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Showing posts from March, 2009

Guantánamo's Long-Term Hunger Striker Should Be Sent Home - by Andy Worthington

Guantánamo's Long-Term Hunger Striker Should Be Sent Home - by Andy Worthington: "by Andy Worthington

Ahmed Zuhair, a 35-year old Saudi prisoner at Guantánamo – and a father of ten – has been on a hunger strike since June 2005, at the start of a fraught summer at the prison in which up to 200 prisoners (over a third of Guantánamo's total population at the time) embarked on a mass hunger strike in protest at their ongoing – and seemingly endless – imprisonment without charge or trial, and also as a protest against the day-to-day conditions in the prison, where casual brutality was still widespread, and a severe regime of punishment was still in place.

This regime had been instigated by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the prison's commander from November 2002, whose approach to dehumanizing the prisoners, and making every shred of comfort in their lives dependent on their perceived cooperation with the interrogators, impressed Donald Rumsfeld to such an extent that, in the fa…

Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 - Haaretz - Israel News

Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 - Haaretz - Israel News

The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit's insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing. Elsewhere on the premises, the sketches are turned into plates used for imprinting the ordered items, mainly T-shirts and baseball caps, but also hoodies, fleece jackets and pants. A young Arab man from Jaffa supervises the workers who imprint the words and pictures, and afterward hands over the finished product.

Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly a…

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - UN: Gaza assault was 'inhumane'

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - UN: Gaza assault was 'inhumane': "The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories has said Israel's military offensive on Gaza 'would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law'.

Richard Falk called the 22-day bombardment a 'massive assault on a densely populated urbanised setting', with the civilian population subjected to 'an inhumane form of warfare that kills, maims and inflicts mental harm'."

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel troops admit Gaza abuses

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel troops admit Gaza abuses
An Israeli military college has printed damning soldiers' accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during recent operations in Gaza.One account tells of a sniper killing a mother and children at close range whom troops had told to leave their home. Another speaker at the seminar described what he saw as the "cold blooded murder" of a Palestinian woman.

Press TV - Israeli soldiers admit 'murdering' Gazans

Press TV - Israeli soldiers admit 'murdering' Gazans: "Israeli soldiers have confessed to wanton killing of Palestinian civilians and behaving immorally during the Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The soldiers who fought in the Gaza war told a post-operation conference that they had killed Palestinian civilians and intentionally destroyed their property under permissive rules of engagement.

'When we entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up story by story... I call that murder. Each story, if we identify a person, we shoot them. I asked myself - how is this reasonable?', an Israeli soldier said.

The testimonies includes killing of a Palestinian mother and her two children by an Israeli sharpshooter and the case of an elderly Palestinian woman who was killed as she was walking 100 meters (yards) from her home."

UN envoy: Gaza op seems to be war crime of greatest magnitude - Haaretz - Israel News

UN envoy: Gaza op seems to be war crime of greatest magnitude - Haaretz - Israel News: "A Palestinian human rights group has released the names of 1,417 Gazans it says were killed in Israel's recent war on the Palestinian territory's Hamas rulers.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said Thursday that of those killed, 926 were civilians, 236 were combatants and 255 were members of the Palestinian security forces.

Most of the policemen were killed in a series of Israeli bombing attacks on Hamas security compounds on December 27, the first day of the war.

The group says it has investigated every civilian death. The list is posted on the center's Web site.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev disputes the findings. He says Israel is working on its own list and contends that most of those killed were combatants or legitimate targets.

Thirteen Israelis were killed during the 22-day Gaza operation."

Baghdad's water still undrinkable 6 years after invasion

Baghdad's water still undrinkable 6 years after invasion
BAGHDAD — The stench of human waste is enough to tell Falah abu Hasan that his drinking water is bad. His infant daughter Fatma's continuous illnesses and his own constant nausea confirm it. "We are the poor. No one cares if we get sick and die," he said. "But someone should do something about the water. It is dirty. It brings disease." Everybody complains about the water in Baghdad , and few are willing to risk drinking it from the tap. Six years after the U.S. invaded Iraq , 36 percent of Baghdad's drinking water is unsafe, according to the Iraqi Environment Ministry — in a good month. In a bad month, it's 90 percent. Cholera broke out last summer, and officials fear another outbreak this year. "Even if the water is good today, no one would trust it," grocer Hussein Jawad said. He said that about 40 percent of his business was selling bottled drinking water, crates of which he's…

