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Showing posts from July, 2008

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home
A second armed Islamist group in Somalia has rejected a UN-mediated peace agreement, and vowed Wednesday to continue fighting.

Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, spokesman for the armed Islamist group Shabab, told reporters the accord signed in Djibouti last month is "null and void".

"The agreement of Djibouti will never lead to a sustainable peace in this country. What we are fighting for is a new chapter for Somalia," Robow told reporters by phone from a secret hideout in the war-riven country.

"This agreement will not affect what is happening on the ground. We will be satisfied with nothing less than Sharia law and the flames will continue burning until it is fully put into practice," he added.

The agreement was signed by Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and the interim government, but was immediately rejected by hardline cleric Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.

The June agreement has divided the Somali opposition group, Alliance for the Re-libera…

Richard Silverstein: Who speaks for American Jews? | Comment is free |

Richard Silverstein: Who speaks for American Jews? | Comment is free |

One of the more interesting results of the J Street survey was a mixed finding. When asked whether Israel played a "big role" in their US election vote, 58% answered "yes". But when listed among a group of other issues, Israel came out in the bottom tier of issues, and only 8% noted Israel was one of their two top issues in determining their vote for president or Congress. Theoretically, Jews believe Israel is an important political issue. But when push comes to shove, there are other bread-and-butter issues like the economy and the Iraq war that are far more important. This indicates that support for the Israel lobby is actually quite shallow among the Jewish community.

It's no surprise that Jews disapprove of President Bush's job performance, though his 16% approval rating is even lower than I thought it might be. Barack Obama beat John McCain in the poll by 62% to 32%. Th…

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

The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily
JERUSALEM • “I was married here, I had my five children here and I want to die here,” says a defiant Fawzia Al Kurd, determined that Jewish settlers will not drive her family from their home in occupied east Jerusalem.

But sadly for the Al Kurds, whose single-storey two-room house of golden stone that has been their home for the past 52 years, Israel’s High Court has ruled differently. They are to be expelled, and the house, a wing of which has already been taken over by settlers will be lost forever.

Bush Will Issue a Mass Pardon  : Information Clearing House - ICH

Bush Will Issue a Mass Pardon  : Information Clearing House - ICH
Before leaving office George W. Bush will issue a mass pardon, the largest collection of presidential pardons in American history. Bush will pardon himself, Vice President Cheney, and a long list of officials involved in torture, eavesdropping, destruction of evidence, the CIA leak case and a range of potential crimes.

As George Bush signs the pardons and boards the helicopter to depart Washington as his presidency finally ends, even then, he and those pardoned will worry about the statute of limitations.

There is an important point to this, often not recognized in official Washington during the Bush years, where the unthinkable becomes a way of life, and acts have been done that have never been done by an American president or administration.

Torture violates international law, domestic law, statutory law, customary law, American law, European law — the list goes on.

Eavesdropping without court order violates a statute, FI…

ICC and al-Bashir: Ocampo’s Justice  : Information Clearing House - ICH

ICC and al-Bashir: Ocampo’s Justice  : Information Clearing House - ICH
The crimes committed against innocent people in Darfur represent a shameful episode in the history of Sudan and its neighbours, including Chad, which has played a dubious role in sustaining the seething conflict. Equally disgraceful is the politicising of the bloody conflict in ways that will ensure its continuation.

The decision of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) prosecutor-general, Luis Moreno- Ocampo, to file an arrest warrant for Sudan's current President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, and the international responses to his decision, demonstrate both the politicising of the crisis and the selectiveness of international law.

Consider this bizarre twist. The US Congress passed a resolution, on 22 June 2004, declaring that the violence in Darfur was state-sponsored genocide. The resolution -- named the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act -- was signed into law by President Bush in October 2006.

Between the v…

They Know What's in Your Medicine Cabinet

They Know What's in Your Medicine Cabinet: "That prescription you just picked up at the drugstore could hurt your chances of getting health insurance.
An untold number of people have been rejected for medical coverage for a reason they never could have guessed: Insurance companies are using huge, commercially available prescription databases to screen out applicants based on their drug purchases.
Privacy and consumer advocates warn that the information can easily be misinterpreted or knowingly misused. At a minimum, the practice is adding another layer of anxiety to a marketplace that many consumers already find baffling. 'It's making it harder to find insurance for people,' says Jay Horowitz, an independent insurance agent in Overland Park, Kan."

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Boy killed in West Bank protest

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Boy killed in West Bank protest
Israeli troops have shot dead a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during a protest against Israel's barrier in the occupied West Bank, medics say.

The Israeli military said it was investigating what had happened.

It happened at Nilin village, west of Ramallah, where peace activists say Israel is taking 25 hectares of land from villagers to build the barrier.

The Israeli army is replacing the main access road to the village with a tunnel under military control.

Activists say the plan will have the effect of turning Nilin into a prison. Israel says the barrier and other construction work is necessary for security reasons.

'Serious' inquiry

The boy was identified by local organisers of the anti-barrier protest as Hamad Musa, AFP reported.

 Plan Facts About Iran's Military : Information Clearing House - ICH

 Plan Facts About Iran's Military : Information Clearing House - ICH
First, missiles. Iran announced its Shahab-III missile is ready to retaliate against any Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities. This missile is not long-ranged, as media wrongly claims, but a medium-ranged. Iran says it can deliver a two ton warhead over 2,000 km. But Israeli and US sources say Shahab’s maximum range is around 1,200 km, which puts much of Israel out of its range.

This obsolescent missile is highly inaccurate, particularly at maximum range. It is liquid fueled, meaning it is very vulnerable to air and missile strikes while being prepared to fire. Israel has developed tactics using aircraft, missiles and drones to attack enemy missiles in pre-launch phase. Iran has an estimated 24 Shabab-III’s.

The other missiles Iran fired this week were short ranged models of no strategic value. Tehran was even caught doctoring the pictures it issued of the multiple missile launch to cover up the failure of one o…

 Acts of War : Information Clearing House - ICH

 Acts of War : Information Clearing House - ICH
It is this stubborn ability to survive and operate inside Iran, at a time when no other intelligence service can establish and maintain a meaningful agent network there, which makes the MEK such an asset to nations such as the United States and Israel. The MEK is able to provide some useful intelligence; however, its overall value as an intelligence resource is negatively impacted by the fact that it is the sole source of human intelligence in Iran. As such, the group has taken to exaggerating and fabricating reports to serve its own political agenda. In this way, there is little to differentiate the MEK from another Middle Eastern expatriate opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, or INC, which infamously supplied inaccurate intelligence to the United States and other governments and helped influence the U.S. decision to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Today, the MEK sees itself in a similar role, providing sole-sourced …

Reuters AlertNet - ETHIOPIA: Outlook bleak for pastoral regions as crops fail

Reuters AlertNet - ETHIOPIA: Outlook bleak for pastoral regions as crops failReuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.
NAIROBI, 29 July 2008 (IRIN) - The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia's pastoral regions of Afar, Amhara, Somali and Tigray is likely to deteriorate because seasonal crops have failed and livestock numbers have fallen, according to preliminary findings of a recent assessment mission.

