Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, November 24, 2007

In the Heart of the Night...

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
...Yes indeed, Iraqi lives are so cheap and worthless and because you, and the majority of you, viewed them that way, you can easily continue in your indifference and carelessness...comparing and standing on your high "moral" grounds. Because you really believe you are such a moral people, don't you? Add another injustice to the list. Or maybe this is the first injustice, the mother of all injustices and the mother of all crimes - Your perception of Iraqi lives as being so cheap and worthless - that has enabled you to continue slaughtering us for nearly 20 years now... And the physical elimination was not enough for you, you had to also turn us into living shadows, surviving skeletons sitting on street benches, or prisoners of our cold lodgings not daring to venture out...turn us into menial workers, beggars, or prostitutes in a ruthless black market, waiting for a savior... Do you realize the so many levels of crimes and injustices or are you still blind? Knowing you, you will remain blind... Since when do criminals admit to their crimes? (...) True Iraqis need to realize that they are very much alone...that their lives are considered worthless and cheap, and that they have to rely on no one but themselves and the rememberance and presence of the Absent One...

Sisters behead uncle and aunt in front of their children - because he wore Western-style trousers

An Iraqi couple were beheaded in front of their children by their cousins because the man wore Western-style trousers.
Three suspected al Qaeda militants, including two sisters, beheaded their uncle and his wife, forcing the couple's children to watch, according to Iraqi police.
The killing came because the school guard Youssef al-Hayali was considered an infidel because he did not pray and wore western-style trousers.

Aides choose royalties over loyalties

Too Loyal to Kiss and Tell? Some White House Press Secretaries Don't Mind
Nov 23, 2007 15:58 EST
White House press secretaries, who speak for the president and appear before the nation on his behalf, have traditionally kept their secrets while their bosses are in office
That unwritten rule has faded in the face of big advances for political tell-all books.
Scott McClellan, who served as White House press secretary for nearly three years of the Bush administration, surprised his former colleagues last week when his publisher released three teaser paragraphs from his upcoming book. The excerpt seemed to blame President Bush for McClellan's false statements during the early days of the CIA leak scandal.
"The old rules and old standards of what was considered proper and what was not are less and less abided by," said Jody Powell, who served as President Carter's press secretary. "That's true in all walks of life."
Plenty of press secretaries have written behind-the-scenes views of the West Wing. But such glimpses have traditionally been available only after the president has left office. George Christian, for instance, published "The President Steps Down," about the end of President Johnson's administration, a year after LBJ left the White House

Coalition of the no longer willing

The Mystery of the Rosetan People

"Lo and behold, there is an almost perfect correlation between Americanization and heart disease death rates. "

US knew Musharraf planned to institute emergency rule: report

John ByrnePublished: Friday November 23, 2007
The Bush Administration knew that Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf planned to institute emergency rule but did not act or speak out about the plan, according to officials with knowledge of the discussion who spoke anonymously in Friday's Wall Street Journal.
"In the days before the Nov. 3 announcement, the general's aides and advisers forewarned U.S. diplomats in a series of meetings in Islamabad, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials," the paper said.
Because the US response was "muted," Pakistan interpreted American silence as a green light to instituting martial law, quickly deposing an intransigent Supreme Court, which had ruled against the general in the past.
"One of Gen. Musharraf's closest advisers said U.S. criticism was muted, which some senior Pakistanis interpreted as a sign they could proceed," the Journal said. "'You don't like that option? You give us one,' the adviser says he told his American interlocutors. 'There were no good options.'"
A U.S. official "familiar with the discussions" told the paper the talks were part of "'intensive efforts' to dissuade Gen. Musharraf from declaring a state of emergency."
"There was never a green light," the U.S. official told the New York daily.

Kucinich, Dean, + Biden on: Peak Oil, Ron Paul, + 9/11 Truth

Labor Party Wins Big in Australia

Australian PM And Top Bush Ally John Howard Loses Election

Prime Minister elect Kevin Rudd, with his wife Therese, claims victory in Brisbane. Picture: Gary Ramage

New PM Promises Withdrawal From Iraq

AP ROHAN SULLIVAN November 24, 2007 09:06 AM
Conservative Prime Minister John Howard suffered a humiliating defeat Saturday at the hands of the left-leaning opposition, whose leader has promised to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and withdraw Australia's combat troops from Iraq.
Labor Party head Kevin Rudd's pledges on global warming and Iraq move Australia sharply away from policies that had made Howard one of President Bush's staunchest allies.LinkHere

Its up to You America two thugs down, one to go, Don't let the world community down

Two down, Blair and Howie, Bush Puppets gone, Now America there is one more thug left to go

Ahhhhhhhh shit Howie you lost your seat,

Making history ... Mandarin-speaking one-time farm boy Kevin Rudd will be Australia's next prime minister after leading his Labor party to a landslide victory in the 2007 federal election.More

Friday, November 23, 2007

Home Australia

"A Matter of Conscience"

Monday, October 1, 2007"Letters from Fort Lewis Brig" Released

"Letters from Fort Lewis Brig," by Kevin Benderman with Monica Benderman, was released on October 1 by Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press. Forty-year-old Sergeant Kevin Benderman was court-martialed by the U.S. Army for desertion. Haunted by his year of combat duty in Iraq, remembering his encounters with maimed children, dead civilians being ravaged by dogs, and young soldiers turned into soulless killing machines, the nine-year veteran declared himself a conscientious objector and declined to return to Iraq for a second tour. When his unit was deployed again to Iraq, he stayed home in Georgia.

Imprisoned for 13 months after being convicted of "missing movement" in 2005, Benderman is still appealing, and requesting an honorable discharge."I'm being singled out and punished for speaking the truth about the army," he said. He and his wife Monica continued to speak publicly in spite of his imprisonment. Their ongoing story is told in between fragments of the battles Kevin fought in Iraq, his growing awareness that the war in Iraq is wrong and their struggle to see that justice is served. The book is available from the publisher, Lyons Press, and from retailers such as Amazon.com


Plame-Gate Coverup

Robert Parry of ConsortiumNews.com writes that: "In early fall 2003, George W. Bush joined in what appears to have been a criminal coverup to conceal the role of his White House in exposing the classified identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson. That is the logical conclusion one would draw from a new statement by then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan when it is put into a mosaic with previously known evidence."

