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New Guantanamo Commander Seeking to Diminish Detainee Rights Further -- News from Antiwar.com

New Guantanamo Commander Seeking to Diminish Detainee Rights Further -- News from Antiwar.comThe new commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison is seeking to impose new rules on communication between detainees and their lawyers, despite stern objections on the grounds that they violate legal ethics and constitutional rights.

The proposed rules, still in draft form, would allow a “privilege team” from the Defense Department to conduct security reviews of all communications to the prisoners and would restrict their correspondence to letters only, banning any supporting documents such as legal motions or articles about their case.

The media consensus on Israel is collapsing

The media consensus on Israel is collapsing

Freedom of this sort was visible in the pages of the New York Times last week. Thomas Friedman, the paper’s foreign affairs columnist, wrote that American leaders were betraying the country by outsourcing their foreign policy to Israel. A standing ovation given to the Israeli prime minister by the U.S. Congress this year was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby,” he wrote. Phrased bluntly as it was, Friedman’s sentence was startling. As the quintessential establishment columnist, Bill Clinton’s favorite pundit and a thrice Pulitzer Prize-winner, Friedman is often seen in the U.S. as authoritative on the Middle East and rivaled only perhaps by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in the influence of his writing on popular discussion.

US Blocks UN From Condemning Israeli Settlement Expansion -- News from Antiwar.com

US Blocks UN From Condemning Israeli Settlement Expansion -- News from Antiwar.comIn a move Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin termed “historic,” all 14 other members of the United Nations Security Council united today to offer statements slamming the United States for its decision to block a UN Security Council resolution on Israel’s settlement expansion.

New Photos Released of Iraq Atrocity, With Documents and Video :  Information Clearing House

Casualties of War

Pfc. John Needham, son and grandson of military men, joined the U.S. Army in 2006 with “the whole goal of giving your life for somebody else”?his comrades?and in Iraq he was awarded the Purple Heart. But he suffered depression and excruciating back pain, crippling post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to various drugs and vodka. Before enlisting, he had never touched a drink. In 2008 he considered suicide; and in a fight with his drug-addicted former girlfriend, he battered her with his fists. She died in the hospital. He remembered nothing.

Private Needham had fallen apart, he said, because he had witnessed “war crimes”; and when he reported them, his comrades mocked him. According to his letter in 2007 to Army officials, members of his company shot Iraqis without provocation. A sergeant killed one, removed the man’s brain, strapped the corpse to the humvee hood and paraded it through town blaring warnings in Arabic. An investigation found no crimes.

In February…

How Maliki and Iran Outsmarted the U.S. on Troop Withdrawal  :  Information Clearing House

How Maliki and Iran Outsmarted the U.S. on Troop Withdrawal  :  Information Clearing HouseThe real story behind the U.S. withdrawal is how a clever strategy of deception and diplomacy adopted by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in cooperation with Iran outmaneuvered Bush and the U.S. military leadership and got the United States to sign the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement. 

A central element of the Maliki-Iran strategy was the common interest that Maliki, Iran and anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr shared in ending the U.S. occupation, despite their differences over other issues. 

Maliki needed Sadr’s support, which was initially based on Maliki’s commitment to obtain a time schedule for U.S. troops’ withdrawal from Iraq.

How Maliki and Iran Outsmarted the US on Troop Withdrawal by Gareth Porter -- Antiwar.com

How Maliki and Iran Outsmarted the US on Troop Withdrawal by Gareth Porter -- Antiwar.comDefense Secretary Leon Panetta’s suggestion that the end of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq is part of a U.S. military success story ignores the fact that the George W. Bush administration and the U.S. military had planned to maintain a semi-permanent military presence in Iraq.

The real story behind the U.S. withdrawal is how a clever strategy of deception and diplomacy adopted by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in cooperation with Iran outmaneuvered Bush and the U.S. military leadership and got the United States to sign the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement. 

A central element of the Maliki-Iran strategy was the common interest that Maliki, Iran and anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr shared in ending the U.S. occupation, despite their differences over other issues. 

