Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former US army general

Reuters AlertNet - Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former US army general:

Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorised the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison's former U.S. commander said in an interview on Saturday.

Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.

Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.

'The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: 'Make sure this is accomplished',' she told Saturday's El Pais.

'The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorised these specific techniques.'

The Geneva Convention says prisoners of war should suffer 'no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion' to secure information.

Is Iraq on the verge of a US-backed Baathist coup?

Is Iraq on the verge of a coup? :

The terrorist bombings that killed more than 220 residents of Baghdad's Sadr City on Thursday have caused great concern among Iranians. The bloodshed happens at a time when U.S. forces are responsible for maintaining security in important areas of Iraq’s cities.

The increasing insecurity and the focus of the terrorist attacks on the Shias show that there is an organized conspiracy against the Iraqi majority.

The secret visit to Baghdad by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former secretary of state James A. Baker, who is currently the chairman of the Iraq Study Group, is part of the conspiracy.

As these developments were unfolding, it was announced that Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi foreign minister and close aide of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, would be released from prison.

In fact, these events are all part of a new U.S. plot to topple Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s elected government and hand control of the country to Baathist elements.


The Baathists’ return to power could provide just such a base for the terrorists who are responsible for the bloodbath in Iraq. Iraq’s new government has been established through free elections. Helping the Maliki government suppress the Arab terrorists and uproot terrorism in the country is the only way out of the current crisis.

The United States has no alternative but to hand over security affairs to the Iraqi government and gradually withdraw its troops from the country because the era of military coups, like the ones that happened in the 1960s and 1970s, is over.

If the U.S. intends to bring the Baathists back to power, not only Iraq but the entire region will witness a new crisis whose repercussions will be felt by regional and extra-regional powers.

A Conversation About the CIA Torture Program

American Civil Liberties Union:

Watt is one of the many people Grey interviewed while investigating the secret program for the book. Ghost Plane tells the stories of 'extraordinary rendition,' where CIA operatives abduct foreign nationals for detention and interrogation in secret overseas prisons. Grey outlines the ethical picture of the war on terror and lays the responsibility for abduction and torture at the doorstep of Washington, D.C.

The ACLU is challenging extraordinary rendition on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, an entirely innocent victim of rendition who was released without ever being charged. The lawsuit charges that former CIA director George Tenet and U.S. based aviation corporations violated U.S. and universal human rights laws -- including the right to be free from torture -- when they abducted El Masri beat him, drug him, and transported him to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan.

Here is a link to the presentation.


Markets rocked by sharp slide in dollar

FT.com / MARKETS / Currencies - Markets rocked by sharp slide in dollar:

The dollar has now fallen this year by more than 10 per cent against the euro and 12 per cent against sterling. Some economists suggest the greenback has further to slide given a weak economic outlook in the US, and the prospect of interest rate cuts there next year.

Steve Saywell, currencies analyst at Citigroup, said: “While the economic data remain soft, the dollar will continue to fall.”

The gaping US trade deficit, the near certainty of a December rise in eurozone interest rates, rising expectations of a cut in US rates in the spring and wariness about borrowing in yen to finance investments in the US all continued to weigh on the dollar, analysts said.

These concerns were heightened by comments from Wu Xiaoling, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, indicating her unease at the rapid build-up of $1,000bn of reserves in China. She said Asian foreign exchange reserves were at risk from the dollar’s fall, although she stopped short of indicating that China was about to stop adding to its pile of reserves.

“The dollar is coming under real pressure and this looks like the beginning of a sustained move,” said Ian Stannard, strategist at BNP Paribas.

'The bastards got me, they won't get us all'

'The bastards got me, they won't get us all' - Britain - Times Online:

“It was sadistic, slow murder. It was perpetrated by somebody incredibly cruel, incredibly heartless. It had no meaning whatsover.”

Although Mr Nekrasov had seen Mr Litvinenko sometimes more than once a day, Tuesday was the last occasion on which his friend could communicate properly. Yet in his final remarks, the former spy remained defiant in his battle against President Putin and the Russian security services.

He also managed a joke at his own expense, suggesting that his poisoning was proof that his campaign against the Kremlin had targeted the right people. “This is what it takes to prove one has been telling the truth,” he said.

