Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Australian fighters to get top US weapons

Pakistan election: A charade masquerading as democracy

General Musharraf wins – again – by a landslide, but the 'free, fair and transparent' election fools no one. Andrew Buncombe and Omar Waraich report
Published: 07 October 2007
As a spectacle of democracy in action, it was stillborn even before it began. Called one by one in alphabetical order yesterday, Pakistan's parliamentarians walked to a screened-off booth, where they marked their ballot papers and then dropped them into a large plastic bin. As General Pervez Musharraf was elected by an overwhelming majority to serve another five years as President, the intended message could not have been clearer: this process is fair, free and transparent. In reality, it was none of these things.

Report: Saudi (Former) Gitmo Detainees Get Gift

Wonder what guarantee there is that they will return to prison?
The Saudi Arabian government will temporarily release 55 prisoners recently transferred from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and will give each of them about $2,600 to celebrate the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a newspaper reported Saturday.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz granted the temporary releases from detention centers in Saudi Arabia so the prisoners could spend time with their families during the holiday in mid-October, the Okaz newspaper reported.
They will return to police custody after the holiday and will be referred to Saudi courts at end of this month for upcoming trials, the paper said.
U.S. authorities transferred 16 Saudis from Guantanamo Bay back to Saudi Arabia in September, the latest transfer of prisoners from the U.S. detention facility. Fewer than 40 Saudi detainees remain in detention.

Edwards Slams Top Clinton Strategist's Ties to Blackwater

In a scathing attack, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards went after front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Friday, calling her a "corporate Democrat," comparing top Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn to former Bush aide Karl Rove and assailing Penn's ties to Blackwater USA, the embattled private firm of military contractors accused by the Iraqi government of firing upon and killing 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians last month.
"Bush has been a perfect example of cronyism because Blackwater has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans and to President Bush," Edwards said in an interview with the Associated Press while campaigning in Iowa. "I also saw this morning that Sen. Clinton's primary adviser, Mark Penn, who is like her Karl Rove -- his firm is representing Blackwater."
In addition to his role as a top campaign consultant to the Clinton campaign, Mark Penn is the worldwide president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller. The firm's lobbying subsidiary BKSH helped Blackwater's top executive, Erik Prince, prepare for his congressional testimony this week.
Penn could not be reached for comment, but Burson-Marsteller spokesman Paul Cordasco said in a statement that "through a personal relationship, BKSH, a subsidiary of Burson-Marsteller, helped Blackwater prepare for their recent hearing before Congress. With the hearing over, BKSH's temporary engagement has ended."
The Clinton campaign had no comment.

Man Oh Man you want sleeze and corruption, check out this article

Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 02:43:43 PM PDT
The Department of Justice is actively covering up massive fraud, into the billions, by Halliburton and its subsidiaries. They are using the regulations of the whistleblower investigation to do this. And the Halliburton connections go deep into the DOJ. For instance, Vinson & Elkins, Halliburton's legal counsel, gave Alberto Gonzales his first job as a lawyer.
There is more. A lot more.
Get out your shovels and follow me past the fold.
Demfem's diary :: ::
This article in Vanity Fair just made me ill. It will make you ill as well. But, READ IT, READ IT!!

When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again

What does Johnny get after marching home from the Iraq Occupation?
Not my President directed us to the article about Lt. Jon Anderson and the other 2,600 Minnosota Guard Members ordered to Iraq for 729 days. Upon returning home, they discovered that though they honorably served their 729 days in Iraq, and they avoided road bombs, risked life and limb, and spread democracy,
it wasn’t good enough to get them the free education that they thought they had been promised—simply because, they were intentionally sent there one day short

of the time required in the contract—730.

Recruiters across the land wave the carrot, “Enlist and get your college paid for…” They are able to do this as a result of one of the New Deal’s most successful programs, the G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill has existed since 1944 and thousands of people have served and received a college education and been able to make a better life for themselves and

their families…. until now.

Of course Conservatives have long clung to the dream of eliminating all the programs started in the New Deal. They have nibbled away at the edges for a long time but Bush has successfully eliminated most of these programs by hook or by crook.
Nonetheless, it’s a little crass, if you ask me, that our government is willing to allow a President and his appointees to break law after law and slipe slide over little rules here and there as if they don’t exist, and yet for the 2,600 guard members (and more) who served their country well and who are fortunate enough to return from the war, the government suddenly discovers the virtue in contracts and law.
The soldiers serving in Iraq and their families have a contract with our government but also with us too. We the people have a contract with those serving in office but also we have a contract to protect the soldiers who are protecting us. But the demise in Veterans’ health care, lack of funding for PTSD, the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Veteran’s Hospital, and the recent vote against the Webb Amendment shows a persistent disrespect towards the troops and the contracts that were signed by both parties. And now we hear about another empty promise! Despite four years of hearing about the rule of law and the Constitution, and having the Constitution compared to a contract with the American people, today we stand on an abyss where we must decide how to enforce the contracts we all have with each other. (Even if unacknowledged.)
We must keep our contract with our soldiers and do something about this!
So I ask you: Is this situation with the soldiers cut and dried? The contract clearly stated the expectations from both sides. Should we (and our government) tell those soldiers, “Tough luck…the contract says…”? Should the government be acting like a business—crunching numbers? Should we the tax payers be asked to pay for the education of those who served even if they’re one day short? And what affect should the rule of law and contracts have upon our actions and those of our public servants?
You tell me.