Maliki needed Sadr’s support, which was initially based on Maliki’s commitment to obtain a time schedule for U.S. troops’ withdrawal from …

Tomgram: Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich, The Fall of the "Liberal Elite"

You might almost think the news was good.  The Europeans, so headlines tell us, have at least a “partial solution” to the Euro-zone crisis (until, of course, the next round of panic is upon us); the stock market has sort of rebounded (until the next precipitous plunge); the unemployment rate “dropped sharply” to 8.6% in November, the lowest it’s been in more than two years (thanks in part to the strangest category around -- the 315,000 people who grew too discouraged last month to look for work and so were no longer considered unemployed but out of the labor force); and talk of a double-dip recession seems on holiday.  So why pay attention to the modest-sized Associated Press story you were likely to find, if at all, deep inside your newspaper (as on page 21 of last Friday's Washington Post)? It was headlined “Household wealth down in 3rd quarter,” with the telling subhead, “Corporate cash continues to grow, Fed report says.”

 Free to Die   :   Information Clearing House News

 Free to Die   :   Information Clearing House News


Free to Die

By Paul Krugman

September 16, 2011 "New York Times" -- Back in 1980, just as America was making its political turn to the right, Milton Friedman lent his voice to the change with the famous TV series “Free to Choose.” In episode after episode, the genial economist identified laissez-faire economics with personal choice and empowerment, an upbeat vision that would be echoed and amplified by Ronald Reagan.

But that was then. Today, “free to choose” has become “free to die.”

I’m referring, as you might guess, to what happened during Monday’s G.O.P. presidential debate. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”

And t…

  Taking on Turkey: Israel's 'Dangerous' Game  :   Information Clearing House News

  Taking on Turkey: Israel's 'Dangerous' Game  :   Information Clearing House News
However, the anti-Turkish attitude in Israel was not an outcome of the Mavi Marmara incident last year. “The height of humiliation” is how an Israeli newspaper described a scene in which Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Oguz last January to humiliate him before Israeli media. Oguz was reprimanded over a fictional Turkish TV show that was critical of Israel. To ensure that the point has been successfully made, Ayalon “urged journalists to make clear that the ambassador was seated on a low sofa, while the Israeli officials were in much higher chairs,” according to the BBC (January 13, 2010). Ayalon noted that is “there is only one flag here”—the Israeli flag—and “we are not smiling.”

Al-Qaeda’s Project for Ending the American Century Largely Succeeded by Jim Lobe -- Antiwar.com

Al-Qaeda’s Project for Ending the American Century Largely Succeeded by Jim Lobe -- Antiwar.com
A decade after its spectacular Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City’s twin World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and despite the killing earlier this year of its charismatic leader, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda appears to have largely succeeded in its hopes of accelerating the decline of U.S. global power, if not bringing it to the brink of collapse.

That appears to be the strong consensus of the foreign-policy elite which, with only a few exceptions, believes that the administration of President George W. Bush badly "overreacted" to the attacks and that that overreaction continues to this day.

That overreaction was driven in major part by a close-knit group of neoconservatives and other hawks who seized control of Bush’s foreign policy even before the dust had settled over Lower Manhattan and set it on a radical course designed to consolidate Washington’s dominance of the Great…

New American Ally in Somalia: ‘Butcher’ Warlord | Danger Room | Wired.com

New American Ally in Somalia: ‘Butcher’ Warlord | Danger Room | Wired.com
If you thought it was bad that Washington is paying a shady French mercenary to do its dirty work in Somalia, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait to you see our latest ally: an admirer of Osama bin Laden with a gory past.

Richard Rouget, a notorious gun-for-hire who uses American funds to train African Union soldiers fighting in the ruins of Mogadishu, has been mentioned in connection with at least one murder. But U.S.-backed Somali government general Yusuf Mohamed Siad, a.k.a. “Indha Adde,” a.k.a, “The Butcher,” once ruled an entire region of Somalia with a bloody fist.

The U.S.-led international intervention in civil war-torn Somalia is unlike any of America’s other wars. Where the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are fought by tens of thousands of U.S. troops, in Somalia Washington pays others to do most of the fighting. These proxies include merc firms, regional bodies such as the A.U. and local allies inclu…

Walter Fauntroy, Feared Dead in Libya, Returns Home—Guess Who He Saw Doing the Killing | The Afro-American Newspapers | Your Community. Your History. Your News.

Walter Fauntroy, Feared Dead in Libya, Returns Home—Guess Who He Saw Doing the Killing | The Afro-American Newspapers | Your Community. Your History. Your News.
Former U.S. Congressman Walter Fauntroy, who recently returned from a self-sanctioned peace mission to Libya, said he went into hiding for about a month in Libya after witnessing horrifying events in Libya's bloody civil war -- a war that Fauntroy claims is backed by European forces.

