgents, not civilians, and our people did their job to defend human life."
However, an official with knowledge of the investigation told the New York Times that the evacuation effort was marked by confusion and chaos – the Blackwater employees believed they were being fired on, but this contradicted the initial Iraqi report on the incident that said there was no enemy fire. There was also apparently an incident of infighting when one guard did not heed a ceasefire call.
In a press conference Wednesday, the deputy press secretary of the State Department gave a non-denial of reports in the press that the Department of Defense has hinted to the State Department that the investigation into Blackwater should be reined in, only highlighting that the departments were working together and that the reports in the press had come from anonymous sources.
Blackwater USA, which has an estimated 1,000 employees in Iraq and 800 million dollars in U.S. government contracts, has been one of the most prominent private security firms operating in the country. Some of its notable assignments have included protecting L. Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, as well as Crocker, who is currently the leading U.S. diplomatic envoy to Iraq.
The firm came into the public eye in March 2004, when four of its employees were killed and mutilated by an Iraqi mob in Fallujah, the war-torn Iraqi city that was an insurgent stronghold at the time. The incident touched off the unsuccessful U.S. attempt to retake the city in April 2004.
Family members of the four employees slain in Fallujah have since sued Blackwater, alleging that the firm failed to provide necessary equipment and manpower that could have saved the employees' lives.
A separate report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee faulted Blackwater’s conduct in the Fallujah incident, in which Blackwater was transporting flatbed trucks when its team was ambushed.
"Blackwater embarked on this mission without sufficient preparation, resources and support for its personnel," concluded the report, saying that the firm had ignored warnings by another security company, cut the staff for the mission by putting rear gunners for both involved security vehicles on administrative duties, and went out with insufficiently armored vehicles.
"Management in North Carolina made the decision to go with soft skin due to the cost" despite the fact that the contract paid for armored vehicles, said a Blackwater employee quoted in the report, referring to Blackwater’s headquarters in Moyock, North Carolina.
The Congressional report noted that the Blackwater men had been sent on their mission without maps and ended up at the wrong military base, where they had to spend the night because of fighting nearby.
Control Risks Group, another security force working in the area at the time, warned Blackwater about the mission after they had twice been offered the same task but "refused both times due to the obvious risk transporting slow-moving loads through such a volatile area."
On the heels of the House Committee report, Congressman David E. Price of North Carolina will introduce legislation next week to extend the reach of U.S. civil courts to include security contractors in Iraq. The proposed bill, H.R. 2740, will also establish F.B.I. investigative units in the war zone charged with investigating allegations of misconduct.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week, Price wrote, "The allegations related to the Sept. 16 incident have the potential to become a flashpoint in terms of Iraqi antagonism toward U.S. personnel, with wide-ranging implications for our mission and our troops. There is no question that the lack of clarity surrounding the legal options for prosecuting criminal acts has significantly undermined our efforts in Iraq."
The various investigations into security contractors working for the U.S. government in Iraq and related legislation are heralded by critics of the Bush administration’s approach to the war, pointing to the failures of the so-called [Donald] Rumsfeld doctrine, which promotes a more streamlined and greatly privatized military based on an "entrepreneurial approach" and raising questions about rampant war-profiteering.
(Inter Press Service)

The Outrage of Blackwater

Abdul Razzaq al-Rubaie, Azzaman - Translated By James Jacobson, Watching America
...What was the result of the Blackwater Company's crime, which has so tarnished the face of American security? The death of about 15 martyrs and the wounding of over 30 people – a death toll so high that it would have caused the fall of the government in any country other than Iraq!! And all this happened in clear sight and hearing of American diplomats who suffered no harm, except for the disturbing sound of the explosions taking the lives of so many innocent bystanders!! And what has the government done? It deplored and denounced this company which it licensed, and which then denied that its contract had been canceled!!! What did America do? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed regret to the families of the victims. Unfortunately, this year American politicians have expressed regret so often that their tongues have become veritable factories for producing apologies!!! - always agreeing to cooperate in order to carry out an investigation!! - Which will certainly be inconclusive due to a lack of evidence!!!....
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Certain Americans

Walter C. Uhler
C ertain Americans chose a president no smarter than themselves, an illiterate who, in the seventh year of his presidency, still mangles the English language with such sentences as "Childrens do learn." Far worse, however, certain Americans chose a president who then lied to them about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda, in order to send their sons and daughters (along with our sons and daughters) to kill Iraqis and, perhaps, die in an illegal, immoral invasion - now considered the worst strategic disaster in US history. Even so, certain Americans either shrugged their shoulders or rationalized away the evil behavior of their president when, for example, on the eve of announcing the invasion of Iraq, he "pumped his fist as though instead of initiating a war he had kicked a winning field goal or hit a home run. 'Feels good,' he said." [Paul Waldman, Fraud, p. 8] Certain Americans cheered him when he proclaimed "Mission Accomplished," more than four years and thousands of lives ago....
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Official Calls Kurd Oil Deal at Odds With Baghdad

A senior State Department official in Baghdad acknowledged Thursday that the first American oil contract in Iraq, that of the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas with the Kurdistan Regional Government, was at cross purposes with the stated United States foreign policy of strengthening the country’s central government. "We believe these contracts have needlessly elevated tensions between the K.R.G. and the national government of Iraq," the official said, referring to the Kurdistan Regional Government. The official was not authorized to speak for attribution on the oil contract. The tensions between Kurdistan and the central government go well beyond the oil law. Already a semiautonomous region for more than 15 years, Kurdistan in many respects functions as independent state and wants as much latitude as possible to run its region. Recently, the Kurdistan government has pushed to extend its borders to include nearby areas that have sizable Kurdish populations...
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Never Guilty

A military jury acquitted an Army sniper of murder charges today in connection with the deaths of two Iraqi men whom he and his unit killed during missions in the dangerous Sunni Arab region south of Baghdad last spring. The sniper, Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval received congratulatory embraces from his two military lawyers after the verdict was announced in a small courtroom here (...) Specialist Sandoval has admitted killing the man after his team leader, Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley, ordered him to fire. The man, who was cutting grass in a field using a scythe when Specialist Sandoval killed him, had been considered by the sniper team’s leaders to be an insurgent trying to disguise himself as a farmer after battling Iraqi Army soldiers minutes earlier. Army prosecutors argued the killing was illegal because the man, aside from the rusty scythe, was unarmed at the time and was not demonstrating hostile intent or a hostile act when Specialist Sandoval killed him with one shot. The other killing, on May 11, was of a man who had inadvertently walked into the concealed location where Specialist Sandoval, Sergeant Hensley and three other snipers were located, near a water pumping house close to Iskandariya....
An Army sniper is taught to kill people "calmly and deliberately," even when they pose no immediate danger to him. "A sniper," Army Field Manual 23-10 goes on to state, "must not be susceptible to emotions such as anxiety or remorse." But in a crowded military courtroom seemingly stunned into silence on Thursday, Sgt. Evan Vela all but broke down as he described firing two bullets into an unarmed Iraqi man his unit arrested last May. In anguished, eloquent sentences, Sergeant Vela, a member of an elite sniper scout platoon with the First Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, quietly described how his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley, cut off the man's handcuffs, wrestled him to his feet and ordered Sergeant Vela, standing a few feet away, to fire the 9-millimeter service pistol into the detainee's head...

