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  Haiti Gets a Penny of Each U.S. Aid Dollar       : Information Clearing House -  ICH

Haiti Gets a Penny of Each U.S. Aid Dollar : Information Clearing House - ICH: "January 27, 2010 -- AP-- Only 1 cent of each dollar the U.S. is spending on earthquake relief in Haiti is going in the form of cash to the Haitian government, according to an Associated Press review of relief efforts.

Less than two weeks after President Obama announced an initial $100 million for Haiti earthquake relief, U.S. government spending on the disaster has tripled to $317 million at latest count. That's just over $1 each from everyone in the United States.

Relief experts say it would be a mistake to send too much direct cash to the Haitian government, which is in disarray and has a history of failure and corruption.

'I really believe Americans are the most generous people who ever lived, but they want accountability,' said Timothy R. Knight, a former US AID assistant director who spent 25 years distributing disaster aid. 'In this situation they're being very delibera…

Al Jazeera English - Americas - Obama 'to scrap Nasa moon plans'

Al Jazeera English - Americas - Obama 'to scrap Nasa moon plans': "The US president is reportedly set to scrap plans to return astronauts to the moon, redirecting US space efforts in different directions with an enlarged role for the private sector in future missions.

According to White House officials, Barack Obama will outline the changes in revised Nasa budget proposal to be presented to Congress on Monday.

The plan will give the US space agency money to extend the life of the International Space Station (ISS) to 2020, and funds to encourage private companies to develop a space taxi to ferry astronauts to the station"

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Hamas blames Israel for Dubai death

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Hamas blames Israel for Dubai death: "Hamas has claimed that one of its commanders was assassinated by Israeli agents in Dubai.

A statement by the Palestinian group, which controls the Gaza Strip, alleged on Friday that Israel had killed Mahmoud Abdul Raouf al-Mabhouh.

'We hold the enemy [Israel] responsible for the assassination of the Martyr al-Mabhouh, and the enemy will not escape punishment,' a statement from the Hamas military wing, said.

The Dubai government said police were hunting a group of mostly European passport holders they believe to be behind the killing, but said they had left the country."

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Blair stands by Iraq war decision

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Blair stands by Iraq war decision: "Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, has stood by his decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003, saying he would make the same decision again.

Giving evidence at a public inquiry in London on Friday, Blair said that the pre-war intelligence convinced him it was necessary to stop Saddam Hussein, the then-Iraqi president, from developing weapons of mass destruction.

He told the inquiry that the perception of risk from rogue or failed states changed after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States."

The Nation: Goodbye Howard Zinn : NPR

The Nation: Goodbye Howard Zinn : NPR: "Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and the author of the seminal A People's History of the United States, died yesterday at the age of 87 of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California. He was in a swimming pool doing laps and was spotted immediately by lifeguards but died instantly.

Zinn's brand of history put common citizens at the center of the story and inspired generations of young activists and academics to remember that change is possible. As he wrote in his autobiography, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (1994), 'From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than 'objectivity'; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against inj…

A Memory of Howard Zinn « Antiwar.com Blog

A Memory of Howard Zinn « Antiwar.com Blog: "I just learned that my friend Howard Zinn died today. Earlier this morning, I was being interviewed by the Boston Phoenix, in connection with the release in Boston in February of a documentary in which he is featured prominently. The interviewer asked me who my own heroes were, and I had no hesitation in answering, first, “Howard Zinn.”"

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Plan considered to buy off Taliban

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Plan considered to buy off Taliban: "Al Jazeera has learnt that a plan is being considered to pay up to $1bn to Taliban fighters to persuade them to lay down their arms.

In advance of an international conference in London to discuss Afghanistan's future on Thursday, Japan, the United States and Britain are said to be leading the proposal.

The scheme would offer cash, jobs and other incentives to the Taliban and fighters in other armed groups.

'The sum could be as much as between $500m and $1bn over the next five years', Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from London, said."

Firedoglake » Obama’s Growing War in Yemen Includes New Base, Assassination Attempts

Firedoglake » Obama’s Growing War in Yemen Includes New Base, Assassination Attempts: "The Obama administration has adopted the same stance [as the Bush administration]. If a U.S. citizen joins al-Qaeda, “it doesn’t really change anything from the standpoint of whether we can target them,” a senior administration official said. “They are then part of the enemy.”

Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists of individuals, called “High Value Targets” and “High Value Individuals,” whom they seek to kill or capture. The JSOC list includes three Americans, including Aulaqi, whose name was added late last year. As of several months ago, the CIA list included three U.S. citizens, and an intelligence official said that Aulaqi’s name has now been added."

Oregon's rich getting richer and all others falling behind, wage study shows | Oregon Business News - OregonLive.com

Oregon's rich getting richer and all others falling behind, wage study shows | Oregon Business News - OregonLive.com: "A new analysis of state wages shows that the gulf between Oregon's wealthy and everyone else continues to widen.

Oregon's wealthiest are not only earning more, but the rate at which their incomes are growing far outstrips the middle class and the poor.

Meanwhile, the middle class continued to encounter stagnant wages this past decade -- even during the vaunted economic boom that preceded the bust -- and saw its compensation fall back to 2001 levels in the recession-racked year of 2008, according to a draft analysis of wage trends by the Oregon Employment Department.

Inflation-adjusted annual wages for Oregon's top 2 percent of earners hit $153,480 on average in 2008, a 29.5 percent increase from 1990."

The truth about Guantánamo | Moazzam Begg | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

The truth about Guantánamo | Moazzam Begg | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk: "I have always believed that the secret detention sites – where prisoners were waterboarded – and military prisons, such as Bagram, were far worse than Guantánamo. Now I'm not so sure. They once called it 'asymmetrical warfare' and a 'good PR move' but the US administration may soon have to call the alleged suicides of prisoners in Guantánamo something they were trying to hide all along: murder.

The latest revelations in the US magazine Harper's suggests a major cover-up occurred after the 2006 deaths of three Guantánamo prisoners: Manei al-Otaibi and Yasser al-Zahrani from Saudi Arabia and Ali al-Salami from Yemen. Four Camp Delta Military Intelligence guards, including a decorated sergeant, have furnished an account dramatically at odds with the official US version of what happened on the night of the deaths. I remember at the time how none of the former prisoners believed the o…

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - 'Chemical Ali' executed in Iraq

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - 'Chemical Ali' executed in Iraq: "Ali Hassan al-Majid, the cousin of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, has been executed in Iraq for crimes against humanity, a government spokesman said.

Al-Majid, nicknamed 'Chemical Ali', received his fourth death sentence last week, for ordering the gassing of Kurds in the Iraqi village of Halabja.

'The condemned Ali Hassan al-Majid has been executed by hanging until death today,' spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Monday."

Al Jazeera English - Americas - Exodus as Haiti toll passes 150,000

Al Jazeera English - Americas - Exodus as Haiti toll passes 150,000: "Guido Bertolaso, Italy's civil protection chief, called the Haiti operation a 'pathetic' failure.

What was needed, he said, was a single international civilian co-ordinator to take charge, and for individual countries and aid agencies to stop flying their flags and posing for TV cameras and get to work.

'Unfortunately there's this need to make a 'bella figura' before the TV cameras rather than focus on what's under the debris,'' said Bertolaso, who won praise for his handling of Italy's 2009 quake in Abruzzo."

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Probe sought into Nigeria killings

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Probe sought into Nigeria killings: "A US-based rights group has urged Nigeria's vice-president to order an immediate criminal investigation into 'a massacre of at least 150 Muslim residents' of a town in central Nigeria.

In a statement, Corinne Dufka, Human Rights Watch's (HRW) senior West Africa researcher, said the killings in Kuru Karama, 30km south of the city of Jos, required 'the authorities to act now'."

OLF leaders are not under house arrest: OLF sources

OLF leaders are not under house arrest: OLF sources: "LONDON - Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Chairman General Kemal Galchu and OLF Army Commander, General Hailu Gonfa, can move about where ever they want in Eritrea and are not under house arrest as reported, OLF insiders told Ethiomedia late Friday.

Earlier an OLF source said Eritrea has rejeced OLF requests to launch military operations in Ethiopia, a report which was not denied by the second OLF source either."

Repressive governments attack human rights defenders: HRW

Repressive governments attack human rights defenders: HRW: "Washington, DC - Governments responsible for serious human rights violations have over the past year intensified attacks against human rights defenders and organizations that document abuse, Human Rights Watch said today in issuing its World Report 2010.