Fauntroy's sudden disappearance prompted rumors and news reports that he had been killed.

In an interview inside his Northwest D.C. home last week, the noted civil rights leader, told the Afro that he watched French and Danish troops storm small villages late at night beheading, maiming and killing rebels and loyalists to show them who was in control.

"'What the hell' I'm thinking to myself. I'm getting out of here. So I went in hiding," Fauntroy said.

The rebels told Fauntroy they had been told by the European forces …

“Fear, Inc.” Exposes the So-Called Experts and Donors Behind Islamaphobia in the United States

Israel deports children to preserve "Jewish character" of state | The Electronic Intifada

Israel deports children to preserve "Jewish character" of state | The Electronic Intifada
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time: “We all feel and understand the hearts of children. But on the other hand, there are Zionist considerations and ensuring the Jewish character of the state of Israel. We don’t want to create an incentive for the inflow of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrant workers.”But many of the undocumented workers lost their legal status simply by giving birth, as Israeli policy formerly stipulated that migrant workers who give birth must either send their babies back to their home countries, or keep their children and lose their work visas.In April this year, the Israeli high court ruled that this law was unconstitutional.“Forcing a woman to choose between continued employment while realizing her legitimate financial expectations, and realizing her right to motherhood, cannot be reconciled with the normative and legal-cons…

US in Mini-Quagmire in Philippines War on Terror -- News from Antiwar.com

US in Mini-Quagmire in Philippines War on Terror -- News from Antiwar.comUnited States Special Operations Forces are carrying out counter-terror and counter-insurgency operations in the Philippines against an elusive group of so-called terrorists, numbering at no more than 12 individuals. The ongoing mission mirrors the wasteful and misdirected quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan.The Philippines is one of the biggest recipients of US aid in all of Asia, with over $163 million slated for 2012. US forces have been stationed in the Philippines for a very long time, but since September 11th have been upscaled efforts there under the rubric of the war on terrorism.

Turkish Navy Will Escort Gaza-Bound Aid Ships -- News from Antiwar.com

Turkish Navy Will Escort Gaza-Bound Aid Ships -- News from Antiwar.comThe Turkish navy will significantly increase its presence in the eastern Mediterranean and plans to escort civilian ships carrying aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as part of a “more aggressive strategy” following the release of the UN Palmer report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla.“The eastern Mediterranean will no longer be a place where Israeli naval forces can freely exercise their bullying practices against civilian vessels,” a Turkish official was quoted as saying.

Thousands march at Bahrain teenager's funeral - Yahoo! News

Thousands march at Bahrain teenager's funeral - Yahoo! NewsDUBAI (Reuters) – Thousands of Bahrainis chanted slogans against the Gulf state's king on Thursday at a funeral of a teenager who rights groups say died after being hit by a tear gas canister fired by police. The government denied that police were responsible and offered a 10,000 dinar ($26,500) reward for information on Ali Jawad Ahmad's death. "The coroner's report indicates that the markings on Ali's neck are not consistent with being hit with a tear gas canister or rubber bullet as some have claimed," the government said in a statement on Thursday. About 10,000 marched at the 14-year-old boy's funeral, calling for the overthrow of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the royal family in the small island state which crushed a pro-democracy movement earlier this year, a Reuters witness said. The marchers, many of them in tears, shouted "Down with Hamad" and "Death to al-…

Rights Group: Evidence Emerges of Revenge Killings Across Tripoli -- News from Antiwar.com

Rights Group: Evidence Emerges of Revenge Killings Across Tripoli -- News from Antiwar.com
As the city of Tripoli was falling to the rebel forces, Human Rights Watch is reporting “strong” evidence that the Gadhafi regime troops launched a series of arbitrary killings citywide, including massacring 120 civilians held in a hangar near a military base.

