6.5.06

Rose-Petal Shortage in Basra | Iraqis instead greet with Molotovs: How Basra riots turned bloody

The Observer | World | How Basra riots turned bloody:
We can confirm that there has been a helicopter crash in Basra,' said Major Sebastian Muntz, a British military spokesman in the city. 'British troops are on the scene assisting and emergency services are present.' It was fire crews fighting the flames around the helicopters who told local reporters that there were four charred bodies.

As the British troops moved into the site they were met by a hail of stones from a crowd of several hundred angry people. Molotov cocktails impacted on the armour of the Warrior fighting vehicles sending gouts of orange fire into the air. Soldiers emerged periodically to douse the flames.

...

The most recent incident comes at the beginning of the hot season when temperatures soar and the failure of the coalition to successfully provide electricity and water to millions of people in southern Iraq is resented more profoundly than ever.

As night fell yesterday, the situation had calmed and a curfew was in place. Nevertheless one analyst was prompted to comment: 'We can expect a hot summer, from every point of view.'

Iran is the key to Jack Straw's demotion

Comment is free: Iran is the key to Jack Straw's demotion:

one hears rumours that bush called blair to tell him to fire straw...
The key to the demotion of Jack Straw from foreign secretary is Iran. Mr Straw for more than a year, in his favourite outlet the BBC Today programme or at various press conferences, said repeatedly a military strike on Iran was inconceivable.

Politicians always try to avoid boxing themselves in, but Straw did on this issue: if a military strike had become a serious option, he would have been forced to resign. He was reflecting the reality of British domestic politics. Against the background of the Iraq debacle, Mr Straw knew it would be difficult to win support for the military option in cabinet and that it would create even more upheaval among the membership of the already weakened Labour party.

The problem for Mr Straw is that Tony Blair does not view Iran the same way. He regards the threat posed by Iran as the most serious in the world today, and is even more messianic on the issue than George Bush. That does not mean that a military strike will happen but Mr Blair, like Mr Bush, thinks it is a good idea to keep the option on the table, if only to keep Iran guessing.

Former Afghani Prime Minister Hikmatyar video

Aljazeera.Net - Aljazeera airs Hikmatyar video:

Qalb al-Din Hikmatyar, the leader and founder of the Hizbi Islami political party, also said he was ready to fight alongside Sheikh Osama bin Laden and blamed the ongoing conflicts in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan on US interference.

The dissident said the US had started the battles in the three countries by invading Muslim lands and imposing direct rule on them, or by imposing their agents.

...
Hikmatyar fought to remove the former Soviet Union from the country in the late 1980s. He was made prime minister before he had to leave Kabul when the Taliban swept into power in 1996. He is now allied to his former foes, theTaliban, and is wanted by the US.

The U.S. set to lose another war

The U.S. set to lose another war -:

The Iranians believe that the resolution is an insult to the basic principle that governs international affairs; that all countries deserve equal treatment under the law. 'If anything, the draft indicates the intention of those who drafted it to create a crisis where a crisis is not needed, to create an atmosphere of tension which our region does not need, and which can be avoided simply by allowing serious, reasonable, sober discussion,' said Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations.

The White House knows that the resolution has slim chances of winning UN approval. But it seems that the Bush Administration has no intention to obey international law or follow the United Nations’ rules. After the resolution fails in the Security Council, the administration plans to launch a campaign to discredit the Council as “irrelevant” while preparing for a unilateral attack.

Iran sees oil bourse in two months

The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily:

cheney will take care of this one...
“Our specialists are currently working on the plan and the bourse will start working within the next two months,” President Ahmadinejad told a regional conference in the Azeri capital of Baku.

Iranian officials have previously said the bourse would be a small pilot operation trading only two or three petrochemical products and it would start before March 2007, a delay from previous plans.

Western media and think-tanks have speculated that Iran’s oil bourse could undermine the importance of the dollar by pricing the world’s fourth biggest exports of crude in euros."

US air attack in Ramadi kills 13 civilians, injures 4

Aljazeera.Net - Many Iraqis killed in US air attack:

Ali al-Ubaidi, a medic at the Ramadi hospital said: 'US planes bombed a house in the Aziziya area of Ramadi city centre, killing 13 civilians.' Four others were wounded, he added.

The US military confirmed it had conducted the assault, but did not immediately give further information. Ramadi, populated by Sunni Arabs, is considered the most dangerous city in Iraq for US forces.

5.5.06

is it hitler yet? fuhrer bush says he is fighting 'world war iii'


Bush calls terror fight WWIII - North America - Breaking News 24/7 - NEWS.com.:

this is a sick fucker...
In an interview with the financial news network CNBC, Mr Bush said he had yet to see the recently released film of the uprising, a dramatic portrayal of events on the United Airlines plane before it crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

But he said he agreed with the description of David Beamer, whose son Todd died in the crash, who in a Wall Street Journal commentary last month called it 'our first successful counter-attack in our homeland in this new global war, World War III'.

Mr Bush said: 'I believe that. I believe that it was the first counter-attack to World War III.'

Whoa! Hold the phone, this is bullshit!

as bush's teacher said:
propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand.
the myth of zarqawi

on april 30th, we are told the following:
American officials said that Mr. Zarqawi's 34-minute video, which was broadcast on Tuesday on a Web site used by jihadist groups, was the most surprising of the three statements. In the video, Mr. Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the hotel bombings last November in Amman, Jordan, that killed at least 57 people. Intelligence officials have said that such claims of responsibility are an effective fund-raising tool.

