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ISSUE 142 TABLE OF CONTENTS

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The Woman Bush Wants Kept Silent

by Christian Nicholson Edmonds herself claims, inasmuch as she can claim anything at all on camera, that events hidden from the American public are much bigger than the simple case of an upright translator done wrong, and bigger even than high-placed elected officials taking bribes. She evokes widespread criminal activity involving nationals from several countries, linked by transnational criminal networks and engaged in clandestine contraband of all sorts -- including drugs, weapons, and sensitive information. Some of that criminal activity, she claims, is relevant to the events leading up to 9/11


Donors Threaten Palestinian Aid Cut After Hamas Win

by Emad Mekay James Wolfensohn, the international community's special envoy to the region and former World Bank president, warned that cutting aid could throw the Palestinian economy into chaos. 'The Palestinians are basically bankrupt,' he said, adding that the PA has no funds to pay salaries of Palestinian government employees. 'If you do not have the money to pay 135,000 Palestinians, you are going to have chaos'


Israel: "We Will Ignore Hamas-led Palestine And Make It Irrelevant"

Analysis by Peter Hirschberg A government headed by Hamas, said acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, could not be a 'partner' for peace, and Israel would act to make sure it was marginalized. 'If a government led by Hamas or in which Hamas is a coalition partner is established, the Palestinian Authority will be turned into an authority that supports terror. Israel and the world will ignore it and make it irrelevant,' he declared


Israel, Palestine Peace Pivots On What Sharon Will Do In 2006

by Peter Hirschberg Most believe that the former general and architect of the settlements, who began wrecking his handiwork with the August evacuation of all of Gaza, plans to continue in the same vein in the West Bank. In 2006, this logic will be put to the test: will Sharon outline a blueprint for the dismantling of settlements in the West Bank, or will Palestinian suspicions -- that he exited Gaza in order to tighten Israel's grip on the West Bank -- prove accurate?


Russia Accuses NGOs Of Fronting Spies, Money-Launderers

by Kester Kenn Klomegah Russian President Vladimir Putin has made two accusations against non-governmental organizations: money-laundering and provoking political rebellion. Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin and Federal Security Director Nikolay Patrushev added a third: providing professional cover for espionage


Brit Spy Ring In Moscow Puts NGOs Under Suspicion

by Kester Kenn Klomegah The rock-like transmitter planted by British spies on a Moscow street, used by secret agents to transmit information, was found last week soon after Russia passed a new law tightening controls over non-governmental organizations (NGOs). One reason for passing the new law was the suspicion that several NGOs are really a front for espionage


Save The Unindicted Republican

by Steve Young The Unindicted Republican (notcawtyetin graftalota forlegislationus) once walked the Potomac (on it, not in it) without fear of predators for they were the baddest sonuva saber-toothed tigers in the jungle. Now the UR spends more time trying to stay off the endangered species list than he does keeping Democrats from launching an ethics probe


God Created Bill (And Why He Did)

by Steve Young Why must so many innocent children suffer through devastating disease, starvation and war. Why do good as well as bad get swallowed up by natural disasters? Why do Prime Ministers of Israel suffer strokes? Why Bill O'Reilly?


The Talk Showization Of The Mainstream Media

by Steve Young We've allowed the Right to bully the fourth estate into thinking political balance means that lies must get equal space with the truth. Call it the talk show-ization of the mainstream media.Under fear of being called biased by the biased Right, the LA Times gives the vicious David Horowitz space on the front page of the Sunday op-ed section. The Today Show brings on Bill O'Reilly to give us intellectual insight into the news


Israeli, Palestinian Governments Fear Hamas Election Victory

by Fawzia Sheikh Palestinian political parties and local non-governmental organizations alike criticize restrictions they say the Israeli government has imposed for weeks. The right of Palestinians living in Arab east Jerusalem to vote through an absentee-ballot system through post offices is one such issue. The lack of freedom of movement for candidates traveling from Jerusalem to Gaza is also among protesters' litany of complaints. Israel has prevented or detained Hamas candidates and those of other political parties, like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and some independents


U.S. Coddling Sunnis, Charge Iraqi Shiites

by Gareth Porter U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has been trying to convince the Sunni population that a share of political power will protect their interests. But the ruling Shiite party -- supported by the anti-U.S. cleric Moqtada al-Sadr -- has now broken decisively with that strategy, castigating both Sunni political leaders and the United States as being apologists for terrorists


Bush Bypasses Senate, Makes Two Crony Appointments

by Jim Lobe Ellen Sauerbrey, a former state lawmaker and unsuccessful right-wing Republican candidate for governor of Maryland, will now move into her new office as Assistant Secretary of State for Refugees, Population, and Migration, a job with a billion-dollar budget and major voice in directing direct emergency relief operations around the world. Bush also named J. Dorrance Smith, a long-time television producer and Republican loyalist who helped organize the 2004 Republican National Convention, as the Pentagon's chief spokesman


