Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2008 "LONDON (Reuters) - More than one million Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in their country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to research conducted by one of Britain's leading polling groups.

The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB) with 2,414 adults in face-to-face interviews, found that 20 percent of people had had at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, rather than natural causes.

The last complete census in Iraq conducted in 1997 found 4.05 million households in the country, a figure ORB used to calculate that approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war, the researchers found." Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Abandon Key Military Base (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Abandon Key Military Base (Page 1 of 1): "Ethiopian troops backing Somalia's transitional federal government withdrew from a key military base in the central regions on Monday, witnesses and residents said.

Since early 2007, the Ethiopian army maintained a 1,000-strong garrison in a base east of Beletwein, the capital of the central Hiran region.

Ethiopian army trucks were seen leaving the base on Monday and were reportedly heading west, towards the Somali-Ethiopian border."

American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Blog

American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Blog: "As expected, President Bush played the fear card in his State of the Union address last night. Once again, he's trying to scare the public into thinking that come February 1, the phone lines will be burning up with terrorist-to-terrorist phone calls that our intelligence agencies won't be able to listen to, because Senate Democrats want to debate FISA legislation instead of blindly accepting the White House's demands:

To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they're planning. Last year, Congress passed legislation to help us do that. Unfortunately, Congress set the legislation to expire on February the 1st. That means if you don't act by Friday, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger. Congress must ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted. Congress must pass liability protection …

US airstrikes on Iraq rise 500 percent :: :: informazione dall'Iraq occupato :: news from occupied Iraq :: - it

US airstrikes on Iraq rise 500 percent :: :: informazione dall'Iraq occupato :: news from occupied Iraq :: - it: "January 29, 2008

Though George Bush claims the 'surge’ brings peace in 2007 warplanes made 1,447 bombing runs

The US has unleashed a ferocious bombing campaign on Iraq and Afghanistan, with devastating effects on the population. This surge in the 'air war' is largely hidden behind talk of 'recent successes' for the occupations.

According to figures released by the US military – known as 'airpower summary of close air support missions' – in 2006 there were 229 US bombing missions. But last year this rose to 1,447 – more than a 500 percent increase.

The most frequently used munition in this campaign of air bombardment is the Guided Bomb Unit 12, a laser guided bomb with a 500 pound 'general purpose warhead'. This warhead is capable of reducing houses to rubble.

In 2006 over 111,000 pounds of bombs were dropped on targe…

Voices - Traffic Jam on the Highway to Hell

Voices - Traffic Jam on the Highway to HellEvil never runs its course. With each success, it grows stronger, more ghastly and, like Dick Cheney, emerges a bit more from the shadows. Never doubt for a minute that these unfeeling creatures are not evil. They are incapable of compassion, of empathy, of mercy. Their eyes are on the prize of One World rule, and they will have it in spite of -- or as a result of -- all the chaos and carnage it takes to achieve it. There are no "Imps of the Perverse" among them who will be so overcome with guilt they will break from the pack and run through the populace shrieking, "We're guilty! We did it! We are murderers!"

Cheney and his destructive little sidekick, George Bush, have brazenly committed treasonous acts -- left piles of corpses in their wake since the 2000 election coup. If there is a God, they are bound straight for Hell. But they are not alone. They're protected by a merciless axis of courts, congressional conspi…

VOA News - Religion Alone Not Responsible for Suicide Bombings

VOA News - Religion Alone Not Responsible for Suicide Bombings: "Three countries suffering from the scourge of terrorism -- Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan -- are expressing concern over the spread of extremism in their regions, saying terrorism cannot be defeated just by force alone. They say the international community must also focus on eradicating poverty and illiteracy. VOA's Ravi Khanna has more"

The Raw Story | 'Straight talk' from Senator McCain: More wars to come

The Raw Story | 'Straight talk' from Senator McCain: More wars to come: "Speaking in Polk City, Florida, U.S. Senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ) pledges expansion of access to health care for soldiers injured physically and psychologically not only in the current war, but in wars he says are sure to follow.

This video is from CNN Newsroom, broadcast January 27, 2008."

AlterNet: War on Iraq: "Jackasses with Guns": Mercenaries Terrorize Iraq

AlterNet: War on Iraq: "Jackasses with Guns": Mercenaries Terrorize IraqOut of the dozens upon dozens of reports of abuses by private contractors as part of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, only one prosecution of a contractor has taken place.

This, says a new report from Human Rights First, epitomizes the woefully insufficient response by the U.S. government to hold private contractors accountable for abuses against local nationals.

"Holding contractors responsible for criminal abuses has not been a high priority of the U.S. government," said the report, "Private Security Contractors at War: Ending the Culture of Impunity," which is based on interviews, court records, government reports, declassified documents and other documentary sources. "At times the government has appeared to view this issue with shocking indifference."

TALES OF IRAQ WAR by LATUFF: Sectarian war in Iraq

Return to Fallujah - Middle East, World -

Return to Fallujah - Middle East, World - "Fallujah is more difficult to enter than any city in the world. On the road from Baghdad I counted 27 checkpoints, all manned by well-armed soldiers and police. 'The siege is total,' says Dr Kamal in Fallujah Hospital as he grimly lists his needs, which include everything from drugs and oxygen to electricity and clean water.

The last time I tried to drive to Fallujah, several years ago, I was caught in the ambush of an American fuel convoy and had to crawl out of the car and lie beside the road with the driver while US soldiers and guerrillas exchanged gunfire. The road is now much safer but nobody is allowed to enter Fallujah who does not come from there and can prove it through elaborate identity documents. The city has been sealed off since November 2004 when United States Marines stormed it in an attack that left much of the city in ruins."

Suharto, the Model Killer, and His Friends in High Places - by John Pilger

Suharto, the Model Killer, and His Friends in High Places - by John PilgerIn my film Death of a Nation, there is a sequence filmed on board an Australian aircraft flying over the island of Timor. A party is in progress, and two men in suits are toasting each other in champagne. "This is an historically unique moment," says one of them, "that is truly uniquely historical." This is Gareth Evans, Australia's foreign minister. The other man is Ali Alatas, principal mouthpiece of the Indonesian dictator, Gen. Suharto. It is 1989, and the two are making a grotesquely symbolic flight to celebrate the signing of a treaty that allowed Australia and the international oil and gas companies to exploit the seabed off East Timor, then illegally and viciously occupied by Suharto. The prize, according to Evans, was "zillions of dollars."

