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Showing posts from October, 2008

Press TV - US to drop Mullah Omar from blacklist

Press TV - US to drop Mullah Omar from blacklist
The US agrees to drop the name of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar from the terror list ahead of talks with the insurgents, an official says.

"US intends to remove Mullah Omar from the black list in a bid to provide a suitable seedbed for holding contacts with the Taliban," said Sunday, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Patrick S. Moon.

Moon added that during his upcoming visit to Kabul, he will fully support the idea of negotiated settlement with the Taliban militants to end the violence in the region. He also reiterated that the talks with the Taliban insurgents were possible within the Afghan Constitution.

Also, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the United States was considering taking part in talks with Taliban in a sharp change in tactics in Afghanistan.

The developments come at a time when US, British and NATO forces are experiencing some of the most viol…

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Syria hits out at 'terrorist' US

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Syria hits out at 'terrorist' US: "Syria's foreign minister has accused the US of an act of 'criminal and terrorist aggression' over what it says was a helicopter raid on its territory.

Walid Muallem said Sunday's attack saw four US forces travel eight miles inside Syrian airspace from Iraq and kill eight unarmed civilians on a farm.

He said those who died were a father and his three children, the farm guard and his wife, and a fisherman.

The US has not confirmed or denied the alleged raid.

However, a unnamed US official was quoted by AFP news agency as saying that its forces had mounted a 'successful' raid against foreign fighters threatening US forces in Iraq.

The US has previously accused Syria of allowing militants into Iraq.

'An opportunity'

Speaking at a news conference in London, Mr Muallem said the raid on the town of Abu Kamal was 'not a mistake' and that he had urged the Iraqi government to investigate.

Latest News - SomaliNet

Latest News - SomaliNet
Mon. October 27, 2008 02:27 am.- By Bonny Apunyu. - Send this news article

(SomaliNet) Intense battle erupted on Saturday morning in Somalia in an area between Lego and Yaqbariweyne in the Bay region (south) when Al-Shabaab forces ambushed Ethiopian and Somali government troops heading to the capital, Mogadishu, residents said.

Sheikh Muqtar Robow Abu Mansorsaid, Al-Shabaab spokesman told reporters in a teleconference that their troops were responsible for the attack, claiming that they chased away the country’s troops and their Ethiopian allies.

"This morning Allah’s forces waged an ambush attack against Allah’s enemy," Abu Mansor said.

"One of our solders died and four others were wounded but we chased them and forced them to retreat," he added.

Heavy weapons and machine guns could be heard in the surroundings, according to residents.

"Early in the morning we heard sounds of heavy weapons and we thought of a battle between Ethiopian and Isla…

Int'l peace activists to set sail for besieged Gaza with medicines - People's Daily Online

Int'l peace activists to set sail for besieged Gaza with medicines - People's Daily Online
International activists will set sail again for the Gaza Strip next week in defiance of an Israeli blockade, the Free Gaza Movement announced Friday.

Some 26 pro-Palestinian campaigners and crew members are scheduled to leave the Cypriot port of Larnaca on Oct. 28, with medicine for Palestinians in the besieged Gaza, according to a press release from the movement.

"We sail to Gaza to show the people we love and care for them," said one of the activists, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work for peace in Northern Ireland.

"What less can we do whilst our governments remain silent and inactive in the face of such preventable suffering of the women and children of Gaza and Palestine?" she added.

Also on board are Mustafa Barghouthi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli Knesset.


Nation Institute

Nation Institute
Throughout the Paris negotiations, the North Vietnamese tied the prisoner issue tightly to the issue of reparations. They were adamant in refusing to deal with them separately. Finally, in a February 2, 1973, formal letter to Hanoi's premier, Pham Van Dong, Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in "postwar reconstruction" aid "without any political conditions." But he also attached to the letter a codicil that said the aid would be implemented by each party "in accordance with its own constitutional provisions." That meant Congress would have to approve the appropriation, and Nixon and Kissinger knew well that Congress was in no mood to do so. The North Vietnamese, whether or not they immediately understood the double-talk in the letter, remained skeptical about the reparations promise being honored - and it never was. Hanoi thus appears to have held back prisoners—just as it had done when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and wi…

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Somalis agree Ethiopian deadline

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Somalis agree Ethiopian deadline
Ethiopian forces would withdraw from Somalia early next year under a deal signed by the Somali government and several opposition groups in Djibouti, a UN spokeswoman said.

