Saturday, November 10, 2007
Have any been found guilty, except for those covering Georgie and Co's Asses for Abu G
The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red faced.
At least a dozen warships provide a physical guard while the technical wizardry of the world's only military superpower offers an invisible shield to detect and deter any intruders.
That is the theory. Or, rather, was the theory.
American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.
By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.
According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.
The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat.
One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age.
The incident, which took place in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan, is a major embarrassment for the Pentagon.
The lone Chinese vessel slipped past at least a dozen other American warships which were supposed to protect the carrier from hostile aircraft or submarines.
And the rest of the costly defensive screen, which usually includes at least two U.S. submarines, was also apparently unable to detect it.
According to the Nato source, the encounter has forced a serious re-think of American and Nato naval strategy as commanders reconsider the level of threat from potentially hostile Chinese submarines.
DOD's Claim Of 30,000 Wounded In Iraq , Why Have 202,000 Vets Filed Claims?
November 9, 2007 at 14:53:22
The Pentagon claims only 30,000 wounded in Iraq war, why have over 200,000 filed and been approved for compensation claims?
Palestinian Folklore Dancing Banned in a US School
Photo by: El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe
Eyewitness report: Another kangaroo court hearing at Gitmo
They're still bumbling around trying to figure out what to do with all our so-called enemy combatants. Yesterday, November 9, was their third attempt at arraigning Omar Khadr. My friend Jumana Musa, an attorney who serves as Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice for Amnesty International USA, was there to observe and report on the proceedings. Some of her findings were disturbing, to say the least....
Cheney Pursuing Nuclear Ambitions of His Own
White House Decides Aid to Pakistan Should Continue
Army Spending $2.6 Billion on Choppers That Overheat
Author Norman Mailer Passes Away
Wake Up America!
System of a Down: Powers, Principalities and the Sacred Right to Torture
November 9, 2007
At his Harper's blog, Scott Horton demonstrates how the architects of George W. Bush's filthy torture regimen are now holding positions that allow them to protect themselves and their masters from the legal consequences of their actions.
Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Crouch, a former military prosecutor, was due to testify to a Congressional subcommittee about the Administration's attempt to suppress evidence of torture in "Military Commission" trials of alleged terrorists. But at the last minute, he was blocked from testifying by the Pentagon's general counsel, William J. Haynes II, on specious grounds that Horton blows out of the water.
And who is William J. Haynes II? As Horton notes, Haynes was:
Donald Rumsfeld’s lawyer, who continues to serve as general counsel after the Senate Judiciary Committee gave a thumbs-down to his nomination for a federal judgeship in the Fourth Circuit ("Over my dead body," in the words of one Fourth Circuit Republican). Mr. Haynes is one of the prime torture conspirators, and the author of a December 2002 memorandum endorsed by Rumsfeld that has already provided the basis for two criminal indictments of the former Defense Secretary. Haynes is one of the Bush Administration officials most likely to be indicted for his role in the torture scandal when he steps down from office. Mr. Haynes has a strong reason to prevent Col. Couch from testifying, since almost anything he would have to say would be embarrassing to, and might even incriminate,
Mr. Haynes.Horton continues:
Feinstein backs legal immunity for telecom firms in wiretap cases
In a statement at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering legislation to extend the Bush administration's electronic surveillance program, Feinstein said the companies should not be "held hostage to costly litigation in what is essentially a complaint about administration activities."
She endorsed a recent statement by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, that companies assured by top administration officials that the surveillance program was legal "should not be dragged through the courts for their help with national security."
Sibel Edmonds Case: the untellable story of AIPAC
Of course, Sibel would prefer to testify under oath in congress, but apparently our Democratic Congresscritters (I'm looking at you, Waxman) don't care about the treason, bribery, and corruption that has hijacked US foreign policy.
Meanwhile, last week we learnt that the judge in the AIPAC case has allowed subpoenas to be issued to 15 current and former high-level officials. Many of us are excited about the prospect of the trial - but Sibel assures us that the case, as it stands, is just the tip of the iceberg.
'AIPAC' is at the core of Sibel's case, and Sibel’s story needs to be heard - either in Congress, or in the media.
Friday, November 09, 2007
US: Iran Attack Plans Ready if Needed
U.S. defense officials have signaled that up-to-date attack plans are available if needed in the escalating crisis over Iran's nuclear aims, although no strike appears imminent. The Army and Marine Corps are under enormous strain from years of heavy ground fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, the United States has ample air and naval power to strike Iran if President Bush decided to target nuclear sites or to retaliate for alleged Iranian meddling in neighboring Iraq (...)At the moment, there are few indications of U.S. military leaders either advising offensive action against Iran or taking new steps to prepare for that possibility. Gates has repeatedly emphasized that while military action cannot be ruled out, the focus is on diplomacy and tougher economic sanctions. Asked in late October whether war planning had been ramped up or was simply undergoing routine updates, Gates replied, "I would characterize it as routine."...
