25.3.06

US agenda item #40343 in Iraq: Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists away from North Iraq

ZAMAN DAILY NEWSPAPER (2006032631323):

"In his interview to NTV, a Turkish television network, the American General asked the Turkish government to be patient with their demands to drive the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists away from North Iraq.

Before departing from Ankara, Pace said the United States is just as resolute as Turkey in dealing with the PKK problem. The US administration would not want an independent Kurdish state in Iraq, said Pace, expressing a preference for the Joint State of Iraq. A military operation against Iran, he added, is not very likely.

A few secret attempts are already under way to weaken PKK, Pace said as he pointed to future plans of cooperation with some European administrations. America is actually working with the Turkish government towards diminishing the range of financial opportunities the terror organization can capitalize on.

At a symposium in Ankara on 'Global Terrorism and International Cooperation' Pace hinted at the formation of an Iraqi government that will represent all the factions in the country.

Such a government will cooperate with Turkey besides the US to eliminate the PKK threat in northern Iraq. The progress in counterterrorism is bound to improve with joint action, said the general as he thanked the Turkish government for its leadership."

Claims of atrocities by US soldiers mount

Iraqis killed by US troops ‘on rampage’e:

"THE villagers of Abu Sifa near the Iraqi town of Balad had become used to the sound of explosions at night as American forces searched the area for suspected insurgents. But one night two weeks ago Issa Harat Khalaf heard a different sound that chilled him to the bone.

Khalaf, a 33-year-old security officer guarding oil pipelines, saw a US helicopter land near his home. American soldiers stormed out of the Chinook and advanced on a house owned by Khalaf’s brother Fayez, firing as they went.

Khalaf ran from his own house and hid in a nearby grove of trees. He saw the soldiers enter his brother’s home and then heard the sound of women and children screaming.

“Then there was a lot of machinegun fire,” he said last week. After that there was the most frightening sound of all — silence, followed by explosions as the soldiers left the house.

Once the troops were gone, Khalaf and his fellow villagers began a frantic search through the ruins of his brother’s home. Abu Sifa was about to join a lengthening list of Iraqi communities claiming to have suffered from American atrocitie"

Mexican Leftist Presidential Candidate is Ahead in the Polls

LatinAmerican Post:

can you say 'hi, neighbor'?

"An opinion poll released Monday showed Mexico's leftist presidential candidate 10 points ahead of his closest rival, a day after local elections that saw strong gains for his party in Mexico's most populous state."

How George W. Bush Unified Latin America

How George W. Bush Unified Latin America:

"Who is this grand inductor of Latin American leftism? Venezuelan fireball Hugo Chavez? Blue-collar Brazilian Lula Ignacio da Silva? Bolivia's coca-farmer-cum-president, Evo Morales?

¡Epa! It's George W. Bush, the accidental revolutionary.

...

Bush has since presided over one of the most significant political re-alignments in the history of the Western Hemisphere. By this summer, every major Latin American nation but Colombia is likely to be run by elected leaders with stronger backgrounds in Marx than free markets. If Cold War-era 'domino theory' has been a bust in the Middle East, it's working with textbook precision in Latin America."

Judge refuses to give FBI custody of classified document

USNews.com: Nation & World: Judge refuses to give FBI custody of classified document:

"A federal judge in Oregon has refused to hand over for safekeeping to the FBI a classified document that may show that the NSA conducted warrantless electronic surveillance on an Ashland, Ore., charity that the government alleges had ties to Osama bin Laden. U.S. District Judge Garr King sided with charity attorney Steven Goldberg, who argued that the FBI is a defendant in the case and therefore not a neutral party that can be entrusted with the document. The judge instead has temporarily placed the document with federal prosecutors in Seattle until he can make a decision as to how the material should be handled."

24.3.06

bush doesn't get it; never has, never will... or is he the devil incarnate? one or the other.

Asia Times Online:

'Regardless of the court decision [whether or not he is hanged], there is unanimous agreement by all religious scholars from the north to the south, the east to the west of Afghanistan, that Abdul Rahman should be executed,' Engineer Ahmad Shah Ahmad Zai told Asia Times Online on telephone from Kabul.

Ahmad Shah is a prominent mujahideen leader and head of the Hizb-i-Iqtadar-i-Islami Afghanistan. He was an acting prime minister in the government of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani before the Taliban came to power in 1996.

'There is widespread dissent among the masses against the activities of Christian missionaries. These missions exploit the poverty of Afghan people and they pay them to convert. These activities will only translate into fierce reaction as Afghans do not tolerate anything against their religion,' Ahmad Shah said. "

...

There are clear indications that the minute the court gives any decision other than death penalty, Islamic parties will make it an issue with which to tackle the US-backed Karzai government and allied forces for intervening in the Islamic laws of Afghanistan."

Natsios Criticizes Iraq Contracts

Hirsh: Natsios Criticizes Iraq Contracts - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com

THIS is going to be fun! the most corrupt adminsttation in the history of humanity...

"And there is much more to come, especially on the little-noticed issue of contracting in Iraq, which the watchdog group Transparency International last year warned could become “the biggest corruption scandal in history." The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction is expected to issue a harshly critical report in May concluding that the CPA did not have disciplined contracting procedures in place, according to several people involved in drafting the report. If the Democrats manage to get control of the House later this year, it's all going to come in an avalanche of subpoenas and new investigations. Not that the Republicans have been entirely sitting on their hands. When Rep. Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican, agreed to subpoena records of funds transmitted to Iraq, his House Government Reform Subcommittee learned that nearly $12 billion in U.S. currency was shipped to Iraq from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, much of it with little accountability."

Japan vows to keep developing Iran oilfield

Iran News - Japan vows to keep developing Iran oilfield:

oohh, that's gotta hurt...

"Japan said it will press ahead with its multi-billion-dollar oil investment in Iran, rejecting a report that US officials have pressured Tokyo to pull out due to Tehran's nuclear drive, AFP reported.

The Sankei Shimbun said the United States had asked its close ally, which is heavily reliant on Middle Eastern oil, at least to halt work in Azadegan in southwestern Iran, one of the world's biggest untapped reserves."