The 612-page report, the organization's 20th annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights trends in more than 90 nations and territories worldwide, reflecting the extensive investigative work carried out in 2009 by Human Rights Watch staff. The volume's introductory essay by Executive Director Kenneth Roth argues that the ability of the human rights movement to exert pressure on behalf of victims has grown enormously in recent years, and that this development has spawned a reaction from abusive governments that grew particularly intense in 2009."

Islamophobia: Bad For The Jews « Antiwar.com Blog

Islamophobia: Bad For The Jews « Antiwar.com Blog: "Continuing on the subject of Eli’s last post, it might be worthwhile to examine in more depth the burgeoning alliance between right-wing supporters of Israel and the European far right. The importance of this topic was driven home by the publication of a new Gallup poll on Americans’ attitudes towards various religions. The poll, which found that over half of Americans view Islam unfavorably, also found that “the strongest predictor of prejudice against Muslims is whether a person holds similar feelings about Jews.”

While the poll deals with the American rather than the European context, it is a reminder that Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have typically gone hand in hand. This is worth remembering when looking at the rise of European far-right leaders like Jean-Marie Le Pen of France and the late Jorg Haider of Austria. Hostility to Muslim immigrants forms the centerpiece of their political stance, but their parties have also te…

US Finally Admits Blackwater Operating in Pakistan -- News from Antiwar.com

US Finally Admits Blackwater Operating in Pakistan -- News from Antiwar.com: "After months of angry denials and accusing Pakistani media outlets reporting the story of engaging in “conspiracy theories,” the United States government has finally come clean about Blackwater forces operating in Pakistan, in the form of an interview by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on local Pakistani television."

Gaza health - WHO fact sheet (20 January 2010)

Gaza health - WHO fact sheet (20 January 2010): "The Gaza Strip has been the setting of a protracted political and socio-economic crisis. Recent events have resulted in a severe deterioration of the already precarious living conditions of the people in Gaza and have further eroded a weakened health system.

The closure of Gaza since mid-2007 and the last Israeli military strike between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 have led to on-going deterioration in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health."

ei: "We are all complicit": an interview with Ewa Jasiewicz

ei: "We are all complicit": an interview with Ewa Jasiewicz: "The rallies are a focus point; we do need collective mourning, remembrance and action in our streets. But its also important to target companies violating international law and which are key in perpetuating Israeli apartheid, which we must always remember is not limited to Gaza -- the West Bank is 15 times larger than Gaza and is full of mini Gazas -- Bantustans surrounded by Israel's apartheid wall. Companies like Veolia, Alstom, Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, CRT Holdings and Carmel-Agrexco could be charged with aiding and abetting war crimes of ethnic cleansing and illegal colony-building. The boycott, divestment and sanctions call from Palestinian civil society needs to be responded to and supported -- actively, daily. We are all complicit in the reproduction and reinforcement of the occupation -- it is an international occupation, it is an international issue, and international solidarity for Palestinia…

The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)

The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine): "Late in the evening on June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners.

As news of the deaths emerged the following day, the camp quickly went into lockdown. The authorities ordered nearly all the reporters at Guantánamo to leave and those en route to turn back. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, then declar…

  Pat Robertson: Haiti 'Cursed' By 'Pact To The Devil'   : Information Clearing House -  ICH

Pat Robertson: Haiti 'Cursed' By 'Pact To The Devil' : Information Clearing House - ICH: "January 13, 2010 - - 'Huffington Post' - By Danny Shea -- Televangelist Pat Robertson said Wednesday that earthquake-ravaged Haiti has been 'cursed' by a 'pact to the devil.'

'Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,' he said on Christian Broadcasting Network's 'The 700 Club.' 'They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal.'"


Help Haiti:  The Unforgiven Country Cries Out   : Information Clearing House -  ICH

Help Haiti: The Unforgiven Country Cries Out : Information Clearing House - ICH: "Exactly two hundred years ago, Haitian slaves overthrew their French masters -- the first successful national slave revolt in history. What Spartacus dreamed of doing, the Haitian slaves actually accomplished. It was a tremendous achievement -- and the white West has never forgiven them for it.