By sparrow on October 6, 2007 @ DCP

"Where do you all expect them to go?" she allegedly cried

Blackwater winning the hearts and mind of the Iraqi Citizens
"The kids in the back seat looked back in horror, mouths agape at the sight of the heavily armored Suburbans driven by large, armed men in dark sunglasses. The poor Iraqi driver frantically searched for a means of escape, but there was none. So the lead Blackwater vehicle smashed heedlessly into the car, pushing it into the barrier."
4 hr 20 min ago

Federal Judge Stays War Objector Trial

Just a bit to late, 7 years to be exact.

Matthews: Bush Administration "Finally Caught In Criminality"
Eat The Press Jason Linkins October 4, 2007 09:58 PM
Against the backdrop of the 10th anniversary soiree for MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews offered up his own mini-Peter Finch moment, railing at the Bush administration in remarks termed "political and pointed." After declaiming that he intended to "make some news," Matthews offered the assembled well-wishers barbed snark ("God help us if we had Cheney during the Cuban missile crisis. We'd all be under a parking lot."), fiery non-sequiturs ("Spiro Agnew was not an American hero."), and one accusatory allusion...
Chairman Waxman Writes to Secretary Rice on Implications of Withheld Information on Blackwater
October 5th, 2007 by Jesse Lee
On Tuesday the Oversight Committee held a hearing on Blackwater, examining several incidents in Iraq involving the private security firm. One such incident involved a Blackwater employee who shot a guard of the Iraqi Vice President, apparently while drunk, and whether the Justice Department has truly been investigating as the State Department claims. The Blackwater employee was flown out of the Iraq within two days of the incident before a proper investigation could be conducted:
Today Chairman Henry Waxman wrote to Secretary of State Rice following reports that this Blackwater contractor, who was fired at the time, was hired by another private contractor to work in the region two months later. As Chairman Waxman writes in the letter, “Serious questions now exist about whether the State Department may have withheld from the U.S. Defense Department facts about this Blackwater contractor’s shooting of the Iraqi guard that should have prevented his hiring to work on another contract in support of the Iraq War.”

Blackwater Hearing: Waxman's Questions for State Department

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Iraq PM says 'unfit' Blackwater must go

1 day ago
BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday that Blackwater should leave the country because of the mountain of evidence against the under-fire US security firm.
His comments came amid growing anger among Iraqis that "above-the-law" security contractors are continuing to operate in Iraq while Blackwater is being probed over a deadly shooting 17 days ago.
"I believe the abundance of evidence against it makes it unfit to stay in Iraq," Maliki told a televised press conference in Baghdad.

Qatar & Vietnam ditch the dollar

Announcements on Thursday from the Qatari and Vietnamese governments that they are rapidly divesting in dollar denominated securities will not come as good news to the US government. Overseas investors hold half of America’s $4,400bn of marketable government debt, up from a third in 2001 according to the US Treasury department.
Qatari Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani said on US TV that the government-backed $50bn Qatari Investment Authority (QIA) now had less than 40 per cent of its investments in dollars, down from a high two years ago of 99 per cent.
Given that the Emirate’s oil and gas revenue is in dollars, the latest troubles in the US economy have accelerated the need to diversify investments into non-dollar markets. Currencies such as the Euro, the British Pound and the Swiss Frank, are all looking far more stable as investments for the QIA, said Sheikh Hamad. Such was the Qatari PM’s concern about the sliding dollar, that he even said an oil price of $125 per barrel would not be unreasonable.
On Thursday, the State Bank of Vietnam quietly let slip it would be ending its dollar purchase schemes, which it has been using to hold down the Vietnamese currency. Although it only has middling dollar reserves of $40bn, Vietnam is widely regarded as a barometer for economic sentiment among other, bigger, regional dollar sinks like China, Taiwan, Korea or Singapore. Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas, told the Telegraph:

Opening of US Embassy in Iraq Delayed

The opening of a mammoth, $600 million U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which had been planned for last month, has now been delayed well into next year, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The Vatican-sized compound, which will be the world's largest diplomatic mission, has been beset by construction and logistical problems.
``They are substantially behind at this point,'' and it would be surprising if any offices or living quarters could be occupied before the end of the year, one official told The Associated Press.
Problems identified so far are related to the complex's physical plant, including electrical systems, and do not pose a security risk, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
The official also said the delays would have no direct cost to taxpayers because contractor First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co. had agreed to deliver for a set $592 million price.

Army Denies Education Benefits To National Guard Troops Who Served 22 Months In Iraq

Coleman said that it’s “simply irresponsible to deny education benefits to those soldiers who just completed the longest tour of duty of any unit in Iraq.”
Approximately 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard recently returned home after serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq. They served 22 months — “longer than any other ground combat unit” — recieved nine fatalities, and were awarded dozens of Purple Hearts.
But the Army wrote the orders for 1,162 of these soldiers for 729 days, making them ineligible for full educational benefits under the GI Bill, which requires written orders saying they were deployed for 730 days or more. These soldiers were shorted more than $200 per month for college.
First Lt. Jon Anderson believes that the military deliberately cut short their orders to avoid paying the soldiers’ education benefits:
"It’s pretty much a slap in the face. I think it was a scheme to save money, personally. I think it was a leadership failure by the senior Washington leadership…once again failing the soldiers."
For video and full story:

Craig, In Reversal, Won't Resign

The New York Times Carl Hulse October 4, 2007 10:25 PM
Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho, defying the wishes of many in his own Republican Party, said today that he would remain in the Senate through next year despite a court ruling against him in Minnesota, where he sought to rescind his guilty plea stemming from an undercover sex sting.
Shortly after a state judge denied his request to withdraw the August plea admitting to disorderly conduct, Mr. Craig said he had reversed his previously announced decision to leave the Senate...


