default.html Issue 137
Table of Contents

U.S. Spending $12 billion To Repair Iraq Oil Industry Sabotage

Iraq's Ministry of Oil has announced that billions of dollars have been spent on repairing and replacing oil industry infrastructure damaged or destroyed by terrorist attacks nationwide. The money could have been invested in aid and development according to officials

Bush Springs Recess UN Appointment Of Bolton

by William Fisher Bush has the power to fill vacancies without Senate approval while Congress is in recess. Under the Constitution, the recess appointment will last until the next session of Congress, which begins in January 2007. The appointment ended a stormy five-month impasse with Senate Democrats who had accused the conservative Bolton of twisting intelligence to suit a hawkish ideology and of abusing subordinates

An Open Letter To Cindy From The Lords Of Loud

by Steve Young You don't seem to be very appreciative that all this is something you don't have to concern yourself with or that you don't have to worry about having a child who might one day end up on the streets...anymore. But our president just can't catch a break. He's stuck with two living daughters whom, we might add, didn't ask to be born, and who have no choice but to go through the hell of being constantly followed by paparazzi

Why The Wheels Are Coming Off

by Steve Young Without Rove at the helm, this machine is falling apart. Need proof? The generals recently said we'll probably be pulling out early, but Bush then said we wouldn't be pulling out until we were finished. Rumsfeld and General Myers switched to calling it "a global struggle against violent extremism" but Bush plowed ahead with the old "War On Terror" lingo. He didn't get the memo because Karl wasn't around to write it

Energy Bill Did Nothing To Solve Energy Problems

by Joe Conason The manifest failure to cope with the new energy crisis didn't discourage Bush from congratulating himself and exaggerating the importance of the omnibus energy legislation he just signed in New Mexico. Americans are more likely to look back on this forgettable episode as yet another missed opportunity for essential change -- and to resent corporate pols like Bush, who brushed aside real solutions to perform favors for friends and contributors

Pakistan Facing Civil War Threat From Islamic Militants

by M B Naqvi Spiralling conflict between the Pakistan army and Islamist militants along the Afghan border, straddled by pro- Taliban, Pashtun tribes, has led security analysts to talk of a full- fledged insurgency that poses a graver threat to the country than admitted by authorities

Police Radio Breakdown On 9/11 Led To Deaths

by William Fisher New York City police received the call to evacuate the buildings. Fire and rescue personnel did not because they operated on a different radio system. As a result, dozens of police officers and several hundred fire and rescue personnel perished in the collapse

U.S. Nuclear Deal With India Blocks Deal For Iran Pipeline

by Praful Bidwai India's own experience with nuclear power has not been pleasant. Nuclear power has claimed over a quarter of the country's energy research budget, but yielded very little energy, and that too of indifferent reliability. Wind turbine generation has already overtaken nuclear power in capacity -- without fuss, high subsidies or environmental problems

Gaza Pullout Masks Israel's Expansion In W Bank

by Ushani Agalawatta While the international community is fixated on the dramatic pullout from Gaza, watching images of distraught settlers being handed eviction notices, and listening to a somber Israeli Prime Minister expressing grief over the decision to pull out, few are raising even an eyebrow about Israeli expansion in the West Bank, and the wall which is effectively creating isolated enclaves of Palestinians

Bird Flu Spreading Across Russia

by Kester Kenn Klomegah Nepoklonov said there are fears that migrating birds could take the virus to other countries. He said it could spread to the European Union as infected wild birds fly to the Netherlands, France and other locations in Europe and even further. 'It's possible that they have already spread it,' Nepoklonov said. 'They fly not only over Siberia but also along the far eastern coast on to the United States'

Pentagon Lawyers Warned About Prisoner Abuse Before Iraq Invasion

by William Fisher As early as March 2003, senior U.S. military lawyers complained to the Pentagon about the Justice Department's definition of torture and how it would be applied to interrogations of enemy prisoners captured by U.S. forces

Demos Still Won't Oppose Iraq War

by Jim Lobe Despite the plunging popularity of the war -- and of Bush's approval ratings -- leading Democrats, particularly the party's brahmins in the Senate, have so far refused to countenance talk of withdrawal, preferring instead to attack the president over tactical issues rather than the war itself

Pedaling Away From Principle

by Dave Zirin This is where Lance had an opportunity to to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. But Armstrong neither talked nor walked. Maybe its unrealistic to think that Lance could have suggested a bike detour to Camp Casey. Perhaps it's a flight of fantasy to imagine that Lance would organize a Critical Mass Bike Ride to jam the gates of Crawford. But his utter silence, given both what he knows about Iraq, and the presence of Camp Casey, spoke volumes

Why Didn't Bush Condemn Call To Assassinate Chavez?

by Anita Joseph Washington can no longer ignore the influential role Chavez plays in the hemisphere, the Bush administration needs an entirely new approach to its relations with Venezuela that emphasizes Chavez as an asset and not a liability, starting with a strong denouncement of Robertson's outlandish statements