EU considering summit statement on Guantanamo

EUobserver.com:

"The Austrian EU presidency has promised to file a statement about the EU's concerns about alleged human rights abuses in Guantanamo as part of the final conclusions of today’s gathering of EU leaders.

Several foreign ministers on Thursday called for a common message spelling out the EU's view that detainees at the US base should not be held there without clearly stated accusations.

Washington is hugely criticised in Europe for the way it has been treating terrorist suspects kept at its base on Cuban territory.

Foreign ministers suggested the situation has even been damaging for internal politics in some member states.

Pressure about the base has been growing in the UK following a report by Amnesty International that at least eight men who have lived for years in Britain are being held at the US detention camp.

The British government is considering making 'a specific, security-related request' to the US concerning the case of one UK resident, the BBC reports."

Syria now uses euros instead of dollars for all currency transactions

Kuna site|Story page|Syria uses Euros instead of Dollars in its budget:

"Syria has switched all of the state's foreign currency transactions to euros from dollars upon political confrontations with the United States, the head of state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria Duraid Durgham said.

Durgham said, adding that this decision is important and necessary at a moment when the Americans are threatening Syria in a way that could complicate banking operations between Syria and European countries.

This decision represents the strong Syrian relation with the European Union, that is considered the first commercial partner to Syria, he said."

note to bush: israel insists you bomb iran, and they mean NOW, or they will just have to do it themselves...they sound pretty pissed off.

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World:

"With the US stuck and focused on its troubles in Iraq, the superpower might have missed out on its opportunity to stop Iran's nuclear program, leaving Israel to deal with the threat alone, they warned.

'We cannot let this war prevent action against Iran,' warned Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's former national security adviser.

In 2002 - before the war - Dayan said he told the Bush administration it was making a mistake by invading Iraq. 'They should have already then dealt with Iran. Now we can only hope they get out of Iraq and are still able to take action against Iran,' he said."

Good versus evil isn't a strategy, by Madeleine Albright

Good versus evil isn't a strategy - Los Angeles Times:

"The administration is now divided between those who understand this complexity and those who do not. On one side, there are ideologues, such as the vice president, who apparently see Iraq as a useful precedent for Iran. Meanwhile, officials on the front lines in Iraq know they cannot succeed in assembling a workable government in that country without the tacit blessing of Iran; hence, last week's long-overdue announcement of plans for a U.S.-Iranian dialogue on Iraq — a dialogue that if properly executed might also lead to progress on other issues."

Battle for Baghdad 'has already started'

Independent Online Edition > Middle East:

"The mood among Iraqi leaders, both Arabs and Kurds, is far gloomier in private than the public declarations of the US and British governments. The US President George W Bush called this week for a national unity government in Iraq but Iraqi observers do not expect this to be any more effective than the present government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. One said this week: 'The real problem is that the Shia and Sunni hate each other and not that we haven't been able to form a government.'"

Russia and China determined to join forces to establish new grand union

Russia and China determined to join forces to establish new grand union - Pravda.Ru

"Putin’s current visit to China has a goal to find a new model of strategic partnership between Russia and China. The visit has been a success so far. As for the economic cooperation, China will continue searching for ways to access Russian energy resources. Russia in its turn needs to use China’s potential to spur up the development of East Siberia and Far East."

cold war = lots of money for republicans

USNews.com: AP News:

"The presence of Russian diplomats in Baghdad as U.S. forces closed in on the city resulted in some testy accusations between Moscow and Washington.

On April 6, 2003, Russian diplomats came under fire as they fled Baghdad, wounding at least four people. Russia's ambassador to Iraq, Vladimir Titorenko, has accused American troops of shooting at his convoy. The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow, said the Russians had changed their route from one that American officials had deemed safer.

Three days later, the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that the convoy might have been carrying secret Iraqi files that U.S. intelligence officers wanted to seize - a report Russian intelligence agencies denied.

Vershbow later said in a newspaper interview that Washington had been aware of contacts between Russian and Iraqi spy agencies, but the United States needed to gather more facts before coming to a definite conclusion on the subject.

Russian intelligence officials repeatedly denied having any links with Iraqi spy services. But several recent British and U.S. newspaper reports cited documents found at the office of the Iraqi spy service, Mukhabarat, that showed Iraq was receiving intelligence assistance from Russia."

'no civil war here, everything is just fine. move along please; nothing to see here, folks'

Jihad Unspun - A Clear View On The US War On "Terrorism":

"The events of the recent days, following the declaration of war against the Muslims of Ahl Al-Sunnah Wal-Jama'ah, their possessions and their mosques, the truths that the enemy wanted to hide from the Muslims in and outside the Land of the Rafideen have been laid bare.

The most important of these truths is that the deviant Shia have undertaken a new phase. Their masks have come off and the truth of their plans has been revealed, with the wounded body of the crusaders making them feeble and their collapse is inevitable.

These deviant Shia chose, since the beginning, to be in a single trench with the Jews and cross worshipers in opposition to the Muslims. They walked the path of their predecessors in plotting against this Ummah. A portion of what these criminals have done in the past has appeared again in these recent days under the guise of an 'organization' and this time they even made a public declaration of war. They have suddenly introduced it to the Muslims to put fear into their hearts. We must attempt to implement pure (Islamic) laws particularly now as they have gathered their own together in a single military of disbelief.

While different in both race and creed, the followers of Al-Sadr and the traitorous Badr Brigade are among them, and so are others who are still hiding in disguise, including many who were previously unknown. The Muslims witnessed them as a separate religious body, or nation, positioned against Ahl Al-Sunnah Wal-Jama'ah, torturing us, violating our possessions and burning our mosques without hesitation."

John Pilger doesn't buy the sales pitch of war lovers

New Statesman:

"How many men, women and children will be killed, maimed or sent mad if Bush attacks Iran? The prospect of an attack is especially exciting for those war lovers understandably disappointed by the turn of events in Iraq. 'The unimaginable but ultimately inescapable truth,' wrote Gerard Baker in the Times last month, 'is that we are going to have to get ready for war with Iran . . . If Iran gets safely and unmolested to nuclear status, it will be a threshold moment in the history of the world, up there with the Bolshevik revolution and the coming of Hitler.' Sound familiar? In February 2003, Baker wrote that 'victory [in Iraq] will quickly vindicate US and British claims about the scale of the threat Saddam poses'.