Iraq: Call an air strike
...The Pentagon - via Major General Joseph Fil, commander of US forces in Baghdad - is relentlessly spinning there's now less violence in the capital, a "sustainable" trend. This is rubbish. Fil cannot even admit to the basic fact that Baghdad has been reduced to a collection of blast-walled, isolated ghettos in search of a city. Baghdad, from being 65% Sunni, is now at least 75% Shi'ite, and counting. Sunni and Shi'ite residents alike confirm sectarian violence has died down because there are virtually no more neighborhoods to be ethnically cleansed...
Bush: “If You Lived In Iraq–You’d Be Saying, God, I Love Freedom”
Q: Thank you, Mr. President. My question is on Iraq. Mr. President, this morning you talked at length about Afghanistan, Iran, but not Iraq. And I wanted to ask both of you, is France reconciled with the United States, the United States is reconciled with France? So what about Iraq? Can France, for instance, help to get out of the Iraqi quagmire? And President Bush, where do you stand on Iraq and your domestic debate on Iraq? Do you have a timetable for withdrawing troops?
BUSH: I don’t — you know, “quagmire” is an interesting word. If you lived in Iraq and had lived under a tyranny, you’d be saying, god, I love freedom — because that’s what’s happened. And there are killers and radicals and murderers who kill the innocent to stop the advance of freedom. But freedom is happening in Iraq. And we’re making progress.
Bush's Favorite Lie
U.S. Congress approves $155 million weapons package for Israel
The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to approve $155 million worth of weapons for Israel, in an addendum to a $460 billion military spending bill that was approved on October 1st in the U.S. Congress.
The gift of more weapons to the U.S. ally comes at a moment when tensions are high and diplomacy is delicate between Israel and the Palestinians, and analysts point out that the gift of additional weapons to Israel at this particular moment could have an effect on the Summit planned for the end of November between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The bill still needs to be approved by the full bodies of the House and Senate before going to the president for approval, but it is unlikely that lawmakers would make changes before a vote.
Most of the money, $98 million, would go to the development of a 'Hetz' missile defense system, which would be built in a US factory (Boeing) by an Israeli firm (Israel Aerospace Industries).
TORTURE OFFICIALLY ENDORSED IN AMERICA
Now their worried?
And the families of Katrina, What about them? they are not toxic for those families.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is barring employees from entering thousands of stored travel trailers over concerns about hazardous fumes, while more than 48,000 other trailers continue to be used by hurricane victims in Louisiana and Mississippi.
FEMA is advising employees not to enter any of the roughly 70,000 trailers in storage areas across the country, but the directive does not apply to other trailers still in use, agency spokeswoman Mary Margaret Walker said Thursday.
"It's common knowledge that formaldehyde emission levels rise when they are closed in the heat and humidity without any ventilation," Walker said.
Fuel spill closes San Francisco beaches
Bush plays video games with recovering war veterans
WACO, United States (AFP) - US President George W. Bush had a shoot-out with the "bad guys" in Iraq on Thursday, playing a computer game with war veterans that simulates a firefight in Baghdad, the White House said.
Bush tried his hand at the game with two soldiers during a visit to a rehabilitation center in Texas that treats veterans wounded in Iraq.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush helped "shoot the bad guys" in a Baghdad neighborhood, albeit virtually.
Oil discovery rocks Brazil
A gas station worker refuels a taxi with natural gas at a Petrobras gas station Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The government-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, said the new "ultra-deep" Tupi field could hold as much as 8 billion barrels of recoverable light crude, sending Petrobras shares soaring and prompting predictions that Brazil
Welcome to Georgies War of Liberation
Dollar Slumps to Record on China's Plans to Diversify Reserves
Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The dollar fell the most since September against the currencies of its six biggest trading partners after Chinese officials signaled plans to diversify the nation's $1.43 trillion of foreign exchange reserves.
The dollar fell against all 16 of the most-active currencies, declining to the weakest versus the Canadian dollar since the end of a fixed exchange rate in 1950, a 26-year low against the pound and a 23-year low versus the Australian dollar. The New York Board of Trade's dollar index dropped to 75.21 today, the lowest since the gauge started in March 1973.
``Further weakening of the dollar is very likely,'' said Teis Knuthsen, the Copenhagen-based head of foreign-exchange, fixed-income and derivative research at Danske Bank A/S, the Nordic region's second-biggest lender. China may ``diversify out of dollar holdings.''