Wafaa' Al-Natheema
We, Iraqis, have invented the wheel, the alphabet and the law, we began lavish construction of hospitals and libraries, and have made endless scientific discoveries and inventions through the millenniums. In modern history, our country has been filled with scientists who have been so gifted, challenging and accomplished, our enemies has been targeting and killing them. So we are pretty capable of preventing the conspiracy bestowed upon us, which is to control our resources and divide our country. Collectively, we refuse intimidation and occupation and so we are willing, able and ready to prevent IRAQ from being divided. Let us read this as a reminder and act upon it. We, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmans and other ethnic groups must work together and not allow the division of IRAQ to take place, ever...PLEASE read the statement below in Arabic, which is written by a group of educated IRAQIS and sign it by including your full name and position.

8 Million Deaths & Media Holocaust Denial

Gideon Polya, MWC News
...While Mainstream media continue to trumpet the judicially-untested, and reason-, chemistry-and physics-defying "official 9/11 version" of the endlessly lying Bush Administration (aka the OCT, the Official Conspiracy Theory), they ignore the horrendous human consequences of the subsequent Bush II War on Terror – 6 million post-invasion excess deaths as adjudged from the data of world’s best practice, expert UN and American demographers and medical epidemiologists. Indeed the Bush Asian Wars – the continuing US-backed Israeli Occupations (Occupied Lebanon and Occupied Palestine excess deaths 0.4 million), (the Bush I Gulf War (0.2 million Iraqi violent deaths), the Bush I-Clinton I-Bush II Sanctions War (1.7 million excess deaths), the Bush II Iraq War (2.0 million excess deaths), the Bush II Afghan War (3.2 million excess deaths) and the post-2001 world opiate drug deaths due to US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed opium industry (0.5 million deaths) now yields a total of 8 million deaths in the Bush Family Asian Holocaust...

Almost Two-Thirds of Australians Oppose Involvement in Iraq War :

Some 64 percent opposed Australian soldiers serving in Iraq and 73 percent said it made the nation a terror target, according to a survey by the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney
Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts
Andrew C. Revkin of The New York Times writes: "The Arctic ice cap shrank so much this summer that waves briefly lapped along two long-imagined Arctic shipping routes, the Northwest Passage over Canada and the Northern Sea Route over Russia."

Bush's Global "Dirty War"

Robert Parry writes for Consortium News, "George W. Bush has transformed elite units of the US military ­ including Special Forces and highly trained sniper teams ­ into 'death squads' with a license to kill unarmed targets on the suspicion that they are a threat to American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to evidence from recent court cases."

15-year-old boy among four Afghans executed for spying:

The Taliban have executed four people in different parts of Afghanistan for spying for foreign forces and the Afghan government, local officials and Taliban sources said yesterday.
U.N.: Violence in Afghanistan up almost 25 percent in '07:
Afghanistan is currently suffering its most violent year since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, according to an internal United Nations report that sharply contrasts with recent upbeat appraisals by President Bush and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai.

Do Not Call list about to expire

Restrictions that keep telemarketers from pestering you at home could end as early as next summer -- unless you register your phone number again.

Q and A For The People Of A Forsaken Republic

Addressing the origins of the Whose-Your-Daddy Nation "We must become the change we want to see."
Mahatma Gandhi "
In any case, I hate all Iranians."
Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary to Defense Secretary, Robert Gates
By Phil Rockstroh
10/02/07 "ICH"--- -
How many times do we, the people of the US, have to go around on this queasy-making merry-go-round of propaganda and militarism before we shout -- enough! -- then shutdown the whole cut-rate carnival and run the scheming carnies who operate it out of town? It is imperative the nation's citizens begin to apprehend the patterns present in this ceaseless cycle of official deceit and collective pathology. This republic, or any other, cannot survive, inhabited by a populace with such a slow learning curve.
Over the last three decades, the authoritarian right has risen to create the nation they have been longing for since their humbling by the Watergate scandal. After being subdued and humiliated by the mechanisms of a free republic, the right has turned the tables -- and subdued and humiliated the republic. If the trend continues, all but unchallenged and unabated, we might as well replace the torch held aloft by Lady Liberty with a taser.

Chevron's Pipeline Is the Burmese Regime's Lifeline

Posted on Oct 2, 2007
By Amy Goodman
The image was stunning: tens of thousands of saffron-robed Buddhist monks marching through the streets of Rangoon [also known as Yangon], protesting the military dictatorship of Burma. The monks marched in front of the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who was seen weeping and praying quietly as they passed. She hadn’t been seen for years. The democratically elected leader of Burma, Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since 2003. She is considered the Nelson Mandela of Burma, the Southeast Asian nation renamed Myanmar by the regime.
After almost two weeks of protest, the monks have disappeared. The monasteries have been emptied. One report says thousands of monks are imprisoned in the north of the country.