Yesterday, we were told that:
During an early morning raid on a suspected safe house in the town just south of Baghdad on April 16, soldiers killed five occupants and captured five more in a fierce gunfight. The officials said they were later told by Iraqis captured in the raid that Mr. Zarqawi was only blocks away at the time.

The video outtakes and the plans to drive out Shiites, among other documents, were found in the house, General Lynch said, confirming an account first reported in Army Times.
and today, we have this:

The US military said the two sets of images were part of the same video. It said the unflattering clips came from a longer video seized by US troops in a raid last month.
So, we are still left wondering over the coincidence of the US accidently stumbling on either a second tape of the entire thing and the alleged 'islamic jihadi' website edited the 'blooper' out before posting; or, the 'islamic jihadi' version was edited by zarqawi and they received the tape as it was shown on this alleged site; or, the shorter 'i-j' tape... i don't know...

on 10.11.05, i pointed to a new24.com article that questioned whether zarqawi exists:
"Zarqawi is ... a myth that America has created to put a face to the terrorism it wants to stoke in this country to justify its continued presence" Sheik Amer al-Husseini, a top aide to radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

"If there was no more terrorism in Iraq, there would be no reason for the United States to remain ... making it harder for them to ... force this constitution on Iraqis," said al-Husseini.

Also, on 3.18.06, i linked to an essay that says:
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."
on 4.18.06, war-criminal rumsfeld said:
For one thing, Rumsfeld said it was important to 'recognize that the terrorists, Zarqawi and bin Laden and Zawahiri, those people have media committees. They are actively out there trying to manipulate the press in the United States. They are very good at it. They're much better at (laughing) managing those kinds of things than we are.'"

Ex-U.S. negotiator on North Korea faults Bush

USNews.com: Nation & World: Ex-U.S. negotiator on North Korea faults Bush:

hmmm....unless he wants it that way for other purposes...
Kelly has kept a fairly low profile since leaving the administration early last year and has held any criticisms largely in private. However, as a keynote speaker at the forum Kelly criticized the 'unjustified fear that we should avoid direct, bilateral contacts' with the North. He said they 'are natural and in no way need to impede the six-party process.'

Kelly went on to describe the relative lack of face-to-face meetings as an 'awkward absence' that has given Pyongyang a 'handy excuse for North Korea to delay.' Kelly also called the situation 'probably tactically unwise.'

Bush Black Shirts look to lose another attempt at Police State

WSJ.com - Court Challenges Rules on Wiretaps For Internet Calls:

"A federal appeals court on Friday challenged the Federal Communications Commission's rules making it easier for law-enforcement authorities to wiretap Internet phone calls. One judge called the government's arguments 'gobbledygook.'

The skepticism, expressed so openly toward the government's case during oral arguments before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, emboldened civil-liberties and education groups who argued that the U.S. improperly applied telephone-era rules to a new generation of Internet services. The court's decision is expected within several months.

'Your argument makes no sense,' Judge Harry T. Edwards told FCC lawyer Jacob Lewis. 'When you go back to the office, have a big chuckle. I'm not missing this. This is ridiculous.' At another point, Judge Edwards called the FCC arguments 'gobbledygook' and 'nonsense.'

Judge Edwards appeared skeptical over the FCC's decision to require that providers of Internet phone service and broadband services ensure their equipment can accommodate police wiretaps under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. The rules go into effect in May 2007.

John W. Dean III: The Conservative Case for President Bush's Exercise of Presidential Powers

FindLaw's Writ - Dean: The Conservative Case for President Bush's Exercise of Presidential Powers Why It Fails to Convince, and Ignores Mainstream View on the Constitution:

Former New York Times reporter and columnist Anthony Lewis addressed Bush and Cheney's 'unrestrained presidential power' by noting that 'President Bush and his lawyers argue that he can do what he wants [even] in fields where Congress has explicitly pre-empted the process.' As examples, Lewis mentioned Bush's refusal to comply with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress in 1978 made the 'exclusive means' by which such intelligence can be gathered; Bush's contention that the laws (treaties and statutes) prohibiting torture do not apply to his presidency; and most striking, Bush's claim that he can 'have American citizens arrested on suspicion of a connection with terrorism, and held indefinitely in solitary confinement, without a trial and without access to a lawyer.'

Lewis believes 'the menace of unrestrained presidential power is greater today … more tenacious[]' than when President Truman sought to seize the American steel mills in 1952, to prevent a strike that could hamper the ability to protect American interests in the Korean War. He deemed Bush's actions more troubling than Truman's because unlike the Korean War - indeed, all previous wars -- the war on terror has no end. 'So the power successfully claimed by Bush today,' Lewis pointed out, 'will be available to Presidents for an indefinite time.'

Singling out one of Bush's lawyers, Professor John Yoo, Lewis described his recent book The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs After 9/11, as 'preposterous' in its claim 'that the framers of our Constitution did not have the President in mind when they embraced the idea of the separation of powers.' During the Truman years, Lewis noted, such legal arguments, when offered by the government, were dismissed by federal courts as 'grotesque'; today, however, Lewis remarked, making such arguments 'has become an industry' with conservative lawyers.