Beneath them lay a land of crosses: great black crosses etched against the sky, crosses on peaks, crosses in tiers on the hillsides.…

United States - International Diplomacy - Economic Trends - World Economy - Politics - New York Times

United States - International Diplomacy - Economic Trends - World Economy - Politics - New York Times: "It is 2016, and the Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama administration is nearing the end of its second term. America has pulled out of Iraq but has about 20,000 troops in the independent state of Kurdistan, as well as warships anchored at Bahrain and an Air Force presence in Qatar. Afghanistan is stable; Iran is nuclear. China has absorbed Taiwan and is steadily increasing its naval presence around the Pacific Rim and, from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The European Union has expanded to well over 30 members and has secure oil and gas flows from North Africa, Russia and the Caspian Sea, as well as substantial nuclear energy. America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline."

Al Jazeera English - News - Renewed Kenya Clashes Claim Lives

Al Jazeera English - News - Renewed Kenya Clashes Claim Lives: "At least 26 people have been killed in the latest ethnic clashes in Kenya, as the unrest over the disputed re-election of Mwai Kibaki, the country's president, continues.

Police said on Sunday that 17 people had been killed overnight in Nakuru, the provincial capital of the western Rift Valley, and in the nearby trading post of Timboroa.

'As of now, we have 17 people killed - 11 in Nakuru's Manyan slums and six in Timboroa [trading post],' a police commander told AFP on Sunday."

Al Jazeera English - News - Pflp Founder George Habash Dies

Al Jazeera English - News - PFLP Founder George Habash DiesGeorge Habash, the Palestinian leader and a longtime rival of Yasser Arafat, the former Palestinian president, has died in Jordan, aged 80.

Habash, who passed away on Saturday, founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which carried out the hijackings of several aircraft in the 1970s.

"He had a severe heart attack and he died instantly," Leila Khaled, a member of the Palestine National Council and a leading member of the PLFP, said. - Progressive Shutout: Kucinich Banned, No Real Debate - Progressive Shutout: Kucinich Banned, No Real Debate: "The corporate-controlled U.S. electoral system is a fine-tuned machine, designed to filter out all voices that challenge the rule of the rich. Dissent is systematically shunted to the margins of American political discourse - even when the dissenters are popularly elected politicians whose views are consistent with huge sectors of the population. Such is the case with six-term Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, whose campaign stance on withdrawal from Iraq and truly universal health care resonates with large majorities of Democrats, but who has been made to disappear by corporate operatives posing as journalists. The Congressional Black Caucus is complicit in the latest shutout of progressive political thought, through their acquiescence to CNN's ouster of Kucinich from the primary debate."

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan: "Compared to the old Taliban movement of 1994-2001, the new insurgents have less orthodox attitudes towards imported technologies like video production. By 2005, some district commanders were equipped with laptops, despite the scarcity of electricity. The neo-Taliban have no qualms in exploiting free-market principles for military operations. They protect opium traffickers' convoys in exchange for favors and pay non-hardcore members by piece work, such as firing a rocket or carrying out an assassination. By late 2006, their commanders were even relaxing harsh imposition of their infamous moral codes.

Giustozzi partially attributes the re-entry of the Taliban to the feebleness of President Hamid Karzai's administration, which is geared to accommodating tribal strongmen and warlords rather than to building a professional bureaucracy. Corruption, infighting and arrogance among provincial autho…

The God Delusion

The God Delusion The God Delusion explores the unproven beliefs that are treated as factual by many religions and the extremes to which some followers have ... taken them. Dawkins opens the programme by describing the "would-be murderers .. who want to kill you and me, and themselves, because they're motivated by what they think is the highest ideal." Dawkins argues that "the process of non-thinking called faith" is not a way of understanding the world, but instead stands in fundamental opposition to modern science and the scientific method, and is divisive and dangerous.

The Root of All Evil? is a television documentary, written and presented by Richard Dawkins, in which he argues that the world would be better off without religion. The documentary was first broadcast in January 2006, in the form of two 45-minute episodes (excluding advertisement breaks), on Channel 4 in the UK.

ei: Israel declares Gaza "enemy entity" (19 September 2007)

ei: Israel declares Gaza "enemy entity" (19 September 2007): "On Wednesday, 19 September 2007, Israel's security cabinet unanimously declared the Gaza Strip an 'enemy entity.' The declaration, ostensibly in reaction to the firing of rockets from Gaza, was immediately backed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and followed by a series of collective punishment measures that have crippled Gaza's already suffering economy. Israel has denied the importing of basic needs including medicine, severely limited exports, cut fuel supplies to the impoverished strip, and halted the movement of people to and from Gaza -- including those in need of urgent medical care."

AlterNet: Going Bankrupt: Why the Debt Crisis Is America's Greatest Threat

AlterNet: Going Bankrupt: Why the Debt Crisis Is America's Greatest ThreatWithin the next month, the Pentagon will submit its 2009 budget to Congress and it's a fair bet that it will be even larger than the staggering 2008 one. Like the Army and the Marines, the Pentagon itself is overstretched and under strain -- and like the two services, which are expected to add 92,000 new troops over the next five years (at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion per 10,000), the Pentagon's response is never to cut back, but always to expand, always to demand more.

After all, there are those disastrous Afghan and Iraqi wars still eating taxpayer dollars as if there were no tomorrow. Then there's what enthusiasts like to call "the next war" to think about, which means all those big-ticket weapons, all those jets, ships, and armored vehicles for the future. And don't forget the still-popular, Rumsfeld-style "netcentric warfare" systems (robots, drones, communication…

The Lessons of Violence

The Lessons of Violence: "The Gaza Strip is rapidly becoming one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. Israel has cordoned off the entire area, home to some 1.4 million Palestinians, blocking commercial goods, food, fuel and even humanitarian aid. At least 36 people have been killed in Israeli strikes since Tuesday and many more wounded. Hamas, which took control of Gaza in June, has launched about 200 rockets into southern Israel in the same period in retaliation, injuring more than 10 people. Israel announced the draconian closure and collective punishment Thursday in order to halt the rocket attacks, begun on Tuesday, when 18 Palestinians, including the son of a Hamas leader, were killed by Israeli forces."

Al Jazeera English - News - Worldwide Anger Over Gaza Plight

Al Jazeera English - News - Worldwide Anger Over Gaza Plight: "The Arab League and European Union have led worldwide calls for Israel to end its four-day blockade of the Gaza Strip that has caused untold suffering to more than a million people.

After an emergency meeting in Cairo on Monday, delegates from the 22 Arab states called on the UN 'to carry out an international inquiry into Israeli crimes'.

In a statement, the Arab League described the Gaza Strip as 'a disaster area' and appealed to the international community to provide the Palestinian people with necessary assistance."