Widespread crop failure had led to critical food insecurity, prompting increased migration, the findings of the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA)-led multi-agency mission show.

In Somali Region, the assessment found water was scarce, high livestock deaths had affected herd sizes and more cases of malnutrition were being admitted for treatment in several zones. Without immediate humanitarian assistance, the number of needy could increase.

"Terms of trade …

Hamas, militant group clash in Gaza Strip violence

Hamas, militant group clash in Gaza Strip violence: "GAZA, July 27 (Reuters) - Hamas security forces clashed with gunmen from the Army of Islam, an al Qaeda-inspired group, in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, part of a security crackdown following a surge in internal violence.

One Hamas commander was seriously wounded in the fighting, which started when the Hamas forces sought to arrest some Army of Islam gunmen, Hamas officials and local residents said. Two Army of Islam gunmen were arrested.

Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip a year ago, launched the crackdown over the weekend after a series of bombings, including one on Friday that killed five Hamas members and a girl.

As part of the crackdown, Hamas has arrested more than 160 activists from Fatah, the secular faction of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Writing by Adam Entous; Editing by Dominic Evans)"

The Military-Industrial Complex - by Chalmers Johnson and Tom Engelhardt

The Military-Industrial Complex - by Chalmers Johnson and Tom Engelhardt: "Most Americans have a rough idea what the term 'military-industrial complex' means when they come across it in a newspaper or hear a politician mention it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the idea to the public in his farewell address of January 17, 1961. 'Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime,' he said, 'or indeed by the fighting men of World War II and Korea... We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions... We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications... We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.'

Although Eisenhower's reference to the military-industrial complex is, by now, well-known, his warning against its 'unwarranted influence' has, I believe, largely bee…

What's Driving the Jerusalem Attacks - by Uri Avnery

What's Driving the Jerusalem Attacks - by Uri Avnery
The Jewish public is not interested in all this. They don't know - and don't want to know - what is going on in the Arab neighborhoods, some hundreds of meters from their homes.

So they are surprised, surprised and shocked, by the ungratefulness of the Arab inhabitants. A young man from Sur Baher recently shot pupils of a religious seminary in West Jerusalem. A young man from Jabal Mukaber drove a bulldozer and ran over everything that crossed his path. This week, another youngster from Umm Touba repeated exactly the same act. All three of them were shot dead on the spot.

The attackers were ordinary young men, not particularly religious. It seems than none of them was a member of any organization. Apparently, a young man just gets up one fine morning and decides that he has enough. He then carries out an attack all by himself, with any instrument at hand - a pistol bought with his own money, in the first instance, or a bull…

Voices - Who Cares For This Boy?

Voices - Who Cares For This Boy?: "His hair has grown, his voice sounds a little deeper and his wounds appear to have healed somewhat. But what isn’t clear from the first ever Guantánamo interrogation video to be released for public consumption is that Omar Khadr is blind in one eye.

The Bagram airbase lies some 30miles north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Inside the airbase is a prison, a converted machine-factory built by the Soviets during their occupation of Afghanistan. Inscriptions in Russian are still visible on the walls and doors. During the day, this place is usually deathly quiet. But at night, the sounds of soldiers as they patrol, chains clinking along the concrete floor as prisoners are frog-marched to and from interrogation rooms and screams of interrogators and interrogated usually keep you awake. It is worse than Guantanamo. In this place I witnessed two separate killings by American soldiers - the subject of this year's Oscar-winning documentary, Taxi to the D…

Zhovkhar got refugee status in Finland -

Zhovkhar got refugee status in Finland - "The well known Chechen folk music singing group Zhovkhar applied for refugee status in Finland last September. Recently, the Finnish Refugee Authorities granted all 17 members of the group permanent residence status.

When the group decided to ask for asylum, the puppet authorities in Chechnya reacted very harshly. The minister of culture of the puppet regime called personally to several members of the group asking them to come back, and he told publicly that the group had been fooled to ask for asylum. The main reason for these actions was the plan to arrange an 'international' culture event in Dzhokhar (Grozny) with as much as 3.000 invited guests, and the Zhovkhar group was planned to have the main performance. Due to Zhovkhar turning aside, the whole event was cancelled.

In Finland, almost all Chechen refugees are granted residence permit, getting also possibilities to the social and economical benefits. The chi…

The 25 Most Vicious Iraq War Profiteers | Business Pundit

The 25 Most Vicious Iraq War Profiteers | Business Pundit: "The Iraq war is many things to different people. It is called a strategic blunder and a monstrous injustice and sometimes even a patriotic mission, much to the chagrin of rational human beings. For many big companies, however, the war is something far different: a lucrative cash-cow. The years-long, ongoing military effort has resurrected fears of the so-called “military-industrial complex.” Media pundits are outraged at private companies scooping up huge, no-questions-asked contracts to manufacture weapons, rebuild infrastructure, or anything else the government deems necessary to win (or plant its flag in Iraq). No matter what your stance on the war, it pays to know where your tax dollars are being spent.

Following is a detailed rundown of the 25 companies squeezing the most profit from this controversial conflict."

You need Uncle Sam, Iraq told : Information Clearing House - ICH

You need Uncle Sam, Iraq told : Information Clearing House - ICH: "WASHINGTON - Instead of moving toward accommodating the demand of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for a timetable for United States military withdrawal, the George W Bush administration and the US military leadership are continuing to pressure their erstwhile client regime to bow to the US demand for a long-term military presence in the country.

The emergence of this defiant US posture toward the Iraqi withdrawal demand underlines just how important long-term access to military bases in Iraq has become to the US military and national security bureaucracy in general.

From the beginning, the Bush administration's response to the Maliki withdrawal demand has been to treat it as a mere aspiration that the US need not accept.

The counter-message that has been conveyed to Iraq from a multiplicity of US sources, including former Central Command (CENTCOM) commander William Fallon, is that the security objectives of …

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: "Initially, this pleased American and European intelligence agencies as he turned the tide from the Afghan battlefield to Pakistan. But now Baitullah is viewed with extreme suspicion as he has proved to be a man who always achieves what he sets out to do, and jihadis from around the world are flooding into his camps to be trained for global jihad. This in turn has allayed the fears of the Afghan Taliban, who realize they will be ensured a smooth supply of fighters to Afghanistan.

For these reasons, Baitullah is now a marked man.

Over the past few months, Pakistani security agencies and coalition leaders from Afghanistan have shared intelligence in an attempt to track down Baitullah and pinpoint where he gets his resources, but he remains elusive.

All the same, this has not diminished his effectiveness.

Last week, for instance, security forces were sent to the Hangu district of North-West Frontier Prov… - Obama (and Big Media) Turn Blind Eye to Israeli Apartheid - Obama (and Big Media) Turn Blind Eye to Israeli Apartheid: "Israel is now an apartheid state, according to the publisher of Ha'aretz, that country's largest circulation daily newspaper. The occasion was the recent renewal of Israeli citizenship laws which refuse to recognize marriages and families among most of the Arabs living in that country. How can Barack Obama, himself the son of an American mixed marriage remain an apparently uncritical supporter of Israeli apartheid, and why does corporate media continue to pursue a longstanding 'don't ask, don't tell' policy toward the odious policies of racial and ethnic discrimination in Israel?"

