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Showing posts from January 4, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomgram: How Bush Took Us to the Dark Side

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

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

Al Jazeera No Longer Nips at Saudis - New York Times

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

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

For the past three months Al Jazeera, which once infuriated the Saudi royal family with its freewheeling newscasts, has treated the kingdom with kid gloves, media analysts say."

globeandmail.com: General predicts fewer battles with Taliban

globeandmail.com: General predicts fewer battles with Taliban: "KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- Over the next year, soldiers will build bridges, get roads paved and better protect Afghan police, according to Canada's top general in Afghanistan. He also expects there will be fewer full-scale battles with the Taliban.

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Murder Charges Filed in Haditha Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

An Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove

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

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

The Iraq charade

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

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

A Dark Side to Iraq 'Awakening' Groups

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

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

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