UK Blood Donors Told They May Carry Human Mad Cow Disease

by Valentinas Mite England's Department of Health has begun to notify 100 people in the United Kingdom who are newly identified as at increased risk for the human form of mad cow disease

Hiroshima Bomb Was Also Study In Media Censorship

by Humberto Marquez In the wake of Tokyo's Aug. 15 surrender, when Japan was occupied by U.S. troops, all press reports referring to atomic energy, nuclear bombs or their effects on the civilian population were strictly censored. By the summer of 1946, the censorship office in Japan had grown to the extent that it employed 6,000 people, who pored over and listened in on all kinds of communication, from letters and telephone conversations to movies and billboards. The press was censored both prior to and after publication

Unrest In "Calm" Samawa Bodes Ill For Iraq Handover

by Kathleen Ridolfo The growing unrest leaves many wondering whether Samawa -- named as one of the first cities where the coalition is expected to hand over control to Iraqi forces -- is ready for self-governance

The Wall

by Andrew N. Rubin Israel's Wall has severely disrupted and profoundly encumbered daily life and has undermined and wretchedly destroyed the social and economic fabric of Palestinian civil society. To make room for its path, entire orchards and olive groves have been uprooted, and thousands of Palestinian homes -- over 42,165 in the West Bank -- have been demolished by the Israeli military. Life in the Occupied Territories of Palestine has been reduced generally to an utterly debased form of collective imprisonment. Checkpoints and road-blocks obstruct Palestinians' unfettered access to schools, health clinics, and work. Families have been physically separated; and, in one instance, a house was purportedly divided in half. In Qalqilya, the wall rises to such a height that, it is said, one can no longer see the sun set. The aim of all this, which Ariel Sharon has admitted quite candidly, is to prevent Gaza from having any external contact with the outside world by land, by air, and by sea

"Comfort Women" Still Await Japanese Apology

by Suvendrini Kakuchi For a decade now, Song Shin Do, 84, the only Korean former comfort woman who lives in Japan, has refused monetary compensation but fought bitterly for an apology from the Japanese government, taking every defeat in the courts with a poignant stoicism that has won her grudging admiration. Activists supporting hundreds of aging sex slaves like Song say their wish for a sincere apology from the Japanese government is part of their struggle to pressure militaries to respect the rights of women

Pakistan Province Passes Taliban Law

by Zofeen Ebrahim A growing number of people in this country are concerned at the 'Hasba Bill' passed in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) assembly that seeks to severely restrict women's rights and institute a 'moral police' in the territory that borders Afghanistan

Take Iraq "Nation Building" Off Back Burner, Task Force Warns

by Jim Lobe In light of its deepening disaster in Iraq, the U.S, particularly the Department of Defense, must place nation-building on a par with war-fighting in protecting national security, according to a new report released Wednesday by a bipartisan task force chaired by two former national security advisers

The Tricky Path Of The Pre-Presidential Candidate

by Joe Conason While Hillary Rodham Clinton insists that winning a second term is her only priority, the nation's political elites and pundits openly speculate that plans are being laid for a White House bid. Seven years ago, however, the same profile would have perfectly described George W. Bush, then running for his second term as governor of Texas -- and preparing to decide whether to run for president of the United States.

Heads Roll In Iraq Oil-For-Food Probe

by Haider Rizvi After spending some $35 million probing wrongdoing in Iraq's Oil for Food Program, UN investigators have accused the former head of the humanitarian project of taking nearly $150,000 in cash bribes

Iraq's Oil-Rich Kurdistan Hires PR Firm

by Bill Berkowitz While the Shiite leaders of the government are negotiating deals and solidifying ties with Iran, and the Sunnis remain mostly disaffected from the political process, the oil-rich Kurds appear to have mastered a dual strategy of participating in government decisions while at the same time, taking matters regarding their future into their own hands

Similarities Between Today's Minutemen And '90s Militia Movement

by Bill Berkowitz Both the militias and the minutemen create a demonized 'other' based on citizenship status: The militias had the 'sovereign citizen' concept, which divided people into (white) state 'sovereign' citizens and so-called '14th Amendment' citizens. The Minutemen do it the basis of perceived immigration status

U.S. Forces Iraq To Shun International Criminal Court

by Haider Rizvi When the Iraqi interim government declared its intention to endorse the treaty on the International Criminal Court, the news came as a happy surprise to many European nations and international civil society groups. But their excitement did not last long, as the transitional administration in Baghdad reversed its decision within a few days, presumably under tremendous pressure from Washington

CAFTA Allows Big Pharma To Block Generic Medicines

by Jim Lobe CAFTA would allow for patent extensions for brand-name companies that go far beyond the protections in current U.S. law and also put in place new obstacles to governments that wish to license generic producers to manufacture specific medicines

