Albion Monitor Issue 142 JANUARY, 2006
Albion Monitor
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FREE! Having established their global war on terror, and so their "war powers," in the fall of 2001, top administration officials then moved remarkably quickly to the outer limits of power -- by plunging into the issue of torture. After all, if you can establish a presidential right to order torture (no matter how you manage to redefine it) as well as to hold captives under a category of warfare dredged up from the legal dustbin of history in prisons especially established to be beyond the reach of the law or the oversight of anyone but those under your command, you've established a presidential right to do just about anything imaginable.

For the cultists of an all-powerful presidency, the holy war, the "crusade" to be embarked upon was, above all, aimed at creating a President accountable to no one, overseen by no one, and restricted by no other force or power in his will to act as he saw fit. And so, in this White House, all roads have led back to one issue: How to press ever harder at the weakening boundaries of presidential power.

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

Martial law among fears in open-ended Department of Homeland Security contract for KBR to prepare building centers for "emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs"

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

Interior Department offered boats, aircraft, bulldozers and 400 law enforcement personnel

Neocons See Iran's President As A 'Godsend'

Best Über-villain since Saddam

Brit Spy Ring In Moscow Puts NGOs Under Suspicion

Less than 2 weeks after Putin accused aid groups of fronting spies, money-launderers

Arrest Of Enterpreneur Shakes Japan's Political, Financial Worlds

T-shirt clad businessman was poster boy for Japan's new capitalism

Neil Bush

The Fortunate Brother: Making A Business Out Of Being Bush

Neil Bush is all about taking advantage of the family name

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

Telling U.S. and the world that this is a political, not a religious war

Two Groups Sue To Stop NSA Wiretaps

As Al Gore accuses Bush of "repeatedly and insistently breaking the law"


FREE! Why would the Bush administration bother gagging Sibel Edmonds, a contract linguist with no more than six months under her belt? Why would they go so far as to forbid her from naming the languages she speaks, or ban all mention of her place of birth?

Citing "sensitive diplomatic relations" and their importance to America's national security, the Justice Department preferred the shameful embarrassment of muzzling a witness in the 9/11 case to the outright scandal that would likely erupt were Edmonds' story known.

Some of that story, however, can be reconstructed from the public record, which includes interviews she gave prior to the slew of gag orders. Evidence suggests that it's not just "sensitive foreign relations" that are on the line, but the Americans who are doing the sensitive relating, and what Edmonds has to say cuts a little too close to the interests of influential neo-conservatives and hawks

Canada's Conservatives Win Narrow Victory

Unlikely to push right-wing social agenda

U.S. Tried To Pressure Iran With Media Disinfo

Threats of imminent attack on Iran began over a year ago via stories in European, Turkish press

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

After 1972 and the oil crisis, the United States was rabidly pursuing investment opportunities in Iran, including selling nuclear power plants

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

" We are fighting for our water rights, for our right to plant coca, for control over our national resources"

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

"Coca is not cocaine," Bolivia's new president says. "The producer of coca leaf is not a drug trafficker and the consumer is not an addict, this must be clear"


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

"If you choose the wrong candidates, that will affect U.S. aid," American ambassador says

Bush Fumbles Attempt To Seek Sunni, Iran Help With Iraq

White House orders diplomats to negotiate, but won't give them power to make concessions

Pentagon Flunks Iraq Rebuilding 101, State Dept. Takes Over

Switch was made through a little-noticed Presidential National Security Directive

Iraqi Misery At New Highs

Electricty down to 1-2 hours a day, gasoline often unavailable despite price hikes

An Iraqi Town Becomes A Prison

U.S. builds huge sand barrier isolating 3,000 residents from outside contact

Foreigners A Choice Kidnap Target In Iraq

Reporter Jill Carroll joins about 40 kidnapped foreigners unaccounted for

New U.S. Iraq Strategy: Divide Locals From Foreign Fighters

Effort to deflect Sunni- Shiite focus towards "you vs. them"