Pilot Said "This Is Fun" Before Fatal Blackwater Crash

CNN News reports: "A 2004 crash that killed everyone on board - three crew members and three US troops - was caused by pilots from a Blackwater plane taking a low-level run through a mountain canyon in Afghanistan, testimony revealed Tuesday."
By Spencer Ackerman - October 4, 2007, 9:23AM
Some farces, it turns out, can be avoided. The FBI team traveling to Iraq at the behest of the State Department to assist in the investigation of Blackwater's September 16 shooting at Nisour Square was supposed to be guarded by... Blackwater. (Shades of Darrell Issa's threat hover over that one.) However, the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security realized yesterday that the ensuing conflict of interest would be just too egregious.
Under Blackwater's State Department contract, the company provides security for all official travel outside the U.S.-protected Green Zone. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that security for the team would be handled by the department's Diplomatic Security Service.
Blackwater Contractor Wrote Government Report on Shooting
CNN says, "The State Department's initial report of last month's incident in which Blackwater guards were accused of killing Iraqi civilians was written by a Blackwater contractor working in the embassy security detail, according to government and industry sources."

Kin say soldier hinted at concerns (Gay Female Soldier Killed Afghanistan)

Source: Boston Globe
The Massachusetts National Guard soldier from Quincy who died Friday in Afghanistan asked her relatives to press for answers if anything happened to her while she was deployed, according to her family.
"She did say to us that she had concerns about things she was seeing when she was over there," Ciara Durkin's sister, Fiona Canavan, said in an interview with WGBH-TV. "She told us if anything happened to her, that we were to investigate it."
Questions surrounding Durkin's death prompted US Senators John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy and US Representative William D. Delahunt yesterday to call for the Defense Department to thoroughly investigate the death of Durkin, a Quincy resident.
In a letter, Kerry urged Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates "to deploy your staff on this matter immediately, so that the answers and circumstances around Specialist Durkin's death are uncovered, expeditiously and thoroughly."
"Ciara was a lesbian, and that's bound to come out," Canavan said. "It is possible that someone over there found that out, and, you know, maybe they were very homophobic."
Democrats Won’t Block Hearing for Gonzales Successor: Back away from fight with WH
Senator Patrick Leahy, the Democratic Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that Mukasey would commit to an administrative rule to ensure that only the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General, not U.S. Attorneys or other Justice employees, could respond to inquiries from politicians regarding outstanding cases, and that any other employee who discusses cases "with somebody outside, whether from the White House or members of Congress or something else like that, they will be fired"; this concession sought to avoid problems that arose during the controversy over the dismissal of U.S. Attorneys under the previous Attorney General's tenure.
Expose´ on Bush A.G. nominee The line in Attorney General nominee Michael B. Mukasey’s resume´ that has meant the most to the media is his experience presiding over the 1995 terrorism trial of the blind Sheikh. Peter Lance, in an exclusive two part report for rawstory.com sheds new light on a little known incident during the trial when the Judge helped minimize the significance of al Qaeda spy and FBI informant Ali Mohamed . PART ONE PART TWO

Gonzales Secretly Authorized CIA Torture

Justice Dept Under Gonzales Issued Secret Opinion Authorizing 'Harsh CIA Interrogations' »
New York Times SCOTT SHANE, DAVID JOHNSTON and JAMES RISEN October 3, 2007 09:12 PM
When the Justice Department publicly declared torture "abhorrent" in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales's arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central...
Ex-White House Lawyer: Eavesdropping Program Was Illegal
Hess of The Associated Press reports: "A former top lawyer for the Bush administration said on Tuesday said that parts of President Bush's controversial eavesdropping program were illegal."

You're a school yard bully, and a coward Limbaugh

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

At least three years before the deadly August accident at Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine, Bureau of Land Management inspectors noted serious structural problems that they feared could cause the mine's roof to collapse, Congress was told Tuesday.

The Case of The Drunken Blackwater Shooter

House Hearing on Blackwater Security Firm in Iraq,
October 2, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Let's try partitioning the US

Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News
As if they haven't done enough damage bombing and invading a country on false pretences, destroying its culture and leaving it a charred shell of its former self, they - American lawmakers who gave President George W. Bush authority to go to war - now want to divide Iraq up into easily manageable bite size entities. Isn't Iraq supposed to be a sovereign nation with an elected government? If so, then why is the US Senate attempting to meddle in its affairs by overwhelmingly passing a resolution calling for the country's partition into three, which is tantamount to ethnic cleansing? Not to put too fine a point the shape of Iraq to come isn't their business (...) The biggest winner from the partitioning of Iraq would be Israel, whose officials and journalists have long advocated such division. On the Shalom TV website there is an interview with Joe Biden who refers to Israel as the "single greatest strength America has in the Middle East" and proclaims with pride "I am a Zionist". We should believe him. Here's a suggestion for the Arab world. How about a vote on the break-up of America? How about giving California back to Mexico, returning Hawaii to its indigenous islanders and Alaska to the Eskimos and Indians? Let's restrict Caucasians to the East and West coasts, and package-up a few states in between for African Americans and Latinos. And while we're about it, let's invite foreign conglomerates to buy up the country's oil, gas and timber. Outrageous ethnic cleansing that might be but that's exactly what Biden and friends think they have the right to do in Iraq.... continua / continued

Iraq Photo Diary 9/2007

Aussies lose confidence in the US and George W. Bush

Survey finds Aussie confidence in US has plummeted
Almost 75 per cent say war on terror makes us target
Most say Bush is the factor they dislike the most

AUSTRALIANS have suffered a dramatic loss of confidence in the ability of the US to manage international affairs amid growing dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush and his conduct of the Iraq war.
3,500 have signed petition to block Rummy's Hoover Institution appointment.
Blackwater shot first in 80 percent of the time, report finds
Private guns-for-hire from Blackwater USA fired their weapons nearly 200 times while working in Iraq, and in four-of-five incidents the security contractors fired the first shots, according to a new Democratic-sponsored congressional report. Blackwater is facing increased scrutiny since a Sept. 16 incident in which the company's security personnel

Malmedy, Andrea Makris or loofahs ahahahaha

Olbermann: What to do when O'Reillyists attack...