Lewis reminded all of Justice Jackson's admonition in the Court's ruling rejecting Truman's power grab in Youngstown: 'With all its defects, delays and inconveniences, men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations.'

Real revolution begins in the mind

Real revolution begins in the mind:

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

There’s a surah in the Qur’an called 'Al Nur' (The Light). It is the light of the sun as it strikes the Earth that causes the Earth to make its revolution, giving us a change of seasons. There is no real revolution until the light of knowledge strikes our minds and there comes a transformation of the mind. The gun can never transform the mind; only greater knowledge can transform the mind. So the real revolution must now begin, and this real revolution is that each of us who are revolutionaries must work to overthrow the government of Satan, or the government of the rulers who have dominated our lives and our minds.

They brought us to their colleges to educate us to fit into their world, and into their system. No matter how many degrees we have, until we have a sufficient degree in the knowledge of God, in the knowledge of self, in the knowledge of our own purpose for existence, then we will only re-fashion their knowledge and keep the true revolution at bay. The real overthrow of the mind of our enemy must take place because there are many of us, knowingly or unknowingly, that are still pawns in the hands of the forces of imperialism—agents of those forces, while at the same time saying they are revolutionaries.

We can’t play games with the people today...

Committee Against Torture Diary | May 4, 2006


Human Rights First | Us Law & Security | Committee Against Torture Diary | May 4, 2006

Some organizations addressed domestic concerns, while others, including Human Rights First, focused on the U.S. conduct in the “global war on terror.” Testimony was given on secret detentions (or disappearances, which earn U.S. condemnation when committed by other countries) and extraordinary rendition (kidnapping people and delivering them to other countries for extrajudicial detention and interrogation, where they face torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment). Presenters also pointed to the inherent lack of reliability of diplomatic assurances from countries with dismal human rights records that they will not torture detainees rendered to them by the United States. (The United States relies on diplomatic assurances to negate claims that the United States transfers individuals to torture.) The reliance on diplomatic assurances is of particular concern these days surrounding the Administration’s announced plan to transfer detainees out of Guantánamo. Some of the detainees may be at risk of torture if returned to their countries of origin.

The use of evidence gained through torture, the continued failure by the Administration to disavow practices such as waterboarding, stress positions, sensory assaults and deprivation were also discussed. As to these and other abuses, a constant theme was impunity. It was also noted that prosecution for “war on terror” abuses may require the approval of the very individuals who had a role in promulgating legal guidance that was used to justify the abusive practices, such as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

I briefed the Committee on the McCain Amendment – a law prohibiting cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by any of U.S. agents anywhere in the world. I stressed to the Committee that the enactment of the law, while laudable, is not enough. It needs to be implemented from top to bottom - all the way up and all the way down the chain of command.

4.5.06

Cheney attacks on Russia "incomprehensible"

Cheney attacks on Russia "incomprehensible":

welcome to our world, russia! no one here thinks he makes sense either...
The Kremlin on Thursday rejected as 'completely incomprehensible' remarks by Vice President Dick Cheney that Russia was backsliding on democracy and using its vast energy supplies to bully its neighbors.

'The speech of Mr. Cheney in our opinion is full of a subjective evaluation of us and of the processes that are going on in Russia. The remarks ... are completely incomprehensible for us,' said Kremlin deputy spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

When will Bush invade Venezuela for the oil?

Showdown with Chavez?

Too many countries for Bush to hate; so little time to invade them all...
America simply cannot risk losing its oil imports from Venezuela, the fifth-largest producer of oil. We are not doing enough to isolate or neutralize Mr. Chavez from the rest of the world. Underestimating and not seeking favorable world opinion has left us few bargaining chips.
Anti-American resentment will continue costing us blood, money and oil, and will only worsen, until the president makes a concerted effort to reverse this trend. He must either firmly deal with the likes of Mr. Chavez or move against him and his kind.

Of course, these first attempts should be aggressive diplomatic efforts. In this regard, we need to ensure specifically that Hugo Chavez does not become our next Fidel Castro. It is absolutely necessary for the United States to solidify and improve its political and economic alliances with South and Central American states by ensuring it is not in any states' interest to ally themselves with a pseudo-democratic Mr. Chavez.

Sad to say, it may already be too late for the Bush administration to garner favorable public support from South and Central Americans, but laying the groundwork now could be a necessary and worthy effort to be carried over to future administrations.

S. Korean Police Storm U.S. Base Protest

S. Korean Police Storm U.S. Base Protest - New York Times:

US again shows it has no shame:
Thousands of police armed with batons stormed an abandoned school in South Korea on Thursday to evict activists who were protesting plans to expand a U.S. military base, sparking clashes that resulted in dozens of injuries.

...

Several villages on the outskirts of Pyeongtaek, a city of 360,000 people, must be razed for the base construction. The government has offered residents financial compensation to move out of their homes, but many residents have strongly objected to the plans.

''We've reached a judgment that we can no longer delay this project, considering that unless this project progresses normally, it would hurt (the country's) diplomatic trust and incur an additional financial burden,'' Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung said in a statement after the clash.

3.5.06

The disgustingly immoral treatment of an Australian Guantanamo detainee by the US > Is that a surprise? It shouldn't be...