Fear, Despair Overshadows Iraq's Eid Celebration

"Nobody will allow us to leave our homes now"

Bush To Ask War Allies To Pay For Iraq Reconstruction

"The U.S. never intended to completely rebuild Iraq," Army Corps of Engineers head now says

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

Charges that Americans ransacked mosque offices of moderate group

U.S. Coddling Sunnis, Iraqi Shiites Charge

Shiites make it clear that they don't intend to share power

Iraqis Find Themselves Left Out Of "Reconstruction"

Infrastructure far worse now than even during the harsh economic sanctions of the 1990s

U.S. Troops Working Alongside Shiite Death Squads

"Wolf Brigade" the most hated and feared commando unit

Looking For A Lawrence Of Iraq FREE!

His "peace map" for the Middle East could have saved the world a lot of time, trouble and treasure

Iraq Ethnic Quarrels Overshadow Talk Of Consensus

Coalition negotiations stymied as each jockey for control over their slice of country

Iraq Election Despair Spreads To Expatriates

Mostly voted for secular, minority parties that fared badly in vote


White House Stonewalls Bush Links To Abramoff

Most scandalous Republican donor whom Bush professed has not to know since Ken Lay

White House Turns NSA Wiretap Scandal Into Whistleblower Witch Hunt

Shifting attention away to the leak and away from the growing constitutional crisis

Repubs Now Casting Themselves As Reformers

Even as controversial Roy Blunt seeks to follow DeLay as House speaker

Congress Cuts Food Aid To Grandparents Raising Kids

$400 million cut in foster care payments to children who live with relatives -- usually elderly, impoverished grandmothers

Blacks Suffer Most As Bush Weakens Clean Air Rules

2x more likely to have hazardous pollution in their neighborhood

Abramoff Scandals Place GOP Under Fire

DeLay the biggest political casualty so far, but not the last

Alito Hearings Focus On Executive Powers

Agrees that not even in wartime does a president have "a blank check"

Bush Bypasses Senate, Makes Two Crony Appointments

New Pentagon spokesman recently charged TV networks with aiding terrorists

Schwarzenegger Ducks Immigration In State Address

After pandering to the Right with promise of border crackdown

Abramoff Plea Deal Threatens GOP Hold On Washington

Hastert, DeLay, Bush, other top Repubs race to dump campaign donations

Alito's Record Shows Hardline On Immigrant Rights

Argued non-citizens had few rights during tenure at Reagan Justice Department

Bush Faces Tsunami Of Political Woes As 2006 Begins

All of last year's headaches still wait: Katrina, wiretaps, Patriot Act, "legacy" tax cuts...



In Palestinine's first parliamentary elections in a decade, the Islamist Hamas party won an easy victory over its chief secular and long-ruling rival, Fatah. It appears that the party's victory was due less to its anti-Zionism than to its effectiveness at delivering social services and an image of incorruptibility, particularly compared to Fatah. Hamas also wants to strengthen a judicial system which has resulted in a breakdown of economic, social and security structures in Palestine.

But Hamas is an ultra-religious party that makes many liberal-minded Palestinians uncomfortable. "It would be scary as an individual, as a person, as woman," said local resident Qubbaj of a Hamas victory. "We know they have kind of a conservative social agenda that I would oppose." A Hamas victory, she said may include interference with women's education, work, family life and freedom of dress.

While Bush declined to say whether Washington would cut aid to the Palestinian Authority if Hamas takes over the government, he stressed that if Hamas sticks to both its ideological and actual guns -- the U.S. officially considers it a "terrorist" organization -- Washington would not welcome it into a peace process. "We are hearing all this talk about how can the Israelis deal with the Palestinians now after Hamas' victory?" said Phyllis Bennis, of the left-wing Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). "But there haven't been any (bilateral) negotiations for the past two years except between Israel and the U.S., so that's not anything new and different."