American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Obtains Key Memos Authorizing CIA Torture Methods

American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Obtains Key Memos Authorizing CIA Torture Methods: "NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today obtained three redacted documents related to the Bush administration's brutal interrogation policies, including a previously withheld Justice Department memo authorizing the CIA's use of torture. The government was ordered to turn over the documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought in 2004 by the ACLU and other organizations seeking records on the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas."

Top jazz saxophonist Griffin dies in France at 80 - Yahoo! News

Top jazz saxophonist Griffin dies in France at 80 - Yahoo! News: "PARIS - Jazz saxophonist Johnny Griffin, who played with America's greats from Thelonious Monk to Lionel Hampton but chose to live in France, died hours before a concert, his agent said Saturday. He was 80.
Griffin, whose career spanned more than a half-century, was found dead Friday morning in the music room of his home in Mauprevoir in western France by his wife Miriam, said Helene Manfredi, his agent for 28 years. The exact cause of death was not clear.

Griffin, who had played in the Riviera town of Hyeres on Monday, was to give a concert Friday night in the central Cher region.

A Chicago native, the diminutive Griffin took up the sax early on, eventually preferring the tenor saxophone and taking on the nickname "the Little Giant" for the big sounds he blew out of the instrument at breakneck speed."

johnny griffin ar taylor 4 tet in belgium 1A Somalia: 16 Killed As Ethiopian Troops Retake Key Town (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: 16 Killed As Ethiopian Troops Retake Key Town (Page 1 of 1): "At least 16 people have been killed in renewed clashes in central Somalia after Ethiopian troops attacked and retook control of a key town near the Somali-Ethiopian border, Radio Garowe reported.

Ethiopian troops attacked Beletwein town early Thursday morning from different directions, using armored vehicles and heavy firepower to crush armed resistance from Islamist militias.

Residential areas of Beletwein, the regional capital of Hiran, were hit by Ethiopian shells as hundreds of civilians fled their homes.

Medical contacts told Radio Garowe that at least 10 civilians were wounded during the battle and the subsequent shelling of civilian areas."

NATO: 4 civilians killed in Afghanistan

NATO: 4 civilians killed in Afghanistan: "NATO forces on Saturday fired on a vehicle that wouldn't stop at a checkpoint in Afghanistan's volatile south, killing four civilians and wounding three others, the alliance said.

Civilian casualties has been a sore point between Afghanistan's government and international forces that operate here.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has implored NATO and U.S.-led coalition troops to avoid killing civilians, whose deaths undermine support for his already weak central government.

The latest deaths occurred in Helmand province in the south, the hub of the resurgent Taliban militant movement."

Ex-insurgents Want More Money, or Else

Ex-insurgents Want More Money, or Else: "The Iraqi officer leading a U.S.-financed anti-jihadist group is in no mood for small talk -- either the military gives him more money or he will pack his bags and rejoin the ranks of al-Qaeda.

'I'll go back to al-Qaeda if you stop backing the Sahwa (Awakening) groups,' Col. Satar tells U.S. Lt. Matthew McKernon, as he tries to secure more funding for his men to help battle the anti-U.S. insurgents.

Most members of the Awakening groups are Sunni Arab former insurgents who themselves fought American troops under the al-Qaeda banner after the fall of the regime of executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Some, like Satar, had served in Saddam's army before joining Al-Qaeda. Others were members of criminal gangs before deciding to fight the insurgents, with the backing of the U.S. military.

They earn around 300 dollars a month and their presence at checkpoints and on patrol has become an essential component of the U.S.-led coalitio…

Iraq war's total cost nearing Vietnam's price tag

Iraq war's total cost nearing Vietnam's price tag: "The total cost of the Iraq war is approaching the Vietnam War's expense, a congressional report estimates, while spending for military operations after 9/11 has exceeded it.

The new report by the Congressional Research Service estimates the U.S. has spent $648 billion on Iraq war operations, putting it in range with the $686 billion, in 2008 dollars, spent on the Vietnam War, the second most expensive war behind World War II. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. has doled out almost $860 billion for military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the world.

All estimates, adjusted for inflation, are based on the costs of military operations and don't include expenses for veterans benefits, interest on war-related debts or assistance to war allies, according to the nonpartisan CRS.

The report underscores how the price tag has been gradually rising for the war in Iraq, which began in Mar…

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Hamas makes mass arrests in Gaza

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Hamas makes mass arrests in Gaza: "Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip have arrested 120 men after an explosion killed five Hamas members and a girl, the group's officials said.

The cause of the explosion on Friday night was not immediately known, but Hamas blamed the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, accusing it of collaborating with Israel.

Fatah denied any involvement in the 'mysterious explosion', which badly damaged the car belonging to the dead men.

A senior Fatah official confirmed Hamas security forces arrested more than 100 Fatah members on Saturday and raided party offices across Gaza, confiscating computers and documents.

Azzam al-Ahmed, the head of Fatah's parliamentary bloc, said: 'Hamas knows very well the details of what has happened. It knows Fatah was not involved in the explosions that took place.'

Hundreds of people attended a funeral procession on Saturday for the Hamas fighter…

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 07/23/2008 | Iraqi forces aren't quite ready to take charge

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 07/23/2008 | Iraqi forces aren't quite ready to take charge
Although the U.S. military played a big role in some of the battles, the Iraqi army is unabashedly cocky.

"The power nowadays is with the security forces," said Azadi, the commander of the 38th Brigade, 10th Iraqi Army Division. "As long as we are here, they will not come back."

Yet a McClatchy reporter embedded with this Iraqi unit for four days as it searched for weapons throughout the province — one of the first Americans ever allowed to embed on a post-Basra Iraqi operation — had a glimpse of another reality. Iraqi troops are confident as never before. But just below the surface, they question whether their victories of the last few months are real or the result of a Mahdi Army decision to walk away to fight another day. Publicly, they're boastful; privately they wonder whether they're really in charge.

As they dashed about the province over those four days, Azadi&… Somalia: Insurgents Resist Ethiopian Army's Push Into Key Town (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Insurgents Resist Ethiopian Army's Push Into Key Town (Page 1 of 1): "Islamist insurgents attacked Ethiopian troops in central Somalia on Thursday as the Ethiopian army attempted to retake control of a key town, Radio Garowe reported.

At least 7 people, including civilians, have been reported dead so far and the fighting is still continuing, according to residents in Beletwein, capital of Hiran region.

The violence started after Ethiopian troops stationed at Jante Kundisho military camp advanced on Beletwein last night and captured parts of the town by early morning.

But Islamist guerillas attacked the Ethiopian soldiers, using machineguns and rocket launchers in the battle."

Taliban factions may be using British forces to assassinate rival commanders - Asia, World - The Independent

Taliban factions may be using British forces to assassinate rival commanders - Asia, World - The Independent: "Five months ago Mullah Dadullah's brother, Mansoor Dadullah, who is said to have held secret talks with the West about the possibility of changing sides, was critically wounded and captured by Pakistani security forces.