Bush Fumbles Attempt To Seek Sunni, Iran Help With Iraq

by Gareth Porter To avoid failure of its mission in Iraq, the Bush administration has been driven to seek the help of two major enemies -- the Sunni insurgents and the government of Iran -- but both initiatives have failed because officials were not given any real negotiating authority


Can UN Collect Money Promised For Pakistan Quake Victims?

by Simon Schneller The onset of winter has also hampered air relief operations, which rely mainly on helicopters and have played a vital role in reaching people in remote locations. The effort is the largest of its kind in the WFP's history, with a fleet of 14 Mi-8, two Mi-26 and two Ka-30 helicopters


Top Sunni Group In Iraq Cries Outrage Over U.S. Raid

by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid The Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni organization that was created in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, was again targeted by the United States military last Sunday. The raid on its mosque served only to alienate Sunnis further


Harsh Winter Killing Afghan Refugees In Makeshift Camps

by Ilyas Wahdat and Janullah Hashimzada Refugees are living in tents in sub-zero temperatures, even in the Afghan capital Kabul. On Dec. 7, the Ministry for Refugee Affairs had distributed 720 blankets among 240 families that had recently returned from Pakistan. About 200 other families who were in tents and mud houses have been shifted to rented houses. According to refugee Abdul Waris Safi, this was the first time they had received humanitarian aid from the Afghan government


U.S. Airstrikes On Pakistan Border Send Families Fleeing To Cities

by Ashfaq Yusufzai While al Qaeda's top leaders remain free, the real victims of the aerial attacks and coordinated action by the Pakistan army in FATA are its impoverished residents, who have begun to flee for the safety of Peshawar and other Pakistani towns and cities. Hundreds of families have moved out, abandoning their homes


Iran Breaks UN Seals At Atomic Research Site

Analysis by Praful Bidwai Now that Iran has broken the seals it put two and a half years ago on an atomic research facility, the threat of escalating conflict centered on the Western power's effort to halt its nuclear activities looms large


Alito Hearings Focus On Executive Powers

by William Fisher The limits of presidential power emerged as a central issue in the Senate confirmation hearings for Samuel A. Alito to become a new associate justice on the Supreme Court -- even as Bush and Cheney continued to vigorously defend their use of secret electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens


Little Sympathy For Tribes Exploited By Ambramoff From Other Indians

by Pete Micek The Abramoff case worries editors of Indian Country Today, who write, 'Just with that particular media-frenzied case, the image of Indians can transform from that of longstanding tribes progressively seeking justice in America, to one of A) newly-rich victim of Washington corruption or B) greedy manipulators attempting to buy favors from political power.' Though the labels might apply to the tribes caught in the scandal, they do not fit the rest of Indian country, editors said


Bush Ignoring Africa At U.S. Peril, Says Major Think Tank

by Jim Lobe U.S. aid to Africa has increased five-fold over the past decade, but at the same time there have been disappointments. Congress, for example, has fallen far short of Bush's requests to fund the MCA, and the administration's reluctance to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria has discouraged other donors from contributing more to that agency.


California Prepares For Another Killing Sans Controversy

by Jasmyne Cannick In the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 17, another man will be put to death by lethal injection in the State of California. This comes exactly 36 days after the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams. But where are the protesters?


"I Didn't Do It" - Exclusive Interview With Clarence Ray Allen

by Michael A. Kroll Allen has been on death row for more than 23 years. During all those years, he has steadfastly insisted that he is innocent. Another man, Billy Ray Hamilton, and a woman, Connie Barbo, carried out the actual homicides in 1980 that Allen was convicted of orchestrating from his Folsom prison cell where he was serving time for a prior murder conviction. Barbo testified in her own trial that Allen had nothing to do with the crime, that his name had never come up. Allen's jury never heard this testimony, however, because his lawyer never called Barbo as a witness in his trial. Barbo is now serving a life sentence without parole.


The Booming Business Of Executing Grandpa

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Their physical isolation from other prisoners, poor diet and the mental torment of not knowing when they will die take a double toll on elderly death row inmates. In 1989 the European Court of Human Rights refused to extradite a German national who fled to Britain from a murder charge in Virginia. The court claimed that the lengthy time between sentencing and execution was psychological torture. The accused was extradited only after state prosecutors promised not to seek the death penalty


The GOP's Shameful Abuse Of "Charities"

by Molly Ivins Abramoff and DeLay and their crummy hangers-on haven't just cheated and lied. They have dishonored the work of many, many people who are devoted to helping others without even expecting a decent salary for it


He's Not Lying - He's Just Ignorant

by Molly Ivins The White House had to go back and explain that, well, no, actually, the National Security Agency's domestic spying program is not limited to calls from outside the United States, or to calls from people known or even suspected of being with al-Qaida. Turns out thousands of Americans and resident foreigners have been or are being monitored and recorded by the NSA. It's more like information-mining, which is what, you may recall, the administration said it would not do. But now Bush has to investigate The New York Times because Bush has been breaking the law, you see?


