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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: "KARACHI - As Pakistani politicians scramble to form a coalition government following last week's parliamentary elections, there has been a surge in violence in the Swat Valley and in other parts of North-West Frontier Province, and on Monday a senior army officer was assassinated.

The indications are that whoever takes power in Islamabad - be it the Pakistan People's Party or the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif or a combination of both - the real battle will be in Afghanistan between the Taliban and al-Qaeda-led militants and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its allies."
"Starting in 2002, the CIA conducted interrogations of captured Al Qaeda operatives, including Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Binalshibh, at undisclosed CIA prisons outside the US. During these interrogations the CIA resorted to “enhanced interrogation techniques” (the CIA’s euphemism for torture) to extract information.[5] The methods included “waterboarding,” which induces a sensation of drowning in the unlucky individual. Evidently, the CIA decided for its own internal reasons to video-tape these early interrogation sessions. However, years later (in 2005), Jose A, Rodriquez, the CIA’s Director of Operations, ordered the tapes destroyed. For what reason? Well, according to current CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, because the tapes posed “a serious security risk.”[6] Hayden went on to clarify his rather cryptic remark, and explained to the press that if the tapes had become public they would have exposed CIA officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers…

Hezbollah and the ‘Unknown Knowns’

Hezbollah and the ‘Unknown Knowns’
We know well who killed the top Hezbollah commander, Imad Mugniyah on Feb 12th in Damascus.

While in the US media, only journalists like Seymour Hersh will have the nerve to point out the obvious, the Israeli media has not shied away from evidence of the Israeli intelligence’s involvement in this well-calculated assassination.

A major Israeli daily newspaper Maariv shared the views of many others when it concluded that: “Officially, Israel yesterday denied responsibility for the killing. But experts say the brilliant execution of the attack was characteristic of the Mossad.”

The Financial Times reported on the “triumphant mood” of the Israeli Press which hailed “the demise of one the country’s most feared adversaries” and quoted an Israeli paper stating “the account is settled.”

The Obama photo flap - War Room - Salon.com

The Obama photo flap - War Room - Salon.com: "The big news of the day thus far is a photograph of Barack Obama in traditional Somali dress, which the Drudge Report says 'stressed [Hillary] Clinton staffers circulated ... over the weekend.' (The photograph in question is the one accompanying this post; it was obtained from its owner, the Associated Press.)

Given the continuing efforts by some to paint Obama as somehow foreign, even -- gasp! -- Muslim (incorrectly, we should add), it's no surprise that the Obama campaign responded swiftly, and harshly. In a statement, Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, said, 'On the very day that Senator Clinton is giving a speech about restoring respect for America in the world, her campaign has engaged in the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we've seen from either party in this election. This is part of a disturbing pattern that led her county chairs to resign in Iowa, her campaign chairman to resign in New Ham…

Ethiopa's war on its own - Los Angeles Times

Ethiopa's war on its own - Los Angeles Times: "DADAAB, KENYA -- The bullet tore through Ibrahim Hamad's torso and lodged in his hip. The 26-year-old teacher was at home with his elderly father when government forces swept through his town in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, burning huts and killing civilians. 'The young girls were the first to die. The soldiers shot them and gathered the bodies and burned them,' he said. The troops demanded that surviving men join their ranks, threatening those who refused with torture, imprisonment and death."

IRIN Africa | East Africa | Kenya | KENYA: Armed and dangerous | Early Warning Governance Conflict Urban Risk | Feature

IRIN Africa | East Africa | Kenya | KENYA: Armed and dangerous | Early Warning Governance Conflict Urban Risk | Feature: "NAIROBI, 22 February 2008 (IRIN) - Kenya is at risk of plunging into a new wave of violence, despite progress in negotiations to end a political crisis, because several armed groups are mobilising on all sides of the country’s ethno-political divisions, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank.

Firearms are much less widely available in Kenya than in neighbouring countries. In the context of this article, “armed groups” include those using machetes, spears, poison arrows and clubs."

The massacre at Yaka China :: www.uruknet.info :: informazione dall'Iraq occupato :: news from occupied Iraq :: - it

"Below, the instruments of American revenge used in the Korengal Valley
during October 2007:"

The massacre at Yaka China :: www.uruknet.info :: informazione dall'Iraq occupato :: news from occupied Iraq :: - it:

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs: "The high Qandil mountains and deep gorges on the northern Iraqi border region with Iran must be one of the world's most ideal terrains for guerrilla war. That is where the fighters of the separatist Turkish Kurdish movement the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have set up its headquarters. The PKK is close enough to the Turkish border to stage its guerrilla attacks and can easily frustrate 'hot pursuits' by the Turkish army.
There is a popular saying that Kurds have no friends but the mountains. The region offers one of the world's spectacular natural fortresses, virtually impossible to penetrate. Especially so in the winter with heavy snowfall, frequent treacherous avalanches and howling icy winds mercilessly ransacking anything out in the
open."

AlterNet: Election 2008: Run, Ralph, Run! (But I Won't Vote for You)

AlterNet: Election 2008: Run, Ralph, Run! (But I Won't Vote for You): "In announcing another quixotic presidential bid on Meet the Press, Ralph Nader was his usual cogent self, asking, as he does, why so many in the 'liberal intelligentsia' condemn him for discussing the important issues that the two major parties ignore.

Although the Democratic debates during this primary season are about a thousand times better than those of recent years, he was, as usual, right -- why the hell haven't the Democrats come up with a coherent position on trade, for example?

As he spoke, one could almost hear Democrats across the country pulling knives from their sheaths. Another Nader run, another opportunity for Democrats -- even progressive Dems -- to attack him, in the words of Michael Tomasky, 'with lupine ferocity.'"

ei: Three Gaza picnickers killed by Israeli missile

ei: Three Gaza picnickers killed by Israeli missile: "The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli war crime perpetrated in the evening of Saturday, 23 February 2008, east of the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Three Palestinian civilians were killed by an Israeli rocket fired as they were on a picnic in the Nazaz area east of the town.

The Centre's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 3:40pm on Saturday, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) fired a surface-to-surface missile from one of its bases along the Gaza Strip border. The rocket targeted three friends in a bamboo hut in a field belonging to the family of one of the victims in the Nazaz area east of Beit Hanoun. The targeted area was approximately 1.2 kilometers away from the border with Israel. The rocket landed in the middle of the three civilians who were preparing food during their picnic in the field. They were instantly killed and dismembered. Their r…

blackagendareport.com - Framing Muslims and Locking Up Their Money

blackagendareport.com - Framing Muslims and Locking Up Their Money: "The U.S. government has for years been engaged in a witch hunt against Muslim charities, seizing assets and persons on little or manufactured evidence of 'terrorist' activities. Meanwhile, blatant spying on behalf of Israel goes unprosecuted, and is even rewarded with promotions to the highest, most sensitive levels of government. Human rights cease to exist in a legal free-fire zone in which all things Muslim or Arab are deemed subversive. All pretense of constitutional government vanishes when institutions and individuals are targeted based on ethnicity and religion. The real conspiracy against so-called 'American values' is headquartered in U.S. law enforcement and 'security' agencies that 'wreak fear and terror inside this country's Muslim community.'"

blackagendareport.com - A Black President? Sure. But If We Don't Do Nothin' He Won't Do Nothin'

blackagendareport.com - A Black President? Sure. But If We Don't Do Nothin' He Won't Do Nothin': "a speech by Amiri Baraka, recorded earlier this month in Newark

Give Obama a break, some of his supporters argue. He's got to get elected first. Till them he can't be seen acknowledging the needs of Black America for job creation on a vast scale, for an end to foreclosures, the repeal of No Child Left Behind, the equitable rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, and lowering of the prison population and cutting military budget to free up money for these and other human needs.