Mike Aivaz and Muriel KanePublished: Tuesday October 2, 2007
"The Bill O'Reilly saga continues," said Keith Olbermann on Monday, adding that "the principal issue now is how to defend yourself from O'Reilly unplugged."
Olbermann explained that Bill O'Reilly has responded to coverage of last week's story about his racist remarks after visiting a black restaurant "by threatening to 'come after, hunt down' all those who criticized him, adding he fantasized about 'strangling' all of us."

Man Bush chose to lead Pentagon contracting probes left under fire to become Blackwater COO

Jason Rhyne and Nick JulianoPublished: Tuesday October 2, 2007
The private security firm Blackwater USA, which has faced mounting criticism following an incident earlier this month in which armed guards from the group purportedly killed 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians, has numerous links to the White House as well as many current and former Republicans.
The connections include the firm's chief operating officer Joseph Schmitz, who was tapped by President Bush in 2002 to "oversee and police the Pentagon's military contracts as the Defense Department's Inspector General."
The relevation was first reported by Ben Van Heuvelen in Salon.
Serving until 2005, Schmitz went on to preside over "the largest increase of military-contracting spending in history" and joined Blackwater just a month after his departure from the Pentagon, according to Van Heuvelen.

Hersh: Bush's Case For Hitting Iran Has "Shifted," Now Focused On "Surgical Strikes" To "Sell" It

Think Progress September 30, 2007 10:38 PM
Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker's Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, writes in a new article entitled "Shifting Targets" that there has been "a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning" for war with Iran inside the Bush administration.
Most significantly, Hersh -- who has been warning for months that the administration is seriously plotting for war with Iran -- reports the administration has switched its rationale for war. The focus has shifted from a broad bombing attack against Iran's nuclear facilities...

“SCHIP is an unqualified bipartisan success in New Jersey and in states across the nation

New Jersey Sues Bush: "Admin's Course Of Action Will Harm Our Children's Health"
PoliticsNJ.com October 2, 2007 09:11 AM
Governor Jon S. Corzine today filed a lawsuit on behalf of the people of the state of New Jersey challenging the letter issued by the Bush Administration limiting eligibility for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The lawsuit accuses the Bush Administration of circumventing the public rule-making process by fundamentally and arbitrarily changing the program via letter, which would have the effect of denying health insurance coverage for over 10,000 New Jersey children.
"SCHIP is an unqualified bipartisan...


Mishandling of Germs on Rise at US Labs
American laboratories handling the world's deadliest germs and toxins have experienced more than 100 accidents and missing shipments since 2003, and the number is increasing as more labs do the work.
No one died, and regulators said the public was never at risk during these incidents. But the documented cases reflect poorly on procedures and oversight at high-security labs, some of which work with organisms and poisons that can cause illnesses with no cure. In some cases, labs have failed to report accidents as required by law.

Bush Slams "Hollywood Values"

Hey Georgie, How dare you slam anyones values, you who have committed so many crimes against Humanity.

AFP October 2, 2007 03:06 PM
US President George W. Bush ripped into "Hollywood values" on Monday, in a surprise attack at the entertainment industry that overwhelmingly backs his Democratic foes.Bush's rhetorical broadside came as he paid tribute to the new chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, noting that his parents were well regarded behind-the-scenes players in the US movie industry.
Read entire story here.

Senator Reid Condemns Limbaugh For “Phony Soldiers” Comment

Say It To His Face, Rush
day, VoteVets.org is releasing this ad, which will air on FOX News and CNN, starting tomorrow. A similar version will be on Rush Limbaugh's radio show in Washington, D.C. and his home market of West Palm Beach. And, at the same time, Senator Harry Reid is leading the charge on the Hill, challenging Rush host Clear Channel to do something about his disgraceful comments.
"Real" - VoteVets.org TV Ad Responding to Rush Limbaugh

I say take it to the Rush Limbaughs, Bill Oriellys, Shaun Hannitys, Faux News, just like Jon Soltz has, throw their objectionable comments right back in their face, publicly and loudly.

"ING Direct steps in as US bank collapses"

ING Direct, a subsidiary of the Dutch financial group, is to take over the customers and insured deposits of NetBank, an online lender with $2.5bn (£1.2bn) in assets that was shut down on Friday by the US government following losses on subprime mortgages and other loans.
The closure marks the largest US bank failure since the end of the savings and loan crisis in the early 1990s.
It also underscores the ongoing impact of the US mortgage crisis, which has destabilised banks around the world, including Northern Rock in the UK.
ING said it would take on about $1.5bn in deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It said it had paid about $15m to acquire the deposits. ING will also acquire $724m in assets from NetBank, which filed for bankruptcy protection.


October 1, 2007 -- LEE Iacocca is no fan of President Bush. "I campaigned for him because I knew his mother and dad for 30 years, and I figured he was from pretty good stock," the auto-industry legend tells Details magazine. "But Jeb was being groomed, too. They got the wrong kid. There's something wrong philosophi- cally with how Bush's brain works. I feel sorry for him. I used to think [Al] Gore was nuts in his worrying about global warming, but he was ahead of his time."