He was referring to allegations he made in a book, The FSB Blows up Russia, which accuses the Russian security services of causing a series of apartment block explosions in Moscow in 1999 that helped to propel Mr Putin into the presidency.

his note to his murderer, mr putin:

"You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed," he said

"You may succeed in silencing one man, but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life.

"May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me, but to beloved Russia and its people."

Mossad Killed Hundreds Iraqi Intellectuals


The killing came amidst a wave of assassinations of Iraqi doctors, scientists, and academics. Such attacks are frequently carried out the Zionist secret service, the Mossad.

Hundreds of Iraqi intellectuals have been mysteriously shot and killed since the US invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003. On 14 June 2005, the Palestine Information Center published a report stating that the Mossad had killed 530 Iraqi scientists and professors in the previous seven months.

The report stated that 'Israeli' Mossad agents and commandos had been operating in occupied Iraq for more than a year, with the specific task of targeting Iraqi scientists and intellectuals. The Zionistslaunched the campaign after intensive efforts by American occupation authorities to get Iraqi scientists to defect to the US failed, the Al Basrah reported.

Bush and Putin each use torture for political purposes | One gives cover for the other: Bush in Iraq, Putin in Chechnya

Reuters AlertNet - UN body cites numerous torture reports in Russia:

On Russia, the committee referred to 'widespread use of torture' and expressed concern at 'the particularly numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations of acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment committed by law enforcement personnel, including in police custody'.

In Chechnya, it cited 'reliable reports of unofficial places of detention in the North Caucasus and the allegations that those detained in such facilities face torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment'.

Zionism: Pitting the West Against Islam

Zionism: Pitting the West Against Islam:

When we examine the consequences that have flowed from the creation of Israel, when we contemplate the greater horrors that may yet flow from the logic of Zionism, Israel triumphs appear in a different light. We are forced to examine these triumphs with growing dread and incredulity. Israel’s early triumphs, though real from a narrow Zionist standpoint, have slowly mutated by a fateful process into ever-widening circles of conflict that now threaten to escalate into major wars between the West and Islam. Although this conflict has its source in colonial ambitions, the dialectics of this conflict have slowly endowed it with the force and rhetoric of a civilizational war: and perhaps worse, a religious war. This is the tragedy of Israel. It is not a fortuitous tragedy. Driven by history, chance and cunning, the Zionists wedged themselves between two historical adversaries, the West and Islam, and by harnessing the strength of the first against the second, it has produced the conditions of a conflict that has grown deeper over time.


Gemayel, Syria, Israel and the war in Iraq

Gulfnews: Gemayel, Syria, Israel and the war in Iraq:

There is an alternative theory, which is equally plausible, in which the more likely culprits are Israel and its local agents. Those who advance it ask who benefits from the crime. Certainly not Syria and its Hezbollah allies who, to their great embarrassment, now find themselves denounced once again as criminals before world public opinion.

This accusation of a new heinous murder comes just at a time when Syria was on the point of re-engaging with Europe and the United States and when Hezbollah was hoping to reap political rewards.

The murder of Pierre Gemayel has had the immediate effect of paralysing Hezbollah and throwing it on the defensive: it can no longer consider bringing its supporters out on the street in peaceful demonstrations, as it had planned and announced, to press its demand for a national unity government.

Similarly, the murder is a grave setback for Syrian diplomacy. It occurred when Syria's foreign minister, Walid Al Muallem, was in Baghdad where he announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between Syria and Iraq, after a breach of a quarter of a century.

At the same time, Iran called for a tripartite summit of Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian presidents to help end the appalling violence in Iraq.

By these moves Syria and Iran were signalling that Iraq's neighbours could not be excluded from an eventual settlement in Iraq; that they were able and ready to play a constructive role; and that they were, in fact, key players with whom the United States needed to engage if it was to find an honourable exit from the Iraqi quagmire.

Gemayel assassinated by the USA and Israel

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Press accuses as Gemayel buried:


Those who planned and carried out this assassination were targeting Syria as much as they were targeting Lebanon. Indeed, they were also targeting the entire Arab region. Syria is the one that is most harmed by this repugnant crime. The destruction of Lebanon is in the interests of Israel, which would like to see the Lebanese resistance busy with internal wars and Syria exhausted.


The new Middle East is a US-Israeli project, the product of US aggression and the Israeli war on Lebanon. Political assassinations are near at hand and criminal practices and killings pave the way for sedition. This sedition leads to chaos and it is chaos which allows the realisation of the project.