The accord, signed at UN-sponsored talks on Sunday, ressurrected a ceasefire deal agreed in July, but came as at least 13 people were killed in the Horn of Africa nation's ongoing violence.

The government and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) agreed that Ethiopian troops would initially pull out of areas in the capital Mogadishu and the central town of Beledweyne on November 21.

These areas would be left under the control of African Union troops (Amisom), Susannah Price, spokeswoman for the UN envoy to Somalia, said.

"The second phase of Ethiopian troop withdrawal should be completed within 120 days," the agreement said, although Price was unable to say when exactly the countdown would begin.

Ethiopian forces were deployed to So…

   Abu Nidal, notorious Palestinian mercenary, 'was a US spy'     : Information Clearing House - ICH

   Abu Nidal, notorious Palestinian mercenary, 'was a US spy'     : Information Clearing House - ICH
Secret papers claim the feared assassin was hired to find links between Saddam and al-Qa'ida.

By Robert Fisk

October 25, 2008 "The Independent" -- -Iraqi secret police believed that the notorious Palestinian assassin Abu Nidal was working for the Americans as well as Egypt and Kuwait when they interrogated him in Baghdad only months before the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Hitherto secret documents which are now in the hands of The Independent – written by Saddam Hussein's brutal security services for Saddam's eyes only – state that he had been "colluding" with the Americans and, with the help of the Egyptians and Kuwaitis, was trying to find evidence linking Saddam and al-Qa'ida.

President George Bush was to use claims of a relationship with al-Qa'ida as one of the reasons for his 2003 invasion, along with Iraq's possession of weapo…

Tomgram: Michael Schwartz, Iraq in Hell

Tomgram: Michael Schwartz, Iraq in Hell
As the Smoke Clears in Iraq: Even before the spectacular presidential election campaign became a national obsession, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression crowded out other news, coverage of the Iraq War had dwindled to next to nothing. National newspapers had long since discontinued their daily feasts of multiple -- usually front page – reports on the country, replacing them with meager meals of mostly inside-the-fold summary stories. On broadcast and cable TV channels, where violence in Iraq had once been the nightly lead, whole news cycles went by without a mention of the war.

The tone of the coverage also changed. The powerful reports of desperate battles and miserable Iraqis disappeared. There are still occasional stories about high-profile bombings or military campaigns in obscure places, but the bulk of the news is about quiescence in old hot spots, political maneuvering by Iraqi factions, and the newly emerging routines …

Ethiopia » U.S. drops charges against Binyam Mohammed and 4 others - Ethiopian Review

Ethiopia » U.S. drops charges against Binyam Mohammed and 4 others - Ethiopian Review: "A Pentagon official overseeing the Guantanamo war crimes court dismissed all pending charges against five prisoners on Tuesday, including a British resident accused in a radioactive 'dirty bomb' plot.

The Defense Department gave no reason for the action and said the charges had been dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled later.

But it came after the U.S. government declined to pursue the dirty bomb charges in a Washington court case challenging the detention of Ethiopian-born British resident Binyam Mohammed as an 'enemy combatant.'

Mohammed had said repeatedly that he falsely confessed to the plot while he was tortured in a Moroccan prison.

The Pentagon appointee overseeing the Guantanamo tribunals, Susan Crawford, dropped all charges against Mohammed, Saudi Arabian captives Jabran al Qahtani and Ghassan al Sharbi, Algerian prisoner Sufyian Barhoumi, and Sudane…

Ethiopia » Ethiopia ranks number 142 for press freedom - Ethiopian Review

Ethiopia » Ethiopia ranks number 142 for press freedom - Ethiopian Review
MOSCOW, Oct. 22 — Russia has been ranked 141 out of 173 countries in the 2008 press freedom index published on Wednesday by the international organization Reporters Without Borders.

The report's authors say the Russian media "continues to be subject to violence and harassment." Russia, up from 144th in 2007 and 147th in 2006 but still not back to the 138th spot it occupied in 2005, was ranked between Mexico (140th) and Ethiopia (142nd).

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 10/20/2008 | McCain evolved from reluctant warrior to interventionist

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 10/20/2008 | McCain evolved from reluctant warrior to interventionistFor years, McCain repeated the same assertions about Iraq's weapons programs and ties to terrorism that the Bush administration later used to make its case for invading Iraq. Today, he insists that the war was right and that last year's surge of additional troops to Iraq has put the U.S. "on the road to victory" there.

