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Showing posts from June, 2008

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home: "While the senator has visited churches and synagogues, he has yet to appear at a single mosque. Muslim and Arab-American organizations have tried repeatedly to arrange meetings with Mr. Obama, but officials with those groups say their invitations — unlike those of their Jewish and Christian counterparts — have been ignored. Last week, two Muslim women wearing head scarves were barred by campaign volunteers from appearing behind Mr. Obama at a rally in Detroit."

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home: "The bodies of nine officers working for Somalia's police force were found inside a police station in the capital Mogadishu Wednesday, a senior police official said.
Col. Abdullahi Hassan Barise, a Mogadishu police official, told reporters that some of the nine dead bodies had their 'throats slit,' including the body of the Daynile district deputy police commander."

Who are the bad guys?

"Since it went into effect last week, at least eight violations of the new ceasefire agreement with Hamas and the Palestinian factions have been recorded, a UN source told Ynet on Thursday. According to the source, seven violations were committed by the IDF, while the Palestinians are responsible for just one."

Patrick Cockburn: Who's Actually Winning in Iraq?

Patrick Cockburn: Who's Actually Winning in Iraq?: "I was in Mosul, a city of 1.4 million people on the Tigris river in northern Iraq, on the day the government forces started their ‘Roar of the Lion’ offensive at 4 am on May 10. As had happened in Basra and Sadr City a few weeks earlier there were thousands of government troops and police guarding every street and alleyway. The entire civilian population had disappeared indoors or had fled the city. The operation, supposedly aimed at depriving al Qa’ida of its last bastion in Iraq, had been promised by Maliki some months earlier after a previous chief of police of Mosul was assassinated by a suicide bomber with explosives hidden under his police uniform. But its actual timing had caught people in Mosul by surprise so they had no time to stock up on food. Nobody was venturing onto the streets because of a curfew. In the first hours of the operation US troops shot dead men, a woman and a child in a car which failed…

Gaza's fallen fighters watch over uneasy truce » Kuwait Times Website

Gaza's fallen fighters watch over uneasy truce » Kuwait Times Website
The clouds of war may have parted over the Gaza Strip but Hani al-Qayed still stands watch over his family home, looking down from a gaudy portrait that honors his death in an Israeli air strike. The veteran Palestinian fighter, blown to pieces in 2006, lives on with thousands of his comrades on the martyrdom posters that line Gaza's dusty streets, an army of ghosts haunting the impoverished, war-battered territory. "His body was destroyed but his soul, his spirit, lives on," his black-veiled widow Tawhida
says. "The portraits are so that the people will remember him-not us, because we can never forget-but others.

Nato has to win in Afghanistan, the Taliban only needs not to lose - The National Newspaper

Nato has to win in Afghanistan, the Taliban only needs not to lose - The National Newspaper
The Taliban, in fact, is banking on the fundamental weaknesses of the Karzai regime and the security arrangements that keep it in place. As Henry Kissinger famously noted as the Vietnam war drew to a close, “the guerrilla wins if he does not lose; the conventional army loses if it does not win”. And there’s no indication for the foreseeable future of the Taliban losing or the Nato forces winning. The Taliban needn’t try to hold territory; it simply needs to consistently demonstrate the inability of the Nato and government forces to control most of the country, always aware of the finite appetite of foreign armies for costly and futile expeditionary ventures. The Taliban knows this.

Reuters AlertNet - UN looks at disbanding Eritrea/Ethiopia force

Reuters AlertNet - UN looks at disbanding Eritrea/Ethiopia force
UNITED NATIONS, June 23 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council considered on Monday a plan to disband its peacekeeping mission to the volatile border between Eritrea and Ethiopia after Eritrea forced most of its troops to go home.

The 1,700-strong force could be replaced by a small military observer mission on the Ethiopian side of the border, under one proposal before the council in a draft resolution submitted by Belgium.

The council took no immediate decision and instructed experts to assess the options, diplomats said.

The United Nations withdrew its peacekeeping force, known as UNMEE, from the border in February after Eritrea cut off fuel supplies. The force had been in place since 2000 after a two-year war between the Horn of Africa neighbors that killed some 70,000 people.

SudanTribune article : Is Ethiopia really enjoying economic development?