ei: Palestinian mother's solidarity with 40 adopted prisoners

ei: Palestinian mother's solidarity with 40 adopted prisoners: "Adopting more children seemed to be an unusual thing to do for Handoma Wishah, known as Umm Jaber, as she had already raised six children of her own and got most of them into college. Yet she says it was easy to make what could have been a tough decision. Umm Jaber 'adopted' about 40 adult men of several Arab nationalities without hesitation. The story began in the 1980s, after four of her sons were jailed by the Israeli army.

Yasir, then 20, was sentenced to three years, Basem, 24, to a year and a half, Ziad, 38, to two years and Jaber, 35, to life -- all of them for charges that they jeopardized Israel's 'security.' Despite the hardship of having four sons imprisoned, she maintained her composure and like other mothers of detained Palestinians, went to visit them."

CIA Kidnap Trial to Resume in April

CIA Kidnap Trial to Resume in April: "An Italian judge says the trial of 26 U.S. agents and seven Italians accused of kidnapping a terrorism suspect will resume next month, after the Constitutional Court clarifies key rulings in the case.

Wednesday’s hearing in Milan was postponed to April 22.

The defense claimed victory last week after the Constitutional Court ruled that state secrets had been violated in the case against the Americans. The court is expected to rule by April 22 on whether prosecutors can use any state evidence said to violate secrecy provisions.

The defendants, including the former head of Italy’s military intelligence agency Nicolo Pollari, are accused of kidnapping an Egyptian imam from Milan and flying him to Egypt. The cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, says he was imprisoned, interrogated and tortured outside Cairo.

The Americans are being tried in absentia. The Italian government has not asked for their extradition, and the CIA has ref…

Shoes thrown to protest Bush | Herald Sun

Shoes thrown to protest Bush | Herald Sun: "THREE Canadians were arrested and others threw shoes in protest against George W. Bush today when he gave his first post-presidential speech in western Canada's oil patch.

The footwear was tossed at an effigy of the 43rd US president outside a Calgary conference centre where Mr Bush was to speak to 1500 people at a luncheon, said Colette Lemieux of the Canadian Peace Alliance.

Some 200 protesters from across the country had gathered for the demonstration against Mr Bush's invasion of Iraq and rendition of terror suspects, she said."

National debt hits record $11 trillion - Manu Raju -

National debt hits record $11 trillion - Manu Raju -
The eye-popping national debt surpassed $11 trillion Monday, the largest in U.S. history.

The new Treasury Department figures on the national debt were released as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to project that the annual budget deficit will be higher than previously estimated by the White House's Office of Management and Budget. The debt, which refers to the cumulative amount of money the government owes, hit $10.9 trillion on Friday.

‘Zee’ End of Blackwater? -- In These Times

‘Zee’ End of Blackwater? -- In These Times
To distance itself from ongoing controversies, lawsuits and canceled contracts, Blackwater Worldwide, the private security firm known for its mercenary work in Iraq and Afghanistan, has changed its name to Xe (pronounced “zee”).The company announced this linguistic detoxification after the U.S. State Department refused to renew its contract to protect diplomats in Iraq. On March 2, Blackwater founder Erik Prince resigned as CEO, a move that followed the recent departures of the vice chairman, chief operating officer, president and executive vice president.

Obama Follows Bush on Detainees - by William Fisher

Obama Follows Bush on Detainees - by William Fisher: "Human rights activists and constitutional law experts were virtually unanimous in their condemnation of the positions taken on prisoner detention and treatment in federal court last week by President Barack Obama's Department of Justice, which one group described as 'a case of old wine in new bottles.'

While the Justice Department announced it would no longer use the term 'enemy combatants' – one of the George W. Bush administration's signature phrases – and distanced itself from Bush-era claims of unlimited presidential power, government lawyers urged the court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by four former Guantanamo detainees because 'aliens held at Guantanamo do not have due process rights.'