A Corner of " Peace "

I have been listening to some Sufi music. Sufi music is exceptionally beautiful.
It has many varieties ranging from West Africa to its Horn and into North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, occupied Iraq, occupied Palestine, Iran, Turkey, and right into the Balkans. It also covers the Indian subcontinent with the Kawwali version, all the way to Malaysia, Indonesia, and into the remotest part of Central Asia including China. Wherever you find Islam, you will find some form of Sufi music like a temporary cloak of Peace.
Whenever I listen to Sufi music, I feel as if there is one corner of the world where it is always peaceful. That corner is not to be found on any geographical map but as the sufis say, it is in the Heart. The famous compass for all maps.
Whilst being carried away by the melodies, I felt that corner of Peace. And in the midst of it, I thought I heard God speak.
You see, it is not only Bush that hears God speak. I heard God too.
He said and this time He took on a masculine aura, : " Tell them, I do not care about their fasts, their rituals nor their prayers. Not too far from you, there are slaughter houses. Do they think that Blood turns into Water ? Or do they believe that their peaceful Silence will save them ? "
I may be somewhat delusional, but then you rush to buy "Conversations with God" in 3 volumes and Paulo Cohelo sells like hot cakes, you do not believe they are delusional. But I am - The Heretic Arab Woman.
I guess it must be Ahmad's funeral. My last fuse snapped.
Ahmad was an orphan. He had two married sisters. One is abroad, the other in Baghdad.
He raised his sisters, since they lost their parents when he was a teenager.
He brought them up. He was a father and a mother to them. He was only 31. He lived alone in the family house in Saydiyya. He rented the upper floor to a shia woman who treated him like a son.
A week ago, the Iranian funded, backed, trained, Badr Brigades and the Maghawir stormed the area. They paved the way for the Mahdi army of Muqtada al Sadr to enter and cleanse.
The first time around, the Iraqi shia woman said: " He is my son, do not touch him."
The second time around, she did not manage to save him.
They grouped 36 people, all sunnis and each one received three bullets in the head, a Ramadan present.
A few days later, the people of this neighborhood marched the street demanding security. Who will provide it ? The Americans, the sectarian governmental militias, the sectarian police or Blackwater ?
When his sister went to the morgue to retrieve Ahmad's body, some women queuing for theirs told her : " You are so lucky, you found his body. At least he will have a decent burial. You are so lucky, we envy you. "
When we gathered to give our condolences, the women sat in one corner and the men in another. It was all very peaceful. Corners of peace. The peace of the departed, the peace of Death. There were silent tears, peaceful tears.
I heard someone whispering : " Did you hear about the partition plan ? "
The other responded : " Yes, maybe this will bring us Peace. Anything, let them do anything but let them give us Peace. "
So this is the price of your famous Peace. This was the plan of your Peace. This was the orchestrated diabolical blueprint for you Peace.
Kill them all to silence them into Peace. Murder them all so they can submit, surrender to Peace. Hunt them down, exile them and let them wish for a return to Peace. Give them divided pieces so you can shove Peace down their throats, like a cork before their grief explodes your Peace. Make them skeletons of Peace. Riddle them with Radiation, Bacterias, Germs, Viruses and they will swallow Peace. Imprison them and torture them till their skins fall off and form scabs of Peace. Starve them so you can see through their ribs and they will beg and eat Peace. Let them stutter with fear so they can murmur Peace. A beautiful peaceful Genocide. A silent, peaceful Holocaust from the makers of Peace.
Orations and speeches of Peace. Human rights and conventions of Peace. Laws and jurisdictions of Peace. Congresses and Nobel Peace Prizes. A wonderful piece.
Baghdad - Iraq, Dar Al-Salam. The city of Peace. Islam, the religion of Peace. Muslims, those who submit to Peace. A tranquil Peace of Silence. A blissful Peace.
A quiet Peace like the ones you find in cemeteries, in graveyards, sporadically interrupted by a wail here and there.
Do not let that shatter your own please. Do forgive us, whoever you are, if we, for splits of seconds, interrupt or bother your Peace.
I promise you, we will stifle them from now on. We will strangulate them. We will dry up our eyes, our throats...We do not want the rattle to spoil it for you.
Continue doing what you are doing. You are all very important, peaceful people.
We will pay our tributes to you - statues of Peace.
From the West to the East, may OUR Peace descend upon you too.
Painting : Iraqi artist, Salman Shalhoob.

Karzai offers Taliban government office

Afghan president say he is willing to meet with Mullah Omar for peace talks
Updated: 9:10 a.m. CT Sept 29, 2007
KABUL, Afghanistan - President Hamid Karzai offered Saturday to meet personally with Taliban leader Mullah Omar for peace talks and give the militants a high position in a government ministry as a way to end the rising insurgency in Afghanistan.
Reiterating a call for negotiations he has made with increasing frequency over the last several weeks, Karzai also said he was willing to meet with factional warlord leader and former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
"If I find their address, there is no need for them to come to me, I'll personally go there and get in touch with them," Karzai said. "Esteemed Mullah, sir, and esteemed Hekmatyar, sir, why are you destroying the country?"
"If a group of Taliban or a number of Taliban come to me and say, 'President, we want a department in this or in that ministry or we want a position as deputy minister ... and we don't want to fight anymore ... If there will be a demand and a request like that to me, I will accept it because I want conflicts and fighting to end in Afghanistan," Karzai said.
Source: BRAD BLOG, LA TimesBREAKING: GOP's CA Electoral College Initiative/Scam Dead,
Says LA TimesLA Times is reporting tonight that the good guys may have won one for a change...