SudanTribune article : Is Ethiopia really enjoying economic development?: "June 16, 2008 — Many Ethiopians, especially those in the Diaspora community have been and still are puzzled by two contradictory phenomena regarding the Ethiopian economy. On the one hand, the ruling party, the EPDRF, has been reporting record-breaking growth rates of the Ethiopian economy, year-after-year. Year after year, we have been informed that the state of the Ethiopian economy was on a higher growth trajectory, “thanks to the policies of the ruling government.” As of this writing, a rosy forecast is provided by the government for both this year (2008) and the next one, while at the same time, the United Nations humanitarian agencies such as UNICEF are reporting, as did the Voice of America on its June 6th broadcast, that “Ethiopia Faces Worsening Food Shortage…” Nearly a month ago, the prime minster, Mr. Meles Zenawi told the parliamentarians the rampant inflation rate that has engulfed the country… Somalia: Explosion in Mogadishu Claims Three Soldiers (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Explosion in Mogadishu Claims Three Soldiers (Page 1 of 1)
A remotely-controlled land mine explosion aimed at a Somali government troop convoy passing in Dharkenley neighborhood caused the death of three government troops and injured four others according to eyewitnesses.

The blast was heard in Mogadishu. Eyewitness Hassan Salah Muse told Shabelle that on the occasion the bomb went off underneath, the exploded Government vehicle has rolled over to the ground.

: Information Clearing House - ICH

: Information Clearing House - ICH: "In a September 2003 article for The Guardian newspaper, Michael Meacher, who served as Tony Blair's environment minister from May 1997 to June 2003, shocked the establishment by calling the global war on terrorism 'bogus.' Even more controversially, he implied that the U.S. government either allowed 9/11 to happen, or played some role in the destruction wrought that day. Besides Meacher, few politicians have publicly questioned America's official 9/11 narrative — until Diet member Yukihisa Fujita."

Al Jazeera English - Lebanon - Who's who in Lebanese politics

Al Jazeera English - Lebanon - Who's who in Lebanese politics: "Lebanon recognises 18 religious communities across the country and all are represented in the complex politicial system.

The three highest offices in government are reserved for Shia Muslim, Sunni Muslim and Maronite Christian politicians.

The ties that bind the disparate factions have led to the development of distinct majority and opposition blocs.

Al Jazeera profiles some of the major players in Lebanese politics."

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Srebrenica survivors seek closure

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Srebrenica survivors seek closure
In July 1995, at the height of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the United Nations created a safe haven for refugees around the town of Srebrenica.

Dutch troops guarded the refugees, most of whom were Bosnian Muslims, seeking shelter there. The people thought they were safe, but the Dutch came under fire from the advancing Serb forces soon thereafter.

The UN contingent demanded aircraft fly in to help them, but the HQ didn't answer their call and so the Dutch fearing for their lives from superior forces stood aside and let the Serbs in. What happened next became the largest massacre in Europe since World War Two.

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home
BAIDOA, Somalia June 19 (Garowe Online) - A senior army commander announced his resignation from the Somali military on Thursday, saying that Ethiopian officers are partly to blame for his decision.

Col. Isse "Gaab" Hassan, deputy commander of the Somali army's 17th Brigade, told reporters that he resigned after being "unable to independently command" his troops.

The Somali colonel said Ethiopian military officers at the Deynunay military camp had "interfered" with daily army operations.

Col. Isse Gaab was also critical of the Somali government, saying that the government had "neglected" its troops for months.

He indicated that Somali soldiers continue to face severe financial issues, while battling heavily-armed and well-motivated Islamist rebels.

Al Jazeera English - News - Prisoners Escape After Taliban Raid

Al Jazeera English - News - Prisoners Escape After Taliban Raid
Taliban fighters have attacked the main prison in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, blasting through its entrance and engaging in a gun battle with police.

Nearly all of the estimated 1,150 prisoners, including some 400 Taliban, have escaped, Afghan officials have said.

Fighters attacked the main prison in Kandahar on Friday with a car bomb and rockets, killing police and freeing prisoners, according to the officials.

Ethiopian Terrorism Against its Own People.

Undated images of Labigah, Ethiopia before (top) and after (bottom) show what appear to be signs of burning and other destruction. Satellite images confirm reports that the Ethiopian military has burned towns and villages in the remote Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reported on Thursday. (American Association for the Advancement of Science/DigitalGlobe/Handout/Reuters)

Satellites confirm Ethiopia destruction: group - Yahoo! NewsWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Satellite images confirm reports that the Ethiopian military has burned towns and villages in the remote Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reported on Thursday.
Eight sites in the rocky, arid region, which borders Somalia, have clear signs of burning and other destruction, the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program said.