Five dead in U.S. helicopter crash in Italy: report
The crash took place in the countryside near the city of Treviso, it said. It was not clear whether the helicopter had taken off from the nearby U.S. military base in Aviano.
No one at the U.S. embassy could be immediately reached for comment."
"TREVISO- Sei morti e cinque feriti, di cui uno grave,"
War Objector's 2nd Court-Martial Blocked (Watada)
Nov 8, 9:35 PM EST
War Objector's 2nd Court-Martial Blocked
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- The Army cannot hold a second court-martial for an Iraq war objector until the resolution of the soldier's claim that it would violate his right against double jeopardy, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The first court-martial for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who is charged with missing his unit's deployment to Iraq in June 2006, ended in a mistrial in February. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle wrote that the military judge likely abused his discretion in declaring the mistrial.
Watada contends that the war in Iraq is illegal and that he would be party to war crimes if he served there. He is also charged with conduct unbecoming an officer for denouncing President Bush and the war. If convicted, he could be sentenced to six years in prison and be dishonorably discharged.
"This is an enormous victory, but it is not yet over," Watada attorney Kenneth Kagan said in a statement. The federal judge did not indicate what the next steps would be.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Game, set, match: Bush, Mukasey and Schumer.
Congress, the Democrats and the Nation be damned.
Ousted Chief Justice in Pakistan Urges Defiance
The surrender, in the scenic Swat Valley, was deeply symbolic at a time when President Musharraf is pleading for continued Western support as a key regional ally.
General Musharraf argued last week that he was imposing martial law to help the fight against extremists. Yesterday’s cave-in illustrated the limits of Pakistan’s efforts to combat the spread of militancy. And the unwillingness of those in uniform to fight allies of al-Qaeda in northern Pakistan contrasted with the brutal repression by the security forces of lawyers on the streets of the capital.
“The security forces and intelligence agencies are fighting the people instead of the militants,” Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister, said yesterday.
WHO CARES!!!!!!!!Once you’re no longer of any use to them, the Army just don’t want to know.”
A soldier whose army career was cut short by serious injury in Iraq was put in fear of becoming homeless when he was given less than 30 days to leave the army house where he lives with his wife and three children.
Carl Tarry is still awaiting compensation more than three years after his leg was shattered during a clash with insurgents in Basra.
Last week he received a letter from the Ministry of Defence informing him that the family had until November 23 to move out or he would become liable for damages.
The former chef with the 6th Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers had expected at least three months’ notice after being medically discharged four weeks ago.
Unable to afford a mortgage or rent in the private sector until his compensation comes through, Mr Tarry feared that his family would be homeless over Christmas if they were evicted from the four-bedroom house in Tidworth, Wiltshire.
He said that the order to leave their home, which is in a street filled with empty army houses, was the final insult after 18 years of dedicated service.
“Every generation needs a new revolution.”
Someone needs to explain to me, why the republicans will not vote for Paul above Independants or Democrats
The Media's Plan to Ambush Ron Paul
First we stop the killing, and then we restore the Constitution. These are our two main priorities. And that's why I'm voting for Ron Paul. He is the only candidate (with a chance to win) who's promising to do either. And he'll keep his word. That makes him the only truly American candidate running for president.
It's no secret that the dollar is on a downward spiral. Its value is dropping, and the Fed isn't doing a whole lot to change that. As a result, a number of countries are considering a shift away from the dollar to preserve their assets. These are seven of the countries currently considering a move from the dollar, and how they'll have an effect on its value and the US economy.
A Vote for Mukasey Is a Vote for Torture
If a U.S. citizen, soldier or official were waterboarded somewhere overseas, would Americans hesitate for a moment to call it torture? A filibuster might give the Mukasey supporters like Schumer and Feinstein pause to reconsider.
Our Man in Pakistan
So, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, treated ever so respectfully by George Bush throughout his administration, in which he became the first Pakistani leader to visit Camp David, has turned out to be just another crummy dictator. But he was our dictator, kind of a modern, even westernized one who could stand up to all those bearded Islamic terrorists.
Blair 'Knew Iraq Had No WMD'
TONY BLAIR privately conceded two weeks before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein did not have any usable weapons of mass destruction, Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, reveals today.
FOX Attacks Decency... with Bill O'Reilly Leading the Way
Tell the FCC you should not be forced to pay for FOX's smut.
"Wiped Off The Map" - The Rumor of the Century
Global Research, January 20, 2007
The Mossadegh Project
Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran's President has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, "Israel must be wiped off the map". Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made, as the following article will prove.
Musharraf opponents charged with treason
KARACHI, Pakistan - Three politicians and a union activist were charged with treason for making anti-government speeches in the southern port city of Karachi, a court official said Thursday.
The four were arrested Monday and were interrogated by police before being formally charged Wednesday, said a court official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of death.