Is There Anything These Folks Can't Screw Up?

by Molly Ivins Following its usual m.o., the administration's first step on Katrina was to clam up on all the information possible about how the government handled it. Why should a congressional committee have any right to question the Bush administration? Whom do they think they represent?


Time To Stop Reporting Propaganda

by Molly Ivins What would happen if we had not a political, but a pragmatic debate about all of this: We have made a horrible mess of this entire war on terrorism, now how do we fix it? What do we do? I realize it's a bit simplistic of me after all this time, but I really think one of the best things we could do for ourselves is deal honestly with the facts


U.S. TV News Likes Foreign Natural Disasters, Not Humanitarian Crisis

by Julie A. Corwin What are the American people interested in? Not Chechnya -- at least, judging by network news executives' decisions. Last year, according to Tyndall, the three U.S. networks together devoted only two minutes of the entire year's coverage to Chechnya compared with 169 minutes about the case of Terry Schiavo. When television does decide to cover a story, a tsunami of money can pour in. According to de Torrente, a single TV story broadcast on the BBC last July on famine in Niger led to an outpouring of assistance. In addition, other television networks, including CNN, finally decided to cover the story


U.S. Jury Convicts Former El Salvador Official For Torture "Command Responsibility"

by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith A jury verdict in Memphis late last year caused little stir among the general public, but it may have caught the attention of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and other high officials of the Bush administration. The jury found Colonel Nicolas Carranza, former Vice Minister of Defense of El Salvador and now a U.S. citizen living in Memphis, responsible for overseeing the torture and killing in that country 25 years ago. Could similar charges be brought against high U.S. officials for the actions of their subordinates in Abu Ghraib, Falluja, and Guantanamo?


Fear, Despair Overshadows Iraq's Eid Celebration

by Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed Eid festivities in Baghdad used to be an occasion for family reunions, where everyone turned up in their best. But sky-rocketing fuel costs have driven up the price of food, clothing and everything else, and Eid could no longer be the same. The frightening lack of security did much to dampen the holiday mood


U.S. Tells Iraq Key Gov't Officials Must Be Acceptable To Bush

by Gareth Porter U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told Ignatius that, unless the ' security ministries' in the new Iraqi government are allocated to candidates who are 'not regarded as sectarian,' the United States would be forced to reevaluate its assistance to the government


Losing Sharon Gives Washington The Jitters

by Jim Lobe The Bush administration and the President, who personally clearly admired the former general and offered strong backing for both his harsh crackdown against the second Palestinian intifada and his unilateral disengagement from Gaza, made little secret of its hope that Sharon's new centrist party, Kadima, would sweep the Mar. 28 elections


More Women Forced Into Prostitution In Post-Soviet States

by Mario de Queiroz The fall of socialist governments in central and eastern Europe in the early 1990s led large numbers of women from these countries into lives of forced prostitution in the European Union. Their ranks swelled even further as a consequence of the wars in the Balkan region between 1995 and 1999


Pedophiles Target Vietnam's Poverty-Driven Child Sex Industry

by Tran Dinh Thanh Lam The recent arrests of former British pop singer Gary Glitter and a German tourist on child-abuse charges have raised concerns that Vietnam is turning into a pedophile hot spot


U.S. Forgets It Started Iran's Nuke Program

by William O. Beeman White House staff members, who are trying to prevent Iran from developing its own nuclear energy capacity and who refuse to take military action against Iran 'off the table,' have conveniently forgotten that the United States was the midwife to the Iranian nuclear program 30 years ago. Every aspect of Iran's current nuclear development was approved and encouraged by Washington in the 1970s


Expect More Coal Miner Deaths Unless Fast Reforms

by Joe Conason Since 2001, penalties imposed on mine operators have declined precipitously; coal-mine enforcement personnel has been cut by almost 10 percent, and the president's budget calls for another cut of 6 percent. The number of mine fatalities has remained relatively low, but if enforcement continues to decline, Sago may be only the beginning of an ominous trend


Wanted: A Demo With Guts

by Molly Ivins The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief


Roy Blunt Hardly The Ethical Replacement For DeLay

by Molly Ivins The corruption of Congress has reached such a noxious level, the country is simply falling down a hole. Tax cuts for the rich! Reckless spending on everyone but those who need it most! Not a grown-up in sight. There is no sense of responsibility