Poet, playwright and longtime activist Amiri Baraka has a different take on the Obama candidacy, and the responsibility of the politically conscious. In this speech he cautions those who imagine Obama will make a difference without a strong left movement pressuring and pushing him further and faster than he and his corporate backers really want to go.

'Even if there's gonna be a black p…

blackagendareport.com - Freedom Rider: Bush Wins in 2008

blackagendareport.com - Freedom Rider: Bush Wins in 2008: "Among people who call themselves 'progressives,' it is common to hear George W. Bush derided as an idiot, a fool, an incompetent. In reality, 'Bush is clearly the most successful president in modern history,' having stolen two elections, wrecked the Constitution and pursued wars with no end in sight - all with absolute impunity. The Democrats' pitiful weaknesses are Bush's strengths, the reason he prevails. Unless he is impeached, Bush's legacy will last long beyond his term in office, since 'a Democratic president will not undo what Bush has wrought' - not Obama, not Clinton. 'The lack of movement politics and dependence on the hapless Democratic party have made the Bush winning streak possible and guarantee that it will continue after he leaves office.' Bush is triumphant. The 'opposition' has failed."

Politics | $4.5 million for a boat that nobody wanted | Seattle Times Newspaper

Politics | $4.5 million for a boat that nobody wanted | Seattle Times Newspaper: "By David Heath and Hal Bernton

Seattle Times staff reporters"
Tucked away on Seattle's Portage Bay, a sleek, 85-foot speedboat sat idle for years — save for an annual jaunt to maintain its engine.

The Navy paid $4.5 million to build the boat. But months before the hull ever touched water, the Navy gave the boat to the University of Washington. The school never found a use for it, either.

Why would the Navy waste taxpayer dollars on a boat that nobody wanted?

Aswat Aliraq

Aswat Aliraq: "Anbar, Feb 24, (VOI) - Anbar Salvation Council calls for the dissolution of the provincial council, the leader of al-Dulaim tribes said on Sunday, accusing the Iraqi Islamic Party of holding sway over the municipal council.
'Anbar Salvation Council urges the government to intervene to dissolve the provincial council and conduct fair elections in April 2008,' Sheikh Ali Hatim al-Sulaiman, who is also a member of the anti-al-Qaeda Anbar Salvation Council, told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq, (VOI) on Sunday.
The chieftain called on the Iraqi government to pay attention to Anbar province, where he says provincial council members are exercising full control over governmental posts.
'Only members of the Iraqi Islamic Party are allowed to apply for posts in governmental departments, which makes the province live under deteriorating social and economic conditions,' Sulaiman said.
'Anbar provincial council is under the influence of the Islamic party' he …

Turkish raid strains U.S.-Kurd ties | csmonitor.com

Turkish raid strains U.S.-Kurd ties | csmonitor.com: "Amadiyah, Iraq - Peshmerga Gen. Muhammad Mohsen took down his American flag, folded it up, and placed it in his office corner Sunday, reflecting the growing anger in Iraq's Kurdish north with US support for Turkey's campaign against separatist rebels operating in the region.

The intermittent offensive against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) reached a crescendo Thursday when ground troops crossed into Iraq in a campaign involving nearly 8,000 soldiers. Officials here say it is Turkey's most significant strike against the rebels in more than 10 years.

Frustration over the Turkish incursion cuts across the spectrum. Many average Iraqi Kurds sympathize with the PKK rebels' aim to form an independent Kurdistan and officials say Turkey's real goal is to destabilize its semiautonomous government, the leaders of which have long been American allies.

'We think the United States is making a big mistake,' …

American Civil Liberties Union : The Fear Factor

American Civil Liberties Union : The Fear Factor: "WASHINGTON - Statement of Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

'In an attempt to get sweeping powers to wiretap without warrants, Republicans are playing politics with domestic surveillance legislation. The president is saying he does not want the courts to have any say in whether telecommunications companies acted illegally when they turned over private information to the government. As usual, the Bush administration is trying to insulate its activities from public scrutiny, this time by trying to keep the telecommunications providers out of court for illegal actions.

'The ACLU's plaintiffs are not in it for money; they want the truth to come out. They deserve their day in court against companies that were supposed to keep their information private. Let the courts decide. Have some faith in the U.S. justice system Mr. President. If the companies did not break any laws, why would the…

allAfrica.com: Kenya: What a Prime Minister Might - And Might Not - Do (Page 1 of 1)

allAfrica.com: Kenya: What a Prime Minister Might - And Might Not - Do (Page 1 of 1): "A fifth week of talks to end Kenya's violent election dispute is scheduled to begin Monday, with the extent of power to be exercised by a new prime minister one of the key items on the agenda.

The creation of the prime minister's post forms part of establishing a power-sharing government which it is hoped will see Kenya to move forward from the stand-off which ensued after the opposition rejected the outcome of recent presidential polls. Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, who looks set to take up the post, accuses President Mwai Kibaki of rigging the Dec. 27 vote to remain in office; international observers have also expressed concerns about the ballot."

Al Jazeera English - News - Interview: Cindy Sheehan

Al Jazeera English - News - Interview: Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan, an American activist who was nicknamed the "Peace Mom" by the media for her criticism of the Iraq War, retreated from her public campaigns in 2007.
The death of her son Casey, a US soldier, in a Baghdad battle in 2005 had transformed Sheehan into a public figure in the US.
But she resurfaced in Cairo last week as a member of a delegation from the Muslim American Society which is in Egypt to protest against the military trial of 40 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
She spoke to Al Jazeera about her journey from peace activist to Congressional candidate, her thoughts on Iraq and her experiences in Egypt.

NPR: Bart Ehrman, Questioning Religion on Why We Suffer

Nader announces new bid for White House - Yahoo! News

Nader announces new bid for White House - Yahoo! NewsWASHINGTON - Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many."
Nader, 73, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.

"You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized and disrespected," he said. "You go from Iraq, to Palestine to Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bumbling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts."

DFLP chief calls for Hamas and Fatah to start talks - Yahoo! News

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) chief Nayef Hawatmeh on Friday urged Hamas to renounce its control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah to stop talks with Israel and open inter-Palestinian negotiations instead.
"Hamas must renounce its control over Gaza and Abu Mazen (Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas) must stop talking to Israel so that comprehensive Palestinian negotiations can be opened," he said in a speech at the Yarmuk refugee camp near Damascus.

Iraqis: 'Surge' Is a Catastrophe - by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail

Iraqis: 'Surge' Is a Catastrophe - by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail: "BAGHDAD - What the US has been calling the success of a 'surge,' many Iraqis see as evidence of catastrophe. Where US forces point to peace and calm, local Iraqis find an eerie silence.

And when US forces speak of a reduction in violence, many Iraqis simply do not know what they are talking about.

Hundreds died in a series of explosions in Baghdad last month. This was despite the strongest ever security measures taken by the US military, riding the 'surge' in security forces and their activities.

The death toll is high, according to the website icasualties.org, which provides reliable numbers of Iraqi civilian and security deaths.

In January this year 485 civilians were killed, according to the website. It says the number is based on news reports, and that 'actual totals for Iraqi deaths are higher than the numbers recorded on this site.'

The average month in 2005, before the 'su…

British soldiers executed up to 20 Iraqi detainees, say witnesses - Middle East, World - Independent.co.uk

British soldiers executed up to 20 Iraqi detainees, say witnesses - Middle East, World - Independent.co.uk: "British soldiers in Iraq may have tortured, mutilated and executed up to 20 Iraqi detainees four years ago, according to five Iraqi civilians who say they saw the murders.

Lawyers acting for the five men produced a dossier yesterday which alleges the British Army executed the detainees at the Abu Naji military base where they had been taken after a three-hour gun battle near the southern Iraqi town of Majat-al-Kabir in May 2004."

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home: "BAIDOA, Somalia Feb 20 (Garowe Online) - A convoy of Ethiopian army trucks came under fire in central Somalia Wednesday as insurgents sought to expand their guerrilla attacks to the remote countryside.