ZNet - No “War on Terror”

ZNet - No “War on Terror”: "One of the most telling signs of the political naiveté of liberals and the Left in the United States has been their steadfast faith in much of the worldview that blankets the imperial state they call home. Nowhere has this critical failure been more evident than in their acceptance of the premise that there really is something called a 'war on terror' or “terrorism”[1]—however poorly managed its critics make it out to be—and that righting the course of this war ought to be this country's (and the world’s) top foreign policy priority. In this perspective, Afghanistan and Pakistan rather than Iraq ought to have been the war on terror's proper foci; most accept that the U.S. attack on Afghanistan from October 2001 on was a legitimate and necessary stage in the war. The tragic error of the Bush Administration, in this view, was that it lost sight of this priority, and diverted U.S. military action to Iraq and other theaters, reducing th…

News 10 Now | 24 Hour Local News | Watertown/North Country | Anti-war group says war crimes are "encouraged"

News 10 Now | 24 Hour Local News | Watertown/North Country | Anti-war group says war crimes are "encouraged": "WATERTOWN, NY - 'I was messed up in the head. It was okay for me. I laughed afterwards. We all did. It's just the way things go.'

Iraq war veteran Jon Turner said it was almost expected of him to pull the trigger on people who didn't need to die. So he did.

'It was my decision,' Turner said. 'I made it. Now I have to live with the fact I see someone's eyes screaming at me after I shot them.'

But Turner says it wasn't his choice to be encouraged to do it from higher ranking officers. He and three other veterans speaking out Saturday at the Different Drummer Cafe in Watertown said committing war crimes is not only the way things go, but it's unofficial policy."

Ethiopian Review | Woyanne rejects 'virtual' border

Ethiopian Review | Woyanne rejects 'virtual' border: "Ethiopia Woyanne has dismissed a 'virtual' demarcation of its border with Eritrea, just a day after Asmara accepted the move by an independent boundary commission.

The two nations have been deadlocked in a dispute over their 1,000km border since a 2002 decision by the Hague-based commission gave the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea.

The commission, set up by a peace deal ending a 1998-2000 war, 'virtually' demarcated the border late last year based on the 2002 decision after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on their shared frontier."

The Corpse on the Gurney: The 'Success' Mantra in Iraq - by Tom Engelhardt

The Corpse on the Gurney: The 'Success' Mantra in Iraq - by Tom Engelhardt: "The other day, as we reached the first anniversary of the President's announcement of his 'surge' strategy, his 'new way forward' in Iraq, I found myself thinking about the earliest paid book-editing work I ever did. An editor at a San Francisco textbook publisher hired me to 'doctor' god-awful texts designed for audiences of captive kids. Each of these 'books' was not only in a woeful state of disrepair, but essentially D.O.A. I was nonetheless supposed to do a lively rewrite of the mess and add seductive 'sidebars'; another technician then simplified the language to 'grade level' and a designer provided a flashy layout and look. Zap! Pow! Kebang!

During the years that I freelanced for that company in the early 1970s, an image of what I was doing formed in my mind – and it suddenly came back to me this week. I used to describe it this way:

The li…

The Hormuz Hoax- by Justin Raimondo

The Hormuz Hoax- by Justin Raimondo: "Following up on the alleged incident in the Strait of Hormuz with those five Iranian speedboats, remember that radioed threat supposedly coming from the Iranian side? Now they're blaming it on – are you ready for this? – 'the Filipino Monkey,' some crazy guy (or guys) whose obscene remarks have come crackling over ship radios in the area for years.

Notice how quickly the official story is changing. First the transmission was a threat coming from the Iranians: now they're 'unsure.' This is contrary to the President's characterization of what occurred, and the Pentagon's video presentation of a threat emanating from the speedboats: the allegedly 'aggressive' actions of the Iranians are underscored by an audio overlay in which a voice interpolates 'I am coming to you, you will explode in a few minutes.'" - White Privilege, White Progressives and the Audacity of Obama’s Definition of Hope - White Privilege, White Progressives and the Audacity of Obama’s Definition of Hope: "Corporate media idiots regularly ask the question: 'Who would America elect first for President, a woman or someone who is Black?' History has already answered. Sixteen white women currently serve in the U.S. Senate, versus one lone Black, and 'thirty white women have served as state governors compared to two Black men since Reconstruction.' Every indicator shows white women are 'the second most privileged category of human in the US.' White America poses questions that history has already resolved, while seeking absolution (through Barack Obama) for past and present injustices that many deny occurred. The real question raised amidst the din of unreality is: 'Are white liberals and progressives truly committed to social and racial justice?'" - The Black Church and the Hollowing Out of Black Politics - The Black Church and the Hollowing Out of Black Politics: "Much of what passes for Black leadership no longer represents African American political interests or opinion, having broken from their progressive mass moorings under the lure of corporate money and “faith-based” government bribes. Black politicians dance to the tunes of Big Business campaign contributors, while many Black preachers “ape the undemocratic and bigoted worst” of their white Christian counterparts. The ambitions of both the secular and religious hustlers converge in Memphis Tennessee, where Black preachers fan the flames of homophobia to elect their chosen candidate, and in Georgia, where an elected Black county executive is poised to run for Cynthia McKinney’s old seat in Congress with the help of real estate interests and money-grubbing mega-preachers, thus threatening to push the Congressional Black Caucus further to the Right. The Black Georgia incumbent congressman’s crime: he’s …

How the Pentagon Planted a False Story - by Gareth Porter

How the Pentagon Planted a False Story - by Gareth Porter: "The release reported that the Iranian 'small boats' had 'maneuvered aggressively in close proximity of [sic] the Hopper [the lead ship of the three-ship convoy].' But it did not suggest that the Iranian boats had threatened the boats or that it had nearly resulted in firing on the Iranian boats.

On the contrary, the release made the U.S. warships handling of the incident sound almost routine. 'Following standard procedures,' the release said, 'Hopper issued warnings, attempted to establish communications with the small boats, and conducted evasive maneuvering.'

The release did not refer to a U.S. ship being close to firing on the Iranian boats, or to a call threatening that U.S. ships would 'explode in a few minutes,' as later stories would report, or to the dropping of objects into the path of a U.S. ship as a potential danger.

That press release was ignored by the news media, howeve…

Pollsters and Puppets -- In These Times

Pollsters and Puppets -- In These Times
Imagine what this Democratic presidential primary would look like had Clinton not pandered to public opinion (as misinterpreted by Democracy Corps), and had instead spoken out against Bush’s warmongering. Imagine if Clinton, like then-state senator Barack Obama, had addressed antiwar rallies.

While some pundits downplay the war’s role, it is clear Clinton’s hawkishness opened the door for opponents like the senator from Illinois.