IRS Targets Hundreds Of Thousands Of Poor Americans

by Molly Ivins Right-wing conspiracy theorists used to enjoy frightening themselves with the possibility that the IRS would somehow become politicized and be used as a tool by some nasty socialist like Jimmy Carter to go after their ill-gotten gains stashed illegally offshore. Always seemed like a good plan to me. Unfortunately, the only people who ever tried to politicize the IRS were on the right -- first Richard Nixon and now George W. Bush


Creationist Gov. Goodhair And Revisionist Rep. Gingrich

by Molly Ivins Last fall, the governor of Texas was trying to draw attention away from his spectacular failure on public schools by convincing Texans that gay marriage was a horrible threat to us all. Now, he's trying to disguise the fact that the schools are in freefall by proposing we teach creationism in biology classes


Schwarzenegger Ducks Immigration In State Address

by Rene P. Ciria-Cruz As if deciding to steer clear of a bully, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in his State-of-the-State address a voided dealing with the immigration issue, hinting at it only once, without daring to say its name


Iraq Ethnic Quarrels Overshadow Talk Of Consensus

by Mohammed A. Salih As efforts to build a new ruling coalition intensify, Kurdish leaders say they have a number of conditions that must be met before they enter an alliance.. These include primarily Kurd control of the oil-rich northern city Kirkuk, which also has a substantial Arab population


Foreigners A Choice Kidnap Target In Iraq

by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid Kidnapping emerged as a major risk for foreigners in Iraq in 2004. A string of kidnappings of journalists and aid workers that year paralyzed civilian operations. The problem eventually settled down, but not before drastically chang;ling the face of foreign civilian operations. Last week another American was kidnapped in Baghdad. Jill Carroll, a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, was abducted in the Adel neighborhood. This was the latest in a recent upsurge of foreigner kidnappings


Neocons See Iran's President As A 'Godsend'

by Jim Lobe The Iranian president, with his public suggestions that Israel be 'wiped off the face of the map' and that the Nazi Holocaust against European Jewry was a 'myth,' has prompted comparisons to Adolf Hitler himself, less than three years after Saddam Hussein was depicted as the Fuehrer's latest incarnation


Bush Admin Keeping UN Hostage Over Budget

by Thalif Deen Since the overwhelming majority was opposed to some of the proposed reforms, the UN's administrative and budgetary committee eventually agreed on a U.S.-proposed compromise: Secretary-General Kofi Annan was authorized to spend only $950 million over a six-month period pending significant action on reforms, thereby emasculating the UN's traditional biennium budget. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has withheld a total of about $127 million -- a sum duly appropriated by Congress -- from the UN Population Fund


Show Us The Pictures, George

by Michael Winship By now, you know that the White House has refused to release that information or those "grip-and-grin" photographs of President Bush with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff at various White House functions. It would be silly but for the fact that it's so emblematic of this administration's regal, arrogant attitude toward the public and its right to know


Bolivia's New President Vows To Fight U.S. Policies

by Roger Burbach Latin America has seen presidents with Native blood elected before, leaders who have failed their Indian constituents. But Evo Morales' rise to president is buttressed by ongoing, massive social upheavals and popular mobilizations centered in Cochabamba and Chipare


Halliburton Gets Contract For Possible Detention Camps In U.S.

by Peter Dale Scott 'Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters,' says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam. 'They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the special registration detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo'


An Iraqi Town Becomes A Prison

by Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed 'They think by these measures they can stop the resistance,' Amer, a 43-year-old clerk at the nearby Beiji oil refinery told IPS. 'But the Americans are creating more resistance by doing these things. The resistance will not stop attacking them unless they pull out of our country.' The clerk said he had not been able to leave his house for several days, and was unable to work or to visit family members outside Siniya?


Bush Puts All Foreign Aid Under Control Of Controversial Director

by Emad Mekay The new re-structuring plan unifies U.S. aid agencies, aid accounts and individual programs under one director. President Bush said he will appoint Randall Tobias, who will also be the new administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and will oversee all U.S. foreign aid work. Around 80 percent of all U.S. assistance goes through USAID and the State Department


FEMA Didn't Use Vehicles, Fed Workers Available For Katrina Disaster

by William Fisher William Lokey, FEMA'S point man on the ground during the hurricane and its aftermath, said he was unaware of the state's request for rubber rafts. He also said he did not know that hundreds of federal search-and-rescue workers and large numbers of boats, aircraft, bulldozers and 400 law enforcement personnel were offered to FEMA by the Interior Department in the hours immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit. The aid offer was either ignored or not effectively used


For Iraqis, Survival More Important Than Saddam Trial

by Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed Most Iraqis are more concerned with finding jobs, putting food on the table, personal safety and the removal of the occupation forces than the ongoing trial of former dictator Saddam Hussein


Want Examples of Prison Torture? Look Homeward

by Dwight Abbott You don't have to look abroad for "secret prisons" to know that the U.S. government resorts to torture. Just ask residents of the California prisons


European Bird Flu Fears Grow Over Cases In Turkey

by Hilmi Toros Human deaths from the bird flu virus have taken a giant leap from East Asia to Turkey. Where next, if anywhere? While previous human casualties had been confined to the 'epicenter' in Southeast Asia, Turkish health officials belatedly acknowledged that three children died from the effects of the avian influenza in the rugged eastern part of the country, after first attributing the deaths to pneumonia.