Who funds Muslim-baiting in the US? - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Who funds Muslim-baiting in the US? - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
It has been just about a decade since Islamophobia exploded in this country. That was the moment that the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit by al Qaeda terrorists. It existed prior to 9/11, but the losses that day and the general terror it inflicted upon this country made many, many Americans much more wary of Arabs and, fairly quickly, fearful of the religion the terrorists professed.The first sign that 9/11 would be exploited to advance various agendas came from Binyamin Netanyahu, who was quoted in the New York Times as saying the attacks would be good for Israel:Asked tonight [September 11, 2001] what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ''It's very good.'' Then he edited himself: ''Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.'' He predicted that the attack woul…

Ethiopia: The forbidden territory for males - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

Ethiopia: The forbidden territory for males - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan
What follows is a brief excerpt from my forthcoming book (planned to be a little over 300 pages), “The Ethiopian Revolution and the Generation of the 1970s: Dreams, Memories and Harsh Realities.” The two main characters – Jembernesh and Kurat – were childhood lovers in the 1970s. After being apart for many decades, they unexpectedly met at a conference in May 2006. The Kitchen Story takes place while Kurate is visiting Jembernesh in Paris, where she lives. By Maru GubenaAugust 23, 2011 — It was a sticky, hot July, and we had spent a long and extremely tiring day visiting the Eiffel Tower and many other museums and sights of Paris. Immediately after arriving home, my Jember of the 1970s and I went upstairs to rest for a while. A little more than an hour later, we went downstairs to prepare and eat some food.Jember held my right hand tightly and pulled me towards the kitchen. She said l…

FBI Organizes Almost All Terror Plots In the US   :  Information Clearing House News

FBI Organizes Almost All Terror Plots In the US : Information Clearing House News
August 24, 2011 "Russia Today" -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation employs upwards of 15,000 undercover agents today, ten times what they had on the roster back in 1975.If you think that’s a few spies too many — spies earning as much as $100,000 per assignment — one doesn’t have to go too deep into their track record to see their accomplishments. Those agents are responsible for an overwhelming amount of terrorist stings that have stopped major domestic catastrophes in the vein of 9/11 from happening on American soil.Another thing those agents are responsible for, however, is plotting those very schemes.The FBI has in recent years used trained informants not just to snitch on suspected terrorists, but to set them up from the get-go. A recent report put together by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley analyses some striking …

Libya: Ex-Gaddafi Mercenaries Describe Collapse of Regime - TIME

Libya: Ex-Gaddafi Mercenaries Describe Collapse of Regime - TIME
Right from the start, Mario, an ethnic Croatian artillery specialist from Bosnia, suspected it was a lost cause."My men were mainly from the south [of Libya] and Chad, and there were a few others from countries south of Libya," said Mario, who spoke on condition that his last name not be published. A veteran of the wars of the former Yugoslavia, he had been hired by the Gaddafi regime to help fight the rebels and, later, NATO. "Discipline was bad, and they were too stupid to learn anything. But things were O.K. until the air strikes commenced. The other side was equally bad, if not worse. [Muammar] Gaddafi would have smashed the rebels had the West not intervened."
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2090205,00.html#ixzz1W5xV6sKE

With CIA help, NYPD moves covertly in Muslim areas - Yahoo! News

With CIA help, NYPD moves covertly in Muslim areas - Yahoo! News
NEW YORK – Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Police Department has become one of the nation's most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government, an Associated Press investigation has found.

US Envoy Rushes Back as Pakistan Ties Seen Collapsing -- News from Antiwar.com

US Envoy Rushes Back as Pakistan Ties Seen Collapsing -- News from Antiwar.com
Tensions between the US and Pakistan have been a constant theme in south Asian foreign policy over the past several months, but Ambassador Cameron Munter is cutting his vacation short and rushing back to Pakistan amid reports that the relationship is on the brink of collapse.

Thousands of Bahrainis Lose Jobs for Protesting -- News from Antiwar.com

Thousands of Bahrainis Lose Jobs for Protesting -- News from Antiwar.com
About 2,500 state workers in Bahrain have been fired from their jobs for taking part in recent protests against the ruling of Al-Khalifa dynasty. The firings have reportedly affected a total of over 13,000 people in the Persian Gulf sheikhdom.Rights groups have criticized the Bahraini regime and state-linked firms for unlawfully terminating employees. Meanwhile, 40 people detained in connection with anti-regime protests have been formally charged with illegal assembly and trying to distort Bahrain’s image.These developments mark continuing abuse by the US-supported Bahraini dictatorship. After initially responding with brutal violence and martial law to counter the largely peaceful uprisings, Bahrain then arrested and charged medical professionals for having treated injured protesters as patients.The US still supports the Bahrain government, allocating another $26 million in aid for 2012, plus supplying them…