The 'coming of Hitler' is a rallying cry of war lovers. It was heard before Nato's 'moral crusade to save Kosovo' (Blair) in 1999, a model for the invasion of Iraq. In the attack on Serbia, 2 per cent of Nato's missiles hit military targets; the rest hit hospitals, schools, factories, churches and broadcasting studios. Echoing Blair and a clutch of Clinton officials, a massed media chorus declared that 'we' had to stop 'something approaching genocide' in Kosovo, as Timothy Garton Ash wrote in 2002 in the Guardian. 'Echoes of the Holocaust', said the front pages of the Daily Mirror and the Sun. The Observer warned of a 'Balkan Final Solution'.

The recent death of Slobodan Milosevic took the war lovers and war sellers down memory lane. Curiously, 'genocide' and 'Holocaust' and the 'coming of Hitler' were now missing - for the very good reason that, like the drumbeat leading to the invasion of Iraq and the drumbeat now leading to an attack on Iran, it was all bullshit. Not misinterpretation. Not a mistake. Not blunders. Bullshit.

The 'mass graves' in Kosovo would justify it all, they said. When the bombing was over, international forensic teams began subjecting Kosovo to minute examination. The FBI arrived to investigate what was called 'the largest crime scene in the FBI's forensic history'. Several weeks later, having found not a single mass grave, the FBI and other forensic teams went home."

US Torture as a Tort? Expanding Remedies for Victims

JURIST - Forum: US Torture as a Tort? Expanding Remedies for Victims:

"The near-total absence of remedies for U.S. sanctioned torture does not reflect a determination by Congress or the courts that remedies are unwarranted. Rather, it reflects that current law was not designed with U.S.-sanctioned torture in mind. Congress designed the FTCA to deal with the 'garden variety torts' of federal employees, as the Supreme Court has observed. Thus, FTCA exceptions limiting government liability reflect Congress's determination that certain governmental interests outweigh the interest in providing civil remedies for everyday negligence. Congress may well -- and should -- make a different determination for U.S.-sanctioned torture.

Similarly, the law governing claims against federal officials is designed more for the rogue officer who deliberately violates someone's constitutional rights than for the reasonably competent, well-intentioned officer who violates constitutional rights in the course of 'just following orders.' The idea has been that the specter of tort liability in the latter situation could discourage officials from doing their duty. The government's interest in officials doing their duty might justify denying a remedy for an individual official's tort. But U.S.-sanctioned torture is more than just a garden-variety tort conducted by an individual officer (the 'bad apple') who has gone astray. To the contrary, the torture has been systemic and approved at the highest levels of government.

The problem with current law is that it treats U.S.-sanctioned torture as a mere tort. Instead, it should be treated as a human rights and a civil rights violation. One way to move toward this treatment is through legislation that would make the U.S. and its officials liable for torture under the same circumstances as local governments and their officials would be under the civil rights statute, 42 U.S. Code Section 1983. Such legislation, though not ideal, might be politically feasible. It would put the U.S. and its officials on a similar footing with local governments and theirs -- hardly an irrational result -- using familiar and well developed (even if arguably flawed) legal standards."

FEMA Lies and More Bush Cronies Get Paid Off

FEMA breaks Katrina contracts pledge:

"The preliminary review did not address the validity of no-bid contracts issued right after the Aug. 29 storm. The fourth housing contractor, the Shaw Group, was not included in the audit.

The Shaw Group’s lobbyist, Joe Allbaugh, is a former FEMA director and friend of President Bush. Bechtel CEO Riley Bechtel served on Bush’s Export Council from 2003-2004, and CH2M Hill Inc. and Fluor Corp. have done extensive previous work for the government."

Roberts Appoints Conservative Ex-Starr Deputy to FISA Court

Think Progress:

"According to a new report by the Federation of American Scientists, Chief Justice John Roberts has appointed Judge John Bates to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Bates is replacing Judge James Robertson, who resigned last December to protest President Bush’s illegal domestic wiretapping program."

Requests to Build Big U.S. Bases in Iraq Raise Concern

Requests to Build Big U.S. Bases in Iraq Raise Concern:

"Questions on Capitol Hill about the future of the bases have been prompted by the new emergency spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week with $67.6 billion in funding for the war effort, including the base money.

Although the House approved the measure, lawmakers are demanding the Pentagon explain its base plans and have unanimously passed a provision blocking the use of funds for basing agreements with the Iraqi government.

'It's the kind of thing that incites terrorism,' said Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, of long-term or permanent U.S. bases in countries such as Iraq.

Paul, a critic of the war, is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that would make it official U.S. policy not to maintain such bases in Iraq. He noted that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden cited U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia as grounds for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement

Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement - The Boston Globe

"When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers."

...

David Golove, a New York University law professor who specializes in executive power issues, said the statement may simply be ''bluster" and does not necessarily mean that the administration will conceal information about its use of the Patriot Act.

But, he said, the statement illustrates the administration's ''mind-bogglingly expansive conception" of executive power, and its low regard for legislative power.

''On the one hand, they deny that Congress even has the authority to pass laws on these subjects like torture and eavesdropping, and in addition to that, they say that Congress is not even entitled to get information about anything to do with the war on terrorism," Golove said.

Hey, wait a minute, I thought everything was peachy in Afghanistan?

Karzai pressed on Convert's Life:

"Senior Muslim clerics demanded Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to 'pull him into pieces.'"

Censoring Censure

Censoring Censure:

"The opposition party that too rarely opposes appears to stand for nothing. There does not seem to be any principle, not even respect for the rule of law, that motivates most Democrats. As such, they come off as the party that will compromise on anything and everything in order to win elections. In so doing, cynical Democrats create another undeserved opening for Republicans who have argued, time and again and with considerable success, that Bush, Cheney and their Congressional allies may not always get things right but at least they operate from a place of conviction."