Iranian University Invites Bush To Speak »

That is just what America needs, at this time an illiterate moron speaking to a University audience in Iran
Washington Post October 1, 2007 11:35 PM
After the controversial appearance of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University last week, an Iranian university yesterday invited President Bush to travel to Iran and speak on campus about a range of issues, including the Holocaust, terrorism, human rights and U.S. foreign policy, the Fars News Agency reported yesterday.
The invitation from Ferdowsi University in the northeastern city of Mashhad asked Bush to answer questions from students and professors "just the same way" that Ahmadinejad took questions "despite all the insults...

The Skunk at His Own Garden Party

Stephen Leahy of Inter Press Service writes: "After years of denial, the US White House-sponsored summit on climate change ended Friday with President George W. Bush admitting that global warming was real and humans were responsible and asking for heads of state to join him at yet another summit next year (when his presidency ends)."

Groups Struggle to Tally Burma's Dead

Michael Casey of The Associated Press reports: "One hundred shot dead outside a Myanmar school. Activists burned alive at government crematoriums. Buddhist monks floating face down in rivers."
After last week's brutal crackdown by the military, horror stories are filling Myanmar blogs and dissident sites. But the tight security of the repressive regime makes it impossible to verify just how many people are dead, detained or missing.
``There are huge difficulties. It's a closed police state,'' said David Mathieson, a consultant with Human Rights Watch in Thailand. ``Many of the witnesses have been arrested and are being held in areas we don't have access to. Other eyewitness are too afraid.''

Hypocrisy Rules the West

By Paul Craig Roberts
Americans are content with whatever crimes their government commits as long as the justification is Americans' safety.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood attacked, arrested, and hospitalized

Blackwater Out Of Control And Indifferent To Civilian Toll: Report

Blackwater has earned more than $1 billion from federal contracts since 2001, when it had less than $1 million in government work.

Blackwater Portrayed As Out of Control
AP RICHARD LARDNER October 1, 2007 08:57 PM
Blackwater USA is an out-of-control outfit indifferent to Iraqi civilian casualties, according to a critical report released Monday by a key congressional committee.
Among the most serious charges against the prominent security firm is that Blackwater contractors sought to cover up a June 2005 shooting of an Iraqi man and the company paid, with State Department approval, the families of others inadvertently killed by its guards.

Monday, October 01, 2007


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Blackwater Fired 122 Employees

Source: Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP)- Private security contractor Blackwater USA has had to fire 122 people over the past three years for problems ranging from misusing weapons, alcohol and drug violations, inappropriate conduct, and violent behavior, according to a report released Monday by a congressional committee. That total is roughly one-seventh of the work force that Blackwater has in Iraq, a ratio that raises questions about the quality of the people working for the company.
The report, prepared by the majority staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also says Blackwater has been involved in 195 shooting incidents since 2005, or roughly 1.4 per week. In more than 80 percent of the incidents, called ``escalation of force,'' Blackwater's guards fired the first shots even though the company's contract with the State Department calls for it to use defensive force only, it said.
``In the vast majority of instances in which Blackwater fired shots, Blackwater is firing from a moving vehicle and does not remain at the scene to determine if the shots resulted in casualties,'' according to the report.
. . .
Blackwater, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Moyock, N.C., is the biggest of the State Department's three private security contractors. The others are Dyncorp and Triple Canopy, both based in Washington's northern Virginia suburbs.

Highest-ranking soldier convicted of Abu Ghraib abuse is paroled

Source: Associated Press
Former Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick Jr. served about three years of an eight-year sentence for actions that included placing wires in a detainee's hands and telling him he would be electrocuted if he fell off a box.Frederick is among 12 U.S. soldiers convicted in the scandal that erupted in April 2004 with the release of pictures of grinning U.S. soldiers posing with detainees, some naked, being held on leashes or in painful and sexually humiliating positions.


Literally and figuratively it turns out.