Although he's cultivated a maverick image, McCain's fixation with Iraq, and with regime change more generally, is squarely in step with his party's neoconservatives, many of whom now work for his campaign. Neoconservatives believe that the U.S. must preserve its unchallenged global dominance and military superiority, and reshape the world, by force if necessary.

"There is no question that he (McCain) reflects the hard-line neocon view," said retired Army Brig. Gen. John Johns, a former supporter who's known McCain since his return …

Palestinian granted posthumous entry to Israel - Israel News, Ynetnews

Palestinian granted posthumous entry to Israel - Israel News, Ynetnews: "Did red tape contribute to a Palestinian patient's death? The family members of Gaza Strip resident Mahmoud abu-Amro claimed Sunday that the military's procrastination in giving the 58-year-old cancer patient the necessary clearance to receive treatment in Israel was the direct cause of his death.

Abu-Amro had been a patient of the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv for the past two years, undergoing his last session in February of 2008. According to his family, when he tried to enter Israel for treatment through Erez crossing in March, he was refused passage due to security concerns."

The Bagman Cometh: Obama Embraces War Criminal's Endorsement by Chris Floyd

The Bagman Cometh: Obama Embraces War Criminal's Endorsement by Chris Floyd: "Democratic Party circles are in raptures over Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama. One can see the heavily-blinkered logic behind their elation; now that our national politics has been reduced to a petty squabble over spoils among shifting factions in the imperial court, a nod from a consummate courtier like Powell is indeed a glittering prize for an ambitious prince.

But out in the real world, where the operations of imperial power have left smoking trails of murder and ruin across the globe, the 'endorsement' of a man who played an indispensable role in the slaughter of more than a million innocent people in a war of Hitlerian aggression should be regarded as a thing of shame, and vociferously rejected by anyone with a scintilla of honor or morality.

In fact, it is not too much of a stretch to say that Colin Powell is more responsible for the mass murder spree in Iraq than any oth…

Police Chief: Taliban Kills 40 in Bus Ambush | News From

Police Chief: Taliban Kills 40 in Bus Ambush | News From "On Thursday, the Taliban captured a bus traveling east of Kandahar. 50 passengers were on the bus at the time. 10 were released shortly later, and according to Kandahar provincial police chief Matlullah Khan Qaneh the remaining 40 were killed by the Taliban.

The figure is somewhat in doubt, however, as is the identity of the slain passengers. Afghan General Mohammad Zahir Azimi says that 31 passengers were killed, A Taliban spokesman confirmed 27 killed from the bus, but claimed that they were soldiers in the Afghan army. Gen. Azimi denied the Taliban claim, insisting that military personnel don’t travel on civilian buses. Six beheaded bodies were confirmed recovered from the ambush, and Gen. Azimi reports another 25 bodies have since been found."

Afghanistan's emerging antiwar movement |

Afghanistan's emerging antiwar movement | "Kabul, Afghanistan - In a musty room near the edge of town, a group of bearded men sit on the floor and heatedly discuss strategy. The men are in the planning stages of an event that they hope will impact Afghan politics – a peace jirga, or assembly, that will agitate for the end of the war between the Taliban and Afghan government by asking the two sides to come to a settlement.

'People are growing tired of the fighting,' says Bakhtar Aminzai of the National Peace Jirga of Afghanistan, an association of students, professors, lawyers, clerics, and others. 'We need to pressure the Afghan government and the international community to find a solution without using guns.'

Mr. Aminzai is not alone in his sentiments. As violence and insecurity grow in this war-ravaged nation, a broad network of peace activists have been quietly pushing for negotiations and reconciliation with the Taliban"

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - Iran warns West against talks with Taliban

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - Iran warns West against talks with Taliban
Iran warns West against talks with Taliban

TEHRAN: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned the West on Sunday not to push for talks with the Taliban militia, which had stormy relations with Tehran when it ruled Afghanistan up to 2001.

“Today, the whole world knows about the strategic failure of foreign forces in Afghanistan and we advise them not to try a new failure,” the foreign minister told a news conference.

“We advise them to think about the consequences of the talks (with the Taliban) which are taking place in the region and in Europe and avoid being bitten in the same spot twice,” Mottaki said, citing a Persian proverb.