If Clinton—and Kerry and former Sen.John Edwards and the 26 other Democratic Senators who endorsed Bush’s war—had led rather than followed, the national media would have been forced to view the war as a Republican adventure (rather than a bipartisan crusade for democracy and against weapons of mass destruction). If there had been a meaningful opposition in Washington, rather than a clique of fearful, poll-driven opportunists, it is possible that this entire Iraq catastrophe could have been averted.
"A November 2007 Harris poll found that less than 15 percent of the population believes each of the following industries to be 'generally honest and trustworthy:' tobacco companies (3 percent); oil companies (3 percent); managed care companies such as HMOs (5 percent); health insurance companies (7 percent); telephone companies (10 percent); life insurance companies (10 percent); online retailers (10 percent); pharmaceutical and drug companies (11 percent); car manufacturers (11 percent); airlines (11 percent); packaged food companies (12 percent); electric and gas utilities (15 percent). Only 32 percent of adults said they trusted the best-rated industry about which Harris surveyed, supermarkets. [1]

These are remarkable numbers. It is very hard to get this degree of agreement about anything. By way of comparison, 79 percent of adults believe the earth revolves around the sun; 18 percent say it is the other way around.[2]"

Al Jazeera English - News - Abbas: Israeli Raid 'A Massacre'

Al Jazeera English - News - Abbas: Israeli Raid 'A Massacre': "Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has described as 'a masscre' Israel's latest deadly incursion into the Gaza Strip which left 17 Palestinians dead.

At least 50 Palestinians were also injured in the military operation on Tuesday which had started the previous night while US president George Bush was in Saudi Arabia.

David Chater, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem, said: 'Apache helicopter gunships, armoured bulldozers, tanks and ground troops were all involved in this incursion.

'There are also reports of another incursion"

Truthdig - Reports - The End of the Road for George W. Bush

Truthdig - Reports - The End of the Road for George W. Bush: "He may yet rise again to torment us with an attack on Iran, condemning more innocents to slaughter. He and his cigar-smoking soul mate Ehud Olmert would like to go out with one more flash of mayhem and violence. But even this will not ultimately save him. Bush will soon be reduced to the cipher he once was, left to spend the rest of his life trying to salvage a legacy of shame and deceit. In a just world he would be put on trial, if not by the International Criminal Court of Justice then by the U.S. Congress. He would be forced to face up to his lies and wars of aggression. But the moral rot that infects the nation has seeped into the bowels of the legislative as well as the executive branch."

Truthdig - Reports - The End of the Road for George W. Bush

Truthdig - Reports - The End of the Road for George W. Bush: "The Gilbert and Sullivan charade of statesmanship played out by George W. Bush and his enabler, Condoleezza Rice, as they wander the Middle East is a fitting end to seven years of misrule. Despots stripped of power are transformed from monsters into buffoons. And this is the metamorphosis that is eating away at the Bush presidency."

Iraqis 'Awake' to a New Danger - by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail

Iraqis 'Awake' to a New Danger - by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail: "Awakening forces have been widely criticized for corruption and brutal tactics. Many speak of them as 'gangs,' 'criminals,' 'dogs of the Americans,' and 'thieves.' But the Bush administration and many media outlets in the West credit the Awakening forces with bringing stability to volatile areas."

Aswat Aliraq

Aswat AliraqMuthanna, Jan 13, (VOI) – U.S. forces shot down an Iraqi civilian north of Falluja city, a local police source said on Sunday.

"At a late hour on Saturday night, U.S. army personnel opened fire on a civilian vehicle that approached their patrol in Ziraa Degla area, 20 km north of Falluja, and killed its driver, whom they suspected to be a gunman trying to attack them," the source, who preferred to remain unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI).
The vehicle was damaged in the shooting and the body was taken to the Falluja General Hospital, the source indicated.
No comment was available from the U.S. side on the incident.

Falluja, the largest city in the Sunni Anbar province, lies 45 km west of the Iraqi capital; while Ramadi, the capital city of the province, lies 110 km west of Baghdad.

Reuters AlertNet - Israeli pianist Barenboim takes Palestinian passport

Reuters AlertNet - Israeli pianist Barenboim takes Palestinian passport: "RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Daniel Barenboim, the world renowned Israeli pianist and conductor, has taken Palestinian citizenship and said he believed his rare new status could serve a model for peace between the two peoples.
'It is a great honour to be offered a passport,' he said late on Saturday after a Beethoven piano recital in Ramallah, the West Bank city where he has been active for some years in promoting contact between young Arab and Israeli musicians.
'I have also accepted it because I believe that the destinies of ... the Israeli people and the Palestinian people are inextricably linked,' Barenboim said. 'We are blessed -- or cursed -- to live with each other. And I prefer the first.'"

Report: Israel planning to assassinate Haniyeh | Jerusalem Post

Report: Israel planning to assassinate Haniyeh | Jerusalem Post: "Israel is planning to assassinate exiled Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal, deposed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and former PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, but is waiting to give the green light on the operation until after US President George W. Bush leaves the region, the London-based newspaper, Al-Hayat reported on Sunday."

Andrew Cockburn: How the New England Journal of Medicine Undercounted Iraqi Civilian Deaths

Andrew Cockburn: How the New England Journal of Medicine Undercounted Iraqi Civilian Deaths: "Almost five years into the destruction of Iraq, the orthodox rule of thumb for assessing statistical tabulations of the civilian death toll is becoming clear: any figure will do so long as it is substantially lower than that computed by the Johns Hopkins researchers in their 2004 and 2006 studies. Their findings, based on the most orthodox sampling methodology and published in the Lancet after extensive peer review, estimated the post-invasion death toll by 2006 at about 655,000. Predictably, this shocking assessment drew howls of ignorant abuse from self-interested parties, including George Bush ('not credible') and Tony Blair."

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan: "Durrani, who participated in the joint Pakistan-Afghanistan peace efforts in the Pakistani city of Peshawar last year, continued, 'Nobody is in favor of operations, not even those who are actually doing the operations. Even people from [the port city of] Karachi, who are considered ultra-liberal [are against operations] and on the Lal Masjid [Red Mosque] operation, I found them calling it irrational.' Durrani was referring to security forces storming the radical mosque in Islamabad last year to root out militants.

Should Pakistan scale down or halt its operations in the tribal areas, where it has thousands of troops, the US might be forced to act. Reports have been swirling for some time of US plans to undertake aggressive covert operations inside Pakistan."