The Daily Telegraph | Hicks lawyer responds to Gitmo:

First, the Army regulation only requires that pre-trial military personnel be housed separately from someone who has already been found guilty. (Perhaps they have already found Hicks guilty without any trial). Secondly, the Army regulation does not require isolation.

It seems rather convenient that after Hicks' four-plus years in Guantanamo, they want to start following some regulation.He tries to find support for Hicks isolation in that maximum security prisons are used in the US.

Maximum security prisons, like Camp 5, in the US are used for death row inmates and violent inmates who have already been convicted. As the North Carolina Department of Corrections describes, 'These units are utilised to confine the most dangerous inmates who are a severe threat to public safety, correctional staff, and other inmates.'

Hicks fits none of these categories. It appears the Guantanamo party is line has now become 'Detainees are never in solitary confinement in Guantanamo'. Previously, Hicks lived in a cell within a wood shack for 16 months. Was that not solitary? He is now locked in a cement room with a steel door for 22 hours a day. The fact that the U.S. authorities at Guantamamo are trying to run from this word is because solitary confinement harms people.

Iraq does not want to live under US colonialism, but can they prevent it?

Al-Ahram Weekly | Region | Divide to rule:

Many in the country oppose federalism, but with the US throwing its weight behind that form of government, federalism is looming over the country, along with possible partition. The US wants to create a weak and divided Iraq, a country depending forever on foreign presence. Unfortunately, the country is too wounded to fend for itself. The past two years have brought to the scene a multiplicity of rival groups. The Kurds are the most enthusiastic supporters of federalism, followed by Shias. Those who oppose federalism are mostly the inhabitants of western and central Iraq, who still wish to live in a united country. Iraq has not been divided yet, and the country has not yet fallen into the trap of civil war, but the ongoing turmoil has taken its toll.

The scheme to partition Iraq is a powerful one, for it has the support of the US. That scheme smacks of the divide-and-rule policies of outdated colonialism. And yet not all has been lost, for many inside and outside Iraq still want to see the country emerge united from its current ordeal.

If US forces sanctions on Iran, expect $120 a barrel oil

Iran Lawmaker Says $120/Bbl Oil If US Imposes Sanctions:

An Iranian lawmaker warned Wednesday that oil prices could soar to around $120 a barrel, if the U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran.

Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported Ahmad Tavakoli, a parliamentary deputy, as saying that since Iran isn't posing any threat to world peace, the likelihood of military action against the Islamic regime is small.

But he said this leaves the West with a political and economic option, which could see a trade embargo imposed on the Islamic republic.

'It looks as though the West is set to exert a lot of political and trade pressures on Iran,' said Tavakoli who is also the head of the Iranian Parliament's Research Center.

Tavakoli said if Iran's daily crude oil exports of around 2.5 million barrels a day, are removed from the market as a consequence of any Western boycott, this could easily push oil prices up to $120/bbl.

But Tavakoli warned that Iran has got its own contingency plan in the event that it's subjected to the pressures of trade and economic sanctions.

The parliamentarian also warned that such an oil price hike would 'break the back of the U.S. and Europe' by cutting in half the projected global economic growth.

U.S. profiteering on Iraq War

U.S. profiteering on Iraq War -:

'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.'-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953.

Paul Wolfowitz was number two at the Pentagon, where the war decisions were taken with his blessings and flawed wisdom. Now he is the President of the World Bank, with a $300,000 tax-free annual salary. But this salary wasn’t enough for this failed Pentagon adviser. They also paid his country club dues and provided him also with a mortgage allowance. If Wolfowitz's decisions are as bad as they were in the Iraq War, the World Bank could be in big trouble.

Another important war profiteer is Tommy Ray Franks, a U.S. retired General who led the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein and was commander-in-chief of the American occupation forces. He is now collecting $5 million for his memoirs. Reports say Camden Country, New Jersey authorities paid Franks $75,000 for one speech. Also Paul Bremer, who led the Coalition Provisional Authority following the invasion, gets as much as $40,000 per speech. He too received a $100,000 advance for his book. One must wonder what exactly can these people say about the Iraq War debacle, except not to launch a war without proof.

...

KBR has several key defense contracts in the war-torn country, including the massive open-ended master Iraq contract, known as LogCAP III, plus mandates to restore Iraq's oil fields. KBR's five-year financial data shows that revenues have exploded thanks to the post-9/11 wars, from $5.1 billion in 2002 to $10.1 billion in 2005—about half of all Halliburton revenues. The G&I business accounted for virtually all of the growth. The unit accounted for 61 percent of the company's revenues in 2003 and 80 percent of revenues in 2005. The Middle East alone accounted for $6 billion of KBR's 2005 revenues.
Image used with permission. Stephen Pitt c.2006.

USA: Amnesty International's supplementary briefing to the UN Committee against Torture - Amnesty International

USA: Amnesty International's supplementary briefing to the UN Committee against Torture - Amnesty International:

This appears in bold in the report.
The USA must clarify to the Committee, in no uncertain terms, that under its laws no one, the President included, has the right or the authority to torture or ill-treat detainees or to order their torture or ill-treatment, under any circumstances whatsoever; that every one, the President included, who does so will have committed a crime; and that the defences of 'necessity,' 'self-defence' and 'superior orders' are categorically not available to those who torture or ill-treat detainees. Amnesty International is deeply concerned that anything short of this clarification will indicate that there are 'grey areas' in US law, policy and practice where torture and other ill-treatment are considered acceptable.