The fighting sparked near Halgan village in Hiran region after a 21-truck Ethiopian convoy was attacked by heavily-armed Somali rebels, locals reported."

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia Feb 22 (Garowe Online) - The former Prime Minister of Somalia's transitional government, Prof. Ali Mohamed Gedi, flew unexpectedly to the Ethiopian capital Wednesday amid much speculation.

Gedi retained his position as Somali legislator after resigning from the Prime Minister's office last October and maintains close relations with Ethiopian government leaders, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

10,000 Turkish troops enter Iraq - World - smh.com.au

10,000 Turkish troops enter Iraq - World - smh.com.au: "TURKEY has sent up to 10,000 troops into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurdish guerillas, despite earlier warnings from the United States against such a ground offensive.

'A land operation is a whole new level,' a US deputy assistant Secretary of State, Matthew Bryza, said in Brussels yesterday.

In October, shortly before Turkey's parliament approved such a cross-border offensive, the US President, George Bush, said: 'We are making it very clear to Turkey that we don't think it is in their interest to send troops into Iraq.'"

Waterboarding Historically Controversial - washingtonpost.com

Waterboarding Historically Controversial - washingtonpost.com: "On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post published a front-page photograph of a U.S. soldier supervising the questioning of a captured North Vietnamese soldier who is being held down as water was poured on his face while his nose and mouth were covered by a cloth. The picture, taken four days earlier near Da Nang, had a caption that said the technique induced 'a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk.'"
The article said the practice was "fairly common" in part because "those who practice it say it combines the advantages of being unpleasant enough to make people talk while still not causing permanent injury."

The picture reportedly led to an Army investigation.

Twenty-one years earlier, in 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian. The subject was strapped on …

Annals of American History: The Water Cure: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

Annals of American History: The Water Cure: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker: "Many Americans were puzzled by the news, in 1902, that United States soldiers were torturing Filipinos with water. The United States, throughout its emergence as a world power, had spoken the language of liberation, rescue, and freedom. This was the language that, when coupled with expanding military and commercial ambitions, had helped launch two very different wars. The first had been in 1898, against Spain, whose remaining empire was crumbling in the face of popular revolts in two of its colonies, Cuba and the Philippines. The brief campaign was pitched to the American public in terms of freedom and national honor (the U.S.S. Maine had blown up mysteriously in Havana Harbor), rather than of sugar and naval bases, and resulted in a formally independent Cuba."

$1 billion a year U.S. pays Pakistan under new scrutiny

$1 billion a year U.S. pays Pakistan under new scrutiny: "Once a month, Pakistan's Defense Ministry delivers 15 to 20 pages of spreadsheets to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. They list costs for feeding, clothing, billeting and maintaining 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistani troops in the volatile tribal area along the Afghan border, in support of U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

No receipts are attached.

In response, the Defense Department has disbursed about $80 million monthly, or roughly $1 billion a year for the past six years, in one of the most generous U.S. military support programs worldwide. The U.S. aim has been to ensure that Pakistan remains the leading ally in combatting extremism in South Asia.

But vague accounting, disputed expenses and suspicions about overbilling have recently made these payments to Pakistan highly controversial - even within the U.S. government."

No End in Sight: Iraq's Descent into Chaos - by Doug Bandow

No End in Sight: Iraq's Descent into Chaos - by Doug BandowWith the administration busy rewriting history, it is worth remembering what the neocon ivory tower warriors promised and delivered in Iraq. Charles Ferguson, an internet entrepreneur with an interest in foreign policy produced a documentary on Iraq – essentially how the administration mismanaged virtually every decision, big and small. No End In Sight draws from the research for the television show and is filled with interviews with people ranging from policymakers to front line soldiers. Ferguson, who originally leaned in favor of the war, has painted a portrait of arrogance and incompetence more devastating than anything coming from the Democratic National Committee.

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs: "'Torture is un-lawful', are the first words of his keynote address, part of the 'War on Terror' lecture series presented by the Human Rights Center at Berkeley. In 2004 Taguba was lead investigator into conditions at the US military's Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq. His highly critical report was publicized throughout the world. The 6,000-page report gave evidence of torture, prisoner abuse, and a failure of leadership and responsibility at the highest levels of authority. The report was hailed as a thorough investigation completed in only 30 days. But in January 2006, Taguba received a phone call from the Army's Vice-Chief of Staff who offered no reason but said, 'I need you to retire by January of 2007.' This Taguba did after 34 years of active duty.

The war in Iraq has thrust American soldiers of Asian ancestry into the limelight as no other US conflict has ever done before. Aside f…

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: "WASHINGTON - Forty-eight hours after Pakistani voters overwhelmingly repudiated the Bush administration's 'man in Islamabad', President Pervez Musharraf, Washington seemed uncertain about whether the election results marked a setback to US strategic interests or an advance.

On the one hand, Washington will have to deal with a new government, some of whose likely leaders have publicly denounced US policy in Pakistan. This makes administration officials - who as recently as last month described Musharraf as 'indispensable' to the 'war on terror' - uneasy."

AlterNet: Blogs: Video

AlterNet: Blogs: Video: "Last night on Countdown, Keith Olbermann slammed Bill O'Reilly for saying on his radio show, 'I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence.' In an ironic twist, Olbermann used the words of President Bush — who just last week said, 'Some Americans do not understand the effect that references to nooses and lynching can still have' — to excoriate O'Reilly's insensitive remark.

allAfrica.com: Somalia: Two Ethiopian Soldiers Killed in Southwestern Town (Page 1 of 1)

allAfrica.com: Somalia: Two Ethiopian Soldiers Killed in Southwestern Town (Page 1 of 1): "Armed groups have shot dead two Ethiopian soldiers in Baidoa town southwestern Somalia on Wednesday witnesses said.

The killers armed with pistols hit several bullets on the soldier as they were attempting to swap over money in the town before the assailants attack them."

Aswat Aliraq

Aswat Aliraq: "Falluja, Feb 20, (VOI)- The new Iraqi flag will not be raised over the governmental buildings and institutions in Falluja city, a member of the local council said, noting that the council clings to the old flag.


“All local council members agreed not to raise the new Iraqi flag on Falluja and this came in consistency with the desire of Anbar residents,” Sabah Nagi al-Ulwani told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq (VOI).
He said that the government should concentrate on dealing with the Iraqi citizen’s needs, describing the current crisis as the worse in the Iraqi history.
The Iraqi parliament voted earlier this month with a majority of votes - 110 out of 165 - in favor of a draft to modify the national flag by removing the three stars from the old flag and keeping the words Allahu Akbar (God is Great)."

98 Palestinian patients, including 17 Children, die due to the Gaza siege - English / - International Middle East Media Center - IMEMC

98 Palestinian patients, including 17 Children, die due to the Gaza siege - English / - International Middle East Media Center - IMEMC
Palestinian medical sources announced on Tuesday evening that one child died at a Gaza hospital after the Israeli Authorities barred his transfer to a hospital abroad for further medical treatment as the siege on Gaza continued to cripple all hospitals in the coastal region.
The child was identified as Sa’id Al Ayidy, 2, from Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. He suffered from a kidney infection. His death raised the number of Palestinian patient who died due to the siege to 98, including 17 children.