Last month, Afghan government representatives met Taliban leaders in the Saudi holy city of Makkah for talks on ending the insurgency that has plagued Afghanistan ever since the Taliban was ousted from power in a US-led invasion seven years ago, the Saudi-owned da…

How We Lost the War We Won : Rolling Stone

How We Lost the War We Won : Rolling Stone: "The highway that leads south out of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, passes through a craggy range of arid, sand-colored mountains with sharp, stony peaks. Poplar trees and green fields line the road. Nomadic Kuchi women draped in colorful scarves tend to camels as small boys herd sheep. The hillsides are dotted with cemeteries: rough-hewn tombstones tilting at haphazard angles, multicolored flags flying above them. There is nothing to indicate that the terrain we are about to enter is one of the world's deadliest war zones. On the outskirts of the capital we are stopped at a routine checkpoint manned by the Afghan National Army. The wary soldiers single me out, suspicious of my foreign accent. My companions, two Afghan men named Shafiq and Ibrahim, convince the soldiers that I am only a journalist. Ibrahim, a thin man with a wispy beard tapered beneath his chin, comes across like an Afghan version of Bob Marley, easygoing and qu…

Report: NATO Air Strike in Helmand Kills At Least 25 Civilians | News From

Report: NATO Air Strike in Helmand Kills At Least 25 Civilians | News From
NATO forces launched an air strike in Nad Ali District, Helmand Province early this afternoon. According to local officials, the attack killed between 25 and 30 civilians. Local residents took some of the bodies to Lashkar Gah to complain to the governor about the killings. NATO said it was “aware of an incident,” but declined to confirm any civilian casualties as of yet.

It is unclear which NATO member launched the air strike, but during reported protests in Lashkar Gah this afternoon angry locals condemned the Afghan government and British forces. District Chief Mahboob Khan said the anger was even more widespread however, and while they are “busy burying their family members now … tomorrow, they will demand to know why their houses were targeted.” Provincial Police Chief Assadullah Sherzad confirmed the air strike, but was unable to vouch for the number killed.

Helmand has been the source of conside…

 Liquidating the Empire : Information Clearing House - ICH

 Liquidating the Empire : Information Clearing House - ICH: "Retrenchment has begun with Bush’s backing away from confrontations with Axis-of-Evil charter members Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs, and will likely continue with a negotiated peace in Afghanistan. Gen. Petraeus and Secretary Gates are already talking “reconciliation” with the Taliban.

We no longer live in Eisenhower or Reagan’s America. Even the post-Cold War world of George H. W. Bush, where America was a global hegemon, is history. In both relative and real terms, the U.S.A. is a diminished power.

Where Ike spent 9 percent of GDP on defense, Reagan 6 percent, we spend 4 percent. Yet we have two wars bleeding us and many more nations to defend, with commitments in the Baltic, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans we did not have in the Cold War. As U.S. weapons systems are many times more expensive today, we have fewer strategic aircraft and Navy ships than Ike or Reagan commanded. Our active-duty Army and …

 Association of Muslim Scholars Issues Fatwa Prohibiting Long-term Pact : Information Clearing House - ICH

 Association of Muslim Scholars Issues Fatwa Prohibiting Long-term Pact : Information Clearing House - ICHThe Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS – Sunni organization) on Monday issued a fatwa prohibiting signing the long-term Iraqi-U.S. security agreement, accusing governmental officials and lawmakers who would approve it of betrayal, according to a release issued by the association.

“The long-term security pact between Iraq and the U.S. administration occupying the country, if it is signed, is considered religiously prohibited and obsolete, and creates no commitments that Iraqis should abide by,” said the release that was received by Aswat al-Iraq.

“The Iraqi politicians who are in the executive (government) or legislative (parliament) authorities who would pass this treaty are considered careless regarding the interest of the Uma (Muslim’s nation), the prophet (Mohammed) and Muslim Iraqis and others,” it said.

“This agreement includes concessions made by Iraqis, government and people,…

OpEdNews » John McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?