He had inherited the command of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan from his brother, but he is said to have held subsequent meetings with Western diplomats, acting on behalf of the British, to defect with 2,000 of his men. It was these talks, which the government of Hamid Karzai insisted were unauthorised, that led to the expulsion of Michael Semple, the acting head of the European Union mission to Afghanistan (who has worked as a British diplomat in Pakistan), and Mervyn Patterson, a senior UN official.

Just before the diplomats were thrown out, a Taliban spokesman said that Dadullah had been dismissed from his command for 'disobeying orders' and …

Maan News Agency

Maan News Agency: "Bethlehem – Ma'an - US democratic candidate Barak Obama said during a press conference on Wednesday in Sderot, a city in the south of Israel, that he does not support the idea of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Obama made it clear that Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel and that he would not see the city divided. He added that this position needed to be fixed through negotiations with the Palestinians.

Recent years have seen Obama's position on Israel/Palestine shift dramatically towards the Israeli side. He previously stated that the issue of Jerusalem should be on the table of any peace negotiation, but after criticism of his 'naïve' stance, Obama dropped this position.

The press conference was held with Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who said, 'Israel and the USA have a common understanding of what must happen in the region.'

Earlier Obama met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, wh…

Secret memo OK'd harsh CIA tactics - Security-

Secret memo OK'd harsh CIA tactics - Security- "WASHINGTON - The Justice Department in 2002 told the CIA that its interrogators would be safe from prosecution for violations of anti-torture laws if they believed 'in good faith' that harsh techniques used to break prisoners' will would not cause 'prolonged mental harm.'

That heavily censored memo, released Thursday, approved the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques method by method, but warned that if the circumstances changed, interrogators could be running afoul of anti-torture laws."

Wednesday's hearing: Danielle Pletka of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute

t r u t h o u t | Former "Bush Puppet" Iraqi PM Calls for US Withdrawal: "'[The] conduct of war and the protection of our national security is not a popularity contest,' Pletka said. 'Mob rule does not decide how a President deploys troops in his role as commander in chief, nor how the Congress allocates money with its power of the purse.'"

Al Jazeera English - Americas - US to triple global Aids funding

Al Jazeera English - Americas - US to triple global Aids funding: "The US House of Representatives has approved legislation that will more than triple the current $15bn funding for the global fight against Aids.

The House on Thursday passed the $48bn plan to fight Aids, malaria and tuberculosis worldwide for the next five years.

The move is a boost to a programme credited with saving or prolonging the lives of millions in Africa alone.

The global Aids bill passed by 303-115 votes is expected to be signed by George Bush, the US president.

The legislation approves spending of $5bn for malaria and $4bn for tuberculosis, the leading cause of death for people with Aids.

Passage of the bill culminated in a rare instance of co-operation between the White House and the Democratic-controlled congress.

Barbara Lee, a Democratic leader on the issue, said the vote was 'born out of a willingness to work together and put the United States on the right side of history when it comes to this global…

Imprisonment By Executive Order

Imprisonment By Executive Order: "Judges of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the president can legally, by simply labeling an individual an “enemy combatant,” imprison anyone, citizen or not, without due process for months, years, decades — or indefinitely.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an earlier three-judge panel’s decision which ruled that the government lacked the power to detain Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar legally in the United States on a student visa, who had been charged with credit card fraud and making false statements as part of the 9/11 investigation. Keep in mind the Bush administration is not accusing al-Marri of having any connections to al-Qaeda or the Taliban or fighting against U.S. forces. He is accused of being involved in an unproven terrorist plot, which he denies."

Free Iraq: In memory of Dalal Al-Mughrabi .... في ذكرى البطلة دلال المغربي

Free Iraq: In memory of Dalal Al-Mughrabi .... في ذكرى البطلة دلال المغربي: "''Point your guns in only one direction- your enemy - Israel,' exhorted Dalal Al Mughrabi in her final wish just before she laid down her life for Palestine.
Dalal, a Palestinian fighter who became a legend for many years, led a group of 12 fighters in one of the most talked about attacks against Israeli forces 30 years ago.
This week, the body of Dalal and her comrades, buried in an anonymous Israeli graveyard, will be handed over to Hezbollah as part of a prisoners and bodies exchange deal with Israel.
On March 11, 1978, Dalal along with her group of fighters managed to infiltrate the Lebanese-Israeli border to the coastal plain near Tel Aviv using rubber dinghy boats.
She and her comrades destroyed the boats the moment they reached the coast. It was a one-way trip, as they had returned home to stay .
Nine-hour battle
They hijacked an Israeli military bus and took its passengers, some three dozen…

Ethiopia: 'Perfect Storm Brewing' - Yahoo! News UK

Ethiopia: 'Perfect Storm Brewing' - Yahoo! News UK
Photojournalist Nick Danziger has travelled to Ethiopia with Oxfam to highlight what is happening in the famine-ravaged country.
Speaking to Sky News he said nothing could have prepared him for the devastation that would greet him.

"Oxfam briefed me on what I might face in terms of malnourished children and the drought which has affected this part of Ethiopia but actually on the ground, it is far worse than I ever could have possibly imagined," he explained.

"To be confronted with grown-ups, adults, women literally starving to death... it was devastating.

"I just find it totally unacceptable that in this world of plenty there is not enough food and water for people on the brink of starvation."

He said most of the people were struggling after losing their livestock and coupled with the dramatic increases in food prices were reduced to eating animal feed.

"Some have travelled great distances in search of f…

ei: What Obama missed in the Middle East

ei: What Obama missed in the Middle East: "When I and other Palestinian-Americans first knew Barack Obama in Chicago in the 1990s, he grasped the oppression faced by Palestinians under Israeli occupation. He understood that an honest broker cannot simultaneously be the main cheerleader, financier and arms supplier for one side in a conflict. He often attended Palestinian-American community events and heard about the Palestinian experience from perspectives stifled in mainstream discussion.

In recent months, Obama has sought to allay persistent concerns from pro-Israel groups by recasting himself as a stalwart backer of Israel and tacking ever closer to positions espoused by the powerful, hard-line pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. He distanced himself from mainstream advisers because pro-Israel groups objected to their calls for even-handedness.

Like his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, Obama gave staunch backing to Israel's 2006 bombing of Lebanon, which killed over 1,200 people, …

Obama is saying the wrong things about Afghanistan | Salon

Obama is saying the wrong things about Afghanistan | Salon: "July 23, 2008 | Barack Obama's Afghanistan and Iraq policies are mirror images of each other. Obama wants to send 10,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but wants to withdraw all American soldiers and Marines from Iraq on a short timetable. In contrast to the kid gloves with which he treated the Iraqi government, Obama repeated his threat to hit at al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan unilaterally, drawing howls of outrage from Islamabad.

But Obama's pledge to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan will not be easy to fulfill. While coalition troop deaths have declined significantly in Iraq, NATO casualties in Afghanistan are way up. By shifting emphasis from Iraq to Afghanistan, would a President Obama be jumping from the frying pan into the fire?