Cindy Sheehan's Unexpected Allies

by Ira Chernus No matter what happens to the Cindy Sheehan story, George W. Bush should now know that the end has come for his war, too. His political power will continue to fade as long as U.S. troops continue to die in Iraq. Influential elite voices must be saying that, in private, to the administration. It's the job of the peace movement to seize the advantage, mobilize the growing antiwar sentiment, and convince the elite that there is no other choice but to end the war now

Emotional Ads Win Over Skeptics, Study Shows

by Nancy Gardner, University of Washington Surprisingly, said the researchers, consumers who considered themselves highly skeptical of all ads were persuaded less by informational ads than they were by emotional ads like the wine commercial. Also, they found that non-skeptics were more responsive to informational advertising

Rights, Not Treatment, Is Key Issue For Gitmo Prisoners, Expert Says

by William Fisher 'The main issue is and always has been whether these people are in fact guilty of anything at all. Members of congress can satisfy themselves that prisoners can read the Koran, but what if those prisoners are innocent? Reading the Koran does not make up for their loss of freedom, and the lack of any meaningful process to prove their innocence'

Fearing Invasion, Burma Junta Plans To Move Capitol

by Larry Jagan For months Rangoon has been rife with rumors that the country's military rulers were planning to move the capital to the hills of central Burma for fear of a foreign invasion from the sea

Are We All Going Mad, Or Are The Experts Crazy?

by Stuart A. Kirk Psychiatric researchers recently estimated that half of the American population has had or will have a mental disorder at some time in their life. A generation ago, by contrast, only a small percentage of the American population was considered mentally ill. Are we all going mad? Freud started this. He made us suspicious that any behavior was potentially rife with psychopathology. As a neurologist, he used the medical language of pathology to suggest that the demands of civilization on our fragile human nature were such as to make all of us somewhat neurotic. We keep getting higher estimates of mental disorders in part because the American Psychiatric Assn keeps adding new disorders and more behaviors to the manual

U.S.-Backed Political Group On Trial In Venezuela

by Humberto Marquez The tension between Venezuela and the United States has been tightened by the start of a trial against four members of the U.S.-backed opposition group Sumate, including its leader, Maria Corina Machado, who met with President Bush in the White House in May

CAFTA Spotlights Salvador Gangs As Terror Threat

by Roberto Lovato Bush sold CAFTA by linking it to the need to protect the United States in dangerous times. Calling the tariff-reducing trade pact 'a strong boost for young democracies in our own hemisphere, whose success is important for America's national security and for reducing illegal immigration,' Bush gave Beltran and Homies Unidos an especially deep chill because of the urgent new national security threat defined by Bush administration officials and their homologues in Mexico and Central America: gangs, especially Salvadoran gangs

Suzie Pena Killing Should Unite, Not Divide Blacks - Latinos

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The instant LAPD officers gunned down 13-year-old Devin Brown following a car chase last February, blacks took to the streets in rage and protest. Black leaders loudly demanded that the officer who shot Brown be fired and prosecuted. Blacks' furious reaction to the Brown killing stands in stark contrast to their response to the recent the killing of 19-month-old Suzie Marie Pena

Big Pharma's $800 Million In Political Spending

by Emad Mekay U.S. drug companies spent more than $800 million over the past seven years in campaign donations and lobbying that led to favorable laws and tens of billions of dollars in extra profits

Trapped Between King And Rebels, Nepal Goes Without Food

by Damakant Jayshi For the vast majority of Nepalis who live outside the Kathmandu Valley, neither the words of the king, the Maoist insurgents or international agencies, nor the deeds that sometimes follow their promises, are improving their desperate lives

New Zealand Promotes Maori Ritual As Tourism

by Neena Bhandari Since 2000, when the New Zealand Tourism Board launched its 10-year strategy to put a Maori component into tourism, an increasing numbers of Maori regional tourism groups and operators are exploiting the demand for authentic traditional cultural products and services

Muslim Single Moms Demand Rights

by Abderrahim El Ouali The Oum Al Banine became the first group in Morocco to begin to help single mothers. Its campaign began in Agadir province in the south of Morocco in the 1980s. Moroccan Islamists responded by accusing him of promoting prostitution. Islamists have since then continued to abuse the children of single mothers as 'bastards'

Publication Of New Abuse Photos Could Spark Riots, General Says

by William Fisher In response to a lawsuit demanding release of 87 new videos and photographs depicting detainee abuse at the now infamous prison, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, said the release would result in 'riots, violence and attacks by insurgents'

Cindy Sheehan's Growing Crusade

by Greg Moses 'She's a strong woman,' says Robert DeLozier, who saw the story of Cindy Sheehan on television Sunday. 'She feels she has been wronged. She feels her son has been wronged. And she feels like this whole occupation of Iraq is wrong. She is strong and powerful enough to take a stand. When I see it, it just strikes a chord. She's speaking truth to power. That's it. David and Goliath.'