Following are the names of children who died due to the ongoing blockade;

1. Sa’id Al Ayidy, 2.

2. Fatin Majdi Al Hafnawi, 10.

3. Ibrahim Abu Nahil, 1year and four months old.

4. Sana Mohammad Al Hajj, six months.

5. Rawan Diab, 13 months.

6. Hala Zannoun, 3 months.

7. Yousef Eyad Abu Mariam, 5 years old.

8. …

ei: British police failed to arrest Israeli war criminal

ei: British police failed to arrest Israeli war criminal: "On 10 January 2002 Israeli bulldozers flattened 59 houses in the Rafah refugee camp on the Gaza Strip. Residents fled their homes in heavy rain, most losing all their possessions in the process. Among those made homeless were a number of children who were terrified and traumatized by what happened. It appears that the motive for the destruction was retaliation for an unrelated attack by militants that resulted in the death of four Israeli soldiers. The commanding officer who authorized the demolitions was Major General (Reserve) Doron Almog."

ei: A third way

ei: A third way
The "third way" that secular intellectuals defend, condemns terrorism and supports the fight against it. However, the criterion it follows is a universal one. That is, if the US is prepared to censure Israel for its illegal occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and for its massacres of civilian Palestinians and extra-judicial assassinations of political leaders, expropriation of Palestinian lands, demolishing of houses, building of illegal Jewish settlements, "third way" supporters should not have a moral problem supporting the "western" fight against terrorism. Further, if the US stops its support for imposed, corrupt dictators in the Arab world, and helps in nurturing better circumstances for millions of the oppressed and their democratic representatives (i.e., unions, women's movements, secular parties, etc.) there will be a limited base for "fundamentalism" to grow. Of course, whether Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, or C…

How Black is Obama? -- In These Times

How Black is Obama? -- In These Times: "How can racism still be a problem if so many white Americans are willing to support a black man like Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president?

This rhetorical question worries some analysts, who warn that Obama’s prominence, ironically, could set back the struggle for racial equality. They argue that his transracial appeal would convince many that the country has “transcended race,” making them less supportive of efforts to redress slavery’s legacy. Of course, Obama’s intentions have little to do with this effect."

Challenging Indian Land Trusts -- In These Times

Challenging Indian Land Trusts -- In These Times: "Across Indian country, two things are never in short supply: rich natural resources and endemic poverty. That paradox is driving a longstanding battle between indigenous people and the government trust that holds money generated from their lands.

The class-action lawsuit, Cobell v. Kempthorne, targets a federal trust fund that handles revenues from activities like oil drilling and logging on land owned by individual Indians and tribes. The trust’s financial operations—covering more than 56 million acres and dating back for more than a century—have left a spectacularly messy paper trail. Many beneficiaries say they are in the dark about how much has been paid out and what is still owed, and charge that the system has drained wealth from Indian communities."

Political Climate Change -- In These Times

Political Climate Change -- In These TimesPaul Krugman, president of the Hillary Clinton fan club, writes in his New York Times column that if Barack Obama gets the nomination, there is no chance “that we will get universal healthcare in the next administration.” He has criticized Obama for not supporting mandates, as Clinton does, that require everyone to buy insurance.

Lost in this debate is one stark fact: Neither Clinton nor Obama are proposing a clean break with our for-profit insurance system.

Both Clinton’s and Obama’s plans allow for the possibility of a public plan replacing private insurance at some point in the future. But given the realities of Washington, it is easy to imagine a scenario in which the public’s money would subsidize a grossly expensive and inefficient private system into the indefinite future. At a time when progressives are starting to dream big again, why settle for a compromise with Corporate America?

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, healthcare | Salon News

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, healthcare | Salon News: "Feb. 21, 2008 | In recent days, the Democratic presidential race has offered voters an invaluable primer on questions ranging from the definition of plagiarism in politics to the responsibilities of superdelegates in a 21st century democracy. Of course, high-decibel topics like these have absolutely nothing to do with serving as president and precious little connection with defeating John McCain in November."

Ethiopians for Obama volunteering in Ohio » Ethiopian Review

Ethiopians for Obama volunteering in Ohio » Ethiopian Review: "Ethiopians for Obama will be volunteering in Columbus Ohio to deliver a victory for Barack Obama in Ohio’s primary which is being held on March 4th. Ethiopians in Virginia, DC, Maryland, New York, Minnesota, and every corner of the United States are encouraged to join us in Ethiopia to make change happen."

Somali insurgents kill 2 Woyannes - Reuters » Ethiopian Review

Somali insurgents kill 2 Ethiopian - Reuters » Ethiopian Review: "BAIDOA, Somalia, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Somali insurgents killed two Ethiopian soldiers in the southern town of Baidoa on Wednesday, residents said.
Baidoa is the seat of Somalia's parliament. Businesses in the centre halted as dozens of government soldiers, who are backed by the Ethiopian military, began searching pedestrians, vehicles and shops for weapons."

allAfrica.com: Somalia: Government Forces Lose Key Positions in Heavy Battle (Page 1 of 1)

allAfrica.com: Somalia: Government Forces Lose Key Positions in Heavy Battle (Page 1 of 1): "A heavy fighting, which is believed to be one of the deadliest in Somalia's capital, stunned the forces of the fledging government forcing them to run away from key junctions in Mogadishu after they were overpowered by insurgents opposing the government.
The fighting raged through Howl wadag and Adan Ade intersections around Bakaraha Market where insurgents staged deadly attack on government forces who were there, according to eyewitnesses and residents in the area."

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 02/19/2008 | McClatchy Baghdad chief wins Polk award for Iraq reporting

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 02/19/2008 | McClatchy Baghdad chief wins Polk award for Iraq reporting: "Leila Fadel, McClatchy's Baghdad bureau chief, won the George R. Polk Award for outstanding foreign reporting and The Charlotte Observer won the Polk Award for outstanding economic reporting, Long Island University announced Tuesday.
Fadel, 26, was cited for her “vivid depictions” of the military and political struggle in Iraq. 'Her work provided a comprehensive array of disturbing, first-hand accounts of violence and conflict by juxtaposing the agonizing plight of families in ethnically torn neighborhoods with the braggadocio of a vengeful insurgent proud of his murderous exploits, and the carnage and sorrow among victims of Iraq’s most deadly car bombing in a remote region of the country where few reporters ventured,' the jurors said."

Mukasey's skillful evasions on torture - - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Mukasey's skillful evasions on torture - - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper: "On television, and in the transcript of Attorney General Michael Mukasey's Jan. 30 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he certainly showed that he is semantically much more skilful in evading questions than his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales. But Mr. Mukasey also demonstrated that he will not restore the credibility of the Justice Department's commitment to the rule of law — under this administration.


Mr. Mukasey's continued refusal to say whether waterboarding is torture or to conduct a criminal investigation of its use by the CIA is ludicrous in the face of the newly published, heavily documented 849-page 'Torture and Democracy' by Professor Darius Rejali. In this history, including the present practices of torture, written by an internationally recognized expert on the subject, the definition, Mr. Attorney General, is plain: 'Waterboarding is forced…

Serbian convoy enters Kosovo amid fears over partition of new state | World news | The Guardian

Serbian convoy enters Kosovo amid fears over partition of new state | World news | The Guardian: "Up to 1,000 men, some suspected of being members of the Serbian Ministry of Interior police, crossed into northern Kosovo yesterday amid rising fears that minority Serbs living in the new state's north would attempt effectively to partition Kosovo along the Ibar River."

How Never to Withdraw From Iraq - by Tom Engelhardt

How Never to Withdraw From Iraq - by Tom Engelhardt
If you're wondering why in the world this matters – after all, won't the Democrats get us out of Iraq in 2009? – then you haven't come to grips with Bush's greatest magic trick of all. Though a lame-duck president sporting dismally low job-approval ratings, he continues to embed the U.S. in Iraq, while framing the issue of what to do there in such a way that any thought of a quick withdrawal has… Poof!… fled the scene.

Admittedly, somewhere between 57 percent and 64 percent of Americans, according to Rasmussen Reports, want all U.S. troops out of Iraq within a year. We're not talking here about just the "combat troops" which both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seem prepared to withdraw at a relatively stately pace. (Obama has suggested a 16-month schedule for removing them; Clinton has only indicated that she would start withdrawing some of them within 60 days of coming into office.) Combat troops, howe…

War Made Easy

War Made Easy: "War Made Easy exposes a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations."