The former detainees, who are British citizens or residents, are suing former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and several senior military officials for authorizing and carrying out torture and depriving the…

US Troops Killed Iraqi Girl With ‘Warning Shot’ | News From

US Troops Killed Iraqi Girl With ‘Warning Shot’ | News From
A 12 year old Iraqi girl was killed today when US forces fired “warning shots” at a vehicle in Nineveh Province. The press release said the girl was standing about 100 meters behind the vehicle which was being warned: it was not clear if the drivers of the vehicle were sufficiently surprised by the shooting of the innocent girl just 100 meters from them.

Mullen: US Attack on Iran Would Focus on Navy, Air Force | News From

Mullen: US Attack on Iran Would Focus on Navy, Air Force | News From
In an interview today on the Charlie Rose show, Admiral Michael Mullen cautioned that a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran could endanger the stability entire region, leading to an escalation that could imperil American forces in the Gulf region.Then Mullen spoke about a hypothetical US attack on Iran, declaring that it was in “a maritime part of the world, where the emphasis would certainly be on those two forces (the Air Force and Navy).” Mullen also insisted that there was no disconnect between the United States and Israel on the question of Iran. Israel has repeatedly been reported as being on the cusp of launching an attack on Iran.At the same time, there is evidence of a disconnect within the Pentagon itself about Iran. Mullen has repeatedly been on the same page as Israel, accusing Iran of moving quickly toward the creation of nuclear weapons (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary). Yet Secre…

Israeli police fatally shoot Palestinian | Antiwar Newswire

Israeli police fatally shoot Palestinian | Antiwar Newswire: "Israeli police say an officer in Jerusalem has fatally shot a Palestinian man who allegedly tried to harm police with his car.
The fatal shooting occurred during a botched robbery. But it comes after a string of attacks against Israelis by Palestinians who have used bulldozers to try to run them over.Police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby says police were responding to a robbery at a clothing store on Saturday. He says when police arrived, the man and a woman tried to flee in the car they were using to smash the store.Ben-Ruby says the man tried to run over an officer, who opened fire and fatally shot the man. The woman, who is an Israeli, was arrested.No other details were immediately available."

كونا : Israeli forces injure Palestinian child E. Rafah - الدفاع والأمن - 14/03/2009

كونا : Israeli forces injure Palestinian child E. Rafah - الدفاع والأمن - 14/03/2009: "GAZA, March 13 (KUNA) -- A Palestinian child was injured after being caught in Israeli fire Friday at Eastern Rafah, said Palestinian medical sources on Friday.
Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Moawiya Hasanain said that Israeli tanks positioned at Eastern Rafah, struck fire in the direction of Salah Abu Sanima (13 years old) leading to his injury.
The boy was carried by an ambulance to Al-Shaheed Abu Yousif Al-Najjar Hospital in the area, Hasanain said, describing his injuries as mid-threat. (end) KUNA 140000 Mar 09NNNN"

Report: U.S. officials urge Obama to engage Hamas - Haaretz - Israel News

Report: U.S. officials urge Obama to engage Hamas - Haaretz - Israel News
A group of former senior American officials and one current adviser are calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to talk with Hamas in an effort to disarm the group and persuade it to join a peaceful Palestinian government, according to a report published Saturday on the Boston Globe.

According to the Boston Globe, the bipartisan group includes economic recovery adviser Paul A. Volcker and former national security advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who are said to have made their recommendation in a letter handed to Obama before he took office.

"I see no reason not to talk to Hamas," Scowcroft, who was national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, told the Boston Globe.

U.S. citizens critically hurt at West Bank protest - Haaretz - Israel News

U.S. citizens critically hurt at West Bank protest - Haaretz - Israel News: "U.S. citizens critically hurt at West Bank protest
By The Associated Press and Haaretz Service
Tags: Na'alin, Bil'in, Israel news

Palestinian sources said that an American citizen, in his thirties, had sustained critical wounds during an anti-separation fence protest in the West Bank on Friday, Army Radio reported.

Peace activists with the International Solidarity Movement said Tristan Anderson, of the Oakland, Calif. area, was struck in the head with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops. The military and the Tel Aviv hospital where Anderson was taken had no details on how he was hurt.

Protesters who were at the scene said that Anderson was standing by the side of the road when soldiers fired at him, and not near the hub of the clash. They added that there was no one in his vicinity that could have been perceived as a threat to the soldiers."

BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Water pipe sparks Ethiopian conflict

BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Water pipe sparks Ethiopian conflict
Some 70,000 people have fled their homes in a remote part of southern Ethiopia, after a deadly conflict broke out between rival groups - apparently triggered by the construction of a new borehole. The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt has been to visit the affected areas.Wamo Boru and his family used to live in Kafa, one of the many small ethnic Borana communities scattered across the arid borderlands of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The hard red earth shows through the thin grass of the sun-baked landscape, a wide expanse of thorny scrub, flat-topped thorn-trees and tall red anthills. The Borana lead a hard life, especially in the past year or two, when rains have been poor. But the community had its livestock - cattle and camels and goats - and was expecting to have a better water supply when the Oromia regional government finished work on a new borehole in the area. But at the beginning of February they had - quite lit…

Iraq shoe thrower sentenced to three years in jail | Antiwar Newswire

Iraq shoe thrower sentenced to three years in jail | Antiwar Newswire: "BAGHDAD, March 12 (Reuters) - An Iraqi reporter who hurled his shoes at former U.S. President George W. Bush was convicted of attempting to assault a foreign leader on Thursday and jailed for three years, dismaying many Iraqis who regard him as a hero.
Muntazer al-Zaidi, 30, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, told the Baghdad court: "What I did was a natural reaction for the crimes committed against the Iraqi people." Outside the courtroom, Zaidi's sister Ruqaiya burst into tears when she heard the verdict, shouting: "Down with Maliki, the agent of the Americans". Zaidi earned instant worldwide fame in December when he threw his shoes at the visiting U.S. leader, who spearheaded the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, and called him a dog at a news conference. Dhiaa al-Saadi, the head of Zaidi's defence team, condemned the sentence as harsh and said it would be contested in th…

Obama Caves to Israel Lobby - by Ray McGovern

Obama Caves to Israel Lobby - by Ray McGovern
On Tuesday morning Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair, employed the indicative mood in describing the high value that Chas Freeman, his appointee to head the National Intelligence Council (NIC), will bring to the job – "his long experience and inventive mind," for example. By five o'clock in the afternoon, Freeman announced that he had asked that his selection "not proceed."
Not one to mince words, Freeman spelled out the strange set of affairs surrounding the flip-flop and the implications of what had just happened. Borrowing the pointed warning from George Washington's Farewell Address against developing a "passionate attachment" to the strategic goals of another nation, Freeman made it clear that he was withdrawing his "previous acceptance" of Blair's invitation to chair the NIC because of the character assassination of him orchestrated by the Israel Lobby.
The impl…

           Israeli Settlers Terrorise Palestinian Villagers                      �

Israeli Settlers Terrorise Palestinian Villagers �: "March 10, 2009 -- AT TUWANI, West Bank, Mar 9 (IPS) - 'I couldn't run. My pregnancy was too far advanced and there was nowhere to hide,' said Amna Salman Rabaye, 31, as she recalled the terrifying incident several months ago.

Rabaye from the Palestinian Bedouin village of At Tuwani in the southern West Bank was grazing her sheep when she was assaulted by a security guard from the adjacent illegal Israeli settlement of Ma'on.

'We saw a group of masked Israeli settlers armed with sticks and chains heading towards us. The younger shepherds ran and managed to escape, leaving me with the flock of sheep,' Rabaye told IPS.

'It was physically impossible for me to run and I also didn't want the settlers to kill or steal my sheep. The security guard pushed me over but I was not injured,' recalled Rabaye who was then seven months pregnant.

At Tuwani was established over 300 y…

          Yes, you could                             �

Yes, you could �: "Mr. President, Yes, You Could

An open letter to President Obama

March 10, 2009

From Alan Hart

Dear President Obama,

In the teeth of Zionist lobby opposition, your decision to give veteran diplomat Charles W. Freeman the responsibility for producing the National Intelligence Estimate adds substance to the case for believing that you really do want to prevent this lobby from determining (more or less) your foreign policy agenda as it relates to ending the Israel-Palestine conflict and, beyond that, winning what your predecessor called “the war against global terrorism”. The world, and not least the Jews of the world, needs you to be successful in this effort. In my assessment your chances of success will be greatly improved if you are prepared to look one Great Truth in the face. It is that Israel’s political and military leaders are not interested (and never have been) in peace on any terms the vast majority of Palestinians and m…

World Briefing - Africa - Somalia - Cabinet Votes to Adopt Islamic Law -

World Briefing - Africa - Somalia - Cabinet Votes to Adopt Islamic Law - "ISLAM The cabinet voted Tuesday to make Islam the basis of Somalia’s legal system. The move, which still must be approved by Parliament, was an attempt to isolate more extreme elements of an Islamic insurgency by agreeing to a demand supported by moderate elements and much of the population."