Electoral initiative backers give up
Plagued by a lack of money, supporters of a statewide initiative drive to change the way California's 55 electoral votes are apportioned, first revealed here by Top of the Ticket in July, are pulling the plug on that effort.
In an exclusive report to appear on this website late tonight and in Friday's print editions, The Times' Dan Morain reports that the proposal to change the winner-take-all electoral vote allocation to one by congressional district is virtually dead with the resignation of key supporters, internal disputes and a lack of funds.

Bulk of US anti-terror grants go to Jewish organizations

Homeland Security Department hands out $24 million in grants to Jewish nonprofit organizations in major US cities
"More than $24 million went out Friday to mostly Jewish nonprofit organizations in major cities across the country, because the federal government considers them to be at high risk of terror attacks.
The Homeland Security Department decided which nonprofits would receive the 308 grants based on threat and risk information. Organizations in Chicago and New York were the top recipients.
The funds are to be used to increase security and screening systems and to train personnel in terror awareness and preparedness. The grants went to medical centers, schools, temples and synagogues. One went to an Islamic organization in Miami.
That Jewish organizations received the bulk of the funding does not mean there are new or heightened threats against Jewish Americans, the department said."

Europeans angry after Bush climate speech 'charade'

"I have never heard a more humiliating speech by a major leader. He (Mr Bush) was trying to present himself as a leader while showing no sign of leadership. It was a total failure."
Source: The Guardian
· US isolated as China and India refuse to back policy
· President claims he can lead world on emissions
George Bush was castigated by European diplomats and found himself isolated yesterday after a special conference on climate change ended without any progress.
European ministers, diplomats and officials attending the Washington conference were scathing, particularly in private, over Mr Bush's failure once again to commit to binding action on climate change.
Although the US and Britain have been at odds over the environment since the early days of the Bush administration, the gap has never been as wide as yesterday.
"It was a total charade and has been exposed as a charade," the diplomat said. "I have never heard a more humiliating speech by a major leader. He (Mr Bush) was trying to present himself as a leader while showing no sign of leadership. It was a total failure."


Iraq Wiretap Delay Not Quite as Presented

Timeline Suggests Intel Director Gave False Testimony To Congress
Washington Post September 29, 2007 01:06 AM
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told Congress last week that a May wiretap that targeted Iraqi insurgents was delayed for 12 hours by attempts to comply with onerous surveillance laws, which slowed an effort to locate three U.S. soldiers who had been captured south of Baghdad.
But new details released this week portray a more complicated picture of the delay, which actually lasted about 9 1/2 hours and was caused primarily by legal wrangling between the Justice Department and intelligence...

The president and his thinning ranks of fawn-eyed Hannities don't understand this yet.

America Used To Be Really Goddamn Awesome
Bob Cesca, 09.28.2007
The Bush Years have been a monumental, cataclysmic failure due to its inattention to what has made American great. The president and his thinning ranks of fawn-eyed Hannities don't understand this yet.
Goddamn him and his marble-mouthed horseshit. That's exactly why it has to be up to you and me to write the history -- the truth -- now. It won't be a proud endeavor because there has been little to be proud of, but we have to make sure that future Americans know exactly what happened in the Bush Years and in the Bush Wars.
The pendulum keeps swinging further to the right and seldom in our generation has it swung all the way back. When a president can look you in the eye and say he's going to veto healthcare for children, and his people are fine with that; and when the same sales pitch for Iraq is being employed for Iran -- and it's working, what else can you say about that fucking pendulum?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Olbermann: 'Morbid proof' Giuliani is exploiting 9/11

Mike Aivaz and Muriel KanePublished: Wednesday September 26, 2007
Keith Olbermann noted on Tuesday's Countdown that if you were to attend a Rudy Giuliani houseparty in Palo Alto, CA this week, "you will get morbid proof that despite his denials, Mr. Giuliani is exploiting the events of September 11, 2001."
The admission fee to the fundraiser is exactly $9.11, and the event is titled "$9.11 for Rudy." The Giuliani campaign has denied knowing about the gimmick but has not denounced it, while Giuliani himself released a two-sentence statement merely calling it "an unfortunate choice."
Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter suggested to Olbermann that the campaign wouldn't have gotten away with something like that in New York or Washington, where people are more sensitive on the subject of 9/11. "You really don't mix events where a lot of people lost their lives with trying to raise money for your campaign," he stated. "It's just really pretty tasteless."
Alter also noted that "this is just the latest in a series of kind of strange episodes in the Giuliani campaign," pointing to Giuliani's apparent stunt of having his wife call on his cellphone while he was speaking before the NRA.
"I think the Onion had it right," Alter concluded. "He's running to be president of 9/11. Nobody who's been a mayor, Keith, has ever gone directly from mayor to president. ... His springboard is this tragic event, this horrible attack on this country, and there's something that's just a little bit tasteless about trying to do that."
The following video is from MSNBC Keith Olbermann's Countdown, broadcast on September 25, 2007.

Will you ever forget the B*****words?

For what cause, did they die?
BREAKING: Lieberman-Kyl’s Iran amendment passes.
By a vote of 76-22, the Senate passed the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, which threatens to “combat, contain and [stop]” Iran via “military instruments.” Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) called the amendment “Cheney’s fondest pipe dream” and said it could “read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action.”UPDATE Before the vote today, changes were made to the original amendment, with paragraphs three and four taken out completely. This paragraph was also added at the end:
“Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated on September 16, 2007 that “I think that the administration believes at this point that continuing to try and deal with the Iranian threat, the Iranian challenge, through diplomatic and economic means is by the preferable approach. That the one we are using. We always say all options are on the table, but clearly, the diplomatic and economic approach is the one that we are pursuing.”
Read the full marked up amendment here.
UPDATE II: The roll call for the vote is here. The following senators voted against the amendment:
Biden (D-DE)Bingaman (D-NM)Boxer (D-CA)Brown (D-OH)Byrd (D-WV)Cantwell (D-WA)Dodd (D-CT)Feingold (D-WI)Hagel (R-NE)Harkin (D-IA)Inouye (D-HI)Kennedy (D-MA)Kerry (D-MA)Klobuchar (D-MN)Leahy (D-VT)Lincoln (D-AR)Lugar (R-IN)McCaskill (D-MO)Sanders (I-VT)Tester (D-MT)Webb (D-VA)Wyden (D-OR)
Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) didn’t vote.
Link Here

Soldier says he was ordered to shoot unarmed man

Source: The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)By KATARINA KRATOVAC, Associated Press WriterBAGHDAD - A U.S. soldier testified Thursday that he was ordered to shoot an unarmed Iraqi man, then his sergeant, from North Carolina, laughed and told the trooper to finish the job as the man convulsed on the ground...."He asked me if I was ready. I had the pistol out. I heard the word shoot. I don't remember pulling the trigger. It took me a second to realize that the shot came from the pistol in my hand," he said, crying and speaking barely above a whisper.Vela said that as the Iraqi man was convulsing on the ground, "Hensley laughed about it and hit the guy on the throat and said shoot again.""After he (the Iraqi man) was shot, Sgt. Hensley pulled an AK-47 out of his rucksack and said, 'this is what we are going to say happened,'" Vela said. He was dismissed from the witness stand to compose himself.