UN Warns Rebels Amid Signs of Tripoli Executions -- News from Antiwar.com

UN Warns Rebels Amid Signs of Tripoli Executions -- News from Antiwar.com
A grisly scene was discovered in Tripoli today, when reporters came across a former Gadhafi camp in central Tripoli where pro-regime fighters were found massacred, including a number that were bound before their execution.In a discovery the UN termed “alarming,” a number of the victims were also found in the field hospital, having been executed there while receiving treatment for wounds. Reports have the death toll in this single incident at over 30.UN spokesman Rupert Colville promised an investigation into the killings, and urged rebel leaders to “take active steps to ensure that no crimes, or acts of revenge, are committed.” One rebel ambassador insisted the leadership had already ordered fighters “not to kill anybody” and that it couldn’t possibly have been the rebels who massacred the Gadhafi troops.Yet the growing concern about the behavior of the rebels hardly begins or ends with this single inc…

Israel kills 15 in Gaza then tries to shift blame to Hamas | The Electronic Intifada

Israel kills 15 in Gaza then tries to shift blame to Hamas | The Electronic Intifada
Quoting from Haaretz:“In response to the ongoing rocket fire, an IDF spokesperson stated that the military will not tolerate any attempt at harming Israeli civilians or soldiers, and will continue to “act with determination and strength against any source of terror.” The spokesperson also claimed that Hamas must be “held responsible” for the ongoing attacks.”Israel is quickly trying to shift the blame for the war crimes it is committing in Gaza to Hamas. Suddenly those firing rockets (after 10 were killed for no reason last night, now 15) are the bad guys and Israel is the good guy doing self defense in this equation.

Arms industry promoter latest recruit for UK Israel lobby | The Electronic Intifada

Arms industry promoter latest recruit for UK Israel lobby | The Electronic Intifada
What is the next career move for a promoter of the arms industry? Join the Israel lobby, it seems.Over the past few days, I have been writing about how the Britain Israel Communications and Research Center (BICOM) has indicted war criminal Michael Herzog on its staff. Herzog’s newest colleague at the center is Luke Akehurst, until recently a “defense” specialist with the public relations giant Weber Shandwick.Enticing Akehurst to work for her is quite a coup for Lorna Fitzsimons, BICOM’s chief executive. He was named “UK consultant of the year” at the 2008 Public Affairs News Awards. The prize was in recognition for his invaluable services for several companies that arm dictators.Libya connectionFinmeccanica, one of his clients, cultivated strong links with Muammar Gaddafi lately. While it has predicted that its revenues for 2011 will exceed €18 billion, the civil war in Libya will inevitably have r…

Young Americans flock to Israel to join army

Young Americans flock to Israel to join army
Hundreds of new immigrants from the U.S. landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Tuesday.

An unprecedented 104 of the 360 new arrivals, came to enlist in the Israeli army.

Brig. Gen. Eli Shermeister, the Chief Education Officer, was among a delegation of officials on hand to greet the 18 to 22 year olds.

"It's an honor to have you join the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and the Israeli nation," the Brig. Gen. said. "There are no words to describe my appreciation for you, your courage and the Zionistic values you hold. The State of Israel is coping with security threats every day and defending its security is the main goal of the IDF."

The Chief Education Officer told the new immigrants he is proud that the IDF "is an army that focuses on educating the youth and building Israeli society. Those of you who will soon be soldiers, I promise you: there is a special place for every single one of you in the IDF.&q…

Shiite cleric: Gulf ignores Bahrain's reform cries - Yahoo! News

Shiite cleric: Gulf ignores Bahrain's reform cries - Yahoo! News
MANAMA, Bahrain – A senior Shiite cleric in Bahrain says Sunni Gulf leaders are showing double standards by supporting Arab uprisings elsewhere while aiding Bahrain's crackdown on its pro-reform protests.Sheik Isa Qassim says Shiite-led calls for greater rights in Bahrain are being ignored by Gulf neighbors that have backed other revolts, such as those in Syria and Libya.Qassim's Friday sermon did not cite specific countries, but Saudi Arabia leads a Gulf military force supporting Bahrain's Sunni rulers. Last week, Saudi Arabia strongly denounced Syrian President Bashar Assad for trying to crush protesters.Qatar, meanwhile, has led Gulf aid to Libyan rebels.Bahrain's majority Shiites began protests in February inspired by other Arab uprisings.