OpEdNews » John McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?: Let's talk about Nam, that nasty little quagmire in the American subconscious always waiting to be sprung like a bouncing betty whenever it is politically opportunistic, we are still fighting that fucking war and will continue to fight that fucking war until we as a nation are ready to collectively acknowledge the accumulated weight of all of our military interventionist sins and to seek atonement. That John McCain can continue to trade on his Vietnam record as he runs his campaign on the promise of more war for the rest of all of our lives even if it bankrupts us and rapes the futures of those who have yet to even be fucking born. Now I have a lot of problems with this great narrative that McCain has constructed for himself about being this great war hero, first let me say that there is absolutely nothing fucking heroic in dropping bombs on civilians and McCain himself has come out and admitted this when questioned during intervi… Ethiopia: Draft Law Threatens Civil Society (Page 1 of 1) Ethiopia: Draft Law Threatens Civil Society (Page 1 of 1): "Ethiopia's parliament should reject a draft law that would criminalize human rights activity and seriously undermine civil society groups, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on donor governments to speak out publicly against the bill, which is expected to be introduced in parliament this month.

The Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO law) would provide the government a potent tool to intimidate and weaken Ethiopia's long beleaguered civil society. Although the bill has been revised twice since May 2008, the current version retains many of the most alarming provisions.

'The only reason to have such a repressive law is if it would be used to strangle Ethiopia's few remaining independent voices,' said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. 'Donor governments should make clear to Ethiopia that enacting this law will threaten future funding.…

John McCain, War Criminal

John McCain, War Criminal: "John McCain, War Hero Criminal

It still seems absolutely outrageous how some 33 years ago -- on October 26, 1967 to be exact -- North Vietnamese agents traveled 12,000 miles from their own country; snuck into the United States; kidnapped the innocent American John McCain; smuggled him back to North Vietnam; and imprisoned him for five years.

Of course, in reality, McCain was the one who traveled 12,000 miles from his own country, invaded North Vietnamese air space on October 26, 1967, and was dropping bombs on that nation for the 23rd time when his plane was shot down. That's how he became a North Vietnamese prisoner.

No North Vietnamese had ever committed any act of violence on U.S. soil, or, until Americans invaded their country, against any American. Yet the United States rained death and destruction from bullets, bombs and chemical agents on that small impoverished nation for 10 years. McCain was an active participant in destroying that count…

James Zogby: John McCain: I am an Arab and a Decent Man

James Zogby: John McCain: I am an Arab and a Decent Man: "Today my office issued the following statement, which includes my comments:

Dr. James Zogby says, 'Enough is enough!'

Washington D.C. - October 11, 2008 -We are disturbed by the degree to which 'Arab' has become the metaphorical mud to sling against your opponent. Last week, for example, the Republican Jewish Coalition released a document in which they use the term Pro-Arab as a pejorative accusation. For his part, Rush Limbaugh has joined in by declaring that Obama is in fact an Arab American. Then, last Friday, after a supporter called Senator Barak Obama 'an Arab', Senator John McCain came to the defense of of his political opponent by saying, 'No, ma'am. He's a decent family man and citizen...' From this we are left to infer that an Arab man is less then a 'decent family man.'

Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, says, 'Enough is enough! From the be…

(A Voice from a Grave)General William Odom on Iraq: Immediate Withdrawal the Only Option that Makes Sense | War on Iraq | AlterNet

General William Odom on Iraq: Immediate Withdrawal the Only Option that Makes Sense | War on Iraq | AlterNet
By General William Odom, AlterNet. Posted April 7, 2008.
"Those who link instability with a US withdrawal have it exactly backwards."
Below is the testimony of General William Odom, a retired U.S. Army 3-star general and former Director of the NSA under President Ronald Reagan, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iraq.

Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. It is an honor to appear before you again. The last occasion was in January 2007, when the topic was the troop surge. Today you are asking if it has worked. Last year I rejected the claim that it was a new strategy. Rather, I said, it is a new tactic used to achieve the same old strategic aim, political stability. And I foresaw no serious prospects for success.

I see no reason to change my judgment now. The surge is prolonging instability, not creating the conditions for unity as the presi…

More blowback from the war on terror | Salon News

More blowback from the war on terror | Salon NewsIn late 2006, the Bush administration backed a full-scale Ethiopian military offensive that ousted the Islamist authorities from Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. The fighting caused thousands of Somalis, including some who were suspected of terrorist links, to flee across the Kenya border.

Kenyan authorities arrested at least 150 men, women and children from more than 18 countries — including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada — in operations near the Somali border, and held them for weeks without charge in Nairobi. In January and February 2007, the Kenyan government then unlawfully put dozens of these individuals — with no notice to families, lawyers or the detainees themselves — on flights to Somalia, where they were handed over to the Ethiopian military. Ethiopian forces also arrested an unknown number of people in Somalia.