Senate Passes Hate Crimes Bill

Tyler Lewis
On September 27, the Senate passed by voice vote a bill that would expand federal hate crimes coverage to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability.
The vote came after a successful vote (60-39) to stop debate and add the amendment to the Department of Defense bill.
"Today's Senate passage of the hate crimes bill is a huge victory for civil rights and the civil rights community," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR).
The amendment, The Matthew Shepard Act (or the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act), will expand coverage to include gender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and individuals with disabilities. It also provide grants to state and local communities to combat violent crimes committed by juveniles, train law enforcement officers, or to assist in state and local investigations and prosecutions of bias motivated crimes.

Melissa Etheridge Live Earth Part 2 of 2

Melissa Etheridge Live Earth Part 2 of 2

Melissa Etheridge Live Earth Part 1 of 2



Bush threatened nations that did not back Iraq war: report

1 day ago
MADRID (AFP) — US President George W. Bush threatened nations with retaliation if they did not vote for a UN resolution backing the Iraq war, according to a transcript published Wednesday of a conversation he had with former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar.
In the transcript of a meeting on February 22, 2003 -- a month before the US-led invasion of Iraq -- published in El Pais newspaper, Bush tells Aznar that nations such as Mexico, Angola, Chile and Cameroon must know that the security of the United States is at stake.
He says during the meeting on his ranch in Texas that Angola stood to lose financial aid while Chile could see a free trade agreement held up in the US Senate if they did not back the resolution, the left-wing paper said.
The confidential transcript was prepared by Spain's ambassador to the United States at the time, Javier Ruperez, the paper said.
The White House did not challenge the accuracy of the transcript, with national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe declining to comment.
Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, Washington unsuccessfully lobbied the 15 members of the UN Security Council for a second resolution paving the way for military action against Iraq if Saddam Hussein failed to comply with demands to disarm.
But during the meeting with Aznar, Bush made it clear the US would invade Iraq by the end of March 2003 whether or not there was a UN resolution to authorize it, El Pais reported.
"We have to get rid of Saddam. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be ready militarily. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March," Bush said in the transcript which was translated into Spanish by the newspaper.
"We can win without destruction. We are already planning a post-Saddam Iraq and I think there is a good basis for a better future. Iraq has a good bureaucracy and a relatively robust civil society," he added.
During the meeting Aznar tells Bush that he is worried by the US president's optimism.

Defense stocks hit new highs

Associated Press
Defense stocks on Wednesday hit new highs ahead of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' visit to Capitol Hill to request roughly $45 billion in additional funding to cover military costs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008. The AMEX Defense Index, which tracks 14 major defense company stocks, rose 14.25 to a high of 1,686.72 in afternoon trading. Since last year, the index has risen roughly 47 percent, outperforming the broader S&P 500 index, which has climbed nearly 15 percent over the same period. Although the anticipated request for more funding does not come as a surprise to Wall Street, the Pentagon's message nevertheless reinforces the idea that defense spending will remain high in the near-term, said Myles Walton, a CIBC World Market Corp. analyst...
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Ninth Circle: The Widening Gyre of Iraq's Death Spiral

Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque
If you would like a glimpse of the raging, death-clotted hell that George W. Bush and his willing executioners in the bipartisan American Establishment have created in Iraq, then steel yourself and plunge into Nir Rosen's shattering report in the latest issue of Boston Review: No Going Back. Rosen, long one of the most dogged and fearless truth-tellers about Iraq, portrays a reality light-years away from the obscenely mendacious and ignorant American "debate" over Bush's rapine and its consequences. He takes as his theme the millions of Iraqis driven from their homes by the invasion and occupation – and by the Iraqi "government's" own "security forces." These ruthless militias – armed, trained, funded and empowered by the United States – are, as Rosen rightly terms them, death squads, carrying out a savage ethnic cleansing – with American connivance – while waging a multi-sided civil war, again with the eager assistance of the White House and its myrmidons....
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No Going Back

Little relief in sight for millions of displaced Iraqis
Nir Rosen, Boston Review
... The American occupation has been more disastrous than the Mongols’ sack of Baghdad in the 13th century. Iraq’s human capital has fled, its intellectuals and professionals, the educated, the moneyed classes, the political elite. They will not return. And the government is nonexistent at best. After finally succumbing to Iraqi pressure, the Americans submitted to elections but deliberately emasculated the central government and the office of the prime minister. Now Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki is the scapegoat for American failure in Iraq, and there are calls to remove him or overthrow him. But talk of a coup to replace Maliki fails to understand that he is irrelevant. Gone are the days when Baghdad was the only major city in Iraq, and whoever controlled Baghdad controlled the country. The continued focus on the theater in the Green Zone ignores the reality that events there have never determined what happens outside of it. Iraq is a collection of city states such as Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, Ramadi, Erbil, and others, each controlled by various warlords with their own militias. And the villages are entirely unprotected. Maliki will be the last prime minister of Iraq. When he is run out there will be no new elections, since they can’t be run safely and fairly anymore, and the pretense of an Iraqi state will be over. It has become popular with former supporters of the war to blame the Iraqis for the Americans’ failure (...) former supporters of the war, echoing the simplistic sentiments heard during the Balkan wars, now blame the alleged "ancient hatred" between Sunnis and Shias, who have been fighting each other for "thousands of years." But Iraq had no history of civil war or sectarian violence even approaching this scale until the Americans arrived. Iraq is not Rwanda, where Hutus and Tutsis slaughtered each other and America could pretend it had no role. We did this to Iraq....

Arabs criticise U.S. Senate resolution on Iraq

The Arab League and an Iraqi vice president criticised on Thursday a U.S. Senate resolution advocating the division of Iraq into federal regions. Ali al-Jaroush, the head of the Arab relations department at the Cairo-based league, said the idea was "hostile to Arab interests" and the best response would be to help the Iraqi people drive occupying forces out of the country. The non-binding Senate amendment, sponsored by Delaware Democrat Joe Biden and passed on Wednesday, says the United States should actively support a political settlement among Iraqis based on a federal system of government....
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Craig Back In The Senate: Votes Against Bill To Protect Homosexuals

Nico Pitney September 27, 2007 12:33 PM
Moments ago, the Senate voted 60-39 to end debate on the Matthew Shepard Act, which expands federal hate crimes laws to include violence based on a victim's sexual orientation, gender, disability, and other factors. The AP reports:
The Senate attached hate crimes legislation to a must-pass Pentagon spending bill Thursday, but opponents predicted it ultimately would fail.
"The president is not going to agree to this social legislation on the defense authorization bill," said...