God, I love freedom, "Is that Wanker for Real?"
This afternoon, President Bush held a joint press conference with French President Nicholas Sarkozy. A reporter asked Bush where he stood "on Iraq and your domestic debate on Iraq," and whether he had a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops. In response, Bush insisted that "freedom's happening" and Iraq isn't in a "quagmire":
I don't -- you know quagmire is an interesting word. If you lived in Iraq and had lived under a tyranny, you'd be saying: God, I love freedom,...
Iraq Authorizes Raids By Security Forces On Blackwater, Other War Contractors
The Iraqi interior minister said Wednesday that he would authorize raids by his security forces on Western security firms to ensure that they were complying with tightened licensing requirements on guns and other weaponry, setting up the possibility of violent confrontations between the Iraqis and heavily armed Western guards.
The tightening of the requirements followed a shooting in September by one of those firms, Blackwater, that Iraqi authorities said left 17 Iraqis dead.
The Bush administration blocked a Marine Corps lawyer from testifying before Congress today that severe techniques employed by U.S. interrogators derailed his prosecution of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist.
The move comes as the administration seeks to tamp down concerns about detainee policies that flared up after attorney general-designate Michael Mukasey declined to tell senators whether he believes that waterboarding, or simulated drowning of prisoners, constitutes torture. The debate has focused on whether severe interrogation practices, some of which critics consider...
Did China just fire a warning shot at the Fed?
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- The full faith and credit of the United States are under a lot of stress these days, so much so that the public comments of an obscure Chinese official -- obscure to most Americans, at least -- are enough to spark big jumps in commodities, and equally big slides in stocks and the dollar to boot.
Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress, reportedly suggested Wednesday that China might need to diversify its $1 trillion-plus holdings of foreign reserves because of the precipitous slide in the value of the dollar.
It's hard to know what Siwei, a UCLA-educated economist, hoped to accomplish by choosing this particular juncture to make his comments. Perhaps it was just an innocent academic observation on the rapid decline of the U.S. currency and the fact that any entity stuck holding huge levels of dollars would have to rethink their approach in such circumstances.
However, Siwei's position and previous history suggest otherwise. After all, his comments about the dubious quality of equities on the Shanghai Stock Exchange earlier this year helped spark a temporary swoon that hit U.S. markets at the end of February.
So a more realistic reading, perhaps, is that China wanted to send a warning shot across the bow of the Federal Reserve. The message: the U.S. central bank shouldn't think about cutting interest rates again. In a sense, it's a game of economic "chicken" played on a geopolitical scale.
California electoral vote initiative backers revealed: Supporters of GOP candidates
November 7, 2007
Backers of a proposed initiative that would change the way California's electoral votes are awarded disclosed Tuesday that they had received $538,000 from a list of donors who have contributed to a variety of presidential candidates. The required disclosure to the California secretary of state helps to dispel the notion that Republican candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani is behind the measure. The initiative received its initial $175,000 from a top Giuliani backer, Wall Street mogul Paul E. Singer. Others involved in the effort also have ties to the former New York City mayor. It could not be (seen as) a Giuliani effort," said Republican strategist Ed Rollins, who is overseeing the campaign. "It can't be tainted by any presidential campaign."
The campaign is expected to file more reports in coming days as backers raise $2 million to place the measure on the June 2008 ballot. With one exception, the donors disclosed Tuesday are Californians. Federal election records show they have given to each of the major GOP presidential candidates. One has donated the maximum to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner -- even though Democrats fiercely oppose the initiative. (NOTE: THIS DONOR, ROBERT DAY, HAS CONTRIBUTED TO MCCAIN, CLINTON AND DODD -- NOT JUST TO CLINTON.)
If it is placed on the ballot and wins voter approval, the initiative would help the Republican presidential nominee in California. Instead of the current winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, they would be awarded based on the winner in each of the state's congressional districts. With Republicans holding 19 congressional seats, the GOP nominee would presumably win at least that many districts, giving them almost as many electoral votes as the state of Ohio, with 20.
The largest single donor revealed in Tuesday's filing was the California Republican Party ($80,000), followed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) at $59,700. Issa has not yet endorsed a presidential candidate. Former Univision chairman Jerrold Perenchio, who is backing Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, donated $50,000, as did Silicon Valley venture capitalist E. Floyd Kvamme, a Giuliani backer....Newport Beach investor Duane R. Roberts gave $50,000 to the effort. Hehas has given $2,300 to McCain, Giuliani and ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Says 'Vice President Cheney must answer for his deceptive actions in office'
The following is from a letter sent to constituents today by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where the matter has been sent again. Wexler is calling for the committee "to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months."...