( 1 hour video, posted February 16, 2008)

Think Progress » Bush Dismisses Iraq Recession: The War Has ‘Nothing To Do With The Economy’

Think Progress » Bush Dismisses Iraq Recession: The War Has ‘Nothing To Do With The Economy’: "This morning on NBC’s Today Show, President Bush denied that the there’s any link between the faltering U.S. economy and $10 billion a month being spent on the Iraq war. In fact, according to Bush, the war is actually helping the economy:

CURRY: You don’t agree with that? It has nothing do with the economy, the war — spending on the war?

BUSH: I don’t think so. I think actually the spending in the war might help with jobs…because we’re buying equipment, and people are working. I think this economy is down because we built too many houses and the economy’s adjusting."

Unilateral Strike Called a Model For U.S. Operations in Pakistan

Unilateral Strike Called a Model For U.S. Operations in PakistanKamran Bokhari, director of Middle East analysis for Strategic Forecasting, a private intelligence group, said the informants could have been recruits from the Afghanistan side of the border, where the U.S. military operates freely.

"People in this region don't recognize the border, which is very porous," Bokhari said. "It is very likely that our people were in contact with intelligence sources who frequent both sides and could provide some kind of targeting information."

Precisely what U.S. officials knew about the "high-value target" in the al-Qaeda convoy is unclear. Libi, a 41-year-old al-Qaeda commander who had slowly climbed to the No. 5 spot on the CIA's most wanted list, was a hulking figure who stood 6 feet 4 inches tall. He spoke Libyan-accented Arabic and learned to be cautious after narrowly escaping a previous CIA strike. U.S. intelligence officials say he directed several …

Electronic Lebanon: Living with the certainty of war

Electronic Lebanon: Living with the certainty of war
For a while now, we've been talking about it. For a while now, I've been talking about it. Yes, there will be another war. I have said so during radio interviews, during dinner conversations, during phone calls with my family in the US. Yes, there will be another war of Israeli aggression on Lebanon. It is just a question of time, this summer or next summer, this year or next year, but, yes, there will be another war.

Why are we talking of war? There are the constant rumblings from Israel, the rumblings of an arrogant, expansionist military power that was defeated and refuses its defeat. Hard to deny the comings of another war when we have our history with Israel showing us a series of wars every few years, and when the Israeli government continues to issue promises and preparations for another war against Lebanon. Talk of war has thus become quite regular, more common than talk of the weather. There are also the domestic rumb…

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: "Incoming results from Pakistan's general elections on Monday show a landslide victory for opposition parties with the ruling party of President Pervez Musharraf and his allies headed for a crushing defeat. The greatest gains have been made by the late Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of former premier Nawaz Sharif. Stinging defeats have been handed to several stalwarts of the ruling party.

Analysts say the margin of difference is so decisive that pro-Musharraf forces throughout Pakistan face an uncertain political future. Still, as no single party has won an overall majority, it seems a coalition government will need to be negotiated once the final votes are counted."

Serbs dismiss Albanian talk of reconciliation - Europe, News - Independent.co.uk

Serbs dismiss Albanian talk of reconciliation - Europe, News - Independent.co.uk: "After a night of Albanian celebrations, Serbs made their feelings about Kosovo's self-declared independence known yesterday with co-ordinated protests in Serbian enclaves across the new-born state.

The biggest was in the divided city of Mitrovica, where the two communities face each other across the Ibar river. Singing nationalistic songs, 7,000 Serbs marched down to the bridge on the north side. The protests passed peacefully."

Informed Comment: Musharraf's Party Roundly Defeated;
Fundamentalist Coalition Collapses in NWFP;
PPP Likely to Form Next Government

Informed Comment: Musharraf's Party Roundly Defeated; <br> Fundamentalist Coalition Collapses in NWFP; <br> PPP Likely to Form Next Government
Pakistan held its elections on Monday, which are fateful for the future of the country and also probably for the Bush-Cheney foreign policy. Bush and Cheney put most of their eggs in the basket of a military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, who has been on a self-destructive downward spiral during the past year that makes Amy Winehouse look level-headed.

Slaughterhouse video prompts unprecedented beef recall - Times Online

Slaughterhouse video prompts unprecedented beef recall - Times Online: "This undercover video of sick and crippled cows being brought to slaughter in an abattoir in southern California has prompted the largest recall of beef in US history, (writes Will Pavia).
The US Department of Agriculture yesterday ordered that 143 million lb of beef from the slaughterhouse be recalled. Officials estimate that some 37 million lbs of the recalled meat had been heading to schools across America though they fear that most of it will have already been eaten."

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK: Why Do Republicans Always Steal Music to Push Their Hateful Ideology?

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK: Why Do Republicans Always Steal Music to Push Their Hateful Ideology?: "Two weeks ago we reported how dishonest Republican Senator John McCain was caught stealing 2 songs from John Mellencamp for use in his campaign to personify a third Bush term. It isn't uncommon for Republican political hacks to steal popular music from Democratic songwriters and singers. They never pay for the usage-- which is ironic since it is the Congress that sets the rates and conditions and McCain has voted on the legislation dozens of times and is certainly aware that it is a crime to just use people's music without paying royalties. Bush was caught over and over again using popular songs from Democrats in his campaigns and he was repeatedly asked to cease and desist. Even back in 1984 Reagan was caught using Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the U.S.A.,' an anti-Vietnam War anthem for his campaign, although he eventually stopped when Springsteen said he would sue …

BBC NEWS | Technology | Whistle-blower site taken offline

BBC NEWS | Technology | Whistle-blower site taken offline: "A controversial website that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously post government and corporate documents has been taken offline in the US.
Wikileaks.org, as it is known, was cut off from the internet following a California court ruling, the site says.
The case was brought by a Swiss bank after 'several hundred' documents were posted about its offshore activities."

blackagendareport.com - Freedom Rider: Democrats Target Kucinich for Defeat

blackagendareport.com - Freedom Rider: Democrats Target Kucinich for Defeat: "The corporate rulers of the United States are determined to have their revenge against Dennis Kucinich, the heroic Ohio congressman who held high the progressive banner in the last two Democratic presidential primary seasons. Not content with having banned Kucinich from a succession of debates and erased his name and platform from the daily media discourse - finally forcing him to withdraw for lack of funds - corporate Democrats now conspire to oust him from his Cleveland congressional seat. Kucinich has been targeted by the same forces, and for the same fate as befell Georgia's Cynthia McKinney and Alabama's Earl Hilliard: exile from the Big Business-infested Democratic Party."

blackagendareport.com - Holding Barack Obama Accountable

blackagendareport.com - Holding Barack Obama Accountable: "The presidential campaign of Barack Obama has become a media parade on its way to a coronation. Journalists and leading Democrats have done shockingly little to pin Obama down, to hold him specifically responsible for anything beyond his slogans of 'yes we can' and 'change we can believe in'. Prominent Black Democrats, many ministers and the traditional Black leadership class are doing less than anybody to hold Obama accountable, peddling instead a supposed racial obligation among African Americans to support this second coming of Joshua and his campaign as 'the movement' itself. What would holding Barack Obama accountable on war and peace, on social security, health care and other issues look like, and is it possible to hold a political 'rock star' accountable at all?"

