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Showing posts from July 26, 2008

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&…