During the Baghdad stop of his ongoing overseas tour, the convergence between the worldview of the presumptive Democratic nominee and that of his Iraqi hosts provided some emb…

Wonk Room » Escalation Architect Fred Kagan Doubles Down On His Claim That Sectarian Cleansing In Baghdad Is A ‘Myth’

Wonk Room » Escalation Architect Fred Kagan Doubles Down On His Claim That Sectarian Cleansing In Baghdad Is A ‘Myth’
In a presentation yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute, escalation architect Frederick Kagan repeated his claim that sectarian cleansing has not affected the drop in violence in Iraq. Kagan called it a “myth”:

The bad news from this perspective is that the sectarian areas of Iraq is still mixed. The good news is that the sectarian areas of Iraq are still mixed. And there is a myth out there that the violence has fallen because all of the cleansing is done. That is absolutely not the case.
Kagan’s claim is contested by major news organizations and the U.S. military’s own data. In December 2007, the Washington Post published the maps below, comparing the sectarian make-up of Baghdad’s neighborhoods in April 2006 and November 2007, and revealing the transformation of the city resulting from sectarian cleansing:

Meles Zenawi’s executioner is in DC :: Ethiopian Review

Meles Zenawi’s executioner is in DC :: Ethiopian Review: "The head of Ethiopia’s notorious Federal Police, Workneh Gebeyenu, is currently in Washington DC. He has been observed at some Ethiopian restaurants socializing and partying.

Workneh Gebeyehu is a mass murderer who had executed Meles Zenawi’s order to gun down pro-democracy protesters in 2005.

Workneh is personally responsible for the June and November 2005 massacres of pro-democracy protesters in Ethiopia. He was also in charge of building the Nazi-type concentration camps in Zeway, Bir Sheleko, Denkoro Chaka, Shoba Robit and other regions of Ethiopia where close to 100,000 young Ethiopians were rounded up detained by the Federal Police following the May 2005 elections. Many of the detainees have been savagely tortured and exposed to diseases such as malaria.

Ethiopian Review is working to identify the whereabout and travel itinerary of this monster criminal so that appropriate legal actions can be taken against him."

Hardline Islamist takes over Somalia's opposition

Hardline Islamist takes over Somalia's opposition: "MOGADISHU, July 22 (Reuters) - Somalia's hardline Islamist Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said on Tuesday he had taken charge of the exiled opposition in Eritrea from its moderate chairman who attended U.N.-brokered peace talks last month.

'Now I Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys am the chairman of the executive committee as well as the general head,' Sheikh Dahir Aweys, who is on U.S. and U.N. lists of al Qaeda associates, told Reuters by phone.

Aweys takes over as head of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) from the moderate Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

'Sheikh Sharif was replaced because he and his group hated and left the Somali Re-Liberation group in Asmara,' he said.

Somalia's interim government and some members of the ARS signed a deal in Djibouti last month calling for the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers and agreeing to a ceasefire after a month.

Aweys and other hardline Islamists rejected the pact.&quo…

Realists Urge Bush to Drop Iran Precondition - by Jim Lobe

Realists Urge Bush to Drop Iran Precondition - by Jim Lobe: "Two of Washington's most prominent foreign policy graybeards praised Saturday's direct participation in multinational talks with Iran by a senior U.S. diplomat but called on the administration of President George W. Bush to drop his demands that Tehran freeze its uranium enrichment program as a precondition for broader negotiations.

Retired Gen. Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser under Republican presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who held the same post under Democratic President Jimmy Carter, urged Bush to go further by offering immediate rewards to Tehran in exchange for such a freeze.

And both men warned that repeated U.S. threats to use military force against Iran were counterproductive and strengthened hard-line forces in the regime led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said an actual military attack – whether by the U.S. or by Israel – would like…

Premier says Iraq can look after own security (Roundup)

Premier says Iraq can look after own security (Roundup): "Berlin - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Iraq was able to took after its own security and was ready for major foreign investment, after holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Tuesday.

'The Iraq of today is not the Iraq of six months ago. We are making great progress in the security situation,' al-Maliki said, adding there was now a considerable measure of freedom and democracy in the country.

'Iraq is able to take the security situation into its own hands. We have achieved great success,' al-Maliki said."

Is Obama the 'Antiwar Candidate'?- by Justin Raimondo

Is Obama the 'Antiwar Candidate'?- by Justin Raimondo
So, you thought we'd be rid of the endless "war on terrorism" once we got George W. Bush out of the White House, and ensconced a Democrat in his place? Well, think again, and get ready for an escalation of the Other War – the one in Afghanistan, a much tougher and more intractable prospect than Iraq by a longshot.

The Obama/Democratic Party line on the Middle East, in a nutshell, amounts to this: the Bush administration, through some mysterious internal malfunction, allowed itself to be "diverted" from the task of pursuing al-Qaeda, which was based in Afghanistan, and instead went after Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Ba'athists because, as Paul Wolfowitz said, "it's doable." The word "neocon" – and any references, however oblique, to the key role played by foreign lobbyists in rushing us into war – never passes the candidate's lips. After all, that would be "divisive.…

Death of Free Internet is Imminent: Information Clearing House - ICH

Death of Free Internet is Imminent: Information Clearing House - ICH
In the last 15 years or so, as a society we have had access to more information than ever before in modern history because of the Internet. There are approximately 1 billion Internet users in the world B and any one of these users can theoretically communicate in real time with any other on the planet. The Internet has been the greatest technological achievement of the 20th century by far, and has been recognized as such by the global community.

The free transfer of information, uncensored, unlimited and untainted, still seems to be a dream when you think about it. Whatever field that is mentioned- education, commerce, government, news, entertainment, politics and countless other areas- have been radically affected by the introduction of the Internet. And mostly, it's good news, except when poor judgements are made and people are taken advantage of. Scrutiny and oversight are needed, especially where chil…

BBC NEWS | Africa | Food crisis looms in East Africa

BBC NEWS | Africa | Food crisis looms in East Africa: "More than 14 million people in the Horn of Africa need food aid because of drought and rocketing food and fuel prices, the United Nations has warned.

The UN World Food Programme says it urgently needs $400m (£200m) to prevent starvation in the east African region.

Ethiopia is worst hit, with 10 million people - some 12% of the population - in need of extra food supplies.

Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti are also affected, along with northern parts of Kenya and Uganda."

BBC NEWS | Africa | S African police evict migrants

BBC NEWS | Africa | S African police evict migrants
South African police have forcefully removed hundreds of immigrants from temporary shelters where they had taken refuge from xenophobic attacks.

Authorities say the immigrants, who were taken to a repatriation centre in Johannesburg, had not registered with the home affairs department.

A BBC reporter witnessed angry and emotional scenes as they were removed.

More than 60 immigrants were killed and tens of thousands more fled during the attacks against foreigners in May.

Some immigrants chanted "human rights for refugees" as they were driven away from the Glenanda temporary centre by dozens of riot police.

The BBC's Mpho Lakaje said the immigrants taken from the camp, where about 2,000 people were sheltering, included women and children.

They now face deportation, he says.

Home Affairs spokeswoman Cleo Mosana said the immigrants had been offered exemption from deportation.