Why is AEI more outraged than the NYT over the House Un-Ethics Legislation?

Lobbying Bill Passes Narrowly in House - New York Times:

The House narrowly passed a bill on Wednesday intended to restore public trust in Congress by reshaping the relationship between lawmakers and lobbyists. But Democrats denounced the measure as a sham, and 20 Republicans voted against it.
House’s Handling of Lobbying Reform Hits a New Low-AEI

True, to love Congress requires a high tolerance for wince-inducing behavior, shamelessness, hypocrisy, money-grubbing, egomania, bloviating and miscreance. Those are all unavoidable in a democracy. But the House’s ethics and lobbying “reform” fiasco pushed me beyond the tolerance limit. What the House did last week is revolting and shameful.

The first revolting and shameful element came in the bill that emerged for floor consideration. It was embarrassingly weak--weaker even than the embarrassingly weak Senate bill that passed after Senators kept out any meaningful ethics standards and enforcement.

The excuse given by Republican leaders for the weakness of their package is that Members don’t want reform. Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) was among many Republicans who said that during their visits back home, no one mentions scandal or reform. Boehner’s excuse was, “The status quo is a powerful force,” meaning that rank-and-file Members made it clear to him they do not want any real change in the rules or in enforcement except a few provisions that will discomfit lobbyists--and not much even of that

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg likens Bush's America to the Soviet Union

Supreme Court justice criticizes Congress on judicial oversight plan:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says a Republican proposal in Congress to set up a watchdog over federal courts is a 'really scary idea.'

Ginsburg told a gathering of the American Bar Association that lawyers should stick up for judges when they are criticized by congressional leaders. 'My sense now is that the judiciary is under assault in a way that I haven't seen before,' she said.

...

'It sounds to me very much like the Soviet Union was. ... That's a really scary idea,' said Ginsburg, who was put on the court by former President Bill Clinton and is one of its liberal members.

Ginsburg said her confirmation hearings in 1993, and those the following year for Justice Stephen Breyer, were long but friendly. 'That bipartisan spirit has broken down,' she said.

Chavez casts long anti-American shadow

FT.com / Americas / Latin America - Chavez casts long anti-American shadow:

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president, has been promising to build a “Bolivarian axis” of like-minded anti-American governments. Only recently, few people took him seriously. Not anymore.

Bolivia’s nationalisation of Latin America’s second-largest reserves of natural gas on Monday has shown that Mr Chavez’s radical strategy has begun to influence events on the ground.

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has long advocated increasing state control over the sector – his poverty-stricken country’s most valuable industry. However, in recent weeks all the indications were that the new leftwing government in La Paz would move cautiously.

Bolivia has been reaping the benefits of a new tax and royalties regime imposed on operators last year, under which companies hand over 50 per cent of their profits to the government.

North America harbors world's most dangerous terrorists


terror in the homeland
According to the FBI, domestic terrorism is:
the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or its territories without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Given the knowledge that it is the United States which created and primarily wields the power to extinguish life on Earth, it is not a tremendous intellectual leap to classify the American government as the world’s most dangerous and most powerful terrorist.

America’s own domestic law enforcement entity has defined terrorism as “threatened use of force or violence”, intimidation, and coercion against governments or civilian populations for the “furtherance of political or social objectives”.

What could be more threatening or violent than a nuclear attack? What could be more coercive than the U.S. imposition of its will, culture, and ruthless economic agenda on a global populace like a domineering father abusing his cowed children? Employing terrorist tools of intimidation, coercion and threats of violence, the United States consistently sets the political and social objectives for the rest of the world.

Remember, Iran, “All options are on the table.”

America is the Don Corleone of the world community.

Bush Black Shirts keeping tabs on ordinary Americans

USNews.com: Despite a troubled history, police across the nation are keeping tabs on ordinary Americans:

Move along...don't fuck with the canned ham...
The outfit stumbled in 2002, when two of its agents were assigned to follow around the county executive. Their job: to determine whether he was being tailed--not by al Qaeda but by a district attorney investigator looking into alleged misspending. A year later, one of its plainclothes agents was seen photographing a handful of vegan activists handing out antimeat leaflets in front of a HoneyBaked Ham store. Police arrested two of the vegans and demanded that they turn over notes, on which they'd written the license-plate number of an undercover car, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is now suing the county. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial neatly summed up the incident: 'So now we know: Glazed hams are safe in DeKalb County.'

Glazed hams aren't the only items that America's local cops are protecting from dubious threats. U.S. News has identified nearly a dozen cases in which city and county police, in the name of homeland security, have surveilled or harassed animal-rights and antiwar protesters, union activists, and even library patrons surfing the Web. Unlike with Washington's warrantless domestic surveillance program, little attention has been focused on the role of state and local authorities in the war on terrorism. A U.S.News inquiry found that federal officials have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into once discredited state and local police intelligence operations. Millions more have gone into building up regional law enforcement databases to unprecedented levels. In dozens of interviews, officials across the nation have stressed that the enhanced intelligence work is vital to the nation's security, but even its biggest boosters worry about a lack of training and standards. 'This is going to be the challenge,' says Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, 'to ensure that while getting bin Laden we don't transgress over the law. We've been burned so badly in the past--we can't do that again.'