23.3.06

Another Bush War-Profiteer Emerges

Uncle Bucky, War Profiteer | Air America Radio:

"Filings with the SEC show that William H.T. Bush, known as “Uncle Bucky” to President George Bush, made $2.7 million dollars through Engineered Support Systems Inc., a company that has enjoyed unprecedented growth during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of the contracts awarded the company, some worth as much as $77 million, came on a no-bid basis—similar to those provided to Dick Cheney’s former employees at Halliburton. In fact, ESSI was awarded those contracts in spite of their apparently shoddy work; the government issued a stop order in 2005 due to faulty generators. Now, both the SEC and the U.S. Attorney in St. Louis are investigating why the stop order—which figured to seriously devalue stock—wasn’t disclosed for eight months, during which time Bush was able to liquidate all his stock in the company. Uncle Bucky offered a glib denial of playing any role in steering government contracts towards his company, saying, “I don’t dial the 202 area code”. Clearly another Washington outsider, in the grand Bush tradition."

In its Bi-monthly Human Rights Report UNAMI raises concerns about increased sectarian violence in Iraq

Show Article:

"In its bi-monthly report on the human rights situation in Iraq for the period 1 January to 28 February 2006, UNAMI noted “a marked deterioration in the security environment resulting in hundreds of cases of killings, torture, illegal detention and displacement” and called on the Government “to assert control over the security forces and all armed groups.” The report also stated that “families living in mixed neighborhoods were forcibly evicted from their homes or left voluntarily because of threats of violence from militias, insurgents and other armed groups.” Civilians, especially women and children, continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing human rights violations and, UNAMI called on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that citizens enjoy the rights and protection stipulated in the Iraqi laws as well as in the international treaties and agreements that Iraq has ratified."

Newspaper sues for documents in NSA wiretap case

USNews.com: Nation & World: :

"In a motion filed Friday, lawyers for the Oregonian Publishing Co. argued that it is in the public interest to know the contents of documents that could prove the existence of a potentially illegal domestic spying program.

'This appears to be the first case in which documents have been filed with the court demonstrating the National Security Agency's practice of wiretapping private conversations,' said Charles F. Hinkle, a lawyer for the publishing company. 'We are not interested in the content of the attorney-client communications. We are interested in what the government did.'"

22.3.06

2008 President Russ Feingold: New York Observer Profile

New York Observer:

"None of this fits any of the tried-and-true formulations in the red-and-blue American playbook. A mild- mannered Midwestern Senator—Russ Feingold—announces on a Sunday-morning chat show that he’s going to introduce a resolution to censure the President. His grounds are straightforward: that the President’s warrantless-wiretapping initiative violates the law and the constitutional separation of powers. His party’s leaders, all universally understood as coastal-elite figures drunk on their hatred of the President and hell-bent on his undoing—well, they flee en masse, literally hiding behind each other as inquiring reporters try to suss out what they make of the proposal.

“Both Democratic politicians and pundits are afraid,” Mr. Feingold said on March 21 by phone. He was between constituent tours during the week’s Congressional recess. “Time and again, they allow themselves to be intimidated from taking a strong stand against the administration.”

Mr. Feingold said that he came to the idea of censure after three months of watching the N.S.A. issue wend its way through Congress and flail slowly into nothingness. “Even though [Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen] Specter was trying to hold hearings, they were weak. [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales wasn’t addressing the issue. They were putting up a brick wall—their legal arguments were not persuasive."

“The only possible way to bring back the calm in Iraq is to release its Saddam” -

“The only possible way to bring back the calm in Iraq is to release its Saddam” -:

"The way Iraqis are living today shows clearly that they were indeed better off under Saddam.

Let me quote what Amnesty international said describing the situation in Iraq on the war’s second anniversary:

'The lawlessness and increased killings, abductions and rapes that followed the overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein have restricted women's freedom of movement and their ability to go to school or to work,

'Women have been subjected to sexual threats by members of the U.S.-led forces and some women detained by U.S. forces have been sexually abused, possibly raped,

'The lawlessness and increased killings, abductions and rapes that followed the overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein have restricted women's freedom of movement and their ability to go to school or to work'
.

But President Bush and the U.S. war allies refuse to admit reality, the reality we see in the daily scandals we hear about and see in Iraq, the abuse scandal, rape and killing of civilians, and many more.

The torture of detainees, surge in violence, and targeted killings that have plagued Iraq show that the fall of Saddam Hussein did not result in an end to the Iraqis sufferings.

The Iraqi nation continues to be the victim of violations of human rights and international law."

Mission Improbable: Even the neocons, who long for war with Iran, concede it isn’t feasible

Mission Improbable:

Amazing...

"Those seeking indications that George W. Bush’s “global war on terror” will next target Iran have had much to point to. With little prompting beyond the newly elected Iranian president Ahmad-inejad’s inflammatory statements about wiping Israel off the map, a robust 57 percent of Americans told pollsters that if diplomacy failed, they would back military action against Iran’s nuclear program. (Veteran Democratic pollster Pat Caddell remarked that he had never seen support for military action spike so quickly without a presidential speech or comparable high-level public mobilization.)

If the White House has been relatively circumspect, the War Party punditocracy has been thumping. Fox News host Sean Hannity has been calling the Iranian president whose name few Americans know “the new Hitler of our time”—Saddam no longer being suitable for the role. Presidential hopefuls of both parties are auditioning as tough guys: John McCain asserts that a nuclear-armed Iran is “unacceptable” while Hillary Clinton knocks the Bush administration for “outsourcing” its Iran policy to diplomacy-addicted Europeans. Other parallels to the Iraq run-up abound: the publication of books highlighting lurid accusations against Iran (including the absurd charge that Iran actually plotted 9/11 with Osama bin Laden) and the emergence of Iranian ethnic separatist or exile groups agitating inside the Beltway for American military action."

Another Guantanamo in Malaysia?

Amnesty International:

"Responding to the UN’s call to close Guantanamo, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah A. Badawi on 20 February 2006 demanded the US to shut down the detention centre. 'It is the opinion of many people that the camp should be closed because the photographs and stories about it that showed it is a prison where torture is carried out', he was quoted as saying.