'Very disappointed'

She said they had been given e… Somalia: Military Says Pakistani, Iraqi Fighters Killed in Clashes (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Military Says Pakistani, Iraqi Fighters Killed in Clashes (Page 1 of 1): "21 July 2008
Posted to the web 21 July 2008

A commander with Somalia's army told the BBC Somali Service on Monday that two foreign fighters were killed alongside 10 local rebels during clashes yesterday in Lower Shabelle region.

Regional commander Col. Dahir Mohamed Hersi said the two dead fighters are from Pakistan and Iraq, while urging journalists to 'go see' the dead bodies.

He stated that two government soldiers were wounded during the attack.

Al Shabaab spokesman Muktar Robow 'Abu Mansur,' who claimed responsibility for the attack, denied reports that foreign fighters were killed during the battle.

He told a Mogadishu-based radio station that, on their side, 3 fighters were killed and 3 others wounded. But he claimed that government troops 'suffered heavy losses.'"

BBC NEWS | Europe | Karadzic 'worked in Serb clinic'

BBC NEWS | Europe | Karadzic 'worked in Serb clinic'
Captured Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic was practising alternative medicine and living in Serbia's capital, Belgrade.

He was working in a private clinic in a "very convincing disguise", sporting a long white beard, and calling himself Dragan Dabic, a Serb official said.

He was arrested on Monday near Belgrade after more than a decade on the run.

He is indicted by the UN tribunal for war crimes and genocide over the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica.

A judge has ordered Mr Karadzic's transfer to the UN war crimes court in The Hague, Serbia's war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said.

Mr Karadzic's lawyer, Sveta Vujacic, has said he will appeal against the ruling; he has three days to do so.

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Israeli filmed shooting prisoner

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Israeli filmed shooting prisoner

An Israeli human rights group has released a video that shows an Israeli soldier shooting a blindfolded Palestinian man with a rubber coated steel bullet at close range.

BTselem released the video on Sunday, saying it had forwarded a copy to the Israeli military police and was demanding an investigation be opened.

The video shows a Palestinian man, whom BTselem named as Ashraf Abu Rahma, handcuffed and blindfolded standing by a group of Israeli soldiers.

One soldier aims his weapon at the Abu Rahma's legs, from about 1.5 metres away, and appears to fire at him.
In video

Al Jazeera video

Israeli soldier shoots Palestinian

A statement on BTselem's website said Abu Rahma stated that the bullet hit his left toe.

The Israeli army admitted one of its soldiers had fired the shot and called the incident "a stark violation" of its rules of conduct.

"The injury was sustained when an IDF [Israeli army] soldier fired…

Terror from the sky

Displaced Iraqis struggle for food, services - IOM

Displaced Iraqis struggle for food, services - IOM
BAGHDAD, July 18 (Reuters) - Millions of Iraqis displaced by sectarian conflict are still struggling to get sufficient food, shelter and basic services like water and health care, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.

In a mid-year review distributed late on Thursday, the Geneva-based aid agency said fewer Iraqis were fleeing their homes, but the roughly 2.8 million Iraqis who were already internally displaced faced worsening living conditions.

Nearly three quarters of them were unable to access regularly the government food rations they depend on, one third could not get the medicines they needed and 14 percent had no access to health care at all.

"The deteriorating conditions facing ... (Iraq's) internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as the limited returnee population, remain one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world," the IOM said.

It added that although the rate of displacement had…

Coalition troops mass at border | The Australian

Coalition troops mass at border | The Australian
At the same time, published reports said the Pakistan air force had been ordered to attack any aircraft violating the country's airspace.

A senior military official was quoted as saying: "Responsible departments of national security have made it clear to the ISAF (the US-led coalition force in Afghanistan) that they will give a befitting response to any border and air violation."

The official added: "Pakistan will never allow foreign interference in our territory, or for our sovereignty to be violated. Such incidents are infuriating not only to the security forces but also the Pakistani people." However, a spokesman for coalition forces in Afghanistan insisted yesterday there was no question of troops violating the border and entering Pakistan. "Our mandate stops at the border," said Captain Mike Finney.

Reports of the troop build-up has caused fury among local tribal leaders.

Malik Mohammad Afzal Khan Darpa…

"Something Big is Happening" : Information Clearing House - ICH

"Something Big is Happening" : Information Clearing House - ICH
Madam Speaker, I have, for the past 35 years, expressed my grave concern for the future of America . The course we have taken over the past century has threatened our liberties, security and prosperity. In spite of these long-held concerns, I have days--growing more frequent all the time--when I'm convinced the time is now upon us that some Big Events are about to occur. These fast-approaching events will not go unnoticed. They will affect all of us. They will not be limited to just some areas of our country. The world economy and political system will share in the chaos about to be unleashed.

Though the world has long suffered from the senselessness of wars that should have been avoided, my greatest fear is that the course on which we find ourselves will bring even greater conflict and economic suffering to the innocent people of the world--unless we quickly change our ways.

America , with her traditions of…

The Zionist Power Configuration in America : Information Clearing House - ICH

The Zionist Power Configuration in America : Information Clearing House - ICH: "Zionists and their allies in Congress authored, implemented and enforced sanctions against Iran, which hinder the ambitions of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies. Israeli war exercises and public declarations threatening a massive air assault on Iran has pushed petroleum prices to world records. This spring 2008, the most powerful pro-Israel Jewish Lobby in the US, AIPAC held their annual conference and secured the support and commitment of both major US Presidential candidates and the majority of US members of Congress for an Israeli initiative to impose extreme economic sanctions on Iran with threats of a US/Israeli military attack. In early summer 2008, the AIPAC operatives, who wrote this US Congressional resolution, successfully rounded up Congressional leaders’ support of an air and naval blockade of all critical imports into Iran – a blatant act of war.

Israel adopts a ‘…

Al Jazeera English - IMPERIUM - In the shadow of Hezbollah

Al Jazeera English - IMPERIUM - In the shadow of Hezbollah: "The prisoner exchange between Hezbollah and Israel, the last in a series of similar exchanges over the last two decades, could signal the end of a volatile era and the beginning of a new more stable one in Lebanon and in the region.
Israel's three decades of occupation of Lebanese territories - beginning with the 1978 and later 1982 invasions and the 2006 war - have been met with bitter Lebanese and Palestinian resistance.
The Israeli military’s humiliating unilateral withdrawal from most of the Lebanese lands in 2000 and its poor performance in the 2006 war have allowed Hezbollah to declare victory and celebrate the return of its last prisoner from Israeli captivity.
For many in Lebanon and the region, this represents a strategic and moral victory for Hezbollah and a vindication of its position since it captured the Israeli soldiers in July 2006.
Though the capture led to the outbreak of full-scale hostilities, many i… Somalia: Three Somalia Soldiers, One Insurgent Killed in Mogadishu Attacks (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Three Somalia Soldiers, One Insurgent Killed in Mogadishu Attacks (Page 1 of 1): "Islamist insurgents in Somalia's war-torn capital Mogadishu launched three separate attacks overnight Monday and into Tuesday morning, including a bold attack on the home of a military commander.

Insurgents armed with grenades and assault rifles attacked the home of Col. Ahmed Shani, a senior military official, in Mogadishu' s Medina district around 3am local time.