In order to win international recognition for their new country, Haiti was forced to pay 'reparations' to the slaveowners -- a crushing burden of debt they were still paying off at the end of the 19th century. The United States, which refused to recognize the country for more than 60 years, invaded Haiti in 1915, primarily to open it up to 'foreign ownership of local concerns.' After 19 years of occupation, the Americans backed a series of bloodthirsty dictatorships to protect these 'foreign owners.' And still it goes on."

NATO: US Troops Shot Civilian Protesters in Afghanistan’s Garmsir District -- News from Antiwar.com

NATO: US Troops Shot Civilian Protesters in Afghanistan’s Garmsir District -- News from Antiwar.com: "In the second NATO shooting incident in a little over 24 hours in the Garmsir District of Afghanistan’s restive Helmand Province, US Publish Post troops opened fire on a crowd of civilian protesters on Wednesday, wounding five."

AU Forces Shell Playground in Somalia, Kill Seven Children -- News from Antiwar.com

AU Forces Shell Playground in Somalia, Kill Seven Children -- News from Antiwar.com: "In the second high profile killing of civilians by the ostensible “peacekeeping” body in less than a week, African Union forces shelled a playground in the Somali capital city of Mogadishu, killing 10 people including seven children who were playing soccer."

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Saudi troops killed at Yemen border

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Saudi troops killed at Yemen border: "Four Saudi soldiers have been killed in an operation to seize back a border post from Yemeni Houthi fighters, Saudi Arabia's state television has said.

Following the clashes, Saudi forces seized the position back from the fighters and 'destroyed' them, the report added on Tuesday.

The latest casualties bring the death toll of Saudi soldiers in the border conflict with the Yemeni fighters to 82. Twenty-one others are reported missing."

Africans blocked as Jerusalem acts to guard 'Jewish character' | The Australian

Africans blocked as Jerusalem acts to guard 'Jewish character' | The Australian: "ISRAEL yesterday announced plans for a new border fence, this one aimed at keeping out African migrants rather than Palestinian bombers.

Construction of the fence, to be built along the border with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, is aimed at stemming the inflow in recent years of thousands of Sudanese and other Africans across the open frontier seeking work. Residents of southern Israeli towns such as Eilat and Arad have complained of what they term an overwhelming influx that has hurt their quality of life.

In approving construction of a fence along the more accessible stretches of the 170km-long border, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed it 'a strategic decision to secure Israel's Jewish and democratic character'."

Rival Somali Islamic militias clash, killing 14 - World - TheState.com

Rival Somali Islamic militias clash, killing 14 - World - TheState.com: "MOGADISHU, Somalia -- At least 14 people have been killed in clashes between rival Islamic militias battling for control of a strategic western Somali town, witnesses said on Monday.

A moderate Islamic group allied to the government, Ahlu Sunna Waljama, launched an attack Sunday against its rival in Belet Weyne, which borders Ethiopia and is on a major road leading to the capital, the witnesses said. The clashes between Ahlu Sunna Waljama and Hizbul Islam continued Monday.

Belet Weyne resident Omar Adam said he saw the bodies of eight people, mostly civilians, on the streets. Another resident, Ibrahim Qayle, separately said he has counted six bodies belonging to Islamic fighters."

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Black Iraqis claim discrimination

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Black Iraqis claim discrimination: "Black Iraqis in the southern province of Basra are complaining of discrimination, saying they are not fairly represented in the state.

African Iraqis have lived in the country for centuries and now number more than one million.

Many of them are descendants of African slaves brought to Iraq. Many Iraqis still refer to them by their ancestral name, abeed - meaning slaves.

Salem Shaaban is a member of the Free Movement of Iraqis, advocating more rights for African Iraqis.

He says black people in Iraq feel there is a tradition of discrimination against them in the society.

'For example when two people fight in the street and one is black and the other is white, they say X had a fight with the slave. It really hurts.'"

‘Head office has gone missing' - The Globe and Mail

‘Head office has gone missing' - The Globe and Mail: "Most, although not all, terrorism experts believe that there is now no al-Qaeda “central,” the pre-9/11 organization. The bin Laden cadre has been isolated militarily and many of its original leaders have been killed or captured.