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

Donors Threaten Palestinian Aid Cut After Hamas Win

Hamas Victory Catches Bush By Surprise

Mixed Reaction In Palestine To Hamas Win

Israeli, Palestinian Governments Fear Hamas Election Victory

"What Would Sharon Do?" Questions Hang Over Israel

As polls show most Israelis favor separation from Palestinians as the "least bad option"

Sharon's Stroke Paralyzes Israel Politics

No other leader in Israel ranks close in popularity

Losing Sharon Gives Washington The Jitters

Sharon's demise revives the chances of right-wing Netanyahu returning to power

What It Means To Lose Ariel Sharon

No "man of peace," but marginalized the extremists who believe that holding on to the biblical vision of the Land of Israel is a divine mandate, and acknowledge that a smaller Israel with defensible borders is preferable to a large Israel that requires domination of 3 million Palestinians

Benjamin Netanyahu Slick... And Dangerous

Militant has repeatedly emphasized that he wants to launch a military strike on Iran

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

Will he repeat Gaza process by closing some W Bank colonies?

Arabs Fear Being Caught Between Nuclear Israel, Iran

Arab states have been previously engaged in long and bloody wars with both Israel and Iran. In the present scheme of things, however, they may seek to join the nuclear arm race as well.

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

Study finds misery gets most coverage when caused by bad weather

Neocons Charge Venezuela's Chavez With Anti-Semitism

Weekly Standard along with Wall St. Journal has long depicted Chavez as maniac

Iran Breaks UN Seals At Atomic Research Site

Much more serious than 2003 confrontation that led to IAEA closing facilities

Bush Admin Keeping UN Hostage Over Budget

Latest insult is refusing to release population fund monies approved by Congress



Frail and 76 years old, Clarence Ray Allen became the oldest prisoner California has ever put to death when he was executed Jan. 17. Allen's fragile health not only created the unseemly spectacle of the state putting to death an invalid, but it also provides some significant legal issues -- his physical deterioration was greatly due to the deficient health care provided to prisoners throughout California's massive prison system. Advanced diabetes left him unable to walk, yet following his September heart attack, San Quentin inexplicably stopped providing his daily insulin shots, which were just as inexplicably resumed a week later. It was a good example why a federal judge -- citing scores of preventable deaths, the judge called the prisoners' health care system "deplorable" and guilty of "outright depravity" -- took the unprecedented step in 2005 of putting California prison health care under federal receivership, Then there is the issue of his possible innocence.

During all his 23 years on death row, Allen steadfastly insisted that he is not guilty. Another man 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


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

The Booming Business Of Executing Grandpa

California Prepares For Another Killing Sans Controversy

Little Sympathy For Tribes Exploited By Ambramoff From Other Indians

Native American media say that several Indian tribes are players, not victims

European Bird Flu Fears Grow Over Cases In Turkey

Virus takes a giant leap from East Asia to Turkey

In Tajikistan, the swastika is the new symbol of national identity
Tajikistan Promotes Aryan Identity, Brings Back Swastika

FREE! As Bush looks to remote country as new base for U.S. operations in central Asia

Military Confidence In Bush Hits New Low

54% approval from mainly Republican troops -- far lower than civilian GOP

Iraq War Poster Boy Becomes PTSD Poster Boy

Picture-perfect "Marlboro Man" GI among the walking wounded

Cheney's 20-Year History Of Secret Surveillance

Was key player in doomsday war games that suspended the constitution

Bush Domestic Spying Old News

Targets in the past were Muslim extremists, Communists, peace activists, black radicals, civil rights leaders and drug peddlers

Russia Accuses NGOs Of Fronting Spies, Money-Launderers

New law will require groups to re-register with Justice Ministry, limit activities

More Women Forced Into Prostitution In Post-Soviet States

500 - 700,000 women and children forced into sexual slavery ever year around the globe

Pedophiles Target Vietnam's Poverty-Driven Child Sex Industry

Former British pop singer Gary Glitter among influx of foreign tourists

Everyone Wants A Piece Of Martin Luther King Jr.