Iraqis Find Themselves Left Out Of "Reconstruction"

by Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed As the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq approaches, a study by Linda Bilmes at Harvard University and Dr. Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia University found that the total economic costs of the war, including direct costs and macroeconomic costs, lie between 1 trillion and 2 trillion dollars. This money has done little for Iraq. The situation on the ground remains dire, with estimates of unemployment at 70 percent


Abramoff Plea Deal Threatens GOP Hold On Washington

by Jim Lobe The Jan. 3 guilty plea by Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials threatens to unravel a network of right-wing lobbyists and lawmakers whose rise since the early 1990s was fueled as much by cash and influence-peddling as by ideological conviction


Military Confidence In Bush Hits New Low

by Jim Lobe While both ratings remain significantly higher than the approximately 40 percent approval given Bush and his Iraq policy by the general public in late 2005, the military levels appear remarkably low given the fact that 60 percent of the military respondents identified themselves as Republicans -- twice the percentage of the civilian population.


Bush Faces Tsunami Of Political Woes As 2006 Begins

by William Fisher Topping off the list of contentious issues Bush will face when Congress returns in January will be the confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito, his response to Congressional calls for periodic reports on progress in the Iraq war, his 'guest worker' proposal to curb illegal immigration, and the continuing debate over the government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina


Donations Sit In Banks While Tsunami Victims Huddle In Tents

by Hassina Leelarathna The report is a study of 62 well-known aid organizations, including American Red Cross, CARE USA, Habitat for Humanity, Operation USA and World Vision. It showed that the consortium had spent only $743 million through Sept. 30. American Red Cross had used only about 29 percent of the $567.3 million it had received in private donations, part of it on immunization and de-worming programs in East Africa


Amid Media Scandals, Bush Admin Creates Program Named After Edward R. Murrow

by Adam Morrow One observer sees the Iraq 'payola' issue and the new Murrow program as 'an example of the difference between democracy in theory and practice.' Professor Beau Grosscup of the University of California at Chico told IPS, 'The same people who set up a program to promote 'independent journalism' are the same folks who defend funding public relations firms, conservative think tank-connected jingoist individuals and embedded journalists as 'independent' media.


Bush To Ask War Allies To Pay For Iraq Reconstruction

by William Fisher With the billions of dollars appropriated by the United States for Iraqi reconstruction almost spent, Japan, Australia and other nations in Bush's 'coalition of the willing' are likely to be asked to shoulder much of the burden for funding the large number of unfinished projects


Neocons Charge Venezuela's Chavez With Anti-Semitism

by Jim Lobe Despite objections by major Jewish organizations in Venezuela and the United States, some influential U.S. neo-conservatives are charging President Hugo Chavez with anti-Semitism


Sharon's Stroke Paralyzes Israel Politics

by Peter Hirschberg For a full week, Israel's usually garrulous, confrontational politicians have been declaring on radio and TV that now is not the time to talk politics. Not while Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is fighting for his life in a Jerusalem hospital after suffering a major brain hemorrhage. Off the air, you can be sure, about all they are talking is politics


Tajikistan Promotes Aryan Identity, Brings Back Swastika

by Gulnoza Saidazimova Like other post-Soviet countries, Tajikistan has taken a fresh look its history following independence in 1991. The result is a state campaign to promote the notion that the Tajiks as a Aryan nation and the widespread use of the swastika


New Iraq Strategy: Divide Locals From Foreign Fighters

by Gareth Porter U.S. officials in Baghdad are now pursuing contacts with both declared enemies, with the aim of obtaining their cooperation in overcoming otherwise seemingly insurmountable obstacles to success in Iraq. In both cases, however, the White House has been unwilling to approve concessions required to reach a deal benefiting both sides


Looking For A Lawrence Of Iraq

by Michael Winship One display in the exhibit has attracted a lot of media attention: a newly discovered 'peace map' of the Middle East proposed by Lawrence. As NPR's Deborah Amos reported, 'It provides an alternative to present-day borders in the region, taking into account local Arab sensibilities rather than the European colonial considerations that were dominant at the time'