Chavez's TV Network Hits The Air

by Alejandro Kirk July 24, the birthday of South American independence leader Simon Bolivar, saw the first day of broadcasting for a new Latin America-wide TV network aimed at competing with U.S. and European international news stations

Congress Votes To Fund Anti-Chavez Media Attacks

by Humberto Marquez Venezuelan critics of the Mack initiative contend that Washington is trying to repeat the failed initiatives of Radio and TV Marti, the U.S.-government funded stations created to broadcast programming and news aimed against the Cuban government

Chavez Calls U.S. Propaganda Plans "Desperate"

by William Fisher "It is a preposterous imperialist idea that should not surprise us because we know what the U.S. government is capable of," said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, referring to the amendment. "There is nothing more dangerous than a desperate giant."

Chavez: U.S. Oil Cutoff Possible Unless Relations Improve

by Humberto Marquez The latest escalation of tension between the United States and Venezuela was triggered last week when Chavez accused the DEA of spying and of breaking local laws by making 'controlled deliveries' of illegal drugs, and officially suspended cooperation with the DEA

Weak CAFTA Approval Shows Waning Interest In Free Trade Deals

by Emad Mekay CAFTA critics, while disappointed with the vote's outcome, say they are encouraged by the narrow margin of approval. They argue it shows that many in the United States have lost faith after similar agreements sapped jobs through outsourcing to countries with laxer labor standards

Iraq Oil Minister Plans To Create World's 3rd Largest Oil Co

by Kathleen Ridolfo Plans to merge North Oil Company, South Oil Company, the Oil Exploration Company, and the Iraq Drilling Company into an Iraqi National Oil Company by the end of the year. The merger would reportedly create the third-largest oil company in the world in terms of reserves, behind state-run Saudi Aramco and the National Iranian Oil Company

Terrorism Insurance Set To Expire At End Of Year

by Roman Kupchinsky According to the provisions of TRIA, if damage claims exceed $5 million and if the treasury secretary deems the incident a terrorist attack, then TRIA will pay 90 percent of the value of claims. In order to qualify under TRIA, the attack must be carried out by a foreign entity. Payments for nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attacks are not covered by TRIA

Burma Source Of Spread Of Asian AIDS

by Marwaan Macan-Markar With one exception, namely in China's Henan province, the other strains of the killer virus covering a region from Kazakhstan to southern Vietnam have "genetic fingerprints" that can be traced to Burma

The Peter (Jennings) Principle

by Michael Winship Jennings obits were hard to view because they were reminders of the stories Jennings thought were important and fought to get on the air, reported at length: the Middle East (long before most Americans paid it much attention), African famine, Bosnia, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc

Rise Of The Neo-Taliban

by Amin Tarzi Since the demise of the Taliban regime in December 2001, remnants and loyalists of that regime, disenchanted Pashtuns, religious conservatives, and increasingly criminals involved in Afghanistan's florishing narcotics business joined forces to terrorize parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan. This loose coalition -- the neo-Taliban -- has its bases of operation in the tribal areas of Afghanistan and in neighboring Pakistan. And according to Kabul, they continue to receive assistance from elements within the Pakistani military, intelligence, and religious establishments

Energy Bill Passes After Five Years

by J.R. Pegg "Growing oil dependence. Soaring gas prices. Destructive energy development. Huge subsidies for polluters. Global warming. Not one of these problems is seriously addressed in the energy bill," said NRDC Legislative Director Karen Wayland. "Because Congress blew it, we'll remain dependent on oil and we'll keep paying high prices at the pump," she said

U.S. Jewish Groups Seek Immigration Limits

by Tom Barry Before 9/11, U.S. Jews were dependable allies against the restrictionist immigration policies of such organizations as the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Today, however, neo-con institutes and synagogues are increasingly the forums for the type of nationalist immigration policies that were previously regarded as emblematic of the populist right-wing and the paleo-conservatives in the United States

Tsunami Aid Being Used To Replace Fishing Villages With Resorts

by Stefania Bianchi Shortly after the tsunami the Sri Lankan government announced that people should not rebuild their houses on the coast, but Fernando says the measures are not aimed at protecting the fishing communities. 'The government is not trying to protect fisher people, but is forcing us to make way for tourism. Promoting high-end tourism seems to be one of the driving forces of the TAFREN plan'

Do Animals Have Expressions?

by Alexander Cockburn In comparison with 90 percent of the people I see, I detect vastly more individual expressiveness on the faces of my dog (Jasper), horse (Agnes) and cat (Frank). When it comes to the physiognomic resources of the leader of the Free World, I'd claim superiority for my cockatiel (Percy). With Reagan, a man whose face -- to judge from public appearances, was entirely immobile 99 percent of the time, I'd put up even my Gouldian finches as have a more sophisticated range of facial resources

Haiti Regime Pursues Aristide Supporters To Other Nations

by Judith Scherr Like hundreds -- some say thousands -- of other supporters of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, Paul Raymond fled for his life soon after the democratically elected president was forced out of Haiti. Raymond had been living with his family in the Dominican Republic since March 2004, but was picked up July 21 by Dominican and FBI officers, handed over to Haitian police and UN officers and hauled off to a Port-au-Prince jail