The wave of mysterious crimes sweeping Lebanon since the assassination of its former prime minister is clearly aimed at immersing the country, or indeed the entire region, in a crisis that will allow foreign powers to interfere - especially given that they have already been acting in the Lebanese arena.


The political tension in Lebanon entered a new phase following the assassination of the industry minister. Undoubtedly this assassination was planned and carried out by the Zionist regime because the Zionists stand to gain the most from it.

Syria is a convenient fallguy for Gemayel’s death

Syria is a convenient fallguy for Gemayel’s death:

Gemayel’s death, and Syria’s blame for it, strengthens the case of the neoconservatives in Washington -- Israel’s allies in the Administration -- whose star had begun to wane. They can now argue convincingly that Syria is unreformed and unreformable. Such an outcome helps to avert the danger, from Israel’s point of view, that White House doves might win the argument for befriending Syria.


Wow! Possibly the most vicious hack--an extreme neoconservative jackal--thinks Bush is 'secretive and impersonal'

Robert D. Novak - A Bad Omen in Rumsfeld's Firing - washingtonpost.com:

The treatment of his war minister connotes something deeply wrong with George W. Bush's presidency in its sixth year. Apart from Rumsfeld's failures in personal relations, he never has been anything short of loyal in executing the president's wishes. But loyalty appears to be a one-way street for Bush. His shrouded decision to sack Rumsfeld after declaring that he would serve out the second term fits the pattern of a president who is secretive and impersonal.

Lawrence Lindsey had been assured that he would be retained as the president's national economic adviser, but he received word around 5 p.m. on Dec. 5, 2002, that he would be fired the next day. Before Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill embarked on a dangerous mission to Afghanistan, he requested and received assurances that he would still have a job when he returned. Instead, he was dismissed in tandem with Lindsey.

The Mother of All War-Criminals and his plans for Iraq | The same 'decent interval' as Vietnam?

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News - Iraq: Kissinger's 'decent interval', take two:
An inspection of Vietnam-era secret documents now declassified after the lapse of the mandatory 30-year period does not make for encouraging reading. On June 20, 1972, then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger told Chinese premier Zhou Enlai in the course of a four-hour meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing:
So we should find a way to end the war, to stop it from being an international situation, and then permit a situation to develop in which the future of Indochina can be returned to the Indochinese people. And I can assure you that this is the only object we have in Indochina, and I do not believe this can be so different from yours. We want nothing for ourselves there. And while we cannot bring a communist government to power, if as a result of historical evolution it should happen over a period of time, if we can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina.

A month and a half later (August 3, 1972), Kissinger explained to president Richard Nixon:
We will agree to a historical process or a political process in which the real forces in Vietnam will assert themselves, whatever these forces are. We've got to find some formula that holds the thing together a year or two, after which - after a year, Mr President, Vietnam will be a backwater. If we settle it, say, this October, by January '74, no one will give a damn.
The 'strategy' - if you want to call it that - summarized here by Kissinger had been conceived at least a year earlier. As noted in the Indochina section of the briefing book for Kissinger's July 1971 China trip:
On behalf of President Nixon I want to assure the prime minister [Zhou] solemnly that the United States is prepared to make a settlement that will truly leave the political evolution of South Vietnam to the Vietnamese alone. We are ready to withdraw all of our forces by a fixed date and let objective realities shape the political future

... We want a decent interval. You have our assurance. [Marginal notation in Kissinger's hand.] If the Vietnamese people themselves decide to change the present government, we shall accept it. But we will not make that decision for them.

One wonders what exactly the United States' South Vietnamese allies would have thought or done had they known the substance of Kissinger's 'diplomacy' - if you want to call it that - on behalf of their future.

Robert Fisk on the Gemayal Assassination [carried out by the CIA]

Independent Online Edition > Robert Fisk:

That little matter of the narrative - and who writes it - remained a problem yesterday, as the Western powers pointed their fingers at Syria. Yes, all five leading Lebanese men murdered in the past 20 months were anti-Syrian. And it's a bit like saying 'the butler did it'. Wouldn't a vengeful Syria strike at the independence of Lebanon by killing a minister? Yes. But then, what would be the best way of undermining the new and boastful power of the pro-Syrian Hizbollah, the Shia guerrilla army which has demanded the resignation of Siniora's cabinet? By killing a government minister, knowing that many Lebanese would blame the murder on Syria's Hizbollah allies?