The commercially available images corroborate a report by Human Rights Watch, also issued on Thursday, that …

Why Oil Prices Are So High | Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace | AlterNet

Why Oil Prices Are So High | Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace | AlterNet: "In the late 1990s, we had the stock market bubble. That popped. Then we had the housing market bubble. And that popped. Last week the market for crude oil bubbled to an all-time high, nearly $140 per barrel. We seem today to be forever blowing bubbles. Maybe we should stop and ask why.

After all, back in the middle of the 20th century, our economy didn’t careen from one bubble to another. Why now all the bubbles — and busts? Here’s why. We’ve become too unequal. We have too much wealth concentrated in too few pockets"

Worse Than Fascists: Christian Political Group 'The Family' Openly Reveres Hitler | Rights and Liberties | AlterNet

Worse Than Fascists: Christian Political Group 'The Family' Openly Reveres Hitler | Rights and Liberties | AlterNet: "Did you know that the National Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by a shadowy cabal of elite Christian fundamentalists? Jeff Sharlet's new book, 'The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,' offers a rare glimpse of this remarkable network, which is known variously as the Family, the Fellowship and the International Foundation.

The Family was founded 70 years ago by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant evangelist based in Seattle. In 1935, Vereide said, God appeared to him in a vision and revealed where Christianity had gone wrong: preoccupation with the poor, the weak and the suffering.

The down-and-out were in no position to bring about the Kingdom of God, Vereide realized. Some Christians believe that the rapture is imminent, but not the Family. They're convinced that Jesus won't return until we get our collecti…

ei: The fallacy of Islamic "national suicide"

ei: The fallacy of Islamic "national suicide": "A new buzzword is arising from the network of Israeli think tanks and security-oriented academic departments bent on instigating a US attack on Iran: 'national suicide.' The term describes a supposed Arab Muslim tradition of politically motivated suicide at the national, not just individual, level. Arab Muslim regimes have purportedly launched ruinous wars they could not have reasonably hoped to win, condemning their nations to destruction.

The notion of an 'irrational' and thus untrustworthy Iranian regime has already been widely discussed in the US. It is regularly invoked by Sen. John McCain on the stump. The term 'national suicide' advances the notion and gives it a patina of academic respectability.

Israeli jurist and former Knesset member Amnon Rubinstein recently editorialized on 'national suicide' in The Jerusalem Post. Citing Israeli army Lt. Col. Ari Bar Yossef, Rubinstein offered Sa…

American Civil Liberties Union : Supreme Court Restores Rule Of Law To Guantánamo

American Civil Liberties Union : Supreme Court Restores Rule Of Law To Guantánamo
NEW YORK - In a stunning blow to the Bush administration's failed national security policies, the Supreme Court ruled today 5-4 that the U.S. Constitution applies to the government's detention policies at Guantánamo. The Court concluded that detainees held at Guantánamo have a right to challenge their detention through habeas corpus.

The following can be attributed to Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

"Today's decision forcefully repudiates the essential lawlessness of the Bush administration's failed Guantánamo policy. It should also mark the beginning of the end of the military commission process, which permits the use of coerced evidence and hearsay and thus cannot survive the constitutional scrutiny that today's decision demands. It is time to close Guantánamo, end indefinite detention without charge and restore the rule of law." Somalia: 'Alliance' Divided Over Djibouti Peace Accord (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: 'Alliance' Divided Over Djibouti Peace Accord (Page 1 of 1): "The Alliance is split between the wing currently in Djibouti, who favour talks despite the presence in Somalia of Ethiopian forces, and those in Asmara who insist the Ethiopians must leave before any dialogue takes place.

The latter group rejected the Djibouti agreement as a conspiracy orchestrated by the enemies of the Somali people. In a statement issued in Asamara on 10 June, the Asamara faction said: 'The Djibouti exercise has no validity and shall not be binding on the ARS and the Somali people.' It called on the Somali people 'to redouble their heroic struggle against the occupation.'"

American terrorism in Fallujah manifested itself in deformed babies. Watch Video

Iraq Doctors Offered Scolarships To Study Birth Defects In Fallujah After Sky News Report |Sky News|World News: "Sky News recently reported on families in the Iraqi city of Fallujah who are calling for an independent investigation into their concerns about a rise in the number of newborn babies suffering from deformities."