Malaysian human rights groups called on the Prime Minister to apply the same principle to the Kamunting Detention Centre in Malaysia, where detainees are held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) without charge or trial. Chang Lih Kang, an activist from Malaysia with the Abolish the ISA Movement, said: “He is a leader who practices double standards”."

The next Dubai ports deal?

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: next Dubai ports deal? | csmonitor.com:

"The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project is a $250 billion program, spearheaded by the United States, to develop a next-generation stealth jet fighter.

...

A possible repeat of the Dubai ports debacle is only the latest turbulence in the JSF's development. The program has also led to clashes between longstanding allies US and Britain. The Guardian reports that last week, the British defense procurement minister, Lord Peter Drayson, told the US Senate that Britain would withdraw from the program if the White House and Pentagon did not agree to share technology so that Britain could maintain and adapt its own JSF fleet"

Interview with Ex-Neocon Francis Fukuyama: "A Model Democracy Is not Emerging in Iraq"

Interview with Ex-Neocon Francis Fukuyama: "A Model Democracy Is not Emerging in Iraq" - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News:

"The metaphor I use for the theory the Bush administration was operating under is that of a broken television set. The picture was flickering on and off. The hope was, if you take a big baseball bat and whack the TV as hard as you can, this would jar something loose and make the television set work. It wasn't more sophisticated than that. The idea was that the shock of overthrowing an Arab dictator and replacing him would stir things up. In certain ways it has. But it's a very, very blunt instrument and the television is as bad as ever."

Iranian Foreign Minister Asefi rejects US new charges on Iran

IRIB PERSIAN NEWS PAGE:

"Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wednesday denounced US allegations about the pesence of al-Qaeda agents in Iran as unfounded and said that such reports are spread over to cover up the visible inability of occupying forces to restore security in Iraq.

Hamid-Reza Asefi was surprised that 'how does the American government, which sticks to no international convention, dare speak about international responsibilities of other countries?'

Japan's Foreign Minister worried at India-U.S. nuclear deal's impact on nonproliferation

Kyodo News - Story:

"Foreign Minister Taro Aso on Wednesday expressed concern that a landmark pact on civilian nuclear cooperation which the United States and India agreed on earlier this month could undermine the framework of a global nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Referring to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Aso said at a parliamentary panel he is ''most concerned about it losing substance'' after the agreement was struck between the United States, which is a signatory to the international treaty, and India, which is not a party to it.

''I told U.S. Secretary of State (Condoleezza) Rice during our talks that Japan, even if asked by the United States to support it, cannot easily oblige, as this would definitely be called a double standard,'' he said, referring to his talks with Rice on Saturday in Australia."

Sick piss ant only gets six months in jail

Top News Article | Reuters.com

"Sgt. Michael Smith, 24, faced up to 8 1/2 years in prison after he was found guilty on six of 13 counts brought against him. He will also have his rank reduced to private and must pay a total of $2,250 in fines for harassing and threatening inmates in 2003 and 2004, Army spokeswoman Shaunteh Kelly said.

After he serves his 179-day sentence, he will be released from the military with a bad conduct discharge, Kelly said. That is one step above a dishonorable discharge."

21.3.06

Iraqi Video Details Results of Attack by US Troops on Iraqi Civlian Family in Haditha


Iraqi Video:

"A videotape taken by an Iraqi shows the aftermath of an alleged attack by U.S. troops on civilians in their homes in a western town last November: a blood-smeared bedroom floor and bits of what appear to be human flesh and bullet holes on the walls.

An Iraqi human rights group condemned the bloodshed in the town of Haditha, saying Tuesday that it could be 'one of dozens of incidents that were not revealed.'"

'CIA must have Switched Sakka'

ZAMAN DAILY NEWSPAPER -- TURKEY:

"Attending the preparation inquiry on Louia Sakka, Ilhami Sayan, a lawyer for Hamed Obysi appearing in the same trial, reported his suspicion about the defendant’s identity.

Claiming that Sakka might have been switched by the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Sayan continued: 'I saw him twice during the pre-trial inquiry. I never forget someone I have seen before. Sakka was tall and thin, but the person appearing here is fat and of medium height. I met him twice in prison too. The man I initially saw was Sakka, but I am not sure after my second meeting. I am assuming the CIA switched Sakka to silence him. We have concerns for his life.'"

Afghanistan splits with US on question of terror by Iran

The News International Pakistan

"Afghanistan's foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah has said that his country did not share Washington's concerns about Iran as a terrorist threat, saying Kabul has benefitted from Tehran's aid.

In answer to a question at a Washington press conference about alleged evidence of Iranian terrorism in Afghanistan, Abdullah said: 'We have established good neighborly relations with almost all our neighboring countries.'

'Iran has been helping us in the reconstruction process. Iran has been supportive of the political process in Afghanistan," Abdullah said here after two days of talks with senior Washington officials.

'Friends of Afghanistan have encouraged always promotion of good relations in interactions between Afghanistan and its neighbors,' he said, adding that on the question of terrorism, 'we don't have evidence of ... efforts against Afghanistan" by Iran.'"

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei Comments on talks with the US regarding Iraq

IRIB PERSIAN NEWS PAGE:

"Concerning comments on the negotiation with America about Iraq, Ayatollah Khamenei reaffirmed Iran's previous positions and said: 'We declare that we will not negotiate on Iran-America's grounds of contentions, because in their logic, negotiation lacks its true meaning, rather it is just a to ol to impose their demasnds on the other side.'

Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to an impudent, distortional and improper treatment of American officials toward the subject, adding that American officials inside Iraq or outside have repeatedly called on Iran for negotiation which fell on deaf ears. However, as the calls were repeated more, the Iranian officials considered the possibility that negotiation about Iraq may be effective to defuse tragic insecurity in the country and agreed to transfer their views to the United States.

Touching on the role of American, British and Israeli intelligent bodies in creating insecurity in Iraq, Ayatollah Khamenei said: 'Our specified viewpoint about Iraq is that the American government must hand off the country and give up inciting sectarian feelings and creating insecurity there so that calm and security is restored to the country and the Iraqi nation itself run it.'