At least three people - including two of Col. Shani's armed guards - were killed in the gunfight. Witnesses said that the soldiers killed one insurgents and wounded two others.

Early Tuesday, rebels attacked the ex-pasta factory in north Mogadishu, where Ethiopian soldiers are based."

Bush claims executive privilege

The Associated Press: Bush claims executive privilege on CIA leak: "WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush has asserted executive privilege to protect information that a House panel has subpoenaed on the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, the White House said Wednesday.

A House committee chairman, meanwhile, held off on a contempt citation of Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who sought the privilege claim, as a courtesy to lawmakers not present. Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, rejected Mukasey's suggestion that Vice President Dick Cheney's FBI interview on the subject should be protected by the privilege claim."

U.S Terror Sample. Kill and deny!

BBC NEWS | South Asia | US Afghan bombing 'kills dozens': "Dozens of Afghan civilians have been killed during aerial bombing by US forces in the western province of Herat, tribal elders say.

They said an important tribal elder was among the dead in Shindand district.

A Nato spokesman said a number of insurgents had been killed and there were no reports of civilian casualties

Earlier, US forces admitted killing eight civilians in a neighbouring province - the latest in a series of bombing incidents involving civilians."

Only Little War Criminals Get Punished - by Paul Craig Roberts

Only Little War Criminals Get Punished - by Paul Craig Roberts: "National Public Radio has been spending much news time on Darfur in Western Sudan where a great deal of human suffering and death are occurring. The military conflict has been brought on in part by climate change, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Drought is forcing nomads in search of water into areas occupied by other claimants. No doubt the conflict is tribal and racial as well. The entire catastrophe is overseen by a government with few resources other than bullets.

Now an International Criminal Court prosecutor wants to bring charges against Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

I have no sympathy for people who make others suffer. Nevertheless, I wonder at the International Criminal Court's pick from the assortment of war criminals? Why al-Bashir?

Is it because Sudan is a powerless state, and the International Criminal Court hasn't the courage to n…


Israel Targets Hamas Philanthropy - by Peter Hirschberg

Israel Targets Hamas Philanthropy - by Peter Hirschberg: "JERUSALEM - Shopping malls. Schools. Medical centers. Charities. Orphanages. Soup kitchens. These are the latest targets in the campaign the Israeli military is waging against Hamas in the West Bank.

Israeli military officials have identified Hamas' civilian infrastructure in the West Bank as a major source of the Islamic group's popularity, and have begun raiding and shutting down these institutions in cities like Hebron, Nablus, and Qalqilyah.

Last week, troops focused their efforts in Nablus, raiding the city hall and confiscating computers. They also stormed into a shopping mall and posted closure notices on the shop windows. A girls' school and a medical center were shut down in the city, and a charitable association had its computers impounded and documents seized.

This policy, officials say, is meant to deny the Islamic group, which is committed to Israel's destruction, the ability to use these institut…

Reuters AlertNet - U.S. troops abandon Afghan outpost following attack

Reuters AlertNet - U.S. troops abandon Afghan outpost following attack: "KABUL, July 16 (Reuters) - U.S. troops have pulled out of a remote outpost in northeastern Afghanistan, NATO-led security force said on Wednesday, three days after Taliban militants tried to overrun the base and killed nine U.S. soldiers.

NATO played down the significance of the withdrawal, but Taliban militants are sure to claim victory in driving foreign forces out of the wooded valley, close to the Pakistani border.

Taliban militants briefly breached the incomplete defences of the newly established base in the Wanat district of Kunar province on Sunday and hours of fierce fighting ensued that killed nine U.S. soldiers and many more insurgents.

It was the biggest single loss of life for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since 2005.

'We can confirm that a temporary outpost which was established in the village of Wanat has been removed,' said NATO spokesman Mark Laity. 'We will continue to patrol the villag…

Al Jazeera English - Focus - The long road to repatriation

Palestinian women call for the release of relatives jailed in Israel during a demonstration in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on July 5, 2008 [AFP]

The recent negotiations between Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah to repatriate prisoners of war are the latest episodes in a series of such exchanges since 1948.

Since the first conflict, Israel has signed separate agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia for prisoner repatriation.

Lamis Andoni, Al Jazeera's political analyst, said: "Parties at war with Israel have always had a better chance at securing a prisoner exchange than those who had signed peace agreements with them.

Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)

Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine): "In a series of gripping articles, Jane Mayer has chronicled the Bush Administration’s grim and furtive dealings with torture and has exposed both the individuals within the administration who “made it happen” (a group that starts with Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, David Addington), the team of psychologists who put together the palette of techniques, and the Fox television program “24,” which was developed to help sell it to the American public. In a new book, The Dark Side, Mayer puts together the major conclusions from her articles and fills in a number of important gaps. Most significantly, we learn the details on the torture techniques and the drama behind the fierce and lingering struggle within the administration over torture, and we learn that many within the administration recognized the potential criminal accountability they faced over these torture tactics and…

Turning their backs on jihad | Salon News

Turning their backs on jihad | Salon News
July 16, 2008 | Noman Benotman walks into a restaurant on Park Lane, the exclusive, minimalist sort of place that is currently all the rage in London. People in business suits converse in hushed tones at nearby tables. Benotman, wearing an orange polo shirt and a gray checked blazer, fits in perfectly.

Benotman, a 41-year-old man from Libya, was once a jihadist. He fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and it was in those days, which some would later romanticize as heroic, that he met Osama bin Laden. Benotman says that he was once adept at using an AK-47, and that he remembers making out the faces of Soviet helicopter pilots before shooting them down.

After the Soviet army withdrew in disgrace from Kabul and Kandahar, Benotman returned to his native Libya, where he became one of the leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The group, several hundred strong, sought to overthrow the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, which…

Asia Times Online :: Video

Asia Times Online :: Video: "Qari Ziaur Rahman, commander of the Taliban in Afghanistan's Nooristan and Kunar provinces, which border Pakistan, represents the new generation of anti-US resistance leaders and is tipped to become one of the most important Taliban commanders in the region. He spoke to Syed Saleem Shahzad in the Kunar Valley. (English subtitles.) (May '08)" Somalia: Somaliland Detains Puntland Officials in Sool Region (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Somaliland Detains Puntland Officials in Sool Region (Page 1 of 1): "LAS Police authorities in Somalia's separatist enclave of Somaliland arrested four men for allegedly having ties with the administration of neighboring Puntland regional autonomy, Radio Garowe reported Sunday.

Somaliland police in the town of Las Anod raided homes last night and arrested the four men, including an individual identified as Ahmed Sakin, a court judge in Puntland." Somalia: Thousands Flee Beletweyne as Clash Fears Mount (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Thousands Flee Beletweyne as Clash Fears Mount (Page 1 of 1): "Fears of major clashes in the town of Beletweyne in central Somalia's Hiiraan Region have sparked a mass exodus from the town, sources there told IRIN on 14 July.

'Thousands of people have already left the town and many others are still leaving,' Ga'al Hirsi Hooshow, the chairman of the Beletweyne Elders' Council, said.