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
ACLU 'shocked' US defying UN torture committee's recommendations
“With the debate over waterboarding front and center, it is shocking to see the U.S. government continue to defend its shameful record of sanctioning secret and indefinite detention and its lack of accountability for torture and abuse,” said Jamil Dakwar, Advocacy Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program. “The torture committee attempted to give the U.S. government a chance to correct its wrongs, but unfortunately the Bush administration responded with nothing more than empty gestures and hollow words.”
Responding to concerns from the United Nations' Committee Against Torture, the US government questioned the authority of the UN's Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its applicability against US forces operating during wartime.
The US resists attempts to document all of the prisoners in its custody, and flat-out refuses to shut down the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or grant habeas corpus rights to its detainees. The government's defense insisted detainees get access to a "judicial process," which reviews whether a detainee was properly classified as an enemy combatant but does not have to level specific charges to justify the detention.
The UN demanded an end to interrogation techniques including "sexual humiliation, 'waterboarding,' 'short shackling' and using dogs to induce fear." The US repeatedly insists that "torture" is a violation of US law, but it does not renounce the listed techniques. News reports have indicated that US interrogators have engaged in those practices.
A copy of the 13-page document can be downloaded here.
Everything he touces he corrupts
The eight-member US Commission on Civil Rights has served for half a century as the nation's watchdog against racism and discrimination. Neither party is meant to have more than four members, but Bush effectively "installed a fifth and sixth Republican on the panel in December 2004, after two commissioners, both Republicans when appointed, reregistered as independents," Charlie Savage reported in the Boston Globe Tuesday.
"I don't believe that [the law] was meant to be evaded by conveniently switching your voter registration," Commissioner Michael Yaki, one of the two remaining Democrats, told the paper.
The administration's argument? Because the Republicans all-of-a-sudden decided to 'abandon' their party, Bush's appointment of two more Republicans to the panel didn't violate the letter of the law, which only required no more than half the panel be affiliated with one party. Alberto Gonzales, then White House counsel, received Justice Department approval of the maneuver.
Few noticed the unusual circumstances at the time, and presidents previously have been able to create majorities of like-minded commissioners, Savage reports, but Bush's commission has essentially made an about-face in its view of what civil rights cases to pursue.
Veterans make up 1 in 4 homeless in US
By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press Writer 1 minute ago
WASHINGTON - Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday.
And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.
The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit, based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.
In comparison, the VA says that 20 years ago, the estimated number of veterans who were homeless on any given night was 250,000.
CIA Rendition: The Smoking Gun Cable
By Stephen Grey
Sometimes the music was American rap, sometimes Arab folk songs. In the CIA prison in Afghanistan, it came blaring through the speakers 24 hours a day. Prisoners held alone inside barbed-wire cages could only speak to each other and exchange their news when the music stopped: if the tape was changed or the generators broke down.
In one such six-foot-by-10-foot cell in February 2004, equipped with a low mattress and a bucket as a toilet, sat a man in shackles named Ibn al Sheikh al Libi, the former al Qaeda camp commander described by former CIA director George Tenet in his autobiography last year as "the highest ranking al-Qa'ida member in U.S. custody" just after 9/11.
In this secret facility known to prisoners as "The Hangar" and believed to be at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, al Libi told fellow "ghost prisoners," one recalled to me for a PBS "Frontline" to be broadcast tonight, an incredible story of his treatment over the previous two years: of how questioned at first by Americans, by the FBI and then CIA, of how he was threatened with torture. And then how he was rendered to a jail cell in Egypt where the threats became a reality. In his book, officially cleared for publication, Tenet confirms how the CIA outsourced al Libi's interrogation. He said he was sent to a third country (inadvertently named in another part of the book as Egypt) for "further debriefing."
The Bush administration has said that terrorists are trained to invent tales of torture.
U.S. Army sniper on trial in Baghdad
By Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer November 7, 2007
BAGHDAD -- The murder trial of an Army sniper has begun days after the military court rejected a request from the soldier's lawyer to use classified material as part of his defense.The trial of Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley started Tuesday amid denials from the military that his unit had been involved in a "baiting" program in which soldiers allegedly planted weapons and other material and shot Iraqis who tried to pick them up.
The focus on Hensley's unit has raised questions about whether his team had run amok or whether their commanders had bent rules to push them to rack up more "kills" in spring as a new U.S.-led security plan took hold.Hensley's lawyer said the sniper was not guilty of fatally shooting three Iraqis in separate incidents in April and May. His attorney said the incidents, in a violent area south of Baghdad, were legitimate shootings.
The Values of a Dysfunctional Family
Bhutto Call for Protest Sets Up Confrontation
CNN: 'The price for backing dictators' may be to box America in
Since Pakistan's President Musharraf suspended constitutional government over the weekend, the United States has been urging him to restore the rule of law but has stopped short of applying any real pressure that might force him to do so.