BBC News - South Sudan attacks 'leave 500 dead'

BBC News - South Sudan attacks 'leave 500 dead'
At least 500 people have been killed in ethnic clashes in the eastern state of Jonglei, according to the South Sudanese authorities.A senior official told the BBC hundreds of people had been wounded and more than 200 abducted, mainly children.The clashes took place on Thursday when members of the Murle group are said to have attacked the majority Lou Nuer, stealing nearly 40,000 cattle.

Israel launches strikes on Gaza after attacks - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Israel launches strikes on Gaza after attacks - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
An Israeli air strike on the Gaza town of Rafah has killed six people, Palestinian medics and news agencies said, just hours after a series of deadly attacks in southern Israel.Israeli military sources confirmed on Thursday that air strikes were carried out in Gaza shortly after the attacks in Israel that killed at least seven people.

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem Cal Perry reported that another attack occurred later on Thursday in southern Israel, even after the Israeli military unleashed its air strikes.

Two Killed as Israeli Warplanes Bomb Gaza Strip -- News from Antiwar.com

Two Killed as Israeli Warplanes Bomb Gaza Strip -- News from Antiwar.com
Israeli warplanes launched at least five air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, killing at least two people and wounding several others. The slain were both termed “militants” by Israeli reports, but at least one of the wounded was a five year old child.

Sen. Leahy Seeks to Pull Military Aid from Israeli Special Forces -- News from Antiwar.com

Sen. Leahy Seeks to Pull Military Aid from Israeli Special Forces -- News from Antiwar.com
In a move that has Israeli officials scrambling, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT) is pushing a bill that does the unthinkable, holds Israel to the same standard as other nations with respect to military aid.The bill would halt aid to certain Israeli “elite forces” units, including the Shayetet 13 unit involved in the attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship, over growing evidence that the units are responsible for major human rights violations in the occupied territories.

Nation & World | Golden decade ending for defense companies | Seattle Times Newspaper

Nation & World | Golden decade ending for defense companies | Seattle Times Newspaper
NEW YORK — The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, Osama bin Laden is dead, and the federal government is deeply in debt. This spells the end of what was a golden decade for the defense industry.In the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks, the annual defense budget has more than doubled to $700 billion and annual defense-industry profits have nearly quadrupled, approaching $25 billion last year.Now military spending is poised to retreat, and so are industry profits. "We're about to go into the downhill side of the roller coaster here," said David Berteau, a defense-industry analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.Congress agreed last month to cut military spending by $350 billion over the next 10 years. The defense budget will automatically be cut by an additional $500 billion over that period if lawmakers fail to reach a deficit-cutting deal b…

US Congressman: US Economic Woes Won’t Affect Israel Aid -- News from Antiwar.com

US Congressman: US Economic Woes Won’t Affect Israel Aid -- News from Antiwar.com
U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Wednesday that financial challenges “will not have any adverse effect on America’s determination to meet its promise to Israel.” The blunt statement by the second-highest ranked Democrat in the House of Representatives underscored recent news that subsidies to Israel remained untouched by the debt crisis.Hoyer is currently leading a delegation of 26 US Democratic congressmen on a tour of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, funded by an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He insisted his message was bipartisan and that a similar message will be brought to Israel next week when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) leads a Republican delegation to the country, numbering 55 congressmen.

America In Decline -- In These Times

America In Decline -- In These Times
“It is a common theme” that the United States, which “only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay,” Giacomo Chiozza writes in the current Political Science Quarterly.The theme is indeed widely believed. And with some reason, though a number of qualifications are in order. To start with, the decline has proceeded since the high point of U.S. power after World War II, and the remarkable triumphalism of the post-Gulf War ’90s was mostly self-delusion.

U.S. pro-democracy effort rubs many in Egypt the wrong way - latimes.com

U.S. pro-democracy effort rubs many in Egypt the wrong way - latimes.com
The Obama administration's plan to pour $65 million into Egypt this year to help organize new political parties has sparked a powerful backlash from Cairo's interim military government, its Islamist parties and even some reform-minded activists.

The military government has portrayed groups that take U.S. funding as agents of a foreign government and has battled behind the scenes for months to try to stop Washington from giving money to pro-democracy groups outside Cairo's direct supervision.

The dispute exploded into the open Wednesday when the State Department decried a "creeping" anti-Americanism in Egypt and complained that Cairo's criticism of U.S. aid and motives is inaccurate and unfair.