Ex-Iraq Commander: Bring The Troops Home

AP November 22, 2007 10:10 PM
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad, said this week he supports Democratic legislation that calls for most troops to come home within a year.
His comments come as welcomed ammunition for the Democratic-controlled Congress in its standoff with the White House on war spending. This month, the House passed a $50 billion bill that would pay for combat operations but sets the goal that combat end by Dec. 15, 2008....

US Plans Case Against AP Photographer in Iraq

The Associated Press reports: "The US military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented. An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the US military plans a 'sham of due process.' The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months."

A Swarm of Swindlers

Bob Herbert writes for The New York Times, "One aspect of the so-called mortgage crisis that hasn't been adequately explored is the extent to which predatory lenders have committed fraud against vulnerable homeowners. They have pushed overpriced loans and outlandish fees on hapless victims who didn't understand - and could not possibly have met - the terms of the contracts they signed.... This is an issue crying out for a thorough federal investigation."

Afghanistan "Falling Into Hands Of Taliban"

Photograph: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters
The Taliban has a permanent presence in 54% of Afghanistan and the country is in serious danger of falling into Taliban hands, according to a report by an independent thinktank with long experience in the area.
Despite tens of thousands of Nato-led troops and billions of dollars in aid poured into the country, the insurgents, driven out by the American invasion in 2001, now control "vast swaths of unchallenged territory, including rural areas, some district centres, and important road arteries", the Senlis Council says in a report released yesterday.
On the basis of what it calls exclusive research, it warns that the insurgency is also exercising a "significant amount of psychological control, gaining more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people who have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change".
It says the territory controlled by the Taliban has increased and the frontline is getting closer to Kabul - a warning echoed by the UN which says more and more of the country is becoming a "no go" area for western aid and development workers.

New Poland PM's First Speech: We're Leaving Iraq

(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
AP November 23, 2007 03:52 PM
Poland's new prime minister outlined ambitious plans for the next four years in his inaugural address Friday, saying he plans to withdraw troops from Iraq next year but also push for stronger relations with NATO.
In a three-hour speech to parliament, Donald Tusk laid out a vision for the country that includes more capitalism _ privatization, tax cuts and simplifying business laws _ to bolster the economy of this ex-communist country.
While Tusk and his Civic Platform party want to continue the...
When AWOL Is the Only Escape - a Patriot's Story
Sarah Olson, reporting for AlterNet, asks: "What turns a patriot like James Circello, who volunteered for military service, into someone critical of the United States occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan? What experiences turn someone willing to fight and die for his country into someone who, in a recent interview, said quietly: 'It's disturbing when you see humanity fail.'"

Army Dismissals for Mental Health, Misconduct Rise
National Public Radio's Daniel Zwerdling reports, "New Pentagon figures released to NPR show that since the United States invaded Iraq, officers have kicked out far more troops for having behavior issues that are potentially linked to post-traumatic stress disorder than they did before the war."

Pakistan's Taliban at the Gates

Time Magazine's Aryn Baker reports that "The local police precinct in the village of Matta has a new sign: Taliban Station. The same thing in the village of Kabal - in fact, nine of the twelve districts in the picturesque Swat Valley, 100 miles from Pakistan's capital, have been taken over by militants, who have torched music shops, barred girls from going to school, forced women to wear burqas and decreed that men must grow beards. As if to complete the flashback to Taliban-era Afghanistan, the new overlords have even attempted to blow up centuries-old Buddhist monuments. But this is not Afghanistan, of course, or even the tribal lands of the frontier provinces. The Swat valley is Pakistan's premier tourist destination."
By Andrew Bard Schmookler
The American people need to be helped to understand that when a president disgraces and violates his office, he's not entitled to the authority and respect Americans usually grant their presidents. Indeed, to honor the office, we Americans are obliged to treat this president as the travesty and abomination that he is.
By Stephen Lendman
Through the dominant media, Washington and Venezuelan anti-Chavez elements are using constitutional reform as a pretext for what they may have in mind - "to arouse the military to intervene" and oust Chavez.
Pak Nukes Already Under US Control: Report
By Times Of India
In a stunning disclosure certain to stir up things in Washington's (and in Islamabad and New Delhi's) strategic community, the journal Stratfor reported on Monday that the "United States delivered a very clear ultimatum to Musharraf in the wake of 9/11: Unless Pakistan allowed US forces to take control of Pakistani nuclear facilities, the United States would be left with no choice but to destroy those facilities, possibly with India's help."
Musharraf Plays Bush for a Fool
By Marjorie Cohn
The recipient of nearly $11 billion of U.S. aid since 9/11, Musharraf will cover for his benefactor Bush to keep him from losing face in light of the Pakistani strongman's blatant and tyrannical power grab.

Wiretap Issue Leads Judge to Warn of Retrial in Terror Case

Eric Lichtblau reports for The New York Times, "A federal judge warned Tuesday that if the government did not allow lawyers to review classified material on possible wiretapping of an Islamic scholar convicted of inciting terrorism, she might order a new trial for him."

20,000 Brain Injuries Left Off

USA Today Gregg Zoroya November 23, 2007 09:37 AM
At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY.
The data, provided by the Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the Pentagon's official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327.
HIDDEN WOUNDS: Marine didn't recognize signs of brain injury
The number of brain-injury cases were tabulated from records kept by the VA and four military bases that house units that have served multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One base released its count of brain injuries at a medical conference. The others provided their records at the request of USA TODAY, in some cases only after a Freedom of Information Act filing was submitted
AP ANNE FLAHERTY November 23, 2007 01:44 AM
For those who want troops out, "you've got more holes in here than Swiss cheese," said Tom Andrews, national director of the war protest group Win Without War and a former congressman from Maine.
The Democratic proposal would order troops to begin leaving Iraq within 30 days, a requirement Bush is already on track to meet as he begins reversing this year's 30,000 troop buildup. The proposal also sets a goal of ending combat by Dec. 15, 2008.
Read article here