Charles Freeman fails the loyalty test - Glenn Greenwald -

Charles Freeman fails the loyalty test - Glenn Greenwald - "In the U.S., you can advocate torture, illegal spying, and completely optional though murderous wars and be appointed to the highest positions. But you can't, apparently, criticize Israeli actions too much or question whether America's blind support for Israel should be re-examined."

Over 250 Tamil Tigers killed in fierce fighting

Over 250 Tamil Tigers killed in fierce fighting: "Tuesday, March 10, 2009
COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan military said on Monday its troops had killed at least 250 Tamil Tigers during a weekend of fierce fighting around the rebels’ shrinking fiefdom in the northeast of the island.

Army spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said the Tigers, boxed into an area of less than 50 square kilometres, had launched a series of counter-attacks against advancing troops in the district of Mullaittivu.

The military said it had killed 100 rebels in clashes on Friday and Saturday. On Monday it said it found another 80 bodies from Sunday’s fighting. But Nanayakkara said at least 150 Tigers had been killed, calling it the bloodiest day for the guerrillas in the latest military campaign aimed at completely defeating them.

“We have killed over 150 Tigers on Sunday and that is the biggest loss for them in a single battle,” Nanayakkara said adding that troops used Special Forces, artillery guns and aircraft to pound rebel…

Why the U.S. Under Obama Is Still a Dictatorship

Why the U.S. Under Obama Is Still a Dictatorship: "Two weeks ago, when the Obama administration announced that it was bringing to an end the disturbing isolation endured by Ali al-Marri, a U.S. resident who has been held without charge or trial for seven years and two months — and who, most worryingly, has spent the last five years and nine months as an “enemy combatant” in solitary confinement in the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina — it was clear that one of the Bush administration’s most arrogant and un-American policies was coming to an end.

President Obama clearly regarded al-Marri’s imprisonment as significant, as he issued a presidential memorandum on his second day in office ordering the Justice Department to review the Qatari national’s case, and the announcement that al-Marri was to be moved out of his seemingly endless legal limbo and into the federal court system demonstrated that, in this specific case at least, the president was sticking to his w…

ei: A public stoning in Germany

ei: A public stoning in Germany: "Events took their predestined course, and on 26 February Dierkes resigned his position within Die Linke and withdrew his mayoral candidacy. In an open letter to his party colleagues, pointing out that he had been the victim of 'a public stoning' and of a campaign that was 'a terrible mixture of the gravest insults and defamation, Islamophobic hatred, hatred of immigrants, and murder threats,' he maintained that '[t]he victims of the Shoah and the heroes of the Warsaw Jewish rising would turn away with horror [could they see] with what malice and toward what ends they are being instrumentalized in order to justify ... the undemocratic and murderous politics of the Israeli government.'

A quick perusal of the German blogosphere throws up countless repetitions of the phrase 'kauft nicht beim Juden!' -- 'don't buy from the Jew!' -- a slogan from the Nazi era that no longer serves to defame Jews but rather tho…

Freeman Withdrawal Marks Victory for Israel Lobby - by Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe

Freeman Withdrawal Marks Victory for Israel Lobby - by Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe
Amb. Chas Freeman withdrew from consideration for a top intelligence post in the Obama administration on Tuesday, following a vitriolic battle that pitted Republican lawmakers and pro-Israel hardliners opposed to his appointment against liberals and members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities who had come to his defense.Freeman's withdrawal came as a surprise to many in Washington, particularly since it came only hours after Adm. Dennis Blair, the administration's director of national intelligence (DNI) who made the appointment, issued a strong defense of Freeman during his testimony before the U.S. Senate.His withdrawal is likely to be viewed as a significant victory for hardliners within the so-called "Israel lobby," who led the movement to scuttle his appointment, and a blow to hopes for a new approach to Israel-Palestine issues under the Obama …