African Press Agency - Item

African Press Agency - Item: "APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday launched in Addis Ababa a $1.2 billion investment bid to build a tourist resort in Ethiopia, APA learns here.
The investors have signed an agreement with the Ethiopian Oromia State administration to establish the tourist resort, to be located about 175 kilometres east of Addis Ababa.
The Oromoia Regional Commissioner Alemu Semi told journalists on Thursday that the investors have been making preparations to start construction. He said the Enjaz Business group of companies signed the agreement with the Oromia administration since 2007 to establish the resort around the lakes of Abayata and Shala in West Arssi Zone.
According to the agreement, the investors were allocated 38,000 hectares of land to construct the resort.
“Currently, a master plan is being prepared for the resort. Soil research and selection of sites was carried out to start the construction,” Semi said.
The …

shabait.com - Eritrean News Source - The Broken Promises of February and “Dedebit”

shabait.com - Eritrean News Source - The Broken Promises of February and “Dedebit”: "Next Monday, the people of Tigray will commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the beginning of their armed struggle. The people of Tigray had waged a bitter armed struggle against Emperor Haile Selassie and the tyrannical regime of Mengistu Hailemariam so as to secure their rights. However, Tigrayans everywhere will be unable to remember the day with joy because the TPLF regime that had seized power as a result of the martyrdom of thousands of Tigrayans has turned its back on the aspirations for the realization of which the people of Tigray had paid their lives, and forged alliance with the criminals of the Hawzen Massacre. The TPLF regime has developed into a far worse oppressor than its predecessors and gravely exacerbates the plight of the Tigrayans, in particular, and the Ethiopian people as a whole, in general. It is only natural then for the people of Tigray to grieve as they recall all the as…

SudanTribune article : Over 4 mln candidates to contest on the coming Ethiopia’s election

SudanTribune article : Over 4 mln candidates to contest on the coming Ethiopia’s election: "Despite to some opposition parties raised voice over unfair and non constitutional Election procedures, 25 political parties have field over 4 million election candidates to take part in the up coming national by-election and local election to be run in April this year, the national electoral board disclosed."

SudanTribune article : Egypt police kill Eritrean woman on Israel border

SudanTribune article : Egypt police kill Eritrean woman on Israel border: "February 17, 2008 (ISMAILIA, Egypt) — Egyptian police shot and killed an Eritrean women trying to sneak across Egypt’s border into Israel on Saturday after she disobeyed orders to stop, security sources said.
Murfit Meery, 37, was trying to cross into Israel in the El Kuntilla region in the eastern part of the Sinai peninsula, the sources said on condition of anonymity. Her daughters aged 8 and 10, travelling with her, were taken into custody.
Sinai is the main route for traffickers trying to take mainly African migrants into the Jewish state for work or asylum."

Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?

How very "UnChristian" of them.

essays & effluvia: Politics

essays & effluvia: Politics

The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.

The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you can't remember anything.

The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room (which no one has been able to find).

The Iraq War Room. After you complete your first tour, they make you to go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth tour.

The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shooting gallery.

CIA's ambitious post-9/11 spy plan crumbles

CIA's ambitious post-9/11 spy plan crumbles
WASHINGTON — The CIA set up a network of front companies in Europe and elsewhere after the Sept. 11 attacks as part of a constellation of "black stations" for a new generation of spies, according to current and former agency officials.

But after spending hundreds of millions of dollars setting up as many as 12 of the companies, the agency shut down all but two after concluding they were ill-conceived and poorly positioned for gathering intelligence on the CIA's principal targets: terrorist groups and unconventional weapons proliferation networks.

The closures were a blow to two of the CIA's most pressing priorities after the 2001 terrorist attacks: expanding its overseas presence and changing the way it deploys spies.

The companies were the centerpiece of an ambitious plan to increase the number of case officers sent overseas under what is known as "nonofficial cover," meaning they would pose as employees of inves…

timesofmalta.com - Flowers are sign of economic change in Ethiopia

timesofmalta.com - Flowers are sign of economic change in EthiopiaPictures of emaciated children dying in their mothers' arms during Ethiopia's famine in 1985 cemented the country's image as a barren land where nothing grows.

But just 30 minutes south of the capital, Addis Ababa, green hills and lush valleys abound, perfect for cultivating the country's fastest growing export - flowers.

Tsegaye Abebe opened his farm, ET Highland Flora, three years ago. Now, he employs 400 people and exports 90,000 to 120,000 stems every day. At this time of year, he is busy.

"The biggest of all is Valentine's Day," he said as workers harvested roses in one of his 23 greenhouses, each containing around 35,000 stems. In the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, Ethiopia exports six planeloads, or more than two million stems, daily, he said.

Consortiumnews.com

Consortiumnews.comBy forcing repeat combat assignments to Iraq and Afghanistan – and by winking at torture and indiscriminate killings – George W. Bush is degrading the reputation of the U.S. military, turning enlisted soldiers and intelligence officers into murderers and sadists.

Is the US really bringing stability to Baghdad? - Middle East, World - Independent.co.uk

Is the US really bringing stability to Baghdad? - Middle East, World - Independent.co.uk: "To judge from the talk in Washington, the 'surge' that put 30,000 more US troops on the ground in Iraq has succeeded in bringing stability to a nation still riven by ethnic, religious and tribal conflict. Life, the Pentagon boasts, is returning to normal. But the truth is a very different story."

The Raw Story | Lieberman backs waterboarding; 'It's not like we're burning people with hot coals'

The Raw Story | Lieberman backs waterboarding; 'It's not like we're burning people with hot coals'The onetime Democratic vice presidential running mate who became an independent to fend off a liberal challenger in Connecticut stumped for waterboarding in a conference call with reporters late Thursday, saying it wasn't as bad as burning people with hot coals.

War Room: Political News, Politics News - Salon

War Room: Political News, Politics News - Salon: "'We've got to make sure that whoever wins the most votes, the most states, the most delegates, that they are the nominee. I think it would be problematic if either Senator Clinton or myself came in with having won the most support from voters, and that was somehow overturned by party insiders. I think the people would feel as if the voters' voices had been discounted.

Now, as you know, these are all allocated on a congressional district-by-district basis, and so, you know, how folks -- how superdelegates want to vote their conscience, that's up to them. But I do know that the bottom line is, our goal is to win the most delegates from the voters. And if we've accomplished that, I think we're going to be able to lay fair claim to the nomination.'"

Outsourcing Zionism -- In These Times

Outsourcing Zionism -- In These Times: "For less than $4 an hour, several Jewish teenagers removed furniture, clothes, kitchenware and toys from homes and loaded the items onto trucks. As they worked diligently alongside the many policemen who had come to secure the destruction of 30 houses in two unrecognized Bedouin villages, Bedouin teenagers stood watching their homes being emptied. When all the belongings had been removed, Israeli bulldozers rapidly destroyed the homes. All those present—Jews and Bedouins—were Israeli citizens."

The Democrats’ Class War -- In These Times

The Democrats’ Class War -- In These Times: "For all the hype about generational and gender wars in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, we have a class war on our hands. And incredibly, corporate America’s preferred candidate is winning the poorer “us” versus the wealthier “them”—a potentially decisive trend with the contest now moving to working-class bastions like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In most states, polls show Hillary Clinton is beating Barack Obama among voters making $50,000 a year or less—many of whom say the economy is their top concern. Yes, the New York senator who appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine as Big Business’s candidate is winning economically insecure, lower-income communities over the Illinois senator who grew up as an organizer helping those communities combat unemployment. This absurd phenomenon is a product of both message and bias.

Obama has let Clinton characterize the 1990s as a nirvana, rather than a time that sowed the seeds of our current t…

Al Jazeera English - News - Interview: Tear Down The Walls

Al Jazeera English - News - Interview: Tear Down The Walls: "Norman Finkelstein is one of Israel's fiercest academic critics and a vocal supporter of the Palestinians.

He is urging the Palestinians to break down the 'segregation' wall built across the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The son of Holocaust survivors, Finkelstein was an assistant professor of Political Science at Chicago's De Paul University for six years until he was denied tenure there in June 2007.

Known for his critical investigations of other scholarly works on Israel - notably his ongoing feud with Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and Israel supporter - he has published six books on the occupation and the issue of Palestine.

Finkelstein's works have earned him both praise and condemnation.

Finkelstein is working on his seventh book - A Farewell to Israel: The Coming Break-up of American Zionism - postulating that American Jewish support for Israel is beginning to wane.