Isn't that the truth, and this time the Iraqi Resisters are winning the war against the illegal war and occupation. Bring It on Georgie

Bloomberg: Insurgents In Iraq Like Americans Who Fought British »
In his most detailed comments on the Iraq war, Mayor Bloomberg last night suggested the United States was in the same difficult position as the British in the Revolutionary War - facing a determined band of insurgents.
Bloomberg said the comparison occurred to him when he visited his mother recently and was driving through Lexington, Mass., where a scrubby group of farmers rose up against a well-trained militia more than 200 years ago.
"We're the British," the mayor said during an interview with Tom Brokaw at Cooper Union, part of a series featuring potential presidential contenders hosted by former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Read more here

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Georgies puppet president speaks out, not that it will do any good.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Tuesday declared the arrest in northern Iraq of an Iranian national by US forces "illegal" and again demanded his release. "We have asked the US authorities to release the arrested man," Talabani told reporters in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah in Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region before leaving for New York for the UN General Assembly. "Arresting a person in Kurdistan is illegal because his security file was under the jurisdiction of the provincial government," said Talabani, who is himself a Kurd. Iran shut its border with Iraq on Monday in protest at the detention by US forces in Sulaimaniyah last Thursday of the Iranian, Mahmudi Farhadi....

IDPs in Baghdad suburb stage protest, demand protection

Nearly 400 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Baghdad's southern district of Saydiyah took to the streets on 23 September, demanding government protection to enable them to return to their homes. "Al-Saydiyah is now a place where you find many armed criminals who have occupied it and are thriving by killing and kidnapping. These criminals have played, and are still playing, with the lives of 50,000 residents - Shias, Sunnis, Christians, rich and poor," said Ali al-Amiri, 44, who represents the displaced families of Sayidyah....
continua / continued

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Coronado Says "Sieg Heil!"

Malcom Lagauche
San Diego is the home of the largest military installation in the world. In addition, the U.S. military in San Diego is the biggest polluter in the country. And, the military does not have to adhere to any environmental regulations. A little known fact is that San Diego is also the home of the largest swastika in the world: maybe the largest one every built. An amalgamation of buildings on the Coronado Naval Amphibian Base built almost 40 years ago depicts the Nazi symbol. Don’t forget, the NavySEAls are trained at Coronado. They are the super-elite of special forces who have created havoc for many people in Afghanistan and Iraq (...) The Jewish community of San Diego has become enraged by the swastika. The San Diego Jewish Times, as well as the director of the San Diego Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Morris Casuto, have complained to the Navy over the configuration of the buildings. Also, Congresswoman Susan Davis, D-San Diego, who is Jewish, jumped on the bandwagon. There are a few ironies here. In the past, Casuto has failed to support other minority groups who have had gripes with the government in issues of denigration (...) Again, we have lack of logic as well as misdirection. The same people who are up in arms about buildings forming a swastika have not uttered a word about the misdeeds of those people who use the buildings when they mistreat humanity. In today’s Iraq, we are witnessing the golden days of U.S. special forces, including the SEAls, in their ability to create devastation and death without accountability....

Amnesty calls for help for Iraq refugees

Amnesty International has accused the international community of ignoring the flow of refugees from Iraq and warned that continuing to do so would spark "greater political instability across the wider region". In a report published in London, Amnesty called on countries to meet their "moral obligation" and "shoulder a fair share" of the millions of refugees who have fled their homes, especially to neighbouring Syria and Jordan. Amnesty said an estimated 2,000 people were leaving Iraq every day in the world's "fastest-growing displacement crisis"....
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U.S. murdering Iraqi civilians

Robert Dreyfuss
Terrific story in the Post this morning about a classified program to drop little items like fuses and wires, then have snipers wait to shoot down anyone who picks them up! Lacking in the piece is any sense of how many Iraqis have died in this way, but it must be a great number. Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said such a baiting program should be examined "quite meticulously" because it raises troubling possibilities, such as what happens when civilians pick up the items. "In a country that is awash in armaments and magazines and implements of war, if every time somebody picked up something that was potentially useful as a weapon, you might as well ask every Iraqi to walk around with a target on his back," Fidell said. Is Congress listening?...
continua / continued

Iraq: A Bush Family Jihad?

Felicity Arbuthnot
...The people of Iraq are being kept on their knees, their infrastructure unrepaired, they are tortured, disappeared at the hands of and because of the invasion. The blame lies squarely in Washington and Whitehall. Four million displaced and one and a quarter million dead, according to the recent poll, by resepected ORB and now a cholera epidemic. Have the 'liberators' flown in emergency and essential medicines and medical equipment to counter this,as they would if it were their troops, or their pals cowering in the Green Zone? Of course not. From the destruction of the water system in 1991, to the ongoing slaughters which came in with the invasion, to troops random killings of Iraqis in their tens and hundreds and now a choldera epidemic, with not a hand lifted by the occupying forces, with all their infinite resources, I am again reminded of a chance conversation in a cafe in Jordan, days before the invasion. What was I doing in Jordan? I had just come back from Iraq, I said. Without preamble he said: 'America will never get their hands on Iraq and Iraq's oil, unless they kill every last one of them'. It seems they are trying to do just that, by any means possible, in the Bush's family's personal Jihad. Thomas Nagy is a Member of the Association of Genocide Scholars, who concluded that the deliberate destruction of Iraq's water system in 1991 was genocide. It seems they have a lot more work ahead. Oh, and the invasion of Iraq was sold to the American public, by their Administration linking Saddam Hussein to 11th September 2001 and Osama bin Laden. It was not Saddam, but the Bush family who were in business with the Bin Ladens. What wickedness....