I heard an interesting factoid this morning while having my coffee. I was watching the travel channel, which I do frequently. Not being of an income bracket to afford actual travel, my travel channel viewing allows me to get a sense of other countries that I can’t (yet) afford to visit in person. Sigh.
But I digress. The first part of the show was set in NYC, featuring a bunch of fancy hotels (massage, boutique cocktails, bla bla bla). Then they turned to the Statue of Liberty - the most famous and recognized symbol of liberty in the history of the world.
And here’s the fact that made me realize how little has changed in our promised land since the statue was conceived and built. It’s worth noting that these facts had not been mentioned to me previously in my 44 years on our little sphere.
Here’s what happened: The nation of France was responsible for the construction, shipment and assembly of the statue in America. The U.S. was to pay for the pedestal on which it would stand.
From the U.S. Parks Department on the French fundraising effort:
Someone with the Franco-American Union had an inspiration: They would hold a lottery. Since very few contributions were coming from France’s moneyed elite, the idea of engaging the public’s attention with a lottery was a brilliant one. The prizes were highly coveted and valuable, including two works by Bartholdi himself (the statue’s sculptor).
Additional funds were raised in a manner worthy of contemporary merchandising techniques: a signed and numbered collection of clay models of the statue were sold in France and America. By the end of 1879, about 250,000 francs (approximately $750,000 U.S.) had been raised for the statue’s construction. Enough, most people thought, to complete the work.
While the statue was nearing completion in France, little was happening on the American side. The American press continued to be critical of the project, especially of its cost. They couldn’t understand why the pedestal should cost as much as the statue itself. Congress rejected a bill appropriating $100,000 for the base. New York approved a grant of $50,000, but the expenditure was vetoed by the governor.
Many Americans outside of New York considered it New York’s statue. “Let New York pay for it,” they said, while America’s newly rich, self-made millionaires were saying and contributing nothing. The American half of the Franco-American Union, led by William M. Evarts, held the usual fund-raising events, but public apathy was almost as monumental as the statue itself.
By 1884, after years of fund-raising, only $182,491 had been collected and $179,624 had been spent. It took the intervention of Joseph Pulitzer and the power of the media to make a difference.
Joseph Pulitzer (yes, that Pulitzer) was a Hungarian immigrant who fought in the Civil War, became a successful journalist and married a wealthy woman. In 1883, he bought a financial newspaper called the World; he already owned the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. When he heard that the Statue of Liberty was about to die from lack of funds, he saw his chance to take advantage of three distinct opportunities: to raise funds for the statue, to increase his newspaper’s circulation and to blast the rich for their selfishness.
Pulitzer set the fund-raising goal of the World at $100,000. In its pages he taunted the rich (thereby increasing the paper’s appeal among working-class people) and firmly planted the notion that the statue was a monument not just for New York City but, indeed, for all of America.
Perhaps Pulitzer’s cleverest ploy was the promise to publish the name of every single contributor in the pages of the World, no matter how small the contribution. The editorial that opened the fund-raising campaign set its tone. He wrote: “The World is the people’s paper and it now appeals to the people to come forward and raise the money [for the statue’s pedestal].” The statue, he said, was paid for by “the masses of the French people. Let us respond in like manner. Let us not wait for the millionaires to give this money. It is not a gift from the millionaires of France to the millionaires of America, but a gift of the whole people of France to the whole people of America.” The circulation of the World increased by almost 50,000 copies.
African American newspapers joined in the effort, encouraging their readers to contribute to a monument that would, in part, commemorate the end of slavery. So the money poured in, as single-dollar donations from grandmothers and pennies from the piggybanks of schoolchildren.
On June 15, 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived at Bedloe’s Island inside 214 wooden packing crates. On August 11, 1885, the front page of the World proclaimed, “ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!” The goal had been reached, and slightly exceeded, thanks to more than 120,000 individual contributions.
- - - - - - - - - -
That’s right. More than 120,000 donations to raise $100,000. That makes the average contribution less than one dollar. Apparently the lumber barons and railroad magnates just couldn’t spare it.
When I heard this tidbit this morning, I couldn’t help but think that not much has changed in America since it began. The poor do the majority of fighting and dying for liberty, from the Revolutionary War to today’s Iraq. The wealthy elite dye their fingers purple and have their photos taken in self-tribute for the liberty bought with other people’s lives.
When I moved to NYC in 1992, all I could think of was getting to see the actual Statue of Liberty in person. As a kid, I thought all the greatness of America was expressed in that single statue. I had pictures of the statue and NY harbor in my ViewMaster, and clicked like a mad thing to see Lady Liberty from every angle. I couldn’t look at it without imagining what it must have felt like for the people who left poverty and tyranny and risked their lives and livelihoods to get here, and were greeted after that long voyage by that remarkable presence. The first time I laid eyes on it in person, I cried unashamedly, and god bless them, my NY friends just looked at me and smiled. They didn’t laugh.
I know that I’ve rambled some in this story. But hearing that there was a time when the future of Lady Liberty was in doubt just made me go a little bit mad I think.
And I can’t help but feel that the future of liberty is again in doubt. Will she survive the wealthy bandits that lead our country now? Apparently, the protection of liberty will always be up to us, the people.
Good night and Good Luck, America.
By Victoria Ellen on September 30, 2007 5:41 PM
NonnyO said:
Trivia: The copper for the Statue of Liberty came from Norway.
Karen said:
I always thought Lady Liberty looked a little sad and now I know why. All that hard work and such ignorance all around. I can't help but think of Rush and his friends making fun of the French. They just have NO clue!

Roadside Bomb Attacks in Iraq Top 81,000

IEDs have made U.S. troops wary; technology hasn't eliminated threat

Monday: 1 GI, 36 Iraqis Killed; 17 Iraqis Wounded
Sunday: 2 GIs, 118 Iraqis Killed; 19 Iraqis Wounded
Saturday: 2 GIs, 50 Iraqis Killed; 82 Iraqis Wounded
Friday: 78 Iraqis Killed, 54 Wounded
Thursday: 40 Iraqis Killed; 21 Wounded
Wednesday: 1 GI, 182 Iraqis Killed; 136 Iraqis Wounded
Tuesday: 1 GI, 49 Iraqis Killed; 71 Iraqis Wounded
Monday: 1 GI, 105 Iraqis killed; 118 Iraqis Wounded


Afghanistan: A heroic resistance that puts us to shame

Gabriele Zamparini, The Cat's Dream
The Afghanistan’s puppet Karzai offered the Taliban "high position in a government ministry as a way to end the rising insurgency" in the country. The infamous peace talks propaganda, so effective for the Western minds, is something the Afghans seem to be immune. Reuters informed us: Karzai said U.S. President George W. Bush and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had both supported the idea of peace talks when he met them in the U.S. this month. Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf told Reuters from an undisclosed location that talks with Kabul were out of the question. (...) Forget the Neo-Con, the Neo-Dem, the Neo-Lib and the Neo-Nuts. The role the demonization and dehumanization of the (many, many, many...) Empire’s enemies has played in supporting imperialism and colonialism can be more easily seen in those Western liberal and progressive writers, journalists, intellectuals and anti-war movement’s planners who always resort to human rights, women rights, gay rights’ violations of the Empire’s enemy of the month as the reason why we, the enlightened people, can’t surely sympathies, let alone support the "other" peoples who try to defend themselves and resist against wars of aggression and occupations, which is to say, colonialism and imperialism. The word "resistance" is never used, as sympathy for those resistance fighters has never voiced by the same people who always express so generously sympathy and solidarity with "our troops"....