2.5.06

A World Without Borders

A World Without Borders:

Interview with Howard Zinn

Politicians use history as a kind of mystical element or device. We often hear that the U.S. is called on by history to do certain things in the world.

ZINN: History is always a good entity to call on if you are hesitant to call on God because they both play the same role. They are both abstractions, they both are actually meaningless until you invest them with meaning. I’ve noticed that President Bush calls on God a lot. I think he’s hesitant to call on history because I think the word history throws him. He’s not quite sure what to do with it, but he’s more familiar with God.

Political leaders, I guess, suppose that the population is as mystified by the word history as they are by the word God and that they will accept whatever interpretation of history is given to them. So political leaders feel free to declare that history is on their side and the way is open for them to use it in whatever manner they want.

Coming soon, to a country near you!

Reuters AlertNet - Mexican rebel Marcos hardens radical rhetoric:

'We are going to rise up to overthrow the supreme governments, to overthrow corrupt officials, to throw all the rich and powerful out of this country and begin building a new Mexico with humble, simple people,' Marcos told thousands of supporters at the UNAM university in Mexico City on Tuesday.

'We are not just making a promise, we are telling them, warning them of a certainty,' he said. 'From outside and within a new wind will blow, the best and most dignified, the most honest and meaningful to appear in this country.'

Marcos, once a poster boy of the anti-globalization movement, belittles leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as a 'lite' leftist and brands him part of a corrupt political establishment.

Administration Conducting Research Into Laser Weapon

Administration Conducting Research Into Laser Weapon - New York Times:

The Bush administration is seeking to develop a powerful ground-based laser weapon that would use beams of concentrated light to destroy enemy satellites in orbit.

The largely secret project, parts of which have been made public through Air Force budget documents submitted to Congress in February, is part of a wide-ranging effort to develop space weapons, both defensive and offensive. No treaty or law forbids such work.

The laser research was described by federal officials who would speak only on the condition of anonymity because of the topic's political sensitivity. The White House has recently sought to play down the issue of space arms, fearing it could become an election-year liability.

Indeed, last week Republicans and Democrats on a House Armed Services subcommittee moved unanimously to cut research money for the project in the administration's budget for the 2007 fiscal year. While Republicans on the panel would not discuss their reasons for the action, Congressional aides said it reflected a bipartisan consensus for moving cautiously on space weaponry, a potentially controversial issue that has yet to be much debated.

Sanchez ordered interrogators to “go to the outer limits” to get information from detainees


American Civil Liberties Union : Army Documents Show Senior Official Reportedly Pushed Limits on Detainee Interrogations:
New Army documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union today reveal that Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez ordered interrogators to “go to the outer limits” to get information from detainees. The documents also show that senior government officials were aware of abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke.

“When our leaders allow and even encourage abuse at the 'outer limits', America suffers,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. “A nation that works to bring freedom and liberty to other parts of the world shouldn't stomach brutality and inhumanity within its ranks. This abuse of power was engineered and accepted at the highest levels of our government.”

Among the documents released today by the ACLU is a May 19, 2004 Defense Intelligence Agency document implicating Sanchez in potentially abusive interrogation techniques. In the document, an officer in charge of a team of interrogators stated that there was a 35-page order spelling out the rules of engagement that interrogators were supposed to follow, and that they were encouraged to “go to the outer limits to get information from the detainees by people who wanted the information.” When asked to whom the officer was referring, the officer answered “LTG Sanchez.” The officer stated that the expectation coming from “Headquarters” was to break the detainees

Plame Was Monitoring Iran Nukes When Outed

Reports: Plame Was Monitoring Iran Nukes When Outed:

What was Valerie Plame working on at the CIA when she was outed by administraton officials and columnist Robert Novak? MSNBC's David Schuster on Monday said he had confirmed an earlier report that she was helping to keep track of Iran's nuclear activity--not a front and center issue for the White House.

Earlier this year, Larisa Alexandrovna of the Web site RawStory.com, reported that Plame, whose covert status was compromised in the leak, was monitoring weapons proliferation in Iran. At the time, officials told her that Plame's outing resulted in 'severe' damage to her team and 'significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation.'

On last night's Hardball, MSNBC correspondent Shuster reported that intelligence sources told him thatr Wilson was part of an operation three years ago 'tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran.' And the sources asserted, he said, 'that when here Wilson's cover was blown, the administration's ability to track Iran's nuclear ambitions was damaged as well.'

Iraqi, 15, 'drowned after soldiers forced him into canal'

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Iraqi, 15, 'drowned after soldiers forced him into canal':

An Iraqi teenager drowned after four British soldiers forced him into a canal at gunpoint to 'teach him a lesson' for suspected looting, a court martial heard yesterday.

The soldiers watched as Ahmed Jabar Karheem, 15, who was unable to swim, began to struggle when he was ordered into the Shatt al-Basra canal in May 2003. After the boy disappeared below the surface, the soldiers drove away. His body was recovered two days later.

If your country has oil, Bush welcomes you to America--Oh, if you are ruthless dictator that loves killing people, that's okay....

TomPaine.com - Gimme That Old-Time Geopolitics:

From the energy-rich Gulf of Guinea, across the Islamic Middle East to Central Asia, the Bush administration has pretty much dropped its democratic pretences in favour of stability—and the ”friendly” autocrats who can provide it, especially those with plentiful oil and gas resources and strategically-placed real estate vis-a-vis emerging foes, be they Russia, Iran or China.