The Return of Tariq Aziz?

The Blog | Tom Hayden: U.S. Retreat from Iraq? The Secret Story | The Huffington Post:

Tom Hayden suggests that Tariq Aziz and a Malaki coup may be key components to Bush's exit strategy

According to credible Iraqi sources in London and Amman, a secret story of America's diplomatic exit strategy from Iraq is rapidly unfolding. The key events include:

First, James Baker told one of Saddam Hussein's lawyers that Tariq Aziz, former deputy prime minister, would be released from detention by the end of this year, in hope that he will negotiate with the US on behalf of the Baath Party leadership.

The discussion recently took place in Amman, according to the Iraqi paper al-Quds al-Arabi.

Second, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice personally appealed to the Gulf Cooperation Council in October to serve as intermediaries between the US and armed Sunni resistance groups [not including al Qaeda], communicating a US willingness to negotiate with them at any time or place. Speaking in early October, Rice joked that if then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 'heard me now, he would wage a war on me fiercer and hotter than he waged on Iraq,' according to an Arab diplomat privy to the closed session.

Third, there was an 'unprecedented' secret meeting of high-level Americans and representatives of 'a primary component of the Iraqi resistance' two weeks ago, lasting for three days. As a result, the Iraqis agreed to return to the talks in the next two weeks with a response for the American side, according to Jordanian press leaks and al-Quds al-Arabi.

Fourth, detailed email transmissions dated November 16 reveal an active American effort behind the scenes to broker a peace agreement with Iraqi resistance leaders, a plot that could include a political coup against Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

CIA Blackshirts assassinate Gemayel to foment civil war in Lebanon

Analysis: Will Gemayel hit lead to civil war? | Jerusalem Post:
'The assassination of Pierre Gemayel will undoubtedly lead to a major confrontation, though probably not a civil war in Lebanon. Hizbullah has more arms and its soldiers are better trained and more professional. A full-blown civil war is therefore not in Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's best interest,' Dr. Boaz Ganor, founder and the Executive Director of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, predicted after news out of Lebanon emerged.

the timing and method and the fact that the faction with the most to gain from the assassination is the bush crime family. this was not a messy bombing, but a surgical strike. happening on the same day syria and iraq begin diplomatic relations, bush blaming syria does not make logical sense.

the daily star in lebanon has further details on the assassination and its investigation:
Internal Security Forces, a forensics team and the Lebanese Army arrived at the crime scene shortly after the shooting to collect evidence. Television footage showed damage to the front of the victims' vehicle and multiple holes in the driver's-side window.

Several Jdeideh residents told The Daily Star late on Tuesday that they had heard "muffled sounds of shooting." Witnesses alternately said that a "Range Rover" or a "Honda MRV" had been used in the attack. A witness was "being treated for serious injuries at the St. Joseph Hospital as well," according to a report by local satellite television station LBC.

Acting Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat and State Prosecutor Said Mirza went to the hospital after the incident. "Several witnesses are being questioned and some detained pending further questioning," a security source said.

Military Investigating Magistrate Jean Fahd, Chief Investigating Magistrate Rashid Mizher and Mirza met late Tuesday at Mirza's office in order "to exchange information on the incident," another security source said. "Twenty-four bullet casings picked up from the crime scene are being inspected to determine their serial numbers to know the kind of arms used," the second source said, adding that "the guns apparently had silencers which muffled the shots."

Bush's Chief Propogandist Murdoch is 'threat to democracy'

Telegraph | Money | Murdoch is 'threat to democracy':

[Branson] said: 'If the Sun and the Sunday Times and Sky and the News of the World all come out in favour of one particular party, the election is going to be won by that particular party. Basically we have got rid of democracy in this country and we might as well let Murdoch decide who is going to be our Prime Minister.'

He said the Government should act to ensure there is a 'counterbalance' to Sky's buying power in the TV industry. 'That's what we have been doing with NTL and Telewest, trying to provide that balance. 'We would like to be working closely with ITV, but we will have to see how the competition authorities deal with this and how they react.'

He went on: 'More and more of the British media do not have the courage to stand up to him. Every government, not just the Labour Government, should stand up to him and draw a line in the sand. His empire should be looked at by competition authorities and it should be decided if it's good for democracy in Britain that one person has so much influence.'