Referring to the allegations of the American officials that Iran wants to negotiate with America on various issues, Ayatollah Khamenei said: 'American officials demonstrated their domineering trait in the recent event and said that the negotiations equals to summoning Iranian officials. We tell them that you are damned wrong to summon Iranian officials.'"

Dog Handler Guilty of Inmate Abuse at Abu Ghraib

Dog Handler Guilty of Inmate Abuse at Abu Ghraib - New York Times:

Note to self: if this horrible pissant is sentenced, check the list of presidential pardons in January 2009 for his name...

"A military jury found the defendant, Sgt. Michael J. Smith, 24, guilty of 6 of the 13 counts lodged against him, although the judge said later that he would not consider one of the six counts in determining sentence because it duplicated another. Sergeant Smith could face more than eight years in prison, forfeiture of pay and a dishonorable discharge. Had he been convicted of all counts, he would have been subject to more than 24 years in prison"

Withdrawal of occupying troops, the most significant prerequisite for talks with the US

Fars News Agency :: Withdrawal of occupying troops, the most significant prerequisite for talks with the US:

"The parliament member termed withdrawal of the occupying troops as Iran's prerequisites for attending the said talks and concluded, 'presence of the occupying troops constitutes the most important factor underlying the insecurities in Iraq, thus, foreign troops must go out of that country and those elected by the Iraqi people must have the right to determine their own fate; this is the Iraqi people's national demand.' "

A Brief Look at The US Director of National Intelligence: John Negroponte

Political Affairs Magazine - Negroponte

"Remember when Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, from 1981 to 1985? While there he earned the distinction of being accused of widespread human rights violations by the Honduras Commission on Human Rights while he worked as "a tough cold warrior who enthusiastically carried out President Ronald Reagan's strategy," according to cables sent between Negroponte and Washington during his tenure there.

The human rights violations carried out by Negroponte were described as "systematic."

These violations Negroponte oversaw in Honduras were carried out by operatives trained by the CIA. Records document his "special intelligence units," better known as "death squads," comprised of CIA-trained Honduran armed units which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people. Victims also included US missionaries (similar to Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq) who happened to witness many of the atrocities.

Negroponte had full knowledge of these activities, while he made sure US military aid to Honduras increased from $4 million to $77.4 million a year during his tenure, and the tiny country became so jammed with US soldiers it was dubbed the "USS Honduras."

It is also important to remember that Negroponte oversaw construction of the air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the US. This air base, El Aguacate, was also used as a secret detention and torture center during his time in Honduras.

While Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, civilian deaths sky-rocketed into the tens of thousands. During his first full year, the local newspapers carried no less than 318 stories of extra-judicial attacks by the military.

He has been described as an "old fashioned imperialist" and got his start during the Vietnam War in the CIA's Phoenix program, which assassinated some 40,000 Vietnamese "subversives."

Negroponte's death squads used electric shock and suffocation devices in interrogations, kept their prisoners naked, and when a prisoner was no longer useful he was brutally executed.

Outraged at the human rights abuses by the Reagan-Bush administration, in 1984 Nicaragua took its case to the World Court in The Hague. The decision of the court was for the Reagan-Bush administration to terminate its "unlawful use of force" in international terrorism and pay substantial reparations to the victims. The White House responded by brushing off the court's findings and vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions that affirmed the judgment that all states must observe international law.

In the middle of Negroponte's tenure in Iraq, the Pentagon (read Donald Rumsfeld) openly considered using assassination and kidnapping teams there, led by the Special Forces.

Referred to not-so-subtly as "the Salvador option," the January 2005 rhetoric from the Pentagon publicized a proposal that would send Special Forces teams to "advise, support and possibly train" Iraqi "squads." Members of these squads would be hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga militia and Shia Badr militiamen used to target Sunni resistance fighters and their sympathizers.

What better man to make this happen than John Negroponte? His experience made him the perfect guy for the job. What a nice coincidence that he just happened to be in Baghdad when the Pentagon/Rumsfeld were discussing "the Salvador option."

Fast forward to present day Iraq, which is a situation described by the Washington Post in this way: "Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday - blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound."

The Independent newspaper from London recently reports that hundreds of Iraqis each month are tortured to death or executed by death squads working out of the Shia-run Ministry of Interior."

US Mideast Policy Motivated by Pro-Israel Lobby

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

"Observers in Washington said yesterday that the study was liable to stir up a tempest and spur renewed debate about the function of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby. The Fatah office in Washington distributed the article to an extensive mailing list.

"No lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially identical," write the authors of the study."


This is a link to the Working Paper by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

"Furthermore, the Lobby’s campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the United States to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects. We do not need another Iraq. At a minimum, the Lobby’s hostility toward these countries makes it especially difficult for Washington to enlist them against al Qaeda and he Iraqi insurgency, where their help is badly needed.

There is a moral dimension here as well. Thanks to the Lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the occupied territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians. This situation undercuts Washington’s efforts to promote democracy abroad and makes it look hypocritical when it presses othe states to respect human rights. U.S. efforts to limit nuclear proliferation appear equally hypocritical given its willingness to accept Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which encourages Iran and others to seek similar capabilities."

Pakistani Taliban take control of unruly tribal belt

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Pakistani Taliban take control of unruly tribal belt:

"A powerful new militia dubbed 'the Pakistani Taliban' has effectively seized control of swaths of the country's northern tribal areas in recent months, triggering alarm in Islamabad and marking a big setback in America's 'war on terror'.

...

President Pervez Musharraf has vowed to quell the revolt. Since declaring a curfew in Miran Shah, government troops have regained control. But some people are worried. "The so-called war on terror is going badly," said one diplomat.

Comparisons to the emergence of the Afghan Taliban in the early 1990s are increasing..."

20.3.06

Iraqi diplomat--serving as a CIA spy--gave Bush Accurate Pre-war WMD Details

Iraqi diplomat gave U.S. prewar WMD details:

In the NBC story linked to above, NBC remains politically wrong/correct, stating that Bush 'erroneously believed' Iraq had WMDs--but, we know better. I am sure that this will be spun so that we are told to believe the CIA never told Bush about it. Suggested Bush spinquote on the subject: "Gotta connect the dots! hahaah. No one told me. ehhhgh. That's why we gotta spy on folks...get them dots before they get us!"