Everyone with a social and political ax to grind wants a piece of the fallen legend

Tents like these are collapsing in the quake zone (PHOTO: © David Swanson/IRIN)
Emergency Tents Failed Pakistan Quake Survivors

FREE! Returning helicopter pilots, who have managed to complete brief sorties over the snow-bound valleys say non-winterized tents distributed to victims have collapsed under the weight of snow and the onslaught from fierce winds and many are hoping to survive by building small, cave-like shelters from stone, rubble and salvaged plastic sheets

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

"Hammer-and-anvil" strategy against al Qaeda making little headway other than chalking up "collateral damage" among the civilian population

Outrage In Pakistan Over CIA Airstrike That Killed 18

Region already hostile to U.S.

Can UN Collect Money Promised For Pakistan Quake Victims?

Nearly 100 days after the devastating earthquake in Pakistan, uncertainties over the financing of humanitarian aid still loom large

Harsh Winter Killing Afghan Refugees In Makeshift Camps

Permanent refugee camps being constructed in every Afghanistan province

Donations Sit In Banks While Tsunami Victims Huddle In Tents

Almost all hardest hit by disaster still homeless

Haiti Elections To Happen Real Soon Now -- Or Not

Not only do would-be voters not know when they can go to the polls; many have not yet been told where they will vote

The scant measures we undertake as a nation to protect miners and other workers in dangerous industries are growing smaller
Old King Coal And His Derelict Soul FREE!

Yes, it's safer than it was 100 years ago, when hundreds died annually. But the tragedy at Sago and the events that preceded it are a side effect powerfully reflective of so many cozy, familiar relationships among business interests, Congress, and the current administration

Expect More Coal Miner Deaths Unless Fast Reforms

Bush has continued to indulge the mining companies by abandoning prior efforts to improve regulation, fining the operators less and less for safety violations, and often failing to collect even those nominal fines

'Suicidal' Oil Consumption Could Drain Reserves By 2030

Without conservation, proven reserves will only meet demand for about 25 years

Bush Puts All Foreign Aid Under Control Of Controversial Director

Former AIDS czar forced abstinence ideology as requirement for U.S. help

Evangelicals Using USAID To Make Africa Inroads

One plan included orphanage as tourist attraction, complete with golfing

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

Almost all aid for emergency assistance, not long-term programs

Want Examples of Prison Torture? Look Homeward

Juxtaposed against recent disclosures that the Pentagon paid Iraqi journalists

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

Could similar charges be brought against Cheney, Rumsfeld, and other high officials of the Bush administration for the actions of their subordinates?



Molly Ivins Is There Anything These Folks Can't Screw Up?

Time To Stop Reporting Propaganda

Wanted: A Demo With Guts

Roy Blunt Hardly The Ethical Replacement For DeLay

IRS Targets Hundreds Of Thousands Of Poor Americans

Creationist Gov. Goodhair And Revisionist Rep. Gingrich

The GOP's Shameful Abuse Of "Charities"

He's Not Lying - He's Just Ignorant


Robert Scheer Search Engine Giants Cave To Nosy Feds

Bush Never Took Afghanistan Seriously

Reagan's Ardent Disciples Betrayed His Revolution

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


Alexander Cockburn The Long, Happy Life Of The Steadfast Commie

The FBI And Edward Said


Steve Young The Talk Showization Of The Mainstream Media

Save The Unindicted Republican

God Created Bill (And Why He Did)

An Open Letter From The Lord About Rev. Pat


where's waldo FREE! By now, you know that the White House has refused to release 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.

The president, with visions of Monica on the rope line dancing in his head, told last week's press conference, "Those pictures will be used for pure political purposes and they're not relevant to the investigation." Ah, the imperial presidency. Except that in this case, instead of "Off with their heads!" it's "Off with their headshots." C'mon, President Bush, break out the snaps of you and Abramoff. Let's see 'em. And while we're at it, give us the dates of and names of those in attendance at the White House "staff-level" meetings Abramoff attended

Albion Monitor
Issue 142

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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