Banks Gone Wild

Published: November 23, 2007
“What were they smoking?” asks the cover of the current issue of Fortune magazine. Underneath the headline are photos of recently deposed Wall Street titans, captioned with the staggering sums they managed to lose.
The answer, of course, is that they were high on the usual drug — greed. And they were encouraged to make socially destructive decisions by a system of executive compensation that should have been reformed after the Enron and WorldCom scandals, but wasn’t.
In a direct sense, the carnage on Wall Street is all about the great housing slump.
This slump was both predictable and predicted. “These days,” I wrote in August 2005, “Americans make a living selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from the Chinese. Somehow, that doesn’t seem like a sustainable lifestyle.” It wasn’t.
But even as the danger signs multiplied, Wall Street piled into bonds backed by dubious home mortgages. Most of the bad investments now shaking the financial world seem to have been made in the final frenzy of the housing bubble, or even after the bubble began to deflate.
In fact, according to Fortune, Merrill Lynch made its biggest purchases of bad debt in the first half of this year — after the subprime crisis had already become public knowledge.
Now the bill is coming due, and almost everyone — that is, almost everyone except the people responsible — is having to pay.
The losses suffered by shareholders in Merrill, Citigroup, Bear Stearns and so on are the least of it. Far more important in human terms are the hundreds of thousands if not millions of American families lured into mortgage deals they didn’t understand, who now face sharp increases in their payments — and, in many cases, the loss of their houses — as their interest rates reset.
And then there’s the collateral damage to the economy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

IRAQ: Fallujah Now Under a Different Kind of Siege

By Ali al-Fadhily*
FALLUJAH, Nov 20 (IPS) - Three years after a devastating U.S.-led siege of the city, residents of Fallujah continue to struggle with a shattered economy, infrastructure, and lack of mobility.
The city that was routed in November 2004 is still suffering the worst humanitarian conditions under a siege that continues. Although military actions are down to the minimum inside the city, local and US authorities do not seem to be thinking of ending the agonies of the over 400,000 residents of Fallujah.
"You, people of the media, say things in Fallujah are good," Mohammad Sammy, an aid worker for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Fallujah told IPS, "Then why don’t you come and live in this paradise with us? It is so easy to say things for you, isn’t it?"
His anger is due to the fact that the embattled city is still completely closed and surrounded by military checkpoints to make it look like an isolated island. Those who are not genuine residents of the city are not granted the biometric identification badge from the U.S. Marines, and are thus not allowed to enter the city.
Since the November 2004 U.S.-led attack on the city, named Operation Phantom Fury, which left approximately 70 percent of the city destroyed, the U.S. military has required residents to undergo retina scans, and finger-printings in order to gain a bar-code for identification.
"This isolation has destroyed the economy of the city that was once one the best in Iraq," Professor Mohammad Al-Dulaymi of Al-Anbar University told IPS. "All of the other cities in the province used to do their wholesale shopping in Fallujah, but now they have to find alternatives, leaving the cities businesses to starve," he explained.
All of the residents interviewed by IPS were extremely angry with the media for recent reports that the situation in the city is good. Many refused to be quoted for different reasons.

The End of America? Naomi Wolf Thinks It Could Happen

An interview with author Naomi Wolf, whose new book,
"The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot," may confirm your worries about democracy in America.
If you think we are living in scary times, your worst fears may be confirmed by reading Naomi Wolf's newest book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. In it, Wolf proves the old axiom that history does repeat itself. Or more accurately, history occurs in patterns, and in order to understand where our country is today and where it is headed, we need to read the history books.
Wolf began by diving into the early years leading up to fascist regimes, like the ones led by Hitler and Mussolini. And the patterns that she found in those, and others all over the world, made her hair stand on end. In "The End of America," she lays out the 10 steps that dictators (or aspiring dictators) take in order to shut down an open society. "Each of those ten steps is now under way in the United States today," she writes.
The Associated Press says, "Five news organizations complained Wednesday that they are being denied access to much of the military commission proceeding against a Canadian terror suspect."

Scientists develop material that bounces bullets

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 31/10/2007
Security guards, police officers and armed forces could become Robocops able to take bullets in their stride, thanks to a carbon nanotechnology yarn which can defect projectiles without a trace of damage.
Conventional bullet-proof jackets spread the bullet's force
Conventional bullet-proof jackets, body armour and explosion-proof blankets consist of multiple layers of Kevlar, Twaron or Dyneema fibres which stop bullets from penetrating by spreading the bullet's force.
But the people who use them can still be left with severe bruising or, worse, damage to critical organs.
The new material, however, not only stops bullets but deflects them, rather than absorbing their force.
The study by engineers at the Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, University of Sydney, is published in the Institute of Physics' journal Nanotechnology.

Bush Calls Troops With Holiday Greetings

Source: Associated Press
CAMP DAVID, Md. (AP) -- President Bush, who visited troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving after the U.S. invasion in 2003, called several servicemen and women Thursday to extend best wishes and say it was "the least I can do."
Three of those receiving holiday greetings are in the Army, two are Marines, three are in the Air Force, two serve in the Coast Guard and two in the Navy. The troops called are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and aboard ship, said White House press secretary Dana Perino.
... The president asked for God's blessings on the members of the military, Perino said. He said he was thankful to be commander in chief of the finest military ever assembled and told them, "calling you is the least I can do because I admire the military so much."
The president was celebrating the holiday at Camp David with his wife, Laura, and their twin daughters, who have a birthday this weekend. Also present were daughter Jenna's husband-to-be Henry Hager, some of the president's brothers and sisters with their families, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Source: KDKA,
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.
To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.
Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.
One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.--
A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.
Source: KDKA TV
A KDKA investigation is getting national attention and results for a wounded soldier from Mt. Lebanon and perhaps thousands of others.
The Army ordered Jordan Fox to return thousands of dollars in bonus money because his injuries prevented him from completing his tour.
When in Iraq, Fox survived machine gun battles and a roadside bomb that knocked him unconscious and blinded him in his right eye.
KDKA contacted the Pentagon. Investigators there took a look. A short time ago, a military spokesman told KDKA's Marty Griffin the bill sent to Fox was a mistake-----
Major Nathan Banks, Army spokesperson: "We are. We are ... definitely working it out. We have seen where the problems have been made, the system, and we're just making - you know, give us the opportunity to make a wrong a right."
Major Banks says Fox will not have to pay back his bonus. Fox says "fine," but he wants more.
"Hopefully this will turn into change for not only me but many other soldiers that have lost limbs, you know, become permanently deaf," he said. "I hope to see a change for everybody."