New U.S. Tactic: Bomb Roads, Before the Iraqis Do | Danger Room from

New U.S. Tactic: Bomb Roads, Before the Iraqis Do | Danger Room from "ince the Iraq insurgency started, I must have heard a thousand idea for beating roadside bombs -- from lightning guns to radio-controlled toys to mine-mashers to microwave blasts to new roads to just plain walking.

But this NPR report reveals a brand new tactic for dealing with deep-buried improvised explosives: fly a B-1 overhead, and bomb the living crap out of the road itself. Detonate all those weapons, in other words, before the insurgents do.

It's all part of an absolutely ginormous U.S. assault on Sunni insurgent strongholds north and south of Baghdad -- seven battalions, in an region that was once patrolled by just 500 soldiers, Phil Carter points out. Phil spent a year where all those troops are now. He's confident that American forces can kick around any insurgents they find there. But he's still pessimistic about how far this war can move beyond wack-a-mole. Or bomb-a-roa…

Bush Fails Again - by Charley Reese

Bush Fails Again - by Charley Reese: "To understand the failure of the president's trip to the Middle East, which is foreordained and doesn't have to be completed in order to fail, take note of two words that the president will not utter: 'occupied territories.'

Let's review the situation from the standpoint of international law. The West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and a smidgen of Lebanon the Israelis still occupy are officially designated as occupied territories. They were seized in war. Jerusalem is officially an international city, so designated by the United Nations partition resolution that created the state of Israel. The Israelis, of course, long ago declared the resolution null and void.

As occupied territories, they fall under the Geneva Conventions. An occupying power is not allowed to take land or to build settlements in occupied territory. It is not allowed to destroy homes, to uproot olive groves, to deport people, and to wall th…

Six Years Of Guantánamo: Enough Is Enough - by Andy Worthington

Six Years Of Guantánamo: Enough Is Enough - by Andy Worthington: "For two and a half years, the administration succeeded in its aims, running an illegal offshore interrogation center, which mutated into a torture prison when the detainees proved resistant to interrogation. The 'enhanced interrogation techniques' introduced by the administration included prolonged solitary confinement, forced nudity, sexual and religious humiliation, sleep deprivation, the use of extreme heat and cold, and the use of painful stress positions. Despite condemnation by world leaders, international legal experts, global bodies including the United Nations and an unprecedented array of former US military commanders, the administration defined torture so narrowly – as being equivalent to organ failure or death – that it refused to concede that it was actually engaged in torture."

Ron Paul Statement on The New Republic Article Regarding Old Newsletters

Ron Paul Statement on The New Republic Article Regarding Old Newsletters: "'The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.

'In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person's character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: 'I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.'

'This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It's once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

'When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not e…

The Deflation Time-bomb

"The constant rate cuts and geopolitical jitters have sent gold skyrocketing. Since August 2006, gold has gone from $650 per ounce to $887; a whopping $237 in just 5 months. If that is not a indictment of the Federal Reserve and their “loosey-goosey” monetary policy; then what is? According to the Wall Street Journal “gold and oil have run almost in perfect tandem. The price of gold has risen 239% since 2001, while the price of oil has risen 267%. That means if the dollar had remained as 'good as gold' since 2001, oil today would be selling at about $30 a barrel, not $99.” (WSJ; 1-4-08)
That's right; the price of gas today is attributable to war, tax cuts and the relentless expansion of credit by the Federal Reserve---NOT OIL SHORTAGES!" - Barack, Hillary, and the Sinister Nothingness of “Change” - Barack, Hillary, and the Sinister Nothingness of “Change”: "When politicians offer nothing, and the people demand nothing, then the powers-that-be are free to continue doing whatever they choose. The death knell of participatory politics can often be a very noisy, celebratory affair - such as we have witnessed in the call-and-response ritual of 'Change!' 'Hope!' and other exuberant but insubstantial campaign exercises. Finally, the most accomplished slickster in presidential history, Bill Clinton, was compelled to expose Barack Obama's 'fairy tale' anti-war history - some truth for a 'change.' Black Agenda Report knows the story very well, after more than four years of observing Obama's descent from vaguely progressive rhetoric to shameless pandering (to whites) and vapid 'Change!' mantra nonsense. Only the rich can win this game."

Robert Fantina: The Gulf of Tonkin and the Strait of Hormuz

Robert Fantina: The Gulf of Tonkin and the Strait of Hormuz: "As the U.S. government continues to demonstrate its inability to learn from history, an alarming report from the Strait of Hormuz was broadcast to the world on January 7. The Associated Press reported the following: 'In what U.S. officials called a serious provocation, Iranian boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, threatening to explode the American vessels.' These Iranian ships are believed to part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's navy, the organization that the U.S. Congress officially decreed a 'terrorist' organization.

Those either old enough to remember, or cognizant enough to understand history, will immediately be reminded of the infamous 'Gulf of Tonkin' incident, reported on August 2, 1964. On that day, the U.S. destroyer Maddox, on an espionage mission in the Gulf of Tonkin off the Vietnam coast, reported being fired on by North Vie…

For U.S., The Goal Is Now 'Iraqi Solutions'

For U.S., The Goal Is Now 'Iraqi Solutions': "In the year since President Bush announced he was changing course in Iraq with a troop 'surge' and a new strategy, U.S. military and diplomatic officials have begun their own quiet policy shift. After countless unsuccessful efforts to push Iraqis toward various political, economic and security goals, they have decided to let the Iraqis figure some things out themselves."

Tomgram: If the GWOT Were Gone...

Tomgram: If the GWOT Were Gone...: "Consider the debate among four Democratic presidential candidates on ABC News last Saturday night. In the previous week, the price of a barrel of oil briefly touched $100, unemployment hit 5%, the stock market had the worst three-day start since the Great Depression, and the word 'recession' was in the headlines and in the air. So when ABC debate moderator Charlie Gibson announced that the first fifteen-minute segment would be taken up with 'what is generally agreed to be… the greatest threat to the United States today,' what did you expect?

As it happened, he was referring to 'nuclear terrorism,' specifically 'a nuclear attack on an American city' by al-Qaeda (as well as how the future president would 'retaliate'). In other words, Gibson launched his version of a national debate by focusing on a fictional, futuristic scenario, at this point farfetched, in which a Pakistani loose nuke would fall into the h…
The U.S. military announced it conducted an air strike south of Baghdad. It is said the strike perhaps killed many villagers as well as destroying their farms and houses. This American terrorism must have wiped out villagers as they struggle to live in fear in their own country. The most sickening thing is the fact America calling this mass murder from air is conducted “against al Qaeda”. Americans are indifferent to the plight of other people. Americans allowed these mass murders which killed a million plus Iraqis. Men, women and children were targeted indiscriminately in which America and Iraq lost lives and resources at the winding down of the brutal occupation.