"What Would Sharon Do?" Questions Hang Over Israel

by Fawzia Sheikh Part of the issue is no one knows Sharon's plans for disengaging from the West Bank. Although the comatose leader had in the past said he had finished the unilateral pull-out of Israeli settlers from the occupied territories, 'the expectation is if he had won, he would have used his political clout to pull out some more'


Bush Domestic Spying Old News

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The named targets in the past were Muslim extremists, Communists, peace activists, black radicals, civil rights leaders and drug peddlers. Even before President Harry Truman established the NSA in a Cold War era directive in 1952, government cryptologists jumped in the domestic spy hunt with Operation Shamrock


U.S. Troops Working Alongside Shiite Death Squads

by Gareth Porter Despite the U.S. command's announcement last week that it would seek to curb abuses by Iraqi commando units, the U.S. military has been extremely tolerant of the most abusive unit of all -- the notorious Wolf Brigade -- because it regards it as highly effective against the insurgents


Old King Coal And His Derelict Soul

by Michael Winship In the two years before the explosion, the owners of the Sago mine were fined a grand total of $33,600, of which they paid $23,896, merely the cost of doing business in an industry that generates hundreds of millions in revenues. Indeed, USA Today discovered, 'The nation's coal mines have been required to pay only a fraction of the federal fines imposed after deadly accidents since 1999... The Mine Safety and Health Administration has levied $9.1 million in fines in the past seven years against companies cited for safety violations following mine fatalities. About 28 percent of that amount has been collected'


Reagan's Ardent Disciples Betrayed His Revolution

by Robert Scheer The plumb line that runs down through the cesspool of the festering Abramoff-DeLay scandal is the conceit that the scions of the Reagan Revolution, a generation of young Republican activists summoned by God and party, were morally superior creatures, who had only pure ideological motives for cutting the country's social-safety nets in the name of 'small government'


Search Engine Giants Cave To Nosy Feds

by Robert Scheer For the time being, the Bush administration claims that it won't try to connect my name, or yours, with the massive bits of raw data it is demanding from the companies with the most popular search engines. Apparently, it is seeking evidence to prove that online porn is very popular and easily accessible as part of a last-ditch lawsuit to implement the 1998 Child Online Protection Act blocked by the courts


Bush Never Took Afghanistan Seriously

by Robert Scheer After our dramatic initial stab into Afghanistan after Sept. 11, the Bush administration has shown no willingness to do the heavy lifting that would be required to make the country once again the functioning nation it was before Cold War games tore it apart. Rather, as with the rest of its policies, a token effort has merely been a cover for conning the American public into believing Bush is effectively pursuing the war on terrorism


Abramoff's Crimes Mark End Of GOP's Moral High Ground

by Robert Scheer Top Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff is set to sing, and his long list of former buddies in Congress and the Bush Administration are quaking in anticipation of possible indictments stemming from the consummate Beltway hustler's crass reign as the king of K Street


What It Means To Lose Ariel Sharon

by Rabbi Michael Lerner Though ultimately no friend of the Palestinians, Ariel Sharon in the short run was doing what no left-wing Israeli leader could: split the far-right and acknowledge that a smaller Israel with defensible borders was better than the continued domination of 3 million Palestinians


Iraqi Misery At New Highs

by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid Electricity supply is inconsistent, and sometimes there is no water for a week or more at a time. After the recent increase in petroleum prices mandated by the International Monetary Fund, the situation has become far more difficult for Iraqis.


Repubs Now Casting Themselves As Reformers

by Joe Conason Glancing nervously behind them at old cronies lined up in the dock, from Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay to Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney, and ahead to Election Day, the rentable statesmen compete to prove their ethical purity. They display a truly touching faith in the perpetual gullibility of the American voter. In fact, when you consider what they expect us to believe, it's hard not to be insulted


Congress Cuts Food Aid To Grandparents Raising Kids

by Nell Bernstein Among the budget cuts that squeaked through Congress just before Christmas was a provision that will take food -- $400 million worth -- out of the already-bare cupboards of grandparent-headed households


Blacks Suffer Most As Bush Weakens Clean Air Rules

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson A recent Associated Press survey of government data found that in 19 states blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to live in neighborhoods where pollution posed a severe health hazard. Despite the severe health risks that toxic damage poses in these neighborhoods, the residents have gotten very little attention or support from environmental groups.