He went on: "More and more of the British media do not have the courage to stand up to him. Every government, not just the Labour Government, should stand up to him and draw a line in the sand. His empire should be looked at by competition authorities and it should be decided if it's good for democracy in Britain that one person has so much influence."

First Glimpse of Secret Bush Crime Family 'Enemy Combatant' Tribunals

NPR : Tapes Provide First Glimpse of Secret Gitmo Panels:

Though scratchy and of poor quality, hours of audio recordings obtained by NPR provide a window into the tribunal proceedings that affirmed Boudella's and Ait Idir's classification as enemy combatants. The two men are only allowed to call as witnesses the other men with whom they were arrested, and the unclassified evidence presented against them is slim. The tapes also hint at the conditions under which the men are held.

NPR has more...

In the recordings, Nechla is heard telling the military panel that in the fall of 2001, he and five other Algerians were arrested in Bosnia on suspicion of plotting to blow up the U.S. and British embassies in Sarajevo. The six men had lived in Bosnia for about a decade, were married and had children. Nechla says the men spent three months in prison, until Bosnia's Supreme Court acquitted them and ordered their release from jail.

"When we came out of prison, we were surprised that we were handed over to the American forces that are present in Bosnia," Nechla said. "We were bound by our hands and our feet, and we were treated the worst treatment. For 36 hours without food, sleep, water or anything."

At his tribunal, Nechla heard the accusations against him: that he is a suspected terrorist with ties to an Algerian armed Islamic group, and that he is suspected of having links to al-Qaida. Other allegations against Nechla include having an alias.

Nechla asks for four witnesses to appear at his hearing. Three are other Guantanamo detainees with whom he was arrested. The fourth is his supervisor at the Red Crescent Society in Bosnia. The tribunal president says there's been a problem locating the supervisor in Sarajevo.

The military panel questions Nechla about his schooling, his friends, work and the organizations he belonged to. The panel asks him if he was associated with al-Qaida or had ever traveled to Afghanistan. Nechla professes his innocence regularly to the military officers, and he challenges them on the tribunal process. Only a small fraction of the detainees who went before the tribunal have been found not to be enemy combatants.

"So I just want to ask, have you found anyone innocent yet?'" Nechla asks through a translator. "And if you haven't, there's no need for these tribunals. Just say everyone is an enemy combatant."


Reno Files Challenge to Bush Policy regarding Terror Law

Reno Files Challenge to Terror Law - washingtonpost.com:

The Justice Department said in court papers last week that a new anti-terrorism law strips detainees such as al-Marri of the right to challenge their imprisonment in court.

'The government is essentially asserting the right to hold putative enemy combatants arrested in the United States indefinitely whenever it decides not to prosecute those people criminally -- perhaps because it would be too difficult to obtain a conviction, perhaps because a motion to suppress evidence would raise embarrassing facts about the government's conduct, or perhaps for other reasons,' the former Justice Department officials said.

Some of the eight attorneys named in the document are now in private practice and represent detainees at the military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Most served under President Clinton, though the list includes former U.S. Attorneys W. Thomas Dillard and Anton R. Valukas, who served under President Reagan.

'The existing criminal justice system is more than up to the task of prosecuting and bringing to justice those who plan or attempt terrorist acts within the United States -- without sacrificing any of the rights and protections that have been the hallmarks of the American legal system for more than 200 years,' the attorneys wrote.

On Bush's life as a series of failures

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News - The danger of a 'dignified' exit from Iraq:

Sooner or later, failure has a way of stripping most of us of our dreams and pretensions. So let's start with a tiny history of failure. President George W Bush's life trajectory of failing upward has had a rhythm to it - and a rubric, "crony capitalism". Daddy's friends and contacts helped him into and - after he failed - out of the oil business, into and out of the baseball business, into and now, it seems, out of the failed game of global politics.

'His is,' as the Boston Globe's Michael Kranish and John Aloysius Farrell put it in 2002, 'the story of a man who struck out numerous times before being bailed out by big hitters who often were family members, friends or supporters of his father.'

It's appropriate, then, that the man who bailed him out in Florida when he in essence lost the presidency in 2000, Bush family consigliere Baker, would reappear six years later, in the wake of another failed election, to bail him out again now that he has screwed up the oil heartlands of the planet. Daddy - we're talking here about former president George H W Bush - has three adopted boys: his former national security adviser (and alter ego) Brent Scowcroft, who went into opposition to the younger Bush's Iraq policy even before the invasion of 2003 and now lurks quietly in the wings; his former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Gates; and Baker.