The NBC article states, inter alia,

"In the period before the Iraq war, the CIA and the Bush administration erroneously believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding major programs for weapons of mass destruction. Now NBC News has learned that for a short time the CIA had contact with a secret source at the highest levels within Saddam Hussein’s government, who gave them information far more accurate than what they believed. It is a spy story that has never been told before, and raises new questions about prewar intelligence."

On the CIA spy/diplomat, here is link regarding Sabri and his efforts to avert the invasion/occupation in 2002.

Here is an excerpt:
Sabri has been part of the ongoing high-level talks with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and chief U.N. weapons inspector Dr. Hans Blix. And it was Sabri, along with Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who delivered the letter in September from the Iraqi government to Annan saying Saddam Hussein would allow weapons inspectors back into Iraq.

U.N. Investigator on Torture Pushes for Gitmo Closure

U.N. Investigator Pushes for Gitmo Closure:

"Their continued detention 'is illegal under international human rights law,' Nowak said at EU headquarters in Brussels. He said the detainees should be given fair trials or set free.

Nowak, the special U.N. investigator on torture, was one of the authors of a U.N. report last month that said the U.S. must close Guantanamo.

'I hope that the European Union will take up our main recommendation in their dialogue with the United States,' Nowak said. 'The main recommendation is to close as quickly as possible the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities.'"

This is a link to the UN Report.

Civilian Massacre in Haditha, Iraq?

TIME.com: Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha? -- Page 1:

Last November, U.S. Marines killed 15 Iraqi civilians in their homes. Was it self-defense, an accident or cold-blooded revenge? A Time exclusive

"According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. Human-rights activists say that if the accusations are true, the incident ranks as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. service members since the war began."

Pakistan rejects nuclear disparity with India

Only www.jang.com.pk is original The News International Pakistan

Pakistan on Monday rejected what it called "discriminatory" treatment following the Bush administration’s decision to sign a civilian nuclear deal with India.

Responding to a question about what exactly the government’s position was regarding the much-trumpeted deal as different statements were being heard from the government over the last few weeks, Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told a weekly press briefing: "Discrimination is not acceptable to Pakistan. We believe this deal is not helpful to the stability of South Asia and international non-proliferation. Regardless of India’s policy, Pakistan has its own interest in acquiring nuclear power generation. These and the spent fuel are already under the IAEA and we are ready to put forward future nuclear power plants under the IAEA also."

Bush threatens Iran

Bush threatens Iran:

"US President George W Bush said on Monday he hoped to resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran with diplomacy, but warned Tehran he would 'use military might' if necessary to defend Israel.

The US president accused Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons and called that 'unacceptable behaviour' but stressed that 'our objective is to solve this issue diplomatically'.

Bush also referred to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 'serious threat' against Israel and warned that if necessary, 'we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel'."

The White House says spying on terrorism suspects without court approval is OK. What about physical searches?

USNews.com: The White House says spying on terrorism suspects without court approval is OK. What about physical searches?:

"But in a little-noticed white paper submitted by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to Congress on January 19 justifying the legality of the NSA eavesdropping, Justice Department lawyers made a tacit case that President Bush also has the inherent authority to order such physical searches. In order to fulfill his duties as commander in chief, the 42-page white paper says, 'a consistent understanding has developed that the president has inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches and surveillance within the United States for foreign intelligence purposes.' The memo cites congressional testimony of Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, in 1994 stating that the Justice Department 'believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes.'

'Black-bag jobs.' Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse says the white paper cited the Gorelick testimony simply to bolster its legal defense of the NSA's electronic surveillance program. Roehrkasse points out that Justice Department lawyers have told Congress that the NSA program 'described by the president does not involve physical searches.' But John Martin, a former Justice Department attorney who prosecuted the two most important cases involving warrantless searches and surveillance, says the department is sending an unambiguous message to Congress. 'They couldn't make it clearer,' says Martin, 'that they are also making the case for inherent presidential power to conduct warrantless physical searches.'"

So why are you still here?

Al-Ahram Weekly | Region | So why are you still here?:

"Janan Ali, a Mustansariya University professor, is a critic of US policy in Iraq. 'Since the first days of the occupation, and having failed to find mass destruction weapons or establish a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda, the US administration has been telling us that it was keeping its troops in Iraq to prevent civil war. US forces have attacked several Iraqi cities on the pretext of protecting Iraqis. And now the US administration has just confessed it was lying all along. There is no more justification for Arab and international silence on the matter. The Iraqis have warned repeatedly that the continued occupation would lead to civil war.'"

Kadhafi says Saddam still legitimate Iraqi leader | Occupation government is illegal

Kadhafi says Saddam still legitimate Iraqi leader, government illegal - Yahoo! News:

"Kadhafi said that 'Saddam Hussein cannot be tried because he is a prisoner of war and under the Geneva Convention should be released at the end of hostilities.

'Saddam is still to be considered the legal president of Iraq because he was not overthrown by the people but by the occupation forces.'

...

'The invasion of Iraq was not justified because Saddam had already abandoned weapons of mass destruction,' Kadhafi added, referring to the main US pretext for invading Iraq three years ago."

Iraqi police report details civilians' deaths at hands of U.S. troops

KR Washington Bureau | 03/19/2006 | Iraqi police report details civilians' deaths at hands of U.S. troops:

"Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said."

Bush's Executive Order 13397

06-2362.pdf (application/pdf Object)

huh?

Title: Responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security With Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

If Bush Ruled the World

If Bush ruled the world - News & Features - International Herald Tribune:

"Intellectual poverty is the most striking quality of the Bush administration's new National Security Strategy statement, issued on Thursday. Its overall incoherence, its cliches and stereotyped phraseology give the impression that Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, and his fellow authors assembled it from the boilerplate of bureaucratic discourse with contempt for the Congress to whom it is primarily addressed.

...