Dick Cheney: the US terror leader had a plan.

Fearing Escalation, Pentagon Fought Cheney Iran Plan - by Gareth Porter
Pentagon officials firmly opposed a proposal by Vice President Dick Cheney last summer for air strikes against Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bases by insisting that the administration would have to make clear decisions about how far the United States would go in escalating the conflict with Iran, according to a former George W. Bush administration official.

J. Scott Carpenter, who was then deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, recalled in an interview that senior Defense Department (DoD) officials and the Joint Chiefs used the escalation issue as the main argument against the Cheney proposal.

McClatchy newspapers reported last August that Cheney had proposal several weeks earlier "launching air strikes at suspected training camps in Iran," citing two officials involved in Iran policy. - Freedom Rider: Obama Obliterates Iran - Freedom Rider: Obama Obliterates Iran: "What Israel wants from the Americans, Israel gets - and in spades from Barack Obama. Along with Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Obama bent his knees to the breaking point to please the annual conference of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC represents the rightwing politics of a small nation, but the fawning behavior of America's top politicians gave the impression of an Israeli empire, demanding tribute. Obama was generous with the U.S. treasury. 'As president I will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade,' he vowed, earning thirteen rounds of sustained applause." - Grand Theft Digital; How Corporate Broadcasters Are Hijacking Digital TV - Grand Theft Digital; How Corporate Broadcasters Are Hijacking Digital TV
The FCC has spent millions of dollars "educating" the public on the transition from analog to to digital TV. But what they haven't told the American people is that on February 18, 2009 every one of the nation's more than 1700 analog TV broadcasters gets three, four or more new TV channels --- for nothing. No public service obligation, no local news or education programming, and no channels for black or Latino broadcasters, local entrepreneurs or communities.

AFP: Global military spending soars 45 pct in 10 years

AFP: Global military spending soars 45 pct in 10 years: "World military spending grew 45 percent in the past decade, with the United States accounting for nearly half of all expenditure, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Monday.

Military spending grew six percent last year alone, according to SIPRI's annual report.

In 2007, 1,339 billion dollars (851 billion euros) was spent on arms and other military expenditure, corresponding to 2.5 percent of global gross domestic product, or GDP -- or 202 dollars for each of the world's 6.6 billion people.

The United States spends by far the most towards military aims, dishing out 547 billion dollars last year, or 45 percent of global expenditure.

Britain, China, France and Japan, the next in line of big spenders, lag far behind, accounting for just four to five percent of world military costs each."

Top Iraqi cleric warns of uprising -

Top Iraqi cleric warns of uprising - "A leading Iraqi Shiite cleric said Monday the status of forces agreement between Washington and Baghdad could lead to an uprising in Iraq.

'It is not to the benefit of the U.S. as a major power to lessen the sovereignty of Iraq. This treaty is humiliating to the Iraqi people, and might cause an uprising against it and those who support it,' Grand Ayatollah Mohammad al-Modarresi told the Iranian state-run English-language service, Press TV.

Modarresi said the strategic framework between Iraq and the United States needs a full understanding of the situation in Iraq before negotiations on the arrangement proceed. 'It will surely fail if kept as it is,' he said."

No, Obama Can't! - by Uri Avnery

No, Obama Can't! - by Uri Avnery: "After months of a tough and bitter race, a merciless struggle, Barack Obama has defeated his formidable opponent, Hillary Clinton. He has wrought a miracle: for the first time in history a black person has become a credible candidate for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world.

And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.

That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked."

Al Jazeera English - News - Hamas Members Killed In Gaza Raid

Al Jazeera English - News - Hamas Members Killed In Gaza Raid: "Three members of Hamas's armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have been killed in an Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials say.

Health officials said at least four other Palestinians were wounded on Tuesday in separate Israeli air raids.

The Israeli military said it targeted fighters who had fired mortar rounds across the border.

Hamas said 16 mortar shells were fired towards an Israeli-controlled border crossing in retaliation for the killings."

Al Jazeera English - News - Somali Leader Rejects Peace Deal

Al Jazeera English - News - Somali Leader Rejects Peace Deal
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, former leader of Somalia's Islamic Courts' Union, has rejected a new peace agreement between the country's interim government and its main political rivals.

Aweys, who is a member of the opposition alliance that signed the deal, on Tuesday called it "a trap" to derail armed Somali resistance against Ethiopian forces.