Those rendered were later transported to detention centers in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and …

Troop Pullout Leaves Government On Brink (from Sunday Herald)

Troop Pullout Leaves Government On Brink (from Sunday Herald): "SOMALIA'S FRAGILE government appears to be on the brink of collapse. Islamist insurgents now controls large parts of southern and central Somalia - and are continuing to launch attacks inside the capital, Mogadishu.

Ethiopia, which launched a US-backed military intervention in Somalia in December 2006 in an effort to drive out an Islamist authority in Mogadishu, is now pulling out its troops.

Diplomats and analysts in neighbouring Nairobi believe the government will fall once Ethiopia completes its withdrawal, and secret plans have been made to evacuate government ministers to neighbouring Kenya.

That may happen sooner rather than later. A shipment of Ethiopian weapons, including tanks, left Mogadishu port last month as part of the withdrawal. Bringing the equipment back to Ethiopia by land would have been impossible - analysts believe Ethiopian troops and their Somali government allies control just thr… / World - US open to Taliban peace talks / World - US open to Taliban peace talks: "Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, said last night that Washington could 'ultimately' contemplate the idea of negotiating with the Taliban to secure a political settlement in Afghanistan, if the Afghan government were to pursue such talks.

In comments that add to the growing sense across Nato that the alliance will never achieve a comprehensive military victory in Afghanistan, Mr Gates said a political settlement with the Taliban was conceivable." - AFRICOM: America's Military Foot in Africa's Doorway - AFRICOM: America's Military Foot in Africa's DoorwayThanks to half a century of pouring US arms stockpiles into Africa, the price of an assault rifle in Africa has for some time been cheaper than anyplace else on the planet. US military assistance programs, American arms, American general_william_ward_africomcorporations and America's insistence upon privatization of military functions are everywhere to be found in Africa. At the end of August, Africom's commander, General William E. “Kip” Ward was keynote speaker of the graduation exercises of Liberia's military training facility, which is jointly run by Lockheed-Martin subsidiary Pacific Engineering & Architecture, and DynCorp, which supplies mercenaries and torturers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Congo, Colombia, Darfur, and elsewhere. Africom then, seems to follow the traditional American practice of requiring that as much of America's military and non-military “aid” as possible …

BBC NEWS | Americas | Palin abused power, probe finds

BBC NEWS | Americas | Palin abused power, probe finds: "Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is guilty of abuse of power, according to a probe by the state legislature.

The Republican vice-presidential candidate was accused of sacking a senior state official, Walter Monegan, in connection with a family feud.

But the McCain-Palin campaign team said that the report showed Mrs Palin acted within 'proper and lawful authority'.

The report could have a significant effect on Republican hopes of winning next month's US presidential election.

Mrs Palin has always denied any wrongdoing, and her supporters say the charges are motivated by her political opponents."

Afghanistan: The Surge That Failed - by Anand Gopal and Tom Engelhardt

Afghanistan: The Surge That Failed - by Anand Gopal and Tom Engelhardt: "In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, spoke proudly of how, in July 1979, he had 'signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul' and so helped draw a Russian interventionary force into Afghanistan. 'On the day that the Soviets officially crossed the border,' Brzezinski added, 'I wrote to President Carter, saying, in essence: 'We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.'' And so they did – with the help of the CIA, Saudi money, the Pakistani intelligence services, and an influx of Arab jihadis, including Osama bin Laden. In fact, their Afghan War would prove far more disastrous for the Soviet Union than defeat in Vietnam had been for the United States. By the time the Soviets withdrew their last troops in February 1989,…

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 10/09/2008 | Financial crisis could put crimp in defense spending plans

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 10/09/2008 | Financial crisis could put crimp in defense spending plans: "WASHINGTON — With the U.S. economy in crisis and military spending at its highest level since World War II, military officials and experts are worrying that America may have to start reining in defense spending.

In the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. spent $694.2 billion on defense, up 52 percent from the 2000 defense budget in constant dollars. (That year, the department spent $292 billion.) The fiscal 2008 total includes $514.2 billion in the defense budget and another $180 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been financed through so-called 'supplemental' budgets.