CorpWatch : GEO Group, Inc.: Despite a Crashing Economy, Private Prison Firm Turns a Handsome Profit

CorpWatch : GEO Group, Inc.: Despite a Crashing Economy, Private Prison Firm Turns a Handsome Profit: "While the nation’s economy flounders, business is booming for The GEO Group Inc., a private prison firm that is paid millions by the U.S. government to detain undocumented immigrants and other federal inmates. In the last year and a half, GEO announced plans to add a total of at least 3,925 new beds to immigration lockups in five locations. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and the U.S. Marshals Service, which hire the company, will fill the beds with inmates awaiting court and deportation proceedings.

GEO reported impressive quarterly earnings of $20 million on February 12, 2009, along with an annual income of $61 million for 2008 – up from $38 million the year before. But the company’s share value is not the only thing that’s growing. Behind the financial success and expansion of the for-profit prison firm, there are increasing charges of negligence, civil ri…

Poll: Hamas more popular after Gaza offensive - Haaretz - Israel News

Poll: Hamas more popular after Gaza offensive - Haaretz - Israel News: "Hamas's popularity among Palestinians has risen sharply since Israel's three-week offensive against the Islamist group in Gaza last month, an opinion poll released on Monday showed.

If an election were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Mahmoud Abbas, the Western-backed Palestinian president and leader of Fatah, who advocates a peace deal with Israel.

The face-to-face poll of 1,270 people by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research was conducted on March 5-7 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as the rival factions tried to reach agreement on a unity government with Egyptian mediation."

             We Are Breeding Ourselves to Extinction                      

We Are Breeding Ourselves to Extinction
March 09, 2009 "Truthdig" -- -All measures to thwart the degradation and destruction of our ecosystem will be useless if we do not cut population growth. By 2050, if we continue to reproduce at the current rate, the planet will have between 8 billion and 10 billion people, according to a recent U.N. forecast. This is a 50 percent increase. And yet government-commissioned reviews, such as the Stern report in Britain, do not mention the word population. Books and documentaries that deal with the climate crisis, including Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," fail to discuss the danger of population growth. This omission is odd, given that a doubling in population, even if we cut back on the use of fossil fuels, shut down all our coal-burning power plants and build seas of wind turbines, will plunge us into an age of extinction and desolation unseen since the end of the Mesozoic era, 65 million…

BBC NEWS | Africa | Ethiopia ONLF rebels 'seize town'

BBC NEWS | Africa | Ethiopia ONLF rebels 'seize town'
Rebels in Ethiopia fighting for the independence of the Somali-speaking Ogaden region say they have captured a town in the east of the country.The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) said it had seized Mustahil and was also fighting for the towns of Wardheer and Khalavo. It said at least 80 Ethiopian soldiers had been killed.

Record 31.8 million on food stamps - Mar. 5, 2009

Record 31.8 million on food stamps - Mar. 5, 2009: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A record 31.8 million Americans received food stamps at the latest count, an increase of 700,000 people in one month with the United States in recession, government figures showed Thursday.

Food stamps, which help poor people buy groceries, are the major U.S. anti-hunger program, forecast to cost at least $51 billion in this fiscal year ending Sept. 30, up $10 billion from fiscal 2008.

'A weakened economy means that many more individuals are turning to SNAP/food stamps,' said the Food Research and Action Center. Last summer food stamps were renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP."

REFILE-COLUMN-Setback for pro-Israel hawks in US:Bernd Debusmann | Antiwar Newswire

REFILE-COLUMN-Setback for pro-Israel hawks in US:Bernd Debusmann | Antiwar Newswire: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 'The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending ... Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians, it strives to pacify them ... American identification with Israel has become total.'

These are excerpts from a 2007 speech by Charles (Chas) Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, whose appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council was announced on February 26 and is turning into a test case for the strength of Washington's right-wing pro-Israel lobby.

Signs are that its influence might be waning under the administration of President Barack Obama. Does that mean the days of unquestioning American support for Israel are coming to en end? Probably not. But the furious reaction to Freeman's appointment from some of the most fervent neo-conservative champions of Israel point…

Kathleen and Bill Christison: U.S. Military Aid to Israel

Kathleen and Bill Christison: U.S. Military Aid to Israel: "In these days of economic crisis, budget overruns, earmarks, and multi-billion dollar bailouts, when Americans are being forced to tighten their own belts, one of the most automatic earmarks—a bailout by any measure—goes to a foreign government but is little understood by most Americans. U.S. military aid to Israel is doled out in annual increments of billions of dollars but remains virtually unchallenged while other fiscal outlays are drastically cut.