The Ethiopian-backed Somali government and some members of the opposition Alliance for the Liberation of Somalia (ALS) signed a cessation of hostilities accord on Monday at UN-sponsored peace talks in Djibouti.

But the deal faced criticism just hours after it was signed.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency by phone from Eritrea, Aweys said: "We encourage the insurgents and the Somali people not to be tired of combating the enemy."

The 'Chaos' of Failed Nation-Building : NPR

The 'Chaos' of Failed Nation-Building : NPR: "Journalist Ahmed Rashid's new book, Descent into Chaos, examines the Unites States' failed nation-building efforts in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Rashid argues that U.S. efforts have only served to destabilize the region further.

Called 'Pakistan's best and bravest reporter,' by Christopher Hitchens, Rashid is based in Lahore, Pakistan, and writes for The Daily Telegraph (London), The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune and other publications. His previous books are Taliban and Jihad."

ei: The most reliable path to freedom

ei: The most reliable path to freedom
"The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger," said Dov Weissglas, Sharon's closest advisor, a few years ago. Today, Israel is slowly choking occupied Gaza, indeed bringing its civilian population to the brink of starvation and a planned humanitarian catastrophe.

If the US government is an obvious accomplice in financing, justifying and covering up Israel's occupation and other forms of oppression, the European Union, Israel's largest trade partner in the world, is not any less complicit in perpetuating Israel's colonial oppression and special form of apartheid. At a time when Israel is cruelly besieging Gaza, collectively punishing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, condemning them to devastation, and visiting imminent death upon hundreds of patients, prematurely born babies, and others, the EU is extending an invitation to Israel to open negotiations to join the Organization for Econom…

Al Jazeera English - News - Chavez Urges Farc To Lay Down Arms

Al Jazeera English - News - Chavez Urges Farc To Lay Down Arms
Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, has called on Colombian rebels to lay down their weapons, free all their hostages and put an end to a decades-long armed struggle against the Bogota government.

He said efforts by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) to overthrow Colombia's democratically elected government are unjustified.

"The guerrilla war is history," Chavez said during his weekly television and radio programme on Sunday.

Al Jazeera English - News - Police Recruits Killed In Iraq

Al Jazeera English - News - Police Recruits Killed In Iraq: "An explosion has killed at least four Iraqi police recruits and wounded 23 others in Baghdad, police have said.

The recruits were gathered at a police recruitment centre on Muthanna airport street, western Baghdad, when they were attacked by an improvised explosive device(IED) on Sunday."

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home: "MOGADISHU, Somalia June 7 (Garowe Online) - At least seven people were killed in overnight Friday clashes in Somalia's chaotic capital Mogadishu, witnesses said.

Among the dead were three government soldiers and four insurgents.

Witnesses in south Mogadishu said the fighting started after suspected insurgents hurled grenades at Somali and Ethiopian soldiers on foot patrol, instantly killing the three soldiers.

Face-to-face combat erupted immediately, pitting joint Somali-Ethiopian troops against the Islamist rebels, who were forcefully routed out of the area minutes later.

Witnesses said the dead soldiers' bodies were transported to the ex-ministry of defense compound, while the bodies of the dead insurgents lay on the ground as of Saturday morning."


THE FOLLY OF ATTACKING IRAN: "The new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has revealed the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran abandoned nuclear weapons research in 2003 and has not restarted it. The NIE shows that European diplomatic efforts were successful in convincing Iran not to pursue nuclear weapons research (just as diplomacy has been successful in North Korea). Now that we know this, it is time for the U.S. to engage in real dialogue with Iran. Since we know that there is little risk Iran will develop a nuclear weapon soon, we know there is time to talk. However, despite the release of the NIE, the White House continues to hype the “danger” from Iran. Bush Administration officials continue to reject calls for real diplomacy with Iran."


THE FOLLY OF ATTACKING IRAN: "Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him 'among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling.'"

Former high-ranking Bush officials enjoy war profits | Salon News

Former high-ranking Bush officials enjoy war profits | Salon News: "May 29, 2008 | Richard L. Armitage, who served from 2001 to 2005 as Deputy Secretary of State, was a rarity in the Bush administration: an official who delighted in talking to the press. Reporters loved him for his withering criticism of the neoconservative zealots around President George W. Bush and in part because he fed them tidbits about the White House they could obtain nowhere else. His accidental disclosure to conservative columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson, was working undercover for the Central Intelligence Agency remains one of the most notorious leaks of the Bush era.