Israel to build 1,600 more settler homes - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Israel to build 1,600 more settler homes - Middle East - Al Jazeera EnglishIsrael's interior minister has given final approval for the construction of 1,600 new settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem, his spokesman said.Eli Yishai will also approve 2,700 more homes shortly, Roei Lachmanovich, the spokesman, told the AFP news agency on Thursday.Palestinians have refused to take part in peace talks while the Israeli government continues to construct settlements in the occupied West Bank.Lachmanovich said the construction of 1,600 units woud take place in the Ramat Shlomo neighbourhood in northern East Jerusalem."He has approved 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo and will approve 2,000 more in Givat Hamatos and 700 in Pisgat Zeev," Lachmanovich said, referring to two additional israeli neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.Lachmanovich said the final approvals were "economic" not political, linking the interior minister's decision to demonstrations over housing …

Big Brother Has Arrived by Philip Giraldi -- Antiwar.com

Big Brother Has Arrived by Philip Giraldi -- Antiwar.com
Leading neoconservative Richard Perle has said that one of the many reasons he admires the Israelis is the moral clarity that they exhibit on the issue of terrorism. What exactly that means is not itself clear, but it would appear to be a carte blanche for any and all Israeli punitive responses to groups that question Tel Aviv’s legitimacy. Perle has never criticized Israelis for disproportionality or for committing war crimes. He has only admonished them when, in his opinion, they have not gone far enough.

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion : NPR

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion : NPR
"If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That's the fiscal gap," he says. "That's our true indebtedness."We don't hear more about this enormous number, Kotlikoff says, because politicians have chosen their language carefully to keep most of the problem off the books."Why are these guys thinking about balancing the budget?" he says. "They should try and think about our long-term fiscal problems."According to Kotlikoff, one of the biggest fiscal problems Congress should focus on is America's obligation to make Social Security payments to future generations of the elderly."We've got 78 million baby boomers who are poised to collect, in about 15 to 20 years, about $40,000 per person. Multiply 78 mill…

A Skeptical Eye: Saudi King Condemns Syrian Crackdown -- News from Antiwar.com

A Skeptical Eye: Saudi King Condemns Syrian Crackdown -- News from Antiwar.com
Taken at face value the comments seem fairly uncontroversial, a simple rehash of what most other nations are saying now. Saudi Arabia, however, is not just any nation but is a regional power which has acted with upmost cynicism with regard to the Arab Spring revolts. Having eagerly taken in the first dictator ousted by protests, Zine el-Abidine bin Ali of Tunisia, the Saudi government followed up with an invasion of Bahrain to violently put down pro-democracy rallies there, while taking a very Syrian tack in their own crackdown on protesters in Qatf. Mass arrests and accusations of “sedition” were and are the order of the day for reformists within the Saudi Kingdom, and it eagerly facilitates crackdowns by neighboring regimes.The difference, then, lies in Syria’s precarious position in Middle East power struggles. The Assad regime is Shi’ite, albeit in a largely Sunni country. This would put it in t…

Was the Bombing of Hiroshima Necessary? Three Myths Debunked | TakePart - Inspiration to Action

Was the Bombing of Hiroshima Necessary? Three Myths Debunked | TakePart - Inspiration to Action
As the story goes, prior to unleashing the atom bomb Americans dropped millions of leaflets over various cities in Japan as a warning. But according to the Nagasaki Memorial, none of those leaflets ever mentioned the atom bomb prior to August 6, 1945.The bomb destroyed 70% of Hiroshima's buildings instantaneously. (Photo: lanl.gov) Over the summer, during the systematic bombing of 35 cities, Allied forces did drop leaflets that promised "prompt and utter destruction" if they did not "evacuate these cities immediately". But it wasn't until a full two days after the bomb had dropped that they mentioned the existence of a brand-new weapon.As John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, recalled in his Challenge to American Foreign Policy:"Not one of the Chiefs nor the Secretary thought well of a bomb warning, an effective argument being that no one could be…

The Great Hiroshima Cover-up | The Nation

The Great Hiroshima Cover-up | The Nation
In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan sixty-six years ago this week, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included vivid color footage shot by U.S. military crews and black-and-white Japanese newsreel film.