US launches airstrike south of Baghdad - Yahoo! News: "A military statement said two B-1 bombers and four F-16 fighters dropped the bombs on 40 targets in Arab Jabour in 10 strikes. Al-Qaida fighters are believed to control Arab Jabour, a Sunni district lined with citrus groves and scarred by daily violence.


Resister in Exile -- In These Times

Resister in Exile -- In These TimesThey are carrying on, like my husband’s family who lives in a part of Baghdad that the Americans built a wall around.

This is the justification for it: “We are protecting people from the IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and we don’t want them to be randomly killed.” But at the same time there are air strikes that kill people randomly, so the justification doesn’t make sense except to separate and segregate people into smaller and smaller communities, which will make it easier for the occupiers to control them.

We are talking about Baghdad. There are also cities like Fallujah, Anbar and Samarra in the north, where walls are built to stop the coming and going of the people.

And it is not just the walls. The U.S. military was digging trenches around Al Hilla, the ancient city of Babylon, destroying an archaeological site to fill sandbags.

American archaeologists did fantastic work highlighting this issue. The problem was that once they left, the damage h…

AlterNet: War on Iraq: The Myth of Sectarian Violence in Iraq

AlterNet: War on Iraq: The Myth of Sectarian Violence in Iraq: "If the U.S. leaves Iraq, the violent sectarianism between the Sunni and Shia will worsen. This is what Republicans and Democrats alike will have us believe. This key piece of rhetoric is used to justify the continuance of the occupation of Iraq.

This propaganda, like others of its ilk, gains ground, substance, and reality due largely to the ignorance of those ingesting it. The snow job by the corporate media on the issue of sectarianism in Iraq has ensured that the public buys into the line that the Sunni and Shia will dice one another up into little pieces if the occupation ends.

It may be worthwhile to consider that prior to the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq there had never been open warfare between the two groups and certainly not a civil war. In terms of organization and convention, Iraqis are a tribal society and some of the largest tribes in the country comprise Sunni and Shia. Intermarriages bet… - Fort Carson Soldier Says They Randomly Fired Shots At Iraqis - Fort Carson Soldier Says They Randomly Fired Shots At Iraqis: "The Army is investigating possible war crimes after a Fort Carson soldier facing first-degree murder charges in the slayings of two Iraq war veterans told investigators he and another soldier randomly fired at Iraqi civilians.

Pfc. Bruce Bastien Jr. and two former soldiers face charges in the December shooting death of Spc. Kevin Shields, while Bastien and one of those former soldiers face charges in the Aug. 4 shooting death of Pfc. Robert James.

Fort Carson spokeswoman Dee McNutt confirmed the Army investigation detailed in a motion filed by prosecutors Tuesday seeking to combine the two slayings into one case.

Bastien said he and another soldier used stolen AK-47 military rifles to shoot at civilians while their unit patrolled Baghdad neighborhoods while they were in Iraq.

'The sound of an AK-47 is very distinctive,' the motion quotes Bastien as telling Fort Carson Special Agent Kelly Jameson o…

Pakistanis See US As Greatest Threat

Pakistanis See US As Greatest Threat: "WASHINGTON - Amid reports that the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush is considering aggressive covert actions against armed Islamist forces in western Pakistan, a new survey released here Monday suggested that such an effort would be opposed by an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis themselves.

The survey, which was funded by the quasi-governmental U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and designed by the University of Maryland’s Programme on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), also found that a strong majority of Pakistanis consider the U.S. military presence in Asia and neighbouring Afghanistan a much more critical threat to their country than al Qaeda or Pakistan’s own Taliban movement in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan.

Only five percent of respondents said the Pakistani government should permit U.S. or other foreign troops to enter Pakistan to pursue or capture al Qaeda fighters, compared to a whopping 80 pe…

Afghan Civilians Were Killed Needlessly, Ex-Marine Testifies - New York Times

Afghan Civilians Were Killed Needlessly, Ex-Marine Testifies - New York Times: "CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A former member of an elite Marine combat unit that operated last year in eastern Afghanistan testified Tuesday that his comrades appeared to have needlessly killed civilians after their convoy was attacked by a suicide car bomb. Nathaniel Travers, a former Marine intelligence sergeant assigned to the 30-man Special Operations convoy that was patrolling on March 4 last year, testified in a military court here that a few marines fired at civilians and other unarmed noncombatants after the suicide bomber struck.

No marines have been charged with a crime in the episode. The hearing was held to determine whether troops had violated the laws of war."

Iran: U.S. faked video of Gulf incident -

Iran: U.S. faked video of Gulf incident - "TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran accused the United States on Wednesday of fabricating video and audio released by the Pentagon showing Iranian boats confronting U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

The video from Sunday's incident shows small Iranian boats swarming around U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. In the recording, a man speaking in heavily accented English threatened, 'I am coming to you. ... You will explode after ... minutes.'

'The footage released by the U.S. Navy was compiled using file pictures and the audio has been fabricated,' an official in Iran's Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying by the state-run English-language channel Press TV."

Main Sunni Group Vows No Deal With U.S.

Main Sunni Group Vows No Deal With U.S.: "The Islamic Army, the main Sunni insurgent group in Iraq, is adamant it will not make common cause with the Sunni militias tackling al-Qaeda with U.S. support, and will instead fight the Americans 'to the end.'

'The Islamic Army has nothing to do with the Awakening councils,' Ibrahim al-Shimmari, official spokesman of the Islamic Army in Iraq, told AFP in an email interview.

'No one can be a member of the Islamic Army and the Awakening at the same time. Our war is for self-defence and we are targeting those who attacked us.'" | Life | IWU teacher writing about being political prisoner in Ethiopia | Life | IWU teacher writing about being political prisoner in Ethiopia: "In the cafeteria at Atkin-Colby Hall, among a group from the Illinois State University International House, a conversation had turned to Ethiopia.

A young woman from nearby heard Ethiopia and chimed in. As recalled by professor Taye Woldesmiate:

Woman: 'What happened to that Ethiopian guy I signed a card for?'

Someone at the table: 'Here he is, right in front of you.'

'She was so happy,' said Dr. Taye, as he is known internationally. And so was Taye on this day in 2002, having been recently released from an Ethiopian prison as a result of the international pressure exerted by friends and by strangers like the woman in the cafeteria."

IOL: US troops raid kindergarten

IOL: US troops raid kindergarten: "Baghdad - A US force has stormed a kindergarten in a Shi'a-dominated district in Baghdad, smashed toys, doors and windows and arrested three of its guards, the Iraqi government said on Tuesday.