The name game continues in California: Odds increasing that electoral initiative will qualify

Source: Los Angeles Times
Backers of a California initiative that could significantly aid the next Republican presidential nominee said today they're still collecting signatures to qualify it for the state's ballot in June, terming as premature reports that they have wrapped up the process. "The goal is to be completed by Dec. 1," Mike Arno, the contractor heading the signature-gathering effort, told The Times' Dan Morain. He added that "people are still out working" and circulating petitions.
To qualify the measure, its supporters must obtain signatures from 434,000 registered California voters. They say they have obtained roughly that number of names, but inevitably many will be disqualified when state officials vet the petitions, often because the signers are not registered to vote. So to ensure they reach the required mark, the initiative supporters aim to amass about 700,000 signatures....
Morain reports that the initiative's backers filed a campaign finance statement late Tuesday showing they had garnered more than $500,000 in donations to their cause in recent weeks, pushing their total to about $1.2 million. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) donated $50,000, raising his total contribution to $100,000.
The measure's main financial angel has been Paul Singer, who also is a major money man for Republican Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid. Other prominent Giuliani supporters are playing key roles in pushing the initiative, causing its opponents to file complaints with federal officials charging the Giuliani campaign with masterminding the measure....
With odds increasing that the initiative will qualify for the ballot, Chris Lehane, a San Francisco-based Democratic activist leading the campaign to derail it, issued the following statement today: "The power-grabbers are pursuing a lose-lose-lose strategy: It will lose at the ballot box, where it is polling below 30%; it will be a loser for the Republican Party, as it will brand the GOP as the party of presidential hijackers; and it will be a loser for Rudy Giuliani, whose close connections to the initiative will only further define him as someone who puts the raw, crass pursuit of power before the best interests of the country."...

Beware of Bush in 2008

Court Dismisses Legal Challenge Against Musharraf
Move Clears Way for Leader to Serve Another Presidential Term
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 22 -- President Pervez Musharraf's script for a tightly controlled political transition moved ahead on cue Thursday, as his hand-picked Supreme Court dismissed the final legal challenge to Musharraf becoming president for another five-year term and officials said he would resign as army chief within days.

China Reverses Decision, Grants US Aircraft Carrier Access To Hong Kong

Reuters November 21, 2007 11:00 PM
China has refused permission for a U.S. aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels to visit Hong Kong for a long-planned Thanksgiving holiday visit, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.
The Kitty Hawk group and its crew of 8,000 U.S. airmen and sailors had been expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday, but will now spend the holiday on the South China Sea.

All private security firms must close: Afghanistan

11 hours ago
KABUL (AFP) — Authorities in Afghanistan want to close down all private security firms operating in the country, many of them illegally, President Hamid Karzai's office said.
About nine unlicensed companies have already been shut down in a crackdown that has been under way in Kabul for weeks, according to city police.
Under the constitution "only the Afghan government has the right of having and handling weapons, so private companies are against the constitution," the president's spokesman Siamak Hirawi told AFP late Wednesday.
A cabinet meeting Monday argued that the dozens of private security firms were illegal and a source of criminality.
"The session decided that in the long term all private companies should be shut down," he said.
"But for the time being a small number of private companies which can prepare themselves to meet the regulations put in place by the ministry of interior will be allowed temporary licences."
Only a "handful" of such companies would be allowed to operate mainly for the use of international organisations and the United Nations, he said.
"In the long run, when Afghan security forces have the capacity to replace them, they will be replaced by government security personnel, police."
Insecurity in Afghanistan has sharply increased because of a rise in crime and an insurgency led by the extremist Taliban who held power until 2001.
A range of security companies are operating in Afghanistan, from US-based Blackwater to smaller Afghan firm, some of them linked to militias or former warlords.
They guard embassies and other premises or act as bodyguards, while some, like the US-based DynCorp, also train Afghan police.
A report released this month by the Swisspeace research institute said that while about 90 firms could be identified by name, only 35 had registered with the government.
Some are alleged to be involved in extortion, kidnapping and the smuggling of drugs, it said.

Thanksgiving Prayer, by William S. Burroughs


Christy said:
There are always two words that dominate my thoughts on Thanksgiving.
Manifest. Destiny.
Manifest Destiny is a 19th-century belief that the United States had a mission to expand, spreading its form of democracy and freedom. Advocates of Manifest Destiny believed that expansion was not only good, but that it was obvious ("manifest") and certain ("destiny"). Originally a political catch phrase of the 19th century, "Manifest Destiny" eventually became a standard historical term, often used as a synonym for the territorial expansion of the United States across North America towards the Pacific Ocean.
The term was first used primarily by Jacksonian Democrats in the 1840s to promote the annexation of much of what is now the Western United States (the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cession). It was revived in the 1890s, this time with Republican supporters, as a theoretical justification for U.S. expansion outside of North America.
The term fell out of usage by U.S. policy makers early in the 20th century, but some commentators believe that aspects of Manifest Destiny, particularly the belief in an American "mission" to promote and defend democracy throughout the world, continued to have an influence on American political ideology.[1]