The United States and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August 2007 committing the U.S. to give Israel $30 billion in military aid over the next decade. This is grant aid, given in cash at the start of each fiscal year. The only stipulation imposed on Israel’s use of this cash gift is that it spend 74 per cent to purchase U.S. military goods and services.

The first grant under this agreement was made in October 2008, for FY2009, in the amount of $2.55 billion… "In his Thursday column, Kristof describes the plight of an eight-year-old boy named Bakit who blew off his hands picking up a grenade that Kristof suspects was left behind by Bashir’s forces operating on the Chad side of the border with Sudan.

“Bakit became, inadvertently, one more casualty of the havoc and brutality that President Bashir has unleashed in Sudan and surrounding countries,” Kristof wrote. “So let’s applaud the I.C.C.’s arrest warrant, on behalf of children like Bakit who can’t.”

By all accounts, Kristof is a well-meaning journalist who travels to dangerous parts of the world, like Darfur, to report on human rights crimes. However, he also could be a case study of what’s wrong with American journalism.

While Kristof writes movingly about atrocities that can be blamed on Third World despots like Bashir, he won’t hold U.S. officials to the same standards.

Most notably, Kristof doesn’t call for prosecuting former President George W. Bush for war crimes…

Russian FM: Make Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone - Haaretz - Israel News

Russian FM: Make Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone - Haaretz - Israel News: "Russia repeated on Saturday its call for the Middle East to be made a nuclear weapons-free zone.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, addressing a disarmament conference after holding bilateral talks in Geneva on Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said:"

Afghans protest US raid, official says 4 killed | Antiwar Newswire

Afghans protest US raid, official says 4 killed | Antiwar Newswire: "Afghan demonstrators in the eastern city of Khost threw rocks at the convoy, shouted 'Death to America' and burned tires in the road, sending up dark plumes of smoke. AP Television News footage showed several hundred men gathered in the street blocking the vehicles' path, but there were no direct clashes between the convoy and protesters.

The demonstrators were condemning an early morning raid in Khost province that killed four people and wounded two, Tahir Khan Sabari, Khost deputy governor, told The Associated Press."

UK ex-commander: Afghanistan mission "worthless" | Antiwar Newswire

UK ex-commander: Afghanistan mission "worthless" | Antiwar Newswire: "LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - A former British commander in Afghanistan has described the military operation in the south of the country as 'worthless' and compared the campaign to the start of the Vietnam war.
Ex-SAS commander Maj. Sebastian Morley, who resigned last year in protest at the handling of the conflict, said operations were being undermined by a lack of troops and resources. "I don't think we have even scratched the surface as far as the conflict goes," he told the Daily Telegraph in an interview published on Saturday, his first since stepping down. "I think the level of casualties and attrition is only set to rise. This is the equivalent to the start of the Vietnam conflict, there is much more to come," he said. "We hold tiny areas of ground in Helmand and we are kidding ourselves if we think our influence goes beyond 500 metres of our security bases,&q…

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Iran and Hamas back Sudan's Bashir

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Iran and Hamas back Sudan's Bashir: "A delegation of senior Middle Eastern leaders has travelled to Sudan to express international support for Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, who is accused of war crimes in Darfur.

Officials from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah joined Syria's parliament speaker and the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group for talks with al-Bashir in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, on Friday.

The visit comes days after the International Criminal Court at The Hague issued a warrant for al-Bashir's arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's western Darfur region.

Ali Larijani, Iran's parliament speaker and a member of the international delegation in Khartoum on Friday, said the ICC arrest warrant is an 'insult directed at Muslims'.