The latest evidence took the form of the appearance Friday at the White House of Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, whose party's sweeping victory in last November's parliamentary elections was widely denounced by western observers as fraudulent.

”We talked about the need for the world to see a modern Muslim country that is able to provide for its citizens, that understands that democracy is the wave of the future,” Bush said at a brief photo-opportunity. ”And I appreciate your leadership, Mr. President.”

The photo-op was cut off before reporters could ask any questions about precisely what Aliyev's ”understanding” of democracy might be, let alone Azerbaijan's placement as one of the world's most corrupt nations, according to the latest rankings by Transparency International.

Bush's warm words were a reminder of the visit here in mid-April of another corrupt—albeit far more brutal and long-ruling—dictator, Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. While Obiang was unable to penetrate the White House gates, he did get a warm and remarkably public reception from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who praised her guest as ”a good friend” of the United States.

'Victory for the Radicals' at the UN

The Telegraph - Calcutta : International:

'Radicals' mean the un-rich countries in the UN...
Supported by America, the European Union and Japan, which provide 80 per cent of the UN budget, Annan wanted to transfer key spending and management decisions from the unwieldy 191-member General Assembly to a strengthened professional secretariat.

But in a row that has exposed the rift between wealthy and developing nations, the Third World grouping has used its voting power to derail the proposals, which it fears will reduce its influence.

The vote will bolster the argument by critics of the UN that the organisation is incapable of reform. It is certain to spark renewed efforts within the US Congress, which controls America’s budget, to withhold payments to the UN.

Adam Thomson, Britain’s deputy head of mission, expressed dismay at what he called the “destructive move” by the so-called Group of 77 — which represents 133 poorer nations — after it forced the vote in a UN budget committee that traditionally works by consensus. France’s UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said: “This was a victory for the radicals.”

Judge Roberts Rejects Bush Administration Attempt to Deny Detainees' Right to Counsel

Center for Constitutional Rights:

Today cooperating attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) are headed to Guantanamo to meet with their client Saleem Adem for the first time, in response to a Friday ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Roberts ordering the Defense Department to grant the attorneys access. The ruling denied the Bush Administration's motion for reconsideration, effectively rejecting the administration's attempt to deny the detainee access to counsel for months (Adem v. Bush). Mr. Adem had been asking for legal assistance for over a year.

'Today the court affirmed what we have been arguing for years - all people have a right to counsel and due process. This case shows the Bush Administration must stop stonewalling justice and allow all detainees' access to attorneys. It is encouraging that the court is asserting its traditional role to oversee unchecked executive power,' said Gitanjali S. Gutierrez, a CCR staff attorney. CCR estimates that the administration has prevented attorney meetings with at least 270 persons in Guantanamo.

Judge Roberts also rejected the administration's position that the Detainee Treatment Act stripped the court of the authority to construe rules on client access. The original ruling in Adem v. Bush was handed down by U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay on March 21, 2006. He ruled that Mr. Adem must be allowed to meet with his attorneys, and that the Bush Administration's efforts to delay and prevent such action could render the detainee's 'right to counsel meaningless.' The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which currently oversees 450 pro-bono attorneys representing the detainees, applauded the decision as an important protection of due process.

Would-Be NSA Whistleblower Can't Get Congress' Attention

Secrecy News:

There is no excuse for unauthorized disclosures of classified information, it is argued, because whistleblowers who have legitimate complaints about classified government misconduct can use official channels to convey those concerns on a classified basis.

But as a practical matter, those channels are often blocked or ineffectual.

That is what former National Security Agency employee Russell D. Tice discovered when he attempted to initiate contact with the Senate and House Intelligence Committees to report what he believed to be 'probable illegal conduct' by the NSA.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) did not respond to Mr. Tice's approach at all.

House Intelligence Committee staffers met with Mr. Tice but concluded that neither they nor any member of the Committee had the requisite security clearances to receive his complaint.

Dark Empty Soul exempts his own office from reporting on classified material

KRT Wire | 04/29/2006 | Cheney exempts his own office from reporting on classified material:

As the Bush administration has dramatically accelerated the classification of information as 'top secret' or 'confidential,' one office is refusing to report on its annual activity in classifying documents: the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and 'any other entity within the executive branch' to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney continues to insist he is exempt.

Explaining why the vice president has withheld even a tally of his office's secrecy when such offices as the National Security Council routinely report theirs, a spokeswoman said Cheney is 'not under any duty' to provide it.

Wedge Issue: Minimum Wage

WSJ.com - Wedge Issue: Minimum Wage:

It is good to see that Democrats, at least at the state level, are trying to get an impeachment-worthy majority in Congress...

As Republicans resist efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, Democrats see the issue boosting party turnout in November's midterm elections -- and their chances of gaining seats in Congress.

Six states are expected to have a minimum-wage increase on their ballots this fall, and efforts are under way in at least three more states to collect enough signatures to place it on those ballots.

Among the six is Arizona where Democratic challenger Jim Pederson plans to use the issue to appeal to independents and moderate Republicans in his quest to unseat Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, who hasn't taken a position on the wage increase. 'We think voters understand that $5.15 an hour just isn't enough for folks to get along on,' says Kevin Griffis, Mr. Pederson's spokesman.