Pakistan's chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who was ousted and then placed under house arrest after the Pakistani Supreme Court refused to ratify Musharraf's actions, spoke by phone to CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, telling him that "of course" Musharraf is a dictator and that greater pressure by the United States might force him to reverse his actions.
"Musharraf isn't the first hardline leader to put Washington in a rather awkward position," Blitzer noted, turning to CNN correspondent Brian Todd for background.
Topping Nixon, Bush disapproval soars to highest level ever recorded in Gallup poll
Gallup details Bush's falling numbers in a series of graphs that appear below. They note that Bush's "strongly disapprove" rating is the highest Gallup has ever measured for a US president, though the category is not polled in every survey.
Canadian dollar passes US$1.10 mark
By Neena Chowdhury, The Canadian Press
The Canadian dollar's meteoric rise accelerated this week, rising two cents in less than 24 hours. The loonie broke through the US$1.10 barrier in overseas trading Wednesday, initially hitting the 110.02 cents US mark. It dropped back down to 109.6 cents US, before taking off again and landing well above US$1.10. This comes on the heels of Tuesday's rise of 1.34 cents US and modern-era record close of 108.52 cents US.
Analysts say it doesn't appear that the loonie will be returning to earth anytime soon.
The Canadian dollar is regarded as a resource-dependent currency and analysts credit the loonie's latest tear can be linked to the huge jump in oil prices, which soared to a new trading record above $98 US a barrel Wednesday overseas.
Judge Allows Abu Ghraib Lawsuit Against Private Iraq Contractor...Debate Over Forced Iraq Service Continues
A federal judge in Washington ruled yesterday that a civil lawsuit alleging abuse and torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq can go forward against a U.S. military contractor, setting the stage for what could be the first case in a U.S. civilian court to weigh accountability for the notorious abuses in 2003.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson denied CACI International's motion to dismiss a civil lawsuit on behalf of more than 200 Iraqis who at one time were detained at the Abu Ghraib prison. The Iraqis allege that the contracted CACI interrogators took part in abuses and that the company should be held liable for the harm inflicted on the detainees.
Attorneys for the Arlington-based CACI have argued the company should be immune from such a lawsuit because it worked at the behest of the U.S. military, but Robertson said he believes a jury should hear the case, in part because CACI had its own chain of command and might not have answered directly to the military.
Legal experts said the decision could affect other U.S. contractors alleged to have harmed Iraqi civilians, even if the U.S. government is unable or unwilling to prosecute individuals in U.S. criminal courts. The decision could set a precedent for how the courts deal with cases such as the Blackwater shootings of Iraqi civilians in September.
The Bush administration has taken no position on the Florida case, something that has caused dismay among Blackwater and its defenders. "After the President has said that, as Commander-in-Chief, he is ultimately responsible for contractors on the battlefield it is disappointing that his administration has been unwilling to make that interest clear before the courts," Erik Prince, Blackwater's chairman, told TIME after a Tuesday deadline passed for comments on the case. "And this is happening even as our professionals risk their lives every day in support of vital US priorities, while Congress and several federal agencies publicly discuss the issues at stake in this particular lawsuit."
Hail Georgies America Today.
Parents Urge High School to Reverse Expulsions for Students Who Held ‘Day of Dead’ Iraq War Protest
Petition in support of students draws signatures from Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan, peace activist Kathy Kelly, antiwar veterans, teachers, parents and students across the nation.
School administrators say they will expel dozens of students who took part in peaceful school cafeteria sit-in to voice opposition to Iraq War – and routine presence of military recruiters.
Berwyn – Parents of Morton West High School students will gather for a press conference at 9:30 AM Tuesday, November 6 in front of the school, to urge school administrators to reverse their decision to expel dozens of children who marked All Saints Day last week by staging a peaceful, non-violent sit-in at the school cafeteria to voice opposition to the Iraq War.
The November 1 school cafeteria event served in part as a counterpoint in the school setting to military recruiters on campus, who routinely visit the high school cafeteria seeking to enlist young people into military service. Dozens of students participated in the anti-war protest through the course of the day. All Saints Day -- November 1 – is a revered holiday in the Latino community, when families and friends traditionally gather to honor dead loved onesloved ones.
Students complied with an administrator's request to move the action outside the cafeteria after initially being assured that the only disciplinary action they would face was citation for cutting classes. But administrators have since issued formal expulsion notices to dozens of students, suspended many more, and threatened to bring criminal charges against students age 17 and older who participated in the anti-war action.
School administrators also put the school on lockdown briefly during the All Saints Day protest. That action stands in stark contrast to administrators’ response to a report of a student with a gun on campus last month. In that incident, administrators chose not to lock down the school.