What has replaced the pre-9/11 structure is an al-Qaeda brand, a spreading syndicate of autonomous al-Qaeda franchises and affiliates and a stunningly powerful media unit (as-Sahab, “The Clouds”) creating high-quality documentary films, iPod files, cellphone videos and websites – a six-fold production output since 2005, all of it aimed at radicalizing young Muslims."

‘Outrage’ in Israel as US Envoy Mentions Revoking Loan Guarantee -- News from Antiwar.com

‘Outrage’ in Israel as US Envoy Mentions Revoking Loan Guarantee -- News from Antiwar.com: "Israeli officials are riled up tonight after an offhand comment by US envoy George Mitchell in an interview with PBS mentioned that the US could hypothetically revoke loan guarantees to Israel if the nation refused to re-start negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
Members of the ruling Likud Party vowed that Israel would not “give in to threats” while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that “everyone knows” the Palestinian Authority is to blame for the stalled peace process. One minister added that it was an empty threat.Even US Senators John McCain (R – AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I – CT) condemned Mitchell’s comment, saying that Congress would never allow the president to withhold any support for Israel under any circumstances.Mitchell, for his part, quickly backpedaled, insisting that he didn’t mean to suggest that revoking the loan guarantees was at all appropriate and that it…

Shabaab commander executed

Shabaab commander executed: "'We don't normally kill al Shebaab members. We arrest them and make them understand that Islam means peace. We have detained and then released many of them,' the spokesperson, Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abu Yusuf, told Reuters by telephone.

'This commander insisted that all people were infidels except his group ... We will execute al Shebaab members who insist that it can be right to kill the innocent. What else are we supposed to do to those who believe they will go to paradise for killing us and the whole human race?'"

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Egypt deports UK MP George Galloway

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Egypt deports UK MP George Galloway: "George Galloway, the British MP leading the Viva Palestina international aid convoy to the Gaza Strip, has been declared 'person non grata' by the Egyptian government and deported from the country.

The politician was picked up by Egyptian officials at the Rafah border crossing on Friday and driven to Cairo, the capital, where he was placed on a flight back to London.

On arriving at Heathrow airport, in the UK capital, Galloway said: 'It's always been a badge of honour to be deported by a tin-pot dictator and that's what happened this morning.

'Having crossed the border from Gaza into Egypt ... my friend and I were bundled into a car, 25 officers, accepting no dissuasion, drove us straight to the airport, basically forced us onto the plane.'"

Wife says CIA bomber hated the United States - Yahoo! News

Wife says CIA bomber hated the United States - Yahoo! News: "ISTANBUL – A Jordanian doctor-turned-suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees at a base in Afghanistan is proudly regarded by his family as a martyr in Islam's holy war against the United States, his wife said Thursday.

Covered in a black Islamic chador, Defne Bayrak, the Turkish wife of bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, lauded her husband's Dec. 30 attack to Turkish journalists in Istanbul.

'I am proud of him, my husband has carried out a great operation in such a war. May God accept his martyrdom,' Bayrak told the Dogan news agency."

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Police killed in Dagestan attack

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Police killed in Dagestan attack: "At least six police officers have died and another 16 wounded in Dagestan, in Russia's North Caucasus, after being targeted by a suicide car bomber.

The bomber tried to drive a Neva car packed with explosives into a traffic police depot on the outskirts of Makhachkala, the republic's capital, but was rammed by a police jeep before detonating the explosives."

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Lethal clashes at Gaza-Egypt border

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Lethal clashes at Gaza-Egypt border: "At least one Egyptian border guard has been killed and 35 Palestinians wounded along the Gaza border during fierce clashes with Egyptian security forces.

A border protest on Wednesday turned violent over frustration that the aid convoy, Viva Palestina, had been delayed.

Egyptian forces opened fire to disperse stone-throwing protesters who had gathered on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing, witnesses and medics said."

World Food Program Suspends Aid to Southern Somalia - NYTimes.com

World Food Program Suspends Aid to Southern Somalia - NYTimes.com: "UNITED NATIONS — After weeks of receiving threats and demands that it dismiss many female employees and pay a “security fee” to an Islamic extremist group, the United Nations World Food Program announced Tuesday that it was suspending food deliveries to one million people in southern Somalia indefinitely.