He said forces of the ousted Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in Beletweyne and Ethiopian troops now based at Janta Kundishe, 5km east of the town, 'are both gearing up for a major battle'." Somalia: Islamist Guerrillas Capture Burhakaba, Bardhere Towns (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Islamist Guerrillas Capture Burhakaba, Bardhere Towns (Page 1 of 1): "Islamist rebels in southern Somalia seized two more towns Sunday, as the Ethiopian-backed interim government's defense minister disclosed that newly-trained Somali soldiers had arrived in the country.

Heavily-armed rebels peacefully entered the town of Bardhere, in the southwestern region of Gedo, on Saturday afternoon and immediately disbanded a recently established police force.

Sheikh Abdulkadir Yusuf, who spoke for the fighters, accused the Bardhere police force of 'having links' to the interim government in Mogadishu, Somalia's national capital.

Locals expressed their dismay at the Islamists' takeover of Bardhere, with one clan elder telling reporters: 'It is surprising that in Bardhere where the people established self-rule and there is no presence of the [Federal] Government, who is it [Bardhere] captured from and who is capturing it [Bardhere]?'

Town elder…

New film tells tale of Palestinian killed in error by IDF who went on to save Israeli lives - Haaretz - Israel News

New film tells tale of Palestinian killed in error by IDF who went on to save Israeli lives - Haaretz - Israel News: "Of the hundreds of tragic tales of children killed during decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ahmed Khatib's must rank among the most remarkable.

Khatib was shot dead in 2005 by Israeli soldiers who mistook him for a gunman in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. Still grieving, his father agreed to donate Ahmed's heart, liver, lungs and kidneys to save the lives of Israeli children."

American Civil Liberties Union : Terrorist Watch List Hits One Million Names

American Civil Liberties Union : Terrorist Watch List Hits One Million Names: "WASHINGTON, DC - The nation's terrorist watch list has hit one million names, according to a tally maintained by the American Civil Liberties Union based upon the government's own reported numbers for the size of the list.

'Members of Congress, nuns, war heroes and other 'suspicious characters,' with names like Robert Johnson and Gary Smith, have become trapped in the Kafkaesque clutches of this list, with little hope of escape,' said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. 'Congress needs to fix it, the Terrorist Screening Center needs to fix it, or the next president needs to fix it, but it has to be done soon.'

Fredrickson and Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, spoke today along with two victims of the watch list: Jim Robinson, former assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division who flie…

Uyghurs Jailed From Guantanamo to Beijing - by William Fisher

Uyghurs Jailed From Guantanamo to Beijing - by William Fisher: "As a federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. military improperly labeled a Chinese Muslim held at Guantanamo Bay an 'enemy combatant' and ordered that he be released, transferred, or granted a new hearing, an influential congressional committee delivered a scathing criticism of China's closed trial of 15 men on terrorism charges – resulting in the immediate execution of two defendants, three suspended death sentences, and 10 sentences of life imprisonment.

The men were members of the Uyghur Muslim minority in western China. They have been reliably reported to have been systematically persecuted by Chinese authorities.

The legislators' charges came from leaders of the Congressional Human Rights Committee (CHRC), co-chairs Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf. The two lawmakers condemned 'the harsh pre-Olympic crackdown' in the Xinjiang Uyghur Auto…

BBC NEWS | Americas | First Guantanamo video released

BBC NEWS | Americas | First Guantanamo video released: "A videotape of a detainee being questioned at the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay has been released for the first time.

It shows 16-year-old Omar Khadr being asked by Canadian officials in 2003 about events leading up to his capture by US forces, Canadian media have said.

The Canadian citizen is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan in 2002.

He is seen in a distressed state and complaining about the medical care.

The footage was made public by Mr Khadr's lawyers following a Supreme Court ruling in May that the Canadian authorities had to hand over key evidence against him to allow a full defence of the charges he is facing."

Afghan Assault Could Alter Campaign Dynamics - by Jim Lobe

Afghan Assault Could Alter Campaign Dynamics - by Jim Lobe: "If nothing else, the deaths Sunday of nine U.S. soldiers at a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan close to the Pakistan border are likely to bring home to the U.S. electorate what top national security officials have been saying for much of the past year – that the central front in Washington's 'global war on terrorism' has moved eastward about 1,100 mi. from Iraq.

That realization could have a major impact on the U.S. presidential elections, despite the fact that the economy has replaced the Iraq War as the issue that voters are most concerned about.

While Republican Sen. John McCain, like the White House itself, has insisted that victory in Iraq must be priority number one for U.S. foreign policy, his presumptive Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, and his top advisers have repeatedly warned that the situation in Afghanistan and the frontier regions of Pakistan required much more attention and resources t…

What's NOT in the IAEA Iran Reports - by Peter Casey

What's NOT in the IAEA Iran Reports - by Peter Casey: "Zimmerman's piece is seriously misleading in other important respects. He claims that Iran 'has 320 tons of uranium hexafluoride [UF6] gas to feed its centrifuges, enough for almost 100 bombs, but not for even a fraction of one reactor refueling operation.' What he does not mention is that 'all of [the UF6] remains under [IAEA] containment and surveillance' (IAEA Gov/2008/15 at paragraph 9). He also fails to inform readers that:

* Without enrichment, 320 'tons' of UF6 is no more dangerous than 320 tons of silly putty.
* Since it began to enrich uranium, in February 2007, Iran has fed 3,970 kilograms, or less than four metric tons, into enrichment cascades (IAEA Gov/2008/15 at paragraph 2).
* To get fissile material, uranium must be enriched to consist of 90 percent U-235. Iran's enrichment levels, however, have never exceeded 4.7 percent U-235, a level that could only be consistent…

Iraqis demand end to ‘occupation’ - The National Newspaper

Iraqis demand end to ‘occupation’ - The National Newspaper
DAMASCUS // Iraqi opposition and resistance groups have renewed their demands for an end to all negotiations with the United States while US troops remain on Iraqi soil.

“We reject any kind of agreement that prolongs the occupation for so much as a day,” said Shamil Rassam, chairman of the Iraqi Popular Forces, an anti-occupation group with offices in Syria. “The occupation must be ended immediately and there can be no compromises until the last American soldier has left the country.”

Talks continue between the government in Baghdad and the Bush administration over a controversial status of forces agreement, a treaty that would lay out US military legal rights to remain in Iraq.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan fears over US air raids

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan fears over US air raids: "US air strikes in Pakistan's troubled tribal belt are 'seriously undermining' public support for the government, a senior official has told the BBC.

North West Frontier Province governor Owais Ghani said such actions could make it impossible for the government to keep struggling against militancy.

The US is frustrated with what they see as insufficient efforts by Islamabad to fight militants on the Afghan border.

That has fuelled Pakistani concerns of increased US intervention."

BBC NEWS | Africa | Sudan head accused of war crimes

BBC NEWS | Africa | Sudan head accused of war crimes Sudan's president has been accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Palestinian Hamas supporters protest against the visit of President Bush to Israel and the West Bank, in the Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008. Bush sought new footing Wednesday to pull Israel and the Palestinians toward serious negotiations that would crown his final year as president, as revived peace talks stumbled over land squabbles and fear of violence.
(Hatem Moussa/ AP Photo )

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?

What about George Bush?