Cur…

Al Jazeera English - News - Hezbollah Mourns Senior Leader

Al Jazeera English - News - Hezbollah Mourns Senior Leader: "Hezbollah has announced the death of one of its senior military commanders in a car bomb in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Tuesday.

The Lebanese Shia group in a statement on Wednesday accused Israel of killing Imad Moghaniyah, who had been accused by the US of planning attacks on Western targets during the Lebanese civil war.

Hezbollah's al-Manar television broke into Quranic verses after the announcement and said a funeral will be held in Beirut on Thursday."

Women Behind Bars -- In These Times

Women Behind Bars -- In These Times: "Oklahoman Tina Thomas has been caught up in the American war on drugs.

In many respects, she fits the common profile of a woman doing time for a drug-related offense. Her crimes have ranged from possession to check forgery and theft, including an arrest for trying to steal a $64 comforter from Wal-Mart. Eventually sentenced to a two-year state prison term, Thomas admits that she committed her crimes to feed the “800-pound gorilla on my back that I just hadn’t been able to shake.”"

Escape From Recession -- In These Times

Escape From Recession -- In These Times: "The basics

Economies depend on robust demand. When folks stop buying, when investors leave the room, when governments stop building and improving public goods, growth grinds to a halt. And when that happens, the job machine stalls, unemployment rises, those with jobs work fewer hours, wages rise more slowly, and incomes decline, especially for the lowest earners and many minorities.

The last two recessions—in the early ’90s and early 2000s—led to declines in the typical family’s income by about $2,500 (in today’s dollars). That ain’t peanuts.

Such a potential income loss is especially worrisome now, as the inflation-adjusted median family income actually remains about $1,000 below where it stood in 2000. If recession is imminent, this would be the first time that real incomes at the end of a recovery have not exceeded those at the previous economic peak."

Antiwar.com Blog · Republican Politician Admits that Waterboarding Is Torture

Antiwar.com Blog · Republican Politician Admits that Waterboarding Is TortureSpeaking before the American Bar Association, former Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, went against most of his fellow Republican politicians, at least on the subject of torture: “And I believe, unlike others in the administration, that waterboarding was, is, and will always be torture. That’s a simple statement.”

Guantanamo Comes to Main Street U.S.A. Police Brutality.

Guantanamo Comes to Main Street U.S.A.

By Mark A. Goldman

12/02/08 "ICH" -- -- They say that the difference between how democracy in Europe has evolved compared to that of the United States is that in Europe the government is afraid of the People whereas in the United States the People are afraid of the government. That's a dangerous state of affairs and it looks like it's going to get worse.

It's not only a matter of who you vote for... it's a matter of how well informed you are when you do vote... and Americans now are notorious for not being nearly as well informed as the citizens of many other countries are. So in America, we don't really think that deeply about the range of choices that are or are not available to us. Fatal mistake.

The video below is indicative of the evolving consciousness of law enforcement in our nation... and it's our 'Shock and Awe' government, with its penchant for gratuitous and unconscionable violence, and the P…

McCain, Iraq war, 2008 election | Salon.com

McCain, Iraq war, 2008 election | Salon.com: "This seems dubious, to put it mildly. The percentage of the population that accepts the Bush line on Iraq has held steady at around 30 percent for years, and even Republican voters are turning away from Bush on Iraq: In the AP/Ipsos poll, just 61 percent gave him positive reviews, down from 65 percent. Barring a near-miraculous improvement in Iraq or a terrorist attack here, there's no reason to think that number will grow. Democrats are a lock, with just one in 10 supporting Bush on Iraq. If McCain wins, it won't be because the swing and independent voters who will decide the election suddenly turned hawkish on Iraq: Just three in 10 independents support Bush's handling of the war. It will be because the independents decided that the Iraq war doesn't matter that much. At least, not as much as their support for McCain and/or their antipathy toward Clinton or Obama."

Glenn Greenwald - Political Blogs and Opinions - Salon

Glenn Greenwald - Political Blogs and Opinions - Salon
The Senate today -- led by Jay Rockefeller, enabled by Harry Reid, and with the active support of at least 12 (and probably more) Democrats, in conjunction with an as-always lockstep GOP caucus -- will vote to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans, and will also provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, thus forever putting an end to any efforts to investigate and obtain a judicial ruling regarding the Bush administration's years-long illegal spying programs aimed at Americans. The long, hard efforts by AT&T, Verizon and their all-star, bipartisan cast of lobbyists to grease the wheels of the Senate -- led by former Bush 41 Attorney General William Barr and former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick -- are about to pay huge dividends, as such noble efforts invariably do with our political establishment.

The Information Problem: Pull Out of Iraq - by David R. Henderson

The Information Problem: Pull Out of Iraq - by David R. Henderson
"The fundamental question is: What is the United States' interest in Iraq? It is said we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said we are there to stabilize the region. I ask, how can the U.S. presence stabilize the region?... The longer we stay in Iraq, the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place.

"What can we expect if we withdraw from Iraq? The same as will happen if we stay. I acknowledge that the level of fighting will increase if we leave. I regretfully acknowledge that many innocent civilians will be hurt. But I firmly believe this will happen in any event."

In Iraq, More Bombing Creates New Enemies

In Iraq, More Bombing Creates New Enemies: "Baghdad - Now that the smoke has cleared and the rubble settled, residents of a group of bombed Iraqi villages see the raid as really a U.S. loss.
Many Iraqis view the attack Jan. 10 by bombers and F-16 jets on a cluster of villages in the Latifiya district south of Baghdad as overkill.
'The use of B1 bombers shows the terrible failure of the U.S. campaign in Iraq,' Iraqi Major General Muhammad al-Azzawy, a military researcher in Baghdad, told IPS. 'U.S. military and political tactics failed in this area, and that is why this massacre. This kind of bombing is usually used for much bigger targets than small villages full of civilians. This was savagery.'
The attack on Juboor and neighbouring villages just south of Baghdad had begun a week earlier with heavy artillery and tank bombardment. The attack followed strong resistance from members of the mainly Sunni Muslim al-Juboor tribe against groups that residents descr…

allAfrica.com: Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Still the Most Divisive Issue (Page 1 of 1)

allAfrica.com: Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Still the Most Divisive Issue (Page 1 of 1): "'The problem in Somalia can end only when Ethiopian troops leave the whole country [Somalia],' Addow said, adding: 'Then we can hold peace talks to end Somalia's conflicts among Somalis.'

During the interview, Addow covered the Islamic Courts' brief rule in southern and central Somalia between June and December 2006. He praised the Courts' efforts for bringing back law and order in the country, for holding three rounds of peace talks with the TFG in Khartoum, Sudan, and for showing the world that all hope is not lost in Somalia.

He also dismissed any alleged links between the Islamic Courts and international terror groups, an allegation often repeated by Somali, Ethiopian and American government officials."

Violations of 'Islamic teachings' take deadly toll on Iraqi women - CNN.com

Violations of 'Islamic teachings' take deadly toll on Iraqi women - CNN.com: "The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other 'rules' that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce.

'Fear, fear is always there,' says 30-year-old Safana, an artist and university professor. 'We don't know who to be afraid of. Maybe it's a friend or a student you teach. There is no break, no security. I don't know who to be afraid of.'

Her fear is justified. Iraq's second-largest city, Basra, is a stronghold of conservative Shia groups. As many as 133 women were killed in Basra last year -- 79 for violation of 'Islamic teachings' and 47 for so-called honor killings, according to IRIN, the news branch of the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs."

Al Jazeera English - News - Iraqi Groups 'Withdraw' Us Support

Al Jazeera English - News - Iraqi Groups 'Withdraw' Us Support: "Sunni armed groups known as Awakening Councils appear to have withdrawn their support for US forces and the Iraqi government in Diyala province.