The cutoff, which includes the withdrawal of more than 40 local staff members, will affect roughly one third of the 2.8 million people whom the food program had anticipated feeding in Somalia in January."

U.S. Saw a Path to Qaeda Chiefs Before Bombing - NYTimes.com

U.S. Saw a Path to Qaeda Chiefs Before Bombing - NYTimes.com: "The Jordanian militant for months had been feeding a stream of information about lower-ranking Qaeda operatives to his Jordanian supervisor, Capt. Sharif Ali bin Zeid, to establish his credibility and apparently to help broker a meeting with C.I.A. operatives in Afghanistan.

“He had provided information that checked out, about people in Al Qaeda whom he had access to,” said a senior intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the C.I.A.’s contacts with the Jordanian are classified. “This was one of the agency’s most promising efforts.”

American officials said that Mr. Balawi had strengthened his bona fides in recent months by posting strident, anti-American essays in jihadi Web forums under the name Abu Dujana al-Khorasani. Officials now concede that those essays represented his true beliefs.

Mr. Balawi proved to be one of the oddest double agents in the history of espionage, choosing to kill hi…

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - CIA base bomber 'was double agent'

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - CIA base bomber 'was double agent': "A suicide bomber who killed eight people when he attacked a US base in Afghanistan has been identified as a 'double agent' working for Jordanian intelligence, according to US media and intelligence reports.

Al Jazeera sources in Afghanistan on Tuesday said that the man, identified as Hammam Khalil al-Balawi, had been brought to the base in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, by car, from across the border in Pakistan.

Al-Balawi, also known as Abu Dujana al-Khorasani, is believed to have offered the CIA new information on the whereabouts of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda second in command."

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Karzai hits out over Afghan deaths

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Karzai hits out over Afghan deaths: "Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, has lashed out at Nato and US forces for failing to adequately protect civilians in the battle against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in the country.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera on Tuesday, Karzai said growing civilian anger may soon be the barrier to success in the country.

'The international community will not achieve in Afghanistan their objectives unless the Afghan people support them,' he said.

Karzai admitted that he had also failed to do enough to ensure security, but he laid the blame for rising anger over civilian deaths with the foreign forces.

'The foundation of success is in the co-operation of the Afghan people in their own government and in the international community's good intentions,' he said."

'Sons of Iraq' targeted for retribution - UPI.com

'Sons of Iraq' targeted for retribution - UPI.com: "BAGHDAD
, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A rash of killings of U.S.-allied Sunni militiamen is pointing to signs of weakness for the 'Sons of Iraq,' military experts say.

The militias, which are credited with helping turn the tide in favor of the United States in its struggle to defeat insurgents, have seen about dozen of their members killed in rural areas south of Baghdad in recent weeks, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported Sunday.

Experts told the newspaper the killings indicate the Sons of Iraq are weakening as a force as the Shiite-led government offers them little support and al-Qaida adversaries look to settle scores left over from the U.S. troop surge of 2007."

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Yemen rules out US intervention

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Yemen rules out US intervention: "Yemen's foreign minister has ruled out direct US military intervention to tackle the al-Qaeda group operating in his country.

Abu Baker al-Qirbi made his remarks to Al Jazeera on Monday as the US and British embassies in the capital, Sanaa, remained closed to public following threats by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

'Yemen is going to deal with terrorism in its own way, out of its own interests and therefore I don't think it will counterfire,' al-Qirbi said."

Rival Islamists Fight for Town in Somalia - NYTimes.com

Rival Islamists Fight for Town in Somalia - NYTimes.com: "MOGADISHU, Somalia — Shabab rebels, who control most of Somalia with allied Islamist groups, on Saturday attacked a town lost to moderate Islamists about a year ago.

It appeared late Saturday that the moderate Islamists had kept control of the town, Dusa Marreb, in central Somalia, although the Shabab earlier claimed victory. The battles killed 10 people, witnesses said.

The two groups have been fighting each other elsewhere in Somalia for months. The group that had been controlling Dusa Marreb, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama, had chased out the Shabab in December 2008 and vowed to challenge the Shabab in other areas to “restore stability and harmony in Somalia and achieve a genuine government of national unity.”"