Judy Miller: When Journalism Goes Bad

by Robert Scheer Miller didn't make anything up, she just relayed whatever her anonymous sources told her -- nearly all of which turned out to be garbage. In this way, Miller and other reporters like her can pretend to follow the letter of journalistic protocol while flouting its spirit and purpose. What she should have done was challenge her sources and then stop protecting them when she found out their information was false

Bush's Nuclear Saber-Rattling Over Iran

by Robert Scheer Bush's Iran policy is rife with contradictions and idiocies. What, for example, is the point of publicly threatening Iran when doing so immeasurably strengthens the hand of hard-line nationalists and religious fundamentalists in Tehran?

Mortgaged to the House of Saud

by Robert Scheer It has stuck deep in the craw of many of us Americans that after 9/11, Washington squandered global goodwill and a huge percentage of our resources invading a country that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, while continuing to pander to this dysfunctional dynasty. After all, Saudi Arabia is believed to have paid Bin Laden's murderous gang millions in protection money in the years before 9/11, and it lavishly funds extremist religious schools throughout the region that preach and teach anti-Western jihad

A Milestone In Fighting Sweatshops

by Robert Scheer Together, they fashioned a win-win program that stressed that workers, no matter their immigration status, were entitled to the protection of laws governing the workplace. Needing the workers as witnesses against lawbreaking bosses, they deliberately excluded Immigration and Naturalization Service agents from their raids, encouraging the workers to file complaints and serve as witnesses in hearings.

Neo-Con Polices Driving Iraq Closer To Iran

by Jim Lobe Not only did Washington knock off Tehran's arch-foe, Saddam Hussein, as well as the anti-Iranian Taliban in Afghanistan, but, with this week's completion of a new constitution that would guarantee a weak central government and substantial autonomy to much of the Shiite south, it also appears that Iran's influence in Iraq -- already on the rise after last spring's inauguration of a pro-Iranian interim government -- is set to grow further

"Debt Relief" Could Start New Cycle Of Borrowing

by Emad Mekay Anti-debt campaigners leaked a document showing that the World Bank is considering extending additional loans to countries eligible for a widely-publicized debt cancellation plan by the world's richest nations, a scheme that they say would defeat the purpose of the write-off

U.S. Aid Leaves Gaza Along With Israelis

by Ushani Agalawatta In the face of glaring inequalities, Israel is negotiating $2.2 billion in aid from the United States which has pledged $200 million for Palestinians, $50 million is earmarked for improving security measures

Gaza Humanitarian Crisis Even Before Israeli Pullout Complete

by Sanjay Suri The beginning of the pullout of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip presents two contrasting pictures of two very differently placed people. While the Israelis are looking at comfortable compensation packages, thousands of Palestinians face the threat of starvation as a result of the Israeli pullout

Congress Faces Parade Of Controversial Votes After Recess

by William Fisher When Congress returns in September -- aside from the confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court -- it will be facing multiple other political tsunamis: reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act, federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, immigration reform, and consideration of the $491 billion defense bill

Iraqis Move Closer To Civil War In Constitution Clash

by Ferry Biedermann The main cause of their worry is the envisioned federal, decentralized structure. The Kurds have exercized de facto autonomy in their small enclave in the north since the Kuwait war of 1991. Now Shiites, who form the majority, are pushing for their own area in the south. The south has most of the oil riches and the only outlet to the sea. The Sunnis worry that whatever arrangements are made for sharing the oil income, a federal structure would leave them behind in benefits and also by way of jobs and infrastructure that these resources generate

Gaza Israelis Begin Moving Out

by Ferry Biedermann After some 16 years in Rafiah Yam, the Soussans who came with not very much, and received massive aid from the government, will receive at least some 400,000 euro in compensation for their rather modest house by Gaza settler standards

Vietnam A Major Center For Human Trafficking

by Andrew Lam Some observers estimate that as many as 400,000 Vietnamese women and children have been trafficked overseas, most since the end of the Cold War. That's around 10 percent of trafficked women and children worldwide. They are smuggled to Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Czech Republic -- and, to a lesser extent, the United States -- for commercial sexual exploitation

Presbyterians Seek Boycott Of Companies Aiding Israel's Occupation Tools

by Emad Mekay The move by the church has angered members of the right-wing and supporters of the governing Likud Party in Israel, with some calling it tantamount to declaring a boycott of firms that do business with Israel

Scientists Worry Global Warming At "Tipping Point"

by Sanjay Suri A significant rise in temperatures across European cities suggests that a crucial two-degree rise in global temperature could come earlier than feared

In W Bank Town, Homeland Means Humiliation

by Ushani Agalawatta Hundreds of people line up daily in scorching summer heat or the winter cold, holding out their Palestinian ID's, waiting for Israeli soldiers pointing M16's to allow them through a revolving metal door at the checkpoint. These restrictive measures and the nightly Israeli incursions into the city and surrounding villages have damaged the infrastructure of the area, and the psyche of its people