Bush, Iraqi leader talk of political reconciliation, civilians' deaths

Source: Associated Press
NEW YORK – President Bush pressed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday to move on stalled measures deemed critical to political reconciliation, while al-Maliki made clear his unhappiness about the killing of Iraqi civilians by private U.S. security contractors.
Meeting face to face for the second time this month, the two leaders used polite diplomatic language to talk publicly about tense issues.
It was a sign of how little room each has to maneuver: The Iraqi prime minister owes his still-tenuous political survival in large part to staunch White House support, and Bush, even if dissatisfied with al-Maliki's leadership in some areas, recognizes there is virtually no alternative to replace him.
Al-Maliki defended his government's performance while saying "the task before us is gigantic."
The prime minister brought up his own deep frustration about Blackwater USA, a private contractor whose security guards are blamed for killing 11 Iraqi civilians while escorting a diplomatic convoy in Baghdad.
Later, Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said al-Maliki said behind closed doors that Iraqi sovereignty must be respected. The two agreed there should be "better cooperation and coordination in these operations," and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice followed with a more detailed discussion with the prime minister, Hadley said.

Sunni Insurgents in New Campaign to Kill Officials

Sunni Insurgents In New Campaign To Kill Officials »
The New York Times ALISSA J. RUBIN September 25, 2007 09:57 PM
Sunni Arab extremists have begun a systematic campaign to assassinate police chiefs, police officers, other Interior Ministry officials and tribal leaders throughout Iraq, staging at least 10 attacks in 48 hours.
Eight policemen have been killed, among them the police chief of Baquba, the largest city in Diyala Province. Two other police chiefs survived attacks, though one was left in critical condition, and about 30 police officers were wounded, according to reports from local security officers.

Blackburn focused more on MoveOn ad than troop deaths.

Yesterday on MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson show, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) repeatedly condemned the recent MoveOn.org ad about Gen. Petraeus. But when host David Shuster asked her for the name of the last soldier from her district killed in Iraq, Blackburn faltered. Schuster informed her of the soldier’s name and added, “When was the last time a New York Times ad ever killed somebody?” Watch it:

The Liberation of a Sovereign Nation? You Decide?

The US Senate is expected to vote as early as Tuesday on a Bosnia-style plan to subdivide Iraq on ethnic lines, touted by backers as the sole hope of forging a federal state out of sectarian strife.

Georgies Liberation of Iraq

September 24, 2007
They crossed the high seas; they poured out their billions; they sacrificed their sons … to "liberate" Iraqis … but what we, the women of Iraq got, is article 41.
In 1959 the Iraqi government amended the Personal Status Law. Article 118 came into being as part of our constitution.
It gave the women of Iraq the most progressive of all Arab and Islamic women's rights legislation until this very day. No discrimination in salaries, no discrimination in uniforms, the separated Mums get to keep the home until the children are of age, and so many other items that made the female community of Iraq one of the most progressive female communities within the Arab, Islamic and regional states – from that time … until we got "liberated".
Now we have article 41.
In brief, it says go to your cleric and he will deal with whatever issues you have.
Girls had the choice either to don the Islamic hijab or walk abroad in safety, quaintly dressed in all manner of modern garments. It was a private matter that was entirely resolved inside the family and according to its own convictions, its own beliefs. Now it's not safe for a girl to step outside her home unless fully covered. How much more liberated can you get??
Girls used to be free to drive their cars in safety all over the city to all appropriate hours. Now it has suddenly become shameful for them to do so.
Why have we lost our rights?
For what have we been pushed back into the dark ages?
How can this be liberation if my daughter has fewer rights than I did at her age? If she has less control over her life than I did? Fewer choices than even her grandmother had?
Why have we been forgotten?? Neither our Parliament nor our Government cares. They are up there for their own interests.
But what about the powers that crossed the high seas to liberate us?? They poured out their billions; they sacrificed their sons … to "liberate" us … but what we, the women of Iraq got, is article 41.
Go to your cleric – he is sure to solve all your issues.

Phonetic Notes For Bush's UN Speech Accidentally Released

This is what America gave the World, the one who calls himself Leader of the FreeWorld, Commander and Chief.
DUMBASS WANKER Bush's UN Speech Full of Fone-eh-tick Pronunciations for World Leaders
ABC News Ann Compton and Jennifer Duck September 25, 2007 03:43 PM
Never before has the White House released a draft version of the President's speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly.
But this year, a glimpse of how the President sees his speeches was accidentally placed on the UN website along with the speechwriters' cell phone numbers.

The Feed And Forage Act : Bush's Trump Card For Iraq Funding?

Passed originally in 1861 in wake of the crisis caused by the outbreak of the Civil War, the Feed and Forage Act provides that :
"§ 11. No contracts or purchases unless authorized or under adequate appropriation; report to the Congress
(a) No contract or purchase on behalf of the United States shall be made, unless the same is authorized by law or is under an appropriation adequate to its fulfillment, except in the Department of Defense and in the Department of Transportation with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy, for clothing, subsistence, forage, fuel, quarters, transportation, or medical and hospital supplies, which, however, shall not exceed the necessities of the current year.
b) The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Transportation with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy shall immediately advise the Congress of the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) of this section, and shall report quarterly on the estimated obligations incurred pursuant to the authority granted in subsection (a) of this section."
What this means is that the Secretary of Defense has the legal authority to continue funding active duty troops without any Congressional Appropriation in order to ensure their basic living needs are met. It apparently does not cover munitions and equipment, but as it does say that the amount "shall not exceed the necessities of the current year" this would still give the Department of Defense a large amount of credit to work with, all without any Congressional yay or nay, and the cost of all this spending coming back to Congress at a later date.
Now the question is can this law be used for supporting missions overseas, and what oversight would Congress have to ensure that its implementation was narrowly interpreted? I don't have all the answers to those questions, but I am very sure Bush would have the Secretary of Defense activate the law should funding for the troops get caught in the showdown between the Congressional leadership and the President. It almost happened in 2005, when the Republican-controlled Congress was dilly-dallying on passing appropriations bills to the point the Defense Department was nearly out of funding.
So the question becomes, if Reid and the Congressional Leadership stand firm, does anything change for the troops in Iraq? Unless the Courts were to rule the administration was illegally using the Feed and Forage Act inapprorpiately, Bush and his administration will still have the money needed to fund operations in Iraq until such time as either the Executive and Legislative branches agree to a compromise both can live with, a President who agrees with the Legislative Branch is elected to office, or a Legislative majority in agreement with the President is elected.
I'm not saying Reid is wrong to say "Never Give In," but in this case I do fear the best cards still lay with in the Bush administration's hands, with both the veto power and a law already on the books and used in the past that can allow funding for military operations without Congressional approval.
And if Bush invokes Feed And Forage to keep US Personnel in Iraq until he decides they are no longer needed, what is our next step to try and end this war?
Beside the obvious...elect a Democratic Party candidate President in 2008 and ensure a 60 seat Democratic Senate and increase the Democratic majority in Congress would of course.