Cheney's 20-Year History Of Secret Surveillance

by Peter Dale Scott Illegal eavesdropping and illegal detentions of U.S. citizens revives presidential powers curtailed since Watergate and may have grown out of a secret program in the 1980s that planned to suspend the U.S. Constitution in the event of a national emergency


Arabs Fear Being Caught Between Nuclear Israel, Iran

by Jamal Dajani Contrary to popular conception in the West, the threat of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East is not just an Israeli concern. Arabs are alarmed by an increasingly nuclear Middle East, and fear both Israel's and Iran's nuclear capabilities


Alito's Record Shows Hardline On Immigrant Rights

by Mark Lloyd Little attention has been paid to Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito's views on immigration. While a lawyer for Reagan administration, Alito argued that immigrants who enter the United States illegally are not entitled to the rights afforded to American citizens


Abramoff Scandals Place GOP Under Fire

by Bill Berkowitz To say that Abramoff had a full plate would be a bit of an understatement. The Abramoff story has touched dozens of top-shelf politicians, and involved a number of Indian tribes, a gaggle of political consulting firms and consultants -- including Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition and who is now running for lieutenant governor of Georgia -- as well as what now appears to be a number of phony charities


Emergency Tents Failed Pakistan Quake Survivors

Piles of canvas can be spotted everywhere, even in relatively low areas located just beyond the town of Balakot. Some tents have filled up with rainwater, others are sagging under the snow that has collected on them and many campsites are flooded. It is now obvious that, given the harshness of the winter in all affected areas, tents were never going to provide sufficient protection


Evangelicals Using USAID To Make Africa Inroads

by Bill Berkowitz According to USAID, Wilkinson 'has trained pastors on ways of talking appropriately and effectively to their congregations about abstinence until marriage, fidelity to one's partner, and reducing stigma. Unequal treatment of women contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS, so he challenged pastors to make clear to their congregations that men and women are, according to their own sacred text, created equal.' Wilkinson had hoped to build a 32,500-acre complex that 'would house, educate, and feed children whose parents had died of AIDS [and] would also have a golf course and other tourist attractions'


Will U.S. Drug Warriors Allow Bolivia To Create A Coca Economy?

by Marcelo Ballve For advocates, coca is the ginseng of the future. Their hope, and that of the highly organized cocaleros, as Bolivia's coca growers are known, is that with their man Morales as its spokesman the leaf might finally clear the legal and political hurdles (and prejudices) that block the creation of a legitimate world coca market


Everyone Wants A Piece Of Martin Luther King Jr.

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Though many corporations and government agencies plaster full-page ads in black newspapers that extol King on his holiday and tout how much he's done for them, the King holiday is still rock-bottom among the national holidays that business and government agencies observe


An Open Letter From The Lord About Rev. Pat

by Steve Young This past week the right reverend/political power broker/neurologist explained the factors behind Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke. I had mistakenly thought it was caused by damaged or blocked blood vessels resulting in a loss of blood and oxygen to the brain. Imagine My disbelief to hear from Dr. Robertson that this one was My doing. Fault Me for splinters. That I can understand. A little reminder that you should be more careful. But punishing people with strokes? That's a bit heady, isn't it?


Two Groups Sue To Stop NSA Wiretaps

by Jim Lobe Both Bush and Vice Pres. Dick Cheney, whose chief of staff, David Addington, is perhaps the administration's foremost advocate for executive powers, have insisted that the number of targets subject to surveillance has been relatively small. But that assertion is doubted by experts who are knowledgeable about how NSA monitoring and filtering work


U.S. Misses Key Message In Bin Laden "Truce" Offer

by Jalal Ghazi Many Arab scholars and journalists think that Osama Bin Laden's offer to the West of a hudna, or truce, was sincere. But few expect the United States to take him up on it


The Fortunate Brother: Making A Business Out Of Being Bush

by Bill Berkowitz After a brief hiatus from the public spotlight, Neil Bush is back. Within a three-month period, Bush has shown up in Latvia, Ukraine and Georgia with Russian fugitive Boris Berezovsky, and has appeared at the side of the Unification Church's Rev. Sun Myung Moon in Taiwan and the Philippines


U.S. Tries To Pressure Iran With Media Disinfo

by Gareth Porter Recent reports in the Turkish and German press of the U.S. asking the Turkish government to support a possible attack on Iran and alerting allied countries of preparations for such an attack appear to be part of a strategy to pressure the Iranian regime rather than the result of a new policy to strike Iran


Iraq Election Despair Spreads To Expatriates

by Brian Conley and Shadi Al'Kasim An estimated 320,000 Iraqis living in other countries voted, along with an estimated 10 million Iraqis. To add to the widespread complaints within the country, the Electoral Commission has registered 692 complaints by Iraqi expatriates alleging fraud


'Suicidal' Oil Consumption Could Drain Reserves By 2030

by Humberto Marquez While this year's record high oil prices are unlikely to fall in the near future, analysts are warning the world's traditional and emerging economic powers to curb consumption. Without conservation, proven reserves will only meet demand up to 2030, they say


Pentagon Flunks Iraq Rebuilding 101, State Dept. Takes Over

by William Fisher After a thousand days of widely acknowledged failure in the job of rebuilding Iraq, the Pentagon has been quietly relieved of that responsibility, with the State Department taking over as Washington's lead reconstruction agency and coordinating the work of all other government departments