Spy or Say Goodbye | Columbia City Paper

Spy or Say Goodbye | Columbia City Paper: "Bush-Cheney and Kerry-Edwards signs littered the lawns as Imam Foad Farahi walked from a mosque to his North Miami Beach, Fla., apartment a few blocks away. It was November 1, 2004, the day before George W. Bush would win a second term in office. But Farahi, an influential South Florida Muslim holy man, had been too busy fasting and praying to pay much attention to the presidential election.
For Farahi, an Iranian citizen who had lived in the United States for more than a decade, it was simply another month of Ramadan in Florida. Then, around 5 p.m., as he neared his apartment, he saw two men standing outside. They were waiting for him."

5 myths about keeping America safe from terrorism

5 myths about keeping America safe from terrorism: "With President Obama declaring a 'systemic failure' of our security system in the wake of the attempted Christmas bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner, familiar arguments about what can and should be done to reduce America's vulnerabilities are again filling the airwaves, editorial pages and blogosphere. Several of these arguments are based on assumptions that guided the U.S. response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- and unfortunately, they are as unfounded now as they were then. The biggest whopper of all? The paternalistic assertion that the government can keep us all safe without our help."

Yemen: Terror threat? U.S. ally? Nearly failed state? - thestar.com

Yemen: Terror threat? U.S. ally? Nearly failed state? - thestar.com: "And that, warns Barbara Bodine, the former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, could be dangerous.

'I think it would be a major mistake to turn this into a third front, if Iraq and Afghanistan are somehow front number one and number two,' said Bodine in an interview with the Star. 'If we try to deal with this as an American security problem and dealt with by American military, we risk exacerbating the problem.'

Bodine, who served as ambassador from 1997 until August 2001, and is now a lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, said while AQAP poses a serious threat, the U.S. must learn from mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

'If we go in and make this our war ... it is suddenly going to become a war against us and we will lose it,' she said."

American military aid to Israel

American military aid to Israel: "WASHINGTON: Just before Christmas, the US President, Barack Obama, signed into law one of his country's biggest aid pledges of the year. It was bound not for Africa or any of the many struggling countries on the World Bank's list.

It was a deal for $US2.77 billion ($3 billion) to go to Israel in 2010 and a total of $US30 billion over the next decade.

Israel is bound by the agreement to use 75 per cent of the aid to buy military hardware made in the US: in the crisis-racked US economy, those military factories are critical to many towns.

For the first time the US is also providing $US500 million to the Palestinian Authority, including $US100 million to train security forces, under the strict proviso that the authority's leadership recognises Israel."

Patrick Cockburn: Threats to Yemen prove America hasn't learned the lesson of history - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent

Patrick Cockburn: Threats to Yemen prove America hasn't learned the lesson of history - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent: "Yemen has always been a dangerous place. Wonderfully beautiful, the mountainous north of the country is guerrilla paradise. The Yemenis are exceptionally hospitable, though this has its limits. For instance, the Kazam tribe east of Aden are generous to passing strangers, but deem the laws of hospitality to lapse when the stranger leaves their tribal territory, at which time he becomes 'a good back to shoot at'.

The Awaleq and Kazam tribes are not exotic survivals on the margins of Yemeni society but are both politically important and influential. The strength of the central government in the capital, Sanaa, is limited and it generally avoids direct confrontations with tribal confederations, tribes, clans and powerful families. Almost everybody has a gun, usually at least an AK-47 assault rifle, but tribesmen often own heavier armament."

US Killed 700 Civilians in Pakistan Drone Strikes in 2009 -- News from Antiwar.com

US Killed 700 Civilians in Pakistan Drone Strikes in 2009 -- News from Antiwar.com: "
On January 1, 2009, a US drone strike killed two senior al-Qaeda leaders, the first in what then President-elect Barack Obama had said would be a dramatic escalation of the aerial bombardment of Pakistan’s tribal area. And escalate it did. The US launched 44 distinct drone strikes in Pakistan in 2009, far more than in previous years. The pinnacle of America’s drone achievements was in August, when they killed Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Much has been made of the successes, but while the strikes have been regular and they almost always are presented by Pakistan’s intelligence community as having killed “suspects,” the actual successes are few and far between, with only five confirmed kills of real militant leaders, and a handful of unconfirmed claims that usually haven’t panned out.