The move has been seen as a significant blow to the US, which has hailed the groups' work in securing towns and neighbourhoods as a rare success in increasing security in the country.

Meanwhile, the US military announced that five American soldiers were killed in two roadside bombings on Friday."

Al Jazeera English - News - Turkey Lifts Campus Headscarf Ban

Al Jazeera English - News - Turkey Lifts Campus Headscarf BanTurkey's parliament has backed changes to the country's constitution that will lift a decades-old ban on the wearing of headscarves in universities.

Tens of thousands of Turks took to the streets of the capital on Saturday to protest against the move, saying it threatened the secular nature of Turkish society.

"Turkey is secular and will remain secular," shouted the protesters, many of them waving Turkish flags and carrying portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.

AlterNet: Health and Wellness: Only One Candidate Can Achieve Universal Health Coverage

AlterNet: Health and Wellness: Only One Candidate Can Achieve Universal Health Coverage: "And both plans seek to make insurance affordable to lower-income Americans. The Clinton plan is, however, more explicit about affordability, promising to limit insurance costs as a percentage of family income. And it also seems to include more funds for subsidies.

But the big difference is mandates: the Clinton plan requires that everyone have insurance; the Obama plan doesn't.

Mr. Obama claims that people will buy insurance if it becomes affordable. Unfortunately, the evidence says otherwise.

After all, we already have programs that make health insurance free or very cheap to many low-income Americans, without requiring that they sign up. And many of those eligible fail, for whatever reason, to enroll."

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill'

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill': "The FBI has a new set of eyes and ears, and they're being told to protect their infrastructure at any cost. They can even kill without repercussion."

The Daily Star - Politics - Iraqi scientist gave CIA information that should have prevented war

The Daily Star - Politics - Iraqi scientist gave CIA information that should have prevented war: "AMMAN: When Saad Tawfiq watched then-US Secretary of state Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations on February 5, 2003, he shed bitter tears as he realized he had risked his life and those of his loved ones for nothing. As one of Saddam Hussein's most gifted engineers, Tawfiq knew that the Iraqi dictator had shut down his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs in 1995 - and he had told his handlers in US intelligence just that.

And yet here was Powell - Tawfiq's television was able to receive international news through a link pirated from Saddam's spies next door - waving a vial of white powder and telling the UN Security Council a story about Iraqi germ labs.

'When I saw Colin Powell, I started crying - immediately. I knew I had tried and lost,' Tawfiq told AFP five years later in the Jordanian capital, Amman."

Iraq Sunni insurgents turn to armor-piercing bombs | U.S. | Reuters

Iraq Sunni insurgents turn to armor-piercing bombs | U.S. | Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sunni Arab insurgents in Iraq have developed their own crude versions of the Iran-originated armor-piercing munitions that have been a hallmark of Shi'ite militant roadside attacks on U.S. troops, U.S. defense officials say.

The devices are a form of weaponry known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, which have given Shi'ite militants the firepower to penetrate the heaviest U.S. armor. Iran denies U.S. assertions that it has supplied EFPs to anti-U.S. Shi'ites.

So far, the Sunni versions, first discovered in 2007, have been crude home-made knock-offs of the Iranian-made EFPs, according to U.S. officials.

But officials are concerned that Sunni EFPs could become more deadly if they follow the same path toward sophistication as the most common roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, used throughout Iraq against U.S. forces for much of the war..

ei: Photostory: The month in pictures, January 2008

ei: Photostory: The month in pictures, January 2008: "January 2008 saw a tightening of Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip following Hamas' routing of Fatah there the previous June. Palestinians in Gaza have been cut off from the outside world and Israel has banned or severely restricted the import of basic needs such as fuel, medicine and medical equipment, food, school supplies and cement. In January, electricity cuts lasted more than 12 hours per day as lack of fuel forced the closure of the region's sole power plant. In the early morning hours of 23 January, 17 bombs planted by Palestinian resistance created an opening in the iron Israeli-built wall separating Gaza from Egypt and allowed a moment of free movement for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who seized the opportunity to visit family in Egypt, buy much needed supplies, or simply have a taste of the normal life being denied to them by Israel."

ei: Seven Gazans killed in day of Israeli air, shelling attacks

ei: Seven Gazans killed in day of Israeli air, shelling attacks: "On 7 February 2008, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed seven Palestinians, raising the number of victims from its military attacks to seventeen persons since the beginning of this month, and 96 persons since the beginning of 2008 in the Gaza Strip. The IOF launched seven attacks in different parts of the Gaza Strip since last night, of which the most affected areas were Khan Younis, al-Nuseirat, and other areas in northern Gaza."

Romney quits U.S. presidential race, takes shot at Europe - Haaretz - Israel News

Romney quits U.S. presidential race, takes shot at Europe - Haaretz - Israel News: "In a speech Thursday ending his presidential candidacy, Romney said Europe faces demographic disaster because of moral and religious failings, and warned that United States should not become the France of the 21st century.

Romney also placed Russian President Vladimir Putin, alongside the United States' greatest adversaries, as a threat to America.

Romney addressed what he saw as Europe's problems as he called on the United States to approve a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriages.

He called for the United States to become energy secure, 'because America must never be held hostage by the likes of Putin, (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez and (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad,' Romney said. 'If the United States did not change course we could become the France of the 21st century.'

'Still a great nation, but not the leader of the world, not the superpow…

Mr. Lincoln The Racist by Al Benson, Jr.

Mr. Lincoln The Racist by Al Benson, Jr.: "It is amazing to see how many blacks today continue to revere the memory of Abraham Lincoln as though he had actually done something for them. Of course many whites do the same thing. In fact, there is an entire cottage industry operating nowadays, consisting of people, many of whom are academics, whose entire goal in life seems to be the attempted beatification of 'Saint Abraham.' Most of this foolishness is due to the fact that, in our government schools, we have been taught a laughable, shoddy imitation of history. The facts must never be allowed to get in the way of the fantasy.

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is a dubious document that has been widely touted as having 'freed the slaves.' It didn't. It was aimed at the slaves in Confederate territory where Lincoln had no legal authority. Slaves in both states and territory controlled by Mr. Lincoln's dictatorial regime remained firmly in bondage until t…

Shia call on Mehdi Army to take up arms again in Iraq - Middle East, World - Independent.co.uk

Shia call on Mehdi Army to take up arms again in Iraq - Middle East, World - Independent.co.uk: "In the alleys of the ancient district of al-Salaikh in Baghdad, a Shia family fought a fierce gun battle with Sunni militiamen who tried to stop them reoccupying their house from which they had been forced to flee months earlier.

The Shia family got the worst of the fighting and, after suffering seven dead, sent a desperate message asking for help to the Mehdi Army, the powerful Shia militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that once would have rushed to defend them. On this occasion, however, the local Mehdi Army commander turned them down, saying: 'We can do nothing because we are under orders not to break the ceasefire.'

It is this six-month ceasefire, declared on 29 August last year by Mr Sadr, which American commanders say is responsible for cutting much of the violence in Iraq. But the ceasefire will expire in the next few weeks and political and military leaders loyal t…

Iraq’s Tragic Future

Iraq’s Tragic FutureRather than offering a word-for-word renouncement of the president’s rosy assertions concerning Iraq, I will instead initiate a process of debunking the myth of American success by doing that which no politician, current or aspiring, would dare do: predict the failure of American policy in Iraq. With the ink on the newspapers parroting the president’s words barely dry, evidence of his misrepresentation of reality begins to build with the announcement by the Pentagon that troop levels in Iraq will not be dropping, as had been projected in view of the “success” of the “surge,” but rather holding at current levels with the possibility of increasing in the future. This reversal of course concerning troop deployments into Iraq highlights the reality that the statistical justification of “surge success,” namely the reduction in the level of violence, was illusory, a temporary lull brought about more by smoke and mirrors than any genuine change of fortune on the ground. E…