Like Daddy, Gates was deeply involved in, but never indicted for, his dealings in the scurrilous Iran-Contra affair, was later involved in the tilt toward and arming of Saddam Hussein's Iraq against Iran, pioneered fertile territory in the late 1980s in terms of manipulating intelligence in the debate over the nature of Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Union, had a hand in the Gulf War of 1991, and most recently held the presidency of Texas A&M University, where he was the keeper of the flame for Daddy's library. Could you ask for a better insider CV for taking over the Pentagon from one of Bush the elder's rivals in the Gerald Ford era, Rumsfeld?"


Bush in Indonesia: Sorcerer's curse and thousands of protesters await

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 11/19/2006 | Bush may face a chilly reception in Indonesia Monday:

More than 20,000 police and security agents have been mobilized to help protect the president during his seven-hour stopover. Bush will meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Bogor, about 45 miles south of Jakarta, after wrapping up a weekend trip to Vietnam.

'My curse will make him bloat like broccoli. Bush will feel unease during the visit,' Ki Gendeng Pamungkas told The Jakarta Post after performing a black magic ritual at a busy Bogor traffic circle last week. His curse required the blood of a snake, a goat and a crow.

Bush may feel a bit uneasy even without the sorcerer's spell. The American president is widely unpopular in Indonesia, largely because of the war in Iraq and U.S. support for Israel. During Bush's last visit, in 2003, he was peppered with criticism during a closed-door meeting with religious leaders.

'I think he's going to hear it again,' said Zachary Abuza, an Indonesia expert and an international relations professor at Simmons College in Boston. 'They are very angry about Iraq. As far as they're concerned, it is patently anti-Muslim - and that's the moderates.'

The Jakarta Post urged stringent security during Bush's visit, noting in an editorial that the president is 'very unpopular' and 'little better than Public Enemy No. 1' in some Indonesian circles.

Human Rights Watch | Iraq: Dujail Trial Fundamentally Flawed

Iraq: Dujail Trial Fundamentally Flawed (Human Rights Watch, 20-11-2006):

Court Should Overturn Verdict, Death Penalty

“The proceedings in the Dujail trial were fundamentally unfair,” said Nehal Bhuta of the International Justice program at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “The tribunal squandered an important opportunity to deliver credible justice to the people of Iraq. And its imposition of the death penalty after an unfair trial is indefensible.”

The report, entitled “Judging Dujail: The First Trial Before the Iraqi High Tribunal,” is based on 10 months of observation and dozens of interviews with judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers, and is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the trial. Human Rights Watch, which has demanded the prosecution of Saddam Hussein and his lieutenants for more than a decade, was one of only two international organizations that had a regular observer presence in the courtroom.

The Iraqi High Tribunal was undermined from the outset by Iraqi government actions that threatened the independence and perceived impartiality of the court. Members of parliament and even ministers regularly denounced the tribunal as weak, leading to the resignation of the first presiding trial judge.

The full HRW Report is located here.

AEI neoconservative whore begs Bush to bomb Iran

Foreign Policy: Operation Comeback:

Neoconservatives have the president’s ear, but they also have lots of baggage. To stay relevant, they must admit mistakes, embrace public diplomacy, and start making the case for bombing Iran.

Prepare to Bomb Iran. Make no mistake, President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office. It is all but inconceivable that Iran will accept any peaceful inducements to abandon its drive for the bomb. Its rulers are religio-ideological fanatics who will not trade what they believe is their birthright to great power status for a mess of pottage. Even if things in Iraq get better, a nuclear-armed Iran will negate any progress there. Nothing will embolden terrorists and jihadists more than a nuclear-armed Iran.

The global thunder against Bush when he pulls the trigger will be deafening, and it will have many echoes at home. It will be an injection of steroids for organizations such as MoveOn.org. We need to pave the way intellectually now and be prepared to defend the action when it comes. In particular, we need to help people envision what the world would look like with a nuclear-armed Iran. Apart from the dangers of a direct attack on Israel or a suitcase bomb in Washington, it would mean the end of the global nonproliferation regime and the beginning of Iranian dominance in the Middle East.

Bush welcomed in Jakarta