'This group today indicates a readiness, a will and a unified position to support Sudan, its government and people,' Larijani said at a ne…

Al Jazeera English - Americas - UN 'divided' over Sudan aid crisis

Al Jazeera English - Americas - UN 'divided' over Sudan aid crisis
The United Nations Security Council has failed to agree on a response to Sudan's decision to expel 13 aid groups from the country following the indictment of its president for war crimes.France had reportedly urged the council on Friday to issue a non-binding statement that condemned Sudan's decision.However attempts to urge the council to act have been blocked by opposition from Sudan's council allies, Libya and China, the Associated Press reported.Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, ordered the aid agencies out of the country on Thursday, a day after the International Criminial Court at The Hague issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has warned that aid operations in the troubled Darfur region would be "irrevocably damaged" and has urged Sudan to reconsider.And Catherine Bragg, the UN's deputy em… East Africa: Fighting Kills 20 in the Regional Administration of Somalia in Ethiopia (Page 1 of 1) East Africa: Fighting Kills 20 in the Regional Administration of Somalia in Ethiopia (Page 1 of 1)
Dhagah — At least 20 soldiers have been killed and many others wounded after heavy fighting between Ethiopian soldiers and ONLF rebels started in Dhagah-buur region in the regional administration of Somalia in Ethiopia, official said on Friday.
Hussein Nor, head of the information affairs of ONLF rebels who is Qatar told Shabelle radio that the fighting started 4th February in Dhagax-buur region and still continuing in the regional administration of Somalia in Ethiopia and claimed that they killed 20 Ethiopian soldiers in the fighting adding they captured the station of Ethiopian troops in the region.
Asked about the casualties of their side, he said that there were some casualties but not more and asserted that they will continue the fighting until they liberate the Ethiopian troops from the regional state of Somalia in Ethiopia.
Reports from Dhagah-buur region say that the f…

BBC NEWS | Americas | Cuban shake-up claims key figures

BBC NEWS | Americas | Cuban shake-up claims key figures: "Cuban leader Raul Castro has announced a major cabinet reshuffle that includes the removal of two of the country's most prominent politicians.

State television said Cabinet Secretary Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque are among 10 officials who are stepping down.

It said the move was in line with the president's plan to improve efficiency.

It is the first big reshuffle since Mr Castro took over as president from his ailing older brother, Fidel, last year.

Correspondents say Mr Castro is putting his personal stamp on a government that still bears the mark of his brother.

Many of those dismissed were Fidel loyalists - including Mr Lage and Mr Perez Roque, who had both been seen as possible future candidates for the presidency." Somalia: New President to Rule Country Using Islamic Law (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: New President to Rule Country Using Islamic Law (Page 1 of 1): "Somalia's new leader has said that he will rule the country using Islamic law, Radio Garowe reports.
Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the Horn of Africa country's new president, told a Saturday press conference at the presidential palace Villa Somalia in Mogadishu that recent attacks against African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) has brought much suffering to Somali civilians.

'It is not a must that every opposition group use bullets, but they [opposition] must come to the negotiating table,' President Sheikh Sharif said.

He stated that the Somali government has 'accepted a ceasefire request' from the armed opposition, which was delivered by Mogadishu's clan elders, who served as mediators.

'My government did not bring AMISOM troops [to Mogadishu], but they were requested by the previous government. Everyone knows they did not come here by force, but they are here to help,' th…

BBC NEWS | Americas | CIA destroyed 92 interview tapes

BBC NEWS | Americas | CIA destroyed 92 interview tapes
The Central intelligence Agency (CIA) has destroyed 92 tapes of interviews conducted with terror suspects, a US government lawyer has admitted.The agency had previously said that it had destroyed only two tapes. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched a lawsuit against the CIA to seek details of the interrogations of terror suspects. Techniques involved are understood to have included water-boarding, which the Obama administration says is torture. The acknowledgment of the 92 destroyed tapes came in a letter sent to the judge presiding over the ACLU lawsuit.

Nicaraguan navy captures 50 undocumented immigrants abandoned by human traffickers - People's Daily Online

Nicaraguan navy captures 50 undocumented immigrants abandoned by human traffickers - People's Daily Online
The Nicaraguan navy has detained 50 undocumented immigrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nepal, Frigate Captain Angel Fonseca announced Sunday.

The immigrants were abandoned Friday by human traffickers, said Fonseca, noting that the traffickers use the Caribbean region as a hallway for their illegal activities.

Among all the detainees, 27 were from Eritrea, 12 for Ethiopia, eight from Nepal, two from Ghana and one from Somalia, including 11 women and a three-year-old child.