Native AmericansManifest Destiny had serious consequences for American Indians since continental expansion usually meant the occupation of Native American land. The United States continued the European practice of recognizing only limited land rights of indigenous peoples. In a policy formulated largely by Henry Knox, Secretary of War in the Washington Administration, the U.S. government sought to expand into the west through the legal purchase of Native American land in treaties. Indians were encouraged to sell their vast tribal lands and become "civilized", which meant (among other things) for Native American men to abandon hunting and become farmers, and for their society to reorganize around the family unit rather than the clan or tribe. The United States therefore acquired lands by treaty from Indian nations, often under circumstances which suggest a lack of voluntary and knowing consent by the native signers. Advocates of civilization programs believed that the process of settling native tribes would greatly reduce the amount of land needed by the Indians, making more land available for homesteading by white Americans. Thomas Jefferson believed that while American Indians were the intellectual equals of whites, they had to live like the whites or inevitably be pushed aside by them. Jefferson's belief, rooted in Enlightenment thinking, that whites and Native Americans would merge to create a single nation did not last his lifetime, and he began to believe that the natives should emigrate across the Mississippi River and maintain a separate society, an idea made possible by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
In the age of Manifest Destiny, this idea, which came to be known as "Indian Removal", gained ground. Although some humanitarian advocates of removal believed that American Indians would be better off moving away from whites, an increasing number of Americans regarded the natives as nothing more than "savages" who stood in the way of American expansion. As historian Reginald Horsman argued in his influential study Race and Manifest Destiny, racial rhetoric increased during the era of Manifest Destiny. Americans increasingly believed that Native Americans would fade away as the United States expanded. As an example, this idea was reflected in the work of one of America's first great historians, Francis Parkman, whose landmark book The Conspiracy of Pontiac was published in 1851. Parkman wrote that Indians were "destined to melt and vanish before the advancing waves of Anglo-American power, which now rolled westward unchecked and unopposed".
(text suggested by Christy, descendant of the Cherokee nation)
Christy said:
Go back up to the part starting with Native Americans...
Is that not the CLEANEST description of genocidal extermination you have ever read?
They make it sound so vannilla, it really is like ice cream and that is what happened to all those darn indians, they just MELTED and vanished away. Yeah. Ok.
Two whole paragraphs to decribe the annihilation of a people.
My favorite line of all 'The United States therefore acquired lands by treaty from Indian nations, often under circumstances which suggest a lack of voluntary and knowing consent by the native signers."
Do tell.


1st Thanksgiving: praying to a Christian god in front of Indians who saved them from starvation Malcom Lagauche
...Within two years, most of the proud Wampanoag Indians were massacred. A nation that included more than 30,000 people with highly-organized governments and social structures, became a shabby band of no more than 2,000 Indians at the end of the war. They were ordered into slavery. Until this day, they have never recovered. The descendants of the Wampanoags of the 17th century live today in southeastern Massachusetts and most live in poverty. Metacomet was killed by the Puritans who paid an Indian informant to spy on him and report his location. His body parts were put on public display throughout the region. Within six decades of landing at Plymouth Rock, the whites had forever destroyed a culture that had inhabited the area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Mayflower...
Here is another note of irony. Each year, at Plymouth, a mock Thanksgiving feast is held for the public to view. The clothing and the food are meant to be identical to those of the original Thanksgiving. The script for this year’s event had to be re-written. Members of the Wampanoag tribe, who normally participate, decided to boycott this year’s show. They have had enough.

Baghdad Bonanza

The Top 100 Private Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan
By Bill Buzenberg
KBR, Inc., the global engineering and construction giant, won more than $16 billion in U.S. government contracts for work in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004 to 2006—far more than any other company, according to a new analysis by the Center for Public Integrity. In fact, the total dollar value of contracts that went to KBR—which used to be known as Kellogg, Brown, and Root and until April 2007 was a subsidiary of Halliburton—was nearly nine times greater than those awarded to DynCorp International, a private security firm that is No. 2 on the Center's list of the top 100 recipients of Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction funds.
Another private security company, Blackwater USA, whose employees recently killed as many as 17 Iraqi civilians in what the Iraqi government alleges was an unprovoked attack, is 12th on the list of companies and joint ventures, with $485 million in contracts. (On November 14, the New York Times reported that FBI investigators have concluded that 14 of the 17 shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, and that Justice Department prosecutors are weighing whether to seek indictments.) First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting, which immediately precedes Blackwater on the Top 100, came under fire in July after a pair of whistleblowers told a House committee that the company essentially "kidnapped" low-paid foreign laborers brought in to help build the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad. First Kuwaiti and the U.S. State Department denied the charges.
Other key findings from the Center's analysis:

Iraqis go home

Money in return for death. What a great deal.
...Meanwhile, it's also reported Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is offering Iraqi refugees in Syria $1200 to return home. Who can refuse that kind of money. And more importantly, can they turn that money down when their families need it so badly. Many are living in a poverty they never knew they would face. Many spent their entire life savings to save up for the journey to Syria. Many risked their lives to make that journey. But if their children are starving in Syria, how about saying - I'll take the money, travel to Iraq and get the first bus back. I'll be back soon. Shame on Iraq, and on Syria for allowing this to happen....
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Roads to IraqIt says: "The Iraqi Ministry of Transport is operating secured journeys to Iraq - in modern air-conditioned vehicles, accompanied by 'protection’ - for the Iraqi refugees to return to their country, free of charge." According Syria News Iraqis are getting $1200 from Maliki’s government to leave Syria but I am not sure about this, I just called relatives in Syria and they don’t know anything about the $1200..they said if its true they go back themselves. True or not, Iraqis in Syria are going back because they are not allowed to stay in Syria without visa.... continua / continued

"We Are Living Through Another Hiroshima," Iraq Doctor Says

Sherwood Ross , Op Ed
...Scherrer writes, "In 1991 the DU ammunition was mainly used against Iraqi tanks in the desert near Basra, while in the present war DU is being used all over Iraq, even in densely populated areas including the heart of Baghdad, Mosul, Tikrit and other cities." He adds that, based on IAEA estimates and his previous research, "the death toll may surpass a million deaths over the next few years, with more to follow!" Scherrer notes, incidentally, the UN’s Human Rights Commission back in 1996 declared DU a weapon of mass destruction(WMD) and that those who use it are guilty of a crime against humanity. Among its users: the first President Bush, President Bill Clinton, who irradiated the Balkans, and the current occupant of the White House (....) Al-Ali, who is also a member of England’s Royal Society of Physicians, is quoted in Feb. 5, 2001, "CounterPunch" as stating, "The desert dust carries death. Our studies indicate that more than 40% of the population around Basra will get cancer. We are living through another Hiroshima."...Dr. Zenad Mohammed, employed in the maternity department of the Basra teaching hospital, said in the three-months beginning in August, 1998, 10 babies were born with no heads, eight with abnormally large heads and six with deformed limbs...
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Foreign Fighters in Iraq Are Tied to Allies of U.S.