Cubans Walk Out During Bush U.N. Speech

Associated Press 09.25.07, 2:00 PM ET
Cuba's foreign minister walked out of the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday in protest of President Bush's speech in which he said the "long rule of a cruel dictator is nearing its end" on the communist island.
The Cuban delegation issued a statement saying the decision by Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque to leave was a "sign of profound rejection of the arrogant and mediocre statement by President Bush."
Cuba's U.N. Mission said the American president had no moral standing to criticize anyone.
It accused Bush of responsibility "for the murder of over 600,000 civilians in Iraq" and for "the torture of prisoners" at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where more than 300 men are being held on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.
"He is a criminal and has no moral authority or credibility to judge any other country," the mission's statement said. "Cuba condemns and rejects every letter of his infamous tirade."

How the Iraq Occcupation Has Turned Friendship Between Families Into Sectarian Hatred

Kim Sengupta, Independent UK.
They are two Iraqi families, one Shia, the other Sunni, who once lived in what were called "mixed" neighbourhoods. Now they are among the 2 million internal refugees in the country, a vast and desperate pool of the dispossessed whose numbers have risen massively along with US troop "surge" operations. The forced migration, called "a human tragedy unprecedented in the country's history" in the latest Iraqi Red Crescent report, has uprooted communities from homes they have occupied for decades. In Baghdad, the focus of US military action, there are a million displaced people in a population of four million. Another two million people, according to UN estimates, have fled abroad. Amnesty International, in a report released today, identifies Britain as forcibly returning more Iraqi refugees than any other country in Europe. But it is the internal diaspora that is causing acute problems in this fractured society, with numbers rising by 71 per cent in just one month, according to the Red Crescent. The Independent has spoken to two families, the al-Rawis and the al-Amirys, who had been forced to flee their homes. In both cases the horrors they endured have turned tolerance and friendship across the religious divide into sectarian anger and hatred...
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The black heart

Mohammed, Last of Iraqis
About 1,000,000 deaths and 1,500,000 Injured Iraqi civilians since the beginning of the war in 2003 , an estimation of 4,000,000 Iraqis have been displaced with 2,200,000 fled out of the country and the rest are refugees inside their own torn country (I believe the real number of Iraqis outside Iraq is greater than this). Great number , right? a lot of zeros , a lot of grief and sadness , a lot of humiliation , a lot of black clothes , rivers of tears and many shocking stories , it's not just numbers . Just count all the people you knew throughout your life , not only the ones you talk to , but all the people you know, what their count will be? 500 or may be 1000? let's say 1000. Can you imagine that all the people you know are only 0.1% of the civilian casualties in Iraq. with those huge numbers and that great pain , I only want to know why? why all those people had to die? Why all those people had to leave their homes their jobs and their beloved to escape from Iraq and be humiliated , be an immigrant. Why is that? Why Iraqis have to leave their beautiful homes and live in a tent in the middle of the desert , why do they have to be refugees in their own country? Why every scientist , doctor , former army members and jet fighter pilots have to be killed or threatened? Why there is no one left in Iraq? Why did every one leave Iraq to keep his life? Why all of this is happening to Iraq and Iraqis ? I believe what happens in Iraq didn't happen anywhere in the world throughout the history of the mankind....

The New Iraq Horror Show

Gabriele Zamparini, The Cat's Dream
....The Los Angeles Times reported: "The U.N. stands ready to broaden its activity in support of the people and government of Iraq," he said in a meeting co-chaired by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and attended by senior officials from Iraq, the United States, Britain and many of Iraq's neighbors. "This is a responsibility I take very seriously." In the middle of a genocide the UN continues to ignore, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s words are beyond contempt. No surprise of course, since it was the United Nations to impose the notorious genocidal embargo against Iraq. Do you remember? The UN sanctions against Iraq, wanted by the governments of the US and the UK and imposed on 6 August 1990 (HIROSHIMA DAY) ended only with the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. In 1996, Madeleine Albright – US Ambassador at the United Nations and soon to become Secretary of State under President Clinton – said about half million children murdered by those sanctions: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it." And the sanctions went on. Those sanctions killed a terrifying number of innocent people. One million? Two millions? Will we ever know? Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1997-98) said: "I had been instructed to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that had effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults."...

Bush administration employed false intelligence to convince lawmakers they should temporarily expand domestic spying powers

Published: Tuesday September 25, 2007
Former US Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein joined Keith Olbermann to discuss recent charges that the Bush administration employed false intelligence to convince lawmakers they should temporarily expand domestic spying powers under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
"These charges...are the most overt accusation yet of a government gone so wrong that it is using the terrorist's weapon of fear against its own people--and against other legislators who will not go along with the program," Olbermann said.
At a forum on FISA hosted by the Center for American Progress, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) said that on Aug. 2, word of specific intelligence prompted increased security on Capitol Hill. The House and Senate passed the FISA expansion bill days later.
In what she called a "Rovian strategy of using terrorism as a wedge political issue," Rep. Harman charged that the threat, "it turned out, was bogus; the intelligence agencies knew that."
"The President continues to insist...that he can spy on Americans without warrants irrespective of what a statute says--that he has constitutional authority to override whatever Congress may do," said Fine.
"There is no disinclination of this administration," he continued "to stoop to misrepresentations and omissions to heighten the sense of danger to get whatever they wish in the legislative package."
Before passage of the FISA expansion, Fein said that "the administration was openly telling members of Congress if they voted against the bill that the administration insisted upon, Americans would die."
"There wasn't any substantiation of that," he said. "It was just: 'Trust me, we always tell the truth."
Fein insisted that the president would continue to "have his way if he continues to frighten the Congress and Congress refuses to demand information and facts rather than just rumor."
"The mind reels," Olbermann responded.
The following video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast on September 24.

Lieberman-Kyl amendment on Iran should be “withdrawn” because the “proposal is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.”

Think Progress September 25, 2007 03:50 PM
On the Senate floor today, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) made an impassioned appeal to his fellow senators, declaring that the Lieberman-Kyl amendment on Iran should be “withdrawn” because the “proposal is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.” Webb cautioned that the “cleverly-worded sense of the Congress” could be “interpreted” to “declare war” on Iran. He continued:
Those who regret their vote five years ago to authorize military action in Iraq should think hard before supporting this approach. Because, in my view, it has the same potential to do harm where many are seeking to do good.
“At best, it’s a deliberate attempt to divert attention from a failed diplomatic policy,” said Webb. “At worst, it could be read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action, without one hearing and without serious debate.” Watch it:

Bush Officials Conducted Secret Lobbying Campaign To Block CA Global Warming Efforts

Washington Post September 25, 2007 08:52 AM
The Bush administration has conducted a concerted, behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to try to generate opposition to California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, according to documents obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
California, along with 11 other states, is hoping to enact rules that would cut global warming pollution from new motor vehicles by nearly 30 percent by 2016.