Eight years of borrowing to pay for the Iraq and Afghan wars, coupled with an aging baby boomer population, growing health care costs and a push to enlarge the Army, could force legislators to make tough decisions about which needs should take priority, and the next president …

Afghan Peace Talks Widen US-UK Rift on War Policy - by Gareth Porter

Afghan Peace Talks Widen US-UK Rift on War Policy - by Gareth Porter
The beginning of political talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban revealed by press accounts this week is likely to deepen the rift that has just erupted in public between the United States and its British ally over the US commitment to an escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

According to a French diplomatic cable that leaked to a French magazine last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government is looking for an exit strategy from Afghanistan rather than an endless war, and it sees a US escalation of the war as an alternative to a political settlement rather than as supporting such an outcome.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Hijacked tanks 'for South Sudan'

BBC NEWS | Africa | Hijacked tanks 'for South Sudan'The BBC has seen evidence suggesting that the Ukrainian ship being held by pirates off Somalia is carrying weapons and tanks destined for South Sudan.

A copy of the freight manifest appears to show contracts were made by Kenya on behalf of South Sudan's government.

Kenya has repeatedly said the weapons on board the MV Faina are for its army. A South Sudanese official said South Sudan had nothing to do with the tanks.

The MV Faina is currently surrounded by warships monitoring the situation.

Last week, the Somali government said the ship's owners were involved in direct negotiations with the pirates, who are demanding a $20m (£11m) ransom. Ethiopia: Country Falls a Step Back in Governance, As Most in Africa Improve - Survey (Page 1 of 1) Ethiopia: Country Falls a Step Back in Governance, As Most in Africa Improve - Survey (Page 1 of 1)
Ethiopia's overall score in an Index of African Governance declined to 50.9 out of 100 in between 2005 and 2006, as the country fell one place to rank 31 out of sub-Saharan Africa's 48 countries, the latest Index revealed on Monday.

According to the 2008 Ibrahim Index's comprehensive measures of governance performance, Ethiopia's scores have fallen in three out of the five categories; Safety and Security; Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption; and Participation and Human Rights.

The most notable decline was in Participation and Human Rights, in which Ethiopia's score fell by 3.9 points, said the Index The country, however, has improved in the remaining two categories, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development, according to the Index.

Ethiopia's score rose by 1.7 points in Human Development, said the 2008 Ibrahim Index of African Governa…

Iraq too dangerous for many professionals - Los Angeles Times

Iraq too dangerous for many professionals - Los Angeles Times
At a time when the Iraqi government is encouraging its citizens to return and the U.S. military is highlighting security gains across Iraq, the Shakirs want out. They see no future here for Iraqis such as themselves: well educated, affluent, secular or non-Muslim.

Their imminent departure is a major problem facing Iraq, which has suffered a brain drain in the last five years and is struggling to lure back or hang on to educated professionals.

In June, the government raised civil servant salaries 50% to 75% to attract state employees such as teachers and doctors, many of whom were fired after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration says tens of thousands of people have returned since last fall.

But more than 2.5 million Iraqis have fled, and the exodus continues. Political and business leaders believe it will be many years before the loss of professionals can be r…

 Haiti: In Solidarity with its Five Freedoms      : Information Clearing House - ICH

 Haiti: In Solidarity with its Five Freedoms      : Information Clearing House - ICH: "Today the acid test for all democrats in North and South America is the issue of the military occupation of Haiti ,the economic pillage and denial of elementary political and human rights of the Haitian people.

In 2004 a US-led invasion force overthrew the democratically elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide and subsequently promoted and organized an occupation army. This colonial military force has repeatedly violently repressed popular demonstrations, violently raided the neighborhoods of the poor and killed, wounded and arrested Haitians who were affirming their rights of self-determination and an end to foreign occupation.

Since the United States bears major responsibility for the invasion, occupation and subsequent pillage and privatization of essential public services, we have a special responsibility to speak out clearly and forcefully to the United Nations (UN) in support of Haiti’…

 South Africa: the liberation's betrayal      : Information Clearing House - ICH

 South Africa: the liberation's betrayal      : Information Clearing House - ICH
The political rupture in South Africa is being presented in the outside world as the personal tragedy and humiliation of one man, Thabo Mbeki. It is reminiscent of the beatification of Nelson Mandela at the death of apartheid. This is not to diminish the power of personalities, but their importance is often as a distraction from the historical forces they serve and manage. Frantz Fanon had this in mind when, in The Wretched of the Earth, he described the “historic mission” of much of Africa’s post-colonial ruling class as “that of intermediary [whose] mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation: it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged.”