BAGHDAD — Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to serve as suicide bombers or to facilitate other attacks, according to senior American military officials.
The data come largely from a trove of documents and computers discovered in September, when American forces raided a tent camp in the desert near Sinjar, close to the Syrian border. The raid’s target was an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for smuggling the vast majority of foreign fighters into Iraq.
The most significant discovery was a collection of biographical sketches that listed hometowns and other details for more than 700 fighters brought into Iraq since August 2006.
The records also underscore how the insurgency in Iraq remains both overwhelmingly Iraqi and Sunni. American officials now estimate that the flow of foreign fighters was 80 to 110 per month during the first half of this year and about 60 per month during the summer. The numbers fell sharply in October to no more than 40, partly as a result of the Sinjar raid, the American officials say.
Saudis accounted for the largest number of fighters listed on the records by far — 305, or 41 percent — American intelligence officers found as they combed through documents and computers in the weeks after the raid. The data show that despite increased efforts by Saudi Arabia to clamp down on would-be terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001, when 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, some Saudi fighters are still getting through.
Libyans accounted for 137 foreign fighters, or 18 percent of the total, the senior American military officials said. They discussed the raid with the stipulation that they not be named because of the delicate nature of the issue.
United States officials have previously offered only rough estimates of the breakdown of foreign fighters inside Iraq. But the trove found in Sinjar is so vast and detailed that American officials believe that the patterns and percentages revealed by it offer for the first time a far more precise account of the personal circumstances of foreign fighters throughout the country.

China Denies US Aircraft Carrier Access To Hong Kong

2 hours, 22 minutes ago
HONG KONG (Reuters) - China has refused permission for a U.S. aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels to visit Hong Kong for a long-planned Thanksgiving holiday visit, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.
The Kitty Hawk group and its crew of 8,000 U.S. airmen and sailors had been expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday, but will now spend the holiday on the South China Sea.
Hundred of relatives of crew members of the USS Kitty Hawk had flown to Hong Kong to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones. Hong Kong has been a regular port of call for U.S. sailors on "R & R" (rest and recuperation) since the Vietnam War.
The Chinese move comes as a surprise just weeks after a visit to China by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, which he said he hoped would lead to a long-term dialogue.
"At present, it appears the USS Kitty Hawk strike group will not be making a port call in Hong Kong as previously planned as a result of a last minute denial by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs," State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson said.
The United States was pressing China for an explanation and to reconsider its decision, she added.

Republican Hypocrisy Revealed

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Afghan Slayings Stir Grief, Fury And Suspicion

By Pamela ConstableWashington Post Foreign ServiceWednesday, November 21, 2007; A01
BAGHLAN, Afghanistan -- Mohammed Asadullah, a high school teacher in this quiet northern town, was lining up his students to greet a group of visiting legislators from the capital when the bomb went off, hurling bodies into the air and sending up a cloud of thick, dark smoke. What happened next, he and other survivors recounted, was worse.
"The bodyguards got nervous and started shooting. The police started firing, too. They even tried to shoot me," the teacher said Monday, angry tears coming to his eyes. He pointed to a charred, splintered pine tree where the bomb had detonated. "It was horrible. People were running and screaming, but it just went on. Five other teachers were killed by bullets, and so many students. They should all have been in class studying."
The horrific Nov. 6 incident outside the New Baghlan Sugar mill, which left 70 schoolchildren, six members of parliament and half a dozen other people dead, was initially described as Afghanistan's worst terrorist attack to date in two years of suicide bombings and other assaults by Taliban insurgents. It was also seen as an alarming sign that extremists had extended their reach into peaceful northern regions of the country.

Americans enter holidays in dark mood: Reuters poll

Source: Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans enter the holiday season in a dark mood, with economic worries, security fears and a lack of confidence in government fueling growing pessimism, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.
The Reuters/Zogby Index, which measures the mood of the country, fell for the third consecutive month, dropping from 96 in October to 94.9 on new growth in the number of Americans dissatisfied with the economy and pessimistic about the future.
President George W. Bush rebounded slightly from last month's record low, with the number of Americans who give him positive marks climbing to 28 percent from 24 percent. But Congress remained stuck with a dismal positive rating of 11 percent, tying its record low.
"For the third straight month, Americans have a sense that things are not getting better, they are getting worse," pollster John Zogby said.

White House denies Bush misled McClellan on CIA leak

Source: CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House spokesman Scott Stanzel denied accusations leveled at President Bush Tuesday by former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan. The accusations flow from an excerpt released from McClellan’s forthcoming book where he blames the president and other high-ranking White House officials for prompting him to “unknowingly pass along false information” as it related to the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
“The President has not misled his spokespeople, nor would he,” Stanzel said in a statement.

Iraq: Children with serious illnesses abandoned

BAGHDAD, 21 November 2007 (IRIN) - Nine-year-old Faleh Muhammad was abandoned by his family in April 2006. He was left to fend for himself in the streets of Baghdad, and later he was diagnosed with leukaemia.
"I miss my mother… in the last days before they left me, she was very sad. One day I woke up in the morning to find my father and mother had disappeared," Faleh said.
"We were living in an abandoned building near Hay Jamia'a District with three other families. I asked them about my parents and they told me they had left. So I had to work to be able to eat because those families couldn't feed me," he said.
Faleh said he started begging in the streets of Baghdad and one day he had a serious headache and fainted. Helped by passers-by, he was taken to Yarmouk hospital and after two days diagnosed with leukaemia.
"I remember my father saying I was useless because I was rotten from the inside and I never understood why, but now I know that the reason for abandoning me was my disease," Faleh said, adding that his father was poor and could not afford the treatment.