Nile River row: Could it turn violent? | Africa News blog

Nile River row: Could it turn violent? | Africa News blog
The giggles started when the seventh journalist in a row said that his question was for Egypt’s water and irrigation minister, Mohamed Nasreddin Allam.The non-Egyptian media gave him a bit of a hammering at last week’s talks in Addis Ababa for the nine countries that the Nile passes through.Allam bared his teeth when a Kenyan journalist accused him of hiding behind “colonial-era treaties” giving his country the brunt of the river’s vital waters whether that hurt the poorer upstream countries or not.“You obviously don’t know enough about this subject to be asking questions about it,” he snapped before later apologising to her with a kiss on the cheek.Five of the nine Nile countries — Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya — last month signed a deal to share the water that is a crucial resource for all of them. But Egypt and Sudan, who are entitled to most of the water and can veto upstream dams under a 1929 Britis…

Panetta Warns Against Minuscule Defense Cuts -- News from Antiwar.com

Panetta Warns Against Minuscule Defense Cuts -- News from Antiwar.com
In a bold statement of bureaucratic overreach, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta seemed to supersede his authority on Thursday, telling lawmakers he would not accept large military cuts under a debt deal. He compared the possibility of increasing the expected defense cuts – $350 billion in projected spending over 10 years – to a “doomsday mechanism” that would weaken America.

Syria's Assad decrees multi-party system - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syria's Assad decrees multi-party system - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree authorising a multi-party political system in Syria, a day after the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning the regime's use of force against protesters.The state-controlled SANA news agency reported that the decree, issued on Thursday, was aimed at "activating the political life and citizens' participation".SANA said a party established under the new law would have to show commitment to the constitution, principles of democracy and respect liberties and international declarations of human rights.It also said a party cannot be founded on a "religious, tribal, regional, denominational, or profession-related basis" or be a "branch of or affiliated to a non-Syrian party or political organisation".

Mubarak pleads 'not guilty' at Cairo trial - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Mubarak pleads 'not guilty' at Cairo trial - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's ousted president, has denied charges of corruption and complicity in the killing of protesters at the start of his historic trial in Cairo.At his first court appearance on Wednesday, Mubarak spoke from a hospital stretcher where he lay inside a cage for defendants."I categorically deny all the charges," Mubarak said.

US Muslims More Tolerant, Opposed to Violence Than Other Faiths by Jim Lobe -- Antiwar.com

US Muslims More Tolerant, Opposed to Violence Than Other Faiths by Jim Lobe -- Antiwar.com
Muslims in the United States express greater tolerance for members of other faiths than any other major religious group, according to a major new survey and report released Thursday by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center.They are also more likely than any other religious group to oppose violent or military attacks against civilians, according to the survey, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future.” Nearly four out of five (78 percent) U.S. Muslims say that military attacks against civilians can never be justified. That compares with less than two of five Protestants (38 percent) and Catholics (39 percent) and just over four out of Jews (43 percent) who take that position, the poll found.

Former Intel Chief: Call Off The Drone War (And Maybe the Whole War on Terror) | Danger Room | Wired.com

Former Intel Chief: Call Off The Drone War (And Maybe the Whole War on Terror) | Danger Room | Wired.com
Previous post Next post Former Intel Chief: Call Off The Drone War (And Maybe the Whole War on Terror) By Noah Shachtman July 28, 2011 | 9:48 pm | Categories: Tactics, Strategy and Logistics
Follow @dangerroom ASPEN, Colorado — Ground the U.S. drone war in Pakistan. Rethink the idea of spending billions of dollars to pursue al-Qaida. Forget chasing terrorists in Yemen and Somalia, unless the local governments are willing to join in the hunt.Those aren’t the words of some human rights activist, or some far-left Congressman. They’re from retired admiral and former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair — the man who was, until recently, nominally in charge of the entire American effort to find, track, and take out terror…

 Wealth Gap Widens Between US Whites, Minorities      :      Information Clearing House: ICH

Wealth Gap Widens Between US Whites, Minorities : Information Clearing House: ICH
July 26, 2011 "Associated Press" --- The wealth gaps between whites and minorities have grown to their widest levels since the U.S. government began tabulating them a quarter-century ago. The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to an analysis of new Census data.The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the recent economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring. It also offers the most direct government evidence yet of the stark wealth divide, a disparity between predominantly younger minorities whose main asset is their home and older whites who are more likely to have 401(k) retirement accounts or other stock holdings."I am afraid that this pushes us back to what the Kerner Commission charac…