But perhaps because of his cozy ties to the Washington press corps and the media's obsession with Plamegate, very little has been written about Armitage's extensive business dealings. In fact, Armitage is one of the most successful capitalists in Washington. He has successfully parl…

The great divide - The National Newspaper

The great divide - The National Newspaper
She had been expelled from the majority Sunni town of Mahmudiya, she told me, after two of her sons were murdered. “The Mahdi Army are the only ones who gave me a shelter and they are protecting me and my daughters. The terrorists killed my sons with a car bomb. One of them was married and he left behind four children and I have twelve people to look after. May god bless the Mahdi Army.”

“It is like a prison inside Washash,” one man said. “Tell me what is the difference between here and prison? We are surrounded by a wall which prevents us from going to other neighbourhoods. Our sons and daughters cannot go to the schools in the Arabi neighbourhood, which is the closest area. Only this wall divides us. What is the use of this wall?

"Nobody is helping us. Nothing. No education, no electricity, no water. Our children are not going to schools anymore. The services we have are only through the help of the Sadrists, may god bless them. They are c…

Voices - Bottomless basket

Voices - Bottomless basket: "The Judaisation of occupied Jerusalem continues apace while the hapless Palestinian president refuses to quit 'peace talks'.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is contemplating a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip which observers say is intended to deflect attention away from the corruption scandal in which he is increasingly mired. Speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention in Washington on Tuesday night Olmert hinted at a wide-ranging 'military campaign' in Gaza.

'Israel will not be deterred from a large military operation in Gaza if and when we come to the conclusion that this is the best way to restore calm on our southern border,' Olmert told the powerful American-Jewish pressure group. Earlier, Olmert had told representatives of Israeli settlers from the southern region bordering Gaza that 'the moment of decision is imminent... the rockets will be stopped one way or another."…

Bankruptcy toll increases --

Bankruptcy toll increases -- "More than 12,500 individuals and businesses filed for bankruptcy in Illinois in the first quarter of this year, a 27.2 percent jump over the year-earlier period that mirrors a national trend.

Consumer filings in the state increased 27.5 percent, to 12,248, while business bankruptcies rose 14.5 percent, to 260.

'The increase in business bankruptcies over the past year reflects the turmoil persisting in the credit markets, which makes it far more difficult for businesses to manage through periods of slowed activity that threaten their liquidity,' said Stuart Rozen, partner in the restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency practice for law firm Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago.

Rapidly rising food and commodity prices have increased the cost of doing business for certain industries, particularly restaurant and food services, trucking, airlines and construction and housing related businesses, he said."

New agreement lets US strike any country from inside Iraq : Information Clearing House - ICH

New agreement lets US strike any country from inside Iraq : Information Clearing House - ICH: "A proposed Iraqi-American security agreement will include permanent American bases in the country, and the right for the United States to strike, from within Iraqi territory, any country it considers a threat to its national security, Gulf News has learned.

Senior Iraqi military sources have told Gulf News that the long-term controversial agreement is likely to include three major items.

Under the agreement, Iraqi security institutions such as Defence, Interior and National Security ministries, as well as armament contracts, will be under American supervision for ten years.

The agreement is also likely to give American forces permanent military bases in the country, as well as the right to move against any country considered to be a threat against world stability or acting against Iraqi or American interests.

The military source added, 'According to this agreement, the American forces …

EurasiaNet Business & Economics - East Asian States Strive to Raise Their Economic Profile in Central Asia

EurasiaNet Business & Economics - East Asian States Strive to Raise Their Economic Profile in Central Asia: "A rivalry among East Asian states is intensifying over access to Central Asian energy. China to this point has been the clear leader among East Asian states in Central Asia. But Japan, South Korea and Malaysia are stepping up efforts to attract the attention of Central Asian energy suppliers.

Tsutomu Saito, editor in chief of the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, recently told a Central Asian audience that those countries 'should stop cooperating with China within the [context of the] Shanghai Cooperation Organization' and embark upon a broader program of trade with Asian states including Japan. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Saito’s remarks underscored the fact that Japan is actively trying to raise its Central Asian profile.