Public Opinion Turns Against Bush's War

by Jim Lobe Has the U.S. public lost so much confidence in the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war that its current strategy -- to the extent one actually exists -- is unsustainable? With Bush himself besieged by anti-war protesters on his seemingly endless and ill-timed vacation at his Texas ranch, that appears to be The Big Question, just two weeks before the resumption of official business back in Washington

New Video Shows London Police Had No Reason To Kill Brazilian Man

by Sanjay Suri Just about the last defense of the police who killed Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes in London July 21 was that they had seen him running. New evidence suggests he was not running, but sitting on the train when he was grabbed and shot

The Day Casey Sheehan Died

by Aaron Glantz Since Pres. Bush won't meet with Cindy Sheehan to explain why her son Casey died in Iraq, I thought I would put forward the information I have. Like Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, I was in Baghdad's Sadr City on Apr. 4, 2004. I was there as an unembedded journalist. Unlike Casey Sheehan, I came out alive

Raging Grannies Confront Army Recruiters

by William Fisher The Raging Grannies of Tucson (RGT), has been performing its act outside the recruiting office every Wednesday for the past three years as a protest to the war in Iraq. But this Wednesday was different. They decided to go inside the office -- to enlist in the Army

U.S. Food Aid Mostly Agribiz Entitlement Program

by Jim Lobe Under U.S. law, a minimum of 75 percent of U.S. food aid must be sourced, fortified, processed and bagged in the U.S, and only a handful of firms, notably Cargill and Archer-Daniels Midland (ADM) are qualified to bid on the procurement contracts. U.S. law similarly requires that 75 percent of all food aid must be transported on U.S.-flagged vessels, despite the fact that the shipping industry has been failing over the past few decades and currently handles only three percent of all U.S. imports and exports (excluding food aid)

Where Is the Hirsch Report?

by Richard Heinberg Commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy, the report examines the likely consequences of the impending global peak, projecting a date anywhere from 2005 to 2037 as the moment when global oil production will reach its all-time maximum and begin its inevitable descent. A crash program initiated twenty years ahead of the event will offer "the possibility" of avoiding a fuel shortfall. The report emphasizes repeatedly that both supply- and demand- side mitigation options will take many years to implement and will cost "literally trillions of dollars;" it also notes that "the world has never faced a problem like this." Yet, six months since its release, discussion of the Hirsch report is conspicuously absent from the press and the halls of Congress

Reporter Who Told "Other Side" Of Iraq Invasion Killed

by Sandy Close The death of American freelance journalist Steven Vincent is a blow to Americans of all political persuasions who seek on-the-ground reporting that could help them make sense of the war in Iraq

CAFTA Won't Stem Flow Of Cheap Chinese Clothes, Labor Groups Say

by Emad Mekay Proponents of CAFTA argue that it will boost apparel industry employment in Central America by 283,000 jobs, or 41 percent. But EPI's new analysis says that similar claims were made for NAFTA, yet new figures show that the U.S.-Mexico textile and apparel complex has not yet been able to compete with the flood of imports coming into the United States from China

Bush VFW Speech Showed Serious Disconnect

by Joe Conason His V.F.W. speech reprised the same old rhetoric about the lessons of the Sept. 11 attacks (a theme White House publicists evidently plan to emphasize on the fourth anniversary of the attacks next month with a country-music concert on the National Mall). He insists that his 'straightforward' strategy will eventually 'stand up' an Iraqi armed force that will permit our troops to come home. Mr. Bush has nothing new to say, which is why he has resorted to the ancient tactic of waving the bloody shirt

Many Palestinians Fear Gaza Will Be "One Big Prison"

by Ushani Agalawatta The disengagement plan specifically states that 'Israel will guard and monitor the external land perimeter of the Gaza Strip, will continue to maintain exclusive authority in Gaza airspace, and will continue to exercise security activity in the sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip'

Western Nations Hoarding Limited Stocks Of Bird Flu Vaccine

by Marwaan Macan-Markar A race to corner limited stocks of the only known drug capable of stopping an epidemic of the deadly avian-flu, has brought into the open a divide between the developed and developing world that -- if left unchecked -- could have disastrous consequences for all

Groups Seek ExxonMobil Boycott

by Michael Winship Calling for a boycott of the company's products, stocks, and workforce, campaigners from 12 of America's largest public interest and environmental groups showed up outside ExxonMobil service stations nationwide

The Soldier's War With The Neo-Cons

by Joe Conason Among the most durable stereotypes of American political culture is that military officers secretly yearn for authoritarian rule and blind brutality. Those old liberal cliches have been proved false in the struggle to curtail the lawless misconduct symbolized by Abu Ghraib. We now know that the government's most reliable defenders of the Constitution are lifetime military officers pushing back against the neo-conservative academics and experts whose advice led to torture scandals and abrogation of civil and human rights