At the press conference, parents and students will read a letter to the superintendent demanding complete amnesty for the students before delivering the letter to the School District 201 office. Administrators have said they’ll issue final decisions on appeals of the suspensions, on Tuesday – but also say expulsion orders still stand. The District 201 School Board will meet at 7PM at Morton East High School on Wednesday evening, located at 2423 S. Austin in Cicero.
The students are marshalling national support through the blogosphere, the Illinois Coalition for Peace & Justice (www.ilcpj.org) and a national petition circulated by a local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. Signers include Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist Kathy Kelly, authors Jeffrey St. Claire and Joshua Frank, a growing number of anti-war military veterans, local Berwyn residents and teachers, and supporters from New York to Oregon.
To view the national petition in support of the students, see this link: www.petitiononline.com/mortonw/petition.html
For more information on the case, go to chicago.indymedia.org.
ACLU learns of third 'secret' torture memo from Gonzales Justice Department
Legal papers filed in federal court Monday in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations disclose that the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued three secret memorandums relating to interrogation practices of detainees -- one more than has been publicly revealed.
The New York Times revealed two memoranda authored in 2005 relating to "harsh interrogation" of prisoners held by the CIA. One explicitly authorized interrogators to use combinations of psychological “enhanced” interrogation practices including waterboarding, head slapping, and stress positions. The second declared that none of the CIA’s interrogation methods violated a law being considered by Congress that outlawed “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment.
More details in a press release sent by the ACLU Tuesday afternoon follow.
Confidentiality agreement gave cops right to search info without a warrant.
Didn't you know we're winning in Iraq, Lieberman says so.
While the violence rages in Iraq, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is ready to declare mission accomplished. Yesterday, speaking to an audience who greeted him with “warm applause,” Lieberman declared that the U.S. was turning the corner in Iraq:
“I’m proud to say that the tide has turned in Iraq and we’re winning that war,” Lieberman said. “And if we don’t let down our troops, they’re going to bring home a victory that will protect us here at home from today’s threat — totalitarian terrorist Islamism that’s trying to take our liberty from us.”
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Overturned: House GOP And Democrats Join Against Bush Veto
A majority of House Republicans joined Democrats this evening in escalating a confrontation with President Bush over federal spending as the House overrode Mr. Bush's veto of a popular water projects measure.
House Democrats also readied a $215 billion bill to pay for health, education, labor and veterans programs despite a veto threat.
US grounds F-15 jets after crash
Use of the planes will be restricted until a possible structural failure in the aircraft has been investigated, an air force spokesman said.
The Air Force has 676 F-15s in service, including a number in Afghanistan.
F-15s have had several accidents this year, although the current suspension is linked only to last week's crash.
Preliminary inquiries suggest that the F-15 may have been affected by a mechanical failure.
Euro sets new record against the US dollar:
A steady sell-off of the dollar meant that one euro was worth $1.4571 at one point, while the pound hit $2.09 for the first time since the 1980s.
A steady stream of bad news coming from the US mortgage sector has sparked fears for the health of the economy.
These fears have prompted investors to sell dollars and buy euros or pounds.
Unelective Affinities: A Curious Coincidence in Pakistan Coup
Tuesday, 06 November 2007
Via Angry Arab comes this report from the Asia Times:
Admiral William Fallon, commander of the US Central Command, was on a visit to Pakistan, and he actually happened to be in the general headquarters of the Pakistan armed forces in Rawalpindi when Musharraf was giving the final touches to his proclamation on emergency rule. The political symbolism was unmistakable.
Yes, wasn't it though? It seems that the long waltz (or is it a bump and grind?) between the military-security apparats of the United States and Pakistan continues. Top brass of one country always somehow happen to be on hand when major upheavals occur in the other. Who doesn't remember the remarkable coincidence of Pakistan's chief of Military Intelligence, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, holding meetings with top American officials -- including the future head of the CIA, Porter Goss -- on September 11, 2001? Ahmad of course, was later hustled quietly out of his post after being accused of directing a payment of $100,000 to accused 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta.
And now Admiral Fallon, the military satrap of the all-important Central Command -- which directs the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was directly involved in the Terror War "regime change" invasion of Somalia, and will of course direct the war on Iran -- pops up just as Musharraf declares martial law, and begins to wage internal war on...not terrorists, not extremists...but lawyers and judges standing up for the last rags of Pakistan's much-shredded Constitution. Not only was Fallon in the country, he somehow just happened to be in Pakistan's military headquarters when the decree for emergency rule by, er, Pakistan's military was being put together.
Curious, ain't it?