Pentagon rescinds repayment order right before soldier's TV appearance

Soldier ordered to pay back signing bonus after being injured in Iraq
Pentagon rescinds repayment order right before soldier's TV appearance
As the military struggles to fill its ranks after six years of war it is finding cold-hard cash to be a powerful enticement.
But for one soldier who was injured serving his country in its wars, the military had another demand: pay us back.
Jordan Fox was seriously injured by a roadside bomb earlier this year, and the Army asked him to repay $3,000 of the $10,000 enlistment bonus he received.
"It was kind of like a slap in the face to know that I had done my best and tried to serve my country with honor and have them turn around and say, 'Well you owe us money,'" Fox said on MSNBC's Live with Dan Abrams Tuesday.
Perhaps realizing the wave of bad publicity that would result from Fox's nationally televised appearance, the Pentagon reversed course just before the program aired and vowed not to send its debt collectors after the wounded soldier.
Fox is not alone, though. According to KDKA, a local station in Pittsburgh, Pa., the military "is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses" after being injured in combat.
Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, more than 28,000 troops have been injured and nearly 4,000 have died, according to GlobalSecurity.org.
Fox said his parents were offended by the military's now-rescinded demand for re-compensation. They started a nonprofit, Operation Pittsburgh Pride, which has sent more than 4,000 care packages to US troops serving in combat. Fox's mother, Susan Wardezak, met with President Bush when he visited Pittsburgh last year.
Because his injuries -- a serious back problem and the loss of vision in his right eye -- shattered Fox's dream of becoming a police officer, his future is unclear. But the veteran says he has no regrets about joining the Army.
"I'd do it all over again... because I'm proud of the discipline that I learned. I'm proud to have done something for my country," he told KDKA.
The following video is from MSNBC's Abrams Report, broadcast on November 20, 2007

GQ Men of the Year 2007

Dark Horse of the Year: Ron Paul
We've chosen presidential candidate Ron Paul as our Dark Horse of the Year—in GQ's December Men of the Year issue, on stands nationwide on November 27th. Here's why.

"hasn't crossed the line" and "truly is somebody who believes in democracy."

President Bush yesterday offered his strongest support of embattled Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying the general "hasn't crossed the line" and "truly is somebody who believes in democracy."
Bush spoke nearly three weeks after Musharraf declared emergency rule, sacked members of the Supreme Court and began a roundup of journalists, lawyers and human rights activists. Musharraf's government yesterday released about 3,000 political prisoners, although 2,000 remain in custody, according to the Interior Ministry.
The comments, delivered in an interview with ABC News anchor Charles Gibson, contrasted with previous administration statements -- including by Bush himself -- expressing grave concern over Musharraf's actions. In his first public comments on the crisis two weeks ago, Bush said his aides bluntly warned Musharraf that his emergency measures "would undermine democracy."
Read entire story here.


AP MATT APUZZO November 20, 2007 11:31 PM
White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt. "The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information," she said.
Plame issued a statement saying the opposite.
"I am outraged to learn that former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirms that he was sent out to lie to the press corps," Plame said. "Even more shocking, McClellan confirms that not only Karl Rove and Scooter Libby told him...
Dodd calls for investigation into Bush role in Plame affair

No More War!! We're Not Going To Take It Anymore!!

Hang the Judges and Lawyers Out to Dry
The task of stabilizing a collapsed Pakistan is beyond the means of the United States and its allies. Rule-of-thumb estimates suggest that a force of more than a million troops would be required for a country of this size.
Adrian Levy examines how five consecutive US administrations from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush have been complicit in building and protecting Pakistan's nuclear arsenal

The Last Founder Standing

By Sheila Samples
No entity in this once-proud nation is more corrupt than its shallow, hubris-infested media. Any pricks of conscience the media may have felt for covering up the treasonous seizure of the 2000 election were swept away in the swirl of terror following the attack on 9-11. The "big story" to confront George Bush when he returned from his month-long vacation in September 2001, his approval numbers tanking, was that Al Gore got more votes than any Democrat in US history -- nearly a half-million more than Bush.
Bobby Caina Calvan and Laith Hammoudi, reporting for McClatchy Newspapers, write, "A U.S. military convoy opened fire on a column of cars Sunday morning, killing at least two Iraqi civilians in southern Iraq and igniting a new round of anger over the apparent loss of innocent life."
By Dave Lindorff
The Democratic Party's do=nothing strategy for the past year, and the year ahead--which assumes voters are brain-dead--could spell disaster in 2008.
By Rob Kall
Thousands of local Democratic candidates for office in local elections nationwide- line candidates, candidates for supervisors, council seats and the like lost in close races because of the spineless or compromised failure of Pelosi and Reid to do what the dem majority in congress was mandated to do-- end the war. The tragedy is that the local candidates and dem leaders did what they were supposed to and should have won.
So much radioactive ammunition has been fired in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine that its total impact over time may claim mor elives from radiation sickness than the A-bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan in World War Two.


Military demanding bonus pay back from wounded vets.
“The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.”
Contractor charged with buying off Army before netting $20m in business.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coup D'État Rumblings in Venezuela

Stephen Lendman
The Bush administration tried and failed three prior times to oust Hugo Chavez since its first aborted two-day coup attempt in April, 2002. Through FOIA requests, lawyer, activist and author Eva Golinger uncovered top secret CIA documents of US involvement that included an intricate financing scheme involving the quasi-governmental agency, National Endowment of Democracy (NED), and US Agency for International Development (USAID). The documents also showed the White House, State Department and National Security Agency had full knowledge of the scheme, had to have approved it, and there's little doubt of CIA involvement as it's always part of this kind of dirty business. What's worrying now is what went on then may be happening again in what looks like a prelude to a fourth made-in-Washington attempt to oust the Venezuelan leader that must be monitored closely as events develop...

Coup D'État Rumblings in Venezuela

Stephen Lendman
The Bush administration tried and failed three prior times to oust Hugo Chavez since its first aborted two-day coup attempt in April, 2002. Through FOIA requests, lawyer, activist and author Eva Golinger uncovered top secret CIA documents of US involvement that included an intricate financing scheme involving the quasi-governmental agency, National Endowment of Democracy (NED), and US Agency for International Development (USAID). The documents also showed the White House, State Department and National Security Agency had full knowledge of the scheme, had to have approved it, and there's little doubt of CIA involvement as it's always part of this kind of dirty business. What's worrying now is what went on then may be happening again in what looks like a prelude to a fourth made-in-Washington attempt to oust the Venezuelan leader that must be monitored closely as events develop...

Thousands Protest U.S. Army’s “School of Torture, Murder”

Matthew Bigg
Thousands of people demonstrated outside a big U.S. Army base on Sunday to demand the closure of a defense department training school they say promotes torture and murder in Latin America. 1118 02 1Long-shot Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich joined the annual protest outside the Fort Benning Army base in Georgia to shut down the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. The institute is the defense department’s main Spanish-language training facility. It says it trains civilian, military and law enforcement students and holds the promotion of democracy at the core of its mission...