Senator, why do you keep voting to keep the war going despite saying you're critical of it? Senator?Senator? Are you there?

Greg Sargent September 25, 2007 12:44 PM
MSNBC's David Schuster shared some very interesting news with his viewers last night: He said that pro-war GOP Senators who are up for reelection have repeatedly refused to go on MSNBC and have directly turned down multiple invitations to appear on the network and discuss the war.
Pro-War GOP Senators Refusing to be Interviewed about Iraq

He Did Cook The Books

Washington Post September 25, 2007 09:19 AM
On Sept. 1, the bullet-riddled bodies of four Iraqi men were found on a Baghdad street. Two days later, a single dead man, with one bullet in his head, was found on a different street. According to the U.S. military in Iraq, the solitary man was a victim of sectarian violence. The first four were not.
Such determinations are the building blocks for what the Bush administration has declared a downward trend in sectarian deaths and a sign that its war...

Contract with America:

An In-Depth Look at the Wall in Adhamiya

Alive in Baghdad
When they began erecting a wall in Adhamiya the public response was varied, in Iraq, in the US, indeed around the world. Some responded with shock, others with outrage, others wondered why it hadn’t been tried before. Most importantly, there was a reaction, it was widespread, and strong. The press covered the issue of the wall repeatedly, with many papers writing multiple stories on the subject, extending over a period of months, some more. Unfortunately the images of the wall are few and far between. A Google image search reveals only 1,020 results for adhamiya wall, many of which are repeat images and many more are irrelevant to the search. Why has such an important event of the war and most recently the Surge, received so little visual coverage?...

Freedom as Theft

Tom Engelhardt
...The Iraqi looting began almost as soon as American troops entering Baghdad in April 2003 -- and those occupying troops, without orders to lift a finger, did just about nothing (except, tellingly, guard the Oil Ministry) as Baghdad burned. Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signaled just what kind of an era of liberation was indeed dawning. At a press briefing, with the verbal equivalent of a wink and a nod, he responded to a question about the looting of the Iraqi capital by saying, "Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here." And he offered his infamous tag line for the ongoing disaster, "Stuff happens." It's been happening ever since as those liberated by the invasion -- the privateers, the freebooters, the crony capitalists, the neocon dreamers, the black marketeers and oil siphoneers, the mercenaries and criminals of every sort -- were freed to do their damnedest in an atmosphere that combined the "wild East" with a gold-rush mentality amid spiralling chaos, mayhem, and destruction...
continua / continued

Networks Reject Rice

Over the past two years, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been on the Sunday talk shows 30 times, making her the most second frequent guest after Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE).
But that may be changing. In his Washington Post column, Howard Kurtz reveals that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is no longer a “prize catch” for the Sunday talk shows. She was recently turned down by both CBS and NBC:
The secretary of state has always been considered a prize catch for the Sunday talk shows. But when the White House offered Condoleezza Rice for appearances eight days ago, after a week focused on Iraq, two programs took the unusual step of turning her down.
Executives at CBS and NBC say Rice no longer seems to be a key player on the war and that her cautious style makes her a frustrating guest.
“I expected we’d just get a repetition of the administration’s talking points, which had already been well circulated,” says Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” who questioned two senators instead. “We’d had a whole week of that with General Petraeus and President Bush

India Is Outsourcing Outsourcing

The New York Times ANAND GIRIDHARADAS September 24, 2007 11:23 PM
Thousands of Indians report to Infosys Technologies' campus here to learn the finer points of programming. Lately, though, packs of fair-skinned foreigners have been roaming the manicured lawns, too.
Many of them are recent American college graduates, and some have even turned down job offers from coveted employers like Google. Instead, they accepted a novel assignment from Infosys, the Indian technology giant: fly here for six months of training, then return home to work in the company's American back offices.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Scientists: Brain injuries from war worse than thought

By Ali Kadim, AP
"Signature wound" of Iraq: Symptoms of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, include memory deficit, headaches, vertigo, anxiety and apathy or lethargy. They can be brought on by explosions such as this one that destroyed a Humvee on the outskirts of Baghdad in June.
By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
Scientists trying to understand traumatic brain injury from bomb blasts are finding the wound more insidious than they once thought.
They find that even when there are no outward signs of injury from the blast, cells deep within the brain can be altered, their metabolism changed, causing them to die, says Geoff Ling, an advance-research scientist with the Pentagon.
The new findings are the result of blast experiments in recent years on animals, followed by microscopic examination of brain tissue. The findings could mean that the number of brain-injured soldiers and Marines — many of whom appear unhurt after exposure to a blast — may be far greater than reported, says Ibolja Cernak, a scientist with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
TROOPS AT RISK: USA TODAY'S full coverage on IEDs in Iraq
This cellular death leads to symptoms that may not surface for months or years, Cernak says. The symptoms can include memory deficit, headaches, vertigo, anxiety and apathy or lethargy. "These soldiers could have hidden injuries with long-term consequences," he says.

Tap Three Times (With Your Loafer If You Want Me)

Toilet trollin' Senator Craig
Standing so tall outside my bathroom stall at the airport
Through the crack I see you peeking
I know what you’re really seeking
You tap a code from the next door commode
Playin' footsie
It’s Lusty Larry!
Tap three times with your loafer if you want me
Mmmm. Twice on the tank - if the answer is no
Tidy bowl man!
(Tap Tap Tap) Means you’ll meet me in the stall-way
Twice on the tank means you just gotta go
Being busted inside a john
It’s not a thing that a right-wing Republican should do
All your talk of family values
Flushed away in scandalous loo news
And all your denials are stinking like piles of political poo
(What a wide stance)
Tap three times with your loafer if you want me
Twice on the tank - if the answer is no. No?
Dirty Larry!
(Tap Tap Tap) He's unbuckling his beltway
White and far right means you’re from Idaho
Crapitol Hill is buzzin'
About Larry’s lavatorial lovin'
It seems so wrong wanting sex in a john
(Hey, rent a motel)
Tap three times with your loafer if you want me
Twice on the tank - if the answer is no
(Tap Tap Tap) Means you'll meet me in the stall-way
You’re in the tank, better say adios
Source: The Spokesman-Review
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