Haiti Elections To Happen Real Soon Now -- Or Not

by Amy Bracken Elections for president and Parliament have been postponed four times, the last time indefinitely. Those who thought they would go to the polls last fall now hope to by Feb. 7. Others are beginning to doubt elections will happen at all


Hamas Victory Catches Bush By Surprise

by Jim Lobe Hamas' victory, which far exceeded pre-election forecasts that it would win between 30 and 40 percent of the vote, poses as much of a dilemma for it as for Bush and, for that matter, Israel's Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, according to Geoffrey Kemp, a Middle East expert at the Richard M. Nixon Center here and a top aide to former President Ronald Reagan


Mixed Reaction In Palestine To Hamas Win

by Fawzia Sheikh In the West Bank town of Ramallah, where Palestinians celebrated by taking part in flag-waving political rallies and firing in the air, 20-year-old student Mehran Hamed was happy about Hamas's success. Hamed believes it will spell a better future for all Palestinians who have endured years of corruption under Fatah. The party has been accused of mismanaging funds and allowing lawlessness to reign in the Palestinian territories. He said Hamas, which has in the past won accolades for its charity work among Palestinians, will invest in social programs like education and health care.


Iraq War Poster Boy Becomes PTSD Poster Boy

by Norman Solomon The real person Blake Miller, not the media icon, said: 'I'm continuing my therapy. I continued up until the day I got out, actually.' And, speaking of other Americans who had fought in Iraq, he said: 'The more and more I talked to them, the more I found out that there was a lot of Marines that were going through same, similar emotions. And I mean, it's -- it's tough to deal with. I mean, being in Iraq is something that no one wants to talk about'


Benjamin Netanyahu Slick... And Dangerous

by Norman Solomon With Ariel Sharon out of the picture, Benjamin Netanyahu has a better chance to become prime minister of Israel. He's media savvy. He knows how to spin on American television. And he's very dangerous


Outrage In Pakistan Over CIA Airstrike That Killed 18

by M B Naqvi President Bush's efforts to persuade the Arab world that Washington promotes democratic reform in their countries has made hardly a dent in the views of the vast majority of Arabs, with the exception of Christians in Lebanon


Canada's Conservatives Win Narrow Victory

by Am Johal During the bitterly contested campaign, Harper was painted as a fiscal and social conservative with ties to the U.S. right-wing. Harper countered by softening the image of the party as one that represented middle class Canada and had successful campaign moments -- such as shopping at Toys-R-Us prior to Christmas with his family


Arrest Of Enterpreneur Shakes Japan's Political, Financial Worlds

by Suvendrini Kakuchi A dropout from the prestigious national Tokyo University, Horie's rise has been watched intently -- in awe by the younger generation and somewhat suspiciously by older people who viewed him as an upstart. A key aspect of the Horie trend is the rapid rise of stock traders among individuals in Japan -- local media has reported more than 200,000 individuals bought stocks in companies owned by him -- in contrast to the older generation who preferred to leave their savings in the bank. Influenced by Horie, who spouts the philosophy that 'if you are not an investor you are not a human being' in his books, even university students began to buy stocks on their mobile phones looking for short-term profits, a sign of how Japanese society has begun to represent American-style capitalism, say experts


Iraq, Natural Disasters Dominated 2005 TV News

by Jim Lobe Led by Hurricane Katrina, natural disasters and Iraq dominated the U.S. television news during 2005, accounting for almost half of the content of the three major network news shows over the course of the year


White House Stonewalls Bush Links To Abramoff

by Joe Conason The president -- for whom Abramoff gathered contributions of at least $100,000 in 2004, which is by far the largest amount that the lobbyist collected for any politician of either party -- insists that he doesn't know the guy


White House Turns NSA Wiretap Scandal Into Whistleblower Witch Hunt

by Norman Solomon Protracted overblown horror at disclosure of Plame's identity has made it easier for the Bush administration to now set off on a witch hunt -- not only against whistleblowers in government but also potentially against journalists


The FBI And Edward Said

by Alexander Cockburn Some will say that since he was a Palestinian, a political one and also a member (before he broke with Arafat) of the Palestinian National Council, Said was a legitimate object of concern for the FBI, and the Bureau would have been remiss not to have kept an eye on him. But labeling Said as a friend of Arafat misses the point that the FBI's surveillance of this U.S. citizen found absolutely no evidence that he broke any laws -- not even jaywalking or tape recording songs off the radio


The Long, Happy Life Of The Steadfast Commie

by Alexander Cockburn To get really old it pays to have been a Commie or at least a fellow traveler. In younger years they tended to walk a lot, selling the party paper. They talked a lot and, above all, they never stopped thinking



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