Annals of Journalism: A Worthy Innovation From the NY Times
November 6, 2007A Taliban spokesman has denied the accusation that the group was behind the horrific suicide bombing in northern Afghanistan yesterday. In reporting on the attack, the New York Times twice made careful mention of the fact that the spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, "has been unreliable" and "often made erroneous claims" in the past. No doubt this is true. We commend the Times for putting Mujahid's comments in the proper perspective, so that informed readers can decide how much credibility his statements may or may not have. However, we recommend that this rigorous but fair journalistic standard be applied across the board. Why not try it the next time an Administration official or a White House spokesperson – or indeed, a White House resident – makes a public statement? For instance: "General David Petraeus, whose claims of progress in Iraq have often proved erroneous in the past, said today that the new security measures in Baghdad are bringing a sense of stability to the city, etc. etc." Or: "President Bush, whose unreliable claims of great danger from Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction led the nation into one of the longest, most costly and divisive wars in its history, said today that Iran poses a dire threat to America's freedom and must be prevented etc., etc."See? Rigorous but fair. It could be a whole new trend in corporate journalism!
Let's hope it catches on.
Pope meets with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
The agonizing truth about CIA renditions
By Stephen Grey
At 3:44 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2004, a luxury Boeing 737 business jet operated by the Central Intelligence Agency landed at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. Onboard were its flight crew, eight members of a CIA rendition team and a blindfolded prisoner who was shackled by his wrists and feet.
The behavior of the prisoner, a German citizen named Khaled el-Masri, concerned the CIA team leader onboard. According to an agency insider, the leader sent word to Washington that "there was something strange about el-Masri. He didn't behave like the others they'd captured. He was asking: Is he the right guy?"
Within days it emerged that el-Masri was indeed the wrong man. It was a "100 percent case of mistaken identity," said another former agency official. Yet, despite this discovery, el-Masri spent 18 weeks in solitary confinement in a CIA "black site," or secret prison used by the United States in its war on terror. He is still waiting for an apology or an explanation.
BAQUBA - At least 5 million Iraqis have fled their homes due to the violence under the U.S.-led occupation, but half of them are unable to leave the country, according to well-informed estimates.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 4.4 million displaced Iraqis, an estimate that many workers among refugees find conservative.
The UNHCR announced last week that at present 2,000 Iraqis are fleeing their homes every day. Most of them have received direct threats from death squads or militias.
The provinces that have suffered the greatest displacement are the largely Sunni Baghdad, Diyala, al-Anbar, and Salahadeen in central Iraq.
Members of many families who have not fled told IPS they have stayed on because they had no choice.
"We could not leave our city despite the security situation because we don't have the money to travel and live outside Iraq," Ali Muhsin, an official with the directorate general of education and a father of five told IPS in Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad.
Judge Allows Abuse Lawsuit Against Firm (CACI - torture case)
A federal judge allowed a lawsuit to proceed Tuesday against private defense firm CACI International Inc., whose interrogators are accused of abusing detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
A similar civil suit against a second contracting company, Titan Corp., was dismissed under the order by U.S. District Judge James Robertson of the District of Columbia.
The firms provided interrogators or linguists to assist U.S. military guards at the prison that served as the backdrop for pictures of grinning U.S. soldiers posing with detainees, some naked, being held on leashes or in painful and sexually humiliating positions. Military investigators later concluded that much of the abuse happened in late 2003 — when CACI and Titan's interrogators were at the prison.
In a 24-page ruling, Robertson said Titan's interrogators generally were supervised and under control of military officials — thereby freeing the company of blame. But he found that "a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that CACI retained significant authority to manage its employees," and he allowed the civil lawsuit against the company to continue.
Maverick Paul sets one-day, GOP fundraising record
Kucinich not stopping with Cheney, plans Bush impeachment resolution too
The motion had been brought by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who sought to effectively kill the resolution.
"Impeachment is not on the agenda," Rep. Hoyer had told Fox News earlier."We have some major priorities. We need to focus on those."
Although the roll call vote had initially appeared to favor Hoyer's motion to table, Congressional Quarterly's Ed Epstein told CSPAN that Republicans had switched their votes at the last minute in an attempt to embarrass the Democratic leadership, who is not keen on seeing further action on the impeachment resolution.
The final vote count on the measure was 251-162. Another vote is now underway as to whether the resolution should be forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee.
This weeks toll, of dead and wounded in Iraq
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Monday, the U.S. military said, making 2007 the deadliest year for U.S. forces in the country.
The deaths, one of the highest daily tolls in weeks, took the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq this year to 853. The worst previous year was 2004, when 849 deaths were recorded.
In total, 3,856 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.
"We lost five soldiers yesterday in two unfortunate incidents, both involving IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices)," U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Greg Smith told reporters in Baghdad on Tuesday.