Afghanistan's Taliban has rejected an offer of peace talks from Hamid Karzai, the country's president, a spokesman for the group has said. Qari Mohammad Yousuf, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters news agency from an undisclosed location on Sunday that talks with Kabul were out of the question all the time foreign troops remain in the country. He said: "Karzai government is a dummy government. It has no authority so why should we waste our time and effort?" (....) Karzai had said he would allocate some government posts to the Taliban and that both Hekmatyar and Omar could stand in the elections, due to be held in 2009, if they wanted power.,,

If Wishes Were Horses

Anwaar Hussain
If wishes were horses, most Americans would have known that Iraq and Afghanistan are just the latest victims of the colonial behemoth in a continued saga of American imperialism and not any thing else. That throughout its imperialistic expedition, Americans have firmly believed that the United States was God’s chosen nation and, therefore, on course to divine destinies. They would have known Senator Albert J. Beveridge’s speech to Congress that exemplifies this American attitude as nothing else does, "…and thanksgiving to Almighty God that He has marked us as His chosen people, henceforth to lead in the regeneration of the world…" If wishes were horses...
continua / continued

Greenspan's Dark Legacy Unmasked

Stephen Lendman
After retiring as the Federal Reserve's second longest ever serving chairman, Alan Greenspan is now cashing in big late in life at age 81. He chaired the Fed's Board of Governors from the time he was appointed in August, 1987 to when he stepped down January 31, 2006 amidst a hail of ill-deserved praise for his stewardship during good and perilous times. USA Today noted "the onetime jazz band musician went out on a high note." The Wall Street Journal said "his economic legacy (rests on results) and seems secure." The Washington Post cited his "nearly mythical status."...
continua / continued

Israel’s Toy Soldiers

Chris Hedges, Truthdig
If you are a young Muslim American and head off to the Middle East for a spell in a fundamentalist "madrassa," or religious school, Homeland Security will probably greet you at the airport when you return. But if you are an American Jew and you join hundreds of teenagers from Europe and Mexico for an eight-week training course run by the Israel Defense Forces, you can post your picture wearing an Israeli army uniform and holding an automatic weapon on MySpace. The Marva program, part summer camp part indoctrination, was launched in Israel in 1981. It allows participants, who must be Jewish and between the ages of 18 and 28, to fire weapons, live in military barracks in the Negev desert and saunter around in an Israeli military uniform saluting and taking long hikes with military packs. The Youth and Education Corps of the Israel Defense Forces run four 120-strong training sessions a year...

Art of death in the Mesopotamian

Mohammed, Last of Iraqis
I think many have heard about the methods used for torturing prisoners or politic prisoners to take confessions from them , we heard about the Russian who was poisoned with Uranium , or what happened in Abu-Ghraib , but I don't think that many people know what the militias and AQ does to Iraqis not to take confessions from them or force them to do anything , but just to kill them and enjoy their death and cause the maximum grief and suffer to their parents and beloved , or maybe terrorizing the people even more and make the people wish that they die by a bullet or an explosion , it's a blessing now if an Iraqi dies by a bullet or an explosion. even death in Iraq isn't like anywhere else , those militias and AQ seems to enjoy killing and I think they look at it as an art or something , the more weird and savage the way they kill people in , the more creative they look at it , because as I said they look at it as an art! the stories that I'm going to tell are real and they happened to people I know directly or from the people they know , that means that there are many other "creative methods" that I will not mention. I'll start with a method that AQ and many other militias like the Mahdi-Army uses , which is the drilling and extraction , when they kidnap someone whether they ask for ransom or not ; in most cases he will be killed even if the ransom is paid , they use the drill "regular drill" to open holes in the arms , legs , chest , head and even eyes of the kidnapped.that's of course before they kill him because he will die by the drill , and in many cases before they use the drill they tend to use another method for the enjoyment because the kidnapped might die fast when they use the drill ; they use a pliers to extract his teeth and nails , and only god knows how painful to extract a tooth with a pliers , I think it even hurts more than the drill , because I know what to do to extract a tooth and what happens if these extraction procedures weren't done , I think many heard of this method , but I said it first because it's the most common and the nicest one among the others.... continua / continued
Even children can be detained in Iraq placed in special jails. But that is not enough. They can also be raped, tortured and burned. That is the new picture emerging from the U.S.-led 'liberation’ of a country that has been bleeding since U.S. and allies invaded it in 2003. The children languish in prisons administered by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government. It seems the only story of success U.S. invaders and their Iraqi lackeys can boast of is the construction of numerous prisons now available across the country.Arab satellite television channels shocked their viewers last week when they aired footage of children bearing marks of torture. The children were detained during military operations in Baghdad neighborhoods of Adhamiya, Latifiya, Doura and Hay al-Amel. The children had no capacity to commit any wrongdoing but they were jailed because they carried names revealing their sectarian identity...
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