FLASHBACK: Fallujah - the hidden massacre

...The evidence in 'Fallujah - the hidden massacre' claims to show the US forces did not use phosphorous in the legitimate way - to highlight enemy positions - but dropped the substance indiscriminately on the city, and on a massive scale. The documentary also shows the terrible damage wrought by the US bombardment of Fallujah, and the carnage to civilians, some of whom lay sleeping. Equally disturbingly, a document in the report claims to prove that the U.S. forces have used the MK77 form of Napalm - the chemical used with devastating effect on civilians during the Vietnam war - on civilians in Iraq...
I watched a few days ago one of Al Jazeera’s good programs "Without Frontiers" and it was about the city of Fallujah.. considering that it was the third anniversary of the Fallujah battle. I translated the most interesting portions of the program as there hardly is any news coming out of Iraq and especially Fellujah (...) First of all, I’d like to thank you and Al Jazeera for remembering Al Fallujah which everyone in the media seems to have forgotten after the catastrophe that befell it at the hands of US forces. Fallujah now is like a huge prison. It is surrounded by US forces and has 5 US check points through which the people have to pass at a specific determined time in order to either enter or leave Fallujah. People in Fallujah are totally paralyzed economically and socially and have no freedom to move as is normal in any city. Fallujah is still paying a heavy price of the US onslaught on it in 2004. Fallujah streets are destroyed or blocked by US forces. The markets are ruined. A lot of the original inhabitants of the city who had fled have come back to also terrible circumstances… but they didn’t really have any other option. Streets are blocked with concrete slabs that US forces are now decorating while claiming that these are "artistic works"....

IRAQ: No trace found for thousands of manuscripts U.S. troops discovered in 2003

Mohammed Dhaher, Azzaman
Thousands of manuscripts have disappeared among them priceless copies of the Holy Koran, an Iraqi librarian said. The librarian, who wanted his name kept secret, said the manuscripts were "expropriated" by a U.S.-led force shortly after the 2003 invasion of Baghdad. The former government had moved the manuscripts from the national library shelves to a cellar close to the Umm al-Teboul mosque in Baghdad for fear of damage or theft. The librarian said the troops removed the manuscripts from the cellar but there is no trace of them...
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Iraq's Laboratory of Repression

Robert Parry, Consortiumnews.com
The Bush administration is turning Iraq into a test tube for modern techniques of repression, from sophisticated biometrics that track populations to devastating weapons systems that combine night-vision optics from drone aircraft, heat resonance imaging and deadly firepower from the sky to kill suspected insurgents. These high-tech capabilities, when mixed with loose rules of engagement that allow U.S. troops to kill Iraqis at the slightest sign of hostility, have contributed to what U.S. generals and a growing number of American journalists are hailing as an improving security situation....


Kevin Stoda
I have written previously about the fact that today in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkons the number of victims of depleted uranium (DU) weapons technology is growing but that the actual numbers of victims largely remain uncounted due to political aversions in the U.S. and in allied nation states to share more data and conduct more investigations on what DU has been doing to those who have come into contact with the deadly uranium contamination created when such weapons hit or miss their targets. Finally, a British-funded study has been conducted in the United States. A report in November 18th’s Guardian reports that "23 years after a US arms plant closed, workers, and residents have cancer—and experts say their suffering shows the use of such [DU] weapons may be a war crime."...
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Iraq to punish 3 soccer players over asylum bid

Wisam Mohammed, Reuters
The Iraqi Football Association said on Tuesday it plans to block three players from joining foreign clubs and may try to ban them from international matches after they sneaked off after an Olympic qualifier in Australia with plans to seek asylum. The association's Secretary-General Ahmed Abbas said it was considering "severe punishment" against the players, who secretly left their team hotel just hours after losing 2-0 in a 2008 Olympic qualifier on Saturday. Midfielder Ali Abbas, one of the heroes of Iraq's stunning Asian Cup triumph in July, was among the defectors. The other two players were identified as Ali Mansur and Ali Khadher. Assistant coach Sadi Toma also went missing, the association said on Sunday....

Fortified Green Zone mortared

Source: Voice of Iraq
Baghdad, Nov 20, (VOI) - The fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad came under mortar shells attack on Tuesday afternoon, an interior ministry's source said.
"Two mortar rounds fell into the Green Zone on Tuesday afternoon, leaving no human or material losses" the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
"The first shell was launched from Karada neighborhood and the second from al-Qadissiyah," he explained.

Chavez, Ahmadinejad to work against US

Source: AP
TEHRAN, Iran - The presidents of Venezuela and Iran boasted Monday that they will defeat U.S. imperialism together, saying the fall of the dollar is a prelude to the end of Washington's global dominance.
Hugo Chavez's visit to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran followed a failed weekend attempt by the firebrand duo to push the Organization of Petroleum Exporting States away from trading in the slumping greenback.
"God willing, with the fall of the dollar, the deviant U.S. imperialism will fall as soon as possible, too," Chavez said after a two-hour closed meeting with Ahmadinejad, the Iranian state news agency IRNA reported.
As the dollar weakens, oil prices have soared toward $100 a barrel. Chavez said over the weekend at the OPEC meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that prices would more than double to $200 if the U.S. attacked Iran or Venezuela.

Give Peace A Chance - Group Says Wearing Their Shirts on Campus Has Caused Quite a Stir

Source: FloridaToday.com
Students at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High are waging a war on peace.
It all started when sophomore Skylar Stains decided to have Peace Shirt Thursdays. Skylar and her friend, Lauren Lorraine, started wearing peace shirts and soon recruited more friends to wear them. Now, the "Peace Shirt Coalition" as they call themselves, has close to 30 students from all grades. But what started out as a light-hearted gesture soon started to be taken out of context. Students started approaching the group members, yelling obscene things at them, said Lauren.
"People just turned on us like that," she said. "At least 10 boys stood up and yelled things at me at once, and we couldn't even walk through the halls without a harsh comment being made."
The heckling began early in the school year, according to group members. They say they were putting small posters promoting peace on friends' lockers with their permission. They thought it was OK, because the cheerleaders and football players had signs on theirs. Eventually, though, group members say they were told by the school's administration they could no longer hang up the posters. "People tore them down and drew swastikas and 'white power' stuff on them," Lauren said.
Military refuses to reveal evidence against man held 19 mo. without charge.
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