IRI requests the UN to stop American threats of nuclear strike

AFP - The News:

IRI wants the UN to stop US threats regarding the impending bombing of Iran by the Bush Administration and/or Israel--assuming there is a difference between the two...

In a letter forwarded to the United Nations chief by Iran's ambassador in New York, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the regime condemned 'American officials for their illegitimate and open threats to use force against the Islamic republic of Iran'.

'These are in obvious contravention of international rules and the principles of the United Nations,' the letter was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.

It said that 'these rude threats have recently been publicised through some reports in US newspapers', and noted a report in The New Yorker magazine last month which said US military planners had even looked into using nuclear 'bunker-busters' to strike Iran's atomic facilities.

'These (threats) have entered a new stage, with the refusal of US officials to deny these reports,' the letter said, calling for 'serious attention' as well as 'quick and firm action' from the world body.

1.5.06

Troops in Iraq 'hold their fire rather than face trial'

Troops in Iraq 'hold their fire rather than face trial' | the Daily Mail:

This is is possibly great news coming out of Iraq, unless it is just a lie to cover-up further investigations. Thank you Human Rights Watch and the other organizations that have 'frightened' these soldiers into not firing on civilians.

British troops are afraid to open fire when facing deadly Iraqi insurgents in case they are prosecuted, a leaked Ministry of Defence report revealed yesterday.

It flies in the face of persistent MoD denials that soldiers are worried about 'witch-hunts' by human rights lawyers.

And it confirms what soldiers tell the Daily Mail - that if they shoot insurgents they may be embroiled in a long inquiry and will not be supported by top brass and the Government if they are prosecuted.

US Has a New Old Puppet: Shah of Iran's Heir Plans Overthrow of Regime by

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :

WARNING: THIS LINKS TO A RADICAL EXTEMIST WEB-SITE. WORSE IS THAT THERE IS AN OBSCENE PICTURE OF TWO OF SATAN'S MOST HORRIBLE SPAWN: ANN COULTER AND BOB NOVAK. BEWARE!

Reza Pahlavi, son of the late Shah of Iran, told the editors of HUMAN EVENTS last week that in the next two to three months he hopes to finalize the organization of a movement aimed at overthrowing the Islamic regime in Tehran and replacing it with a democratic government.

He believes the cause is urgent because of the prospect that Iran may soon develop a nuclear weapon or the U.S. may use military force to preempt that. He hopes to offer a way out of this dilemma: a revolution sparked by massive civil disobedience in which the masses in the streets are backed by elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Pahlavi, who lives in exile in the United States, said he has been in contact with elements of the Revolutionary Guard that would be willing to play such a role, and activists who could help spark the civil disobedience.

He also said that the U.S. and other governments can help by imposing “smart sanctions” on the leaders of Iranian regime, but he categorically opposes U.S. military intervention.

After the revolution he envisions, Pahlavi said, he would be willing to become a constitutional monarch in Iran if an Iranian constitutional convention offered him that role. “I’m ready to serve in that capacity,” he said. “If the people so choose, it would be my greatest honor.”

Happy Third Anniversary of 'Mission Accomplished'

30.4.06

Halliburton and others wasting Billions is 'another form of insurgency'

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Billions wasted in Iraq, says US audit:

If corruption is another form of insurgency, then isn't Halliburton a terrorist organization?
The report adds: "Corruption is another form of insurgency. This second insurgency can be defeated only through the development of democratic values and systems, especially the evolution of effective anti-corruption institutions."

Unfinished business

Congress has approved $21bn for reconstruction since the invasion, of which 67% has been allocated. Precisely how much has been squandered is not known but the congressional team has been carrying out investigations and publishes quarterly reports. In the latest, it highlights the case of a US company which was given a contract to build 150 health centres in Iraq. Only six have been built, all in Baghdad, in spite of 75% of its allocated $186m having been spent. The report says the contractor will only complete a further 14. Last year the congressional team reported that almost $9bn in Iraqi oil revenues disbursed to ministries had gone missing.

Danish Reporters Charged for Iraq Reports that Were Absolutely True

Danish Reporters Charged for Iraq Reports:
Two reporters at one of Denmark's largest newspapers could face jail time for publishing classified intelligence reports about Iraq's weapons program, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Michael Bjerre and Jesper Larsen, of the Berlingske Tidene newspaper, were charged Wednesday with publishing confidential government documents, state prosecutor Karsten Hjorth said. If convicted, they could be fined or sentence to up to two years in prison.

No trial date has been set.

In February and March 2004, Bjerre and Larsen wrote a series of articles based on leaked reports from the Danish Defense Intelligence Service. The reports said there was no evidence Iraq had weapons of mass destruction during Saddam Hussein's rule _ one of the main reasons given by the Bush administration for the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

IRI letter to IAEA, a turning point

IRIB PERSIAN NEWS PAGE:

Asefi stressed Iran's letter to the IAEA will increase the capacity of the agency for more activities.

He added, 'From the day the decision is made that Iran's case would be reviewed at the IAEA, we will present the agenda of our cooperation with the IAEA within three weeks.

The spokesman said, 'Iran's possible pullout of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is not the question at the moment.

'Our measures will be in proportion to the performance of the opposite side. If the opposite side acts rationally, Iran will act accordingly.

'If the IAEA sends Iran's case to the Security Council and the council makes decisions on Iran, Tehran will define and regulate its cooperation with the agency according to the decisions.'