Malaysia's Islamic Hardliners Attack The Teapot Cult

by Baradan Kuppusamy Probably because it was laughable, Ayah Pin's cult -- which revolved around worship of a giant, two-storey-high teapot -- was tolerated for a decade. At worst, Pin's 'Sky Kingdom' cult was considered a gentle distortion in Terengganu state, where fundamentalist Islam is a way of life. On July 18, it also attracted 30 masked men armed with machetes and other weapons who burned vehicles, set fire to the exotic buildings and scattered Pin's followers. Pin himself vanished

Time To End Lifetime Appointments To Supreme Court

by Steven Hill Vicious partisan battles over Supreme Court nominees could be avoided with term limits, mandatory retirement ages and other measures employed by other democratic countries for their high courts. Besides, why should senators representing a minority of U.S. voters confirm a justice for life?

Who's Behind The Attacks On Cindy Sheehan?

by Steve Young This past Saturday, Michael Ramirez, he of the L.A. Times political cartoonist chapter of the Lords of Loud, offers us an image of Cindy carrying her baby "politic." 'Cause, he leads us to believe, that is what she's about. Well, duuuhh; her "politics" are all about stopping from having another soldier die in a war based on horrendous judgements, that some cynics might even call, "lies." To think that her message was ever anything else, you'd have to be pretty dense

What to Do About Hugo?

by Tom Barry Chavez -- the democratically elected president whom TV evangelist Pat Robertson said the U.S. "covert operatives" should "take out" -- has mounted an impressive public diplomacy campaign backed by petrodollars that underwrite ambitious social and economic development projects. Chavez is stirring hopes among Latin Americans and Caribbean people that they can break free from the yoke of U.S. power

Bush Woos African-Americans With Corporate Funds

by William Fisher In a closed-door session at the White House with 17 black ministers and civic leaders -- his second such meeting since January -- Bush said the White House plans to sponsor a March summit to bring together corporate foundation leaders and faith-based social service organizations, many of which are affiliated with black churches

British Banks Target Muslims

by Sanjay Suri How do you ever engage in banking without interest coming into it? Small Islamic banks have been offering Islamic alternatives for a while. But over recent months major banks like HSBC and Lloyds have begun to offer new products in Islamic banking to the estimated two-million-strong Muslim community in Britain

GOP Apologizes For Ignoring Blacks Over Last 40 Years

by Bill Berkowitz Standing in for President Bush, who again had a "scheduling conflict" and could not make time for the NAACP, Ken Mehlman apologized for the party's decades-long neglect of black voters

Pakistan Has No Control Over Most Extreme Islamic Schools

by Zofeen T. Ebrahim Attempts at cracking down on madrassas following 9/11 proved futile as those linked to the MMA (political party) and militant organizations refused to register faith schools and cooperate with what they declared was a U.S.-sponsored measure and interference in internal affairs. Without an amendment to the archaic Societies Act 1860, under which madrassas are supposed to get registered, it would be impossible to regulate them, audit their funds and see who the funders are or even to modernize their curriculum

Haiti Near Anarchy Despite Presence Of UN Forces

by Farrah Farley Human rights violations persist throughout Haiti by police officers, former members of the Haitian Armed Forces, armed gangs and civilians, despite the presence of the UN's 7,600-strong peacekeeping force

The End Of Londonistan

by Jalal Ghazi Arab media say an explicit or unspoken deal between the British government and radical Islamists was broken with the July 7 London bombings, brining an end to 'Londonistan,' a safe haven for extremist Islamic preachers

AFL-CIO Out Of Touch, Departing Workers Say

by Katherine Stapp The worst schism in the U.S. labor movement since the 1930s has come largely from the top down, with little input from the millions of workers who make up the rank-and-file membership, say sources both inside and outside the debate

Unions United, Unions Broken Asunder

by Michael Winship Under the Bush White House, the Labor Department and National Labor Relations Board have dedicated themselves to slowly pecking unions to death with often-arcane interpretations of rules and regs. Hence the union movement's conflict: organizing and recruiting versus pumping up political influence

Want UN Reform? Expand Security Council

by Thalif Deen The United States, which preaches democracy to the Middle East and rest of the world, seems unwilling to share equitable political power in one of the world's most undemocratic and anachronistic institutions: the 15-member UN Security Council

Bob Novak Takes A Walk

by Norman Solomon Novak's unscripted exit from the telecast may have been a preemptive strike -- a kind of semiconscious work stoppage -- to avoid squirming under the hot lights. As a bottom-feeding big fish in the pond of political journalism, Novak wants control over the sunlight in his face

Cindy Sheehan's Message Repudiates Bush -- and Howard Dean

by Norman Solomon The U.S. war effort in Iraq is not a quagmire. It is what Daniel Ellsberg came to realize the Vietnam War was: "a crime." Cindy Sheehan -- and many other people who have joined her outside the presidential gates in Crawford, and millions of other Americans -- understand that. And they're willing to say so. They have rejected not only the rabid militarism of the Bush administration but also the hollowed-out pseudo-strategic abdication of moral responsibility so well articulated by Howard Dean