US troops raided Kanari kindergarten in the Jamila area of Sadr City in Baghdad where they smashed children's toys, doors, windows and roofs, according to a statement by the media centre of the Iraqi cabinet."

AlterNet: Election 2008: The Return of the SwiftBoaters

AlterNet: Election 2008: The Return of the SwiftBoaters: "More than three years after John Kerry's bitter defeat, at the dawn of what looks like a far more promising campaign cycle for the Democrats, the party is still haunted by the specter of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Once upon a time, 'Swift boat' denoted an obscure military vessel, but thanks to the activities of this group it has come to represent movement conservatism's penchant for ruthlessly (and effectively) smearing any and all political opponents, from a sitting senator and war hero to an 11-year-old boy with a cranial fracture."

A Drunken Night in Iraq, A Soldier Is Left Behind

A Drunken Night in Iraq, A Soldier Is Left Behind: "Pfc. Hannah Gunterman McKinney was 20 years old, the brown-eyed mother of a toddler son, when she was spotted in the headlights of a passing Humvee on a perimeter road at one of the largest U.S. military camps in Iraq.

Thirteen hours later, in Redlands, Calif., Barbie and Matt Heavrin, who had three children in the military, learned they had lost their elder daughter to 'injuries suffered when she was struck by a vehicle,' as the Army first described it.

But there was more to the story. For the Heavrins, the events of Sept. 4, 2006, inside the wire of Camp Taji emerged bit by bit. McKinney's last hours, they would learn, involved alcohol, sex and a decorated reservist who was responsible for looking out for junior enlisted soldiers such as their daughter.

Her case would become one in a litany of noncombat deaths in Iraq, which number more than 700, from crashes, suicides, illnesses and accidents that sometimes reveal me…

Anatomy of a Smear . NOW | PBS

Anatomy of a Smear . NOW | PBS: "Smear campaigns are nothing new in U.S. politics, but during the 2008 presidential race, the Internet has assumed a bigger role in transmitting misinformation and negative claims about candidates. The lightning speed at which these rumors spread and the lack of scrutiny they receive threaten to seriously undermine public discourse. The good news is that this campaign season the public has access to a slew of fact-checking websites, including,, and that are squelching Internet rumors and separating fact from fiction."

Free Press : How the Media Let Us Down at the Iowa Caucus

Free Press : How the Media Let Us Down at the Iowa Caucus: "Like a lot of you, I’ve been riveted to the proceedings in Iowa this week. Thanks to the wonderful world of television news, I have learned so much vital stuff about Mike Huckabee’s homespun charms, the secret plans of Hillary Clinton’s better half to conquer the world and Barack Obama’s family ties.

Now I know how the candidates feel about everything — except the issues.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how any of the candidates would resolve the situation in Iraq and the corresponding crisis-to-be in Iran, preserve the environment, provide health care to needy Americans, solve the Social Security debacle, fix the economy or boost the stock market.

Heck, I don’t even know which candidate is tightest with Bono!"

Free Press : How the Media Let Us Down at the Iowa Caucus

Free Press : How the Media Let Us Down at the Iowa Caucus: "Like a lot of you, I’ve been riveted to the proceedings in Iowa this week. Thanks to the wonderful world of television news, I have learned so much vital stuff about Mike Huckabee’s homespun charms, the secret plans of Hillary Clinton’s better half to conquer the world and Barack Obama’s family ties.

Now I know how the candidates feel about everything — except the issues.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how any of the candidates would resolve the situation in Iraq and the corresponding crisis-to-be in Iran, preserve the environment, provide health care to needy Americans, solve the Social Security debacle, fix the economy or boost the stock market.

Heck, I don’t even know which candidate is tightest with Bono!"

Tomgram: How Bush Took Us to the Dark Side

Tomgram: How Bush Took Us to the Dark Side: "If you don't mind thinking about the Bush legacy a year early, there are worse places to begin than with the case of Erla Ósk Arnardóttir Lilliendahl. Admittedly, she isn't an ideal 'tempest-tost' candidate for Emma Lazarus' famous lines engraved on a bronze plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. After all, she flew to New York City with her girlfriends, first class, from her native Iceland, to partake of 'the Christmas spirit.' She was drinking white wine en route and, as she put it, 'look[ing] forward to go shopping, eat good food, and enjoy life.' On an earlier vacation trip, back in 1995, she had overstayed her visa by three weeks, a modest enough infraction, and had even returned the following year without incident.

This time -- with the President's Global War on Terror in full swing -- she was pulled aside at passport control at JFK Airport, questioned about those extra three weeks 12 years ag…

Al Jazeera No Longer Nips at Saudis - New York Times

Al Jazeera No Longer Nips at Saudis - New York Times: "DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — When a Saudi court sentenced a young woman to 200 lashes in November after she pressed charges against seven men who had raped her, the case provoked outrage and headlines around the world, including in the Middle East.

But not at Al Jazeera, the Arab world’s leading satellite television channel, seen by 40 million people. The station’s silence was especially noteworthy because until recently, and unlike almost all other Arab news outlets, Al Jazeera had long been willing — eager, in fact — to broadcast fierce criticisms of Saudi Arabia’s rulers.

For the past three months Al Jazeera, which once infuriated the Saudi royal family with its freewheeling newscasts, has treated the kingdom with kid gloves, media analysts say." General predicts fewer battles with Taliban General predicts fewer battles with Taliban: "KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- Over the next year, soldiers will build bridges, get roads paved and better protect Afghan police, according to Canada's top general in Afghanistan. He also expects there will be fewer full-scale battles with the Taliban.

Canadian Forces Brigadier-General Guy Laroche told reporters in a briefing yesterday that he sees reasons for optimism after serving in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province during the past six months. 'I've seen progress,' he said. The next job, he added, is 'to increase the security bubble, if you will.'

The inroads made by Canadian Forces, he said, have helped force the Taliban underground. The good news is that insurgents have broken into smaller groups; the bad news is that they are now increasingly seeking to hit non-military targets.

That means the next challenge for the army, Gen. Laroche said, will be to expand outward from military outpo…

Iran no longer aids Iraq militants - - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Iran no longer aids Iraq militants - - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper: "Iran's leaders are no longer supplying weapons or training to Islamic militants in Iraq, the spokesman for the top U.S. commander in Iraq told The Washington Times.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, sees Iran as following through on assurances it made to Iraqi and U.S. officials last fall not to assist extremists in Iraq, spokesman Col. Steven Boylan said, adding that other U.S. officials have noted declines in Iranian weapons and funds to Iraqi insurgents."