Tokyo’s efforts have already produced some results. In early May, for example, Japanese and Kazakhstani officials sign…

Comcast Is Hiring an Internet Snoop for the Feds | Danger Room from

Comcast Is Hiring an Internet Snoop for the Feds | Danger Room from "Wanna tap e-mail, voice and Web traffic for the government? Well, here's your chance. Comcast, the country's second-largest Internet provider, is looking for an engineer to handle 'reconnaissance' and 'analysis' of 'subscriber intelligence' for the company's 'National Security Operations.'

Day-to-day tasks, the company says in an online job listing, will include 'deploy[ing], installing] and remov[ing] strategic and tactical data intercept equipment on a nationwide basis to meet Comcast and Government lawful intercept needs.' The person in this 'intercept engineering' position will help collect and process traffic on the company's 'CDV [Comcast Digital Voice], HSI [High Speed Internet] and Video' services."

Obama Capitulates- by Justin Raimondo

Obama Capitulates- by Justin Raimondo: "Don't look to Barack Obama for deliverance from this looming conflict. In his speech to AIPAC, he clearly signed on to the Lobby's latest project, departing from his prepared text to declare:

'I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power. Everything.'

'Everything' includes murdering tens of thousands of Iranians, mostly civilians – driving the price of oil up above $300 a barrel and destroying the US economy – and involving us in a war that will make the Iraq conflict look like a Sunday school picnic. And for what?"

Canadian held in Ethiopia could face death penalty

Canadian held in Ethiopia could face death penalty: "A Canadian citizen who has been imprisoned in Ethiopia for more than a year has been charged with terrorism-related activities and could face the death penalty, CBC News has learned.
The Ethiopian Embassy in Canada confirmed the charges against Bashir Ahmed Makhtal, a self-described used clothing dealer.

It's the first time any Ethiopian officials have spoken about the case of the Toronto man, who was arrested in December 2006 at the Kenyan border after fleeing Somalia in the wake of that country's civil war.

Speaking to CBC's The Current, an official at the Canadian Embassy in Addis Ababa said Makhtal had appeared in court twice so far this year in connection with his arrest. The official had no other details."

Mexico’s Ghost Towns -- In These Times

Mexico’s Ghost Towns -- In These Times: "Cerrito del Agua, population 3,000, has no paved roads — either leading to it or within it. No restaurants, no movie theaters, no shopping malls. In fact, the small town located in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas has no middle schools, high schools or colleges; no cell phone service, no hospital. Its surrounding fields are dry and untended. The streets are empty.

The explosion of emigration to the United States over the past 15 years has emptied much of central Mexico, even reaching into southernmost states like Chiapas and Yucatan. But it has simply devastated Zacatecas, a dry, rolling agricultural region located about 400 miles northwest of Mexico City."

Torture is ok.

Some people seem to think torture and violations of the Geneva Conventions are a big deal. But not Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Apparently, it's just the sort of stuff they did at frat parties back when he was in college. Putting panties on guys' heads seems to be a particular favorite with him. We take a look in today's episode of TPMtv ...

Scott McClellan and the Public-Sector Privateers | MediaCulture | AlterNet

Scott McClellan and the Public-Sector Privateers | MediaCulture | AlterNet: "So here we go again. Thanks to Scott McClellan, we now have what we already knew but people like him were afraid to tell us. Everybody lied. No surprise here. McNamara did it, Powell did it -- all these public servants, paid by our tax dollars while working, cashed in by selling books when they got off the payroll. That is the morally bankrupt mess we're in. People of conscience, like Daniel Ellsberg, have been replaced by co-conspirators who only find the truth when they are paid to do so through book contracts. They may refuse to go before Congress while working for us, citing executive privilege, but once they are gone, it's 'Sign me up and send me on a book tour!'"

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control - Middle East, World - The Independent

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control - Middle East, World - The Independent
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country. - Obama Resigns From Black Nation - Obama Resigns From Black Nation
"I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country," said Obama, in banishing Trinity's retiring senior pastor Jeremiah Wright from his inner circle, in April. Obama believes in One-Love - of the white fairy tale kind that despises the "use [of] incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation." Barack Obama is true-blue to the slaveholding forefathers and heroic blond mothers of the storybook U.S. of A. His intense (white) nationalist fealty to the Indian-killer and slave-whipper compels him to reject out of hand the African American version of U.S. and world history - to compulsively dismiss both the Black counter-narrative and narrators, like Rev. Wright. And if some stray white man in a clerical collar wanders in, assaulting white sensibilities with denunciat… Somalia: Islamists Seize Military Base Close to the Government's Seat - Spokesman (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Islamists Seize Military Base Close to the Government's Seat - Spokesman (Page 1 of 1): "The Islamic courts union has claimed that their fighters have captured Manas military campsite that situated 45km southwestern Baidoa town the temporary base of the transitional government.