Will The Media Help Bush Exploit 9/11 Again?

by Norman Solomon On Wednesday, eager to pull out of a political nosedive, Bush stood in front of National Guard members in Idaho and read from a script that was thick with familiar rhetoric. Such presidential oratory has become routine. And anniversaries of 9/11 are occasions when the White House ratchets up the spin

The Iraq War And MoveOn

by Norman Solomon Many groups were important to the success of the Aug. 17 vigils, but the online powerhouse MoveOn was the largest and most prominent. After a long stretch of virtual absence from Iraq war issues, the organization deserves credit for getting re-involved in recent months. But the disconnects between MoveOn and much of the grassroots antiwar movement are disturbing

Russian Orphanages Overflow Amid Rumors Of Child Trafficking

by Kester Kenn Klomegah Some 700,000 impoverished children eligible for adoption now live in deplorable conditions in orphanages across Russia, according to the Education and Science Ministry. However, adoptions have declined by about a third so far this year following media reports and accusations by politicians that foreigners were "trafficking" and abusing Russian children

In South America, War On Terror Looks Like The "Dirty War"

by Marcelo Ballve Recent events evoke chilling similarities with the activities of death and kidnapping squads in 1970s South America: the killing of an innocent Brazilian immigrant mistaken for a bomber, shot multiple times in the head by plainclothes London police as commuters watched horrorstruck; the Egyptian cleric who Italian prosecutors say was kidnapped in broad daylight and stuffed into a van by 13 CIA operatives and who, days later, called his wife from Egypt, said he had been tortured and has since disappeared; and the abuse and intimidation endured by Abu Ghraib detainees (sexual humiliation was a favored tactic of South America's torturers)

Iraqis Give Up On Constitution Compromise

by Mohammed Amin Abdulqadir "It's really impossible that talks would reach a final result in the remaining time since the views are so far from each other," Falakaddin Kakayee, 62, a top Kurdish negotiator told IPS from Baghdad. "Shiites are pushing for a religious state with a lot of restrictions on individuals, women and minority rights," he said. "The issue here is not just Kurdish demands. Basic freedoms and democracy are at stake."

Ralph Reed Political Plans Tripped Up By Abramoff Scandal

by Bill Berkowitz At the Cobb County rally, while Reed was defining himself as "a mainstream, balanced-budget, tax-cutting, pro-family conservative candidate," the winds of scandal were swirling about him. His name has come up in connection with a federal investigation into the affairs of Jack Abramoff, a conservative lobbyist and one of his longtime pals

Who's The Real Martyr: Judy Miller Or Jim DeFede?

by Alexander Cockburn This ludicrous firing of DeFede came about because the newspaper industry is in a panic about its low standing with the public. On one poll, about half the country doesn't believe a word it reads in the papers, and reasonably so

Will Democrats Get In Step Behind Cindy Sheehan?

by Alexander Cockburn You can tell in five minutes channel surfing how Cindy Sheehan frightens the pro-war crowd. One bereaved mom from Vacaville, Calif, camped outside Bush's home in Crawford, reproaching the vacationing president for sending her son to a pointless death in Iraq has got the hellhounds of the Right barking in venomous unison

Repubs Attack, Demos Duck Cindy Sheehan

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair Cindy Sheehan frightens the Right and stirs them to venom, and she frightens the Democrats, too, because she's so clear. Contrast the timeline of Sheehan as against that of even a relatively decent Democrat like Sen. Russ Feingold. Feingold calls for a start to withdrawal from Iraq maybe 16 months from now. How many dead troops and new Gold Star mothers can you fit into that calendar? A thousand or more? Sheehan's Out Now call should be the bright-line test for any anti-war spokesperson

Bush Hardly The Stricken President

by Alexander Cockburn Does Roberts face a gauntlet of ferocious interrogatories from Democrat senators? Hardly. The Democratic challenge to Roberts, such as it is, has mostly devolved into a pillow fight with the White House over the availability of records, the kind of procedural wrangle that drags on to the delight of political insiders, but to no useful consequence. Go now from Roberts to John Bolton, and yes, we find another summer triumph for the stricken president

Egypt Wary Of New Role As Gaza Border Cop

by Adam Morrow Given Egypt's territorial connection with the Gaza Strip's southern frontier (it shares a 12km border with the newly liberated territory), its fate is geo-strategically tied to the pullout. Cairo will be expected to police the border, known as the Philadelphi Corridor, which the Israelis allege is a popular transit point for weapons smuggled into the Palestinian territory

Democracy Alliance Shouldn't Forget Those Who Brung 'Em This Far

by Steve Young While I fight the urge to first persuade them to adopt me, it is more imperative for them to make sure that they look to where the momentum already exists: The Net

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