The vast majority of the deaths, around 700 according to one estimate, have been innocen…

Orthodox Jews and Palestinians join forces to protest over Gaza blockade - Scotsman.com News

Orthodox Jews and Palestinians join forces to protest over Gaza blockade - Scotsman.com News: "ORTHODOX Jews joined Gazans and international activists at a border crossing yesterday to protest against the blockade of the Gaza Strip imposed by Israel and Egypt.
About 600 people gathered on the Gazan side of the border, chanting slogans and carrying signs condemning the blockade. Among them were a small number of Jews from the small Neturei Karta sect, which denounces Israel's existence."

15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone You Love Near a McDonald's | Health and Wellness | AlterNet

15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone You Love Near a McDonald's | Health and Wellness | AlterNet: "The Golden Arches: the ultimate American icon. Super Size Me taught us that fast food culture brings obesity, heart disease, hypertension and a whole slew of other problems. How bad do you really want that Big Mac? Here are 15 reasons you’ll never let anyone you love get near those Golden Arches.

1. Real food is perishable. With time, it begins to decay. It’s a natural process, it just happens. Beef will rot, bread will mold. But what about a McDonald’s burger? Karen Hanrahan saved a McDonald’s burger from 1996 and, oddly enough, it looks just as “appetizing” and “fresh” as a burger you might buy today. Is this real food?"

What's Next: Muslim-Only Lines At Airports? | Rights and Liberties | AlterNet

What's Next: Muslim-Only Lines At Airports? | Rights and Liberties | AlterNet: "Are Muslim-only lines at airports next? The thought is offensive, disgusting, and blatantly unconstitutional. But it’s hardly far-fetched.

Three years before suspected Nigerian airline terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was hauled off a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with a powder and liquid explosive device stuffed in his underwear, British Department of Transportation officials openly discussed corralling men of South Asian or Middle Eastern appearance at airports for intense questioning, checks and searches. The plan outraged Muslim leaders and British officials backed off the systematic profiling of Muslims."

ei: Targeting human rights defenders

ei: Targeting human rights defenders: "In the United States, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) took up Othman's case. Its members sent some 10,000 letters to Barack Obama asking him to live up to his Cairo speech, which called on Palestinians to use nonviolence.

JVP had already been supporting the Shministim, the young Israeli Jewish conscripts refusing to serve in the army of occupation. They took up Othman's case because 'We wanted to show the Palestinian side,' JVP campaigns director Sydney Levy explained. Of course it's much harder -- US audiences assume that if a Palestinian is arrested they must have done something wrong. With Mohammad, you have a young man with a friendly smile, a Palestinian partner for peace committed to nonviolence.'"

NOAM CHOMSKY: "Gaza: One Year Later"

NOAM CHOMSKY: "Gaza: One Year Later": "On December 27, 2008, Israel began one of the bloodiest attacks on Gaza Since 1948. The three week assault killed some 1400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. One year later, little to no rebuilding has taken place and the siege in Gaza continues.

Speaking in Watertown, Massachusetts on December 6, 2009, linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky delivered a talk entitled “Gaza: One Year Later.”

Thanks to Robbie Leppzer for filming this event."

Daniel Ellsberg on Mordechai Vanunu’s Arrest « Antiwar.com Blog

Daniel Ellsberg on Mordechai Vanunu’s Arrest « Antiwar.com Blog: "I just learned, late this New Year’s Eve, of my friend Mordechai Vanunu’s outrageous arrest, facing further imprisonment, for “meeting with foreigners” (of which I have quite openly been one, on several occasions). I plan to do whatever I can to bring international pressure to bear on the Israeli government to free him. My views about him are expressed adequately in the op-ed below which appeared in the LA Times (and elsewhere, including Common Dreams) on the day of his release having served 18 years in prison, five years ago.

Mordechai Vanunu–my friend, my hero, my brother–has again been arrested in Israel on “suspicion” of the “crime” of “meeting with foreigners.” I myself have been complicit in this offense, traveling twice to Israel for the express purpose of meeting with him, openly, and expressing support for the actions for which he was imprisoned for over eighteen years. His offense has been to defy openly a…