The military operations spokesman of the UIC sheikh Abdirahim Isse Addow who contacted to Shabelle radio has declared that armed fighters from the UIC have driven out the government troops from Manas military base.

'Glory to God in the highest our fighters have seized the (Manas) military base from the 'Puppets' they barefooted fled on the way to Baidoa' Addow said' we entirely made them killed, injured, fled'

As Shabelle made contact with the government commanders at Manas no comments could be reached from them for the reason that their phones were off the air."

Al Jazeera English - News - Aid 'Lottery' For Myanmar Survivors

Al Jazeera English - News - Aid 'Lottery' For Myanmar Survivors: "More than a million survivors of the deadly cyclone in Myanmar have yet to receive any aid a month on, with reports from refugees fleeing the disaster zone speaking of military-run lotteries to determine who receives food and who will go hungry.

Aid groups say more than half of the 2.4 million survivors needing help have yet to be reached."

Al Jazeera English - News - Obama Pledges Support For Israel

Al Jazeera English - News - Obama Pledges Support For Israel: "'Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided,' Obama told the vast annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC).

Obama drew a standing ovation as he arrived to address the mighty US-Israel lobby, and also addressed perceived suspicion of him in some sectors of the Jewish community."

Perpetuating the al-Qaeda-Iraq Myth - Yahoo! News

Perpetuating the al-Qaeda-Iraq Myth - Yahoo! News
A friend of mine at the White House complained to me the other day that the Bush administration and the Pentagon until this day believe we are fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq. They "stand up" al-Qaeda as the enemy in Iraq, he said, even behind closed doors. In the teeth of the facts, they ignore that the enemy we're fighting in Iraq is a half a dozen homegrown insurgencies, an incipient civil war, and criminal gangs. They ignore the fact that although a handful of Osama bin Laden's followers showed up in Iraq after the invasion, in a futile attempt to hijack the Sunni resistance, al-Qaeda is not the main enemy in that country.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 06/02/2008 | Both McCain, Obama exaggerating Iran's nuclear program

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 06/02/2008 | Both McCain, Obama exaggerating Iran's nuclear program: "WASHINGTON — The presumptive Republican nominee for president and the leading contender for the Democratic nomination are exaggerating what's known about Iran's nuclear program as they duel over how best to deal with Tehran.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., say that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

The U.S. intelligence community, however, thinks that Iran halted an effort to build a nuclear warhead in mid-2003, and the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, which is investigating the program, has found no evidence to date of an active Iranian nuclear-weapons project.

The candidates' comments raise questions about how carefully the two have studied the public record on what's become a major campaign issue and is one of the most difficult foreign-policy challenges likely to confront the next president."

Al Jazeera English - News - Somali Side Wants Ethiopian Pullout

Al Jazeera English - News - Somali Side Wants Ethiopian Pullout
Somalia's Muslim opposition representatives taking part in peace talks in Djibouti have said that a timetable for Ethiopian troop withdrawal is a condition for direct government talks.

However, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the president of the transitional Somali government, says such a pullout requires a UN deployment.

The two sides spoke during a visit by a UN Security Council mission to Djibouti, where UN-sponsored reconciliation efforts resumed on May 31 in a bid to end 17 years of almost uninterrupted conflict.

SudanTribune article : The crisis of ethnic identity and democracy in Ethiopia

SudanTribune article : The crisis of ethnic identity and democracy in Ethiopia
Rediscover your ethnicity…. You are an important ethnic group in the larger Bantu grouping. The nation is artificial, but ethnicity is natural.

After the fall of Mengistu’s Derg regime in May 1991, people of Ethiopia had great hopes that the peace will ultimately prevail. The bloody and torturous days experienced by the people of Ethiopia in the hands of Mengistu and his cronies were now gone; and the new government had to solve political, economic and social crises created by past regimes. In essence, the new regime had to come up with a new form of democratic political system that would accommodate the conflicting needs and interests of the people of Ethiopia in general. In doing so, the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), embraced “Ethnic federalism” as a viable political experiment to accommodate ethnic differences.

This essay attempts to describe and analyze politi…