The statement's only visible purpose is to address a further threat to Iran, as its predecessor, in 2002, threatened Iraq. The only actual 'strategy' that can be deduced from it is that the Bush administration wishes to rule the world. The document is nonsensical in content, insulting to other nations and unachievable in declared intention.

If people read it to find a statement of American foreign policy's objective, they will learn that the United States has 'the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.' Good luck.

The document's foreign readers will have two reactions. The first will be that it can't be serious. The second will be that it has to be taken seriously since these people have spent three ruinous years in a futile effort to control Iraq; they must be assumed capable of doing the same thing again to Iran."

19.3.06

Attorney for Guantánamo Detainee Responds to New Jag Statements that Interrogation Broke Rules

CCR:

"'The JAG officers' description of these brutal interrogation tactics contradicts the military's previous claims that the abuse of Mr. al-Qahtani fell within the permissible bounds of military regulations, as asserted in the Schmidt Investigation. Now, the JAG officers are finally alerting the U.S. Senate and the Bush Administration that these interrogations tactics violate military policy. The examples cited by the JAG officers do not even include the harshest tactics my client faced, including the threatening use of dogs, months of isolation, severe and lengthy sleep deprivation and forced dehydration."

Attorneys Representing Guantánamo Detainees React to Shocking Guantánamo Suicide Letter Just Released by The U.S.

CCR:

"'Jumah's letter is a haunting reminder of the meeting I had with him just before he slashed and hung himself. Jumah had repeatedly begged us to get him out of isolation. Because our request to the court for this relief was denied on technical grounds, we implored the military to hold Jumah under more humane conditions, and we continue to do so. Our grave fear is that if the military persists in denying our requests, Jumah, who by the military's own count has tried to kill himself ten times in U.S. custody, will not survive Guantanamo,' "

Rumsfeld is a 'uniter and not a divider'

CNN.com - Rumsfeld's Iraq-Germany analogy disputed - Mar 19, 2006:

"Henry Kissinger, who served with U.S. forces in Germany at the end of World War II and who served as secretary of state under Republican Presidents Nixon and Ford, said the situations are not analogous.

'In Germany, the opposition was completely crushed; there was no significant resistance movement,' the German-born diplomat told CNN's 'Late Edition.'

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser under President Carter, a Democrat, was less charitable.

'That is really absolutely crazy to anyone who knows history,' he said. 'There was no alternative to our presence. The Germans were totally crushed. For Secretary Rumsfeld to be talking this way suggests either he doesn't know history or he's simply demagoguing.'"

The farcical end of the American dream | The US press is supposed to be challenging the lies of this war

The farcical end of the American dream:

"Datelined Washington - an odd city in which to learn about Iraq, you might think - its opening paragraph reads: 'Despite the recent arrest of one of his would-be suicide bombers in Jordan and some top aides in Iraq, insurgency mastermind Abu Musab Zarqawi has eluded capture, US authorities say, because his network has a much better intelligence-gathering operation than they do.'

Now quite apart from the fact that many Iraqis - along, I have to admit, with myself - have grave doubts about whether Zarqawi exists, and that al-Qai'da's Zarqawi, if he does exist, does not merit the title of 'insurgency mastermind', the words that caught my eye were 'US authorities say'. And as I read through the report, I note how the Los Angeles Times sources this extraordinary tale. I thought American reporters no longer trusted the US administration, not after the mythical weapons of mass destruction and the equally mythical connections between Saddam and the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001. Of course, I was wrong."

Bush Blocks Ex-Hostages' Bid for Damages From Iran

Administration Blocks Ex-Hostages' Bid for Damages From Iran:

"The answer is rooted in diplomatic obligations and a wariness about favoring one set of terrorism victims over others. U.S. officials express sympathy for the former hostages. But the administration has thwarted every effort in the courts or in Congress to win a monetary judgment against Iran, even as other victims of Iranian-linked terrorism have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.

...

But last week the State Department objected when Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) tried to address the issue in a House bill that would maintain sanctions against Iran for its links to terrorism, forcing the lawmaker to withdraw his proposal.

"We have 52 of our finest Americans who were held hostage," Sherman said. "They go to court, and you know who appears against them? The State Department."

For his failures, Rumsfeld must go

For his failures, Rumsfeld must go - Editorials & Commentary - International Herald Tribune:

"In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to America's mission in Iraq. Rumsfeld must step down."

‘Impeach Bush’ chorus grows

‘Impeach Bush’ chorus grows - Sunday Times - Times Online:

"THE movement to impeach President George W Bush over the war on terror began with a few tatty bumper stickers on the back of battered old Volvos and slogans such as “Bush lied, people died” on far-left websites. But as Democrat hopes rise of gaining control of Congress this autumn, dreams of impeaching Bush are no longer confined to the political fringe."

Statement on the 2006 National Security Strategy

Statement on the 2006 National Security Strategy:

",,,[T]he 2006 strategy eerily echoes its 2002 predecessor by reaffirming the discredited doctrine of pre-emption, while shifting the presumed target of that doctrine from Iraq to Iran. This shift is ironic, since the Administration's all-encompassing, four-year preoccupation with Iraq afforded Iran the time and space to pursue its nuclear ambitions and undermine U.S. security interests in the Middle East.

Another glaring contradiction in the new strategy is the statement that 'genocide must not be tolerated,' while at the same time it fails to name the government of Sudan as the perpetrator of the genocide in Darfur—or to include Sudan on the list of tyrannical, abusive governments. Worse still, the Administration's strategy is silent on whether and how the U.S. will finally act effectively to end the three year long genocide in Darfur.

The strategy is also striking for its omissions, notably its failure to devote sufficient urgency or attention to the grave dangers posed by North Korea, whose nuclear arsenal has grown an estimated four-fold since the last strategy was released. And the NSS totally ignores the serious long term threat to the U.S. and the world resulting from global warming."

U.S. Cites Exception in Torture Ban

U.S. Cites Exception in Torture Ban:

"Bush administration lawyers, fighting a claim of torture by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, yesterday argued that the new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at the military prison.

In federal court yesterday and in legal filings, Justice Department lawyers contended that a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, cannot use legislation drafted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to challenge treatment that the detainee's lawyers described as 'systematic torture.'"