Mbeki’s fall and the collapse of Wall Street are concurrent and related events, as they were predictable. Glimpse back to 1985 when the Johannesburg stock market crashed and the a…

When is a Holocaust Not a Holocaust?      : Information Clearing House - ICH

When is a Holocaust Not a Holocaust?      : Information Clearing House - ICH: "Although the 'surge' has failed as policy, it appears to be succeeding as propaganda. It seems to be the only thing that supporters of the war have to point to, and so they point, and they point, and they point. Allow me to point out that while there has been a reduction in violence in Iraq -- now down to a level that virtually any other society in the world would find horrible and intolerable, including Iraqi society before the US invasion and occupation -- we must keep in mind that thanks to this lovely little war more than half the population of Iraq is either dead, crippled, traumatized, confined in overflowing American and Iraqi prisons, internally displaced, or in foreign exile.

VOA News - Activists to Again Defy Blockade to Bring Gaza Aid

VOA News - Activists to Again Defy Blockade to Bring Gaza Aid
An activist group says it will defy Israel's blockade of the Gaza strip for a second time to deliver aid to Palestinians.

U.S.-based "Free Gaza" organizer Greta Berlin said Tuesday a group of about 20 activists will sail Wednesday from Cyprus to Gaza.

Berlin says the group includes Nobel peace prize winner Mairead McGuire of Ireland and at least three doctors.

She says the group will deliver medicine to Palestinians.

"Free Gaza" first defied Israel's blockade of Gaza in August when a group of 44 activists sailed with aid supplies to the coastal territory.

The activists were the first foreigners to enter the territory by sea since Hamas seized power in June 2007 and Israel tightened its travel restrictions.

Israeli officials allowed the boats in August to reach Gaza and sail back to Cyprus in order to avoid public confrontation.

The Israeli government has not said if it will allow the group to reach Gaza …

BBC NEWS | UK | Afghan victory hopes played down

BBC NEWS | UK | Afghan victory hopes played downBrig Mark Carleton-Smith told the Sunday Times the aim of the mission was to ensure the Afghan army was able to manage the country on its own.

He said this could involve discussing security with the Taleban.

When international troops eventually leave Afghanistan, there may still be a "low but steady" level of rural insurgency, he conceded.

He said it was unrealistic to expect that multinational forces would be able to wipe out armed bands of insurgents in the country.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says Brig Carleton-Smith's comments echo a view commonly-held, if rarely aired, by British military and diplomatic officials in Afghanistan.

Many believe certain legitimate elements of the Taleban represent the positions of the Afghan people and so should be a part of the country's future, says our correspondent.

Woman, 90, facing eviction, shoots herself | Wake Up From Your Slumber

Woman, 90, facing eviction, shoots herself | Wake Up From Your Slumber
A 90-year-old Akron woman, about to be evicted from her La Croix Avenue home for failing to pay her mortgage, apparently shot herself Wednesday while Summit County sheriff's deputies were knocking on her door.

A neighbor and the deputies found Addie Polk in an upstairs bedroom suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to her upper body. A handgun was found near her.

She was taken to Akron General Medical Center, police said, and is expected to recover.

Akron police are investigating the incident.

Al Jazeera English - Americas - US passes India nuclear pact

Al Jazeera English - Americas - US passes India nuclear pact: "The US senate has approved a landmark deal that re-establishes bilateral nuclear co-operation with India.

The vote on Wednesday night follows its passage through the House of Representatives last weekend, ending a 30-year ban on US nuclear trade with India.

The senate's 86-13 vote handed George Bush, the US president, a victory on one of his top foreign policy priorities, which he will later sign into law.

The pact, passed by the House of Representatives with a 298-117 vote, comes ahead of a planned trip to India by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, this weekend."

Turning a Wall Street Giveaway Into a Rescue for All Americans -- In These Times

Turning a Wall Street Giveaway Into a Rescue for All Americans -- In These Times
[Editor’s note: The following article provides a summary of the complex issues involved in negotiations over how to respond to the credit market crisis. For the sake of simplicity and navigability, it is broken into five separate parts, which you can scroll to individually: 1) The State of Play 2) Leadership Moves 3) Alternatives 4) Likely Outcomes and 5) The Progressive Bottom Line.]