No Murder Charges Filed in Haditha Case

No Murder Charges Filed in Haditha Case: "After a two-year investigation into the killings of up to 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, the Marine Corps has decided that none of the Marines involved in the incident will be charged with murder. Instead, two enlisted Marines and two Marine officers will face trial in coming months for the killings and for failing to investigate them.

The most serious charges have been leveled against Marine Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, who is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of voluntary manslaughter in California next week, the last step before the case officially moves to trial.

Initially called a massacre by Iraqi residents of Haditha and later characterized as coldblooded murder by a U.S. congressman, the case has turned not on an alleged rampage but on a far more complex analysis of how U.S. troops fight an insurgency in the midst of a population they seek to protect."

Annie's letters: 2008 Calender 60 Years of Nakba, The ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine

Annie's letters: 2008 Calender 60 Years of Nakba, The ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine: "May 15th, 1948, was the Palestinian Al-Nakba (the Catastrophe), or what Israel refers to as the “Day of Independence.” To Palestinians, it symbolizes the dispossession, displacement, and uprooting of 800,000 Palestinians from their homes in what then became Israel. Many of these refugees and their descendants, who now number more than 4 million, still languish in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and surrounding Arab countries. While Al-Nakba embodies the first major wave of forced expulsion of Palestinians from their land, Israel’s premeditated campaign of ethnic cleansing continues to this very day."

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Saddam Provided More Food to Iraqis Than the U.S.

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Saddam Provided More Food to Iraqis Than the U.S.: "The Iraqi government announcement that monthly food rations will be cut by half has left many Iraqis asking how they can survive. The government also wants to reduce the number of people depending on the rationing system by five million by June 2008.

Iraq's food rations system was introduced by the Saddam Hussein government in 1991 in response to the UN economic sanctions. Families were allotted basic foodstuffs monthly because the Iraqi Dinar and the economy collapsed."

Why Is Yazan Sawalha in Prison? -- In These Times

Why Is Yazan Sawalha in Prison? -- In These Times: "Yazan Sawalha turned 20 years old on Monday in an Israeli detention center. His family had been hopeful that after 40 days under interrogation by the Israel Security Agency, Yazan would be home to celebrate his birthday.

“All the family is sad today,” said Mohammad, Yazan’s father. “Normally we have five plates around the table. Today is the first birthday since Yazan was born that he hasn’t been with us.”

Mohammad, a prominent Palestinian peace activist and founder of the Palestinian House of Friendship, spoke from Nablus with In These Times on Monday evening. He told his son’s story with an urgency and passion that belied his weariness. Powerless to stop his son’s arrest, he is using all of his energy to bring him home."

The Raw Story | Aid chief says Taliban control a quarter of Afghanistan at night

The Raw Story | Aid chief says Taliban control a quarter of Afghanistan at night: "Kevin McCort, who heads CARE Canada, told CBC that 'up to a quarter of the country ... is in this in between context of maybe having government control during the day but, say, Taliban control at night. ... At the moment, we're actually starting to contract in some key areas.' Relief supplies are so routinely ambushed and looted that officials like McCort warn of a humanitarian crisis this winter.

British defense expert Michael Clarke told CBC that NATO's greatest weakness has been its failure to follow up on its military successes. NATO politicians play down these complaints, but some of the military leaders have begun to voice them openly."

Atrocity-Linked U.S. Officials Advising Democratic, GOP Presidential Frontrunners:

Atrocity-Linked U.S. Officials Advising Democratic, GOP Presidential Frontrunners:: "But little attention has been paid to perhaps one of the most important aspects of the candidates: their advisers, the men and women who likely form the backbone of the candidate’s future cabinet if elected president. Many of the names will be familiar.

Advisers to Hillary Rodham Clinton include many former top officials in President Clinton’s administration: former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, former UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. Senator Barack Obama’s list includes President Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, former Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross.

Rudolph Giuliani’s advisers include Norman Podhoretz, one of the fathers of the neoconservative movement. John McCain’s list of official and formal policy advisers includes former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, General …

An Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove

An Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove: "NEW YORK--What would you do if you learned that Bush Administration officials wanted to round up thousands of Americans and throw them into concentration camps?

For all we know, there is no slippery slope. It's entirely possible that extraordinary rendition, eliminating habeas corpus, and the torture camps at Guantánamo and elsewhere are exactly what the government says they are--tools for fighting terrorists, not domestic political opponents. But how likely is it?"

The Iraq charade

The Iraq charade: "-In recent months, we have been inundated by media reports bringing good news from Iraq, with countless testimonials to the great improvement in security enjoyed by the country in general and the Baghdad area in particular.

This progress is attributed solely to the judicious ‘surge’ of US military presence, and the astute tactics enacted by occupation forces in a place that once personified despair and violence."

A Dark Side to Iraq 'Awakening' Groups

A Dark Side to Iraq 'Awakening' Groups: "The thin teenage boy rushed up to the patrol of U.S. Soldiers walking through Dora, a shrapnel-scarred neighborhood of the Iraqi capital, and lifted his shirt to show them a mass of red welts across his back.

He said he was a member of a local Sunni 'Awakening' group, paid by the U.S. military to patrol the district, but he said it was another Awakening group that beat him. 'They took me while I was working,' he said, 'and broke my badge and said, 'You are from Al Qaeda.' '

The Soldiers were unsure what to do. The Awakening groups in their area of southern Baghdad could not seem to get along: They fought over turf and, it turned out in this case, one group had warned the other that its members should not pay rent to Shiite 'dogs.'"

2008: The year a new superpower is born - Independent Online Edition > Asia

2008: The year a new superpower is born - Independent Online Edition > Asia: "Here comes the world's newest superpower. The rest of the world is gloomily contemplating economic slowdown and even recession. Not in Beijing. China is set to make 2008 the year it asserts its status as a global colossus by flexing frightening economic muscle on international markets, enjoying unprecedented levels of domestic consumption and showcasing itself to a watching world with a glittering £20bn Olympic Games."

IRIN Middle East | Middle East | Iraq | IRAQ: Islamic extremists target women in Basra | Gender Issues Conflict | News Item

IRIN Middle East | Middle East | Iraq | IRAQ: Islamic extremists target women in Basra | Gender Issues Conflict | News Item: "BAGHDAD, 2 January 2008 (IRIN) - One hundred and thirty-three women were killed last year in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, either by religious vigilantes or as a result of so-called “honour” killings, a report said on 31 December.

The report, released by Basra Security Committee at a conference on women’s rights in the city, said 79 of the victims were deemed by extremists to be “violating Islamic teachings”, 47 others died in “honour” killings and the remaining seven were targeted for their political affiliations."